Review: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

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Deception Murder in Hong Kong - CoverI finally played enough games to legit a proper review of this hidden role game for 4-12 players by Tobey Ho. This game is published in some countries as CS-Files with the same components by Jolly Thinkers. It plays with a large group in 20 minutes so it might also be labeled as a party game.

What is Deception: Murder in Hong Kong like?

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a game in which players try to solve a murder case. There are roles that are handed out to the players and kept secret throughout the game, except for one player who takes the role of the Forensic Scientist. There is one murderer who plays the game like he is an investigator and use deception to mislead the investigators. The rest of the players are investigators trying to solve the murder case through deduction.

At the start of the game every player (except the Forensic Scientist) receives four “means of murder” cards and four “clue” cards, placing them face up in front for all to see, along with an “investigator badge” token. The murderer points at two of the cards (one “clue” and one “means of murder”) while the (other) investigators have their eyes closed. That way the Forensic Scientist has the solution to the crime but he/she can only use special scene tiles to give out clues to the investigators. The investigators try to deduce these clues to direct them to two cards on the table that the murderer has pointed out to the Forensic Scientist at the start of the game. When the investigators succeed they win, otherwise the murderer wins. There are some extra roles to spice up the basic game and make it more interesting with a higher player count, but that is basically what the game is.

The Forensic Scientist is the game-master and is not allowed to speak and can only give clue’s through the scene tiles which give hits in different categories. The game comes with lots of scene tiles, but to give you an idea, clues are in categories like; scene of the crime, motive, duration, etc.

Each time a new clue is given the investigators start pointing and discussing what the corresponding cards might be and thus who the murderer is. After six tiles are placed investigators make an assumption at what the “means of murder” and “clue” cards are, then the forensic scientist replaces one tile for another tile and gives another clue. This process repeats itself one more time before players get a last chance to declare what they think are the correct cards that solve the crime. Investigators only have one official shot at guessing the correct cards. They hand in their badge and make the accusation. If they deducted correct the investigators win immediately. If wrong the forensic scientist just says “no” and play continues. The investigator who made the wrong guess still can help the other investigators and can proceed to discuss as he or she previously did, but can now make another official accusation. If none of the investigators find the correct cards the murderer wins!

Deception Murder in Hong Kong - Cards


5 / 6

Excellent game in my opinion that can easily compete with the best social deduction games on the market. I feel that there is enough game in the box to keep families and gamers interested. If you’re looking for a game with lots of lively table talk, look no further.



5 / 6

The game is really fun and as a social deduction game keeps all players engaged. Some people might enjoy being an investigator more than being the forensic scientist, but games are short so there is time to let someone else be the forensic scientist during a gaming session. If you enjoy social deduction games like Mysterium and or The Resistance I strongly recommend you to take a look at this game! It’s that much fun!



5 / 6
Solving a murder case while one of the investigators is the murderer, well it’s not impossible but its kind of strange… On the other hand players quickly get into their role as investigators and come up with the strangest and grotesque reasons why the card they choose is connected to the murder case. It’s all talk and not graphically gross or anything so plays will differ between groups in that regard too.



5 / 6
All of the 300 cards have their own art and although its nothing fancy, it is all done in a functional way. No complaints. Some cards picture blood and other things people might find offensive, but nothing is presented in an unneeded gross way.



5 / 6
The game components are very good. The markers for clue giving for the forensic scientist are made of wood and are carved as bullets. A nice touch. The “means of murder” and “clue” cards are small american sized and linen finished. The game comes with 300 of them! And 32 scene tiles. For a social deduction game where the meat of the game is talking and discussing the components are top-notch! The cards could have been a bit bigger, because you keep staring at them across the table.


Complexity Level

Complexity Level 2

The rules are very simple and all you really have to do is talk and discuss what the “means of murder” and “clue” cards are. But the underlying level of suspense that one of the investigators is the murderer makes the game tense. If the murderer pointed at two cards in the beginning of the game that have nothing in common, the forensic scientist will have a hard time picking clues to point in the right direction. There are some extra characters like the witness and the accomplice which can be uses to spice up the game and there are also some special tiles with some tasks on them instead of clues for a variant. This will not further complicate the game but will keep the game interesting.

The rulebook is just two pages and that’s all the game needs. Its written quite well and I had no problem understanding the game after one read.



  • Players: 4 – 12
  • Playing time: 20 minutes
  • Suggested age: 10+

Would you like to know more?

If you want to know a bit more about the game feel free to check out Board Game Brawl‘s review of it here:


Follow Peter van der Helm:

I'm Peter van der Helm, married, and live in the Netherlands. It started in 1994 when I bought an starter deck from Deciphers Star Trek CCG and have played multiple CCG's and LCG's since. I have a game group in Deventer with whom I play boardgames. I mostly like medium length games with a good theme.

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