How to Take Group Gaming to the Next Level

Games played in large groups reward players in ways that significantly differ from standard board games. For starters, many don’t involve a board at all—some opt for cards to deliver secret role information to players while others exist as purely verbal affairs. Still, many of the same principles of play apply, and a mastery of cunning, willpower and deception will excel. Here are some ways to take your group gaming to the next level:

Never Tell the Truth

Yes, this advice likely will get you in trouble within the confines of “polite society” and “everyday life,” but we board gamers know that simple existence is only as fulfilling as how each moment applies to gaming. In this case, the art of deception begins with deceiving even yourself. Many group games involve secret roles, in which a particular card dictates how you will be interacting with the game and what your ultimate win condition will look like. Throw other players off your scent by never saying your role outloud or betraying any part of that at all, to anyone, ever. Take it to your grave. Wipe it from the historical record. And if anyone asks, deny your entire identity. Who are you and what have you done with this secret role??

Never Look at Your Secret Role

If lying isn’t your thing—and, let’s be honest, not everyone’s a psychopath—consider not even looking at the secret role card. Play the game as you’d like to play and damn the rules or consequences. You can’t fib if you don’t know, right? (Don’t try this in court.) Instead, conjure a world within your mind that rewards blissful ignorance. Perhaps your fellow gamers will take pity on you and reveal their own secret roles so you can attempt process-of-elimination. Think of it as a metagame developed only for you; the only thing more fun than a game is a game-within-a-game when you refuse to play the game itself. Obviously.

Get Up and Stop Playing

People want what they can’t have, so deny fellow players the gift of your presence and they’ll demand you stick around. Suddenly you are royalty, gracing these plebes with any gameplay information you feel like supplying. This affords you a level of power you may not have earned—especially if, in private, you have been given a dicey and unfun secret role. You’ll be in a strong position to start making deals: Ice out a threatening player, you tell them, knowing full well this will spell doom for the group but victory for you.

Change Your Identity and Take a Vow of Silence

Little did the other players know, this group game is extending beyond what they could have ever anticipated. In fact, they quit playing a long time ago. But you wouldn’t know—the monastery affords a calm and quiet you’ve never experienced, which leads to the revelation that, truly, all of life is a group game, and we’re all simply players fighting against a rigged rule set. Though your attitude will be forever tarnished, at least next time you get together for a group game you’ll be providing some great homebrewed beer.

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