GGRecon delves into the history of the genre of games that led up to the sleeper hit, Among Us.

18:30, 13 Oct 2020

Onboard the space vessel ‘Skeld’, a malicious presence is soon to manifest. For weeks, an organisation of criminals and pirates have been integrating with the crew, and until now the staff on board the ship have been blissfully unaware of the malevolent organisation growing within. No more. Tonight, someone will die, and until the Imposters have eliminated all of the opposition, the genuine Crewmates will continue to die. Unless, of course, they find and eject the imposters first…

That may well sound like the intro to an exciting game of the fast-paced sleeper hit Among Us, however it is in fact simply a modified intro to the enduring party game of Mafia.

Mafia (or Werewolf) is a party game that is centred around social deduction, which was originally created by Dmitry Davidoff in 1986. Similar to Among Us, the game predominately features two sides - the Townspeople (or Townies) and the Mafia (also known as 'Scum'). Among Us builds on the foundations of social deduction that started in Mafia, by adding tasks and visual cues to add a layer of accessibility. 

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Despite the differences, the two games do share some similarities as a result of their shared heritage. As social deduction games go, some strategies can be taken and applied from the more enduring game and applied to Among Us. With the additional layers of strategy added by tasks and sabotages, and the fact that players can be killed without immediately notifying all other players comes a divergence of strategic thought, some theories on finding and identifying imposters can be imported from Mafia.

A key facet of reading into the things that people say and type is attempting to find out what the talker/typer will gain from the things that they say. Is someone set to gain from defending someone else when they haven’t interacted with them too much? Is someone lashing out wildly? Is someone building a case by jumping on the linguistic choices of others? All of these factors can play into the identification and reading of another player’s alignment.

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With references made especially to the online forum Mafia site mafiascum.net, GGRecon will show you a few tips and tricks to really dig into the analytical side of Among Us, and level up your game.

Be loud!

You cannot have an impact on the game or find out things about others if you don’t interact with them. Whilst this doesn’t mean shout down everyone else and dominate the conversation, what it does mean is be present. Take part, and make clear your beliefs. If you don’t have a strong opinion, or cannot choose between two people, say so! Likewise, if you are suspicious of someone else, state it loudly. Nobody is ever going to act on the things that you say if you don’t partake in the discourse of the game. Conversely, fading into the background only benefits imposters. By being quiet, you provide imposters with cover and people to point at. All it takes is for an imposter mid-conversation to say ‘[X] has been really quiet!’ The fact that you haven’t taken much part in proceedings immediately makes you seem suspicious (sus), since interacting with the wider game is most certainly something that benefits the crewmates. It can be the equivalent of an imposter saying ‘Hey! Look over there!’ and people are thrown off the scent of another serious case.

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Be Active.

Activity is a Crew-tell. Following on from the first point, it is rare to find an imposter who will attempt to dominate the conversation in a game and lead the crewmates. Usually, a confident crewmate will be the player to rally the troops and quite often call the ejections. This is entirely subjective, of course, and shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but if someone has accusations early on, that are not based on ‘I saw [X] do [Y]’, they are more than likely a crewmate. Don’t get too close to them, but have a good, analytical look at who they are examining, and see if you can draw the battle lines, as it were. Who is supporting them? Who is against them? What benefit does each player gain from their position, from their words?

Don't 'buddy up'.

Be cautious of ‘buddying up' with somebody. Following on from the theoretical section of Mafiascum.net’s wiki, buddying can be construed as extremely anti-crew. By aligning yourself to somebody extremely closely, and not having the confirmation of doing tasks with them the entirety of the way through the game, it is entirely possible to have reverse tunnel vision. Buddying up to people only benefits the imposters, since that person that you were so convinced was a crewmate, that you would argue for in a 2v1 may just be lining up the knife in your back. A particularly savvy imposter may also call you out for buddying, and thus turn the attentions of the crewmates against you.

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As a game of social deduction, Among Us is not just limited to being dominated by those who are imposters or who observe a killing. You can have a big, viable impact whilst just pottering about and completing your tasks.

Take these hints into your next game and hunt down those imposters!

Special thanks to Mafiascum.net, for maintaining a comprehensive wiki of Mafia Theory.

Images via Inner Sloth

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