Amid a slew of ways to spend lockdown and the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic restrictions, there has emerged one, perhaps bizarrely popular pursuit.
Playing the hyper-addictive mobile game, Among Us.
How to Play
The aim of the game is strikingly simple. You start the game as one of 10 people on board a spaceship drifting in deep space. Nine of the starting players are crewmates, with just one player actually faking the whole thing. They are the ‘Imposter’ and it’s their mission to survive at the expense of the crewmates.
The imposter is chosen at random at the start of the game. As a crewmate, your job is to root out the imposter and fix the stricken spaceship by completing all your tasks around the ship, such as flushing out dead leaves, mending broken wires and topping up the fuel in the reactor. You know, regular spaceship chores. If all the crewmates complete their tasks and there are still some of them alive, then the crewmates win the game and the imposter is defeated.
There is another, much more popular way to win, however, but we’ll come to that.
As the imposter, it’s your job to kill crewmates and sabotage the ship. You can set the reactor core to meltdown, cut off the oxygen supply and whittle the crew down to just one. Once you’ve done that, you’re the winner as by default, left alone with the imposter, the crewmate would merely be another victim.
Here’s a short tutorial on gameplay and exactly how to make your way around the ship:
How to Win
Among Us is remarkably similar to poker once Emergency Meetings are called, or a dead body reported. This is your chance as crewmates to discuss others behaviour and root out the imposter among you. If the majority vote for the imposter, then the crewmates win as you flush the imposter out into space (or into lava). If, however, it’s a tie or more players skip the vote – and remember, the imposter has one crucial vote to cast – then players return to their work on the ship, leaving themselves open to another imposter slaying.
This part of the game is hugely relevant to poker and table talk when someone is bluffing. Disguising your behaviour in a poker hand is difficult. Making a bet can look strong, looking away from the table can be a tell, there are a million ways to give yourself away. But where Among Us excels is in the devious nature it prods you in the direction – or rather misdirection – of. You’ll have to convince others to vote for a different player to you if you’re the imposter. Sometimes this can be achieved with silence, but other ties you’ll need to use persuasion. Every game, and every player is different, just like in poker.
Working out what to say is difficult and takes practice to get right. As the imposter, it’s a lot harder than you might think to kill another player and get away with it. While there are vents you can use around the ship, only the imposter can do so, so if another player sees you, they can report you by calling an Emergency Meeting and there’s a kill ‘cooldown’ period where you will be dobbed in.
Just like in poker, you need to choose your moments for conflict very carefully and take in information at all times. If you pass someone in the corridor and they don’t kill you, they’re less likely to be the imposter, right? But if you’re the imposter, ignoring several players before killing another can give you the alibi you need. It’s a little like getting credit for strong hands in poker at showdown then using that perception of you by other players to run an outrageous bluff when the moment calls for it. The table has seen you show strong cards, so why would they doubt you have the nuts now?
Among Us is Poker on a Spaceship
While Among Us is a game designed for all, there’s no doubt that being a poker player helps when it comes to both getting away with murder and establishing who committed the crime. Overall, Among Us will help you as a poker player because it improves your powers of both observation and persuasion, often in equal measure and in the same 5 or 10-minute game.
The game is free to play and available on most mobile devices app stores now. We’d highly recommend that you download and play it if you’re a poker player or just with your friends and family to stave off lockdown boredom – it’s a lot of fun and playing it with poker-playing friends in a private game is absolutely hilarious.
Just remember, if you happen to be in a game with us, we didn’t sabotage those comms and we definitely didn’t just lock you in the MedBay in order to do away with you in a cartoonishly gruesome fashion. Honest.