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Thread: Games of deception?

  1. #1
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland

    Games of deception?

    I'm wondering if there are any games, especially multiplayer games, which are about deception?

    I was just thinking of a custom map for Starcraft 2 that I played a few years ago, called The Thing (and obviously inspired by the film of the same name.)
    In it, a bunch of players controlled a single marine in an installation filled with weak-but-infinite enemies (Infested Terrans, but they were more or less zombies for most purposes.)
    Players could scavenge resources from kills and eventually build defences and upgrade themselves, and generally wanted to band together for protection. However, one player was secretly The Thing, whose goal was to kill or turn all of the other players. Indistinguishable from a normal player when in disguise, they could choose to shapeshift into The Thing, which gave them a huge combat boost and made the armies of lesser enemies friendly to that player, but obviously blew their cover to any other player who saw it. On its own, The Thing could easily take down a single marine, but in turn it could be taken out quite easily by several players working together.
    For the marines, it was a guessing game, trying to work together but never fully trusting any of your allies in case they were secretly The Thing. For The Thing, it was a game of deception, pretending to be one of them until you saw an opportunity to strike and take some of them down without the others noticing.

    That, in turn was based on older, similar custom maps for WC3, and I found mention of a few more maps inspired by it.

    I'm wondering if there are any actual standalone games with a concept like that?
    The closest thing I came across was a game in development called Spy Party, where one player has to try to blend in and pretend to be an NPC, while the other player is a sniper with a single bullet, who has to work out who the spy is by watching their actions. It sound interesting, but pretending to be an NPC isn't quite the same thing as pretending to be another player with completely different motivations.

    I also wonder if Divinity: Original Sin 2 might not have some elements of this kind of deception in it, though it certainly won't be based entirely around it.

  2. #2
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Reminds me a bit of The Hidden mod for original Half Life and The Ship. Not exactly deception per-se. There's also the Spy class form Team Fortress which was good fun (I'd always run away from my base backwards throwing grenades to convince the enemy I was one of them lol).

    Tho, on the boardgame front, there is a TON: Mafia, Werewolf, Resistance, Age of Camelot (or something like thaT), a spy one which name I forget... it's basically a whole genre of its own by now. Probably just a matter of time before they go with mobile/browser/facebook versions (if they haven't already).

  3. #3
    Registered: Jun 2014
    Location: Dunwall
    The TTT mod for Gary´s mod?

    You also have to pretend to be friendly even tough you aren´t.

  4. #4
    The Assassin's Creed games with multiplayer are essentially about deception.

  5. #5
    Registered: Apr 2008
    I've only seen videos, but I seem to remember them looking exactly like the main concept behind The Ship where you have the name of one person who you need to assassinate, and so does that person, going around in a big loop so that everyone has a hit.

  6. #6
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Landahn

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by N'Al View Post
    ^^^^^^ That, right there. The lack of deception is why I think I found the Wargame series so meh.

  8. #8
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Battleship. To go for something super retro.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Neb View Post
    I've only seen videos, but I seem to remember them looking exactly like the main concept behind The Ship where you have the name of one person who you need to assassinate, and so does that person, going around in a big loop so that everyone has a hit.
    Depending on which actual game we're talking about, there are multiple game modes with that one being one of them. At least one version of AC2 had a mode that was more deathmatch styled, where you would gain points for killing any player, but lose points for killing a npc.

  10. #10
    is Best Pony
    Registered: Nov 2002
    Location: The magical land of Equestria
    How about Party Saboteurs?

  11. #11
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Space Station 13 sounds like it could be interesting.
    The graphics look like Chip's Challenge, though.

  12. #12
    Registered: Apr 2008
    We should also get a TTLG game of Neptune's Pride together. I've never played it, but I was at another forum where everyone had a game and it included a tonne of anonymous backstabbing. It's one of those free browser board games where you log in once a day while you're trying desperately to avoid work.

  13. #13
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I'd be up for that. I'd also suck at it.

  14. #14
    Registered: Apr 2008
    I'll make a thread next week to see who is interested when all of my work is out the way.

    Not that I'd be any good either, but it should be good fun.

  15. #15
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Is the two of us insisting on how we'd bad at it part of our subterfuge, started before we actually play the game? Plots within plots within plots...

  16. #16
    I'll second the ship. It does, by far, a better job of it than any other game on the market. Also don't forget playing as a TF2 spy.

    Also a lot of strategy games lend themselves to deceptive play. It was more or less my signature style back when Command and Conquer was a thing. I'd send in a swam towards the front gates to distract another player's attention while using stealth units to wire their entire base. You'd be surprised how often it was effective.

  17. #17
    Registered: Feb 2005
    Mafia was made into a browser game - Town of Salem.

  18. #18
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I sketched down a quick concept for a game about deception.
    This one seems like it's even less likely to be made than my other game ideas, so I'll post it here:


    A small colony on a remote planet has been attacked by a swarm of aliens, causing major damage to the settlement and killing most of the colonists.

    A few scattered survivors try to band together to save themselves, but are they really all working together as they appear, or do some of them have other agendas?

    This is a multiplayer game, where each player controls one character. The players are assigned different classes semi-randomly, some of which have different goals and victory conditions than the others. While most of the players are working together for a common goal, others have to use deception and subtlety to appear to be helping their supposed allies, while really working on their own agenda.

    The swarm:
    Generic alien creatures, limited to close-quarters combat, generally fairly slow and weak, but wander the map in large numbers and can be very dangerous in small spaces.

    Standard human character classes:
    The human survivors want to either clear the alien infestation, repair the communication array and call for reinforcements (and survive until they arrive), or to repair a spacecraft and escape back to Earth.
    Different players within the group may want to pursue different victory goals, potentially interfering with each other or at least not acting as efficiently as they might otherwise.

    Soldier: A soldier, has powerful weapons, good at combat and physical activities, not that good at tech stuff.

    Engineer: Good at building and repairing machinery and gadgets, worse weapons, physically weaker.

    Medic-scientist: A medic, good at healing allies and doing medical-related tasks (such as building and using tools to detect imposters.) Limited weaponry.

    Antagonist classes:
    Alien shapeshifter:
    A powerful alien, strong at close combat. Capable of freely shapeshifting into a human. A player who is selected as the shapeshifter gets to pick which of the human classes their human-form will be at the start of the game. When in human form, they appear to be that class to all outsiders.
    Can see nearby humans through walls and has a limited control over nearby swarm creatures. Also gains devastating combat abilities when in alien form, but they are disabled when human.
    The alien's goal is to either eliminate all the other survivors, or to remain undetected and sneak aboard their escape vessel to reach Earth.

    Company Man / Bounty Hunter:
    The company man knew about the aliens before they attacked. His goal is to capture one alive for study, and bring it back to the company. The company man can be any of the other human classes, with some extra bonuses allowing him to build traps and mechanisms to catch the alien. Since he needs to capture the alien and escape with it in order to win, he has the motivation to sabotage the other survivor's exploits. He doesn't want them to find and kill the alien, and he also wants to steer them towards escaping the planet with his precious cargo, rather than calling in the fleet.
    The alien needs to be badly injured before it can be trapped, so the company man will need to work with the others to do so, but potentially betray them at the end to stop them killing it, either by disabling or killing them.

    At the start of the game, a call has gone out for all remaining survivors to meet at the command centre in the middle of the colony. Each of the players starts off alone in a small saferoom nearby, and is expected to try to fight their way there through a light number of swarmers.
    The normal thing would be for all the players to gather at the start, but they don't have to; they could choose to forge off alone or make smaller alliances. Starting separately also allows the antagonist players to play with their abilities a little before they join the rest of the team and are forced to hide them.

    The command centre building is (relatively) safe - it has a few entrances that can make effective chokepoints, which start with (fairly weak) automated defences. However, most of the equipment there is broken, and will need to be repaired to be used.
    The survivors can both repair and upgrade existing equipment, and construct new equipment, but they need materials and parts to do so, which are scattered around the world and often dangerous to reach.
    The communication array and spaceport are two other important areas. The communication array is very badly damaged, and first needs the construction/repair of various other devices before it can be repaired or used. The space ship is equally damaged, and also needs a variety of parts to repair, plus fuel.
    Survivors need to balance their current needs (ammunition, automatic defences, armour, weapons, survival) with gathering materials for their longer-term goals.
    There are also some speciality pieces of equipment that can be constructed, such as a gene scanner (which will reveal the presence of the alien, but needs a lot of parts.)
    Equipment can also be sabotaged or destroyed by players. Antagonists probably don't want the survivors learning who the alien is. Destroyed equipment will need to be rebuilt again with more parts; sabotaged equipment may pretend to work but not actually do so (or provide false results!); an engineer would be needed to detect the tampering.

    The alien has limited control of the swarm and can use it to create distractions, to draw players to defend an area and allow them to operate somewhere else. The swarm can also be used deceptively - have it attack a pair of players, kill one, and leave the other alive so that the other players immediately suspect that player is the alien.
    When a player is reduced to no health by the swarm, they are knocked down and can be rescued by other players, though the swarm will continue to attack them, and can kill them permanently in that state (though the swarm will tend to prefer standing players over disabled ones.)
    The swarm will normally attack the alien up to the point of disablement, but will never kill him (since they are really allies.) An alien disabled by the swarm is also free to stand up on their own at any time (though that will blow their cover if it's seen.)

    The number of each type of player is randomised. There might be one alien and one company man, or there might be three aliens and no company man, or five company men and one alien, or none of either (and the game just plays on the players' paranoia.) Having a company man and no alien would make no sense, though.

    Dead players rejoin the game as observers, able to see everything which is happening but are (of course) unable to communicate with the other players.
    Last edited by Nameless Voice; 14th May 2016 at 19:18.

  19. #19
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    The concept that comes to me would be like a first person or tactical FTL (or submarine) with one or more of the crew a spy.

    That might be similar to the above except there's no shapeshifting involved. They are human or an alien the crew could be too. But they'd have to communicate with the enemy through some radio, or viewing info to help the attacking ships, so could still be caught.

    It doesn't even have to be multiplayer. You could have a FTL mod where there's a random chance a crew is a spy and can give the enemy advance info on your ship's location, weaknesses, and systems you have them work on. I like the concept that a spy can still do essential work, defense or otherwise, so you partly want to keep them even if you know they're spying, and its a cost-benefit tradeoff, or even try to turn them to a double agent feeding partly bad info.

    Reminds me of the famous Egyptian double-agent from the 70s watsisname. To this day both Egypt and Israel claim him as their spy feeding only bits to the other side (under the instructions of both sides) but the good stuff to them. Both not only knew but instructed him to feed info to the other side. Which actual side he was on was a matter of debate his deception game ran so deep.

    A game about being a double agent would be cool for that matter, which reminds me of another good example, spying in Eve Online, which is satisfying (I'd imagine, I don't play) because mmo players are so trusting and it's lucrative, and there are maybe chances to be a double agent. I think deception as a gameplay works well for faction based MMOs.

    Edit. See --
    It falls generally under meta-gaming for Eve, which is in the neighborhood of deception.
    Last edited by demagogue; 14th May 2016 at 20:49.

  20. #20
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Chaos has a LOT of deception in it; it's based around opposing wizard casting spells, a lot of which summon creatures. You can only cast each of your spells once, except for the Disbelieve spell. The difficulty of casting a spell depends on the current alignment of the game; the more lawful spells that have been cast, the easier it is to cast lawful spells, the more chaotic spells have been cast, the harder it is to cast lawful spells and vice versa.
    To that end, instead of casting the real thing, you could cast an illusory version which is guaranteed to succeed and does exactly the same damage as the real one, but is easily dismissed by an opposing wizard using the Disbelieve spell. It sounds simplistic, but quickly escalates into a game of second-guessing.

    Chaos Reborn is the modern version.

  21. #21
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    RTS game R.U.S.E. You'll have to hunt around for a key though since it was removed from Steam.

  22. #22
    Or you can just get it from a third-party retailer like Amazon, since they still have Steam keys in stock for $10.

  23. #23
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia

  24. #24
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I'm kind of surprised that no one commented on the game concept / pitch at all.

  25. #25
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Deceit sounds a lot like the type of game I was talking about.
    No idea if it's any good, the reviews are pretty mixed (though at least some of those seem to be from people who don't get the concept; others seem to say that you really need to play it with groups of friends only.)

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