Among Us! is one of the biggest suprise hits of the year, most notably because it's a two-year old free-to-play game. I get the appeal, though. In following and writing about games through this pandemic, I've noticed a distinct desire for game play to be more social. I even suggested a few games that accomplish this, though I couldn't have predicted the way droves of people have gravitated to Among Us!
For those unfamiliar, Among Us! is a social deduction multiplayer game where up to 10 players take on the role of either a crew member or an imposter. Crew members need to wander the ship and complete tasks to win the game, but imposters try to muck up those plans by sabotaging the ship and killing other crew members. Along the way, there will be times where the crew convenes and votes on who they think is an imposter, and the player with the most votes gets tossed out the air lock. Crew members win if they successfully complete all their tasks or get rid of all the imposters. Imposters win if they kill the entire crew or successfully sabotage the ship.
The gameplay is not too unlike a lot of popular board games like Secret Hitler or Codenames, but in its digital form it can be a bit daunting, particularly if you haven't played a game like it before. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you dive into Among Us! and have fun with it.
Communication is key
Above all else, your ability to communicate will determine your skill and ability to win at Among Us!. When bodies are reported or emergency meetings are held, that is your time to chime in about what you know. Even if you don't know anything (or are an imposter), asking the right questions and providing answers builds baseline trust that can prevent you from being shot into the cold void.
On the flipside of this, you also want to avoid being overeager in your communications. Imposters might be very proactive about meetings and accusations in an attempt to keep people from suspecting them, and this is a common enough tactic that players may be inclined to vote you off the ship, even if you're an innocent crew member who is just excited to help.
When it comes to meetings and votes, common questions include where a body may have been found, who was with who, and what you were doing before the meeting was called. If you don't internalize this information and report it swiftly when asked, you attract suspicion. If you're playing as an imposter, having believably false answers might be good things to gin up, too. Just be aware that it's possible someone might be able to call you on your bluff based on what they were doing.
Obey calls to skip
Regardless of whether you're a crew member or imposter, it's a good general rule of thumb to not vote if someone calls for a "skip" in the chat. Skip is a shorthand way of saying "we don't have enough information here, so let's not just guess who an imposter is," and it's a valuable tool for maintaining crew numbers into the later stages of the game.
Why is it a good idea to obey a call to skip? Well, mostly because you want to look like a good team mate (even if you aren't). If you're going around, constantly pointing the finger and not listening to other people's suggestions, people will think you're an imposter. The key here is teamwork (or at least appearing like you're cooperating, depending on your role).
Down, but not out
If you get killed or sent out the airlock, your role in Among Us! isn't over. After death, you spawn back into the game as a ghost and can observe what is happening and even have some continued control over the game. Imposter ghosts can continue sabotaging the ship, and crew member ghosts can report bodies that alive crew members haven't seen yet. To help get a win for you team, pitching in as a ghost can give you the exact edge your team needs.
Beware the buddy system
An easy way to discourage an imposter from killing crew mates is to have everyone move around in pairs. This is a good idea in theory, but it's always possible that your buddy is an imposter themselves and can score an easy kill with no witnesses. If you're a crew member, only implement the buddy system with people that have established some trust with you, or otherwise try to stay in a group of three or more.
Isolating yourself is another strategy you could take, but that sows distrust. After all, how can anyone vouch for your actions if no one was with you when a kill happened or an emergency meeting was called? Staying in groups definitely slows down play and puts you at risk for sabotage, but allows for accountability that will protect from getting killed.