Among Us hardly needs an introduction at this point. It’s a social strategic game where you are on a ship with 10 people total, with 2 being imposters. The goal of the imposters is to kill and frame the innocent crewmates until there are an equal amount of imposters and crewmates. The crewmates objective is to vote figure out who the imposters are. To gain the information needed to articulate who the imposters are, you need to remember and manage what players said they did in that round, what everyone saw, and what stands out as conflicting information. Or if you had a rough imposter game, if someone literally caught you killing another player.
The interesting thing to me, which is why I’m writing about it, is it feels like a near flawless social strategic game, but there could be concerns down the road which I’ll explain later.
The crewmates do have two win conditions, which helps gather more information as well as help prevent impostors steamrolling over players. The first win condition which I already previously mentioned is simply accurately voting out the imposters at the end of a round. A round ends when a player’s dead body is found, if player’s hit a one-time-per-user emergency button, or if the impostors have equaled the amount of crewmates and the game automatically ends. The second win condition is by completing all the tasks on the ship. Players are given a unique set of tasks to do on the ship, and once the task bar fills all the way up, the crewmates will win under that condition too.
Some of the most popular Twitch streamers have been streaming Among Us for a month or so straight and rarely deviating into other games. The addiction to Among Us is strong if you play with a group of friends. Playing in random lobbies with no voice isn’t very appealing, but getting a group and playing on Discord is what has pumped up Among Us consistently as the most viewed game on Twitch daily.
Some of these streamers include xQc, Trainwreck, JellyPeanut and more. When I’ve had time to watch these high level Among Us streamers, I’ve noticed the metagame evolve even in it’s short time in glory and I want to expand on why it’s the perfect social strategic game.
The first and most important reason I view it as the perfect social strategic game: It’s a truly unique game every match, regardless if you play with the same players. Players will take different paths, the killers will rotate randomly and the kills that take place and the discussions that take place vocally after every round are always truly unique.
The second reason is that you have to survive the round to provide what could be incredibly valuable information. If you saw one of the imposters kill another player, that means nothing if you don’t survive the round to explain that. Talking is not allowed during rounds and you are not allowed to speak if you die either.
The third reason is even if you saw the imposter kill another player, an imposter can vocally manipulate his way out of it and even spin it as a framed murder on you, the innocent crewmate. Just because you saw something doesn’t mean everyone will agree that’s what they believe happened. If the imposter can frame a scenario and provide evidence that he was with another player that can vouch for him, the fact you saw that may not even matter.
The fourth reason is that the imposters have a unique ability to do “sabotages” which allow them to place a disadvantage among the crewmates. One example is shutting off the lights, which makes it much harder to see around you and enabling killers to kill without others potentially seeing who did it. Another is activating the reactor, which if not attended to by two crewmates within the time limit will result in an automatic win for the imposters. They can also close doors to a room for several seconds, trapping themselves with a player in a room allowing for an easy kill. Rooms feature vents that allow only imposters to get out of the room and to another room to distance themselves from the kill. The imposters getting unique advantages to use is one way to counter against a stale meta game forming, which would be a potential downfall of the game in the future if that happened.
The only fear I have with Among Us is if a static meta game gets formed. Some players already find it frustrating when players stack together the whole game as it can make it hard for imposters to get clean kills, and so there are community created rules to make sure the game is balanced for crewmates and imposters. Considering Among Us is an interactive video game with unique win conditions for both imposters and crewmates, the odds of it forming a static meta game where you get bashed for not following it is very low. I have played Secret Hitler online, and unfortunately if you don’t play what has developed as the static meta game, you are considered suspicious and therefore ignored in the game.
The lies and manipulation along with the multiple win conditions that come with Among Us is what makes it the perfect social strategic game. You have to be able to articulate yourself, you have to be able to remember what you saw in the rounds, and you have to sell your friends on what happened. Or sell your friends on what didn’t happen if you’re an imposter.