On one of our recent game nights we got a chance to try out a game called The Unseen. In this social deduction game you have to determine who to trust, and more importantly, who to doubt.
The Unseen is a social deduction game where two main groups compete, The Villagers and The Cult.
The villagers are a crew of people trying to determine who to trust and ultimately execute the cult leader. Their job is to ask questions and figure out who is lying, before electing someone to pick who to kill. The Cult is comprised of the Cult Leader and their Cultists. The Cult leader tries to hide his identity and get his cultists to mislead the villagers.
How to Play The Unseen
The first thing is to elect a town mayor. This will be the person that dictates the play of the game and guides the experience for the other players. The player who knows the most about the game should do this first, and from there just alternate clockwise between matches.
Next each player is dealt two cards. One Role card and one Brainwashed card. Each player may then secretly look at their cards without discussing their roles/brainwash with anyone else.
Now for the unveiling. Each of the players closes their eyes. Then only the cult leader (role) and the brainwashed open their eyes. This is so that they can identify each other without the villagers seeing. Now everyone opens their eyes and the rounds can begin.
On a players turn they draw one of the cards and do what it says, it can be looking at someones Role, their Brainwashed card, or both. From there players have a brief period of discussion.
Turn passes clockwise until everyone gets a turn to draw a card and discuss. Players try to single out who the cultists are (or lie and mislead the villagers).
Once each player has drawn a card, it’s time to elect an executioner. The players vote on who should be the executioner who will ultimately decide the fate of the game.
The executioner then picks who to kill, hoping to get the Cult Leader. If they’re correct the villagers win, otherwise the cultists win.
And that’s about it. No player elimination and waiting around for the next match to begin.
The Unseen Review
The Unseen is a game that really streamlines the Social Deduction genre. An entire game wraps up in about half an hour. What’s nice is that there is no player elimination, so nobody is stuck waiting around for the next round to begin so that they can play again.
Another strength of this game is that it’s very simple to understand. So you can bring it to a party without having to spend all night explaining the rules. Most of what you need to know is on the cards, and from there it’s all about figuring out who to trust.
It’s nice to see a fresh take on this genre of games, especially with how many “mafia” clones there is on the market today. Although it might not be the best game for a deep-dive, it’s definitely a great game for quick rounds or to break the ice with a new group of people. Not every game needs to last 4 hours and have people toiling over rulebooks, which is why The Unseen’s straightforward gameplay is a welcome addition to anyone’s game collection.