For a while there, it seemed like there was race to make the simplest, most stream lined version of a social deduction game. With One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Secret Hitler and One Night Resistance coming out all within a couple of years. Crossfire was a late entrant into the race, but how did it fair?
Designer: Emerson Matsuuchi
Publisher: Plaid Hat Games
I struggle a lot with social deduction games.
I have a horrible time reading people. So your nightmare situation is the one where you, and your evil twin are standing in front of me shouting “They’re evil.” Because, I’ll just shoot the both of you and be done with it.
This is why I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a social deduction game. But not only am I terrible at reading people, I have trouble lying. I get flustered whenever someone calls me dishonest. Which is what a lot of these games boil down to. Two people, one good, one evil, both claiming to be good while having little to back their claim.
‘Just trust me.’
While Crossfire is no exception to this, it has a few features that make me enjoy it more than your average social deduction game:
- Everyone is provided with the same amount of information.
- It’s short, with rounds lasting 3 minutes.
- There’s novelty bringing out your finger guns.
- Both teams have something to do.
To dig into a couple of those points, at the start of the game you get to see your role and your neighbour’s before they’re shuffled and re-distributed. So while there are still special roles, this makes sure that everyone at the table has some tangible evidence to begin their assumptions. This is a life saver for those of us logically inclined.
There’s also zero closing of eyes, or listening to a walkthrough of all of the roles. Which is brilliant, because we played One Night Ultimate Werewolf in the lunch room one time, and people thought they were walking into a séance. It was incredibly awkward, and everyone felt dumb doing it.
Well, no more!
The short round time is nothing new, but it does save the game from becoming the argument of two people standing opposite ends of the aisle yelling ‘I’m the good guy’. Which is great, because more often than not this is where emotions get involved, and people can get actually hurt because of the escalation that happens.
Otherwise, it boils down a lot mechanics that you’ve seen in other social deduction games into a slim package. It has an additional Sniper mode where instead of two teams, there’s one person who everyone is trying to either convince or deceive. While I’ve never played this mode, it’s always there to keep the game fresh.
Thanks for reading my review, I’m currently ranking all my board games in one intriguing list. You can see Crossfire’s initial ranking below.