There are two things in particular that my cousins and I like to do when we all get together. The first is eat!

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For lunch my brother and I took everyone to this Korean fried chicken place[1] and we had a delicious meal. They have this appetizer that's basically just crispy fried chicken skin and I could eat that all day. We also split taro chips dipped in kimchi queso. I've gotten that before when I went to this place with my SO, but I remember being kind of underwhelmed by the queso. It's definitely been improved upon because I couldn't get enough of it today! I always get the same thing when I come here, but it was pretty good. It was funny thinking that I ate here with my brother and SO while watching the Belgium vs Japan match[2] while today I ate here watching Belgium vs Brazil.

We ended up eating dinner at the house; my mom had cooked bún riêu so we all ate that instead of going out. Three of my cousins didn't end up arriving until close to 10PM, so we all decided it was best to eat at home and not wait up, as a lot of places (especially places that might accommodate 11 people, like we have) might already be closed by the time we wanted to eat with everyone. It was great getting to have a home-cooked meal and such a comfort food. We still got to go out for dessert after when everyone was together. I suggested the new matcha place since it's open late and everyone enjoyed some ice cream or matcha strawberry lattes. It was delicious, though I'm sure we alarmed the poor store people when our just-shy-of-a-dozen mob walked in.

The other thing we all like to do is play games. Before there were quite so many of us, we played a lot more videogames like Smash Bros. or Mario Party. Keeping a group of 10 entertained is much trickier. Before everyone made it to our place, as a smaller group we played copious amounts of Monster Prom and Mario Tennis Aces. Afterwards, we needed something more.

We used to play lots of Dominion, but those games would take hours on end with 11 people playing at once. Just getting through one round of play took ages, especially with the large-engine shenanigans my family would get up to. Over the last few years, we've been playing a lot more Jackbox and other more casual party games since those can accommodate lots of people without necessarily taking a long time.

My brother had the foresight to pick up a new game that's good for large groups: a game called Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. The HK part is not really all that important except to explain the fact that there's Chinese lettering all over the cards. This game is a lot like Mafia/Werewolf meets Codenames. You have a Forensic Investigator/game master coordinating things, a murderer (and accomplice), and a bunch of investigators (and a witness). Everyone has 8 item cards in front of them that everyone can see, 4 each of murder weapons and key evidence. The murderer chooses a murder weapon and key evidence from in front of them, aka "the answer". The accomplice knows who the murderer is and helps to deflect suspicion from them. The witness knows who the murderer and accomplice are (though not which is which), but not the items. The investigators must figure out the two items and the murderer, by proxy. However, if the murderer is arrested and can correctly name the witness, they win anyway. The Forensic Investigator knows "the answer", but can only guide the players by picking keywords off of a couple of lists that may be very specific to the items or only obliquely related. It's rough all around!

Having been all of the roles at least once, I'd say that it's a really balanced game. Each role has its challenges and I don't think that the game, overall, is particularly biased. A lot of it comes down to the luck of the draw—which lists the Forensic Investigator gets to pick keywords from, whether the witness has items too similar to the murderer or not, how charismatic the accomplice is... It was pretty compelling every time! The game designers clearly put a lot of thought into the mechanics and it makes for a fun, balanced, engaging, varied game.

The last round we played, I was the witness (for the first time ever) and I tried very hard not to out myself to the murderer, but I was too obvious about staring at his cards and he totally knew it was me. Oops. It's hard to socially manipulate people you've known all your life, even if only for the purposes of a game.

Anyway, we'll definitely be playing more of this (and other games, I'm sure) tomorrow and I highly recommend Deception for someone looking for a way to entertain a large group that likes tabletop gaming!


  1. Perfect for national fried chicken day, not so perfect for world kissing day. ↩︎

  2. I don't really follow sports that much but I'll watch it if it's on. Especially if it's on and showing on four TV screens that I can't get away from. ↩︎