Deduction Board Games

14 Clever Inference and Deduction Games that Test Your Wits

I have always enjoyed problem solving which is why inference and deduction games are so fun to me.

So I wanted to find out what deduction board games other people were playing.

I went to several websites and created several surveys/polls to find out what people are enjoying today.

This should give you and your friends some good ideas for new inference and deduction games to try out next.

But first, a fun fact!

What’s the Difference Between an “Inference” and a “Deduction”?

When I was researching games for this list I learned the difference and thought you might want to know too!

A Deduction takes several facts and concludes something that is understood to be 100% true. (Fact A + Fact B + Fact C = Truth D)

While an Inference takes 1 known truth and assumes several facts based off of the 1 truth. (Truth D = Fact A, Fact B and Fact C)

The conclusion of a deduction is 100% true while the facts assumed in an inference are only possibly true.

If my explanation isn’t good enough then this discussion on Reddit should help.

Now let’s see the game recommendations that will test your wits.

14 Inference and Deduction Games Suggested by the Community

These games are in no particular order. Some were rated highly on websites while others rated highly on polls.

But one thing is certain. They are all highly rated and suggested by many people. Enjoy!

(Related – Check out these bluffing card games. They have a great amount of deduction in them too.)

1. Alchemists – A Deduction Game with Lots of Replayability

Difficulty – 4/5
Ages – 13+
Players – 2-4
Length – 120 min.

Short Description – Players attempt to become the greatest alchemist in the land. Achieve this status by publishing successful theories to gain victory points.

This game also uses an app (free to download) that randomizes the rules of Alchemy adding a lot of playback value to the board game.

(Also read: Great two player card games for you and your best friend to enjoy)

2. Mysterium – A Great “Whodoneit” Game Where Detectives Look to a Player Controlled Ghost for Help Solving the Crime

Difficulty – 2/5
Ages – 10+
Players – 2-7 (best with 5-6)
Length – 42 min.

Short Description
A crime has been committed at the Warwick Manor.

It is up to the investigators (players) to use their inference and deduction skills to find out:

      1. Who the killer is
      2. What weapon was used
      3. Where the tragedy happened

One player plays as the ghost whose role is to communicate to the investigators the answers to who, what and where this happened. Mysterium has a great theme that is suitable for wide variety of players making this a great deduction game.

3. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong – A Relatively Quick Game of Deduction for Adults to Enjoy

Difficulty – 2/5
Ages – 14+
Players – 4-12 (best with 7-8)
Length – 20 min.

Short Description
Players must act together to solve the murder in Hong Kong.

But there is a twist!

One of the investigators (players) is actually the person that committed the crime.

Investigators must work with the Forensic Scientist to deduce the “Key Evidence” and “Means of Murder” to win the game.

The 5 roles you may play as are:

      1. Investigator (8)
      2. Forensic Scientist (1)
      3. Murderer (1)
      4. Accomplice (1)
      5. Witness (1)

Find the murderer, “Key Evidence” and “Means of Murder” before they get away with, ummm, murder…

(Related – Ever thought about making a board game? Get the answers to many questions new board game designers have here.)

Board Game Design Frequently Asked Questions Call to Action image for Streamlined Gaming. "Board Game Design FAQs" typed in the left side with "Get My Answers" typed in the bottom right with pamphlets in top right.

4. Coup – My Go-To Game for Leveling Up My Inference and Deduction Skills

Difficulty – 1.5/5
Ages – 9+
Players – 2-6 (best with 3-5)
Length – 15 min.

Short Description
Each player gets 2 cards (influence) and you win the game by being the last player with influence left. I’ve played Coup as a 2 player game vs. my brother. We had fun but prefer playing with 3 – 5 players.

The 5 roles (types of influence) you can play as are:

      • Assassin – Kills other players influence
      • Contessa – Blocks the Assassin
      • Duke – Gains a lot of money (coins)
      • Captain – Steals coins
      • Ambassador – Draws cards (allows you to change influence)

The fun part about the game is that you can declare that you are any of the 5 roles whether you have them or not.

It is up to your opponents to use inference and deduction to decide whether you are lying or not.

(Ever thought of making your own game? Start here by creating your own prototype)

5. Mystery of the Abbey – Help this French Town Solve the Murder of a Monk

Difficulty – 2/5
Ages – 10+
Players – 3-6 (best with 5)
Length – 120 min.

Short Description
Mystery of the Abbe takes place in a medieval French Abbey and a monk has been murdered.

Players must use their best deduction skills to determine “whodunit”.

(What board game should you play next? Try out these in depth strategy games)

6. Fury of Dracula – Incredibly Long Semi Cooperative Board Game Full of Deduction

Difficulty – 3/5
Ages – 14+
Players – 2-5 (best with 3 or 5)
Length – 120-180 min.

Short Description
One person plays as Dracula himself while the rest of the players are hunters. So most of the players are enjoying a cooperative game while Dracula is entertaining them self with all of his mighty power.

The hunters seek out Dracula both during the day and at night while Dracula acts only at night.

If Dracula gains enough influence then he wins.

But if the hunters are able to find and slay Dracula, then they win!

7. Mr. Jack – Voted Best 2 Player Deduction Game

Difficulty – 2/5
Ages – 13+
Players – 1-4
Length – 30 min.

Short Description
This is one of the few inference and deduction games that was designed for 2 players only. One player takes on the role of Jack the Ripper (Mr. Jack) while the other player represents the investigator.

The player that is Mr. Jack controls the 8 characters on the board by moving them and using their special powers each turn. And the investigator (player 2) watches how Mr. Jack plays each turn.

At the end of each turn, the investigator will gain information from the “witnesses” and use this information to deduce who Mr. Jack is over the course of the game.

If Mr. Jack escapes the city then he wins. But if the investigator uses her 1 accusation correctly, then she wins!

(Read Later: 36 gateway games that are easy to learn. Introduce new players to the hobby with some of these fun games.)

8. Secret Hitler – A Satirical Deduction Game that is Great for Parties

Difficulty – 2/5
Ages – 13+ (though others say 14+ is more appropriate)
Players – 5-10 (best with 6-10)
Length – 45 min.

Short Description
Wil Wheaton does an amazing job of explaining Secret Hitler in this video.

9. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures

Difficulty – 3/5
Ages – 10+ (some say 12+ is better because of game difficulty)
Players – 1-8 (best with 2)
Length – 60-120 min.

Short Description
If you love Sherlock Holmes then this game is for you.

Become detective Sherlock Holmes in this game and level up your inference skills as you try to solve each case.

This game seems great to me because there is a lot of playback value. Having the game come with many cases for players to solves makes each game play out very differently. I love that about games because I feel like I get more value for my purchase.

10. Letters from Whitechapel – Another Popular Deduction Game for Adults that is Based on Jack the Ripper

Difficulty – 3/5
Ages – 13+
Players – 2-6 (best with 2)
Length – 120 min.

Short Description
Jack the Ripper is a very popular character in these inference and deduction games and this game is no different.

One player plays as Jack the Ripper and must take 5 victims before being caught by the police (other players).

(Related – Ever thought about making a board game? Get the answers to many questions new board game designers have here.)

Board Game Design Frequently Asked Questions Call to Action image for Streamlined Gaming. "Board Game Design FAQs" typed in the left side with "Get My Answers" typed in the bottom right with pamphlets in top right.

11. Codenames – Best Inference and Deduction Game for Families

Difficulty – 1.5/5
Ages – 14+ (though most people say 10+ enjoy this game)
Players – 2-8
Length – 15 min.

Short Description
This is a really fun word game played with 2 teams. If you want to play this game with 2 players only, then they have a special version for that (see game # 5 on the list).

There are 25 words out on the board that everyone can see. But the clue giver for each team knows of a handful of words out on the board that they must have their team guess.

Example, the Red team captain’s words are banana, orange, and cow. The red team captain must give a clue such as “fruit” to their teammates and have them guess as many of those words as they can. But be careful because the blue team might have the word “apple” and you don’t want your team to accidentally guess that!

Codenames is my pick for best inference and deduction games for family gatherings.

12. The Resistance – An Exciting Semi Cooperative Card Game that Rewards Great Deduction Skills

Difficulty – 2/5
Ages – 13+
Players – 5-10 (best with 7)
Length – 30 min.

Short Description
The Resistance is a fun game of social deduction where the players act as Resistance Operatives trying to overthrow the empire.

However, there are Imperial spies among their group trying to sabotage their plans.

Over the course of 3-5  missions (rounds), players must decide whether or not they “support” or “sabotage” the mission.

If the mission succeeds then the Resistance wins the round. But if the mission is sabotaged, then the Empire wins the round.

When a team wins 3 missions then they win the game!

(Are you a future game designer? See how I first made a card game prototype. Like most, I did it with notecards and a pen)

13. Love Letter – Quick Game of Deduction

Difficulty – 1/5
Ages – 10+
Players – 2-4
Length – 20 min.

Short Description
The goal of the game is to successfully deliver your Love Letter to Princess Annette.

To do this, you must outlast the other players by being the last player in the round.

Each round plays out quickly (3-5 minutes) making this a great filler game to be played in between other board games.

14. Clue – Best Selling Classic Inference and Deduction Game

Difficulty – 2/5
Ages – 8+
Players – 3-6
Length – 45min.

Short Description
Clue is the classic inference and deduction game and has been around for a very long time.

While it isn’t highly rated compared to most of the games on this list, it is a great introductory game and fun for a younger audience.

Theme – There was a murder in the mansion and you have to figure out:

    • Who committed the crime?
    • What they committed the crime with?
    • And where they committed the crime?

Be the first to do so and you win the game! This is one of the all time greats for family game night.

What are your favorite Inference and Deduction Games?

I hope you, your family and friends will have fun trying out some of these top board games suggested by the community.

If you have a deduction game that didn’t make this list, then tell us about it in the comments below.

I look forward to hearing about your favorite board games as well.

Want to Read More?

10 Board Games Kids Enjoy
5 Fun Party Games to Show Your Friends
3 Reasons You Should Make Your Game

5 Responses

  1. Charlotte Pisors
    | Reply

    I have been playing Clue since I was young. It is one of my favorite games to play with kids.

    • Calvin Keeney
      | Reply

      I enjoyed playing that one growing up too. Even though my short term memory was spotty at best!

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