"Night is falling. Everyone in the village falls asleep."

For some people, these sentences cause a higher pulse, adrenaline rushes and goose bumps.

These are the typical sentences at the beginning of a round of

werewolf

, a party game that is particularly popular with students and other people with a great need to communicate.

Werewolves play against villagers, both groups try to lynch each other.

The highlight: the werewolves pretend to be villagers themselves; in discussions they have to intrigue for victory.

Who can lie well wins.

There are numerous variants of this psycho party game, they are called "social deduction games" in parlor game jargon.

The deduction games include classics such as

sinking ships

, the aim is always to solve a puzzle with logic and skillful moves, such as finding the position of the ships.

Social deduction games add roles and teams, lies and murders that need to be uncovered.

This type of game is booming, sometimes it's about the mafia instead of werewolves, in a newer version of the game even Hitler is hiding.

So it made sense to take the genre into the digital domain.

This is what the developers from the small indie studio InnerSloth did in 2018 and published the game

Among Us

.


Four to ten players as cute comic astronauts colonize a spaceship, they have to wait for it with simple mini-game tasks.

But at least one of them is just

pretending

: This is the

imposter

,

the

impostor whose

only goal is to get the other players around the corner.

The innocent, however, want to expose him.

The crew members therefore come together again and again for discussions and write in the in-game chat who they think is the murdering colleague.

Was the pink astronaut really in the command center?

And why was the light green man near a dead man?

The discussion only lasts a few minutes, then someone is kicked out of the ship by a simple majority.


The game was an insider tip for a long time, after its release two years ago, according to the developers, there were often too few players on the servers to even start a game.

That has changed in the past few weeks: when this text was written on a Thursday afternoon alone, a good 100,000 players were playing on the Steam

Among Us

gaming platform

, at the end of September there were more than 430,000 players at the same time, and according to estimates it was over 80 million times in September downloaded on smartphones.


Where does this sudden success come from?

The developers of InnerSloth are surprised themselves.

"Among Us

was always planned as a small game," they wrote in a blog entry in January, before the great success.

They only wanted to deliver bug fixes for the old game, in August they announced that they would concentrate on a second part.

Then came the success, a second part is no longer planned for the time being, instead the original game should be improved.


The fact that even the creators of the game were taken by surprise by the success is largely due to the dynamics of the Internet.

And in several ways:

Among Us

can be played with nine random players, you start the game, a few clicks, and you're thrown into a group.

This is great for everyone who doesn't have a group of friends who are willing to play.


The game has developed in a completely different direction than originally planned: At first there was no online function, only local multiplayer games, so it was intended for groups that sit together in one place and want to be an astronaut instead of a werewolf .

The online component was added later, "for players who have no other options".

And in fact, many have "no other options" right now: group meetings are limited, the big game night may not be a good idea due to the pandemic.

Still,

Among Us is

not just the right game for the second wave and therefore successful.