FTW Staff Picks - Insider
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Genre: Social Deduction
Designer: Akihiro Itoh, Kwaji, Daichi Okano, Kito Shinma
Player Size: 4 to 8 Players
Game Length: 15 minutes
For fans of: Spyfall, Taboo, The Resistance
Sometimes big things come in small packages. Insider is a game that can literally fit into your pocket and it can provide hours of fun, pretty much anywhere you take it. At FTW Cafe, we're all big on social deduction games, because they bring high levels of interaction and great levels of inclusion to gamers of all experience levels. Over the last few years we've been fortunate to have a lot of releases of great social games. And with all of the big titles such as Spyfall and The Resistance, we think Insider fits right into the cream of the crop.
Insider dedicates each player to one of the three roles: Master, Commoner and Insider. The Insider plays as a Commoner but has the knowledge of the Master. To begin the game, the Master and Insider see the secret word separately, so that the Master does not know who the Insider is. Once they have both seen the word, the timer begins. The Commoners, and the Insider disguised among them, begin to ask Yes or No questions to the Master, who must answer honestly. If no one guesses the word within the timer, everyone loses. If the word is guessed correctly, everyone discusses who they believe was the Insider and are given one chance to catch them. If the Insider is caught, the Master and Commoners win the game. If the Insider is not caught, he/she wins!
It can be difficult to play the role of the "villain" in many social deduction games. In Spyfall, the Spy can be sniffed out if they're not careful with how frequently they stare at the list of Locations. In Insider, it's much easier to blend in with the crowd. You can just ask questions naturally, but you also want to lead the direction of questioning. On the other end of things, as a Commoner you want to find the word quickly, but not too quickly, so that the Insider is forced to ask more obvious "steering" questions.
Some of my favourite games are the ones where you can easily create your own deck of cards to supplement the game. In essence, the game acts as an engine with an infinite amount of replayability, as it relies mostly on the players. Games like Codenames and Insider can maintain their lustre well over hundreds of plays because of how open-ended they are. A lot of people will compare Insider to 20 Questions because its core gameplay is the same. But juggling two games in one, while being constrained to a time limit is what makes the game special. Oink Games has been building an intriguing catalog of games, and Insider is the latest and arguably strongest among them.