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Which Games Require Social Intelligence?

27.12.2023 - Sports teams are some of the most dynamic communities in the world. Regardless of the sport, a well-oiled team can communicate seamlessly without pausing the action. The very best teams move in tandem, often intuitively understanding how their teammates will shift across the playing field.

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As eSports become more popular, even digital teams are looking to build this type of cohesion

But what about forms of competitions in which players are responsible for picking others apart? From golf to football, getting inside a competitor’s head is one of the best ways to throw them off their game. Beyond the realm of traditional sports competitions, this type of social maneuvering might actually be essential to a win.

Let’s explore the world of competitive social skills. While deception can be an important part of traditional sports and eSports alike, we’re focusing on games that focus more squarely on this type of social deception. First up: poker.


Some believe that poker originated via Persia’s card game As-Nas from the Middle Ages. Even in this early, rudimentary form of the game, bluffing was a critical component. Fast forward to the modern era of Texas Hold’em and this still rings true. In fact, anyone learning the ropes of this game needs to understand how to bluff—and to read others in general. 

The goal in poker is to be the last player with the best hand ranking. But along the way, players can dupe out others by raising their bets or going all in. Even if they choose not to bluff themselves, the top pros are able to pick apart other players' moves, sensing when they’re bluffing or even when they’re starting to tilt.

Among Us

Similar to Texas Hold’em, Among Us has been around for decades before taking off as a digital game. Originally, this social deduction game was called Mafia or Werewolves. But the virtual version adds a fresh layer of challenge, as players can’t pick apart players in person. Instead, they have to use digital, in-game interactions to try to identify Imposters. 

Among Us differs from similar projects like Town of Salem in that players have more free reign to interact with one another. The latter offers a more structured gameplay structure, letting players make their moves in specific interactions.


Mindnight is an incredibly fresh take in the realm of social maneuvering and deduction. This game is played online with five to eight players, who can be invited or randomly assigned. However, rather than leaving players to their own devices as they root out the rat in their group, this game requires players to perform hacks.

As they perform these hacks, there are dozens of ways to interact with other players. The goal here isn’t only to bluff your way to the top, but also to throw other players under the bus. Instead of relying on their own ability to lie and deceive, players are encouraged to trap others in carefully crafted webs.

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Mindnight is all about letting players get their hands dirty—but Deceit takes this approach into horrifying new realms—emphasis on the horror. The game sees five players spawn into an abandoned lab and are alerted that two in their group have been infected by a demon gene and will start turning skin. 

From there, players must battle their way to freedom and safety. But along the way, they’ll need to figure out which players in their group are infected—while also cooperating with them to escape the demons that are on their trail.

EVE Online

EVE Online is one of the world’s most expansive open-world RPGs. The setting is outer space, but there’s plenty of real-world infrastructure in the game. This includes a fully-fledged player market and thousands of guilds. Unsurprisingly, players are allowed to deceive others, which is particularly common for those on various marketplaces. That’s right—even in virtual gaming worlds, there are hawkers ready to rip off buyers.

Oddly enough, this isn’t due to any type of prompt in the game. Instead, scamming or backstabbing is simply a way for players to build up their resources while taking a few shortcuts.