Critical Play: Competitive Analysis of Two Truths and a Lie

Screenshot of me and a friend playing Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie

I chose this classic game because of its themes of conversation, deduction, invention, bluffing, interrogation, and storytelling.


In a a round there are two types players: a Teller and a Guesser. One critical mechanic is that the Teller shares (unsurprisingly) two truths and one lie about themselves. This mechanic aligns with the game’s themes by introducing the element of doubt (or uncertainty). Doubt fuels a Teller to pick interesting truths and lies, or ones that will trick the other players. The uncertainty of whether the Teller is being truthful or not is what engages other players to ask questions, get more information, which in turn feeds back to the Teller for more conversation or invention (bluffing).

Since this is a standard party game with little set-up, additional mechanics could be added to reinforce these themes. What if the other players not only had to guess, but had to interrogate, debate among each other, and come to a unanimous decision. This would give the Listeners more chances for conversation and deduction and make the game more social. These are some considerations as we prototype our game.

It also took some time to come up with two truths and a lie which takes away from game time. Our game design circumvents this with our story prompts!

Fun Realized

While the game has no marketing material, it’s brought up at parties with the promise of fun as fellowship. As with many social games, much of the experience comes from who you’re playing with, but the larger question is: do these mechanics draw out fellowship?

I would say overall, yes! But again, the mechanics were only the starting point. When playing with Khuyen, there is some fun in coming up with two truths and a lie and with guessing. But the fellowship really comes from those moments of conversation, when we get to interact with each other and not just the game mechanics. One of our truths was about accidentally starting a fire: it’s less fun to guess if it’s true or not and more fun to hear that story!

Look and Feel

There are no cards, no art, no graphics, so a lot of the “look and feel” come from your fellow players and what they choose to disclose/invent. I’ve played this game where it was hilarious, sexy, intimate, and amusing. When I played it with Khuyen (a close friend), it felt natural, and yet I was still curious and invested because the game entices you to give interesting or tricky truths & lies.

But waiting time can undermine the promise of fraternity. For both me and Khuyen, it took some time to come up with two truths and a lie which takes away from game time, time that could cultivate fellowship. Our game design tries to circumvent this with our story prompts!

Business Model

This game has no setup and is free! This adds to the casual and spontaneous nature of the game.

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