Critical Play #1 – Among Us

For my first critical play of the quarter, I played Among Us. This game was created by InnerSloth, and can be played on iOS, Android, Windows, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation. On the Apple AppStore, Among Us is listed as suitable for users that are at least 9 years old. This game is mostly geared towards middle/high schoolers. While this game can be played among strangers, it appears to target already established groups due to its collaborative nature.


Among Us can be played with between 4 and 15 players who are split into two types: crewmates and impostors. The number of impostors ranges from 1 to 3, and is dependent on the amount of total players in the game. At the beginning of each game, players are randomly assigned to one of these two roles. Once assigned, crewmates must work together to complete tasks around the ship to ensure that the ship remains secure and safe. On the other hand, impostors are merely pretending to be crewmates, when in reality they are actively sabotaging the ship and trying to kill the crewmates without getting caught. 

If a player suspects that somebody else is an impostor, or if they discover the dead body of another player, then that player can call an emergency meeting, where the players state their cases for who they believe is an impostor and why. The players will then vote for one impostor, and the person with the most votes is removed from the game. There are typically several rounds in a game of Among Us, with each round concluding when an emergency meeting is called.

The objective for the crewmates is to complete all their tasks around the ship before the impostors can kill them, or to vote all of the impostors off the ship. For the impostors, the objective is to kill as many crewmates as possible without getting caught, until the number of impostors is equal to the number of crewmates. 

Among Us is a zero sum game, as either the impostors win and the crewmates lose, or vice versa. The boundaries of this game are the ends of the ship’s map. One additional rule that has not been mentioned yet relates to dead players, who are not allowed to speak or communicate in any way with the other players in the game. 


Among Us felt fairly similar to Mafia in a variety of ways. Both games had some sort of crewmate team, and some sort of impostor team, and the goal of the impostor team was to blend in with the crewmates while simultaneously trying to kill them. Both games had a voting feature at the end of every round. However, there was no doctor or detective in Among Us like there is in Mafia. In my opinion, Among Us led to some more interesting social dynamics. In Among Us, it is possible for a crewmate to witness an impostor killing somebody, while in Mafia the kills are always unknown. This witness can then immediately report the dead body and make their case, but the impostor can simply argue against the witness. Even though the witness is 100% certain that somebody is an impostor, the impostor could put together a solid argument (that is entirely untrue) in order to have that innocent crewmate removed from the ship. Another difference between the two games is the medium: while there are no external elements required to play Mafia, every Among Us player needs a device.

Among Us’s task completion component also differentiates it from Mafia, as the crewmates could theoretically win without having to vote a single impostor off. 


The first game of Among Us that I played during my critical play was unfortunately not very fun. As we waited for more players to show up to our meeting spot, we started a game with only four total players, with one being the impostor. As soon as the impostor got their first kill, we called an emergency meeting. With only two crewmates left, we essentially had to vote with very little knowledge on who the impostor was. This game only lasted two rounds, and I would consider my high hopes for such a small game an epic fail, as I was fairly disappointed in the results of this game.

As more people showed up, we eventually played a few games with nine players. Seeing people argue with each other, knowing that one was clearly lying, was extremely entertaining. The larger games also lasted longer, and allowed the crewmates to gather more evidence against the impostors. 


One thing I would consider changing about this game relates to the tasks. Most of them are not skill based, and one task simply requires pressing a ‘download’ button and waiting a few seconds. I would like to see how making the majority of the tasks skill-based affects gameplay.

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