By Patrick McAuliffe
The cooperative online game Among Us took the world by storm a few months ago, effectively killing off Fall Guys and cementing its place as the latest virtual COVID-era obsession. Everyone from PewDiePie to Alpharad to even AOC has played and streamed it, and the servers are still packed to this day. I am by no means the best Among Us player, but I hope to share some big-brain tips and tricks that can help you in this game of strategy and intrigue.
First released by Innersloth in 2018, Among Us is a Mafia-style game where a portion of the players try to kill or cast suspicion on the other players. Each player is a cute astronaut of a different color, dropped into one of three locations, and instructed to perform a set number of tasks in order to repair the given location. A few of these players are “impostors” that must try to sabotage or kill the “crewmates” and avoid suspicion when someone turns up dead. In group meetings, called when a body is discovered or when the emergency button is pressed, players usually describe who they were with or what they were doing and try to find a suspect in the dead player’s bloody murder through elimination. Gameplay is greatly enhanced when playing with one’s friends in a voice chat through Discord, but jumping online into random games can also be fun (there is a manual text chat available for group meetings and dead people). With the basic premises out of the way, we’ll first look at prime crewmate strategies.
Crewmates must have two objectives in mind throughout the game. Finishing tasks is important, as the crew can win if the impostor(s) cannot kill them all before they are finished, but detective work is also a valuable crewmate strategy.
- Take note of what color player accompanies another color player, or which two players enter a room together in case only one comes out.
- Listen attentively in group meetings for players that aren’t volunteering information on their location during the round, or players that cast suspicion on other players by volunteering too much information and deflecting from themselves.
- Unless others can verify any suspicious activity you may have seen, it’s best not to be too aggressive in denouncing another player, as “casting sus” without verification can itself be considered “sus” and your crew will lose a valuable vote in future rounds if they elect to eject you.
- If a sabotage is called on a side of the map where not many people are, most of the crew will rush to fix it; this is your opportunity to sweep the now-empty side of the map for stragglers and potential dead bodies (although this could backfire, as you did not go to fix the sabotage with others and they cannot clear you, thus making you “sus”).
- Knowing the people you play with is another factor in determining impostors, as people will often have certain tells in their voice when they lie. For example, I know my little brother’s voice gets deeper and more monotone when he lies, so if I were to directly confront him about where he was when a body was discovered, I can usually tell if he’s trying to avoid suspicion.
- Never do tasks in Electrical on the Skeld alone! It’s a death trap that allows impostors to kill you in the dark or in a shadowed corner and vent away to safety before anyone finds your body.
- For that matter, try and buddy up with at least one other player, and make yourselves visible in high-traffic areas so other players know who you’re with. If one or the other dies, you’ll be able to eliminate the safe guesses.
- When playing with two impostors, do not vote someone off when there are only seven players remaining. If six players remain, two of them impostors, the impostors only need a double kill to win the game (since they then cannot be voted off if the crewmate-impostor ratio is 2:2). When four players remain, one of them an impostor, do not vote someone off, because the impostor will need just one kill to win if another crewmate is ejected. Instead, stick together for the last few tasks, and you can either finish them all or the impostor will kill and outnumber themselves in the final vote.
- If you have high suspicions of someone’s guilt, offer yourself as a second ejection during a meeting if your guess turns out to be incorrect. There are several risks and caveats to this strategy, however. Sometimes, the person you “sus” will offer the same strategy and the other players are left with a dilemma of “he said-she said.” When player count is too low, your vote will become invaluable and the other players may not want to risk losing several votes in a row. This will also only work when the game allows Confirm Ejects, meaning that the players will be notified if their vote ejected an impostor or not. If other players cannot tell who they voted off, the impostors would be happy to use this strategy to kick off suspicious crewmates with impunity.
Put simply, a crewmate’s job may seem easy at first, but there is much that goes into detective work, strategizing, and critical analysis of the testimonies of other players.
I believe an impostor’s job is the inverse of this; it may seem nerve-wracking to try to take down the crewmates outnumbering you and your partner four to one, but once you learn how certain people tick, you can easily exploit their confusion and division to bring them down.
- The first and most important rule of being an impostor is to never self-report a body if nobody else is around. It may seem like a good idea to shield yourself from suspicion, but if nobody can verify you except that you were last seen with the dead player, you will be quickly ejected.
- The same goes for reporting a body your partner impostor killed; if nobody is around and you stumble upon it, it’s best to walk away and pretend you saw nothing. Reporting a body you didn’t kill can open both of you up to suspicion if your partner was last seen walking away from the area where the body was.
- Vents spread out across the map can help mitigate this damage, as they allow for a quick impostor escape after a murder. Vents also allow you to get back under the crew’s radar, as you can kill near a vent and join up with a group of crewmates in another portion of the map, allowing them to vouch for you.
- Be wary of security cameras when killing or venting; two of the three maps in Among Us have them, and acting suspicious or downright performing impostor functions in front of one when they’re on is a one-way ticket out of the game. For Mira HQ, be wary of venting to different sides of the map too often; the door logs at each end of the Y-shaped hallway catalog when each player steps through them, and the crew can read them to see that you just walked through a door you physically couldn’t have gone through were you innocent.
- Sabotages are great for keeping crew members on their toes. Not only will certain sabotages like “Reactor” and “O2” win you the game if the crewmates aren’t fast enough in fixing them, they are good for getting other players divided or distracted long enough to kill a straggler or two. Sabotages of lights and doors to certain rooms may not create a victory condition, but if the crewmates are unable to see or approach you as you go in for the kill, you may escape the encounter unscathed and unsuspected.
- Besides not acting “sus” on the map, you need to be careful to not act “sus” in group meetings. Having an alibi is an easy fix. People that you saw even momentarily will vouch for you if you gently but firmly persuade them that you saw each other at some point during the round, reducing the chance that the crew will gang up on you. You and your impostor partner can clear each other in early rounds, but as you keep getting away with murder, public opinion can quickly shift on both of you. It’s best to have a blend of being around both crewmates and your partner impostor during the rounds to muddy the waters of who is truly innocent.
- Participate in meetings like you would if you were a crewmate. Whether you normally don’t talk much and only say what you need to or you control the conversation by inquiring of all other players first, you need to avoid meta-suspicion by being consistent. You shouldn’t suddenly fall silent, nor should you start by casting suspicion willy-nilly.
- If someone starts “sussing” you and you don’t have an alibi, simply respond by saying they’re full of bullshit. Unless their own alibi is airtight, the other crewmates won’t know who to vote off and will probably end up skipping.
- Speaking of skipping, never be the first to quickly suggest a skip, especially as more players are killed. This is a lesson I learned online in random games. Impostors survive primarily by keeping a low profile, and suggesting that nobody is punished for a player’s murder will set off small alarm bells in the crewmates’ heads. Only after the group seems to have truly hit a wall in their investigation should you suggest a skip, usually followed up by asserting that there is not enough information to find a culprit. If there’s a reason behind your avoidance, the crewmates’ alarms should not go off.
Half the battle of playing a good impostor is knowing how the other players tick. Analyzing their movements and mannerisms, and acting swiftly to kill or sow discord (not the voice chat app), will be the key to your impostor victory.
There’s much more to say about how best to play Among Us. I recommend checking out Game Theory’s YouTube videos on the subject if you want to learn more, or watching a favorite streamer of yours to see what works for them. In the end, Among Us is about having fun with friends—even if you can’t trust them quite the same way afterwards—and working towards a common goal—even if that goal is cold-blooded murder or patching up wires for the seventeenth time after you die. I hope this guide helps you consider your gameplay in a new light. Don’t be “sus!”