Ravnica Inquisition is a strong entry into the social deduction/hidden identity genre. It maintains many classic elements while adding some new ones.
Designer: Kenneth Nagle, Yoni Skolnik, Sam Stoddard
Game Type: Social Deduction, Hidden Identity
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 14+
Expected Playtime: 15-30
Number of Players: 5-10
Theme and What is it?
The balance of power appears to be secure. The Gatewatch have put down any resistance to their rule…or so they think. All throughout the guilds of Ravnica are hidden agents who are loyal to Nicol Bolas. The goals of the agents of Bolas are to secretly gain power in the guilds and to find ways to overthrow those loyal to the Gatewatch. The agents know that their task is dangerous and may even require them to give their lives for the cause, but they still enter the guilds willingly to advance the goals of Nicol Bolas.
Ravnica Inquisition is a social deduction game for 5-10 players.
Ravnica Inquisition is a hidden identity, mafia style game. Each player is assigned a role as either a loyalist or an Agent of Bolas. They are also assigned a guild. The guilds have two of the mana types found in Magic: The Gathering.
Each round, the group selects a leader of a color. The players who can become a certain color leader if based on which players have that color mana type on the guild card. The players all vote and the winner of the vote becomes the leader. Each color leader has a specific ability that they can perform either right after they win the vote or at another point in the game. It is different for each color.
There are five rounds and a new color leader is selected each round until all colors have been selected. During this time, players can jockey for positions of power and try to discover who the agents are. After the fifth round, the players have a discussion to try and figure out who has each role. After five minutes, the color leaders vote to eliminate one player. The red and black leader also eliminate players. If two or more agents are eliminated, the loyalists win. If one or less agent is eliminated, then the agents win.
I knew I needed to get the right group together for Ravnica Inquisition. They needed to be familiar with some other mafia/werewolf games. That is not always necessary, but since I wanted to test the game out and really get good feedback on it, I needed an experienced group.
Once I had the group, I looked over the instructions. I had a tough time with them. I am not sure why I struggled. I finally found a youtube video of someone from WizKids explaining the game at a convention and that helped connect parts that I was missing. Once I saw that, the rules made more sense.
My group ended up playing a few games in a row. As everyone became more comfortable with the game, it was more fun. After the first game, most players felt like they didn’t understand what they needed to be doing and were a bit frustrated. We talked through some rules that were hazy and that helped.
The next few games were way more fun, they got very competitive and lots of excellent lying started to happen…it was great.
Game Build Quality
Like many games of this type there is not too much in the box. A few dozen cards and a pad to write players names on for when it is time for the red and black leaders to eliminate someone. The pad is very nice. Each line is perforated. The cards are your average card stock. There is a pencil included with the game.
The art comes directly from Magic artwork. I actually prefer the art of the older magic cards from when I first started playing, but that is purely a nostalgic thing. The new stuff looks great. I don’t keep up with newer MTG (since like 2003 (jeez I’m old)) so I am not sure where they pulled this artwork from. It fits well with the theme and works for the guilds.
Ravnica Inquisition is like all other social deduction games whereas the real fun is getting to lie your pants off. You take on a role and have to work hard to be the best you can be while not giving yourself away. When you are an agent, you have to sow the seeds of distrust and then grow those seeds into full on doubt. Having the leader system is a great element because they get final vote on the last elimination, but everyone gets to be involved in the discussion so accusations are flying all over the place. It is just a wonderful way to spend time together with people you like/love.
Age Range & Weight
The age recommendation for Ravnica Inquisition is 14+. I think that is a great recommendation because you are killing people in this game. Also, certain roles require you to straight up tell lies. You have to feel comfortable doing that and keeping a poker face. My daughter tried to watch us play and I sent her away because we were having an open discussion on who should die. Not something she needed to watch, even though it was all for fun.
Ravnica Inquisition is a strong entry into the social deduction/hidden identity genre. It maintains many classic elements while adding some new ones. It may take a few plays for everyone to really feel comfortable with the game. That is not a problem because the game plays in 15-20 minutes. You should have plenty of time to make it through 2 or 3 games in about an hour.
You will want to play this game with the right group. Like I said, I had to work out everyone’s schedule to make sure I had the group I wanted. Everyone needed to know what was needed to make the experience was fun for everyone. Sure, you can introduce Ravnica Inquisition to new players, but you will have the most fun with a group accustomed to social deduction games.
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