If you're a fan of deduction games
such as *Code 777, Clue, Sleuth* or *Black Vienna*, here's
an original design you may want to check out. I actually find it more
challenging than any of the games I've listed, a statement that will
be greeted with delight by some and with horror by others. If you're
still with me, be prepared to sharpen both your pencils and your
little gray cells. The game is afoot!

**Background: **You're a successful trial lawyer and this
year you've decided to take a cruise for your vacation.
Unfortunately, a terrible storm sinks the ship and you and a few
others find yourselves stranded on a conveniently located tropical
island. The good news is, there's enough food, fresh water, and
shelter to keep everyone alive indefinitely. The bad news is that
the chances of you ever being rescued are slim and none. The
really bad news is that everyone else on the island is also a
trial lawyer!

But the worst news is that you all woke up this morning to find one member of the group dead, obviously murdered by one of you. Since no one relishes the thought of spending the rest of their life with a murderer, and since, after all, you are lawyers, a trial has been set up in which everyone takes turns interrogating the others. If a sufficiently good motive can be established for one of you, their execution can be swiftly arranged. It would be nice if you could be the one who makes the accusation; your little group will need a leader and nothing impresses lawyers more than a winning argument. Of course, if the true murderer can make a good enough case against someone else, they will have successfully gotten away with murder. And the person they accuse could very well be you. Counselor, you are on trial for your life: call your first witness.

**Summary:** *Deduce or Die!* is a deduction
game in which the players are trying to find out who among them is
a murderer. The actual murderer is as anxious as anyone else to
determine the facts of the case, as that will allow him or her to
pin the blame on someone else. The first player who can correctly
accuse another player of the crime wins the game.

**Number of Players:** 3 to 6.

**Equipment:** 3 decks of ordinary playing cards (two with
identical backs and preferably the third with different colored
backs), pencils, and a deduction sheet for each player.

**Preparation:** Take the deck of cards with a differently
colored back. Form a deck using the Ace through Nine of Spades,
Hearts, and Clubs. These 27 cards make up the Motive deck. Shuffle
the deck well and place two cards face down to the side, making
sure that no one sees what they are. These cards are called the
Evidence cards. Then deal the following number of cards to each
player face down:

- Three players - 8 cards
- Four players - 6 cards
- Five players - 5 cards
- Six players - 4 cards

All the cards are dealt out in a five player game. Otherwise, there will be one card left over. Expose this card, let everyone take note of it, and then place it aside, out of the game. The players can now secretly look at the cards dealt to them and make any notes they like on their deduction sheets.

Now take the other two decks of cards and remove the same 27 cards from each deck. Shuffle these 54 cards together and place them in the center of the table. This is called the Interrogation deck. Randomly choose one player to go first.

**Determining the Murderer:** The murderer is defined by the
two Evidence cards. Once these cards are known, they identify a
third card. This third card is called the Murder card, which
is used to determine who the murderer is and who can be accused of
being the murderer.

Here's the procedure for using the two Evidence cards to generate the Murder card. The rank of the Murder card is equal to the sum of the two Evidence cards. If this sum is greater than nine, subtract nine from the total to determine the rank. If the two Evidence cards are of different suits, the suit of the Murder card is the third suit. If the two Evidence cards are of the same suit, the suit of the Murder card is the same as the Evidence cards' suits.

Here are some examples. If the two Evidence cards are the 5 of Spades and the 7 of Hearts, the Murder card would be the 3 of Clubs (5 + 7 = 12, 12 – 9 = 3, and Clubs is the third suit).

If instead the two Evidence cards were the Ace of Hearts and the 8 of Hearts, the Murder card would be the 9 of Hearts (1 + 8 = 9, don't subtract anything because the sum isn't greater than nine, and the suit is Hearts because both Evidence cards are Hearts).

Normally, the player who holds the Murder card is the murderer.
However, if the Murder card is one of the Evidence cards or is the
exposed card, then the player holding the card which is one rank
higher and the same suit as the Murder card is the murderer. If
this card is **also** one of the Evidence or exposed cards,
then the player holding the card two ranks higher than the Murder
card is the murderer, and so on, until a card which is held by a
player is found. Ranks go around the corner, so the Ace of Clubs
is one rank higher than the 9 of Clubs.

The objective for each player is to deduce the Murder card,
determine who holds it (or, in the cases outlined above, who holds
the card one or two ranks higher than it), and accuse them of the
murder. However, the **murderer's** objective is to accuse an
innocent player. If a player figures out the Murder card and
realizes it is in his hand, he needs to find the player who holds
the next higher card of that suit that isn't in his own hand.
Again, if this card is an Evidence or exposed card, the card of
that suit of the next higher rank is used.

Here's an example to help clarify this. Suppose Sheryl has deduced that the two Evidence cards are the Ace of Hearts and the 8 of Hearts. Therefore, the Murder card is the 9 of Hearts. But Sheryl has the Nine of Hearts in her own hand, so

sheis the real murderer. So who can she (falsely) accuse of the crime? It's the player who holds the next higher Heart, the Ace of Hearts. Since the Ace is one of the Evidence cards, she needs to find the 2 of Hearts instead. Looking at her hand, Sheryl notices thatshehas the 2 of Hearts as well, so that means she really needs the 3 of Hearts. If she can deduce which player holds the 3 of Hearts, she can accuse him and win the game.

**Initial Revelations:** Each of the lawyers begins the
confrontation with a brief statement. Their sharp-eyed fellow
lawyers are able to use this to discern something of their current
mental state. To reflect this, immediately after the cards are
dealt out, each player, beginning with the first player and
continuing in clockwise order, must truthfully reveal which suit
has the fewest number of cards in their hand. If a player's hand
has more than one suit with the smallest number of cards, he can
reveal whichever one of these suits he wishes.

**Interrogating Opponents:** After the players have made
their initial revelations, the first player takes her turn. She
draws the top three cards from the Interrogation deck and exposes
them. She then selects two of them and uses them to question one
of her opponents. She picks one of the cards to be the lower one
and one to be the higher one. Together, they define a range of
cards. The range depends on the suit of the cards. If both cards
are of the same suit, the cards being asked about are those of
that suit from the rank of the lower Interrogation card to the
rank of the higher Interrogation card. The rank of the cards
extends around the corner, so that Aces lie above Nines. For
example, if the lower card is the 3 of Clubs and the higher one is
the 6 of Clubs, the range is the 3 through 6 of Clubs (the 3, 4,
5, 6 of Clubs). If instead, the 6 was declared to be the lower
card and the 3 the higher card, the range would be the 6 through 3
of Clubs (the 6, 7, 8, 9, A, 2, 3 of Clubs).

If the two chosen Interrogation cards are of different suits, the range consists of the cards between the two ranks of all three suits. For example, if the lower Interrogation card is the 3 of Hearts and the higher one is the 5 of Spades, the cards in the range are the 3 of Spades, 3 of Hearts, 3 of Clubs, 4 of Spades, 4 of Hearts, 4 of Clubs, 5 of Spades, 5 of Hearts, and the 5 of Clubs. If the 5 was the lower card and the 3 the higher card, the range would include every card in the deck except for the three Fours.

The one exception to this rule is if the two cards are identical. In this case, the player has the choice of making the range either all the cards of that rank or all the cards of that suit. Thus, if the two Interrogation cards are both 2 of Spades, the player could make the range be either all three Twos or all nine Spades.

The active player chooses a lower and higher Interrogation card, picks an opponent, and asks how many cards in the range that player has in his hand. The player must truthfully answer out loud. The players record this answer however they like, after which the three Interrogation cards are placed in the discard pile. The player to the interrogator's left then becomes the next active player and turns over three new Interrogation cards. This process continues until the game ends. When the Interrogation deck runs out, reshuffle the discards and form a new deck.

After turning over the three Interrogation cards, a player has the option of not making an interrogation on her turn. Usually this will occur late in the game, when a player knows that no question can give her more information but might assist her opponents. If a player chooses not to interrogate, the three cards are discarded as usual and the player to her left takes his turn.

Once a game, each player may make a Secret Interrogation. After exposing the three Interrogation cards, the player declares that he will exercise this option. All three cards are discarded and instead, the player takes a slip of paper, writes down a range of cards, and hands it to an opponent. The range must be one that could be normally generated—thus, for example, a single card could not be asked. The opponent takes the slip, writes down how many cards she has in the range, and passes it back to the interrogating player. Neither player should give any indication what either the request or the response was. After receiving the response, the player ends his turn.

**Winning the Game:** At any time (not necessarily on his
turn), a player can make an accusation. The accuser states who he
thinks the murderer is and then writes down what he thinks the two
Evidence cards are. To verify his prediction, the accuser first
secretly looks at the Evidence cards. Whether or not his guess is
correct, he asks the accused player to pass her cards to him. If
the accuser correctly deduced the Evidence cards and the player he
has accused holds the Murder card generated by the Evidence cards,
the accuser reveals these cards and his written prediction and
wins the game. Alternatively, if the accuser can produce the
Murder card from his own hand and shows that the accused player
has the next higher card in the same suit (skipping over any cards
in the suit which are in his own hand, are Evidence cards, or were
exposed at the beginning of the game), he has successfully pinned
the crime on another player and wins. So for example, if the
Murder card is the 5 of Clubs and the accuser shows that he has
the 5 and 6 of Clubs in his hand, he needs to find the 7 of Clubs
in the accused player's hand in order to win. If instead, the
accuser's prediction for the Evidence cards is incorrect **or**
if the accused player does not have the card which will allow him
to accuse her, the accuser announces he is wrong (he doesn't say
why) and drops out of the game. The game continues until someone
makes a correct accusation. Players can still interrogate the
player who made the incorrect accusation and he must answer their
questions correctly, but he takes no further turns himself and can
make no further interrogations.