By now, the sheer popularity of Among Us has reached such stratospheric heights that everyone from parents to politicians at least knows the name. This little indie game, despite coming out to almost no fanfare back in 2018, got a second life in 2020 and remains one of the most popular games out there. A major reason for that, aside from the addictive and social gameplay, is because it is free. Anyone with a phone or PC can load it up and start playing with friends and family right away.
With more people than ever looking to try out the biggest phenomenon in gaming, many are asking exactly how to play Among Us. Here’s a primer on what this game is and how it works so you can jump in on the fun right away.
What Among Us is and how it works
If you never played Among Us before, here are all the basics you need to know about how the game works. You and at least three other players, up to a maximum of 10, take the role of crewmates and impostors on a spaceship or base in need of repairs. Each crew member has a set of tasks they need to accomplish that sends them to different locations on the map and consists of completing various mini-games. The impostors, meanwhile, need to either kill the crew members without getting discovered as being impostors or do enough sabotage tasks on the map.
Meetings are where the real meat of the game lies. At any point, a player can call an emergency meeting by pressing the button or by reporting a dead body. This is the only time in the game where players are allowed to directly communicate. This is the time for crew members to try and identify and vote out the impostor. Everyone, including impostors, get one vote but can also skip voting if they don’t feel confidant enough in calling anyone the impostor. Whoever gets the most votes is automatically eliminated from the game, impostor or not.
There are four possible ways for a game of Among Us to end, two ways the crew can win and two ways for the impostor(s) to win. The crew wins by either voting off all the impostors or completing all the tasks, and the impostors win if enough crew members are killed or voted off so that there are an equal number or they fully sabotage the map.
What to do as a crewmate
If the game begins and you are designated as a crewmate, your primary goals are to complete all your tasks without getting killed by an impostor. Also try and figure out who the impostors are without people wrongfully suspecting you of being one and getting voted out. That second part is the more difficult part of the game, so let’s start with the tasks.
You will have a list of tasks in the upper-right corner of the screen you need to complete. They tell you where in the map you need to go to complete them. These tasks can be as simple as swiping a card to more complex activities like connecting colored wires. Either way, tasks will block most of your screen while you’re doing them, leaving you not only vulnerable to getting stabbed in the back yourself but blind to an impostor taking out any friendly crew members nearby without you being able to see them do it.
If you discover a body, you can use the Report button to call a meeting to try and vote out an impostor. Be warned, though, that the impostor is going to do everything they can to claim their innocence, possibly even turning the blame back on you.
If you do end up getting eliminated by an impostor early on in the game, you will still be able to contribute to the game as a ghost. You are free to roam around and complete the remaining tasks to bring your team closer to victory but won’t be able to participate in any meetings.
What to do as an impostor
Playing as one of the impostors is one of the most fun but also stressful parts of Among Us. You need to try and blend in with the crewmates as they go about the map trying to complete their tasks while trying to pick them off when the coast is clear. While you can’t actually complete any of the tasks on the map, you will want to at least pretend like you are to keep from looking too suspicious.
Impostors also have the ability to sabotage different parts of the map, which you can find in the same way a crewmate finds their real tasks. These can not only help you separate and eliminate the crew more easily, like turning off the lights and locking doors, but also slow them down by giving them more things to fix. Just make sure no one sees you sabotaging anything.
Finally, the last tricks in the impostor’s toolbelt are the hidden passages you can use to zip around the map much faster than a crewmate. These are usually vents on the ground, but you do still need to be careful with them. Crewmates can’t use them, so if you’re seen jumping in or out of one, you’ll have to do some quick thinking to talk your way out of it.
General tips and tricks
If you’re good enough, it is possible to win as either an impostor or crew member without ever encountering any real danger, but games like that are boring and very rare. Most of the time, you’ll be arguing for your life. Depending on who you’re playing with, you will probably want to find a balance between accusations and defense during meetings. Being too aggressive in pointing out an impostor, whether you’re certain they are one or you are one yourself, can often backfire on you. Similarly, staying silent also tends to draw undue attention. Your best bet, as a crew member or impostor, is to have someone else there to back you up.
As a crew member, you have strength in numbers. You might not be able to trust everyone, but sticking to a group of at least two others is a good way to at least minimize the chances of getting killed off. Pay attention to how the other people you’re with act, too. Are they following a little too close or too far? Are they doing any tasks or just watching? Is that person just wandering off on their own for no reason? There are a lot of smaller signs you can pick up on to identify an impostor besides witnessing them kill, sabotage, or use a vent.
Finally, for you impostors out there, be smart about when the best time to strike is. Try and establish yourself as trustworthy with at least one or two people before you stick a knife in anyone. When it is time to strike, do everything you can to prevent someone from seeing you do it or see you fleeing the scene. Close doors, turn off lights, and use the vents to move away from the crime scene so people see you somewhere else when the body is eventually discovered.
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