But when you apply those same self-determination markers – mastery, autonomy, and relationship – to the role of the impostor, your level of self-determination drops to the extreme. Your mastery and progress is only marked by how long you are able to remain hidden as an impostor. The longer you go without getting caught, the better you think you are doing, although there is no guarantee of winning. You even have complete autonomy in how you approach victory. Whether you sabotage the ship, cast doubt on your crew members’ deliberative meetings, or remove crew members one by one, everything you do impacts the overall outcome of everyone’s game. You are, in fact, puppeting the whole experience and nourishing yourself with a great self-determination.
“Everything you say and do affects the other person’s play experience,” Madigan says. “You don’t just do it in a vacuum. You go through and you affect the outcome of this game and the experiences that other people have, and they’re going to talk about you in the meetings, and after the game, and so on. It really is like a direct connection with other people.
Want to win? Embrace autonomy and enjoy the community
The deliberative meetings themselves function as a microcosm for what makes this game work for all parties: each member has complete autonomy in how they approach each meeting and how they represent themselves. There is a shared agency experience in how each deliberation unfolds.
“This seems to be a really extreme example of this principle of autonomy at work,” says Madigan. “You don’t just choose the answers from a menu, do you? You are talking in voice chat or typing in chat. “
And if you’re not quick to call someone to be “known,” you could easily be on the chopping block as chaos unfolds fairly quickly with players dropping questions, answers, and suspicion in short. As an impostor, your best bet is to cast doubt on what others say and let others follow their own conclusions. This form of persuasion, while deliberate, often goes under the radar because others are so focused on finding your identity.
“That old saying in psychology is that when we’re not sure about something, we turn to other people who are like us and look at what they’re doing to help us determine what we’re doing,” Madigan says. “Confirmatory information bias is another type of phenomenon that is well known and understood in human psychology, where we pay more attention to the things that support our beliefs and pay less attention to the things that do not. “
And by playing against each other, you effectively control the reaction of others to the situation you have created.
“A lot of it often comes down to not only what you let others know, but how do you make them feel?” Madigan said. “Are you making them feel smart?” Do you make them feel like you can trust you? Do you make them feel like you are their friend? It’s that nuance and the handling of those relationships and arousing those feelings.
For those who play Among us, the autonomy piece is perhaps the most appealing quality in game design, and it shows when piecing together the numbers behind how players win the game. According to Tran, impostors, the ones with the most autonomy, win 57.69% of the time. Of those victories won by impostors, 35% win by killing everyone, while 17.6% win by voting against non-impostors. Of the 42.3% of crew members who win, 38.5% win by voting. Only 3.8% of crew members earn by doing their jobs, and only 5% of impostors earn by sabotaging the ship – proof that when given a choice, imposters and crew members will always scramble for take the game in hand before choosing the most. obvious path to glory.
“The part where you elect someone or discuss someone is definitely a game-changer for teammates and impostors,” Tran says. “All you have to do is be able to talk to people and hopefully be a good liar. And if you’re not a good liar, that’s okay too. Because, honestly, people will think you’re lying anyway.