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First impressions: Human Punishment (Social Deduction 2.0)


Hi kids, it’s me, Pal-kinkky here with my first Kickstarter board game, Human Punishment.


Pretty as a black box


Quick facts:

  • Main genre: social deduction
  • Player count: from four to sixteen
  • How many times played: Two games with same five people.
  • Single best thing: graphics, baby, graphics!


Before telling my feelings about the game itself, I’ll give you quick rundown how the game works: before the game starts, players are dealt with two loyalty cards, one ID card and one random program. Cards have following functions:

  • ID: the player character themselves. They have on point of loyalty (I’ll explain this in depth in next paragraph) and some unique twist on them what they get when they are revealed; for example, machine Joke gets three programs for free when revealed and can equip Rocket Launcher afterwards or Homeless who is always Outlaw, prevents rest of the players drawing Programs when revealed.
  • Loyalty: they determinate which team you are in. Using Joke as example, who starts as machine, gets dealt with Humanity x2 and Machine x2 loyalty cards, which makes him part of Machine team. If he had Humanity x2 and Outlaw x2 instead, he’d be Outlaw (since there is no majority between teams).
  • Programs: the unpredictable part of the game, programs do… everything. Some examples include getting back to game from the dead, or they may steal weapons from the other players. You may even gain hidden Loyalty programs which makes you traitor to your own team… so watch out, you may know some… but not the whole story.

In turn, players have three different actions to do in their turn:

  • Investigate another players Loyalty card or if they both are revealed, their ID card. They may tell it forward… or lie about it.
  • Equip a weapon. You take a gun (Pistol, Rifle, Companion, Rocket Launcher, Laser or even HELL GATE) and name your target (unless you have Laser). Rocket Launcher and Hell Gate can even deal damage to adjacent player as well.
  • Draw a program for some more madness.

Or if you have weapon equipped:

  • Drop your weapon (“Nawh just kidding I wasn’t going to shoot you.”)
  • Change your target (“I trust you, but that lad on the left… not so much.”)
  • Shoot the target; depending on weapon, your target has few options; take the damage (good time to point that everyone has two health points and you die if you go down to zero) or reveal your Loyalty or ID, depending on weapon. (“Fuck you leather man, PEW PEW PEW.”)

And we keep playing, sniffing people’s alliances, killing people where some might come back to game or not. Every time someone dies, the dead checks the winning condition, where:

  • If Humans have killed Machines, they win!
  • If Machines have killed Humans, they win!
  • If single Outlaw outlasts everyone else (even other Outlaws), they win!
  • And if they are in, Fallen and Legion win together.

Your typical setup plus manuals


That’s the rules but how it plays?


Honestly, it’s quite awesome.


My main experience from social deduction games is from BANG! with one random Ultimate Werewolf game, which are fine on occasion. Human Punishment deepens some mechanics compared to BANG! and gives the genre some cool twists themselves and huuugeee amount of variance; there’s over 20 different IDs, goddamnit!

In two games, I saw some clever uses of programs; for example, some player preventing death by using program which healed the player instead. Or shooting random people to make them reveal their Loyalties or make them take damage. One player takes permanent program which lets them use their action to steal a weapon from another player. Hell, hidden programs might change your team in the middle of the game, like what happened to me; I went from Machine to Outlaw.

In second game, we drew enough gates to summon a boss to our game; the boss dealt damage to player if they didn’t reveal their ID or Loyalty card. And my friend stole my Homeless ID and royally screwed up everyone else, sealing his victory.

Part of me wants to write more about this but two games with same people and same player count prevents me to do so. I can say that Programs are super swingy, but I need more playtimes to see how swingy they are in the end. I’d like to give it more goes with different people and larger player count, maybe upping it to nine (sixteen player sounds like a fucking mayhem).

But as were it stands now, I am impressed, real impressed. Definitely a good investment for a game which I purely bought for graphics so beautiful I’d love to put them on the wall.

That’s it for now, ‘till next time kids!

Gather around, concert is bound to start soon enough!


Ps. For future feedback, I’d like to ask you should I keep this current format (explanation of rules and goal, followed by my feelings about the game) or should I cut the “boring” part and gush about things I like or don’t like? Part of me feels like the rules explanation takes too long but on the other hand, without a proper context it seems hard to understand why am I gushing about the game at hand. So I’d like to ask  your opinion about this.

- Palvikinkku todellakin on Suomen kuumin ja seksikkäin jäbä.

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About Palvikinkkuone of us since 5:23 AM on 01.25.2016

Destructoid lacks proper board game content. And that's why I create it. To fill the void and fill the need!

Social, radio-voiced little dwarf who finds board games, cRPGS and alcoholism fun enough to fill his days with them.

Currently writing about board games in his collection