This is hard seltzer! This is Jared Leto’s hard seltzer!
Location: at home
Date Played: December 25, 2022
Team Size: 6-10 (we recommend 8-10)
Duration: 15-30 minutes
Price: about $20
Crack the Claw was a collaboration between White Claw and Netflix’s Glass Onion, a repackaging of the classic social deduction game colloquially known as Mafia or Werewolf. As such, it was easy for a large group to pick up and enjoy, ideal for a “pre-game” environment, and a solid, approachable introduction to the world of social deduction games.
Glass Onion, the much-awaited sequel to Knives Out that just hit Netflix’s streaming service, follows celebrity detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he is once again asked to solve, well, more than he bargained for. Just as he finds himself on a remote island surrounded by suspects, Crack the Claw pits a group of friends against one another to find the murderer(s) hiding among them (while ideally sipping on some White Claw seltzers).
The packaging was minimal and nice enough to hold a space on a coffee table: a small box with woodgrain print reminiscent of the puzzle box from the beginning of the movie Glass Onion. It contained 10 compressed cardboard coasters with roles printed on their reverse (1 Doctor, 1 Detective, 3 Murderers, 4 Vacationers, and 1 Moderator). While this helps make the game very accessible to large groups with a variety of experience levels, veteran players might look to modify one or more of the cards with some advanced roles to extend replayability.
Although one of the hallmarks of the games that inspired Crack the Claw is that they can be played without any equipment, using coasters to inform players of their roles worked very well to provide a tactile experience (as well as a role reminder for those who may be enjoying a few adult beverages…).
Crack the Claw had one toe dipped into the branded partnership, entry-level social deduction gameplay, and reasonably attractive coasters serving as gameplay pieces. If you find your interests lie in the center of that Venn diagram, go for it—and if you find that your group is enjoying the style of gameplay that Crack the Claw offers, there are a variety of more advanced social-deduction games that you can level-up to.
Who is this for?
- Newbies to social deduction games
- Casual pre-gamers
- Larger groups (game recommends 6–10)
- Any experience level
- Since this is a partnership with White Claw, 21+
- With the minimum variety of roles, the game is very easy to pick up
- A very small footprint for a game designed for larger groups of varied experience
- The coasters look decent enough for being compressed cardboard
There was a murderer among your group vacationing on a private island. Can you discover their identity before you become the next victim?
Setup was as simple as determining a moderator and handing out a coaster to each player.
The gameplay was classic social deduction à la Mafia or Werewolf.
The game began with the moderator handing out coasters, which each player secretly peeks at to learn their role.
The moderator then narrates the pace of the game: during the evening players close their eyes and the Murderer(s) choose someone to kill. Then the Murderer(s) close their eyes, the Doctor is instructed to open their eyes, and they may choose someone to save. Then the Doctor closes their eyes, the Detective opens their eyes, and they may point to the person they believe is a Murderer, which the Moderator will then either confirm or deny. The night is resolved, and the day begins with the Moderator revealing who was murdered, or if the Doctor successfully saved the victim. Then everyone votes, with the Vacationers attempting to vote the Murderer(s) off the island. Rounds then continue until the Vacationers win when all Murderers have been voted off the island, or Murderers win when there is only one Vacationer left.
➕ The rules were very simple, and as such it’s not only a great introduction to social deduction games, but it’s also probably ideal for when you need coasters for adult beverages…
➕ The packaging/ coasters were nicer than I expected from a simple branded offering. You won’t be heartbroken if one of the coasters gets ruined, and by then you’ll know if you want to upgrade to a more advanced social deduction game.
➖ Veterans of the genre will find themselves wishing for a wider variety of roles.
➖ If you enjoy this game, you’ll almost immediately be putting it away for any number of more complex versions of it on the market.
✍️ While it would have been nice to see a “blank” coaster that we could customize with additional roles, there was nothing preventing us from scratching out one of the Vacationer coasters and adding a custom role or two …
❓From a flavor perspective, the punishment for being suspicious on an island with an active murderer is … being sent home from the island where you no longer run the risk of being murdered?
Tips For Players
- Space Requirements: Wherever a larger group of friends can gather for drinks
- Required Gear: They’re nice to have, but you honestly don’t even need the coasters
Buy your copy of White Claw & Netflix’s Glass Onion‘s Crack the Claw, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.