BOOMbox at Home: Among Us

Colorful display of Among Us Crewmates

Among Us is a game where a group of friends can work together to keep their space station running smoothly. However, there is an Impostor in their numbers who is sabotaging the space station and murdering people, and players have to put their heads together to figure out who the Impostor is. 

While investigating, you’re also learning to cooperate with your fellow Crewmates, communicate your arguments, and listen in between the lines of what people say. 

Among Us costs money to purchase for the computer, but it’s free to download on a mobile phone or tablet. If these options aren’t available to you, you can also experience the fun through other games, like Werewolf, also known as Mafia. Read instructions on how to play Werewolf on Zoom or Discord. If you want to stick with the spirit of Among Us, read suggestions for how to replicate the game in real life.

Among Us and Game Theory

What strategies do you use when you play Among Us? Do you travel around in groups of three for safety or do you choose to observe the area around you when you complete tasks? Are you quick to accuse a suspected Imposter or do you wait until you find more information? All of these decisions are part of game theory, which is the study of the strategies people use when playing games.

When mathematicians, economists and social scientists study game theory, they look at the choices a player might make based on what they think other players will do. For example, when you play rock paper scissors, you might choose to play rock if you think your opponent will play scissors. When you’re taking a penalty kick in soccer, you might want to kick the ball in the opposite direction of where the goalie thinks you want to kick. Experiment with game theory and test whether the people closest to you will choose to cooperate or cheat.

How does game theory apply to Among Us? To find out, watch game theorists explain different winning strategies you can use, whether you are a Crewmate or an Impostor. Remember to help Among Us create a kind community by treating your fellow players respectfully. Want even more ideas for how to successfully go undercover? Check out the Stealth, Smarts and Skills book list for heaps of fun spy stories.

Among Us and Astronauts

Have you ever wondered why Crewmates need to complete so many tasks around the spaceship and research base? Some tasks, like emptying chutes and fixing wiring, are basic maintenance tasks to keep the ship and building running smoothly. Other tasks involve inspecting rock samples, submitting medical scans, recording the weather, and uploading data. These tasks are part of the science experiments the Crewmates have to run for their company’s research, much like experiments NASA astronauts run on the International Space Station. The next time you play Among Us and your parents ask what you’re doing, you can tell them you’re learning about science and space!

Interested in living the astronaut life? Watch how real life astronauts complete tasks like emptying the garbage and conducting science experiments. Try different activities to imagine being an astronaut or try to control the Mars Rover and find rock specimens to analyze. You can read about space experiments in our New Findings from NASA book list.

About Those Spacesuits

Why do the Crewmates wear full body spacesuits and backpacks? Spacesuits are like miniature human-shaped spaceships that protect astronauts from the dangers of space, like extreme heat or cold, radiation, or the lack of atmosphere. The backpack is a life support system that holds oxygen for breathing, and water to cool the suit down to a comfortable temperature. See what makes spacesuits work and look at pictures of different kinds of spacesuits. With all of this information, try designing your own Crewmate and personalizing the spacesuit with this paper doll activity. The Among Us Crewmates were designed by Amy Liu and Marcus Bromander, artists at Inner Sloth. On a somewhat related topic--what would a life support system look like if you were a shark on a space mission? Find out in this Youtube video about spaceships for sharks.

Person of the Week

Tanya DePass, also known as CypherofTyr on Twitch, streams lots of different kinds of games, like Dungeons and Dragons, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Tanya also lives in Illinois, like us! She is really active in making gaming more inclusive for all kinds of people so that everyone has the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the main characters of the games they play. Tanya is part of the Queer Women Game Twitch network, and she created an organization called I Need Diverse Games. This organization helps people attend game conferences and supports the work of game developers from different kinds of backgrounds.

Written by Michelle.