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Games Where Psychology Is a Key Element


There’s an infinite number of games that humans can play. When you consider just video games, there are several million titles that already exist today with many more that are yet to be created or released to market. 

On top of that, there are board games, card games, and physical games of sport that all provide us with different ways to compete against our friends. 

While many games may share a long list of similarities, no two are identical. This means that each one requires a slightly different set of skills and experience to excel at it. For example, winning in a multiplayer game of Call of Duty requires fast reflexes whereas that speed would be of little benefit in Animal Crossing.

Other skills you might find useful while playing games include strategic thinking, patience, stamina, speed, mental arithmetic, pattern recognition, drawing, general knowledge, and hand-eye coordination. 

There are also plenty of games where you will find that psychology can be beneficial. It might be because you need to understand the thought processes that your opponents go through when making their decisions, or it might be that you can use psychological tricks to put off the other players. 


Poker is one of the most popular card games played today. Rather than being a single game, it’s actually a collective term for a range of different titles with many of the same characteristics. 

Most versions of the game use the same hierarchy of poker hands to value the combinations of cards that players can make, though lowball games and hi-lo variants put them in reverse. Part of achieving success in poker is making a hand that contains one of these winning combinations. 

However, what sets it apart from some other card games is that it’s possible to win when you don’t have the best hand – that’s where psychology comes in.

In poker, players can bluff. This, essentially, involves telling opponents that you have a better hand than you really do, or making them think that through your actions. Pulling it off successfully can cause the other players to fold, even if they’re holding a decent set of cards. 

Of course, psychology can work in reverse as each player must also watch the body language and monitor the patterns of play exhibited by the others at the table to deduce any strategies that they’re deploying and spot when they’re trying to bluff. 

Among Us

Among Us is a multiplayer video game that became hugely popular in 2019 and 2020. Players find themselves on a spacecraft where they, along with the others, must complete tasks to keep the ship operational. 

While so far it just sounds like going to work inside a video game, here’s where the twist begins. 

At the start of every game, one or more players are told that they are an imposter. Instead of completing tasks like the rest, these infiltrators must try to sabotage the ship and kill the crewmates. 

When a player is killed, the others must come together to try and work out who is responsible. A vote will then take place to decide who the crewmates think is trying to deceive them. As the imposter, you can partake in these discussions and use psychology to throw them off your scent. (1)



Chess may not immediately seem like a game that involves psychology. After all, you win by strategically moving your pieces in an attempt to take your opponent’s queen. However, there is a key psychological element to this popular board game. 

But, it works a little differently in chess. The psychology involved here is more about mind games to throw off your opponent, which may begin before you even sit down. The traditional handshake before each game can be used to show off your confidence in your abilities. 

Then, when it’s down to business, some knowledge about your opponent can go a long way. If you know what plays they don’t like or struggle with, you can guide the game in that direction to cause a sense of panic in their minds. (2)