Who is the killer?

I look at my card. It’s red. So, who is the killer?

I am in a train, together with three friends. We have tried playing several card games. This game beats them all. It is mind-boggling.

It is not even a card game. It’s simpler than that. You need only four cards: three reds and one black. Everybody gets one card at random. The owner of the black card is the killer.

Then you start talking with each other. The job is to find the killer, just by talking, discussing. Once three people agree that a fourth is the killer, the cards are opened, the scores are delivered; alea iacta est. Until then, you just talk and think and form conjectures.

Does this game have a solution? I doubt it. You get to know the other players first. How do they behave? What do they say? With each new game, you hope to improve your ability to predict.

The interesting thing is that, after some playing time, you start perceiving subtle changes in behavior and communication. You base your theories on them. However, the more you convince yourself of the validity of your theory, the more difficult becomes the task of convincing others. The better you express your opinions, the more the other players think that you are the killer, as you are trying to divert them to another target.

There is no easy fix. You just have to be patient, observant and cautious about what you communicate to others. The trick sometimes is to be even more cautious about what you communicate to yourself.

I look at my card. It’s red. Or is it?