The Gaming Mystery
Today on BOP, we are discussing some of the mystery themed games available on the market. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but rather a list of games we have played and enjoyed. If you have other suggestions please add to our geeklist.
First up is the hot Essen game designed by Martin Wallace, “P.I”. A fantastic game of speedy who-done-it-with-what-and-where designed by and for gamers. This game supports up to five players and is a deduction race game. Each player is trying to figure out the suspect, location and motive held by the player on their right. You can get clues by placing investigators on locations or by taking one of the nine evidence cards available. If your really close you place a disk, if your close (adjacent) you get a cube. First player to guess correctly gets maximum points, while wrong guesses give negative points. There are three rounds, after which, you tally up most points.
This game is rules light, yet it makes your brain melt at times. You can also do interesting strategic things like taking a card your opponent needs in order to slow down their pursuit. My only complaint is the board is a bit busy, which makes it hard for first players; However this isn’t a major problem.
“Mystery Express” is a clue inspired deduction game by the wonderful “Days of Wonder”. In “Mystery Express”, you are just leaving Paris, riding the extravagant Orient Express when a murder occurs. Each player is trying to solve the same crime by deduction based off the cards they have and the cards they see from other players. This is made complicated by the fact that there are two copies of each card, so you can only rule out evidence when you see it twice. There are 5 different crime elements you are trying to solve – Motive, Location, Modus Operandi, Suspects and Time, you telegraph your best answers before reaching Istanbul, the final destination on your journey. ”
“Mystery Express” is a beautiful game with a wonderful theme and very high quality components. It’s a bit like Clue, but on crack, it can be a bit fiddly sometimes, and we usually don’t play with the time element because it just rewards those with photographic memories. However, this game is still a great deal of fun, especially with non gamers.
“Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective” has just been re-released in a 2012 edition by Ystari. This game is interesting as there is no board, no dice, no cards, yet it is totally immersive and amazing. In “Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective”, you are tasked with solving a crime, actually 10 crimes. Each comes with it’s own book. You can question suspects by looking them up in a city directory, which gives their address and a paragraph in the book to read. You also get access to a city map of London and the daily news paper.
This game could be played solo, however we like to take turns playing out the characters as we read to each other while someone also takes notes. The crimes are not easy to solve, and there is the possibility of extra points for answering bonus questions. Obviously, solving a crime means no replay-ability, however, since you are given 10 very detailed and fun crimes, you are definitely going to get your moneys worth. Additionally, these crimes are not light, they provide hours of playtime PER crime.
NOIR: Killer vs. Inspector is a very fun two player deduction game, it also fits in your purse or pocket! The game plays out in a grid of cards. The killer tries to eliminate suspects on the board while the Inspector tries to stop him. The rows and columns can be shifted which creates this great “cat-and-mouse” type of situation. Hopefully by studying how the Killer eliminates and shifts, the inspector can stop them before it’s too late and the killer knocks off 16 characters, or you!
Not only does this make an awesome throw in your bag 2 player game, it has optional game rules included to accommodate different games and up to four players, which makes this an awesome and highly recommended purchase.
1313 Dead End Drive is an underrated little treasure. The original being two decades old, this is a timeless mystery game that is great with all ages. Plays best with 3-4 players but could be played with 2- 6 comfortably. Each player gains the identity of multiple pawns, with 12 total, the less players, the more pawns you get. The object of the game is Aunt Agatha has passed on leaving her inheritance to all of you. Being that you are all murderous and greedy, you of course want the most money! You attempt to identify and knock out your opponents via various means such as dropping a chandelier on their head (mounted boar in the reprint) or throwing them into the fireplace. As you knock out characters, their money moves down the line of inheritance. You only have until midnight to obtain as much of Auntie Agatha’s money as possible, and get out! – and of course the most money of those ALIVE, wins.
It may sound a bit morbid, but it is a lot of fun, especially with kids, yes kids, they giggle like you wouldn’t believe during this game. There is also a bit of strategy believe it or not! The inheritance line means you do not necessarily get the money of the person you knocked off, and you don’t want to just knock off people in front of you, or you’ll reveal your secret identities to everyone else, making you a target! So you must plan your diabolical plan wisely.