What are some good mystery-themed board games?

So this is sorta random, but I’ve been really craving to solve a good mystery. Specifically a good mystery in board game format. I’ve always loved “Clue”, but after collecting all the different “Clue” spin-offs, I’m pretty much all Clued out and ready for something new. Anyone got any suggestions?

I figured you had to mean something besides Clue. Clue Spin offs… Does this include “Master Detectives Clue” ? I remember seeing that a few times… I loved it. But, Think of it as clue and a half (Just more people, more weapons, more rooms, in adition to the original)

Master Detectives Clue went Out of print years ago. Ebay has a few now and then.

The CSI boardgame is pretty entertaining. It has a few flaws, but you’re actually trying to solve cases, instead of the more simple “what’s-behind-the-curtain” deduction. It’s two main limitations are that it can take some time (2-3 hours per game) and that it only comes with a set limit of cases.

There’s also 221B Baker Street… and the time travel edition of said game. You visit certian locations and get clues to certain crimes. My main beef is that the clues have nothing to do with the crimes… they’re like word scrambles or something.

And then there’s always the mystery party games… always a good excuse to throw a costume party and cook a good meal :slight_smile:

Produced by Days of Wonder. www.daysofwonder.com

I like this game a bit better then clue. The setting is an abbey and all the rooms have cool Latin names like cellula, ecclesia, bibliotheca, and parlatorium. The 24 suspects are all clergymen belonging either to the Templars, Benedictines, or the Franciscan.

Each player is dealt a certain number of suspect cards depending on how many are playing (3-6 players). One suspect card is placed beneath the game board, this is the murderer. Each player is permitted to move two spaces each round and may do different things depending on which room he is in.

Cellula: When you enter the room of another player you may randomly draw a suspect card from their hand. The catch is, if the player catches you in that room you must go to the ecclesia to serve penance (ie you miss your next turn) and return the card.

Parlatorium: You may draw an additional suspect card from the pile.

Scriptorium: You can draw script cards that have different effects on the game. For example one card might allow you to ask a question without having to answer one in return.

When you share a room with one or more players you may ask one question of one player (in the room). A question might be “Do you have a Templar in your hand?” or “Do you have a fat Benedictine in your hand?” The other player may refuse to answer but if he chooses to answer he also gets to ask you a question in return. Players aren’t allowed to lie in this game.

Every fourth turn the mass bell is rung (the game comes with a bell) and everyone returns to the ecclesia. There the players are required to exchanged cards per the instructions on the Mass card.

Unlike Clue, the first person to discover the identity of the murderer isn’t necessarily the winner. Throughout the game players will be given the opportunity to make revelations about the murder. A revelation might be “the killer is skinny,” “the killer is bearded,” or “the killer is a Templar.” At the end of the game each true revelation will net you 2 points while each incorrect revelation will subtract one point from you final score. A correct accusation, where you name the killer" will give you 4 points while an incorrect accusation will cost you 2 points from your end score.

There’s a lot of little fun cards you can draw during play. One card requires all the players to speak in plainsong (chant style) until the next mass bell is rung. Another card requires everyone at the table to sing “Are You Sleeping” which is also a lot of fun to do.

It’s a $45.00 game but you can find it cheaper online. If you purchase it I would laminate the suspect sheets since the game only comes with 50. They’re quite attractive and so far as I know you can’t buy more once you run out.


Castle of Magic doesn’t strictly have a mystery theme, but it does have clues and deductive reasoning, and intriuge.

The idea is that the players are wizards from three different magical orders, performing a ceremony involving a monster.

The ceremony requires you manipulate a bell, book, and candle (hencefoth BBC). The bell can be ringing or silent, the book can be open or closed, and the candle can be lit or dark. Depending on the BBC state at the end of the game, the monster can come under the control of one of the players, or it can eat you, or someone else, or it can be banished, or it can go rampaging through the countryside. What BBC state leads to what outcome varies from game to game. There are also a scepter, an amulet and crown, which you control of country if you possess them at the end of the game.

Everyone gets a secret identity that tells you what your order is, and how many points (positive or negative) you’ll get at the end of the game if: you control the monster, someone of your order or the various other orders controls the monster, if the monster eats you, if you control a country or someone else does, etc. So that tells you what your goals are for the game.

As you move around the board, you can try to change the BBC, get control of the crown, the scepter or the amulet, attack other wizards, or (this is the interesting part) get clues that will tell you what item controls what country, what BBC state results in which outcome, and what order the other players belong to and what their goals are.

The other really cool part is intrigue. Each player gets a “conversation chip” that they can spend to call a time-out to talk in secret with other players. It may be that there are other players from your order, or not; it’s random. Even if there’s no one from your order, you will likely have some goals in common with someone else. You may decide to share the secrets you’ve discovered, gang up on the other players, make temporary alliances, or whatever. (We don’t bother with the chips, and just let anyone call a timeout. Peer pressure will keep the game moving.)

You can read the rules a Boardgamegeek. IME, it’s a loooong game, but very fun. Other people have told me that it only takes a long time if you have very conservative players. Me, I figure the game is all about figuring everything out. To play recklessly and bring about the end of the game before you really know what’s going on seems silly to me.

This isn’t a game you’re likely to find at Walmart, so check with your Friendly Local Gaming Store (they’d likely be delighted to order it for you) or look online.

MGibson, you can dowload Suspect Sheets from the DOW website, but I’m sure you’re right, a printed copy won’t be as nice as the originals. You could put them in sheet protectors, too.

DOW produces some of the nicest looking games out there these days. I’ve got the suspect sheet PDF on my computer but it eats a lot of colored ink to print them out. The laminated sheets were just much cheaper in the long run and if I should choose to trade the game, for whatever reason, it should retain a bit more of its value.


Kill Dr. Lucky!

Kill Dr. Lucky is a really fun game. The basic premise is that Clue and other mystery games start after the really interesting part. I got this game for Alan_Smithee recently, and he has played it several times since then and tells me how much he loves it every time.

I’ve never played Save Dr. Lucky, but it might also be fun.

The costume party games that Skott mentioned are called How to Host a Murder, and they’re also a lot of fun. They are limited in number of players though. It’s more of a small shindig than a big party sort of thing.

You beat me to it!

I clicked on this thread specifically to relate how much I’ve enjoyed Blue Kangaroo’s gift. It’s tons of fun, especially as the players describe the events as they play the cards they’ve drawn to kill (of keep others from killing) Dr. Lucky. The text on the cards is almost as much fun as the game itself.

Here’s another link, this one to the game’s manufacturer. The other games I’ve played from them have been fun, too.

These are actually card games, but there are Mystery Rummy games with Jack the Ripper, Murder at the Rue Morgue, and Jekyll & Hyde themes. Rummy with a twist, and fun facts about the crimes/ stories.

There’s an old game called Whodunit. I’ve never played it myself but some say it’s better than Clue.

Not sure if this counts, but I really enjoyed Clue: The Great Museum Caper. Despite the reuse of the “Clue” name and characters, it’s actually a deductive chase game similar to Scotland Yard – one player is moving around in secret, and the others have to pool their resources to try and catch him.

Agreed. [hijack]Have you seen Ticket to Ride: Europe? The original Ticket to Ride had some very nice production values, but Europe improves on them. The full-sized train cards are much easier to shuffle and the colors on the cards are amazingly rich.[/hijack]

I’m holding off on TTR: Europe for a while. I only just recently purchased Samurai, Mystery of the Abbey, Pirate’s Cove, Bang!, and Bang! Dodge City so I’ve tapped out my board game funds. I’ll probably end up getting Shadows Over Camelot next or I might stumble onto one of those impossible to find games on my list of wants.