Take Mysterium and turn it up to eleven. What you get is Paranormal Detectives, scheduled for release at Essen and in the U.S. this December by Lucky Duck Games. One player is the ghost, who has died. One to five other players are detectives trying to competitively figure out (1) who did it, (2) the motive, (3) where it happened, (4) how it happened, and (5) the murder weapon.

Each detective player will have an asymmetrical way to receive a limited number of clues from the ghost. Examples include the ghost plays tarot cards, the ghost mouths one word, the ghost arranges a strand of rope into a shape, the ghost does a three second pantomime, the ghost draws with the hand of the detective, and more. Detectives can make up to two guesses for the five elements. If one of the detectives correctly deduces all five elements of the death, then they win along with the ghost player. If no detective figures everything out, then the detective that guessed the most correct information is the sole winner.

For anyone who enjoys programming, deduction, and/or cooperative games, keep reading. Designed by the excellent Nikki Valens (designer of Mansions of Madness 2E and Legacy of Dragonholt), Quirky Circuits is coming from Plaid Hat Games this summer and features some of the most adorable miniatures ever created. 2-to-4 players cooperate in one of twenty-one scenarios to complete their goals before their batteries run out. Using the same scenario book system that other Plaid Hat releases such as Stuffed Fables and Comanauts have used ensures quick and easy setup to support the fast and engaging gameplay.

“Players place programming cards face down, only knowing what types of cards their friends have played – movement, turn or quirk. Quirk cards must be played before a player uses any other card in their hand and every player must play at least one card per round. Using deductive reasoning, all players will move the robo-buddy around the board, trying to complete its mission!”

“Quirky” really is an appropriate adjective in the title, because that’s precisely what I wanted to write several times during this article to describe it. Everything about the look of the design is cute, fun, compact, and to-the-point, and that’s a great advantage for this game. Not to be understated, Quirky Circuits fits an excellent niche in the market right now, being a much more accessible point of entry to teach programmed movement and deduction, in stark contrast to the long-lived Robo Rally. Moreover, this is only the second cooperative version of such a mechanic after the heavyweight Mechs vs. Minions, where the speed of setup due to Plaid Hats innovation will really shine in comparison. If you’re interested in learning more about Quirky Circuits, check out Plaid Hat’s news and product pages for updates, pictures, full rules, and availability.

Concept is a popular party where players try to guess a word or phrase using a series of icons to represent icons.  Now Repos Production has developed a new version especially designed for children who do not know how to read yet. Concept Kids: Animals is a cooperative game for children ages 4 and up where players attempt to guess the name of an animal being described by the icons on the board. The child friendly board groups the icons in recognizable characteristics of animals:  where it lives, what color it is, how it travels, physical features, what it eats, and if it is a day or night time creature.  It is an excellent way for young children to learn how to describe various animals.  The game contains 110 colorful illustrations of animals to be guessed. Players will attempt to guess 12 animals each game, attempting to earn the highest score possible as a group: Legendary Lions!  Go to Repos Production website to learn more about Concept Kids: Animals.

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.

–from Sonnet 130, William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s sonnets 127-154 describe a love for a mysterious woman, named the Dark Lady by literary historians. These scholars have speculated about the identity of this woman for 400 years. In Black Sonata, available now on Kickstarter from Side Room Games, players are given the opportunity to explore this historical mystery themselves and seek out the true name of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady.

Black Sonata is a game of “solitaire hidden movement and deduction” for 1 player, aged 14+, and takes 30 minutes to play. The setting is London, England, during the time of William Shakespeare, where the solo player will be pursuing the shadowy Dark Lady across a map of the city. Her movements are controlled by a stealth deck, which is arranged during setup according to sequences that can yield 56 possible paths, providing plenty of variability and replayability. Using unique keyhole cards to investigate the locations you suspect she’s been to, you’ll begin to glimpse traits and characteristics that allow you to home in on the true identity of the Dark Lady.

The game has garnered high praise already, with a number of positive reviews linked on the Kickstarter page, and was even nominated for a 2017 Golden Geek Award in the Print & Play category. The campaign runs through July 1, 2018, and still has a number of stretch goals waiting to be unlocked.

It’s a great time to be a solo gamer! With the rise of solo modes supported in multiplayer games, and a proliferation of quality solo-only games, like Black Sonata, the options are extensive and exciting.

Random factoid: a handful of scholars don’t believe that Shakespeare actually wrote his works solo, but argue that he was part of a group of writers that collectively produced the oeuvre attributed to Shakespeare.

CMON has just released the North American edition of the game 13 Clues. The game was originally published in both Italian and English by dV Giochi in 2016. 13 Clues has 2-6 players aged 8+ spending 30 minutes taking on the roles of detectives in London at the end of the 19th Century solving a series of unique mysteries.

Each detective in the game is attempting to solve their own mystery, unique to themselves. Players start out with a hiding screen, a magnifying glass token, a pencil, and a casebook for making notes… and their wits.

At the start of the game all players select a weapon, location, and person that constitute the elements of the crime for the player sitting to their left left. Once the elements are selected they are placed in front of the player’s screen facing the center of the table so all other detectives except that player can see the elements of their crime

The investigation takes place over a series of roads with each investigator asking questions of the other detectives, consulting secret information, and making a series of accusations to rule out suspects. To help narrow questions down, locations are categorized as indoor or outdoor, people are male and female, and weapons are up close or ranged.

The winning detective will be the first to one who identifies which of the clues match their case and makes an accusation before the other detectives solve their own cases.

What’s in the Box?

13 Clues doesn’t just include fancy player screens and much needed pencils, the 13 Clues box is filled with:

  • 30 clue cards
  • 6 card holders
  • 6 hiding screens
  • 6 pencils
  • 12 plastic card stands
  • 6 Top Secret folders
  • 1 block of Casebook Pages
  • 10 Magnifying Glass tokens
  • Secret Informant board
  • Rules

Italian board game publisher dv GIOCHI (most well-known for the BANG! series of games) is publishing a new cooperative deductive game called 3 Secrets.  Boardgamegeek describes the twists that are to come with a hidden informant and mobile app inclusion:

In the cooperative game 3 Secrets, players want to unravel the three secrets of an unresolved case before time runs out. One of the players plays the role of informant and knows the truth about the case: They know which secrets need to be discovered and try their best to help you guess them correctly. The clock is ticking and the clues are scarce, so question the informant to gather useful information and find the solution. If you grope in the dark, the informant can reveal an important clue, but this will cost you precious time! Use your best observing eye, lateral thinking, and deduction skills to unravel all the mysteries of the ambiguous characters that populate this game.

3 Secrets comes with a free app available for download at the Apple AppStore and Google Play.

3 Secrets is for 2-8 players and is only supposed to play in 15 minutes.  For more information, visit the publisher’s page here.

Mayday Games and Korea Board Games have partnered to bring H.I.D.E. to the US market. This dice game designed by Keewoong Kim casts players as spies attempting to discover each others’ identities.

“By combining the information disclosed as the game goes on, try to find out other player’s identity while hiding your own and gathering intel cards that are displayed in the middle of the play area. Each round you can choose by picking a die if you want to stay in the shadows or if you want to reveal some information about your identity while having the possibility to eliminate another spy.”

H.I.D.E. will accommodate 3-5 players, has a play time of 30 minutes, and is expected to be available starting March 2nd

The award-winning murder mystery board game Mysterium has been released for the iOS platform.  In this cooperative board game, one player takes on the role of the ghost of a murder victim who uses various types of cards to give clues to the other players (paranormal psychics) who will use those clues to ultimately solve the mystery of the murder.

The iOS digital version of the game features online multiplayer for up to 7 players and works cross-platform between the iOS, Android, and Steam versions. There is a solitaire and story mode as well. has written an informative article with more information on this release.  You can read it in full here.

In this dice rolling, hidden role game, it will take a church full of skill, bluffing, and deceit to push your Cardinal’s favorable alignment without getting caught. Will you be the one to fool all the others and end up on top? Or will your shady ways lead to your demise?

Talon Strikes Studios would like to announce their upcoming release of House of Borgia, a new game influenced by Liar’s Dice–but with a twist.  In House of Borgia, players will control one of six Cardinals: Staunch Fundamentalist, Scholarly Theologian, or the Greedy Simonist.  Players will be working to manipulate the Conclave with bribes, poison, nasty rumors, and other dastardly actions.  Gameplay consists of an action-bidding mechanism, through which players will have a chance to manipulate the influence and positions of other Cardinals in the Conclave.

House of Borgia is a hidden-role deduction game designed by Scott Almes for 2-6 players, ages 14+, and plays in 30-40 minutes.  The game is set for a January 27, 2017 release date.  For more information, visit ACD Distribution’s website.

wah01_layoutI’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I can remember and will pick up and play just about anything that features a deerstalker cap or calabash pipe. One Sherlock themed game that I’ve been hearing about since 2015 is Watson & Holmes: From the Diaries of 221B Baker Street. From its description, it takes the awesomeness of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and makes it a multiplayer, competitive affair. I’m in, with one caveat. Until now its been published by Ludonova and hasn’t been for sale in the US.

That’s about to change.

Earlier this month Asmodee announced that Space Cowboys would be coming out with a new version of Watson & Holmes, adapted from the Ludonova version. This one drops the post-colon portion of the title for a much more manageable moniker, simply Watson & Holmes. It also includes all new graphic design and revisions to all the cases.

Look for Watson & Holmes to hit shelves in early 2017.