The base game is set in 1940’s Los Angeles where players take on the role of LAPD Homicide detectives as they are taken along a narrative-driven experience and attempt to solve 9 different cases. Each detective is competing to be the first to solve the case. However, one player is The Chisel who is attempting to misdirect the players! If you want a cooperative experience, there is a mode for that as well.
Detective: Smoke and Mirrors adds 4 new cases to the game (originally 3 but the stretch goal was reached). These cases are more complex and challenging than the cases from the base game with new mechanics, new types of cards, and new requirements to solve the case! Instead of just identifying the guilty suspect, the murder weapon, and the motive, players will now also have to identify each additional accomplice that was involved as well as where the next crime could take place.
For more information, check out their Kickstarter campaign here.
Mixing board games with required apps is a very hot topic in board gaming right now, some say it’s great, some march to the chorus of get your digital out of my analog. Either way you look at it, games are still going to come along that try to use app integration to make it better, and Chronicles of Crime aims to do that is a very unique way. In this game you are detectives trying to solve a case, but you aren’t some famous or classic detective, you are modern day detectives utilizing modern day methods and resources. Once you have selected a case you will start going from location to location, questioning suspects and looking for clues. You will also have the chance to talk to your experts to get their analysis of evidence, all while discussing the case and clues with your fellow players to determine the culprit.
Now if you are wondering where the app comes in, well it is used in every aspect that I just described above. You will select your case in the app so it knows what clues to give you, when you go to a location you will scan the code on the board in order to go there. Once there you will clip on a pair of VR glasses to your phone and then start looking around the crime scene, describing it to the other players and looking for key clues in the 3D rendered environment. Don’t have have the glasses or don’t want to use the VR function? That’s fine, the app supports also just displaying the environment on your phone and you can just tap and swipe to explore the area. So grab your friends, put on your thinking caps and get out there and catch that criminal!
If this game has piqued your interest like it has mine, check out the Kickstarter page for more information and to pledge for a copy. A base pledge with just the game and companion app runs $39 plus shipping, and the VR glasses add-on is additional $10, which also comes with an additional case. Or you can go full deluxe for $89 which include the base game, VR glasses, and two additional expansions putting you in a film noir type setting as well as a kid detective type setting. And one final thing, since the cases are app driven, you can play the same scenario over and over since the app randomizes the result for each game, making sure each case is unique.
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:
Another week, another batch of Kickstarters for everyone to check out. First on the list is a voting game called The Champion of the Wild. In this game you are trying to determine who is the king of the jungle through Olympic style events and challenges. To start the game you will select three events from different categories with the categories ranging from strength, to endurance, to team events, speed, and more. Each event has it’s own restrictions and rules, so some events you think will be a cinch may have a rule that handicaps you to make it a “fair fight”. Once you have selected the events it’s time to pick who you will be competing with in all three events. Every player will have a hand of seven cards and you will pick your animal or insect from that hand of cards, that is when the voting portion of the game begins. In order each player will explain why their animal should be the winner in each event, trying to be as convincing as possible. Once that is done you will then hand each other voting tokens on where you think they would place for the first event. You will repeat this token passing for the second and then the third events as well. Once every event has been voted on you will then reveal your tokens and total your score, highest value takes home the gold! So if this voting style game interests you, check out the Kickstarter page.
Next is a simple, but beautiful, card game about discovering the scientific method called STEM: Epic Heroes. In STEM: Epic Heroes you will be utilizing different famous figures from history to claim the five steps of the scientific method, observation, hypothesis, experimentation, analysis, and publishing. The famous scientists included run the whole range of science with people like Tesla, George Washington Carver, Newton, Lovelace, Turing, and more. Play is simple in that there is a display of step cards ready to be claimed, and to claim them all you have to do is play a scientist that matches the field on that step such as math, engineering, or chemistry. Collect all five step cards to end the game, and at the end the highest score will be the winner. But that is not all, there are item and location cards as well that can be paired with the different fields giving you even more points. So make sure to grab the steps quickly, but pay attention to your points so you will still be the winner in the end. To find out more and check out the amazing art, head on over to the Kickstarter page.
After that we have a mini dice chucking game called Dice of Pirates. This is a simple game of pirate looting and battling, often against the kraken, but also against each other. On your turn you will roll all the dice as many times as you like, but every time you get a three of a kind a different effect will happen. Roll three gold and you get a treasure token, putting you closer to the win condition of five tokens, but also ending your turn. Roll three krakens and you get your ship sunk, forcing your turn to end right then and there. Roll three black flags and a raid begins where you will be rolling off against an opponent in a bid to steal his accumulated treasure. The one exception to this set of three rule is the ship, whenever you roll a ship you give the die to someone, they roll it, and what they roll will determine what effect happens. First person to get five treasure/plunder tokens is the winner. So if you enjoy filler dice games like this, head on over to their Kickstarter page.
Following that is a card, tableau building type game called Dwarven Smithy. In this game you are trying to be the most successful smithy around by digging for materials, forging amazing items, and hiring apprentices to help you do the work. This is all contained within a fairly easy to learn card game, as you will simply play and draw cards on your turn. When you play down materials they start out in their raw state, but they will be refined come your next turn, ready to be used in whatever creations or have in hand. Hiring apprentices will give you extra abilities, crafting items can also give you abilities, or more often some quick gold when you sell them. Then there are the king’s items, which require more work to build but also net you some serious cash when completed. But what can you do with this gold? Well you can use it to buy supplies, items, or apprentices that other players put up for sale, paying them the money, but getting you the card. But be careful with that, in the end it’s the player with the most money who will win, so don’t give the game away. To find out more about this game and to see it’s amazing art, head on over to the Kickstarter page.
Finally we have a game that is unfortunately flying under the radar, and that is Spy Club from Foxtrot Games. This is a family style detective game where you are trying to figure out the who, what, where, why, and with what of a crime that occurred in your neighborhood. Everyone will have a display of three cards, and on your turn you will have three actions to either flip your cards, move them to the center board, or draw more cards from the deck. Moving the cards to the center board is important because every time you collect five of one color, you solve the mystery associated with that color. Blue will tell you want happened, purple will tell you who committed the crime, yellow tells you what item is associated with the crime and so on. But the suspect won’t make it easy for you, after each turn he moves along the board and will be triggering events that will mess you up. But if you work effectively together, you will be able to catch him before he escapes. Another cool aspect of the game is a narrative campaign system where you will be uncovering a larger crime over the course of five games, with each game adding new rules and effects as you go along. This creates a unique experience each time you run through it, and with 40 modules in the campaign, the possible combinations are numerous. So if you are looking for an engaging detective game for the whole family, check out this Kickstarter.