Spotlight on Games > Ludographies > Essen 2010
Essen 2010 Game by Game

Deduction Games

The Boss
Alain Ollier; Blackrock Editions; 2-4; 20-60
In this card game (there is a small board for scoring) players are American mob members trying to find out about loot in various cities, also about planned sanctions. As cards are played, more and more is learned and players send gang members to likely cities. The player with the most in a city either gets the loot or suffers the sanction. Chicago is special: there the loot has to be shared with the Capone gang. [more]

Crime & Mystery: Bakerstreet Files
Johannes Krenner; Heidelberger Spieleverlag; 3-6; 30
Players are detectives working with Scotland Yard. To start players choose one of four cases. Then the suspects are dealt out and each player displays one. Then they are dealt evidence cards, some of which are usable in more than one case. There are four different kinds of evidence cards: before the crime, at the time of the crime, after the crime and perpetrator profile. Each also includes 4 different references to other evidence cards lettered A-D. Each evidence goes with the two suspects on whose cards these letters appear. Then each player gives a two minute report on what they have learned; during this time players are not to take notes, though it is okay afterwards. Example report: "My investigations of Mr. Harker concerning the murder of Count Westbury have shown that before the crime the suspect often and for unusually long periods considered a special family portrait. I really have no idea how this is relevant to the crime, but the suspect gave me a most singular impression, as if he longer knew his own name. During questioning, he nervously played with a box of matches. I have further found that after the fact Mr. Harker was observed hiding behind a screen. Taking all this into account and considering that he was probably present at the time and afterwards walked across the river, I think that Mr. Harker is well within the inner circle of suspects." After the reports all of the evidence cards are shuffled and seven drawn at random; on the back of each is a concrete fact about the case that can only be read by use of the special enclosed rubylith, which is now done by one of the players, aloud. As each is read, players note on their sheets which suspects this implicates. After all are read players record their top two suspects, i.e. the ones to whom the most evidence points. Now the reader states the solution based on the evidence card numbers on the fronts of the seven cards (whose order has been strictly kept ever since drawing them). This can be more than one suspect. Players who are right get two points per correct answer, but a player who has it correct about his own suspect without anyone else being right gets a penalty of -1 (for being deliberately misleading). Those most chosen by the players are the prime suspects and if identified as such give those identifying players extra points. In German only. [more]

Dirk Strothmann;; 2-5; 30
Oil exploration on a world map. Players test whether they have struck oil by pushing a probe into the black cardboard grid, hoping to find a hole in the position corresponding to their map position. As the game continues more and more oil boards are added so that eventually there is only one place where oil can be struck. "i9n" stands for "information", i.e. "i" + 9 letters + "n". [more]

Letters from Whitechapel
Gabriele Mari & Gianluca Santopietro; Nexus; 2-6; 150
A one vs. many game, the one being Jack the Ripper. Detectives learn where the Ripper may be by picking spots and asking the Ripper whether he has passed through them in the current round. This is Scotland Yard on a mild steroid, its added wrinkles not worth the extra hours of play to complete. [more]

Mord im Arosa
Alessandro Zucchini; Zoch; 2-6; 30
In "Murder in the Arosa" players are spending a night in a multi-story European hotel when a gunshot is heard. They try to plant evidence on one another by tossing cubes into a tower through which they fall, possibly stopping on particular floors. The novel and peculiar useful skill: being able to hear on which floors cubes have landed. The player then can either make an accusation that others are on that floor or attempt to clear his own name by stating that his own cubes are on that floor. With success, the player either adds opponent cubes to the scoring track or removes his own; with failure, he adds more of his cubes to the tower. In any case, the revealed cubes are put back in. The player having the fewest cubes closest to the crime scenes wins. Deduction comes in reducing the possible floors to just a couple and then eliminating those that other players have recently viewed; memory is also quite important. [more]

Saustall - Kommissar Kluftingers schwerster Fall
Michael Rieneck; Huch & Friends; 2-4; 30-45; 10+
In picturesque mountain village a body has been found. Players are trying to figure out who done it and why. They make assertions about the "who" by placing bets on the attributes of the culprit. They can also play action cards that give a particular suspect an alibi, which could be later invalidated by other actions. The odds of a particular suspect being the culprit tend to grow and shrink during play. In addition players can give other players little "jobs" to do that delay them from doing what they want unless they are willing to accept negative points. But it's not all "take that!" – there are also invariable clues which must be discovered. In German only. Title means "Pigsty - Commissioner Kluftinger's Most Difficult Case". [more]

Sieben unter Verdacht
Reiner Knizia; Gmeiner Verlag/Hutter Trade; 1-5; 15
There are seven suspects, the perpetrator being determined by drawing one of these cards at random. Card backs have bullet holes drawn on them. Players get cards having holes in them which they can use to look at the card back and start to deduce what the pattern of holes on the perpetrator card is. [more]

Muneyuki Yokouchi; Japon Brand/Ayatsurare Ningyoukan; 3-5; 30-60
Each player is takes a different character trying to solve a series of murders at a magic academy that have been committed by a witch. Players do not know which character is which, or witch, for that matter. Apparently the witch is able to take the form of anyone she has killed so it is even possible that one of the investigating characters is actually the witch. The players other goal is to try to become the most reliable of the characters. On a turn a player either uses a data card or drafts two character cards. Performing the latter, one of the cards remains face up and constitutes an accusation while the other is discarded and the player takes an information disk on this character (stealing it from someone else if the supply has run out). Data cards let you change the draftable cards and turn two accusation cards face down, negating their power. At the end of the round players all write on their record sheets what each other player's identity is. Based on correctness plus accusations and disks acquired points are granted and/or deducted. It is possible to kill an investigator who is not the witch at all and the winner might be the last player still standing. Comes with an introductory version intended for teaching the basic system. [more]

< previousnext >

Society Games            Further Afield
Spotlight on Games > Ludographies > Essen 2010