When it comes to unpicking a mystery, there’s nothing better than having a few folk round to help out. Enjoying a massive audience, games such as Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, have opened the floodgates for fans to test their wits against the finest mysteries the world of tabletop gaming has to offer.

So, here are ten of our favourite games for would-be sleuths across the world. Starting with-

10 | T.I.M.E. Stories (2015)

Combining sci-fi gaming with the closest we’re ever going to get to Quantum Leaping, T.I.M.E puts you in the space slippers of a team of time-travelling agents charged with setting historical paradoxes right. With the history world as their oyster, players are able to take part in ‘decksploration’ to replay and repeat scenarios to optimise their approach and get their mission right. Complete with gorgeous art, stunning twists, and a wealth of expansions, there’s truly something for players of all stripes.

9 | Mystery of the Abbey (1995)

Cracked Cluedo? Send in the Monks. A classic from Days of Wonder, Bruno Faidutti’s often overlooked masterpiece charges your team with finding the murderer in a French abbey in the middle of the dark ages. Before long, players are going full Cadfael and trying to figure out who the culprit was while protecting your research from other players whilst hopping from room to gorgeous room in the building – all realised with characteristic no-expense-spared spared, DOW style. Fully spread out, the game looks truly stunning on your tabletop, complete with finely designed playing pieces that capture the spirit of the time.

8 | Alchemists (2014)

Less of a ‘who was murdered’ than a ‘will this kill me’ sort of game, Alchemists is a hybrid game played with an app that asks you to combine potions in your collection…for points! Taking place across six rounds, the game gives players access to a pile of ingredients whose properties are randomised at the start of each session. Successes allow for the accumulation of reputation – with alchemists caring little of coin – and the publication of academic treatises about potions scoring the most points. Fun (if a little complex) Alchemists offers up a fresh puzzle each turn, giving you something to honestly think about each time.

7 | Tragedy Looper (2011)

An under-reported delight, Tragedy Looper is a one-versus-many marvel where three players are teamed up against a single mastermind…who wishes them very specific harm. Marketed as a mystery in a box, part of the joy of play is watching the mechanism unfold as your team travels back in time to prevent specific tragedies from happening, with a set number of ‘loops’ for the players to figure out how to unpick the mystery. A team based version of ‘Consulting Detective’, Looper is the next logical step for hardened fans of the detective series. And for those looking for something a little more contemporary-

6 | Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game (2018)

For those looking to be a part of The Bill, MCS is a fantastic cross between a storytelling game and a perfectly balanced police thriller. As with Alchemists, this involves the use of a dedicated app to bring your components to life, offering interviews, sound clips, recreations, and aiding with navigation – removing a lot of the busywork that can accompany a puzzle solving game. This also adds the amount of resources given to solve a crime, acting as a ticking clock to ensure that a session does not overstay its welcome. And once you reach the end, a quick questionnaire will determine how close you were to your collar and who got away scot free

5 | Blood on the Clocktower (2020)

Beloved by SUSD, Clocktower stormed onto our radar last year as a party game masterpiece that was unfortunately derailed by the onset of Covid 19. Offering you the ability hold the most byzantine version of werewolf imaginable. With one player put in the role of the ‘Demon’, other players are tasked with ferreting their presence out. With dozens of roles to choose from, players enjoy a wealth of options for play – all facilitated by a unique storyteller to smooth over the bumps and keep things interesting. This can lead to a short, punchy session with laser focus or a sprawling evening-long adventure that verges on a LARP. An absolute milestone for the industry and a must-buy for those that can afford it.

4 | Letters from Whitechapel (2011)

Never mind solving a crime, can you slap the cuffs on a criminal? Playing out over a map of Victorian London, players team up with the bobbies of Scotland yard chasing down Jack the Ripper in a hidden movement masterpiece. Played out using hidden movement mechanics, the game skids between peaks of excitement and furrows of despair as the killer slips between your fingers again and again…or is caught trying to duck down an alleyway a few turns in. A pulse pounding, easy to teach delight.

3 | Deception: Murder in Hong Kong (2014)

Crooked cops, eh? Who needs em’? Playable in 20 minutes, Deception is a fantastic take on the standard murder mystery approach pioneered by Mysterium, one player is actively attempting to pervert the course of justice by tampering with evidence and muddying the waters enough for them to pin the crime on another player. Adding just enough extra spice to the traditional murder mystery game, Deception is a fantastic addition to every crime fan’s library as a opener, closer, or playing multiple times across a single session.

2 | Mythos Tales (2016)

Despite Lovecraft specifically showing us that unpicking mysteries sends us insane, the team at Grey Fox have done it anyway. Borrowing elements from consulting detective, Mythos takes a distinctly darker spin on collaborative sleuthing with eight cases that touch on key elements of the Cthulhu mythos. Dig deeper and deeper into a dark mystery as your characters bleed sanity, hoovering up clues, and get at the truth before building to a horrifying conclusion.

1 | Watson & Holmes (2015)

Competitive problem solving you say? A fantastic counterpoint to the sedate joys of many puzzle games, W&H is a race against time as you and your team charge around London deducing against the clock. Using clever blocking, players can passive-aggressively prevent their peers from getting at good clues, listen in on other investigations, and steam home to Baker Street once they’ve unearthed the solution and find it’s…wrong. Great for those who love a bit of rivalry as much as unpicking a riddle, W&H is a fantastic modern take on the sedate world of Doyle. An essential buy for every detective in training.


Which is your favorite detective game? Share it in the comments below :)

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