As we all during this coronavirus pandemic, it’s understandable that some of us might be feeling a little stir crazy. Being stuck at home with family or roommates can bring its own set of problems—but luckily there’s the oldest solution in the books. Board games!
For mystery lovers out there, the first game of choice is obviously its rules are simple and its deductive gameplay is a delight. But if you’re looking to shake things up a little, look no further. Here are 11 of the best mystery board games for a night in.
Perfect for families, this game requires 2 to 8 players. With a simple ruleset, this game has a playtime of around 30 to 45 minutes. Each player becomes a spy for their given country, and while trying to keep their own identity secret, players attempt to suss out the identities of their opponents, all while completing missions with code books, disguises, and keys and passwords. Spy Alley is a great game that utilizes deduction, body language, and logic.
221B Baker Street
A wonderful game for older players, 221B Baker Street requires 2 or more people. Players engage with 200 of the Sherlock Holmes adventures written specifically for this game. Depending on the number of players, the mysteries can be solved competitively or cooperatively. Players set out through 14 different locations in Victorian London, picking up clues along the way.
Exit: The Mysterious Museum
Up to 4 players can participate in this exciting escape room game with a low to moderate difficulty level. In the scenario at work in Exit: The Mysterious Museum, players must crack riddles and puzzles in order to find their way out of the Florence Natural History Museum before time runs out. Your plans on visiting the sunken treasures of the Santa Maria were derailed, propelling you into a complex adventure. Other scenarios of varying difficulties are also available, such as , , and .
For 3 or more players, this mystery card game is highly strategic. Players are tasked with using their skills of deduction to solve the how, why, and who of a murder. While a player receives points for cracking a case, they also get points if they assist in helping another player win a round. This a game that’s great not only for families, but also for large groups!
This intense and involved 2 to 3 hour board game is for 1 to 5 cooperative players. The game includes 5 different immersive cases that are all interconnected. Together, the players are tasked with solving crimes using given clues, general knowledge, and the Antares Database online. The rules are short and simple, putting the brunt of the gameplay on your own wit and deduction skills!
Letters From Whitechapel
It’s one versus the many in this 2 to 6 person historical/true crime-themed mystery board game. One player steps into the role of the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper, using bluffing skills and strategy to carry out their heinous crimes and maintain a secret hideout. Meanwhile, the other players are working together to deduce where you’ll strike next, and where you slink away to for safety each night. This game has a keen and captivating sense of history, and will have all players on the edge of their seats.
A Taste For Wine and Murder
A classic murder mystery party game, this boxed set is best paired with your favorite wine! 6 to 8 adult players take on different personas and try to either get away with murder or expose the duplicitous criminal in their midst. The scenario is this: at an annual California wine-tasting festival, the body of a local vineyard owner was discovered—and the killer may strike again soon. There’s an array of other dicey dinner party cases, including , , and .
Paranormal Detectives is a deduction party game that lasts 30 to 50 minutes of playtime for 2 to 6 players. One player takes on the role of the victim—a ghost. Meanwhile, the other players act as paranormal investigators, working together to try and figure out the truth about the victim’s death. As the detectives take turns asking open-ended questions, it’s up to the ghost to imply the answers through several tools included in the game.
Chronicles of Crime
Combining a VR experience with good old-fashioned board gaming, this cooperative game is for 1 to 4 players. The game includes several different crime scenarios. To play, the group just has to select the story in the app and follow the given instructions. As the players try to catch a killer, they’ll use scan and play technology to trigger clues. Due to the virtual nature of this game, players are capable of getting new stories even after the initial purchase of the game!
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
This fast-paced game is for 4 to 12 players. This mystery game includes hundreds of cards, making this one of the few mystery games with phenomenal replay value. One player takes on the role of a murderer, choosing their weapon and evidence left behind at the scene of the crime. A different character steps into the shoes of a forensic scientist who knows the key to solving the murder, but can only express their knowledge through crime scene analysis. All other players are typical investigators, sorting through clues to bring a killer to justice.
This quick game lasts around 30 minutes for 3 to 6 players. Mister X (one of the players) is a criminal mastermind who has escaped from Scotland Yard. Scotland Yard’s best detectives (the rest of the players) must find him and bring him back. A dogged pursuit across taxi, train, and bus is afoot!
Featured photo of 'Chronicles of Crime' via Lucky Duck Games