At the UK Games Expo, this was the highlight of the week, hands down, no competition. Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game has been in the works from Ignacy Trewiczek at Portal Games for some time now and at this rate, it's looking to be a solid hit. . . for maybe a specific audience. Let me clarify, but relax, spoiler free here!
The Detective Game
Detective has you playing a team of detectives trying to solve a case co-operatively. You'll be given a brief, some cards with plenty of background text on them and a board that simply tracks your location and time of day. You have a set amount of time to gather your clues and information before you attempt to solve the case by way of multi-choice questions.
The cool extra gimmick here is that you have access to a desktop website that functions as your database. Cards will give you prompts that you can type in on the site and bring up really detailed profiles on, be it locations or finger print scans or personnel files. It's being finalised, but in its current state it worked pretty smoothly.
There is a ton of reading (though not quite Sherlock Consulting Detective levels), but it sets a really cool story and with the overarching plot twists and conspiracy theories, it makes you really feel like you're in your CSI sitcom series. You will notice it's been written clearly by someone who's native language isn't English, but there wasn't a point where I got confused or couldn't understand what was being portrayed.
Our team of four had such a blast trying to solve the case, each lending their ideas, me on the database acting like the tech nerd, Amy from The Game Shelf drawing a mind-map that was more like a mind-maze, Ben reading with the same quality as any audio book and Mike from Who Dares Rolls constantly requesting food after some of the cards elaborated deeply on what we had for lunch!
As a co-operative deduction game, first impressions are fantastic, however you should note that it's an event. We took between 2-3 hours for the first module, but we were engaged the whole time. But you do need a quiet environment to concentrate without distractions making Detective unsuitable for play at a games club night for example. It's ideal however for say, your lounge at home where four of you can gather, get some snacks, load up the website and discuss amongst yourselves. So where I say a specific audience, I mean those who like long games and can make the time to play this outside of a club night.
I don't usually like games that are too long unless they can engage me 100%. On that Friday night, Detective did exactly that - I'm excited for this one. Find out what other games caught my eye at this year's UK Games Expo by reading by top five list.