*Initial Impressions are written after 1 play.
In Detective, players assume the roles of investigators attempting to solve 5 cases, each of which being a separate, but connected gaming experience.
Each individual investigator will have a unique ability and skill. Skills are used to enhance your investigation by “digging deeper”, and unlocking other information not available otherwise. Players will access an online database for fingerprints and information, hunt down specific leads through cards and even research through Google, Wikipedia and Google Maps.
Investigators must be aware of the clock. Every case has a limit of days you must solve the case in. Actions in the game will cost time and working overtime (more than 8 hours in a single day) will cause stress, equating to negative points at the end of the game.
When the final day concludes, investigators will answer questions regarding the case on the online database. You will then be given your final score, as well as notified whether or not you solved the case.
Detective can be picked up and learned rather quickly. The first case feels as if it will play slightly longer than the subsequent cases, because of the learning of the mechanics, but the rules are rather light. I feel comfortable teaching and playing Detective with people who are not avid gamers.
Players are able to follow leads, which requires moving the clock forward a specific amount of time, depending on the lead. You are able to dig deeper into certain leads. Specific leads may have you traveling to a certain location on a small game board. Travel to any location will take 1 hour off the clock, as well. Access to the online database can happen at anytime, costing no time on the clock. Online searches will be available to investigators, but only when prompted. Multiple choice questions will wrap up each of the five cases.
The theme is highly present in Detective. Any and all actions taken will feel as if you are actually an investigator, discovering clues and leads about the case. The online database and use of search engines and Wikipedia make this game stand out from anything even close to being similar. The theme is dripping off this game.
Detective is a game that is quick to get set up and started. There is not a long list of possible actions that you can take. Learn the actions, login to the website and you are basically good to go!
The first case in the campaign of Detective took 2 of us slightly over 3 hours to complete. This included the instructions/setup, the final endgame questions and taking a bathroom/stretch break between each “day” in the case. Subsequent cases should take less time, being perfectly familiar with the mechanics and knowing how to more efficiently take notes.
I had an absolute blast from start to finish. I could tell that my partner would have liked the case to be about 30 minutes shorter, which the upcoming cases should be, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I was immersed into the world and immediately wanted to crack the next case after finishing the first.
Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game is a superb blend of real-life investigating and board game mechanics. I’m not sure I would want to play this game with more than 2-3 players at a time, as the voices might start to drown one another out, the length might start to increase and even with granting players the “roles” recommended in the rule book, some players may feel left out with nothing to do. Detective is a hit with gamers and non-gamers alike. It is accessible, fun, challenging and immersive. Even if you only play each of the 5 cases once, Detective is well worth its price tag.