More than a century playing detectives.

Did you know that the first edition of Cluedo – the detective game that almost everyone knows – was released in the United Kingdom in 1949? Cluedo has been on the market for no less than eight decades! Amazing.

And yet it is not the oldest detective game. As early as 1904, “Sherlock Holmes: The Card Game”, a card game based on the Sherlock Holmes stories, was being played in the United Kingdom, in which players assumed the role of detectives and competed to solve cases.

In 1905, the board game “Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar” based on the stories by Maurice Leblanc became popular in France, a game that allowed players to assume the role of the famous thief Arsène Lupin or the detective in charge of capturing him. ‘Lupin’, yes, the detective homaged in the Netflix series of the same name.

And in 1936 “Crimean” was published in the United Kingdom, a game in which players had to solve a murder in a mansion using clue cards, and which was one of the main inspirations for Cluedo/Clue.

However, Cluedo/Clue is an exceptional game in the world of detective games and therefore has the honor of occupying first place on our list: it is the oldest game among all those still on the market, more than 80 years old! So, it will be for something, don’t you think?

Game #1 – Cluedo

Tablero de juego de Cluedo

Cluedo is played on a board representing a mansion where a murder has taken place. All players are both detectives and suspects.

The player who manages to discover three things wins the game: in which room the murder took place, with which weapon the victim was killed, and, of course, who the murderer is.

To achieve this, players gather information by asking each other questions and uncovering clues that allow them to rule out suspects, weapons and rooms. Once a player believes he has solved the mystery he makes an accusation, pointing out the suspect, the weapon and the room he believes to be correct. If the accusation is incorrect, the player is eliminated from the game. The first player to make a correct accusation wins.

cluedo 2019

Cluedo is a replayable game, that is to say, it is not an escape room type game that once you know the solution does not make much sense to play again. Every game of Clue is different from the previous one, as the suspect, weapon, and room cards are randomly distributed in each game. In addition, Cluedo is based on the interaction between players, who ask each other questions and collect information as they answer. The dynamics of deduction and suspicion among players can generate different strategies and unexpected twists, which contributes to replayability.

And of course there are different variants and expansions that add new mechanics, characters, rooms and weapons, which further expands the possibilities and increases its replayability.

But let’s not start with the roof. If you think your group of friends or your family might like this type of game, start with the basic and original version, and if you love the game you will have time to look for expansions.

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Game #2 – Unsolve Case Files

Detective game Unsolved Case Files

The concept of Unsolved Case Files, a game released in 2016, is completely different. It is a collaborative game in which players face cases that had been closed by the police without being solved. It is a major challenge.

To achieve this, players have at their disposal the police file with all the documentation that was collected by the detectives who dealt with the case: identity, data and photographs of the suspects, evidence reports, newspaper articles, forensic reports, interrogations, witness statements and much more.

Players must analyze all this information and using their logic and deduction skills must come up with something that escaped the case inspector and lead them to conclude who the murderer was. In order to make things a little easier, the game is divided into three phases or partial objectives, which, when solved sequentially, lead to the final objective: to solve the case.

Through its website, the game offers the possibility of checking if the conclusions reached are correct, and even offers clues in case you are very lost.

Realism is the best part of the game. The documentation of the evidence and other materials feels real, which makes you feel like you’re truly stepping into the role of a modern detective, reminiscent of current police series. It creates an immersive experience that has captivated thousands of players worldwide.

Many players use a giant corkboard to pin photos of the victim and suspects, along with strings to create a clearer visual representation of the connections between them or the evidence collected, just like in the movies!

Playing detective

This game provides entertainment for several hours, from two to six hours in total depending on the skill or inspiration of the players. It’s ideal for a gathering with friends, to do something different at the next family gathering, and even to share and overcome the challenge with your partner.

Now, once the case is solved, the game will have to have a second life in other hands because there will be no point in playing it again. Give it as a gift or leave it to someone else! The more people enjoy it, the better.

Naturally, there are many versions with different cases and the publisher of the game continues to release new cases every year because the game has thousands of fans and excellent ratings.

There are currently 9 cases:

  1. Harmony Ashcroft: murdered the night before her wedding.
  2. Jamie Banks: a high school senior fell out of a sixth-floor window at the high school.
  3. Max Cahill: the new dean of the History department turns up dead in his office.
  4. Jane Doe: his charred body was discovered after a fire at a rehabilitation center on a remote island.
  5. Buddy Edmuns: a dealer in used cars from Jethro, Texas, is found murdered in the living room of his home.
  6. Veronica Falcone: an American spy from World War II disappears after returning to her hometown to become an investigative journalist.
  7. Zoey y Avery Gardner: twins, one murdered and the other kidnapped, and the lead detective disappeared while on the trail of the killer.
  8. Honey the bunny: the lovable class mascot has disappeared.
  9. Sandra Ivey: a billionaire CEO and space pioneer turns up dead on her company’s newly launched space station.

As you can see, if the game becomes a success, you have a multitude of cases to solve.

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Game #3 – Detective

Detective, un juego de investigación moderno

If you liked the idea proposed by Unsolved Case Files but you are not convinced that each game has only one case, then your game is “Detective”, with a similar idea and mechanics, but including 5 cases in the same game.

“Detective” is an amazing game that has accumulated numerous awards since its release in 2019. It fully immerses you in the role, making you feel like a real detective. It not only includes case documentation such as photographs, statements, evidence, and forensic reports, but it also requires you to act like a true detective with a specific workday. You have to access a police database online to gather information and cross-reference evidence, consult online maps to follow leads, and more. It’s like being a genuine FBI agent!

The game includes 5 independent cases although with some linkage between them and believe us when we tell you that after solving the first case and before going for the second one you will seriously consider buying a huge cork to help you visually follow up the investigation!

Once the 5 cases are solved, the game is over, but the quality-price-fun time ratio is more than excellent. In addition, two expansions have already been released, and we are sure that they will not be the last.

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Game #4 – Micro Macro Crime City

Juego Micro Macro Crime

Micro Macro Crime City is also a detective and deduction game, but it is nothing like the previous ones. Awarded Game of the Year 2021 at the Cannes International Game Festival, it is a game with super-original mechanics.

When you hear that the game is a huge illustrated map of a city with tiny drawings and characters engaged in various activities, everyone assumes that the game simply involves searching and finding something on the paper, like a Where’s Waldo/Wally? type of game. However, that’s not the case. The game not only involves searching for things, characters, or actions on the map but also requires the use of logic and deductive reasoning to connect scenes and events in order to solve each case.

And do not be fooled by the aesthetics of the drawings that may make you think that it is a children’s game. This is far from the truth. If the city is called Crime City it is for a reason. Throughout some cases you will discover scenes and acts not suitable for children under 10 years old.

The plane measures 110cm x 75cm so you will need a very large table to play comfortably and also give it a very good lighting. The set includes a magnifying glass to make things easier, but in our experience lighting is key.

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Game #5 – Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes, detective asesor

And if you enjoy the Victorian atmosphere of late 19th-century London, then “Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective” is the game for you.

The goal is to solve each case – there are 10 cases in all – as accurately and as quickly as possible. Players must use their logic, deduction skills and ability to find connections between clues to arrive at the correct solution. “Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective” is known for its focus on narrative and immersion in the world of Sherlock Holmes.

Elementos del juego Sherlock Holmes Detective Asesor.

The first edition of the game dates back to 1981. Numerous reprints, expansions and new versions have been published since then.

There are currently four versions on the market:

  1. The Thames Murders & Other Cases, which is the enhanced re-release of the original game.
  2. Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures, with 4 cases to unmask Jack the Ripper and 6 helping Scotland Yard.
  3. Carlton House & Queen’s Park, with 5 cases in the mansion and 5 in the park.
  4. Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars, in which Sherlock is helped by a group of children.

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Game #6 – Mysterium

Mysterium, juego cooperativo de detectives

In Mysterium, one player takes on the role of the ghost, who is the victim of the murder, and must provide visual clues to the other players (the mediums) to help them identify the killer, the crime scene, and the weapon used. Visual clues are presented in the form of dream cards containing abstract and symbolic illustrations.

The game is played in multiple rounds, with players trying to solve the mystery before time runs out. Communication between the ghost and the mediums is limited and relies on the visual clues provided by the ghost.

Mysterium is known for its mysterious atmosphere and cooperative gameplay. It requires deduction and communication skills, making it a highly immersive and exciting experience for players. It has been praised for its artistic design and its ability to create unique stories and experiences in each game. Awarded the Best Game of the Year at Cannes in 2016. Great game.

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Conclusions

There are many more detective games, but most of them are very similar to the ones we have presented. Our opinion is that if none of these five games have caught your attention, neither will the others.

So we suggest you choose one of these five and try it out. And if you like it, it will come time to look for new similar games for continuity.

If you want an immersive game with a modern aesthetic then choose between “Unsolved Case Files” or “Detective”.

If you prefer the mystery of the supernatural, your game is “Mysterium.”

If you prefer a classic setting then try “Sherlock Holmes consulting detective”.

If you don’t like collaborative games then you should choose Cluedo and if the game succeeds you can follow it up with Uncomfortable Guests and Chronicles of Crime, which are also competitive -not collaborative- detective-themed games that people rave about.

And if you want a truly original game, try Micro Macro Crime City, an unparalleled game that is sure to continue releasing new expansions in the coming years.

Gadgets to feel like a real detective

Are they necessary? No. Do they make the gaming experience more immersive and fun? Yes. Are you gonna hang out with your friends and also gonna take a keepsake with them forever? Also.

FBI Agents

FBI cap and ves

If you want your investigation team to feel like a real FBI detective team in games like “Unsolved Case Files” or “Detective” then take a look at these detective gadgets.

You can get this costume with FBI cap and vest for around $20.

Imagine that. Everyone in their FBI vests solving the case. Awesome.

Check exact price and availability on Amazon.

Police badge for detective game

These police plates are more economical but will also bring a smile to your friends or family when they hang it up. 100% guaranteed.

Check exact price and availability on Amazon.

FBI detective identification

If you like this idea and you don’t mind investing a little more, what would be the bomb and would also be a spectacular souvenir forever, is to personalize these FBI special agent badges. Imagine giving one to each participant with their own photo and name. It’s the best!

Check exact price and availability on Amazon.

Sherlock Holmes

If you prefer games with a classic setting, at least one player has to dress up as Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes costume gadgets

A set of cap, pipe and magnifying glass may be sufficient.

Check exact price and availability on Amazon.

And if you’re going to play as a couple these Sherlock and Dr. Watson costumes will make the gaming experience unforgettable! You can always reuse them for carnival or Halloween. The hard part will be deciding who plays Sherlock and who plays Dr. Watson…

Check exact price and availability on Amazon.


And that’s all, for the moment. Thank you for reading.

Have a great day and enjoy the real world and real life!

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