Saggyhead has donned her deerstalker hat and grabbed her magnifying glass for a game of Suspects by Studio H.
Summary of Game
Suspects is a murder mystery social deduction game taking heavy influence from the Agatha Christie novels. Ms Harper is a young up and coming criminologist who happens to be in the right place at the same time as some mysterious crimes take place. This is a one shot wonder of a game, so of course this review will be completely spoiler free. So fear not, you may read on without any risk of getting a leg up on the mystery solving should you take this game for a spin.
What’s in the box?
The game consists of a rule book, a few documents and a deck of cards for each of the three cases. There is also a free MacGuffin affair which was available to reviewers and attendees of some conventions. This is a shorter case, only 60 mins long and takes place on a train from London to Edinburgh. The cards have pieces of evidence or witness interviews on them. There is an element of choose-your-own-adventure in that you can decide which questions you want to ask each witness. Whether you decide to ask these questions will determine how many cards you use to solve the mystery. Some cards will take you to dead ends, and others will uncover key crime-busting pieces of information. Using more cards will harm your score at the end of the game, but without evidence, how can you be sure your Agatha Christie nose is sniffing at the right suspect?
There are two schools of thought for these kinds of games, one is that you try to get the best score possible, and the other is that you explore the game fully since it is a one-and-done and really get your money’s worth. The score you get is based on how quickly you are able to answer the questions correctly. There is a questionnaire to fill out for each case, and each of them has a few scoring brackets. Answering the question after using 10 cards would get you say 5 points, if you need to use 11-20 cards, then you may only get 3 points, and using more cards would get you fewer points again. Trouble I see is that I want to see ALL OF THE GAME. So I guess that makes it obvious which school of thought I subscribe to?
I love crime TV programs so anything mystery related is right up my street. I was a touch concerned that this would be like all the others and bring nothing new to the table. However I had underestimated how much fun the story would be. It really had the vibe of an Agatha Christie classic which was a welcome surprise.
Is it a good story though?
The most important thing in a game like this is the story. If the story and puzzle is not engaging then the game will fall flat. Luckily, these are based on Agatha Christie novels, one of the biggest most well known mystery writers. So they have a firm foundation upon which to build a solid game, and you know what, they really do. I can’t say much more without spoiling aspects of the surprise and excitement of reading the introductions to the different cases, so I guess you will simply have to trust me here.
I really like the artwork, and the colour palette makes everything on the card easy to read. I like the fact there are only three icons to remember too as this helps with organising the thoughts and choosing which avenues to pursue. There is however quite a lot of text on the cards. Some of this text is quite small but skim reading might cause you to miss key information so you need to read it properly to avoid messing things up. I think that graphically this is much easier to read and follow than for example Sherlock where most things are shades of sepia.
This game is what we call a “one and done”, you cannot replay the game afterwards. But similar to the Unlock! Series, the components can be carefully reset so that the game can be donated or sold afterwards. Our copy will be making the rounds around our friend group so everyone can enjoy this gem.
Please note that a copy of this game was kindly provided by the publishers for review
- You can decide to go for a high score and try to solve with few cards or you can enjoy all the content fully
- Story is engaging
- Playtime is about right
- Card decks are easy to manage and use
- Easily reset for resale or reuse by friends
- Sometimes a little too much text on cards
- Very similar to games such as Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective