5 Best Mystery Board Games For 2022 | Can you solve it?
In this article I have brought together the 5 best mystery board games for you to choose from. The fantastically augmented reality of Chronicles of Crime will bring you into the scene and get you investigating every clue. Through Murder: Deception in Hong Kong where the killer is among you. To the awesome family game of 5 minute mystery.
There will definitely be a game here to interest you. Hopefully one you can add to your collection and spend many happy hours playing.
Table of Contents
- Chronicles of Crime
- Murder: Deception in Hong Kong
- Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
- 5 Minute Mystery
Chronicles of Crime
The first game in my list of the 5 best mystery board games for 2022 is Chronicles of Crime. This great game puts you in the shoes of the detective who must solve the mystery. This game is included in my article 5 Fun Board Games Like Clue.
The game was released in 2018 by Lucky Duck Games and is designed by David Cicurel. It is for 1-4 players and is unique in that it has an augmented reality element. It does require a smartphone in order to be able to play this game and comes with a free app you can download.
The game is based in London where all the players work cooperatively in order to solve the crimes. The game itself contains:
- 1 Evidence board,
- 12 location boards,
- 4 forensic contacts,
- 40 character cards,
- 40 Evidence Category and Special Item Cards
You set up the game by placing the evidence board in the middle of the table with the Scotland Yard location board underneath. Making sure the character and special item cards are in numeric order. Place them in two draw piles. The evidence pile can be placed face up and if you have the space then you can lay them out.
Now you can turn to your mobile and select the scenario you wish to play. The game is time based and so every action you take will cost you 5 minutes in time. The app drives the game forward and as you start it will give you the story so far and what you have to do to finish the setup.
Each location, forensic contact, character and special item has a QR code that you can scan in using the app. Depending on the code scanned you may be taken to a location, interrogate a character, or perhaps talk to a forensic contact.
The great thing about this game is that things change as time passes. Characters may move or there may even be another murder if you have not caught the culprit in time. You must decide the actions you want to take as a group and then take them.
Also, the quicker you solve it the more points you will score. Your objective is to solve the mystery in as fast a time as possible.
Locations and characters are not automatically revealed, you will need to discover them. You do this through asking questions of a character. Once you have scanned the characters QR code you will be in conversation mode. Scanning any other QR code (except locations) will cause the character to give up any information they have if they have any.
So, perhaps you’ll scan the victims code and the person you are talking to will reveal the murder took place in a location. You can then take this location from the location decks and place it around the evidence board.
In this way you slowly build up the evidence board with clues, characters and locations. You can visit revealed locations by exiting any conversations you may be in and then scanning the location QR code. You will now travel to the location which will add a whopping 20 minutes to your time.
This is where the game needs the team to work together. One player can then choose to search the location. This will give them 40 seconds and will show them an augmented view of the location.
As they move the phone around they will see the different parts of the location. They can look up, down and around in a complete 360 degree view. They should now call out any clues that they may see.
The rest will be looking through the spread out evidence cards on the table. The objective is to see if anything correlates to what the viewer is calling out. Each of these then have QR codes that might provide more information to solve your mystery.
This is a fantastically interactive and well thought out augmented reality game. It will immerse you into the crime and locations. Getting you all working together to solve it as quickly as possible. If you get the 3d goggles sold separately then the locations will be shown in 3D which makes it even better.
Murder: Deception in Hong Kong
The second board game in my list is Murder: Deception in Hong Kong. Released in 2014 by Jolly thinkers and designed by Tobey Ho, this game is all about discovering who dunnit.
Murder: Deception in Hong Kong is also included in my article 11 Board Games Like Codenames as it is similar to that game too. There are some other interesting games if you like Codenames such as The Resistance or Decrypto.
The game is great for larger numbers of players as it is sold for 4-12 players and plays best at around 6-8 players. The game is set in Hong Kong and you must find out who has committed a murder. However, the murderer is amongst you and you will need to uncover the mystery of their identity.
Each player has a role as either the forensic scientist, murderer, or investigator. If you are playing with 6 or more then you have an option to add the accomplice and/or the witness.
A deck of cards is built with 1 forensic card, 1 murderer card, (optionally is 6 or more players: 1 witness card, 1 accomplice card). The rest of the deck being investigator cards adding up to the number of players.. It is then shuffled and dealt out to each player. Each player secretly looks at their cards. The Forensic Investigator reveals themselves at this point and will manage the game from here.
The forensic scientist is key to the game as they will know who everyone is playing. They cannot tell you but can only use their forensic expertise to give you clues and try and point you in the right direction.
Except for the Forenisc Scientist, each player is dealt 4 means of murder cards and 4 key evidence cards. These represent how the murder was comitted and will reveal the murderer.
The forensic scientist asks everyone to close their eyes. Then asks the murderer to open their eyes and pick a means and key evidence indicating by pointing so the Forensic Scientist can see.
Now the game starts and everyone can open their eyes. The Forensic Scientist now has a series of cards in front of him that will have Cause of Death, Location, and 4 other tiles. Each card will have a series of clues on them.
The Forensic Scientist will put bullets onto these words to try and give evidence as to the correct means and key evidence that points to the murderer. Each player, except the Forensic Scientist and including the murderer, now gets to speak and give their opinion on who the murderer is and why. So, the murderer must throw people off the scent without giving themselves away.
Each investigator, including the murderer, can make an accusation at any time as to who they think the murderer is and which cards are the means and the evidence. The Forensic Scientist will give a one word response of either Yes or No to the accusation. If it is Yes then the game is over. A No will mean the game continues.
The game is played over 3 rounds and if the murderer has not been found by the end of the third round then they have gotten away with it.
You really want to play this game with more than 6 players as this brings in the witness and accomplice. The accomplice will open their eyes when then murderer does too, so they will also know the means and evidence and it is their job to lead everyone off the scent.
Once the murderer and accomplice has finished then the Forensic Scientist will ask them to close their eyes and for the witness to open theirs. The Forensic Scientist will then point to the Murderer and Accomplice, but not to the Means or Clue. The Witness must help their group in finding the murderer without being discovered.
If the Murderer is discovered then the Murderer and Accomplice have one guess at who the Witness is. If they guess correctly then they get away with it. So the Witness must not give themselves away.
This is a fantastic game for larger groups and is very replayable as the players will be different each time. As well as the Means and Evidence. Will you have what it takes to work out who the murderer is? Then you have got to try one of the best whodunnits.
Mysterium was released in 2015 by Libellud and designed by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko. This 2-7 player game will take you on a journey into the paranormal.
As psychic’s you must solve the mystery of a murder. Only this time you must call on the ghost of the deceased to solve the mystery.
One player will take the role of the ghost and will not be allowed to make any sound unless it is WhooooOOOOooo. The rest will take on the roles of psychic investigators.
Depending on the difficulty and number of players you will lay out a random set of characters, locations, and objects. The ghost has a duplicate deck of all these cards.
They now select one character, location and object for each investigator and place it in their board. This conceals the choices from the investigators.
The objective of the game is for the ghost to use a deck of cards with surreal images on them to try and make the investigators choose the right character, location and then object.
They do this by drawing 7 cards and then placing one down for each player to try and give them a hint at first guessing the character. Once the investigator has successfully guessed the character they can then go on to the location and so on.
If you have ever played Dixit then the surreal cards are very much like those in that game. So it is quite difficult (and fun) to try and get the investigator to guess correctly.
This sounds OK until you realize you only have 7 hours (or rounds) in which each investigator must correctly guess all three items. On top of that each player only has 30 seconds to interpret their cards and then place their token on a character they think is theirs.
Whilst the ghost must remain silent the investigators are free to discuss their cards as much as they want. It is a collaborative game. Players also get a number of check mark and cross tokens which they can use to vote if their fellow psychics have chosen correctly or not.
If a player votes correctly for another player then their player token will advance along a Clairvoyant track. If they progress enough then they will get more clues in the end game round.
If everyone makes it to the end and guesses their character, location and item. The end of game round commences. They have successfully discovered 3 possible murderers. Gathering each player’s character, location and object into three separate groups. One will be the final murderer.
The ghost will select one of the three groups. Depending on the clairvoyant track he will now share 1 card. All those players low on the track will now vote secretly for which group they think dunnit.
The ghost will now share another card and those higher on the track will get to vote. Finally he will share one last card and the players on the highest part of the track can then vote.
Now, if all players have successfully guessed the murderer correctly then they have one. If any or all guessed incorrectly then everyone loses – including the ghost.
This is a fantastic game that is very fun and very replayable. You will enjoy being the ghost or a psychic investigator. Each time the clues will be different as will the answers.
If you would like a mystery game then Mysterium will be a fantastic choice.
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
Now onto by far the hardest game in the list. If you want a real challenge and to solve a mystery in the footsteps of the great Sherlock Holmes. This is also a solo game and is number 8 in my 20 Best Solo Board Games 2022.
The Thames Murders & Other Cases game was released way back in 1982 by Space Cowboys. Each expansion comes with 10 casebooks for you to solve.
The first time you play through a case will always be the best as you will find out Sherlocks solution at the end. 10 cases are long though and there are also a number of expansions providing more cases for you to solve. There are also several fan made mysteries too and you can find some on BoardGameGeek.
The Thames Murders & Other Cases comes with:
- London Map
- London Directory
- List of Informants
- 10 Newspapers
- 10 Casebooks
Each Casebook starts with an introduction text to give you the basics and get you started. This is a cooperative game so everyone works together to solve the mystery.
Each player will take it in turns to be the lead investigator and choose a lead to read out loud. During their turn they may also re-read any lead already discovered and the Newspaper for that case. Finally they can read the Directory showing the location of characters who they can then head over to and read the corresponding lead.
This is a very open game and turns will continue until the group are confident that they know the solution. They then head over to the Questions section where they are asked 2 series of questions.
Once all questions are answered they head over to the Solutions section and open an envelope to see how much they got this right. By totalling up your questions and how many leads you followed will give you a final score. This is compared to Holmes’ score of 100, good luck with beating that!
This is a great game for really challenging your deductive reasoning and seeing if you can beat the great Holmes’ Score. Each Case is engrossing and complex and you will need to think carefully about which leads you following.
If you want a taste of what it is to be in Holmes’ shoes then this game is for you. The game is afoot my friend.
5 Minute Mystery
This fantastic little game is perfect for the family and great to introduce them to mystery games. Each game lasts for around 5 minutes but they are a frantic 5 minutes.
The game was released by Spinmaster Games in 2020 and is for ages 8+. Which makes it a nice family game that can be played from 1-6 players. It is also pretty easy to learn.
The objective of the game is to solve the mystery of who has stolen the precious MacGuffin from the Museum of Everything. The game comes with the following contents:
- 4 different decks of Clues
- Deck of Culprits
- Deck of Suspects
- Deck of Case Files
- Deck of Scenes
- Reference Card
There is also an app you can download for your smartphone that will provide a timer and some other frills. You can easily use a timer instead if you wish.
First you select the Case File card that you want to play from the deck. This will decide the time you have to solve the mystery and the difficulty. You may have more than one suspect to discover or other objectives. Depending on the mystery the time may vary too.
Each player will be dealt out the suspects so they each have a hand. Once setup the timer starts and the players must observe the first scene and find symbols within the picture. This hints at the codex they need to unlock a clue.
One player will record the symbols on the codex and when they believe it is correct they will turn over the scene. On the back will be the correct symbols. If these don’t match the codex then you will need to start again with the next scene until you get it right.
Once you get the codex right you unlock the clue. You can now choose to take one of the clues off the top of one of the decks. Turning the clue over you will see a color code on the clue. Match this against the color code on the culprit and if it matches then the culprit has that clue. This could be glasses, a monocle, scarf, or fan for example.
Now each player will look through their hands and discard any suspects that have been eliminated. Once the timer is up then you can confer and make an accusation as to the culprit(s) is. If you are right then you win and the MacGuffin is returned safely. Get it wrong and the MacGuffin is lost forever.
You will want to play this several times as it is so nice and quick. If you are looking for a high energy game that your kids will love then this is a really good choice. It is cooperative and everyone will be involved in solving the mystery.
You will all be working together to find the symbols in the scene and complete the codex as fast as possible. Then everyone will be frantically looking at their hands to try and eliminate suspects. Then you’ll be straight back to the next scene.
This game is just fun.
Here is my list of the 5 best mystery board games. I hope you solved it and found a game that you will really enjoy.
Perhaps you want to pit yourself against the mastermind of Holmes himself, or maybe get the MacGuffin back to its rightful place in the Museum of Everything. Whatever you find, have a very happy time gaming.