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9 Best Mystery Board Games for a Fun Game Night - Happier Human

9 Best Mystery Board Games for a Fun Game Night

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Are you the type of person who enjoys solving crimes and mysteries?

Do you often dream about being a detective or an investigator?

If so, then these mystery board games are exactly what you need for a fun night with your friends.

Mystery board games get your mind working. Of all the board games out there, they are the best for developing your skills in strategic thinking and deductive reasoning.

Moreover, they encourage entertaining game nights and enjoyable conversations with the gang.

In this post, we share with you the nine best mystery board games that you can play for a fun game night. We chose them based on how well they bring people together and how much fun they provide. And of course, we also considered the great reviews and positive feedback they have received from satisfied customers.

Let’s check them out!

The Best Mystery Board Games

1. Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is the perfect mystery board game for fans of suspense, horror, and excitement. It allows its players to build their own haunted house, room per room and tile per tile, and then start finding ways to escape from it alive.

The game is designed for three (3) to six (6) players, and everyone has a character to play. Since it is a cooperative game, all players must work together to survive, except for the traitor, whose job is to betray the team and hamper its strategy. This means that in addition to getting out of the house, the innocent characters must also defeat the traitor before the game ends.

Betrayal at House on the Hill has 50 different blood-curdling scenarios. The players design and build the house, so it is a fresh story and experience every time.

This game is a product of Avalon Hill that was published in 2004, and won the Gamer’s Choice Award for Best Board Game that year. It was designed by Bruce Glassco and developed by Rob Daviau, Mike Selinker, Bill McQuillan, and Teeuwynn Woodruff.

Pros

  • Has high replayability and variability.
  • Players can create unique scenarios every gameplay.
  • Game components and artwork have a lot of flavor.

Cons

  • Long gameplay when there are many players.
  • Quite boring if there are only three players.
  • There are times when the game can be too easy to play.

2. Clue

Hasbro’s Clue Game is one of the most well-known board games in existence, making it a perfect choice for those who are into classic mystery games. it has been tried and tested for decades, and most people who have played it agree that it still stands as one of the best mystery board games ever made.

In this game, there is only one question to answer: Who murdered Mr. Boddy? However, there are tons of clues and factors that you have to connect to discover the murderer. Out of six suspects, you need to determine who’s responsible for the killing, what weapon he or she used, and in which part of the mansion the crime was committed.

Before the investigation starts, players are given their characters, weapons, and location cards. However, the top card from each card type (which are confidential, and provide the identity of the murderer) is secretly placed in the middle of the board. To identify these cards, players must  uncover the cards of other characters (players) by making accusations.

This is a game of logic and deductive reasoning. In addition to being cautious, you need to have excellent memory to remember which cards belong to whom. This is the only way to discover the cards in the secret files. The person who successfully identifies who the murderer is, what weapon was used, and where the crime was committed wins.

Pros

  • An engrossing game when played seriously.
  • Hones methodical and strategic skills among children.

Cons

  • Might not interest people who like easy gameplay.
  • Not recommended for people who do not like slow gaming.
  • Not recommended for people looking for “new” mystery board games.

3. Unsolved Case Files

This is the best murder mystery board game for those who dream of becoming cold case detectives. Your goal is to find out who really murdered Harmony Ashcroft on May 8, 1998. But since it is a cold case, you need to start from scratch, with only the original investigator’s case files serving as your aid.

There are three objectives in this game: prove the convicted man’s innocence, disprove a key suspect’s alibi, and identify a clue that will put the real culprit behind bars. You have to find clues to crack the main case by solving these three mysteries in order.

This game comes with over 50 documents and photos that you need to scrutinize and investigate. There are newspaper articles, evidence reports, suspect interrogations, and witness statements you need to read and analyze. Once you think you are done with the case, you must check the online answer keys to see if you have solved it correctly.

Unsolved Case Files is the perfect pastime for solo gamers, couples on date nights, and families during gatherings. There is no minimum or a maximum number of players, as it is more of a cooperative game than a competition.

Pros

  • Can really get you hooked and immersed.
  • Recommended for couples who love board games for date night.
  • Entertaining enough for family bonding time as well.

Cons

  • Only a one-time play, unless you want to repeat the game already knowing how to do it.
  • Quite expensive for a game that has no replayability.
  • Might be good for beginners only.

4. Mysterium

If you have a knack for murder mystery games that require psychic investigations, then Mysterium is an excellent choice. In this game, you need to unravel the truth behind the death of the ghost residing in Warwick Manor. Ultimately, you have to discover who did the crime, where it took place, and which weapon the culprit used.

One of the players needs to take the role of the ghost, and the others act as mediums or psychic investigators to help the ghost remember what happened on the night of the murder. The ghost communicates with the mediums through cards with images that represent dreamlike visions leading to the culprit.

The game clearly ends once a majority of the mediums successfully identify the culprit, the location, and the weapon of the crime. If one or more mediums fails to do so, the ghost shall dissipate and the game is over.

Mysterium is a simple game that is easy to understand. Most reviews indicate that it is kid-friendly and recommended for families who love playing board games altogether.

Pros

  • Has a well-thought-out storyline that makes it fun and interesting.
  • Has high replayability.
  • Components of the game are of high quality and beautifully designed.

Cons

  • Not recommended to be played by only a few people.
  • Might be frustrating if most of the players fail to guess correctly (causes conflict).
  • Manual guide is quite long and wordy.

5. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

This mystery board game is a perfect match for those who love playing detective and are Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective tests your investigative skills and deductive reasoning abilities.

This game is rather unique compared to other mystery board games. Each case takes around two hours to solve, so do not expect that you will finish it in one sitting. Since a set of 10 crimes is given to players, you will have to rest before proceeding through all of them.

As a detective, your goal is to finish solving these mysteries and arrive at the major conclusion. You have to decipher the clues that each of these mysteries holds and connect them to the other evidence you find. You also need to find clues through reading newspapers, interviewing suspects, etc. You need to be mentally prepared in order to win this game.

Pros

  • Easy to set up, and can be played by one or more people.
  • Improves strategic thinking and encourages teamwork among players.
  • Available in many different versions.

Cons

  • Has low replayability.
  • Quite a long gameplay if played by one or two people only.
  • Can be a bit boring for those who are not fond of reading.

6. Scotland Yard

Scotland Yard is an excellent option for those who are into “catch me if you can” type of board games. In this game you act as one of the greatest detectives in London who is in pursuit of a criminal mastermind named Mister X. You have to travel to different countries by land and water, and even underground, to complete your mission and apprehend the most dangerous criminal out there.

This game is easy to learn and simple to understand. First, you and your co-players need to decide who will play Mister X. The gameplay has thirteen (13) rounds, and in each round Mister X takes the first move. Only after Mister X is done with his turn will the detectives (other players) have a chance to take theirs.

The goal of the detectives is to catch Mister X either by finishing the move on the station where Mister X is currently located, or by blocking all the other stations that Mister X can go to. While this may sound easy to accomplish, note that the game allows Mister X to take special moves (like being invisible in some rounds and secretly recording his next destination). If Mister X manages to travel across London within the 13 rounds without being caught, the game is over and Mister X wins.

Similar to the other games on this list, Scotland Yard is a game that tests your logic and deductive skills. It also tests your ability to weave clues and connect circumstances that are related to each other in order to come up with a valid conclusion.

Pros

  • Suitable for children, as it has easy game mechanics.
  • Recommended for beginners who want to try deduction games.
  • Engaging and interesting, making it appropriate for family bonding time.

Cons

  • Board has small font, which might a bit of a nuisance.
  • Rules might be too simple for old-time gamers.
  • Might cause conflict, especially when deciding who takes the role of Mister X.

7. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

This mystery board game is a great choice for those who love deception-themed movies, games, or TV shows. If you love playing the Wink Murder game (a.k.a. Killer-Killer), then you will probably love this board game as well.

The storyline of this board game revolves around a group of people who find themselves trapped in a murder scene, now knowing who the killer is. This means that one of them is the murderer, who secretly chooses his weapon and cleans all evidence that may be used against him. His main goal is to mislead and confuse all the investigators (other players) into thinking that somebody else is the killer.

One of the most important characters in this game is the forensic scientist. He is the only one who can convict the murderer, but he has to go through an in-depth analysis of the scene before speaking. The rest of the players are investigators who patch together the evidence-based clues they have gathered.

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong may be played by between four (4) and twelve (12) players, and involves around 20 minutes of game time.

Pros

  • Exceptional game for large groups.
  • High replayability and variability.
  • Role-playing makes it more fun and exciting.

Cons

  • Role of forensic scientist is only suitable for people with high critical thinking skills.
  • Customers report that some of the tiles are unnecessary.
  • Long gameplay can make it a bit boring.

8. Letters from Whitechapel

If you have ever dreamed of investigating the crime scenes of the Jack the Ripper murders, then this is the game for you. This game is filled with the crowded, smelly alleys of London, and its busy merchants and small ragged children running through the streets, begging for food and money.

Letters from Whitechapel is a one-versus-many type of board game that focuses on logic and deduction. It is based on the true story of the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper, and how authorities played an intense cat-and-mouse game while in pursuit of him. The game revolves around bluffs and deception, with one player taking the role of Jack the Ripper, while the others act as detectives that work together to hunt him down.

The game is composed of four (4) rounds. In every round, the person playing Jack must choose a location on the board that represents his hideout. He then chooses a victim, commits the crime, and then finds a way to make it to his hideout before the investigators catch him. He does this by moving his pawns between the numbered circles. The investigators, of course, must create a strategy to narrow down Jack’s moves and eventually arrest him. They do this by moving their pawns between crossings.

Letters from Whitechapel brings you back to Victorian London. The game has been praised by many critics saying that its components really draw you back to the time when Jack the Ripper was the talk of the town.

Pros

  • Has engaging artwork and effective components.
  • Very thematic and historical.
  • Rules are easy to learn and comprehend.

Cons

  • Not a good fit for players who are not knowledgeable about Jack the Ripper.
  • May produce tension between players, especially the detectives.
  • Not recommended for those who don’t like murder-themed board games.

9. 221B Baker Street

This is another mystery board game that is perfect for Sherlock Holmes fanatics, as 221B Baker Street is where the world’s most famous fictional detective character lived, together with his best friend and investigative comrade, Dr. Watson.

What is rather unique about this board game is that it does not focus on only one case. You actually have to solve a number of intriguing cases that Holmes and Watson solved together. You act as Sherlock Holmes, and solve the cases by finding all the clues that lead to valid results. Each case is represented by a card that features all the information you need to solve it (e.g., probable suspects, list of possible locations involved).

This can be a cooperative board game or a competitive one, depending on how you and your friends or family would like to play it. You can team up and solve the cases together, and everyone gets the chance to play the role of Holmes. You can also compete with each other and see who can solve the most number of cases. If you are in the mood to play alone, this game can also be played solo.

Pros

  • Deluxe edition has additional, never-before-seen cases.
  • More fun and intense when there are more players.
  • Clues vary in depth and relevance.

Cons

  • Has the tendency to be very challenging.
  • Some cases require highly complex investigation.
  • Might not be a good fit for children.

Conclusion

Mystery board games were once as famous as those we currently play on our consoles and smartphones. But even if they have become less popular over time, they are still a “hit,” particularly for those who prefer playing physical board games.

Instead of binge-using technology and wasting your time through mindless web surfing, why not try these mystery board games for something different?. You can play them on your own, with a friend or your partner, or with the whole family. In addition to killing time, you also get the chance to develop your cognitive thinking skills.

Have you tried one or more of the games we mentioned above?

We’d love to know which ones. Share a comment or two on the fields below and let us know which one is your favorite, or which game you’d like to try.

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