“Well, it wasn’t me! I may have a motive, but I’m innocent! Believe me!” – It was on a rainy Saturday night. The electricity had gone out, locking the security door. Together with 7 other potential murderers I was now stuck in the VIP area of the SPIEL in Essen. An acquaintance and not always easy person died. It was murder. But who was the murderer – or rather is the murderer. The only thing that was clear was that it could not have been me. Funnily enough, everyone else in the room said the same thing. So now it was up to me to collect clues, find ambiguities or perhaps cover my tracks? Because I didn’t want that the game was over! neither as a murderer nor as a suspect.
CSI in your living room
One thing all the crime series I had been forced to watch during my wife’s pregnancy had taught me: No matter who is the first suspect, even if the evidence is more than conclusive, the first suspect is always released.
After four tough rounds of discussions, dubious motives and possible explanations of how the murder might have happened, a decision had to be made. Everyone at the table was to give his or her tip about who had committed the murder and what motive he or she had.
It is clear to me, of course, that this is not the first suspect to be written down. Even if the motive fits and there is no real alibi.
Next, I excluded myself from the circle of suspects. Since it was of course not me at all and the dead man was not either, only seven more suspects remained.
Again I had to think about CSI and I didn’t learn there also: “No matter how obviously a murder weapon can be connected to someone, that person won’t be the murderer either.”
So, I could cross another one off my list and if I could cross off that suspect, I had to cross off the other person who was always hanging around with him.
That leaves five!
However, CSI also teaches us that every time a potential killer was about to be caught, he strangely enough always had a solid alibi. And three of the five suspects had played this out to cover their asses. In addition, there was no real motive for the people with alibis afterwards.
Hey there are only two left! Damn it, there are only two left!
That left only two suspects. And both could have done it, so who do we pick? But wait a minute: what if the murder wasn’t committed by himself, but by two people? And thanks to movies like Throw Momma from the Train, I knew that the best murder is the one for which there is no motive because someone else did the murder. Okay, the decision stands, there must have been two killers. And the motive is clear! Of course the wonderful world of series and movies helps here again, and so I could build a fitting motive out of the small crumbs and pieces of information.
Bingo! Call me Sherlock Holmes Junior, because I am the Master Detective.
Of course the obligatory clarification had to follow. This would only confirm my victory. After reading the resolution, I quickly realized – I’ve watched too many series and movies!
Game over after three hours
It doesn’t take much for a detective game: time, people, a dead body, a few rules and a criminal case. The last three components mentioned will give you Gamer Over! A Game Fair Murder Mystery delivered free of charge. So, from your side, it just takes time. Here you can act as dynamic as possible. All in all, the mystery game is played over four rounds. You can play them all in one go or you can make a dinner and eat something after each round. The time for each round can be chosen freely: Do you prefer to play with exact round guidelines or do you prefer to discuss the game and just don’t pay attention to the time? – Just for the fun of it, you should let the whole thing develop and plan an evening as a precaution.
We had decided on the dinner option and took the time we needed. So we came to a total of over five hours for only one game.
But the far more difficult problem is the number of people. For Gamer Over! A Game Fair Murder Mystery you need at least seven players. And you have to get them together first. This can be a big organizational act, especially if someone drops out at the last-minute due to illness.
And even if you manage to get people together, you’ll need the right people: players who can play their roles and bring life to the character with their biography. You have to open yourself up to the game and act. This is the only way to create something unique that will remain as a memory for a long time.
An unique experience
Once you’ve solved the case, the game is over. Playing it again will not give you the same experience as the first time. But this is no different from reading a book or watching a movie. If you know the killer and the motive, the thrill is gone.
But that is not the point. It’s also not about who really murdered who and why. Solving this case is just an accessory. The real achievement is the fun that is achieved. Similar to Twilight Empire, the game presents itself as a social event. The way to the goal is the actual play and not who has won or lost.
So it doesn’t bother us that we had no clues at the beginning and in the process of the game new pieces of paper appeared again and again out of nowhere to give us new motives for murder. Even the opposite can happen, that finding a new piece of paper or a note out of nowhere establishes itself as a running gag.
The Sweet Topping
Especially board game enthusiasts should take the chance to play Gamer Over! A Game Fair Murder Mystery. Due to the setting in the board game area there are many nice little smiles. Of course every figure is fictitious and similarities with living persons are pure random! The whole game is of course a pure parody and makes use of personalities, who are active in the German board game scene, only to overdraw them completely madly. Some allusions will be easier to see through for some people and some might not. Because not every board gamer knows who was the template for Manu Frost or other characters.
Gamer Over! A Game Fair Murder Mystery does not reinvent the crime game. But it is the absurd overplay of characters and motives that made sure that we could spend a funny evening. (It also shows how tough the board game business is. You should think twice before indulging in this dirty hobby) I hope Frosted Games will release another mystery game together with Stephan Kessler. Maybe this would be even a bit more wacky and the number of players might not be as high.
Until then, I recommend Gamer Over! A Game Fair Murder Mystery continues without restriction.