Quick Thoughts

Murder Mystery in a Board Game?

Recently, my family and I went over to our closest friends' house for a relaxing evening of friendship and fellowship. Nothing formal, but just a chance to get together and hang out, let the kids play together, etc. One of my friends pulled out a board game she had gotten for Christmas. Hunt a Killer. (Dun Dun Dun!)

The premise of the game is pretty simple - figure out "who done it" (i.e. figure out who the murderer is). At first I thought How are we supposed to track down a killer? Is this like a tabletop D&D game where we're each going to play a character and one of us is the killer? The answer is no. It's not a game where everyone are adversaries but rather one where the group works together as a team to beat the game itself and solve the murder.

Without giving anything away, the game comes with essentially a bunch of evidence and you and your fellow players act as detectives, going through this evidence and trying to determine exactly what happened. The game asks that you examine all the evidence and reach a consensus as a group of who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the murder. Once you think you've figured it out, you open the sealed envelope that comes with the game and see if you're correct.

As I mentioned above, I was skeptical at first but once we sort of got our feet under us and reviewed the suspect list (which came with complete biographies of each suspect) we really got clicking. There were messages written in code that needed to be decoded, a locked bag that required a combination that came from another clue, etc. It was sort of like an escape room adventure happening right at the dining room table.

The box says this is one of the more easy adventures the Hunt A Killer folks have come up with and claims it takes about an hour. It took us closer to two and a half before we had a complete timeline of what happened and felt confident as to who the murderer was. And we were right! We likely would've gotten it sooner but we were missing a piece of information that was on a piece of evidence we hadn't looked at as closely as we should have. Also, the game doesn't really give you any directions other than "solve the murder" so you really have to figure out the best approach and sort of work through it just like a real detective would.

I'd encourage everyone to check out HuntAKiller.com if you think this might be a game for you and your group. And if you get stuck on "Death at the Dive Bar" and want a full timeline we worked up (essentially our answer key), feel free to reach out.