How "real" are our deduction/mystery games
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1st geeklist!!

After going through the various deduction/mystery games on BGG and thinking back on various deduction shows/books it would seem that no game can really translate to the board the "The mystery is solved, the killer is..." feel that mystery shows/novels present. That Holmesian deduction of matching clue/alibi/timing/crime scene left by the murderer are do not adequately match the feeling of being a detective. Instead most deduction games uses elements of elimination i.e. Mystery of the Abbey where you cross out monks or Cluedo where one spread suggestion. The mechanics don't really match the theme, the detective would not ask if your monk is so and so to come to a conclusion (see where i'm going here?).

But this is not a geeklist to bash deduction games. I would like to see how accurate instead we have come in terms of mechanics (especially after seeing how games like Pandemic really do give you the feel of disease spreading in the same region again and again)

Post games which in you opinion, certain mechanism of that game reflect the true deduction elements of which the theme is based on.

However I currently do not own any deduction game and there might be one already out there which I am not aware of that would answer the query above - if so .. shame on meshake
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1. Board Game: Murder, She Wrote [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:9574]
Ben Lott
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Mason
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OK, you may be laughing right now if you've never tried this game. You may think "Good Lord, are you kidding? A silly mass-market game based on a silly TV show?" But just wait a moment, because this game is probably my favorite roll-and-move game ever. Basically what happens is this:

One player is secretly selected as a murderer and the rest are detectives. No one knows who is who. The murderer opens the game by killing one of the townspeople. Then the real game begins. Detectives simply walk around the town and check on various residents to see if they're still alive. Meanwhile the murderer roams around the town and secretly starts killing more people. As the bodies pile up, detectives must deduce, based on who has visited the dead people, which player is killing them. The game continues until the murderer kills a certain number of townspeople and then flees, or until one of the detectives discovers the murderer's identity and accuses him/her.

It feels a little more like what detectives do in those crime shows. Checking alibis, seeing who has recently visited the victims, etc. seem to be logical deductive steps in the process. Sure it's not a carbon-copy, but it kind of gives you that same feel. And when you think you've caught the killer you'll often see a race to the finish, as you scramble to turn him/her in and she/he starts indiscriminantly killing people in a rush to escape.
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2. Board Game: Eagle Eye Agency [Average Rating:5.45 Unranked]
Randy Cox
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Clemson
South Carolina
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This is an interesting idea--trying to find a mechanic in a boardgame that feels like detective work, rather than trying to find a game where you get to deduce who the killer is. I suspect that real-life detectives would say that simulating their actual job would include a lot of reading documents, eating sandwiches, and combing the internet and not a lot of actually talking with suspects.

Anyway, I can think of three games that sort of do what you mention.

The first, and least fulfilling, is Orient Express. Now, the deduction is straightforward logic puzzle deduction like you'd find in any Dell Crosswords & Pencil Puzzles magazine. But the mechanics for obtaining clues include going around the train and "investigating" by either talking to suspects/victims or tearing apart the room for clues. Where the mechanics get more "real" are in the rules to hide evidence or even rough up your fellow detectives. So, there is chrome and theme beyond standard deduction.

Now, you said that Holmesian deduction isn't what you're looking for, but I think that Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases does fit the bill. You go around a map of London finding clues and your decisions of where to check next do matter. You even need to do some legwork (reading newspapers, phone books, etc) to decide what makes sense for your next stop. So, there is more "real" discovery than in the Clue/Sleuth model of deduction games.

Finally, there is also the cooperative Eagle Eye Agency which is much like the Sherlock Holmes game without the excessive background material. You get a brief synopsis and decide where to investigate based on what kind of crime took place (e.g. a killing of a dog breeder would have better information at the vet than at the antique shop). What's different is that you're not eliminating anything or anybody, you're just piecing together the story line, which will include secondary threads and complete red herrings. In the end, the group of private eyes takes all that information and tries to make the best scenario of what occurred. A lot like the folks on CSI do, only they always get it right.
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3. Board Game: Android [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1026]
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I'd say this comes very close to how actual policework operates (or at least how it operates in crime shows, since that's my only reference point basically). It doesn't have a predetermined murderer, but instead players keep uncovering evidence against the person they have a hunch against.

The game has been criticised by many because this aspect means there is no 'true' murderer and it therefore isn't a deduction game. I disagree, and I like the feel of this.
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4. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:66] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
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The only one I know where you REALLY read the newspaper, look up several spots in the city and try to figure out what the heck happened.



Great game, IMO.
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5. Board Game: Gumshoe [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:4917]
Gordon Watson
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Banstead
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From the same stable as Consulting Detective, but transported to Philip Marlowe country rather than Holmesian
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6. Board Game: Mr. Jack [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:416]
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Great first GeekList, my fellow Calvin and Hobbes fan! The best that most games can do is simulate deduction, but these are often my favourite games. Here are a few that I enjoy:

Mr. Jack - A fantastic game that utilizes a very clever elimination system, but often the detective player cannot eliminate all suspects and must rely on clever observation of his/her opponent's choice and use of characters in order to deduce the culprit.

Timbuktu - A very simple but clever game that employs a gradual elimination system as well as an economic aspect, but that also requires players to pay close attention to how other players are moving their camels in relation to the different combinations of "danger zones".

Fury of Dracula (second edition) - A rather long and "rulesy" game, but great fun for those of us who played Scotland Yard in our younger years. Attempting to locate Dracula's trail and figure out where he's gone based on how he has moved has a real cat-and-mouse "chase" feel to it, but also requires a certain amount of deductive ability.

Poker - Good old Texas Hold 'Em! You have to play your cards and play the odds, but you also have to observe how others are playing in relation to which cards are coming up in order to have the most success.

Mystery Express - I've got a real close eye on this upcoming title!
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7. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:66] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
upandawaygames.com
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Suggest you investigate this one.
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