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Subject: Spoiler free mini review after first play rss

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Christian K
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Watson and Holmes
This is a mini review after the first play of the game. We played the first case (case 0) with three players.

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The game
This is a worker placement game with a strong story element, which is something highly unusual. The game comes with 12 cases that are not replayable (so without expansions you will play this 12 times and probably gift it to a friend after that).

The game itself is rather simple. Each case comes with a storybook, which is read aloud first, and some questions that the players need to answer. It comes with about 12-16 cards which are placed face down on the table.

Each turn, players use a currency (carriages) to bid on these cards. If you are overbid you have the chance to bid back or go somewhere else. There is a special space for re-stocking on the carriages.

After all players are winning a bid on their card, players pick up a card and read it (auction style from Stockpile and Cyclades). Players do not know what are on the cards, so the bidding comes from speculating on which place has important information. For example, if a bank has been robbed, you might want to go directly to the vault or to speak to the guard, so these places will likely be very contested in the bidding phase. You might of course also go somewhere else and stumble upon some important information.

arrrharrrharrrharrrh

Thoughts
When players pick up their card, they are allowed to take notes. It was my concern that the players might want to write everything down (since if they miss something, they would have to come back later). However, this is simply not feasible, since there is usually a lot of text on the cards and you feel like you are able to filter out the important info, which also makes your notes easier to look through to piece clues together. I was sceptical of if someone would not just note down everything but I am happy to report that it did not happen and it feels very natural to note the important stuff.

We played case 0 which had a difficulty of 1 out of 3 pipes. Right off the bat, I have to say that I was very impressed with the case. The information was distributed in a very nice way such that you did not need to visit each and every location if you were smart, but visiting more stuff still felt like it did help you. I will of course not spoil anything from the case, but I think the designer succeeded in making it really fun to sniff around for clues. The theme is extremely strong.

On the negative side, I will say that the game was very much multiplayer solitaire for us. We never got into bidding wars, since we generally did not have a strong enough direction on what to go for. This may have been because we were all noobs and it was our first play, but I also suspect that the player count matters a lot. We played this with 3 players, I think with 4 or 5 you would have much more of getting in each other's way. The game does have the opportunity to put out police tokens to hinder the other players, so that does give it some interaction even at lower player counts.

In general, the game was very quiet and everyone was thinking a lot. After the game, everyone expressed that it had been very fun for them, and we said around for a while talking about the case. When did you figure this and that out, did you follow this trail or did you focus on this etc. This is a sign of a very succesful game in my book, but we all agreed that we would like to try it with more players next time.

ninjaninja
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Lloyd
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Camden
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This game is bullshit.
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This roughly matches our experience of playing Case 1. I was really impressed how well written the case was and how different each player's investigations had gone because of where they had visited.

We played with 5 players though and the bidding and blocking definitely more of a factor.

Based on one play, this is Essen favourite so far.
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Christian K
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I am very happy to hear it, will try it with 4 or 5 next time.
 
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The Soot Sprite
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Thanks for the review. I'm pleased to hear that the case was thoughtful written.
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Charlie Westin
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This game is awesome. After two cases i'm already prepared to put it alongside Time Stories as my favorite game of 2015 so far.
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Noreen
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So to be clear, each case has its own set of locations cards, correct?
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Christian K
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Yes
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Noreen
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Thanks!
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Mark Shilling
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To avoid multiplayer solitaire would it be feasible to play in teams eg: 3 teams of 2 players. All 6 players placing investigators but just collating and sharing info with their partner or would that somehow break the game?
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William Ang
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superdupergeek wrote:
To avoid multiplayer solitaire would it be feasible to play in teams eg: 3 teams of 2 players. All 6 players placing investigators but just collating and sharing info with their partner or would that somehow break the game?


I think this is a very fun an amazing idea, especially for teaming up with younger players. It won't break the game at all, I feel, but there will be furious whispering as to which location to go next.

I have to say I had the same experience as the OP with my first 2 games with 3 players, and everyone loved it. I particularly enjoyed seeing the story unfold slowly piece by piece and connecting the dots faster than my opponents.
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