Non-Clue Board Games

All other non-Clue/Cluedo discussion.

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Re: Non-Clue Board Games

Post by Black »

I was looking for reference images and I found this game - anyone played it? ... -detective

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Re: Non-Clue Board Games

Post by semicharm »

Awhile back, I stumbled upon a rather beat up copy of Whodunit at a thrift store. As luck would have it, two of the cardboard tokens were missing and they're all required to play it. Since it's a rather old obscure game, I gave up finding original pieces and made my own. Unfortunately, they have to be played face down to represent the various bits of evidence needed to deduce the solution--any that don't match would be a dead giveaway. I ended up having to remake all of the tokens from scratch. Oh well... They're just round disks with a single word on them, so it wasn't too difficult to craft a new set. I got some cheap label sheets off of ebay and used the cardboard that came with them. I really didn't need to cover the backs, but the originals were white, so why not... lol

There's twenty different tokens, each with a word pertaining to a detail about either the suspect, weapon, scene of the crime, or motive. Three tokens from the five in each category are placed on the board as "clues" that specify the solution. While that sounds easy enough, there's actually 10 possible solutions in each category on the detective sheets--one for each unique combination of three words. To help deduce the details of the crime, the rest of the tokens are used as "alibis". Any of the items with an alibi can be eliminated from the case. Each "detective" player receives one or more alibis to start off. The rest either have to be found or deduced by questioning another detective about two details. If they're able to rule out one of them, they secretly show its alibi token. This is one of the few "Clue" like aspects of the game. Through a combination of clues and alibis, the detectives deduce the final solution. The first to do so wins.

Another Clue-like part of the game is ruling dice to move. Unfortunately, as was common among other games of the time, they require an exact count to land on a particular space or opponent--which is one of the ways to question them. Chasing moving targets around the board for alibis feels a bit like Clue FX. To help mitigate that problem, Whodunit lets you pick either of the dice or their sum. There's also spaces to draw "Whodunit" cards. Most of them involve moving around the board, either to a particular area or a clue space of your choice. The "pursue alibis" cards lets you question all of the detectives, similar to some versions of Clue. However, in Whodunit you can ask each of them a different question. Just like in Clue, getting randomly relocated often hinders more than helps, yet chancing the Whodunit deck is almost the only opportunity to question all of the detectives.

Overall, it's an intriguing game with some great deductive mechanics. However, it also suffers from similar issues that plagued many "vintage" games. They at least made some attempts to address a few of them.

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