Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
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Last updated: December 17, 2022
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Not all deductive board games are as good as they are described. There are many different worlds you can be transported to, and it’s important to know where you want to go.
Furthermore, you want to know where everyone else wants to head to. While you might be looking for a quick roll of the dice, your friends may be looking to invest in an all-nighter. No matter what you’re looking for, our list of the best deduction board games will help you come to a conclusion.
Our list of the six most impressive deductive board games includes options for adults as well as the whole family. There are some that are easy to set up and others that take a bit more time to transport you to a different world. Whether you want to play with a friend, a large group, or even by yourself, we have some fantastic options for you.
Set in the colorful city of Hong Kong, Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is a fun, action-packed game that will keep you on your toes. While you do need a minimum of 4 people to play this game, what really sets it apart from the rest is that up to 14 people.
Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong only takes about 20 minutes to play, so you can easily bust it out, whether it’s on a rainy Saturday or to end an evening with friends. The recommended age is 14 and over, so you can play it with your friends while also being perfect for teenagers to become engaged in.
The two main roles in Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong are the murderer and the forensic scientist. The other roles are investigators who help piece the story together. It is a collaborative game that only ends after everyone has worked together.
What do we love it for? Having a game where up to 14 people can play is almost unheard of. You can really make this a party game and not have to exclude anyone. Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong also comes with 250 different playing cards, which means you can play again and again, all with different results. This is an extreme value for money.
What were we disappointed with? While some may like that the game only takes 20 minutes to play, others may find that it’s rather on the short side. The good news is that if you have more time to kill, you can play the game a second time with different circumstances.
If you’ve ever wanted to see if you can outsmart some pirates, Matagot Treasure Island is the deductive board game for you. It has amazing graphics and plenty of interactive game parts. There are multiple game play options, including chasing down Long John Silver and hunting for buried treasure.
Matagot Treasure Island is made for 2 to 5 players and takes about 45 minutes to complete. Although it is complex, people ages 10 and up can still play it, which makes this a nice, family game to discover.
What makes it special? The different storylines of Matagot Treasure Island are really exciting. You can choose to be a pirate or choose to help capture a pirate. Included in the game are tools such as a compass and a caliper that you get to manipulate. It’s a really immersive experience.
It takes about 45 minutes to complete a mission, which is a nice game length. You can really start to get lost in the world, but it isn’t too drawn out that you can’t finish it in an afternoon.
What cons did we find? The first time playing Matagot Treasure Island might take you a bit longer than anticipated. There are quite a few rules and the rulebook isn’t as straightforward as many would like. However, after the first play, most people seem to get the hang of it, and the second time takes a lot less effort to setup.
A lot of times, deductive board games are quite expensive. However, The Wonder Forge Suspicion is a rare find in that it is affordable and quite fun. The premise of the game is an invitation to a masquerade party. While there, you find out there are multiple jewel thieves.
The Wonder Forge Suspicion includes multiple guest and action cards, which allows you to play many variations of the game. Each time you play there are new identities to uncover.
This game is perfect for anyone over the age of 10, which is a nice age, and can be played by 2 to 6 people. Its 45-minute playtime is perfect.
Why is it special? Finding an affordable deductive board game is great news. This is a fun game and can be played by the whole family. Because the intrigue is finding a jewel thief, it’s nice that the focus isn’t on murder, making it a better family-friendly game.
The game is also easy to set up, so you can start playing right away. The pieces all make sense, and everything is ordered appropriately.
What could be better: Unfortunately, the graphic elements of The Wonder Forge Suspicion aren’t all that spectacular. Some of the colors aren’t very vivid, and the board itself is a bit small, especially if 6 people are playing together.
Yes, if the address in this board game’s name sounds familiar, it’s because it is where England’s most famous detective lives. With the John N. Hansen 221B Baker Street game, you get to pretend to be Sherlock Holmes, himself. There are over 200 mysteries to solve, using a series of clues and a host of deductive aids.
The John N. Hansen 221B Baker Street game can be played by as little as 2 people, or more. If playing with only a few people, it is a team, competitive game. It can also be played as a cooperative game, which is a nice option. There’s also an option to play the game on your own.
What stands out? Sherlock Holmes is everywhere in popular culture, so playing this game is a fun extension. So many times we’ve read the books or watched the shows and thought, we could definitely do this. With the John N. Hansen 221B Baker Street game, you get to prove your mental abilities.
The fact that the game can be played in teams, as a large collaborative group, or even individually, means it is a versatile game suitable for everyone. And, the fact there are 200 cases to be solved means you can play this game on multiple occasions.
What could be better: Unfortunately, there have been cases of the board coming with missing pieces. The good news is that the game has great customer service, and the issues were quickly remedied.
One of the nice things about deductive board games is that they are great fun to play at parties. Blue Orange Detective Club is no exception. Between 4 and 8 people can play the game at once, and what’s also nice is the age rating is 8 years and older. So, you can play this at a family holiday event, or at an adults-only social.
Within the game, you have to unravel a series of conspiracies, all while given just a handful of clues. As a bonus, this game is compatible with another game, Dixit, which allows to you create even more storylines to immerse yourself in.
What we liked: Blue Orange Detective Club is one of the best social deduction board games for a reason. Its 45-minute run time is perfect for any type of gathering, and the large age range allows for more opportunities for it to be played.
There’s an element of wordplay and creativity with this game, which makes it more interactive and more fun.
What could be better? One of the elements of Blue Orange Detective Club is that you have to bluff your way out of being detected. This can be a hard feat to manage, especially if you are younger in age. Therefore, while the age range is varied, you will need to be aware of each player’s acting abilities. Even the most intelligent adults can find it hard to bluff their way through a game.
When it comes to deductive board games, the best ones have a compelling storyline. Portal Games Detective involves 5 crime cases that are all interconnected. The more you solve, the more pieces of the puzzle you get.
Portal Games Detective is a cooperative game. There are no teams, and instead, you work together to solve the crimes. You can play on your own, or with up to 4 other people. This is a much longer game than the others on our list, as it will take you 2 to 3 hours to complete.
An interesting aspect of Portal Games Detective is that you can actually play via videoconferencing. This is perfect if you have friends that live out of state but still want to connect with them.
What we liked: Portal Games Detective is all about story. The cases you have to solve are interesting, and the fact they are all interconnected makes it more challenging.
One of the best features of Portal Games Detective is that imagination is key. Basically, the more creative you are, the better the game is. It’s very open-ended and allows you to set the pace.
What cons did we find? Portal Games Detective takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. This is quite the time commitment, although it is worth it. Furthermore, because there are some gritty scenes and curse words, it is recommended for people 16 years and older.
Things to Consider
Board games have been around forever, but a new breed is emerging, deductive board games. These provide you with a plot and setting, and you become the characters. They are imaginative, creative, and provide endless amounts of fun. To decide which deductive board game is the best, we’ve created this buying guide with all the information you need.
Features to consider when choosing a deductive board game
Deductive board games are instant fun. You can transport yourself into a different world and put your intelligence to the test. However, there are many different categories of deductive board games that will influence your choice. Take a look at these important features, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Deductive board games are unique because they have a specific premise that lets you imagine yourself in a different world. They usually revolve around crimes that you need to solve. John N. Hansen 221B Baker Street is unique because instead of transforming into a nameless detective, you get to imagine yourself as the one and only Sherlock Holmes. Matagot Treasure Island is also fun as you can transport yourself to the high seas and hunt for pirate treasure.
Whether you’re into a glamorous murder mystery party or want to test your skills tracking down a murderer, there is a game plot for you.
Number of players
Deductive board games are unique because they are usually more about working together, in a collaborative way. Therefore, many games have quite a large amount of maximum players. The goal is to work together, so if you have a lot of different people, with different ways of looking at things, you will be able to work together faster.
On the other end of the spectrum is the minimum number of players. This can really vary as it depends on if multiple roles need to be cast in the game. While some games allow you to work on your own, other games need many people to be supporting characters.
When finding a deductive board game, think about the setting you want to play it in. If it is a family afternoon, smaller number of players is fine. If you want a fun game for a party, then the larger number of players allowed, the better.
Each game comes with a recommended age, and this takes into account both the context of the game and the difficulty. However, you can always use your personal judgment, especially if it is your children who are interested in playing.
Portal Games Detective has a rating of 16 years and older. This is because the game involves crime scenes as well as some gratuitous language. Blue Orange Detective Club has a wide range, with the recommended age being 8 years or older. However, while the game is family-friendly, it does require a bit of acting, so keep that in mind.
Everyone will be happy with different playing times. While some people want a quick game to play while dinner is being made, others want an activity that will occupy the entire afternoon.
The only other consideration with regards to playing time is that the first game usually takes much longer. This is because rules for deductive board games can be quite involved. Set aside at least an extra 20 minutes the first time you play your new game.
One important factor you want to look for in a deductive board game is how many times you can play the game before it repeats itself. This will determine just how much value the game really has. For example, John N. Hansen 221B Baker Street has 200 cases to solve, which is of great value. Portal Games Detective doesn’t have as many options, but it does provide a world of imagination that allows you to create different play avenues. Blue Orange Detective Club is also interesting as it pairs with a different game called Digit, allowing you to mix the two games together for more scenarios.
Get ready to use your imagination and figuring out clues with these interactive, deductive board games. Our Editor’s Pick is Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. Travel the gritty streets of Hong Kong as you try to figure out just who the murderer is. If you want a deductive board game with interactive features that is also family-friendly, Matagot Treasure Island is a swashbuckling good time. Finally, for those looking for a budget-friendly pick, try The Wonder Forge Suspicion. Good for almost all ages, you can try to figure out who is the jewel thief, and spoiler alert, it just might be you. We’ve used all our sleuthing to find you the best deductive game options so you can test your wit and imagination.