Game Idea #1: Detective Game

I have been working on a game idea which is about putting elements together in solving a murder. There is not a correct answer to each case, but the players need to provide convincing reasons to why their solution is the best. Players make choices about which leads they will follow causing an apparent solution to emerge.

Thematically, the murder takes place in a small town. Both the local law enforcement and the out of city Agency are looking to solve the case.



  • Person Cards: Describe the person (Name, age, height, etc). In addition there are four possible leads, that are a combination of people, locations, objects, and statements, and how these relate to the character (e.g. relative, partner, works at, works with, was found in their pockets).
  • Location Cards: Describe a location. Again these have leads which can be people or objects with ways that they relate to the location.
  • Object Cards: Any possible item. These have leads which relate to people and locations.
  • Statements: These are things people can say. They may relate to the victim, or could be an alibi for the time of the murder. These can contain leads to people, locations and objects.
  • Cause of Death Cards: What biologically cause the death of the victim, for example suffocation, blunt force trauma, decapitation.
  • Timer: This is used to determine how long the players have to decide which lead they will follow.


Phase 1: A New Case

One player is selected to be the Judge.

The role of the judge is to control all elements of the game; distributing cards to players, timing rounds and most importantly at the end of the game deciding which team will win and which team will lose.

The remaining players are split into two groups:

  • Local Law Enforcement: These are the local police, they may not be the best trained but they know the people, their relationships and the ins and outs of the town. 
  • The Agency: These are outsiders who have been sent in from the city. They may not be from around these parts nor understand the local ways but they’re will trained and know exactly what they are doing.

Each team will follow leads into the case, looking at people, locations and objects. There is only so much time so leads that are not followed will go call. There is potential that the two teams will have slightly different abilities which reflect the theme of the game.

The Judge will deal out the first three cards:

  • Person: This represents the victim.
  • Location: Where the body was found.
  • Cause of Death: What ended the victims life.

Through some method (coin flip, or decision) the players will determine which team follows which lead, i,e, the victim or the location the body was found.


Phase 2: Following Leads

Each team will ask the Judge for the cards they require for their chosen leads, be these, people, locations, objects or statements.

Once the cards are dealt out to both teams the judge will start the timer.

When the time is up both teams have to decide which one of the four possible leads they will follow.

This phase is repeated until a certain number of leads have been followed.


Phase 3: Solving the Case

Once the last lead has been followed, the teams will have a set amount of time to consider the evidence in front of them, they will then put a solution to the case together which they will present to the other team and the judge. The solution should contain:

  • Suspect(s): Who the team think committed the murder.
  • Motive: Why the team think the suspect(s) committed the murder.
  • Means: What the team think the suspect(s) used to commit the murder.
  • Opportunity: How the team thick the suspect(s) were able to commit the murder.


Phase 4: Judges Decision

Once both cases have been presented by the two teams, it is up to the judge to determine which team has solved the case.

The player to the left of the judge will now become the judge and a new case will start.


Some possible additional elements

I would potentially like to add some additional game elements to the game.

  • It would be nice if there was further interaction between the local law enforcement and the agency teams. This could be either restricting certain leads, or perhaps stealing leads that are not taken.
  • There should be clear links between the evidence that both teams are drawing together. It makes more sense for the narrative part of the game if they have some similar elements. Perhaps an additional area is require, or some method for linking multiple cards. 
  • The different teams could have different special abilities which reflect the theme. For example, the local law enforcement may get to pick from two person cards, discarding the other.
  • It might be possible to add a point system to the game, where the winning team are rewarded. At the end of the game the player with the most points wins overall.
  • Cross examination from the opposing team during the presentation of the solution might be an additional feature to consider.
  • The ability to split/multi task. So instead of selecting a single lead and seeing the four leads the come from that, it should be possible to implement a system where the team can follow two leads, however if they do so, they now only receive two cards for each lead instead of four.

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