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Sometimes, the best way to get everyone together is with good old-fashioned detective work! Whether you’re looking for some brain-teasing entertainment or an exciting match-up between the minds of your friends and family, our top recommendation is Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. It’s accessible, engaging, mysterious, and sure to challenge even the most experienced investigators.

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But don’t worry if that’s not your cup of tea! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite detective board games guaranteed to keep you and your crew entertained for hours. If you want to know more about how we pick our games, check out our selection process here.

1. Best Overall: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Available on
  • Player count: 1-8 players
  • Duration: 90 minutes average playing time
  • Ages: 14+

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective tops our list for its incredibly engrossing and satisfying mystery experience like no other! As you make your way through Victorian London, gathering clues and piecing together the mystery, this game offers an immersive and unforgettable detective adventure.

Why we love it

The best thing about this game is how accessible it is. It’s easy to learn, and the rules are virtually non-existent. Regardless of age or board game experience, anyone can jump in and start playing. So, whether you’re having a family game night with younger players or a more intense and competitive friend group, this game is a great choice.

We love how this game facilitates social interactions because of its cooperative nature. You’ll find yourself sharing clues, debating theories, and working together to solve the mystery in a way that will make you and your friends feel like the next Sherlock Holmes.

This game also has excellent levels of engrossing gameplay with its quality components and fantastic storytelling. The cases are genuinely enjoyable and exciting, with you and your friends on the edge of your seats, trying to decipher the clues.

The only downside to this game is that there is little replayability because there are only 10 cases included in the box. Once you’ve completed all the cases, you’ll have to purchase additional expansions if you want to experience new mysteries.

Overall, we think Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is an outstanding game that will have you and your friends solving cases in no time!

How to play

In this game, your objective is to solve a crime as quickly as possible. Playing as the Baker Street Irregulars, you and your team of detectives visit different locations to collect clues and use your deduction skills to solve the case.

To help you on your quest, the game includes a book of cases, a map, a directory, and newspapers that will contain clues and hints. Place these items near your team and make sure everyone can reach them.

Then, each player takes a turn being the lead detective to choose a lead from the case book. For example, you can pick and say ’the scene of the crime’ as your lead, and from there, you turn to that page in the case book and recite the paragraph out loud.

During this time, players are encouraged to openly debate their ideas on the clues they discover and hypotheses about the case. Consider exploring the character directory for potential suspects/witnesses, looking at the map, perusing through newspapers, or even reverting back to old leads. Feel free to experiment with every avenue possible!

Once you’re sure you have the answer, finalize your conclusions and answer two questions related to the case. Calculate your score depending on how accurate your answers are. Compare your score to Sherlock’s, and if your score is above 100, you have beaten Sherlock.

Congratulations! On to the next case.


2. Best Icebreaker: Exit: Dead Man on The Orient Express

Available on
  • Player count: 1-4 players
  • Duration: 60 to 120 minutes
  • Ages: 12+

Fans of murder mysteries and immersive gameplay will love the next pick on our list – Exit: Dead Man on The Orient Express! Inspired by Agatha Christie’s famous novel and the thrilling nature of escape rooms, this intense game has a few twists and turns that leave you guessing until the very end.

Why we love it

What makes this game a true standout is its interactive nature. Certain game components are marked as destructible - meaning that you must physically alter or damage the game components to progress with the investigation. We don’t think there’s any better way to experience an adventure than being able to fold, mark, rip, and feel part of the game and its plot.

This game is excellent for sharpening your deduction and critical thinking skills, as it doesn’t require you to solve traditional puzzles to get out. You must also solve the murder by correctly reading and interpreting clues - a perfect combination of immersive storytelling, quality components, and unique puzzles.

Plus, the game has a wide variety of puzzles with different levels of difficulty. So, regardless of your age or experience, you can find something to enjoy in this game as long as you love puzzles and mysteries.

However, you can only play this game once. Because the components are crucial to the game, you must mark or deface certain pieces once you’ve used them. While this takes away some of its replayability, it also adds to the overall thrilling experience, so we still think Exit: Dead Man on The Orient Express is well worth a try!

How to play

Setting up this game is fairly straightforward. Open the box and read through the booklet to find the first riddle card you need to solve. From there, you’ll be guided through the game by following instructions and solving puzzles as they come up.

With a good portion of the puzzles in this game, you will need to enter a 3-digit code into the cipher disc, which then leads you to an answer card. If your answers are correct, the game continues to lead you to more riddles and locations until you eventually arrive at its final puzzle.

If you struggle to find the answer and get stuck, don’t worry! Every riddle has three related hint cards that guide you in the right direction. The initial card provides clues about the components necessary for solving the puzzle, while the second offers a clue as to how you can complete it. The third and final card spells out the complete answer - but use them sparingly!

After you’re through the puzzles, the number of hints you used and the time it took to complete the game determine your rank. Good luck!


3. Best Creative: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Available on
  • Player count: 4-12 players
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Ages: 14+

In this Werewolf-slash-Mafia-slash-Clue mash-up, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong puts a unique spin on the classic detective game formula. Fooling your friends has never been so much fun as you take on the roles of Forensic Scientists, Investigators, Witnesses, and more!

Why we love it

Our favorite part of this game is its unique way of encouraging social interaction. Instead of the classic clue-gathering and racing to first shout the name of the murderer, every player plays an active role in the game. Everyone gets an equal turn at presenting evidence and reasoning to deduce who the murderer is.

We also love how instead of implicating one person, you’re trying to implicate a set of cards, which means everyone is involved in the guessing game! This removes the extra pressure (and awkwardness) that may sometimes arise in games where you’re pointing the finger at someone.

This game is light on the rules and time constraints, so it’s suitable for players of all ages. Plus, the different roles and characters make it a great social game to play with friends or family. The unique aspect of not being able to talk when you’re a forensic scientist is sure to add an exciting twist to your game night.

Our only complaint? It can be difficult to win when you’re the murderer - there are some rounds when the hints are too specific, and it’s obvious who the murderer is. So, be prepared to lose gracefully!

Overall, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is an innovative and entertaining board game that puts a creative spin on the traditional detective game formula. With its unique approach to encouraging social interaction, this game will provide hours of entertainment for you, your friends, and your family. So, give it a try - you won’t regret it!

How to play

Getting started with Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is easy! Shuffle the role cards and pass them out to all players. Gather the blue ‘means of murder’ and red ‘key evidence’ cards, then shuffle them before dealing four of each to every player.

Assign each participant a badge token and lay out the cause of death tile with its accompanying location tiles on top face-up. Finally, arrange any remaining tiles in a draw pile while setting aside plentiful bullet markers for everyone’s convenience during the game.

The player who receives the forensic scientist role reveals themselves immediately. They’re not allowed to talk, so all communication must be done through clues. Everyone closes their eyes, and the murderer reveals themselves to the forensic scientist. They also point to their means of murder and key evidence cards.

Each round, the forensic scientist will use clue cards to help the detectives get these two pieces of information correct. The investigators only have one chance to guess the murderer and their means of murder, so clue cards become essential.

Ending the game: Everyone gets a chance to present their guesses; if they are wrong, they must hand in their badge and are out of the game. The detectives win if one guesses all the correct information. If nobody can guess the means of murder and key evidence correctly, the murderer wins!


4. Best Cooperative: Chronicles of Crime

Available on
  • Player count: 1-4 players
  • Duration: 60 to 90 minutes
  • Ages: 12+

Ever played a game where you feel like an actual detective? Look no further than Chronicles of Crime! With its use of virtual reality, this is an excellent game for those looking to solve a crime as an actual detective would.

Why we love it

We think the immersive feeling that Chronicles of Crime provides is unparalleled. The game comes with an app and requires a QR code reader to scan the game pieces and read the clues. You can also purchase VR headsets that will make the game even more lifelike - you can even venture around the crime scene in VR!

The cooperation between players is what makes this game so unique. By combining your skills and knowledge, you must work together to investigate and interrogate suspects to unravel the mystery. It’s a great game for when you’re in the mood for a detective-style challenge with your fellow investigators!

The biggest drawback to this game is that it can quickly drain your phone or tablet’s battery. So be sure to keep an eye on that and have a power bank ready! Nevertheless, Chronicles of Crime will be an exciting addition to your game night. Try it out and get ready for a thrilling mystery!

How to play

In Chronicles of Crime, you and your fellow players are detectives trying to solve different cases. The setup is relatively easy - you must download the app and start playing. Take the general evidence cards, 55 character cards, four police advisers, and the envelope-sized location mats and lay them out on the table.

Launch the app and follow the instructions to get your game started. The app will guide you through the cases, aiding you in exploring different locations and interrogating suspects. You scan the QR codes on the cards and mats to progress in the game.

At each location, you meet characters and interrogate them. If the location is searchable, you can hold your phone up and spin it around to look for clues. If you discover clues in a location, you will be given an evidence card. Use the cards in your hand to progress and make deductions.

Every action you use in the app will cost you time, so you must think and act fast. Once you have gathered enough evidence, you must piece together the facts and reach a conclusion. If you’re confident enough, go home and report to your superior. The accuracy of your answers determines your score, so work quickly and efficiently to get the best result!


5. Most Unique: MicroMacro: Crime City

Available on
  • Player count: 1-4 players
  • Duration: 15 to 45 minutes
  • Ages: 12+

Ever had to rely on one of your senses to catch a criminal? MicroMacro: Crime City is the game to test your detective skills in an entirely new way. While other detective games are about solving puzzles, this game is about keeping your eye sharp and spotting an anomaly.

Why we love it

What we appreciate most about this game is its “find it” style. The unique premise of using your sense of sight to unearth evidence is fascinating. You’re given a giant city map, and you must look at everything closely to find anything amiss. It’s like playing a real-life Where’s Waldo, but instead of trying to find Waldo, you’re looking for clues!

There is an excellent level of accessibility in this game as well. The rules are easy to learn, and you don’t need to teach complicated concepts. So even if you’re playing with kids or adults unfamiliar with detective games, they can still participate and have a great time.

We also love the great variety of cases this game offers. From the mundane to the more complex ones, you’ll never get bored of playing. Plus, the fantastic work and detail put into the game’s visuals make it even more immersive.

Our only gripe is that the game has only 16 cases, making it less replayable than other detective games. Thankfully, MicroMacro: Crime City makes up for it for the overall challenge it presents. Try it out and get ready for some serious detective work!

How to play

Playing MicroMacro is simple but very rewarding. To start, lay out the map on the table and place the included sticker onto the magnifying glass. Sift through the 16 criminal cases, each containing a selection of evidence cards marked with their respective case icon and card number. Don’t look at the evidence yet!

Assign one player the task of Lead Investigator, who will be in charge of guiding the investigation and reading aloud the text printed on each card. Then, take out from its envelope “The Top Hat” deck and put it next to your game map for easy access.

The Lead Investigator begins by flipping the top card, which is always the start card of a case. This provides an overview of the crime to be solved and features a picture of the main character involved. The second card contains your first task, and you must complete this before proceeding to the next card.

Once you have completed the task, flip through the cards until you reach the cases. As you progress, the difficulty of the puzzles increases, and you must use all your skills to solve them. Have fun and good luck, detectives!


6. Best Immersive: Hunt A Killer Death at The Dive Bar

Available on
  • Player count: 1-5 players
  • Duration: 45 to 60 minutes
  • Ages: 14+

For true crime fanatics, this next game will satisfy your inner detective. Hunt A Killer: Death at The Dive Bar is an immersive game that takes you into the gritty underbelly of a dive bar after its owner has been murdered.

Why we love it

We love how relatively easy it is to learn the basics of this game. It’s a perfect introductory game for detective novices and those who may be intimidated by Sherlock-level puzzles. There are no gruesome images, and the story is told tastefully, so kids and adults alike can join in.

This game is highly portable and perfect for playing on the go. It comes with a handy storage box that fits all components snugly and can be easily transported wherever you go. It’s like a true crime binge in a box!

We are also huge fans of the level of detail and thought that went into this game. From the CCTV footage to the evidence tags and call-in sheets, every single element of this game is designed to make you feel like a real investigator. There’s no other game out there that can make you feel like an actual detective!

Because this game is quite easy, experienced detectives may find it too dull and straightforward. But if you’re looking for an introductory detective game with a dark twist, this is the one to get. Hunt A Killer: Death at The Dive Bar is an amazing detective game experience that we can’t recommend enough.

How to play

To start, open the box and spread out all the components. You’ll find a letter from Michelle Gray from Gray Investigations, who is asking for your help in solving the murder. This letter introduces the case, and you must use the included items, papers, and photos to piece together the clues.

Take time to read all the information and look through the four suspects. From the evidence and clues, try to determine which one is the murderer. As you progress through the game, new information and evidence will be revealed that affects your decision. You also solve short puzzles and riddles as you make your way through the game.

Once you’ve figured out who the murderer is, open the solution envelope and compare your findings. Did you guess correctly? Did you miss any clues? At the end of the game, it’s fun to go back and read through the evidence again to see if you missed anything!


7. Best Classic: Clue Classic Edition

Available on
  • Player count: 2-6 players
  • Duration: 45 minutes average playing time
  • Ages: 8+

The beloved game of Clue is back in the form of a classic edition, and it’s still as fun as ever! This gripping game has been around since 1949 and is popular amongst detective fans of all ages.

Why we love it

What makes Clue such an enduring game is its simplicity. It’s quite easy to learn and requires no special skills to be able to play it. The rules are straightforward and can be picked up quickly, making it an excellent game for playing with family and players of all ages.

This game is a terrific way to teach younger players the basics of deduction, problem-solving, and logic. It’s also excellent for developing critical thinking skills because it encourages players to think strategically and figure out the most efficient way to gain more information.

We also appreciate the sturdy quality of this game. The board is surprisingly durable, and the pieces are made from high-quality materials that will last for years. This makes it perfect for when you want to play over and over again!

However, this reinvented version of Clue does not come with its six classic notepads and only comes with one pad for all players. This means you’ll probably need more time to get the notepad quickly if you’re playing with multiple people.

Still, Clue remains one of the most popular detective games of all time and is sure to be appreciated by players old and young. Why not get your family together for a night of deduction, puzzles, and mystery? We promise you won’t be disappointed!

How to play

In Clue Classic Edition, players select a suspect card and set it in front of them. The leftover suspect and weapon cards are placed face-down at the center of the board game. After shuffling the three location cards together, randomly pick one and put it into the envelope before placing it in the middle part of your playing area.

The player who gets Miss Scarlet starts the game by rolling the dice to determine how many spaces they will advance. They then move their suspect token accordingly and examine a card from that location. If it’s either a suspect or a weapon, Miss Scarlet is granted two choices: take it for herself or leave it there for another player.

If she has no interest in the card, she can transfer her token to another spot and inspect that card. If there’s neither a suspect nor a weapon at that place, she should try her luck with the dice once more or complete her round.

You do the same thing during your turn. As you continue to move around and examine cards, eliminate suspects or weapons on your notepad, and try to deduce which cards are in the envelope. If you are confident in your findings, accuse who you think the murderer is, where they did the deed, and what weapon was used.

Check the envelope to see if your accusation is correct. If it is, you win the game! If not, you’re out of the game until someone else makes an accurate accusation.


How we picked and tested

PsyCat Games is built by people who know how to have fun! We’ve been researching parties and games since 2018 and have published 400+ articles on our website. That’s why we’re confident that we know what we’re talking about!

We want you to have the best time possible and not waste your money on a subpar product. That’s why we spend over three months testing 20 games with groups of kids, teens, and adults. We’ve ranked the games by the fun factor, player experience, and replayability!

Our ranking is subjective, but we’ve tried our best to be as impartial as possible. However, if you stumble upon a detective board game that you think deserves a spot on our list, please reach out to us! We would love to hear from you.

PsyCat Games is supported by readers clicking on our affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we might earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

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