SNAP Review – Paranormal Detectives
This SNAP review touches on death and the supernatural.
Deduce the circumstances of demise…
In Paranormal Detectives, one player takes the role of the Ghost and the other players take the role of Detectives, trying to figure out how the subject (who is now the ghost in question) met their untimely demise.
Paranormal Detectives is a murder mystery /party deduction game published by Lucky Duck Games for 2-6 players, ages 12+. A game takes about 45 minutes. We’ll tell you about it in a SNAP! Listen or read on below.
Place the main board with the chalk outline and various supernatural elements in the middle of the table. Also grab the tools to use with the main board, the quill board, a marker.
The ghost takes a random story card, the ghost interaction cards, the deck of tarot cards, the ghost sheet, and a marker.
Each other player takes a detective screen, their matching interaction deck, an investigation sheet, and a marker.
Detectives remove cards from their interaction deck if the player count icon on the card doesn’t match the total number of players including the ghost.
The ghost reads the story on the Story card to themself and puts wound tokens on the chalk outline where instructed. They also put a wound token on the proper gender token, and read out loud the description at the bottom of the story card.
The goal of the Detectives is to be the first to figure out how the Ghost player died. Correctly determining this is done through a series of questions.
On a Detective’s turn they ask the ghost one question where the answer is not yes or no. They play an Interaction card from their deck, which dictates how the Ghost will answer. This is where it gets funny.
The Ghost must answer the question in the manner dictated… anything from drawing on a player’s back to mouthing a word to re-arranging wire-core ropes.
All Detectives should be able to get some kind of information from most of these interactions. After an Interaction card is played it is discarded and cannot be used again.
After a ghost provides their clue via interaction, the active player may choose to guess how the Ghost died. They do this by telling the story of the ghost’s death, pointing out the five key elements: Who, Why, Where, How, and Weapon.
But be careful! After two incorrect guesses, the Detective is eliminated from the investigation!
If a Detective is correct, they win immediately. If not, the Ghost writes a number for only the Detective to see to tell them how many of the five key items they got correct. The Ghost makes a note of who guessed how many keys correctly on their Ghost sheet.
Finally, if a guess was incorrect, the Ghost gives all players a clue using one of their Ghost Interaction cards. Then, play proceeds to the next player.
If nobody guesses the story correctly with their two guesses, whichever Detective guessed the most correct keys wins!
Even though Paranormal Detectives is darkly themed and a bit spooky, the art is not scary. It’s not goofy, but it’s definitely designed to have a little bit of whimsy. Between pantomiming and using the “ghost meter”, it’s more silly than scary.
The stories of how people died aren’t gory. There are some more adult themes on some of the death cards but these more explicit ones have a Parental Advisory note, so they’re easy to skip.
The stories are also creative! Not one of them is a straightforward situation, which makes it fun and challenging to deduce.
There are many supernatural elements here. There is a “talking board” here (aka ouija board). You’re talking with ghosts. You have a “ghost meter” that Ghosts set levels on. You’re using Tarot cards. But all of it is pretend – you’re not having a seance or trying to contact actual spirits. Obviously, if you are concerned about these kinds of themes with your kids, this game isn’t for you.
Ultimately it’s a light-hearted deduction game. It wasn’t a hit with our family, since our kids just don’t love deduction.
But for families that enjoy this kind of thing and can make light of the theme of the game, it can be enjoyable. We recommend it for groups that are generally the same age or at least that have the same capacity for deduction (e.g. multigenerational but at least teenagers). The recommended age range of 12+ is probably correct.
We rate Paranormal Detectives 3 out of 5 Spooky Screams.
Find it on Amazon or at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Paranormal Detectives from Lucky Duck Games for this review.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Number of Players: 2-6
Age Range: 12+
Playtime: 45 minutes