SNAP Review – Decktective: Bloody Red Roses
We are big fans of the escape-room-in-a-box and mystery-in-a-box genre of games (EXIT, Unlock, Clever Kids Mysteries, Chronicles of Crime). But what about a card game that gives you all the information you need to solve a mystery, with no special tools required?
Publisher dV Giochi gives us this unique experience in Decktective – a deck of cards with a full case for detectives to solve. Decktective: Bloody-red roses is a game by Martino Chiacchiera and Silvano Sorrentino for 1-6 players, recommended for ages 12 and up.
In Decktective: Bloody-red roses, you and up to five friends can investigate a mysterious death at an English mansion on the Thames. Who killed the count? How did they do it? And what was the motivation?
The attention to detail in Alberto Besi’s artwork is amazing. Besides that, the game art is used in clever ways – not just breaking up clues amongst several cards but also standing up cards in the game box to create a 3D model of the crime scene.
The art is integral to the gameplay, and sometimes led us to immediately want to play cards that completed a scene while holding others back.
While it’s quite detailed, it’s never gory. In true Victorian fashion, you don’t even see the corpse up close – it’s a blur with some red around it. Thematically, it’s fine for 12 year olds or anyone who enjoys Sherlock Holmes or Poirot.
Whether solo or in a group, Decktective plays as a game, with each player taking turns to play cards from their hand – either as evidence for all to see, or into an “archive” where they cannot be referenced.
Why not play every card as evidence? Because each card has a cost: a quantity of cards that must be in the archive for it to be playable.
As players pull new cards from the deck, “plot twist” cards will be revealed – these will give information to all players and may influence your further card plays.
This is a story deck, like a legacy deck, so you don’t want to shuffle it. The cards come out in a certain order on purpose.
Once the end of the regular deck is reached, it’s time to come to a conclusion! Players discuss the previously-revealed evidence and try to figure out exactly what happened, in order to solve the case.
At this point, players can try to remember titles from the cards they had placed face-down. These facts can still be used to help “solve” the case. As you talk through the details, information from these cards could become important to confirm or negate theories that other players put forward. We loved this organic working-out of the mystery.
Once the group has decided they have a pretty good idea of what happened, it’s time to work through five question cards.
Use the included plastic clips to indicate your answer to the who, what, why, and how of this case. When you’re sure you’re done, flip the cards over one at a time and find out the truth (and your score out of 10 points).
Decktective seemed like a fun way to pass the time. It’s a small box, about double-deck sized and it said it would take about an hour.
We were expecting something like the Unlock boxes we’ve done in the past, where we’d need to sort and combine cards to find puzzle answers. But that’s not what it was like…
We weren’t expecting Decktective to really feel like a game. Having to discard cards (and not discuss them) to play public clues was a really fun feel. It made each person’s decisions matter, and discouraged group-think.
Of course, there was still time to to discuss the evidence; this is a co-op game after all. But it means that no single player can hog all of the clues.
Clips on answer cards is a clever way to mark answers and be able to change them, before committing to finding out the truth.
We were also surprised at the level of detail!! After solving the crime, we went back and found quite a lot that we had overlooked on the cards. Clever!
We really enjoyed this Decktective game and will be looking out for more of them in the future. We rate it 5 out of 5 bright red roses.
Find Decktective: Bloody-red roses for about $15 at Amazon or ask for it at your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Decktective: Bloody-Red Roses from dV Giochi for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
Decktective: Bloody Red Roses
Number of Players: 1-6
Age Range: 12+ (we say younger)
Playtime: about 1 hour