Paranormal Detectives Deduction Game Overview
Whenever I sit down to watch a movie or TV show, I try to predict what is going to happen. It isn’t quite as entertaining during a RomCom, but it’s certainly fun for a crime show, mystery or even a drama. Being able to think through all the hints, clues and foreshadowing and discovering that you were right feels so rewarding. Yet, when you are wrong, you recognize that the writer and director created a solid, unpredictable piece of work. These urges to solve problems go way back to my childhood when I could play Mastermind, Clue or Electronic Detective for hours on end. As an adult, I’ve enjoyed a variety of deduction board games such as Alchemists, Decrypto and Cryptid as well as escape room games. The most recent game of this type that we’ve played is Paranormal Detective from Lucky Duck Games. Before I say anything else, let me just say that it isn’t scary as the name might imply.
The concept behind Paranormal Detective is that something has occurred and there’s been a death. A group of detectives is trying to communicate with the ghost in an attempt to find out what happened. Gather around the table and decide which player will take on the role of the deceased and give that person the Ghost sheet, a random story card, three Ghost Interaction cards, the deck of Tarot cards and a pen. Place the board and quill pen sheet in the center of the table then set the markers (Ghost Meter, Talking Board) and Hangman Knot ropes alongside. Randomly assign detectives to the other players then give them the matching screen, investigation sheet, interaction cards based on player count and a pen.
To begin the game, the ghost will secretly read the story card to learn the backstory of the incident. They’ll put wound markers on the chalk outline (on the main board) as indicated on the card. Then the ghost reads the short description of their body’s appearance to get the detectives up to speed. Now it’s up to them to decipher what truly happened and how.
Detective players will take turns asking the Ghost questions in an attempt to solve the mystery. On your turn as a detective, you’ll Ask the Ghost a question then (optionally) try to guess the story. You’re limited to two attempts throughout the game so you’ll want to refrain from guessing until you’re fairly confident.
When asking a question, you’ll choose an Interaction card from your hand and play it, requesting an answer that requires more than a yes or no answer. There are a variety of cards that reference the different methods the Ghost is to answer your question.
The Ghost will arrange three Tarot cards, use the Ouija board, adjust the markers on the Ghost meter, assist the detective in drawing a picture, create an image using the ropes, mouth the words, make a sound, mime or even “draw” on the detective’s back. All of the correspondence is available for everyone to see and hear except the one involving the drawing on the back.
At the end of your turn, you’ll make notes on your notepad behind the screen. Ultimately, you’ll need to figure out who the victim is, where it occurred, the motive, how it happened and the direct cause of death.
When you think you can answer it, you’ll announce the details as you think they apply. If you guessed all five then the game ends and you win. If you didn’t, then the Ghost will secretly make a note on your board with a number from 0-4 indicating how many of the five you got correct. After that, the Ghost marks on their own board (secretly) how many the detective got correct. The first three times there is an incomplete guess by any detective, the Ghost follows it up with a new clue for the entire group then play passes to the next detective.
The game ends when either a detective correctly solves all the keys in the case (in which case, the detective and the Ghost are winners), all the detectives have used up all of their interaction cards or taken their two attempts at guessing. If nobody is able to unravel all the clues, then the Detective who correctly guessed the most keys is the winner. In the event of a tie, the winner is the one who reached that total first. Despite the paranormal theme, it isn’t a scary game. Lucky Duck Games has labeled more sensitive stories so they can be removed from the game when playing as a family. There’s also a variant to the game that makes it cooperative!
If you’re ready for an upgrade to Clue, but enjoy a unique method for deciphering what happened then Paranormal Detectives is worth checking out. Do some investigative work with your local game store to see if they have copies available, otherwise pick one up on Amazon or direct from Lucky Duck Games. You can look for clues on Facebook and Twitter to discover what new releases are in the works.
Have you ever used a Ouija board or participated in a séance?