Like Cluedo? Try these games instead!

There’s been a Murder!!!
Just kidding – but if you enjoy solving a good old-fashioned ‘who dunnit’ you’ve probably played Cluedo to death. So here are 5 Lazy Horse recommendations for games that are similar to the classic murder mystery board game.

  1. 221b Baker Street. 2-6 players.  Ages 10+.  Approx. 60-90 mins

Perhaps the most famous detective of them all….. It’s Sherlock Holmes of course.  This game looks like and plays like Cluedo, featuring a familiar-looking map with 14 locations instead of rooms. Much like Cluedo you have to roll a dice to make your way around the map, visiting each location to uncover the clues.

But unlike Cluedo, each game starts with a new Conan Doyle-esque storyline which transports you right back into victorian London. Naturally some poor soul will have mysteriously died (or been the victim of a ‘most singular’ crime). You have to solve the case by collecting clues from the various locations around the map. Then use your powers of deduction to piece it all together.

The first person who can gather enough clues to solve the crime and make it back to 221b wins.  The game is very much afoot!

221b Baker Street allows players to try their hand at solving a new case every time you play. There are over 100 different cases in the game. All of which mean this is a great game for the wannabe detectives who love storytelling and find Cluedo a bit repetitive. 

2. Awkward Guests. 1-8 players.  Ages 12+.  Approx. 60 mins

If you have ever enjoyed a game of Cluedo, or even if you haven’t, you have to try Awkward Guests. 

The game follows a very similar premise to Cluedo. In this case Mr Walton has been murdered in his stately home. There are six suspects. There are multiple potential weapons and there are various motives for each suspect. Like all good murder mystery games it’s your job to find out who, why and how it all went down.

Now here’s the clever part: You, and all the other players, have a hand of cards which give you some information relating to the murder. After each round you can discard cards and get new ones. On your go you ask for information about a particular aspect of the murder and the other players offer you what they have. Some may have multiple cards that relate to your request. You can choose to take information from one player but in return you have to offer them information of the same value in return.  More information to you means more information going to someone else! This introduces a degree of player interaction and strategic thinking that Cluedo doesn’t really offer.

The game has loads of cards (243 to be precise) which have a huge variety of information on them. They need to be carefully put in order during set-up. Each game has a different set up meaning that the cases are wildly different each time you play. As a result your powers of deduction have got to be a bit sharper than Cluedo and the game has infinitely more longevity. Throw in some brilliant artwork and quirky humour and you have yourself a certified Lazy Horse favourite.  

3) Deception Murder in Hong Kong. 4-12 players Ages 14+. approx. 20-30 mins

If your family and friends begin to yawn at the suggestion of Cluedo then why not throw a cat amongst the pigeons and make one of them the murderer instead.

That’s sort of what happens in Deception Murder in Hong Kong, which is a quick game best played with a larger group of people who don’t mind being accused of murder, stitching other people up and lying your way to victory.

 Every player is given a role; one person will be the murderer, one person will become the forensic scientist who leads the investigation. They also knows who the murderer is and how the murder was carried out.

 The forensic scientist will then lay out 4 evidence cards and 4 weapon cards in front of each player. Naturally, at this point, each player is furiously speculating about who the murder might be. Throughout the game it is the job of the forensic scientist to point all detectives towards the murderer. And it is the murderer’s job to throw everyone else off the scent.

That’s where things get interesting; the forensic scientist isn’t allowed to talk and instead has to point to words on some randomly selected cards.  Each word should help players to identify the murderer but as luck would have it, the words are just vague enough to make this one very murky investigation. Players then has 30 seconds to plead their innocence and (in the case of the murderer) try to pin the crime on someone else.  Bring on the bluffing, double bluffing and very rusty detective work.

In larger groups extra roles including the ‘the witness’ and the ‘accomplice’ can be included to make things extra spicy.  If you like Cluedo but you prefer your games to be loud and outrageous then you will be sure to enjoy this.

4) Cryptid. 3-5 players. Ages 10+. Approx 45 mins

Do you like Cluedo but find  yourself wishing it could be a little less ‘murdery’? Well you might be interested in Cryptid.  “What’s a cryptid?!” you ask.  Well it’s a sea monster of course.

And, as you might have just deduced, this game is about a sea monster. It’s hiding somewhere on the map and it’s your job (and everyone else’s too) to find out where exactly this cryptid is lurking.

The board represents a map, made up of different areas of forest, water, desert etc.  The board is modular so that each game is different and the cryptid is never hiding in the same place twice.The game starts with each player being given some conditions about where the cryptid Is or IS NOT hiding . Crucially, each player is given different conditions and these are kept secret throughout the game.

Players can search the board by asking another player whether the cryptid could be hiding on a particular square. That player has to answer honestly (according to the conditions that they have been given) with either a square block “NO” or a round disk “Yes”.  If the player answers with a “no’ then you have to respond by putting one of your cubes on the map as well, thus giving your opponents more information about the cryptid’s location. And so the board begins to fill up with tokens that will slowly reveal the location of the cryptid. First person to figure out that location wins.

OK so Cryptid isn’t enormously like Cluedo but it does require all the same deduction skills.  There is a constant trade-off between gaining information from your opponents and not giving too much information away which makes it more puzzle-like than any of the other games on this list.

If you want to give your brain some exercise and use your detective skills without even the faintest bit of murder then this is the game for you.  

5) Detective: A Modern Crime Story. 1-4 players. Ages 16+. Approx. 120-180 mins per case

…..On the other maybe you find yourself wishing Cluedo could have a lot more in the death department . Well then you should try this hyper-realistic detective game. This is for those of you are deadly serious about becoming a detective. It comes with a 16+ age rating just to give you some idea what we mean.

The game features 5 cases, which are inter-connected but can be solved separately. Stopping after each case and then continuing in order.  

Each case involves a pile of cards which reveal information about the case. You have a board which is used to keep track of time. Reading case cards and travelling between locations to investigate things all take time so you have to choose which leads to follow up on.

This game is extremely immersive and certainly is aimed at people who are serious about doing the work of a detective. We’re talking proper research, cross-referencing, evidence-collecting, time-pressure and deduction by the bucket load, not to mention time pressure! At the end of the case (i.e when the time runs out)  you will be quizzed on what you have discovered.

The research aspect of this game requires you to use an actual online database so don’t forget your laptop and in some circumstances using the internet to research real-life events and characters.

Each case can take between 2 and 3 hours and the whole experience falls somewhere between a movie and a board game with you right at the centre.  Not for the faint hearted but an amazing game/experience nonetheless!

If you like the idea of this game but want to dip your toe before you dive into the deep end then try Detective: Season 1. It is a shorter version of the game, which is more family friendly (for ages 12+).

Well there you have it:  5 Lazy Horse recommendations for Cluedo lovers out there looking to explore something new. We will be back with more recommendations on a certain theme before long. Thanks for reading.