And now for something completely different…
Today, I’m not bringing your a blog tour for books… It’s a blog tour for a card game called Once Upon A Crime, a murder mystery card game! Thanks so much to Zoé at Zooloo’s Book Tours and After Dark games for organising the tour and sending me a copy of the game with a request for an honest review. I’ve had a lot of fun playing this game with my partner and sister-in-law and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you all!
About The Game
Carabosse the Bad Fairy is dead, and her Big Book of Villainy has been stolen…
In a shocking revelation, the magic mirror has revealed that all the suspects are goodies, but who had a motive to go bad? You’ll need to swap, steal and search for the evidence in order to scupper the other detectives and sleuth your way to your happily ever after!
There’s more than one way to catch a killer though. So what’s it gonna be? Good Cop or Bad Cop? These two game versions come with their own set of rules and tactics to crack the case and finger your suspect, but will you use fair play or FOUL PLAY?
The Game is Afoot! Playing as detective, you’ll need to find the three evidence cards that point to a specific suspect in order to catch a killer in this crazy criminal caper. Will you uncover them in the crime scene? Could the other detectives be willing to collaborate and share their findings? Or will you resort to more tricky tactics, and plunder the proof you need to solve this crime?
I love playing games and I’ve been looking for something a bit different for a while so was super excited to be part of the tour. I really like games like Exploding Kittens which involve strategy and competition and Once Upon A Crime lived up to my wishes!
There are two ways to play the game: Good Cop and Bad Cop. The idea is to find 3 pieces of evidence and match them to a suspect. Along the way, you can swap cards, steal cards, discard cards and maybe even lose them all! When I first read the rules, I was a little confused but after a quick flick through the cards to familiarise myself with them and then apply them to the game, it was really easy to play. I had the rules out for the first game, and then it was really simple to keep going. I’ve seen some games do little video walk throughs for the instructions, and thought this could be a nice addition as having the two game modes could be confusing for some.
What we liked most about the game is you had to think to remember pieces of evidence and to examine the character cards carefully to try to match evidence to them. With Good Cop, there are only 3 pieces of evidence in play, so only one possible criminal, which involves a lot more memory but we found that it enhanced player interaction as we were all scrabbling after the same cards! We made the mistake of thinking we needed all 3 pieces of evidence in our hands as well as the character the first time we played Good Cop, which would have been very hard to achieve and fortunately isn’t the case – you just need a good memory! For Bad Cop, you’re more out on your own; all evidence is in play and you need 3 pieces and a suspect to pin it on! This made for a really fast paced game, especially when played with 2 people. We felt like Good Cop worked best with 3 or more people.
Having two modes of game play means that the game is adaptable to lots of situations which is a big plus! There’s so many games out there that need 4+ people now, that it makes it impossible for a 2 person household to play regularly. Although I didn’t play with any children, I could see me playing this with some of my pre-teen cousins and still enjoying it; it’s very family friendly. The portable nature of a deck of cards makes it perfect for holidays, trips and rainy afternoons. I think it will find a place in my suitcase alongside a trusty deck of cards and Uno when we next go away.
There’s a variety of cards in the deck alongside the character and evidence cards such as finding out cards from the central “crime scene” that might help you, swapping or stealing cards from other players for the “crime scene”, getting a player to discard their hand, a block card, and also a red herring. All of these cards worked well in both modes, some of them being more useful in some situations than others. The only card we felt didn’t bring anything to the game was the “red herring”. It was a completely useless card and either needed to be discarded or swapped with your poor opponent. There’s definitely a place in games for these annoying Joker type cards, but we felt game play could have been made more interesting by introducing a rule of something like having 2 red herrings meant your opponent had to lose cards or all the cards got shuffled and redealt. That would certainly add to the jeopardy and might make a hapless player a bit more lucky.
Overall, this game was a lot of fun and pretty easy to pick up once you’d walked through the instructions. I think I marginally prefer Good Cop over Bad Cop, but both modes are fun to play. It’s a brilliant family-friendly game that can be played again and again and again!
History of Foul Play
What’s a Murder Mystery Events Company to do?
With a pandemic sweeping the nation and no sign of being able to perform their confounding criminal cabarets or incredible interactive investigations any time soon, they needed to come up with a plan, another way to provide mystery to the masses (and provide income to keep themselves afloat)!
Well, lockdown does strange things to people, especially actors who can’t go out and perform. So one fateful evening, Ben & Lee Cooper-Muir decided to come up with a whole new way to murder people. Keeping their cards close to their chests they plotted and schemed until Foul Play : The Murder Mystery Card Game was born. So, what to do next? This is where After Dark enters the picture. After all, Ben and Lee were two of the operators of the infamous murder mystery company. Maybe they could collaborate to bring the game to the masses. When Lockdown restrictions were eased a top-secret meeting was held with the other criminal masterminds behind After Dark, Helen Burrows, Sophie Webster & Tom Fisher and a pact was made. The game would be launched and licensed under the After Dark banner. In true After Dark style, the team burst into action and then began the beta testing, design updates, promotional planning, character changes, proofing, proofing and more proofing until finally all the kinks were ironed out, mysteries solved, and FOUL PLAY : Manor House Murder came to life!
The team didn’t stop there though! Due to the popularity of the first game, a second version ‘Once Upon A Crime’ was put on the table, designed, and then launched on Kickstarter. Fully funded in under 48 hours the team at After Dark had another success on their hands and players had another murder in theirs! Once Upon A Crime hits the stores on 1st July 2021 and Manor House Murder is available to buy too.
We hope you enjoy playing it, and although we all hope to be back performing soon, WATCH THIS SPACE! Now we know we can create and produce games we’ve got a lot more fun things planned for the future!
Links and Blog Tour Stops
The Murder Mystery Card Game
Once Upon A Crime
A game for 2 – 5 players | Age 8 +
£8.95 + p&p
Facebook : @afterdarkmystery | Twitter : @afterdarkmurder | Instagram : @afterdarkmurder
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