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You don’t need to wait until a thunderstorm hits late one evening to get spooked playing these eerie mystery games, though lightning and thunder would surely add to the ambiance. It’s enough to dim the lights, light a candle or two, make a batch of popcorn, and settle in to play detective on game night.
Whether you want to become a detective and solve a murder mystery solo or join a team to crack challenging puzzles and collect clues, there is a perfect mystery board game for everyone. There are options for all ages, but be sure to check the recommended age before purchasing because some picks contain spooky themes that may not be suitable for all players.
Here, the best mystery board games available online for kids and adults.
Best Overall: Ravensburger Scotland Yard
Number of Players: 3-6 | Duration: 30 minutes | Recommended Age: 8 years and up
Takes deductive reasoning
May be difficult for younger players
You and your teammates will start competing against each other to see who gets to be the dastardly Mr. X—and be chased all over London, err the board game, trying to escape the detectives. The detectives will need to work together to block his escape routes, but just when you think you have it all figured out, Mr. X disappears for a round.
Best Detective : Fantasy Flight Games Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
Number of Players: 1-8 | Duration: 90 minutes | Recommended Age: 12 years and up
Perfect for Sherlock Holmes fans
Suitable for one player
A lot of reading required
Take a step back in a time machine to the cobblestone, gaslight lamp lit streets of London to help the police at Scotland Yard solve a series of crimes. The game comes with 10 mysteries to solve that get progressively harder. You can play the game solo or with a group, but note that reviewers say that playing the game with more than two people can make the game unnecessarily complicated. While the game is challenging, reviewers share that the map and newspaper should be scoured as they contain helpful clues. Only complaint: Once you’ve solved all ten mysteries, there aren’t any new ways to play the game.
Best Collaborative: Pressman There's Been a Murder- A Collaborative Card Game of Death and Deduction
Number of Players: 3-8 | Duration: Not listed | Recommended Age: 14 years and up
Easy to follow instructions
Can take a few rounds before developing strategy
There has been a murder and your team needs to work together to solve in this collaborative card game. Players use the action and effect cards to follow the prompts and find clues to try and pinpoint the murderer. All players are working together and get an overall score based on how many cards are left in the deck after the case is solved. Play again and again to try and beat your score at your next murder mystery party for adults or teens.
Best Escape Room: Professor Puzzle Escape from the Grand Hotel Game
Number of Players: 2 or more | Duration: Not listed | Recommended Age: 12 years and up
Takes deductive reasoning and problem-solving skills
Some players found the puzzles too easy
Bring an escape room right to your living room with Professor Puzzles' Escape from the Grand Hotel Game. Players will travel through the hotel attempting to solve puzzles and clues to escape from the eerie lodgings. The game contains nine envelopes each containing a different puzzle to crack. Use deductive reasoning and problem-solving skills to solve them all.
Best for Kids: Gamewright Outfoxed! Game
Number of Players: 2-4 | Duration: 20-30 minutes | Recommended Age: 5 years and up
Great for kids
High quality board and pieces
Who stole Mrs. Plumpert’s prized pot pie? Kids will have to work their way around the board to gather clues as to who the guilty culprit is working together every step of the way. This cooperative family board game helps children learn deductive reasoning skills and is a fun intro into the world of mystery games. Reviewers say that the duration is just the right amount of time to hold the attention of the junior set.
Best for Adults: Grey Fox Games Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Number of Players: 4-12 | Duration: 20-30 minutes | Recommended Age: 14 years and up
Easy to follow instructions
Suitable for large parties
Suitable for various ages
May not work as well with a small number of players
In this fast-paced game, one player is the murderer who gets to choose their weapon and the clues they leave behind, another is a forensic scientist, and the rest of the players are investigators. The object of the game is to identify the killer and the murder weapon, while the murderer (naturally) seeks to evade detection—and the end of the game. Reviewers love that a round can be complete in as quickly as 20 minutes, and that it’s a little different every time which makes it the perfect party game.
Best Spooky: Avalon Hill Betrayal At House On The Hill
Number of Players: 3-6 | Duration: 60 minutes | Recommended Age: 12 years and up
Lots of opportunities to replay
Design your own gameboard
Dark themes may not be suitable for all players
First, you work with two to five other players to build the house of horrors, then you try to escape it...alive. With rooms like a creaky hallway, bloody room, and ten others in the house on the hill, plus 50 possible spooky scenarios ranging from the house that’s falling apart to creepy omens, the game is different every time you play it. One of the players will ultimately become a traitor, and the haunt—and real fun—begins.
Best Classic: Hasbro Gaming Retro Series Clue 1986 Edition Game
Number of Players: 3-6 | Duration: 10-60 minutes | Recommended Age: 8 years and up
Lots of opportunities for replay
May be difficult for young kids to follow
This classic whodunit game has been beloved for nearly 35 years and was even turned into a cult-favorite movie of the same name. Up to six players compete to see who can solve the murder mystery: Each player asks a series of questions to solve the murder through process of elimination. Whoever names the murder, location of the murder, and murder weapon correctly first wins. It’s simple enough for children as young as 8 years old to quickly pick up, and it’s fun to take on the persona of Professor Plumb or Miss Scarlett. The only thing we would change about this classic board game is to update it to include BIPOC characters.
Best Murder: Unsolved Case Files Cold Case Murder Mystery Game
Number of Players: 1 or more | Duration: 2-3 hours | Recommended Age: 14 years and up
Suitable for one player
Good option for long gameplay
Hints available if needed
Some users found the clues hard to read or contained spoilers
Be forewarned: Reviewers caution that once you start this murder mystery game you’ll have sleepless nights in your future as you try to solve the unsolved case of who killed high school student Jamie Banks nearly 30 years ago. To uncover the truth, you’ll need to solve three different mysteries surrounding her death first using the case files of the original detective that include photographs, newspaper clippings, and more. Once you think you know the answers, you check your theory against the online answer key. You can play the game alone, with a team, as a stay-at-home date night, or even as part of a murder mystery party.
Best for a Group: Asmodee Mysterium
Number of Players: 2-7 | Duration: 45 minutes | Recommended Age: 14 years and up
Perfect for groups
You and up to six players will need to work together to solve the ghastly murder that took place at Warwick Manor, a haunted mansion full of ghosts. You’ll collaborate as you all compete against the clock to figure out the murderer, the murder weapon, and the location of the tragic killing as the psychics try to correctly interpret the ethereal visions the ghost sends as communication during a seance. Reviewers recommend that players who are new to the game start out as the ghost until they get the hang of things.
Why Trust the Spruce?
This article was written by Anne Fritz, a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience covering home topics. Previously an editor, her work has appeared in several leading publications. Additional research was done by Julia Fields, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays since October 2021. Before that, she covered similar topics including toy reviews, product roundups, expert-focused articles, and more.