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The best mystery board games are atmospheric, immersing players in the midst of a cipher that needs to be solved.
We conducted hours of research on the best mystery board games, evaluating each on sophistication of design, opportunity for replay, and type of strategy required. We considered games intended for solo or multi-player use, taking into account players of different ages. Our best overall pick is Ravensburger Scotland Yard, a nostalgic mystery board game that requires a combination of strategy, psychology, and luck to win.
Ahead, find the best mystery board games for amateur sleuths.
Best Overall: Ravensburger Scotland Yard
Cooperative team building play
Takes deductive reasoning
May be difficult for younger players
Who else recommends it? Bustle also picked Ravensburger Scotland Yard.
What do buyers say? 92% of 4,300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
Ravensburger Scotland Yard is a challenging, cooperative game that relies on teamwork to solve a mystery. Set on the streets of London, this cat-and-mouse game tasks players with catching criminal mastermind, Mr. X. Players compete against each other to see who gets to be Mr. X, trying to outwit 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.
This game was originally created in the 1980s, and has a nostalgic feel to it, which adds to its allure. Game pieces are durably constructed: The board and tickets are both solid and designed to weather use. Strategy, psychology, and luck help players win, with customers noting that younger players require assistance in charting moves. For those interested in family game night, or a game between adults, this multi-player option encourages cooperative deduction.
Best Collaborative : Libellud Mysterium Park
Easy to follow instructions
Fantastic artwork on the cards
Some customers note gameplay can get repetitive after a while
A 1950s carnival is the setting of the murder mystery game Mysterium Park, where players take on parts as psychics to catch the killer. One player inhabits the role of the Park director, now a ghost who is haunting the park until the killer is caught. Players rely on collaborative teamwork to interpret clues on cards to suss out the culprit. There's high variability with dozens of different suspects, weapons, and locations to make sure each game turns out differently.
Best Classic: Hasbro Gaming Retro Series Clue 1986 Edition Game
Lots of opportunities for replay
No BIPOC characters
The Retro Series Clue 1986 gives true nostalgic vibes with this special edition game set. Up to six players, each assuming a character, play against each other to solve a mystery using deductive reasoning. The first player to names the murder, location of the murder, and murder weapon wins. It’s simple enough for players as young as 8 years old to quickly pick up, and amusing enough to keep adults entertained.
Best Murder: Unsolved Case Files Cold Case Murder Mystery Game
Suitable for one player
Good option for long gameplay
Hints available if needed
Some users found the clues hard to read or contained spoilers
Unsolved Case Files Cold Case Murder Mystery Game is ideal for fans of police procedurals. You can play alone or with a team using clues to uncover the truth behind an unsolved murder, the killing of high school student Jamie Banks. Players can solve up to three different mysteries using the case files that include photographs, newspaper clippings, and more. Customers note this game is perfect for a murder mystery party.
Best for Groups: Asmodee Mysterium
Perfect for groups
Asmodee Mysterium is a beautifully illustrated game of deductive reasoning. Up to six players compete against each other to interpret clues to solve a murder. The atmospheric setting adds to the fun as players immerse themselves in Warwick Manor, a mansion haunted by ghosts. USers recommend that players who are new to the game start out as the ghost until they get the hang of things.
Best Detective: John N. Hansen Deluxe Baker Street Game
Over 200 original Sherlock Holmes mysteries
Some users note setup can be confusing
The Deluxe 221B Baker Street Board Game includes over 200 original Sherlock Holmes mysteries written exclusively for this game. The game is designed for solo or team play with up to six players working in collaboration to solve a crime using clues. Characters include the Baker Street detectives, and the setting is the underbelly of Victorian London.
Best for Adults: Hunt a Killer Death at the Dive Bar
Authentic forensic evidence
Immersive murder mystery
Great for groups
Hunt A Killer Death at The Dive Bar is an immersive murder mystery game designed for solo or team play, up to five players. Examining authentic crime scene documents and forensic evidence, players work collaboratively to solve a murder at the Old Scratch Tavern. Fans of police procedurals will enjoy solving the ciphers presented by this game. The game is designed for one time use and is ideal for a game night or party.
Best for Kids : Hasbro Gaming Guess Who?
48 different face cards
No elements of fear best suited for younger players
Older kids will probably get bored eventually
Young players aged six and older exercise reasoning skills in the classic identity guessing game, Guess Who? Cards with different character personas allow young players to solve a mystery, without the element of fear.
Best Brain Teaser: Paladone Escape Room Game
Great for parties
Great brain teasers for fans of ciphers and symbology
Some customers note the questions can be hard
For players who enjoy solving a cipher, the Paladone Escape Room Game presents a challenge of wits. Players must solve riddles, puzzles, codes, and math problems to crack the symbology to open the lock to win. The game relies on quick and strategic thinking under pressure.
Best Nostalgic : Asmodee Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures Strategy Board Game
Six original Sherlock Holmes mysteries
Nostalgic cultural references
Great for parties
Some reviewers note solving the mysteries can be frustrating
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures Strategy Board Game features 10 distinct cases set in the gaslit alleys of London. Gameplay includes using deductive reasoning and analysis of clues to piece together a narrative and solve the crime. Replay is limited for each case once the mystery is solved.
Best Escape Room: Identity Games Escape Room: The Game
Four different experiences
App enhances experiential effects
Some reviewers note it's hard to keep track of game pieces
For an immersive escape room experience, players can choose from one of four set ups in the Escape Room: the Game, including Fun Land, Murder Mystery, the Prison Break, and Virus. To create an authentic live escape room atmosphere, players can also use the Chrono Decoder and the Escape Room App, which features a digital countdown timer and sound effects.
What to Look for When Buying Mystery Board Games
Not all mystery board games are suitable for young kids, so pay attention to age ranges to make sure that the mystery game you are selecting is appropriate for you and your family and friends. Some games have more mature themes that might spook or frustrate kids who haven’t matured enough to make sense of them.
Number of Players
Senior editor at The Toy Insider, Madeleine Buckley, says there are single and multi-player mystery board games on the market. "Something like a murder mystery party is more fun with more people involved," she explains, "but many escape room and puzzle-based mystery games can be played with a single player."
Mystery board games come in a range of themes inspired by pop-culture, "truly anything you can think of," says Buckley. "Many popular mystery and escape game series offer an endless range of themes to match players’ interests. There are more traditional settings, like spooky manors and graveyards. But there are also some more quirky options. University Games’ mystery offerings include a few food-themed mystery parties, like Pasta, Passion & Pistols and Death By Chocolate."
How do you host a mystery board game party?
To host a dinner party game of Murder Mystery, you'll need to create an immersive game experience. Buckley explains, "Many lines come with everything you need to put on a murder mystery party, including character profiles, name tags, and instructions. If you prefer the vibe to be more board game and less theatrical, there are a wide variety of mystery-themed games to choose from. These include strategy and puzzle-based escape room games."
Other mystery games, Buckley adds, require you assign roles to participants. "It really depends on the people you are playing with, especially their ages and interests, she says. Definitely do your research and plan what kind of night and what kind of game would be best for your group."
Is the game Clue based on a true story?
"Nope!" Buckley confirms. She points out that Clue was first devised in 1943 by British board game designer Anthony E. Pratt before being manufactured by Hasbro.
Why was Mrs. White removed from Clue?
According to a statement from Hasbro at the time: “It was a difficult decision to say goodbye to Mrs. White—but after 70 years of suspicious activity, we decided that one of the characters had to go. Dr. Orchid is a brilliant new character with a rich backstory and links to the Black fortune. We’re sure families around the world will continue to create thrilling murder mysteries with all six suspects inside of the iconic Tudor Mansion.”
Why Trust the Spruce?
This article was written and researched by Jill Di Donato, a lifestyle editor with over 15 years experience reporting on products. For this roundup, she considered dozens of mystery board games and took into account customer reviews from third-party sourcing. She evaluated mystery board games on their quality of construction, opportunity for replay, and type of strategy required to play,
Additional input was provided by senior editor at The Toy Insider, Madeline Buckley.