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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.
Here, the best mystery board games available online.
Best Overall: Ravensburger Scotland Yard
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. Reviewers are split as to if this makes for a good family game or not, but safe to say it’s not appropriate for kids under 8 years old. One round should take less than an hour to complete.
Best for Kids: Gamewright Outfoxed! Game
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 five years old and up learn deductive reasoning skills and is a fun intro into the world of mystery games. The game takes less than 30 minutes to complete when you’re playing with four players and closer to 20 when playing with only two—reviewers say that’s 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
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 4 to 12 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 it’s a little different every time which makes it the perfect party game. It’s recommended for people 14 years old and up and is a board game best left for adults.
Best Spooky: Avalon Hill Betrayal At House On The Hill
First, you work with two to five other players to build the house of horrors, then you try to escape it...alive. With more 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. This game takes about an hour to play from start to finish and because of its scary themes shouldn’t be played by kids under 12 years old.
Best Classic: Hasbro Gaming Retro Series Clue 1986 Edition Game
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 eight 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 the characters to include BIPOC.
Best Murder: Unsolved Case Files Cold Case Murder Mystery Game
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
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. The game is suggested for children ten and up.