You look down on a crime scene unfurling below and suddenly realise that the deceased body is your own. You bring your hands up to check and realise that you are in fact a ghost now. As you watch, a group of strangers come in to investigate and you know that you must do all you can to get the truth of your untimely demise known to these people.
Paranormal detectives is one of those games that we knew nothing about until we saw it and once we did, the topic and overview intrigued us to no end. We love Mysterium, Myseterium Park and Obscurio which have a similar theme so we were excited to see how Lucky Duck Games had interpreted it and how this game would play (whilst secretly keeping our fingers crossed that they had in fact come up with a different style of gameplay!)
The box for Paranormal Detectives has a cartoony style which suggested to us that the game would take a lighter note than other games tackling this subject. Upon opening the box, the components follow this cartoony style really nicely and are of a really nice quality. Once we started reading the rules however, we realised that as much as this had some lighthearted elements to it, it did in fact deal with the grittier elements of suspicious deaths and the issues that surround them. We were very impressed to see that not all the cards dealt with the heavier topics and those that did had a 'parental advisory' warning stamped on the top corner so that parents can select more appropriate topics for a younger audience.
Game Play Overview
In Paranormal Detectives, one player takes on the role of the ghost, whilst the other players take on the role of detectives. The ghost player has access to the full story of how they came to their early demise and on the card is 5 keys to the story, the who, why, where, how and weapon. The detective players take it in turns to ask the ghost an open-ended question in an attempt to work out the keys and choose one of their interaction cards for the method in which the ghost will provide them with the answer. Naturally, being a ghost, these are not always the easiest to interpret, methods include the iconic talking board, using a finger to draw their answer on the players back, a short 3 second mime and even manipulating rope into different shapes to name a few. All players can interpret each answer given to try and work out the five keys to solving the murder and at the end of your turn, you may take a guess as to what happened. Each player can have a total of 2 guesses during the game and if they guess correctly, they win. However, if they only partially guess correctly, the ghost will secretly note on their board how many answers were correct but not which ones. The first player to guess correctly will win the game but if the players run out of interaction cards before they succeed, the player with the most correct guesses is the winner.
Pros and Cons
This game uses a unique set of actions to get the players working out how the character died, some easier to interpret than others. It was great fun even when it was mildly frustrating and we had a good laugh at our inability to interpret some of the answers and poor interpretation skills. It can be quite difficult to establish how to get the answer across with some of the interaction cards and required a fair amount of creativity at times, which sometimes worked and other times just resulted in confusion and hilarity. It is a very social game and even includes adaptations for players who may not like to be touched (which a couple of the cards do require).
Overall, we were really impressed with the game and after we finished the first playthrough, I was keen to play again switching roles. It was equally as fun regardless of which side you were on and I'm really looking forward to playing it again. I can see this becoming a frequently played game.
In conclusion, we would rate this game a 9.5/10