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Best Murder & Mystery Board Games

Last Updated on January 23, 2023

Normally the greatest mystery I need to solve is, “Where did I leave my sunglasses?”. It’s a tough case to crack and often goes unsolved for weeks.

I do get a hankering for a case more stimulating every now and then and for that I, of course, turn to my ever-growing wall of board games, which always begs the question, “Which one to play?”

That’s a mystery in and of itself, but one I’m willing to solve. Strap on your Sherlock Holmes hat and grab your magnifying glass and let’s play detective. Today, we’re looking at the best mystery board games.  

All products recommended on GameCows are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission.

Our Top Picks for Best Mystery Board Games

In a hurry? Check out our favorites below.

01/31/2023 03:04 pm GMT

Murder Mystery & Detective Games

Clue: Classic Detective Game

Clue Detective Board Game

Once in my life, I used all of my luck on one single game of Clue. I legitimately was able to guess the correct room, murderer, and weapon on my second turn of the game with 5 players. I’ve since retired from the game and refuse to play again to keep my stellar record intact.

That being said, there are games out there that do the whodunit runaround better but there’s a reason that Clue is a classic. It’s simple, fun, and full of nostalgia. It’s honestly been a few years since I pulled out my clue board.

I have a Simpson’s version if that tells you how old it is. The thing is that even just writing about Clue filled me with some awesome memories. 

I think I’ll be taking it off the shelf to recapture some. 

What we liked

Clue is a classic mystery-solving board game that should be in every collection. While simple, there’s a fair bit of skill involved as well. It is an excellent family game.

What could be better

The dice rolling to reach and search rooms can get tiresome, especially if you’re not rolling well.

Number of Players: 2-6 people | Playing Time: 45 minutes | Age Range: 8 and up

Clue: Retro Series 1986 Edition
$21.99

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02/01/2023 08:45 am GMT

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal Board Game Featured Image

This one is a little less Sherlock and a little more Scooby-Doo. 

Betrayal is a little bit of everything. True to horror tropes, players control one of the various characters who decide that wandering around a “haunted” house in the middle of the night is a good idea.

It’s not.

As players explore the mansion, they’ll open up new rooms and eventually trigger phase 2 of the game called the Haunt. This is Betrayal’s bread and butter. The Haunt is when the game completely changes and you could theoretically face down every horror stereotype known to man: zombies, vampires, creepy children, or cats. It’s all in there.  

Players consult a chart and compare it to determine the scenario played and who is going to be the betrayer of the group and how they’re going to do it. It’s a highly-thematic and genuinely fun experience. 

One of my favorite games I ever played was a Saw-esque house of horrors in which one of the players tried to murder everyone while staying hidden within the group. Spoiler Alert: It was me. 🙂

What we liked

This is an excellent 6-player game and has created a host of amazing stories within our group. If you don’t mind being along for the ride, it’s a fun narrative jaunt.

What could be better

The 2nd edition had terrible stat markers for the characters that always kept slipping. Also, the balance between the traitor(s) and the rest of the players is often inconsistent.

Number of Players: 3-6 people | Playing Time: 30 minutes | Age Range: 12 and up

Betrayal at The House on The Hill (3rd Ed)
$55.99 $27.49

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01/26/2023 11:00 am GMT

Mystery of the Abbey

Mystery of the Abbey Board Game

Mystery of the Abbey definitely takes some inspiration from Clue. There’s been a murder at the abbey, but nobody knows whodunit!

Instead of wandering around a spooky house with hidden passages, the monks simply ask each other questions and slowly shuffle around the board.

To help narrow down the search, each monk belongs to a specific order and has 3 identifiable characteristics: fat/thin, bearded/shaved, and hooded/unhooded. 

One monk card is chosen as the killer and set aside and the remaining cards are distributed among the players. These specific cards allow the players to narrow down the suspects, however, players can take a vow of silence and refuse to answer. 

What we liked

This is a great family game with actual intellectual depth: Between concentrating on the scoring system, transferring cards, and changing turn order, there’s a lot to think about.

What could be better

This is basically an advanced version of Clue, and at the same time is a bit dated. Also, you need at least 3 players to play Mystery of the Abbey, although we highly recommend 5-6 for best results.

Number of Players: 3-6 people | Playing Time: 60-90 minutes | Age Range: 8 and up

Mystery of The Abbey

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Mysterium

Mysterium 6-Player Board Game

There’s nothing worse than an amnesiac ghost of a murder victim to put a damper on your housewarming party… Seriously, that’s the back story of the game. 

That’s not the important bit though. The important bit is that the game is a lot of fun. 

In Mysterium, one player gets to play as the amnesiac ghost that tries to project visions of its own murder onto a group of psychic mediums. 

The mediums have to interpret these visions to correctly uncover the crime. 

What we liked

It’s an excellent cooperative experience and a highly strategic one at that. With great art and a great theme, it’s hard to beat Mysterium, especially for a game with a high player count. Also, I love being the ghost!

What could be better

The communication restriction can be frustrating for a lot of players. Also, Mysterium definitely plays better with more players and is quite boring with 2-3.

Number of Players: 2-7 people | Playing Time: 45 minutes | Age Range: 10 and up

Mysterium
$54.99 $43.99

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02/02/2023 03:37 am GMT

The Secret Door

The Secret Door Board Game

The Secret Door is a simple memory game that’s surprisingly simple and fun.

It reminds me of the photo hunt games that I used to play at bar arcade machines. 

The Secret Door sets the board up with a mixture of clock cards on the board. Players will need to find pairs and determine which three cards were removed at the beginning of the game, based on what cards are still available and what pairs have been made.

What we liked

The cooperative aspect of The Secret Door makes this a great non-threatening introductory game for inexperienced gamers. It requires just enough deductive reasoning to make it challenging, plus the time constraints ratchet up the tension!

What could be better

It’s not heavily thematic, but it’s a solid example of a fun kids’ game that can keep adults entertained as well, making it a solid family game night addition. 

Number of Players: 1-8 people | Playing Time: 20 minutes | Age Range: 5 and up

The Secret Door
$19.99

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01/28/2023 02:00 pm GMT

Beyond Baker Street 

Beyond Baker Street Board Game

Beyond Baker Street takes a bit of a different twist. Usually, in Holmes-themed games, you play as the dynamic duo and are given a case to solve. 

In Beyond Baker Street, players instead take on the roles of rival detectives. It’s a race against the world’s greatest detective and if Sherlock solves the case first, then you lose.

Reputations are on the line, and there’s a murder that needs to be solved. Players have several different cases to choose from and need to cooperate with their fellow investigators to beat Holmes and bring the culprit to justice.

What we liked

The art in this game is gorgeous! The detailed flavor text and artwork really disguise the fact that it is really just a 52-card deck. It has a lot in common with Hanabi, but much more interesting in my opinion.

What could be better

The theme is slightly irrelevant and if a player doesn’t understand the logic behind the group’s decisions, they may end up being passively bossed around rather than making their own decisions.

Number of Players: 2-4 people | Playing Time: 20 minutes | Age Range: 13 and up

Beyond Baker Street
$34.99 $29.99

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02/01/2023 06:31 am GMT

Scotland Yard

If you’re looking for a bit more action and hands-on detective work, Scotland Yard may be just what you’re looking for. 

It’s similar to Fury of Dracula but just a bit simpler. One player becomes the mysterious Mr. X and races around trying to stay a step ahead of Scotland Yard’s finest by zipping through the city’s mass transit to hide their trail. 

Everyone else plays as detectives. It should be super easy to simply corner Mr. X, but unlike the detectives, Mr. X’s movements are largely masked for the most part, and will only pop up every now and then throughout the game. The detectives will need to work quickly before Mr. X can flee from the dragnet. 

What we liked

Scotland Yard is easy to get into, even for newbies, and interesting enough for experienced gamers. It has great staying power, that’s why it’s a classic.

What could be better

It’s a bit dated and often errs on the side of “race” game rather than deduction game, based on random card draws.

Number of Players: 3-6 people | Playing Time: 45 minutes | Age Range: 10 and up

Scotland Yard
$40.99 $33.60

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02/02/2023 06:29 am GMT

Letters From Whitechapel & Whitehall Mystery

Whitechapel Mystery Games

Jack the Ripper is hunting tonight and the police have stepped up patrols with a dedicated task force. You’ll need to find Jack and end his reign of terror before he can slink away into the shadows.

Whitechapel & Whitehall both use the same basic mechanics and themes. It’s a 1 vs. all hidden movement scenario in which Jack sneaks through the streets trying to keep out of sight while murdering his victims. The police force needs to collect clues on his victims, narrow down Jack’s location, and ultimately find his secret hideout to corner him.

Number of Players: 2-4 people | Playing Time: 45-60 minutes | Age Range: 13 and up

Whitehall Mystery
$39.95

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01/28/2023 11:34 am GMT

What we liked

Whitechapel is the original version and is overall a bigger board than Whitehall. Whitehall, on the other hand, is a little more forgiving to the police task force and has a much more streamlined set of rules, but both games are built on the same system.

What could be better

It may be considered a 2-player game that’s masquerading as a 5-player game. It’s definitely not strategically super complex but can be fun if you’re a fan of hidden movement games.

Number of Players: 2-6 people | Playing Time: 90 minutes | Age Range: 14 and up

Letters from Whitechapel (Revised)
$49.95
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01/27/2023 08:30 pm GMT

Mystery Express

Mystery Express Board Game

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned train murder to bring the family around the gaming table. 

If you have no special nostalgic attraction to Clue then perhaps Mystery Express will fill the role. It’s similar to Clue but a bit more in-depth. 

There’s been a murder and it’s up to the passengers-turned-detectives to solve the crime. Players will need to decipher each piece of evidence to create the whole picture.

Unlike Clue’s one-guess-and-done system, players compete to solve most aspects of the crime. The winner is the one with the most accurate prediction. 

What we liked

Mystery Express is very thematic and well designed. It’s a nice alternative to Clue that adds a bit more depth to and theme to the classic. 

What could be better

Mystery Express is good but only with specific players, aka players that actually love mystery movies, books, and people that have patience (which can sometimes be a struggle).

Number of Players: 3-5 people | Playing Time: 60-90 minutes | Age Range: 12 and up

Mystery Express
$219.99

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01/28/2023 11:00 am GMT

Murder Mystery Party 

Murder Mystery Party Game

These things were all the rage back in the day. 

Kendra’s mom had one sitting in the game cabinet for years. We finally gathered enough players to make it worthwhile. We made the traditional cheese and veggie platter and cracked open some wine, ready to host our murder mystery party. 

Unfortunately, ours was a very old version and needed a cassette player… which we didn’t have. Luckily, there are newer versions that use apps and CDs to play. Don’t be like us. 

What we liked

When we finally were able to play, we had a blast. The campy voice-overs set the mood, we all talked in horrible British accents… and it turns out that I was the murderer.

What could be better

Murder Mystery Parties really are more of an event rather than just board games. So keep that in mind if you decide to play.

Number of Players: 6-8 people | Playing Time: 180 minutes | Age Range: 16 and up

Murder Mystery Party: A Taste for Wine & Murder
$25.99 $16.93

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02/02/2023 09:52 am GMT

13 Dead End Drive

13 Dead End Drive Board Game

13 Dead End Drive traps an entire family of heirs in a mansion but only one of them can make it out alive. The board’s signature pitfalls and traps will have you dropping chandeliers, tipping over suits of armor, and kicking relatives down the stairs in no time.

Players have the option to move any character on the board but have a vested interest in seeing their heir make it out the door alive. Each player will secretly have one character card that they’re trying to ensure lives. 

What we liked

This is pure 90s nostalgia for me: stupid gimmicks, a loose theme, and a ton of fun.

What could be better

It’s silly and a little gimmicky but I do love a good gimmick every now and then. 

Number of Players: 2-4 people | Playing Time: 45 minutes | Age Range: 9 and up

13 Dead End Drive
$32.95 $20.23

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01/28/2023 09:30 am GMT

221B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game

221B Baker Street Board Game

My mom actually picked up this game at a Goodwill when we were kids. We played it a ton and it was always a very silent table, until the end of the game. Then we would chatter incessantly about all the different clues we had found. 

221B Baker Street functions a lot like Clue but in a much more methodical way. Everyone gets a description of the case and then it’s up to the players to hit the streets of London. Each location has a clue, but not your typical clues. Information needs to be gathered together piece by piece to form a complete story.

A typical clue might be, “Watson noticed that ***** had a black eye covered by makeup”.

By itself, it doesn’t mean much, but when pieced together it’ll help bring to light the true killer and motive. Even when you have all the clues, you’ll still need to figure out what everything means. 

What we liked

This is a fun and simple deduction game that works extremely well for parties. It’s an adult version of Clue in my opinion.

What could be better

Some clues can be impossible unless you happen to have grown up in the UK, with lots of references to UK geography.

Number of Players: 2-6 people | Playing Time: 90 minutes | Age Range: 10 and up

221B Baker Street
$54.89 $46.99

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02/01/2023 04:00 am GMT

Mr. Jack

Mr Jack Board Game

Mr. Jack reminded me a lot of the King & Assassins board game when I first played it. They’re different in mechanics but have the same feeling to them and they’re both designed as specifically 2-player only games. 

In Mr. Jack, one player controls an investigator, while the other player takes on the role of Mr. Jack (the Ripper). Out of the 8 characters on the board, one of them is chosen to become the hidden Mr. Jack.

By asking questions, the investigator needs to narrow down the suspects to identify which character has been replaced by the dreaded serial killer. 

What we liked

Mr. Jack is a fun game, featuring tactical decisions, drafting, different victory conditions, and a bit of luck and bluffing. It’s a nice 2-player game that’s easy to pick up and play as a couple. 

What could be better

A lot of the “deduction” involved is pretty obvious and honestly seems more of an abstract puzzle rather than a mystery to be solved.

Number of Players: 2 people | Playing Time: 30 minutes | Age Range: 9 and up

Mr. Jack (Revised Edition)
$39.99 $34.00

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02/01/2023 07:07 am GMT

Inkognito

Inkognito Board Game

What better time to conduct espionage than Carnival? The authorities have their hands full with revelers and the revelers are too busy to notice the skullduggery going on. 

Inkognito has probably the creepiest looking meeples I’ve ever seen. They’re color-coded, but come in 4 different sizes; short, tall, fat, and thin.

In this secretive game, every player controls 4 colored meeples in various builds and a hidden set of secret cards. The secret cards show the true identity of the agent and what they look like. 

It’s not enough to just guard your secrets, you’ll need to find your partner hidden among the other players, discover your mission objective, and complete it before the other team does. 

What we liked

This is a charming, light deduction board game with beautiful artwork and theme. I absolutely love the experience and player interaction in this game.

What could be better

Inkognito has quite a high luck factor and some pretty unbalanced victory conditions. Also, this game really only works well with 4 players… and at that, it still seems to take quite a while to play.

Number of Players: 3-5 people | Playing Time: 90 minutes | Age Range: 10 and up

Inkognito
$45.99 $41.54

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01/28/2023 09:04 am GMT

Orient Express

Orient Express Board Game

Not all famous detectives have silly hats and doctoral sidekicks. 

Orient Express is based on Agatha Christie’s famous novel, Murder on the Orient Express, and her own famous detective Hercule Poirot. 

In Orient Express, a murder has occurred during the infamous train journey to London. Like the novel, players need to solve the case before the train reaches its destination, or the killer escapes free.

Unlike the novel, however, the solution is never the same. Orient Express comes with several different scenarios that change the outcome of the final murder.

This is one situation where reading the book doesn’t necessarily give you an edge over the competition. 

You should probably read the books anyway, though. They’re great. 

What we liked

Orient Express is a great game that has a unique mechanism executed well. Usually, in train games, you have to build a network, while here, you have to balance building with removing tracks. Every decision you make matters and turns go fast so you are constantly involved. It’s like the adult version of Ticket to Ride.

What could be better

I dislike the set collection with the passenger cards aspect of this game. Also, the Victorian wallpaper aesthetic makes it tricky to tell the cards apart.

Number of Players: 2-5 people | Playing Time: 90 minutes | Age Range: 14 and up

Orient Express
$49.95 $44.99

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01/28/2023 08:30 am GMT

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Single Player Board Game

I absolutely adore Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and I’ve written about it several times.

It’s everything that I’ve ever wanted from a Sherlockian mystery game. Players are given a case where they’ll have to traverse London to collect clues. 

That doesn’t sound so original compared to other games on this list, but the game is able to capture so many of those wonderful Sherlock Holmes thematic elements that made the genre so popular to begin with, it just works. 

What we liked

The components from the game are also possibly my favorite. Clues come in the form of newspapers and time period elements that players will need to read and search through the subtext to decipher the mystery.

I seriously cannot praise this game enough.

What could be better

These games are best savored in small groups where you’re able to have meaningful discussions. Not recommended for more than 5-6 players.

Number of Players: 1-8 people | Playing Time: 60-120 minutes | Age Range: 13 and up

Mythos Tales

Mythos Tales Board Game

In the same spirit as Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, comes Mythos Tales.

Mythos Tales is instead set in the Cthulhu mythos and standing in for Moriarty is a man named Armitage.

Players will need to unravel the mystery and match wits with the man who looked into the abyss and returned. It uses a similar system to Consulting Detective in which players will need to visit locations and unravel a series of connected mysteries. 

Unlike Consulting Detective, players have a time limit that amps up the difficulty. 

If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle doesn’t get your blood pumping and your mind racing, maybe give a Lovecraftian mystery a try. 

What we liked

We love the simplicity of the game presentation: a map, an address book, the time counter, and the encounter book. Even with such simple components, however, you definitely feel immersed in the game. This is basically Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective with a time limit. So obviously, we love it.

Also, blind or visually-impaired players can participate fully in this game, apart from reading the map.

What could be better

The cases are definitely easier than those found in Consulting Detective, and we did find quite a few mistakes as well, which can be a bit off-putting.

Number of Players: 1-10 people | Playing Time: 60-120 minutes | Age Range: 13 and up

Mythos Tales
$89.92

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02/02/2023 04:46 am GMT

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Deception Murder Hong Kong Board Game

I really like social deduction games. Kendra and I bonded over a game of Avalon while traveling, so they will always hold a dear place in my heart. 

Deception breaks up normal social deduction mechanics by adding a murderer to the group. A forensic scientist acts as the game’s overlord. Every other player is assigned a role card. Hidden among the role cards is the murderer who wins if nobody can solve the murder.

It’s a social deduction game, so the majority of the gameplay actually depends upon the player interaction. I’ve seen former students and friends who I thought were shy and quiet get insanely rowdy and vocal playing these games, and they’re just all-around fun. 

What we liked

Easy to set up and challenging enough to keep everyone interested throughout the whole game. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong has an accessible theme and actually involves logic-based deduction, rather than baseless accusations.

What could be better

This game works best with a higher player count when you get to use the extra roles, so it could be challenging to find a big enough group to play with. Also, you really have to like bluffing…

Number of Players: 4-12 people | Playing Time: 20 minutes | Age Range: 14 and up

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
$39.99 $34.98

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02/01/2023 06:36 am GMT

Dark Stories Real Crime Edition (Black Stories)

Black Stories Mystery Game

Dark/Black Stories is an odd game. Some completely random and unlikely scenario has occurred and it’s up to you to figure out what happened… using only yes or no questions. 

That’s the entirety of the game. 

The riddle will be something like, “A man goes scuba diving and is burned alive.” It’s your job to figure out exactly what happened. One player reads the card and answers all of the yes or no questions. 

What we liked

This is a very exciting logic-based deductive puzzle that works with any number of players. Also, it’s small and portable for traveling!

What could be better

It’s been described as more of an activity than a game, but it’s still a pretty fun way to flex your mind muscles.

Number of Players: 2-15 people | Playing Time: 20 minutes | Age Range: 12 and up

Black Stories
$19.92

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01/28/2023 07:00 am GMT

Wrap-Up

Finding the perfect game is quite the mystery, but hopefully, we’ve shed some light on the subject.

Did your favorite game mysteriously not make the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below. 

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Letters from Whitechapel (Revised)
$49.95
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01/27/2023 08:30 pm GMT