There are surprisingly few mystery board games. While it seems a popular subject, most entries in the genre seem more concerned with logic puzzles than they are with investigation or murder. As a pastiche of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels, Suspects is one of the few new releases that bring a true whodunnit experience to the tabletop.
The Mind is, above all, a funny game about failing to do a simple task. It’s not a complex, multilayered experience or a deep, strategic brainburner. No, it’s a short filler where you try to play numbered cards in order. There’s only one catch: You cannot talk or show your cards. All communication is forbidden. Good thing you are a psychic, right?
I’ve always wanted a dungeon crawler with depth. While the appeal of fighting monsters in a trap-filled maze is undeniable, the genre has rarely required much in the way of strategy. Moving towards the bad guys and rolling dice to hit them has remained the backbone of the genre and Gloomhaven, its current champion, does little to break away from this trend.
Hellas & Elisium is the most important expansion for Terraforming Mars. However, it’s not because it introduces any new elements to the franchise or because the shape of its two maps has an important effect on how you play. Rather, it’s the most important because it does away with the tutorial aspects that define the base game and allows players to more fully express themselves.
One of the strange things about the board game industry is that every successful title, no matter how simple, eventually gets a card or dice-based variant. These versions are rarely as good as the games they are based on and Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition is no exception. By reducing the scope of its mechanics, it loses the depth and nuance that defined the original.