Most logical deduction games get less interesting after a few plays. Faced with the same puzzle every time, strategy quickly becomes repetitive.The Search for Planet X, however, is one of the few that has actually gotten better the more I play it. With two difficulty modes and plenty of opportunities to lean on your opponent’s research, there’s room to play better. It all starts with a little survey, some wild theories and ends with a scientific breakthrough.
For more than a hundred and fifty years, scientists have wondered what lies beyond the orbit of Neptune. By measuring the movements of comets, locating gas clouds, and checking for the presence of asteroids, they hoped to find proof of the existence of a new planet. The Search for Planet X translates this quest into the language of logical deduction games, building from the base of Cluedo and greatly surpassing it.
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.
Before deciding to write this review I played Cryptid half a dozen times. Yet, I found myself having to go back to it because I couldn’t remember what kind of impact it had on me. It’s a one-dimensional game, devoid of emotion or agency. In it, I didn’t find an exciting hunt for a mythological creature but a cold mathematical exercise.
There are countless games based on the world’s most famous sleuth but none as great as Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. With just a book, a list of addresses and a bunch of newspapers, it captures the whole spirit of the Victorian investigator and reflects it, not just through its setting, but its mechanics.
Now subtitled “The Thames Murders & Other Mysteries”, it remains the best deduction game I’ve ever played and, despite some minor flaws, a truly engrossing experience.