Best Mystery Board Games (Reviews & Rankings)

Best High End

Mansions of Madness Board Game

Mansions of Madness

Best Mid Range

Mysterium

Best Inexpensive

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Last Updated: 28th Apr, 2020

Mystery games have suspense, intrigue, guesswork, and suspicion. A good mystery board game captivates with a gripping story or premise and compelling gameplay.

Let's keep the mystery to the games and solve what we think are some of the best mystery board games to play in 2020. Whether you're looking for the perfect murder mystery board game for adults or something light for kids and beginners, we have your covered.

Our Top Picks for the Best Mystery Board Games

1. Mysterium


  • Players: 2-7
  • Game type: Co-operative, social
  • Playing time: 42 mins
  • Age: 10+
  • Price: under $50

Mysterium

Why we love it: It's a simpler and more mystical version of Clue and suitable for all ages.

Gameplay: This game has levels of difficulty, so it's flexible according to your gaming group's experience. It has resonance with the game Clue (or Cluedo for our non-US readers) in that the players must guess the murderer, the weapon used, and in which room of the mansion. The mediums and the ghost must work out the murder together. Each turn is 6 minutes long, representing an hour of game time. There are seven turns to solve the crime, so time is of the essence!

Players succeed and fail together: even if one player fails to guess their clues by turn seven, the game ends. All players lose, so it encourages a tremendous amount of interaction and co-operation.

If players guess the clues, they have a final turn to guess the murder correctly. It requires all the players to agree to a murderer, weapon, and location. If a majority is correct, the players win.

Here's an in-depth review with playing instructions:

Verdict: This is the best mystery board game to play if you have a younger audience who want to participate. The way the game is designed, whether you play with seven players at a time or just with two players - the game remains as interesting as ever.

2. Clue Board Game


  • Players: 2-6
  • Game type: Dice, board, competitive
  • Playing time: 40 mins
  • Ages: 8+
  • Price: under $35

Clue Board Game

Why we love it: Clue is the classic mystery board game. It's nostalgic and still holds up to earn a spot in any mystery game collection.

Gameplay: If you haven't played it, here's how it works: The aim is to solve the murder. Who is the murderer, with what weapon and in which room? The first to correctly guess wins the game. Each player begins with their character and starts in a specific location within the house, such as the study. There are also potential murder weapons in each room (ropes, spanners, a gun). Each player receives cards to kick off, which lists weapons, suspects, and rooms. From here, it's up to you to deduce the murderer by traveling to each room and collecting more clue cards. 

you are the confident whodunnit, you get to accuse them!

Verdict: A game that never gets old, which is suitable for all ages. It's easy to learn and easy to play. Clue is a sure winner.

3. Mansions of Madness


  • Players: 1-5
  • Game type: Co-operative, board, dice, cards.
  • Playing time: 2-3 hours
  • Ages: 14+
  • Price: under $95

Mansions of Madness Board Game

Why we love this game: Mansions of Madness brings interactivity to a new level, using an app that adds atmosphere and story to the game. It happens to be a blast with other players or for playing solo too. It will keep you immersed for hours and, with expansions, has high replayability.

Gameplay: Solve mysteries while exploring dark, haunted mansions. Every player has a character with unique abilities. It is up to each player to solve puzzles, quest the mansions, and fight off monsters to discover the secrets of the haunted house. Rooms have encounters and problems to solve, often with several options, like, do you fight the beast or run away? It's a classic quest that meets a choose-your-own-adventure game.

Verdict: Mansions of Madness is a long and solid mystery horror board game. For an immersive and in-depth adventure with puzzles and encounters galore, choose this game!

4. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong


  • Players: 4-12
  • Game type: cards, team, competitive
  • Playing time: 20 mins
  • Ages: 14+
  • Price: under $45

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Why we love this game: The murderer hides amongst the players - together, they must deduce who is the murderer using evidence left behind at the crime scene. It's like CSI but from the comfort of home with your good friends!

Gameplay: Players must guess through deduction who amongst them is the murderer. Each player is assigned a role - investigator, forensic scientist, murderer, accomplice, or witness (the last two parts only come in to play in games of five or more players). Every character is secret, except for the forensic scientist, who knows who the murderer is and whose purpose is to assist the investigation through hints and clues without directly giving away the murderer. Each player takes eight clue cards that have murder weapons and evidence (four of each) depicted on them.

The forensic scientist has a series of investigation tiles with which he or she can point the other players towards the murderer. They do this by associating the investigation tiles with the murderer's weapon and evidence. It is up to the other players to make the correct accusation or lose the game.

Verdict: A fun and addictive mystery board game with high replayability through the endless card combinations. It's also wonderfully fun to watch your friends lie their way through murder to convince you it wasn't them!

If you're looking for a short murder mystery board game with quick playtime, this is your best bet. A typical game does not last over 20 minutes, meaning you can have multiple rounds of play in a single night.

5. Betrayal at House on the Hill


  • Players: 3-6
  • Game type: Co-operative, board, dice
  • Playing time: 60 mins
  • Ages: 12+
  • Price: under $35

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Why we love this game: In Betrayal at House on the Hill, you get to design your own haunted house and explore it with friends over a thrilling game night! It's not all fun, however, as one of the players will secretly betray the others...

Gameplay: The players build a haunted house by exploring rooms as a group (I mean, this is already great fun). There is a scenario book that reveals the goal for that game - this creates an excellent, versatile, story-driven game. Players' characters can gather items and encounter events as they explore, and they will also increase their abilities (speed, might, sanity and knowledge), making them more potent as the game progresses. Players can choose to move, explore, or attack monsters (it is, after all, a haunted mansion).

The twist of this game is that one player will betray the other players about halfway through the game, causing general mayhem!

Here's an in-depth review of the game:

Verdict: Pick Betrayal at House on the Hill if you wish to play a very story-driven, strongly themed co-operative game with scenarios galore at a VERY reasonable price.

6. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective


  • Players: 1-8
  • Game type: Co-operative,
  • Playing time: 1-2 hours
  • Ages: 13+
  • Price: under $80

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Why we love this game: This is a game of atmosphere and immersion. Seven separate cases and a three-day adventure round out a compelling set of mystery stories to play alone or with friends. Many expansions add many new cases for those who love detective mysteries!

Gameplay: You begin at the renowned 221B Baker Street, where your case presents to you. From there, it's up to you to follow leads, explore locations, and solve the case!

There is a complete map of London and a directory for identifying potential witnesses or suspects.

Once the players believe the case is solved, they can check in the case book to see if their suspicions match the reality. Players earn points and win based on how close they are to solving the case. The openness of the game makes for a choose-your-own-adventure type feel.

Verdict: Sherlock Holmes is immersive, open, and designed to reward exploration and careful thinking. Fans of Sherlock and compelling mysteries should enquire within!

7. Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game


  • Players: 1-5
  • Game type: Co-operative, cards
  • Playing time: 2-3 hours
  • Ages: 16+
  • Price: under $50
Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game

Why we love this game: Detective is a game of five interconnected cases that unravels a story as you progress through them. Playing a modern-day detective is a good deal of fun when you're in the safety of your own home!

Gameplay: Each case file will give you the scenario information. You have a number of days to investigate the case (with your working hours logged too), depending on the scenario, and if you go over this set time, you deduct points from your score when it comes to solving the case.

Players have locations they can visit, shown on a map. Exploring these areas gives you clues that you can investigate further on a unique 'database' (a dedicated website for the game) that reveals further information that may be crucial to the case. 'Detective' immerses you and leaves you feeling like you've done some real detective work!

Real-life stories contribute to the game's cases adding depth, richness, and intrigue.

Depending on how thorough your investigation depends on how highly you score at the end of the game.

Verdict: Detective has real elements of role-playing in this game. For a modern mystery and quality, historical fiction story-telling, look no further than Detective. For the price, you get a lot of game-play. It's a must for fans of crime drama and modern detective stories.

8. Chronicles of Crime


  • Players:1-4
  • Game type: Co-operative, cards, interactive, app
  • Playing time: 60-90 mins
  • Ages: 14+
  • Price: under $40

Chronicles of Crime

Why we love this game: Chronicles of Crime combines immersion, interactivity, and quality story-telling through the clever use of an app, along with more traditional board game elements of cards and board locations.

Gameplay: The game makes use of an app, which gives you scenarios and a handy tutorial, making this very much a game of the 21st century.

Players start in Scotland Yard and travel to various locations throughout the game to solve each case, of which there are five in the game (with expansions that add more). Players interact with locations and cards by scanning QR codes on them to progress the story and plot. On top of this, each site may be explored in three dimensions with the app, making for a more immersive experience (it's also VR compatible).

The investigation gains assistance through a scientist, a criminologist, a hacker, and a doctor. Scanning them may reveal further clues - for example, the doctor might autopsy a murder victim (or their dead cats in one case).

There's a time limit to solve each case, which adds pressure to wrap the case up on time.

Once you've collected enough clues, it's time to solve! When you're ready, head back to Scotland Yard and find out whether you were able to solve the murder mystery or not!

Verdict: Chronicles of Crime is immersive, interactive, and a tonne of fun for an excellent price. It has some lovely artwork. If you want a less in-depth game that takes a bit less time than, say 'Detective' (see above), but still like story co-op mysteries, then pick this game.

9. 221B Baker Street


  • Players: 2-6
  • Game type: Competitive, co-operative, board, dice, card
  • Playing time: 90 mins
  • Ages: 10+
  • Price: under $50

221B Baker Street

Why we love this game: Be Sherlock Holmes and solve a tonne of murder cases as the legendary sleuth? Where do we sign up?

Gameplay: Players move around a board depicting London, looking for clues to solve the case. There are around 75 scenarios to play in three different game styles, making for an enormous level of replayability, compared to similar games like Clue (see above). To win 221B Baker Street, the player might investigate a murder on behalf of Scotland Yard that requires you to discover the murderer, the weapon used, and the motive. Clues reveal themselves when players travel to various locations on the board, like in Clue.

Players may cunningly prevent other players from getting clues by sealing off buildings using Scotland Yard badges (though skeleton keys will allow players to enter anyway).

Whoever solves the case first wins the game!

Verdict: More immersive than similar games, like Clue, 221B is a game with a lot of replay value. It's a decent 'middle road' mystery game - not too simple and not too complicated, and all for a reasonable price. Choose this if you're looking for a versatile murder mystery board game with a higher replayability factor.

10. Letters from Whitechapel


  • Players: 2-6
  • Game type: Board, competitive, co-operative vs. one
  • Playing time: 2-4 hours
  • Ages: 14+
  • Price: under $40

Letters from Whitechapel

Why we love this game: It is 1888, and Jack the Ripper is hunting his next victim. It is up to players to discover who amongst them is Jack and stop him before it is too late!

Gameplay: Players must stop Jack the Ripper from committing more murders. Players move around a board of the Whitechapel district in London. One player is Jack himself, who plots to kill five victims. The other players are the police and must try to outwit Jack by anticipating where his next murder may be. They do this by secretly deploying themselves and hoping that Jack will turn up in this location for his next victim, and thus catch him in the act!

Jack can either murder a victim and progress closer to winning, or lurk, in which case he might potentially locate the location of a policeman, therefore eluding capture. The downside to hiding, though, means his victims may escape, with the police players moving them around the board. The back-and-forth play provides the game a tense, cat-and-mouse feel.

Once a murder occurs, Jack must fall back to his hideout, and the chase is on! If police locate Jack before he kills all the victims, the cops win. Otherwise, Jack carries the day!

Verdict: Atmospheric, tense, and dripping with history, this is a great mystery board game of cat-and-mouse detective work. If you love historical murder games, try Letters from Whitechapel.

11. Tragedy Looper


  • Players: 2-4
  • Game type: Competitive, card, scenario
  • Playing time: 120 mins
  • Ages: 13+
  • Price: under $50

Tragedy Looper

Why we love this game: Beautiful anime design adds variety and a unique flavor to the mystery board game genre. The time-bending, 'Edge of Tomorrow'-like game-play is also an exciting element that adds to the overall value of this very different mystery game.

Gameplay: One player is the Mastermind. It is up to the other players, the Protagonists, to defeat him/her! In the first turn, the Protagonists (each one is unique, like the alien and the shrine maiden, and has an individual ability) will almost certainly fail as they try to prevent an unspecified crime with no information. However, with the 'looping' ability, they can jump back in time with more details to prevent the tragedy from occurring. Each jump back in time represents a new turn. If the Protagonists thwart the Mastermind only once while they loop back, they win the game; otherwise, the Mastermind wins.

The players gather information by scouting locations: a shrine, a hospital, a school, or a city. They use action cards to gather these clues. Meanwhile, the Mastermind is plotting their tragedy, which they do by using the Mastermind's handbook, a gamebook that details the scenario.

Verdict: A beautiful, unique mystery game that plays simply with a captivating scenario and storyline. Play this if you have a smaller group, or love ganging up on one of your friends to beat them (we all have one person like that).

12. One Night Ultimate Werewolf


  • Players: 3-10
  • Game type: Card, team, social
  • Playing time: 10 mins
  • Age: 8+
  • Price: under $30

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Why we love it: The mystery is in finding who amongst you is a werewolf before they eat the entire village! Werewolf is a fantastic social game that keeps everyone involved. This game gives back what players put into it - committing to your character is everything! It is short, so a group can play multiple times in a night or use it as a warm-up for a bigger game after.

Gameplay: Players receive a character card, which is who they are for the game. There are two sides: the werewolves and the villagers. All players' identities are secret. Players close their eyes during the night phase while the werewolves hunt the villagers and kill them. It is up to the villagers to uncover the werewolf during the daytime phase before he eats the entire village. They must decide who they think the werewolf is and hang that player. If they get it wrong, it brings the werewolf team closer to victory. Werewolf leaves room for a lot of deception and cunning for the players to trick each other and is enormous fun!

Verdict: If you want a social and loud mystery board game, this is your pick. Accusing your friends of being a werewolf is always a blast (when else do you get to do this?). Moreover, it's priced reasonably, making it one of the best value mystery board games on the market.

13. Secret Hitler


  • Players: 5-10
  • Game type: cards, social, competitive, team
  • Playing time: 45 mins
  • Ages: 13+
  • Price: under $40

Secret Hitler

Why we love this game: It's not a mystery board game per se, but the mystery is to discover who is playing the 'secret Hitler.' It is a party game based on the Werewolf (see above). We've included it because it is an entertaining party game, just like Werewolf, but different enough to warrant its very own entry.

Gameplay: There are two teams: liberals and fascists. The liberals want to prevent Hitler from taking power. The fascists want to take over and place Hitler in the Chancellorship. One player amongst the fascists is Hitler, but Hitler doesn't know who his or her teammates are.

The liberals and fascists must meet their agenda through enacting policies to win.

Each turn a president is chosen, and they elect a chancellor. The other players vote for the government. The government then implements policy cards, whether they enact fascist or liberal policies may reveal who the hidden fascists are. This creates plot and intrigue amongst players as they guess who is working against the government. Chaos ensues as finger-pointing begins.

Verdict: A historical and intriguing variation on the Werewolf game, Secret Hitler is a golden party mystery board game for a more rowdy mystery night.

To Wrap it Up

So there you have it: these are our picks for the best mystery board games of 2020. We've tried to choose games for less- and more- experienced players as well as games for a wide range of ages. These games also represent a variety of sub-genres within mystery games, plus varying game lengths and price points.

We hope no matter what your preference, time available, or budget might be, you may rest assured you'll have a quality mystery board game on your hands!

We sincerely hope you liked our recommendations, and if we missed any, please feel free to comment below.

Happy gaming!

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