Table Top Game Review: Foul Play
You know when you get a hand written letter in the post? There is a sense of excitement when you see that perhaps familiar hand-penned script of your name and address. What will it be? Well hopefully, it's an unexpected surprise from a loved one or a wedding invitation and not a ransom note. That was how it felt when we opened an email from the team at After Dark Murder Mystery Events, offering to send us a copy of their murder mystery card game, Foul Play. It was so lovely to be thought of and of course we jumped at the chance!
Having been locked down and unable to play table top games in person, the team at Foul Play have very cleverly come up with a way to play their card game online over video conferencing! As this requires all parties to have a copy of the game, they agreed to send a deck to each of us and we agreed to learn to play, live on Wayfarer's League Twitch Stream! So that we did. (You can see the replay on Youtube.)
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed spending the morning learning to play this delightful mix of Cluedo (or as we know it, "Clue") and Guess Who with Sarah. It's been so long since we've learned a game together and it was a lovely change to my morning routine. Foul Play have been so kind as to put all their rules and game resources up on their website, so learning over Twitch was a delight! It was also fun having a few Wayfarer's along for the ride.
This game can be played with up to five people and has three variations: Good Cop, Bad Cop and Face Crime, (which is the online variation and requires all parties to have their own deck). I have now played all three versions and I really like the idea that a 52 card deck, consisting of 15 evidence cards, 8 suspect card and 29 action cards allows for so many modes of play. Each card is coloured either red, blue, green or purple (this will be important in game play).
The Starting premise is this: The Lord of the Manor has been murdered and it is clear that it's a member of the staff...
Now is probably a good time to give you a run down of each mode of play, mostly because this will determine your motive.
Good Cop: all players are detectives trying to be the first to uncover evidence to find the killer.
Bad Cop: all players are detectives trying to be the first to frame a suspect.
Face Crime: Keep your suspect undiscovered while trying to discover the other detective's suspects. (I believe this is technically being an accomplice after the fact.)
Sarah and I spent the morning learning how to play Face Crime. This is very quick and easy, it requires all parties to have their own copy of the game, a printout or PDF of the suspects in question (which can be found on their website along with all the rules) and a pen and paper. This mode of the game has no limit on players either, so if you have a large group and you all have the same deck of cards... then go for it!
Each player pulls one suspect from their deck and keeps it secret. This is the suspect you're protecting. Shuffle the deck and draw five cards, the rest of your deck is your "Evidence locker" from which you will draw throughout the game. In other variations, the person with the most red cards gets to go first (or the oldest if there is a tie). We were silly and tried to play rock, paper, scissors to determine who went first... we kept choosing the same thing, (this is so us) so in the end we just decided I would go.
Turns consist of either playing an action card or discarding a card. The turn is complete when the play draws from their "Evidence Locker."
There are a few types of actions. A couple types of card will allow you to see the other players hand. These are very helpful because you can see if they are holding any suspects and eliminate them from your line of enquiry (much like Clue/Cluedo). Another type will cause your opponent to get rid of cards, lowering the number they can hold at once. But the most helpful cards are the Evidence cards, where you get to ask a question about the other player's suspect (much like Guess Who). Be aware, they have to answer honestly but they could be holding the dreaded "red herring" card which, if played, means they can refuse to answer.
To win, you need to be holding a "crime scene" card to accuse a suspect. If you are playing with two people and you are correct, you win! If you are playing with three or more, things get a bit more complicated. (Admittedly, I have yet to play with more than one other person, so I am only speculating at this point.) You want to be the last one standing by knocking out the other players by using the "Foul Play" cards (causing them to lose their hand and thus lose) or corrently guessing their suspect.
Having now played all three variations of this game, they are all very similar but have different twists. I have to say, this is a great game to keep in your pocket for when we are finally all able to sit in pub gardens.
Just a quick note: There is an age restriction of 14 due to the fact that some of the suspects are illustrated depicting smoking. But really, if this doesn't bother you, anyone ages 8+ will pick up the rules easily.
Ultimately it is a fun game that is quick to pick up. The artwork is a lot of fun as well. If you would like to give it a go, you can find purchase it on their website.
Thank you to the team at Little Gargoyle Ltd. for thinking of us and sending us that lovely little email and for sending us copies of your game. We really had a great time learning to play Face Crime.
Is there a game you would like us to learn to play on our Twitch stream? Let us know in the comments or send us an email. We are always up for a challenge, but most of all we really love playing games.