The title didn’t inspire me with confidence: it sounds like a childish, unimaginative ‘whodunnit’ style game. However, Disciple Detective (Funhill Games) is actually a brilliant Hanabi-style logic and deduction game with good elements of Cluedo (Hasbro) brought in, and a choice of either cooperative or competitive modes. The game is designed by Lance Hill, with art by Tazia Hall and Medea Phartskhaladze.
The aim is to identify the disciples in your hand. As in Hanabi (Abacusspiele), your cards are facing away from you, so players are dependent on clues from other players to deduce which is which, based on their different traits. The biblical link is that all of these traits come straight from the New Testament, though to say that this game is just for Christians would be like saying Wingspan (Stonemaier) is just for bird watchers.
Once you start receiving clues, you can write your own notes on the cards with the dry-wipe pens. This helps overcome the frustrating memory requirements of Hanabi! However, it can be difficult holding multiple cards while keeping relevant info visible, so card holders are advisable. If, for example, you have Just One (Repos), the stands from that work fine.
The challenge level of Disciple Detective is customisable, leading to satisfyingly tense games every time. If you’re all beginners, take out the most complicated disciple (most have ‘quirks’ that adjust the effect of clues, sometimes making for a steep learning curve while you get used to them). Once you’re all 'experts', you can try cluing for just one hand at a time instead of all the cards you can see. A sand timer is provided, but in 20 games I haven’t personally felt like that would have improved anyone’s experience of the game.
We played a preview edition of this game, shown here on Board's Eye View, and it proved to be the surprise hit of a recent games week: with over 200 games available, new and classic, this was chosen again and again. Fans of Hanabi, Cluedo and even Letter Jam (CGE) should surely check it out!
Disciple Detective is due to come to Kickstarter at the end of March. We'll post a link to the KS campaign when that goes live.
(Review by Matt Young)