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There's been something of a glut in detective games over the past few years but Suspects, from Studio H, stands out as one of the best. Played either solitaire or as a fully cooperative game, Suspects puts players in the shoes of investigator Claire Harper. The box includes three separate cases to investigate - all set in the 1930s, echoing the setting of Agatha Christie's mysteries. In addition, a separate small box offers an additional sampler case.

Designed by Sebastien Duverger Nedellec, Paul Halter and Guillaume Montiage, Suspects delivers a gradually unfolding plotline for players to uncover as they visit locations that offer numbered cards for them to take as part of their investigation. The cards will provide further plot points and detail that may help you deduce the answers to the questions posed in the scenario, but, true to the genre, you'll need to watch out for red herrings! Indeed, by naming the separate standalone introductory Suspects case 'The MacGuffin Affair', the designers pay tribute to the red herrings that Alfred Hitchcock liked to work into his plots: he always referred to them as MacGuffins.

By selecting options on the cards, you'll be pointed to other cards; similar to the branching storyline familiar from Choose Your Own Adventure books and games. At various points in the game (ie: when a set number of cards have been taken) you'll be pressed to record your deductions. You carry on and may subsequently depart from those earlier guesses but your collective or solo score for the game will reflect how early you arrived at the correct deduction. For each case, the solution is given and explained in a 'sealed' envelope.

The cards work particularly well as both evidence and, in effect, game 'timer'. Where there are clear connections between evidence on two cards, you can confirm this by matching the cards up: a simple but neat and satisfying device.

You may find the cases convoluted and they're certainly no pushover but, when you read the solutions you'll find they make sense and you won't leave the table feeling that the game has cheated by making connections you could never have found. Here, Suspects compares very favourably with the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective series from Space Cowboys, where Holmes' solutions often feel unattainable by the players.

Suspects is highly immersive: the Agatha Christie vibe is especially strong, helped in no small part by the artwork from Émile Denis. The large format cards and decent-sized maps etc. facilitate cooperative play: you can gather up to six people around the table to work together on a case, debating the findings and arriving at a collective solution without anyone having to strain overly to see the evidence.

Of course, once you've been through a scenario there won't be much play value in replaying it - so you've basically got three games to play here, each of which will take probably 60-75 minutes. You're not destroying any components, however, so when you're done with the cases in this box you can pass your copy onto a friend for them to play it. And if Studio H have you hooked on the sleuthing skills of Claire Harper, there are more mysteries in the pipeline...

Suspects is distributed in the UK by Hachette Board Games.

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