Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Death Wears White

Death Wears White
Originally uploaded by GameThyme
I've done a few of the How to Host A Murder parties in the past, and was (to be honest) disappointed with them. So I didn't expect to like Death Wears White. In fact, I crinched when I heard that Asmodee was releasing a Murdery Mystery Party Game.

Then the box arrived, and it was packed.

The thing in the box that piqued my interest the most was a page of postage-stamp sized markers labled "Action Point."


Action Points? In a Murder Mystery Party Game? How does that work?

Well, it turns out that this is nothing like the How To Host A Murder games. Shall we start at the top?

One: The murderer knows that they are the murderer, as opposed to learning it at the end of the last round, after a number of rounds in which every single other player is made a Red Herring through use of clever wording.

Two: No rounds. Each player receives a character packet containing their character information - ideally, the organizer will hand it out a few weeks in advance, because each character also has some things they have to bring with (one character, for example, is supposed to bring a gun).

Three: Along with the "No Rounds" thing, it's worth noting: All of the evidence and clues contained in the box are in play from the beginning - just spend the AP. It's also worth noting that "I search the body" is 1 AP. But you can also search specific parts of the body, if you think there might be a clue or a hint there. The organizer has this information available, and may also have physical clues to give you (order forms, packing lists, letters, medical files ... ). All you have to do is ask the right questions.

Four: Action Points. While each character has information they are required to disclose (if asked), you won't always know what to ask. Action Points are a representation of effort expended to sneak off or just to search an area (or a person). Players choose where to spend their resources - and they can work together and pool their resources.

Five: The names are not puns. I know that this is a non-critical thing - and at least one of the names is still a joke, but it's a lot more subtle than a pun. The pun names really annoyed me in the "How To Host ... " series.

Now, it's not perfect. One character's pamphlet, for example, lists the wrong twin brother as having a tattoo. Players should show up in costume - and others have props that they need. One character, for example, needs a gun. Another should look 9 months pregnant.

I also made a few mistakes in play - there were clues I should have followed-up on, a few things that were right in front of me that I didn't check on. I also treated the two gunmen as NPC's, not realizing that they were also characters.

But I had a good time, and I'd do it again. I'm told there is another Murdery Mystery Party game in the works from Asmodee - I look forward to seeing how full of stuff it winds up being.

(Oh: One mini-gripe about the GeekMod process on Boardgamegeek. In general, it works very well. When trying to upload photos for this one, however, I was repeatedly declined with the comment "Image is irrelevant to subject matter," and another comment of, "If these are people playing the game, where is the game?" If you're GeekModding, please look at the game if there is a question of relevance.)

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