Detective – What you need to know!

Thanks to our great fan and BGG forum user fba827, we can share with you questions and answers about our upcoming, and hopefully hit title Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. Those are all questions and answers compiled from a perspective of a player – perfect, if you are looking for an outside perspective.

Release-related Questions

Q: When is retail release?
A: US release is approximately August 8, 2018 (editing note: apologies as I can’t find info on other location release dates at the moment)

Q: What languages is the game being released in? (aka Localization)
A: English, Polish, also Czech, German, French, Italian, and Russian are confirmed (expected for later 2018). More will be announced as they are confirmed.

Q: What were the preorder bonuses?
A: upgraded components (such as the upgraded game board, plastic ID cards, tokens) but also picture cards for the different people involved in the investigation (more than one forum post has mentioned that these picture cards have turned out to be an unexpected major hit with the groups during play as they have helped with both notes and visualization a lot)

Q: I missed the preorder, can I still get the preorder bonuses?
A: Preorder bonus content is expected to be released for sale individually on portal’s website

Q: Are there expansions to this for more cases?
A: None that have been announced as of yet. If any actually get announced it will depend upon demand in the future.
(At the time of this writing, the game has not yet been released, just preorders in circulation)

Gameplay-related Questions

Q: What is the basic mechanics for the game?
A: This is a cooperative deduction game. You manage/expend/manipulate resources (time and various skill tokens) to gather clues. You choose what clues to follow or not follow, allowing for branching paths to information. At the end, you utilize whatever clues you have uncovered and answer questions at the end to see how close to the solution you are. You are not searching for a ‘solution card’ that reveals everything, you are searching for clues to the puzzle and solving the puzzle yourself.

Q: How long is each session
A: It really will depend on both number of players as well as how much discussion you do. Mentions in the forums on Case 1 have ranged from 2 hours to 3.5 hours.

Q: That seems long for my game group, can we split the session
A: You can split the session but make sure your notes are extra detailed as memory will start to forget things.

Q: Is this a casual afternoon game?
A: This is more akin to the main attraction for a dedicated game night where you’ll want attention and focus to think and discuss.

Q: How different is game play at fewer or more players
A: Few people means fewer heads to work through clues together but possibly shorter play time. More people means more heads to work through deductive reasoning but possibly longer play time due to more discussions. Additionally, fewer players means more skill tokens (the primary resource for uncovering information in ‘digging deeper’ on leads) while more players means more character abilities (things that let you manipulate other things). (this is because you are supposed to use a number of characters equal to the number of players and if they get used they have special abilities and if they don’t get used, they instead add to your skill pool)

Q: Will I be able to play the game multiple times?
A: The official answer from the designer during interviews is “no; it is a one and done experience” The unofficial answer floating around is that someone might be tempted to play a second time since there is more than one pathway of information.

Q: Are game components destroyed/written on by game play?
A: No. Components of the game are not destroyed or written on as part of the game. To reset the game you will only need to reset the database.

Q: How complex are the rules compared to other Portal games?
A: A considerably shorter rulebook (found in the files section of boardgamegeek) and rules are (compared to other games) fairly basic and work mostly in the background. The crux of the game play really is the player deduction. I have seen mentioned by more than one poster that explaining the rules generally has taken only 5-10 minutes.

Q: Will I see all the content in one play through of one case?
A: No. There are approx 35 cards per case and typically a playthrough will only see about 20 depending on investigation decisions made.

Q: How graphic is the content?
A: It does depict violence and profanity. It is not suggested for kids. One suggestion made was to have an adult act as moderator to read all the cards and files out loud and censoring when needed for audience. Obviously, threshold for violence and profanity is an individual thing and therefore it is difficult to categorically label this on a scale of graphic depiction.

Q: How many cases in the initial release?
A: 5 cases that have an overarching plot (I would put that in spoiler tags but it says as much in the rulebook). If you got the preorder bonus copy, there is a 6th case that is a stand alone case meant as an introductory case for the game

Q: After finishing one case, the cards may still be referenced in a later case. Is there a suggested method for tracking which cards you have access to both front and back vs just front?
A: I have seen someone mention rubber bands
A: I have seen someone mention a master list with two columns and writing down card numbers in the different columns depending on which sides you have access to
A: I have seen one mention of using the ‘case 1 title card’ as a divider making the cards above it the ones you have front and back access to, the ones beneath it just front access to, and the ones put away as the ones without access to at all

Q: Is this like a roleplaying game?
A: You are the detective. You are using your own deductive reasoning. The game is about manipulating resources to collect clues. And then based on whatever clues you find you will have to figure out the solution to the case. So in that way, it is roleplaying in that it is your mind acting out the scenario rather than simply rolling and moving a character around. Conversely, you are not “really” playing the parts of the characters you pick for your team. I have seen one person describe it as: You and your fellow players are the detectives, the characters you pick are members of your team not the people you are actually playing as, and the characters you do not pick that are added to the skill pool are like the consultants and contacts that your team reaches out to for help along the way

Q: I have a 6th character as a preorder bonus. How do I use it?
A: I have seen two different things (none of which is official)… (a) add it to the pool of 5 original characters to pick from, and all the unpicked ones get used as skill tokens, or (b) use the 6th one to replace one of the 5 original ones, removing the replaced one out for that case so that you only have 5 to pick from and then select as normal. The difference being whether you get a 6th person’s worth of skill tokens added to your pool or not.

Rules-related Questions

Q: Timing of stress token limit, do we finish a card that pushes us to the stress limit of the case
A: While the rules say you finish immediately when stress limit is reached, the intention is that you finish immediately after you finish resolving the card that caused your stress limit to be reached.

Q: Chis Stone’s character ability, do you need to be in the same location to use it.
A: No. You do not need to revisit the location. But you do need to spend the token to use the ability as well as any tokens needed to follow the digging deeper.

Database-related Questions

Q: Is a computer or mobile device required to play?
A: Yes; the database is a key part of the game play and is needed

Q: Can more than one person be logged in to the database
A: Multiple people can be logged into the database at once from the same table. You should, however, use the same username and password so that information only needs to be inputted once for all to share

Q: I’m using a mobile device and the website uses my up battery (aka how to turn off graphics)
A: After logging in, click on your name and there should be a drop-down option for turning off animations. The animations are visual only and have no affect on game play.

Q: How do you reset your entries in the database if you’re completely restarting despite having entered stuff before?
A: Click on the final report and make up a bunch of answers and you should have an option for reset the database (exact steps for this still being hunted but i’ve seen it mentioned somewhere just trying to remember where the steps were detailed)

Sleeving-related Questions

Q: What size are the cards if I want to sleeve?
A: Sleeve size 70×120 mm (FFG Orange, Tarot) – editor note: I know nothing about card sleeves, so suggest you read the original source to get the info that you actually need

Q: If this is a one-and-done game, why would I want to sleeve?
A1: Because coffee and donuts happen
A2: Because if you plan on giving or reselling and are concerned about wear and tear

Q: How many cards?
A: 5 Cases in the base game. Each of which has 36 cards (35 actual use cards +1 cover card for the case). The preorder bonus 6th case has 24 cards.

Thanks, fba827! You can visit the original post here.

2 Comments Added

Join Discussion
  1. ones upon a game 2018-08-16 | Reply

    Could you post, akin to movie “parents guides”, what profanity is used and a count? Like “F—: 2; S—: 12; GD: 14”, etc… More information would help people make decisions on buying the game, especially for solo play where the use of a censor is not an option. Also adding a filter to the online database should be simple enough to do and simply not show those words.

    • Portal Games 2018-08-20 | Reply

      We do not have any plans to censor the game online. In the physical material you can expect about a dozen or less various profanities.

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