GDJ – Game night

They came a few minutes earlier. Chris asks me for a coffee. Tony puts a bottle of wine on the table and asks where I keep glasses. Miriam rushes into my kitchen, grabs some snacks, and goes to the games room laughing. Everybody is excited. It’s a game night. Today we are playing Detective. There is this new case, Natural Causes, Portal Games just released.

I’m the only one who played Detective before. For the rest of the gang, it’s their first time with the game. They had heard a lot. Thirty nominations and awards including this famous, the German one, spiel the something. Hundreds of thousands of copies sold, dozen of local editions, even a Korean one. It’s all marketing noise. What they really heard is that the game is good. And hard. Chris asks where the donuts are. Miriam brings a pencil and a notepad to the table. Tony pulls out his wallet, shows his ID and says ‘Agent Tony Marino reports for duty!’

You can feel the energy – the game night!

I read the introduction. I am doing some small acting when reading the part of our superior, Richard Delaware. The story slowly unfolds.

‘What was the dead guy’s name again?’ asks Miriam.
‘Higgs. Calvin Higgs.’ answers Chris. ‘He was killed yesterday. Do we know what day is today?’
‘The story starts on Sunday, April 14th.’
‘We don’t know if he was killed, right? You said he was found dead.’
‘Yes,’ I say, ‘Delaware said that the body of professor Calvin Higgs was found in his lab at the Biology Institute.’
‘And he worked for FBI? What was he doing exactly?’
‘Don’t know. The intro doesn’t say that. We can investigate this path. It’s card 103 if we want.’

Miriam makes first notes. Chris writes down numbers of all available cards on a piece of paper in the middle of the table. Tony pours wine.
‘So what are our options?’
‘We can read the medical examiner’s report. We can go examine the crime scene. We can contact the FBI and ask about the nature of Higgs’s work. And the last one – we can go to the local police and ask what they already found,’ I say.

All options are tempting. We debate. We laugh when Chris says that at the local police there will be donuts and he really wants one. Miriam says the medical report is the obvious choice; we need facts and data. I am eager to see the crime scene. Tony agrees with Miriam. After a short discussion, we all agree. Let’s see what the autopsy says.

One hour passes. We talked to a dozen suspects. We visited the crime scene, and we met a couple of people Higgs was working with. We discovered some dark secrets about him. It’s fun. It’s what games are designed for – a group of friends talking, laughing, trying to solve the mystery. Another 30 minutes, another few cards, few leads, and clues, and we slowly get the picture of what happened to Calvin Higgs. We go to the Final Report phase; we answer three questions. We solved the crime. High fives! Glasses and toast!

‘That was fun!’ says Miriam.
I am happy. I knew they would have a great time.
‘Are there more cases like this?’ ask Chris.
‘You bet.’ says Tony. He shows off his wallet again ‘Agent Tony reports for another case!’

Portal Games team spent around two months working on Natural Causes case. Every single day of the process, I was visualizing you having a game night like this. This week we published it. The case is free to download. You don’t need a base game of Detective to play it. Just grab the files and play. It’s a perfect demo for everybody who wants to discover Detective.

I did my job.
Now it’s your turn.
Invite your friends. Have a great game night.


We are bookworms. Movie maniacs. Story addicts. We grew up reading Tolkien, Howard, Herbert, Dick, Lem… We were watching Willow, Blade Runner, Never Ending Story, Robin Hood…

And yet, we don’t write books… we don’t make movies. We don’t make those things, because we make games. We make games that tell stories.

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