There were a lot of new games to see at Toy Fair New York. One gaming theme that seems to be popular this year is mystery. Whether it is solving the clues to escape a space, finding the perpetrator of a crime, or solving the puzzle to determine who did it, clue-based capers are on trend for games this year. Check out some of the standouts below!
Cat Capers Museum Heist (Game Zone) | 6+ | $19.95
This game is great for kids ages 6 and up. Available for the first time this spring, the game features a clever cat. Kids test thinking skills and use the process of elimination to determine which color or object is wrong or right. The quickest hand to grab the correct object wins. It is an excellent way for kids to start using critical thinking skills in a fun way without the crime aspect.
Whodunnit? (YULU) | 7+ | $19.99
The game’s premise is that the National Museum is the location of two crimes. Players ask questions and get clues to figure out who stole what object and hid it where within the museum. An exciting feature is the see-through evidence board. It lets you keep track of your clues and your opponent’s progress. This game is for two or more players ages 7 and up, and it is available now.
Dog Crimes (ThinkFun) | 8+ | $12.99
In this game, kids solve 40 puzzles full of challenges to discover canine criminals. There are six doggie suspects with distinctive features, and the gameboard offers additional evidence for kids to discover. The game is now available on Amazon. Alternatively, check out Cat Crimes — a predecessor to Dog Crimes.
Break In (Playmonster) | 10+ | $29.99
Escape games are popular, but this game requires you to break ˆ first! Break In is a collaborative game in which players work together to find clues and solve puzzles in one of three exciting locales — with increasing levels of difficulty: Area 51, Alcatraz, and Chichén Itzá. Each game/location takes about one to two hours to complete and is a one-time-play game. So, when you are done playing the game, pass it along to a neighbor or family member for them to play! The Alcatraz and Chichén Itzá games are for players ages 10 and up, and Area 51 is ideal for players ages 12 and up. It will be available in July.
Murder Mystery Party Unsolved Case Files (University Games) | 12+ | $24.99
A brand-new category for mystery games following in the footsteps of the first Murder Mystery Party games and escape room trends, Case Files requires you to solve a mystery and discover the motive, means, and opportunity behind the crime. You can play in a large group or solo. Either way, this game is loaded with content. There are more than 50 pieces of evidence for players to investigate. This game is best for players ages 12 and up. It will be available in July.
Adventure Games: The Volcanic Island (Thames & Kosmos) | 12+ | $19.95
In this cooperative game from the makers of Exit Games, you take on the role of four students traveling together on a remote and mysterious island, looking into strange events that have been happening. The police believe the incidents are natural occurrences — is everything as normal as it seems, or is there something else behind the mysterious happenings at the volcano? The game is intended for players ages 12 and up, and it will be available later this year.
Jewel Heist (Mattel)| 13+ | $19.99
The story behind the game is that someone broke into the museum. You play the game in teams with secret roles — some as robbers and some as detectives. The goal of the robbers is to steal jewels and deflect suspicion by lying, while the goal of the detectives is to find the robbers and recover the jewels.
After receiving their secret roles, players close their eyes and count down from 15 aloud. During that time, only the robbers open their eyes. They attempt to steal jewels from the museum case. When the countdown ends, everyone opens their eyes. Then the fun ramps up as the investigation begins, the finger-pointing ensues, and the lying starts. The detectives question and accuse while the robbers accuse and deflect suspicion. Once at least one player has two warrants, the game ends, roles are revealed, and the final jewel count is tallied. The team with the most jewels at the end of the game wins! This is a fun family game, available this spring, for players ages 13 and up.
Mystery games are fun for the whole family, so it’s great to see a resurgence of games in which solving a mystery is the main objective. It helps teach kids to pay attention to details, work on executive functioning skills, and enhance critical thinking. But best of all? They are fun!