Sunday, September 20, 2009

MIA #7: The Suitcase Detectives (Kofferdetektive)

The Suitcase Detectives (Kofferdetektive)
  • designer: Guido Hoffman
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2008
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.83
  • age: 5+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $23.39 (maukilo.com)
We "serious gamers" spend an inordinate amount of time carping about things like oversized game boxes. (Yes, you may laugh & point & make fun of us if you wish.) That's not a problem for The Suitcase Detectives - in the words of Comic Book Guy: "Best. Game. Box. Ever."

You see, the box is not simply the right-sized container for the game components... it IS a game component. The box has a thin pull-out tray, covered by a semi-transparent window inside the main compartment of the box/suitcase. The suitcase/box also closes to hide the window - we'll get to "why" in just a minute. The other components include a bag with a variety of silhouette pieces, 4 small card decks w/the silhouette shapes, a sand timer and a score board & markers.

The players are detectives, trying to spot what's been stolen out of this mysterious suitcase (aka "game box"). In turn, each player gets to be "the thief" and remove 2 (or possibly more or less, if you're playing with the variant rules in the rulebook) of the silhouette shapes from the tray & hide them in the provided bag. The suitcase is shaken & then opened, allowing the detective players to peer through the semi-transparent window & attempt to figure out which items are gone.

Of course, as the pieces lay across each other, it can be very difficult to figure out what is & isn't there. The detective players use their individual card decks to secretly register their guesses. When time runs out, the pieces are pulled out of the bag and each correct guess is worth one point on the scoring track.

Depending on the number of players, each person gets to be "Percy the Pilferer" a certain number of times & then the game is over. (Yes, that's his name in the rules - I think if I was a master thief and required to have an alliterative nickname, I'd go with something like Harry the Heistmaster or Sammy the Safecracker. "Percy the Pilferer" sounds like Neville Longbottom's equivalent number at Slytherin.) The player with the most points (correct identifications) wins.

There's some really nice flexibility built into the game. You can make it easier by placing less objects in the game (there are 13 different ones & you normally take 5 out of the game)... or you can increase the difficulty by playing with more objects. You can also vary the number of objects removed.

The Suitcase Detectives has gone over well with the early elementary set (1st-3rd grades)... and, with the number of objects reduced, actually works pretty well with my 4 year old.

2 comments:

Paul said...

Mark, your lists are great and very helpful,. How about a list of good games that you can actually go to a local store and pick up instead of purchasing them by mail order via Germany or somewhere else? Just a thought.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Paul, great comment - important enough question, btw, for me to answer in a complete post.

I'll do that in the next 24-48 hours.