This article is presented by Hunt A Killer
Why should only the people who made Making a Murderer or The Jinx have all the felonious fun? True crime aficionados are just looking for an excuse to stick pins in a murder-corkboard with newspaper clippings, murder scenes, and mug shots, strung together with red yarn. They could get their fix from the game Hunt A Killer, the most immersive mystery solving game on the docket.
Hunt A Killer is a role-playing police procedural in a box. They have investigations that can be solved in one night and ongoing subscriptions. The subscriptions are structured like a true crime TV show, each box is an episode, and each installment uncovers a new detail or breakthrough in the case. The one time boxes are more like feature films that can be solved in one or two nights.
The game offers an in-depth investigation. Players become acquainted with the main suspects as they progress through the game, which includes plenty of plot twists and turns. Their story driven approach to board games offers a unique experience that’s perfect gamers and crime aficionados alike.
The company has three different types of games. Players can purchase subscriptions on a month-to-month basis or prepaid plans, which are cheaper, include a free gift, and free shipping. The Premium Cases are “all-in-one” investigations. The boxes contain one full investigation which is completed all at once, rather than cloaked in an ongoing narrative. Most of these cases can be solved in one night, although gameplay varies from 2-10 hours depending on the complexity of the case.
Box Sets are “seasons” of the subscription which are packaged together and shipped all at once. Customers receive one big box containing all six episodes.The estimated solve-time is two hours per box on average, so the box sets can run from 10 to 15 hours, depending on the player’s detective chops.
The Winter holidays are an opportune time to try out an investigation, or give one to a promising investigator as a gift. Here are the games that we recommend:
Subscription: Right now the subscription game takes place in Mallory Rock, a quaint fictional town off the coast of Maine. It’s up to you to prove that Beth’s sister was murdered even though no one else will believe her.
“They said she fell from a bluff and drowned,” we hear in the Mallory Rock Season trailer, which is as cinematic as any film to inspire a true crime show. You can see the trailer here:
Box Set: Their most popular season, Curtain Call, was just released as a box set. This cold case investigation is about a murder that took place in a theater in the 1930’s. It has a detective noir vibe that’s perfect for any murder mystery party.
Bonus suggestions: Hunt A Killer also has story-driven games in other genres. Its new superhero themed game Supernova available for presale on Cyber Monday. Their Blair Witch Game, which was made in partnership with Lionsgate, takes place in the Blair Witch universe.
What most stands out about their games is the attention to detail and quality of what’s included. Each box contains realistic police reports and documents from the case, such as financial records and notes written by suspects. Notes from the victims and suspects actually look like they were written by hand. Possibly even one attached to a broken arm. We also get detailed newspaper clippings of articles surrounding the crime as told in local papers within the Hunt a Killer universe.
Curtain Call, for example, examines a cold case from the 1930s. It got a lot of press in the in-universe newspapers. After an argument during rehearsals, a famous stage actor disappeared. It is now the modern day, and her body has been found. Who killed her? The player’s contact is a private eye who was hired by the theater owner. You can picture Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe, too busy with their own caseload, dumping it on you.
Each box also includes physical items that are related to the case, like a handkerchief, glove, ring, or a cuff link – but these items are also clues that unlock part of the story. Curtain Call contains a souvenir notebook from the theater where the murder took place. It can be used as a notebook, but it also contains information about the scene of the crime, including a detailed description of stage direction and a hidden message that needs to be deciphered.
From suspect interviews, detective notes, and playbills we get a deep knowledge of the theater. We know how it is run, who is a diva, who makes fun of the productions, but most of all, who are the most suspicious characters. Sleuthing skills are put to the test with fuzzy timelines, inconclusive results, and guarded self-serving interviews. These all go up on the corkboard.
While having the case come in a box is easy on the shoe leather, be prepared to take a lot of notes, organize data, and decode cryptic messages. The game is designed for immersion, and even includes a virtual desktop which gives players further insight into the case along with a themed playlist to listen to during your investigation and notes that can help you decipher some of the more intricate puzzles.
Every box has a goal, like eliminating a suspect or figuring out the murder weapon. Each gives a bigger overall picture of the crime, and how the suspects and victims are connected. Who has a motive? Who had access? What alibi doesn’t hold tight? Who might want to kill the victim? Once the player-detective cracks the clues they email their contact, which is the fictional character who “hired” them. Players must email a specific subject line and answer for the episode’s question.
Hunt A Killer runs like a Shock Doc episode, but has a Black Dahlia attitude. It is game noir that’s definitely worth trying out.