The 9 Best Mystery Board Games

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If you need a little bit of mystique in your life, a mystery board game is a fun and affordable option to enjoy at home. Whether it’s game night with your crew or a family gathering that could use a bit of shaking up, a mystery board game is something a large group can really dive into. The best mystery board games have a compelling narrative and can be played in a set amount of time that works for your time constraints.

A really good mystery board game sucks you into its alternative reality and keeps your attention. Whether you prefer detective stories or love a spooky plot, be sure to pick a game that piques your interests. Many of the games on this list feature elaborate storylines with detailed characters and backstories, while others are straightforward classics you'll recognize. Keep in mind that gameplay length can vary wildly. To help you find the right game for you, I've included the expected play time, as well as the recommended player number and age.

Some mystery games involve more strategy and are called deception games. These deception games tend to be a bit more of a time commitment and are more geared towards adults-only game night. There are also the typical deduction games that require players to come to conclusions based on clues and while they can vary in difficulty, they are generally faster, with gameplay lasting around 30 minutes. Some games are collaborative, which means all players must work together to win (and, conversely, will all lose together), while competitive games usually bestow bragging rights on just the winning person or team.

Whether you’re planning a family game night or hosting one with friends, there’s something here for everyone who loves a little mystery and a little competition.

1. An Award-Winning Murder Mystery Game

If murder mystery games are your thing, this award-winning game is one you have to try. This fast-paced whodunnit has a 4.8-star rating on Amazon and more than 1,000 reviews. It comes with 250 cards, so you can change the game every time you play and it always feels fresh. In this game there’s one murderer and one forensic scientist. The rest of the players are investigators working together to find the killer. It’s a little more involved than Clue and it's a deception game that requires some strategy, so the manufacturer suggests the ideal age is 14 and older.

Helpful Review: “Very fun murder mystery game! We played 10 games in a row at Thanksgiving, we couldn't get enough. It is better with more players.”

  • Number of Players: 4 — 12
  • Play Time: 20 minutes
  • Ages: 14+

2. A Detective Game With 200 Intriguing Cases

Calling all detectives: you'll love to play this Sherlock Holmes mystery game. The deduction game comes with 200 intriguing cases so you can keep playing it for years to come. Players travel through Victorian London gathering clues to a variety of brand new cases. Some of the cases require teaming up, while others cases leave every person for themselves. You can play with up to six players, or alter the rules a bit to play alone, according to the manufacturer. This pick can be played as a cooperative game, which is ideal for families who tend to get a little too competitive.

Helpful Review: “Perfect game for your house detectives. Wonderful game! Received in perfect condition. Nice presentation. Played the first game this afternoon. Straightforward instructions, but you must pay attention and interpret each clue with a couple of red herrings thrown in. Looking forward to playing the next 199 cases!”

  • Number of Players: 2 — 6
  • Play Time: No information available
  • Ages: 14+

3. A Non-Competitive Cooperative Mystery Board Game

If you’re looking for a mystery game without competition, Mysterium is a cooperative board game that requires all players to work together. A crime was committed at Warrick Manor and the players, who are mediums and ghosts, must try to find out what happened. This deduction-style game changes every time, depending on different players. Each game takes about 45 minutes and up to seven people can play at once. The more people that play, the easier it is to solve the mystery, but if you prefer to play with a smaller group, the game offers "special rules" for two to three players.

Helpful Review: “Love this game, it is a great game if you prefer a board game where you work collectively together. One person 'guides' the group as a ghost and and the others are clairvoyants and the ghost is trying to tell them how they died. [...] It is a collective game that is really fun both as a clairvoyant and the ghost. Low competitive game so if you have friends/family that don't like strategy games that pit people against each other consider getting this game.”

  • Number of Players: 2 — 7
  • Play Time: 45 minutes
  • Ages: 10+

4. An Escape Room-Style Game

This mysterious game bring the fun of an escape room to your house. Play with up to four players in this timed escape room game. Players have been called to a haunted house to help solve a crime, but when they arrive — they’re locked in. They must examine riddles to solve the crime and escape the house before time runs out. This is a one-time game and once you’ve solved it, it’s over, however, it is perfect for special occasions. It’s also available in several spin-off versions, like Exit: The Sunken Treasure or Exit: The Abandoned Cabin, that feature varying levels of difficulty in this deduction-style game.

Helpful Review: “I LOVED this escape room in a box. This one was a little bit easier than their other ones, BUT it also made the most sense and had the most clever and fair puzzles. [...] If you’re going to play any in this series, I’d just start with this one. Super fun.”

  • Number of Players: 1 — 4
  • Play Time: 1 — 2 hours
  • Ages: 10+

5. The Classic Mystery Board Game

No mystery game round-up would be complete without the classic mystery game of Clue. This kid-friendly game is a classic whodunnit game in which it’s your job to find out who’s guilty of murder, how they did it, and where it all happened. Move through rooms and use the power of deduction to solve the murder before other players. This is an affordable game that adults will love as much as the kids. It has more than 6,000 reviews and a 4.8-star rating, making this a tried-and-true option for any game night.

Helpful Review: “I remember playing Clue as a kid, and it was pretty fun even though we were almost certainly playing it wrong. Now, picking up a copy for just a few dollars, this is a blast to play with my children. Most of the familiar characters are there: Col Mustard, Prof Plumb... Mrs. White is missing, but there are some new faces as well.Yes, the theme is solving a murder mystery, but it's still very family friendly. The outcome is selected randomly, but that doesn't make it any less fun when one of the people playing the game turns out to be guilty. If you are currently Clueless, I highly recommend picking up this game. Even in the age of modern board game design, this is still good for many hours of fun."

  • Number of Players: 3 — 6
  • Play Time: 45 minutes
  • Ages: 8+

6. A Strategic, Fast-Paced Mystery Game

You have to be quick in this strategic mystery game, which takes place in London. The criminal Mr. X has escaped Scotland Yard and you have to catch him. Travel around the city to find clues and catch the criminal. This intense deduction game is easy to learn and perfect for family game nights. There are 13 rounds in this highly rated game. It takes about 30 minutes to complete and will keep you on your toes.

Helpful Review: “This is a fun game with a lot of strategy. It takes teamwork, and you can play with a lot of people. Good for adults and older children. It seems really complicated at first, but gameplay is pretty straightforward once you understand the rules.”

  • Number of Players: 3 — 6
  • Play Time: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 8+

7. A Cooperative Game That Mixes Horror and Mystery

This survival board game combines a little bit of mystery and a little bit of gore. In this deductive-style game, players must build their own haunted mansion - and then try to escape it alive. The game takes about an hour to complete and can be played with between 3 and 6 players. Move from room to room discovering the house's secret, but be careful — one player may be tempted to join the dark side. This game requires everyone to work together while also keeping an eye out for traitors. It comes with 50 unique scenarios, so you can play it several times. This pick has won several awards, including the Origins Awards Gamers’ Choice Award.

Helpful Review: “I was introduced to the original game about 15 years ago, and I immediately fell in love with it! It's equal parts RPG [role-playing game] and Board game with mystery, horror, and survival built in! [...] I have such great memories of playing this game, and I love teaching it to new people. There are a ton of little bits and pieces, and there is a slight learning curve, but once you get rolling, it guarantees hours of fun.”

  • Number of players: 3 — 6 players
  • Play Time: 1 hour
  • Ages: 12+

8. An Immersive Crime Board Game

Live out your crime-solving fantasies in this crime board game. This is a full story campaign-style game, which means the game and/or characters change over time, possibly influencing future plays. It has five different cases that all link together and let players experience what it's like to be a detective. Through stakeouts and observing their subjects, players must solve the crimes by any means possible — even if they're illegal. Another fun component to the game is a WiFi icon that encourages players to stop and browse specific topics on the Internet in order to help them solve the crime. The game takes about an hour and a half to play and lasts until all the cases are solved. It's a fun deception game that involves a bit more strategy. If you love this game, there's no reason to stop the fun — Detective L.A. Crimes is a highly rated spin-off that takes place in 1980s Los Angeles.

Helpful Review: “I have about twenty five of the top board games. I have to say this is the most [immersive] game of them all. You are really thinking like a detective. It's not like any game I have experienced. It's like living a detective novel. I enjoy having access to the realistic online data base. And referencing the actual Internet web sites that help understand the Historical aspects of the crimes. If you like the TV and movie crime shows you will love this game. You are not just winning or loosing the game you are graded on how you performed in the different aspects of the game.

  • Number of Players: 1 — 5
  • Play Time: 120 — 180 minutes
  • Ages: 16+

9. A Whodunnit Mystery Board Game With A Jewel Heist Theme

This family mystery board game takes place at the masquerade party of a wealthy art collector. One of the players is a jewel thief with questionable motives, while the other players are guests trying to figure out whodunnit. They must use deduction skills to find the thief among them. Kids over 10 will catch on easily and the whole game takes about an hour to play. Plus it’s different every time so you can play it over and over.

Helpful Review: “My family is a family that loves board games. This easily became one of our favorites to play. It’s very easy to learn and super fun to play. If you are debating on buying this, just go for it. Family Game Night Pros Approved!”

  • Number of Players: 2 — 6
  • Play Time: 60 minutes
  • Ages: 10+