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DECKTECTIVE: Bloody Red Roses
This is an 'escape room' type of game from dvGiochi. It is for 1-6 players and has been designed by the same pairing, Martino Chiacchiera & Silvano Sorrentino, who have already had a successful run of games (also with dvGiochi) with the DECKSCAPE games. Therefore this comes to the table with a strong pedigree. It may look (first impression of its appearance) like it belongs in the DECKSCAPE series, and this is true, but apart from the fact that it is a game with cards (1-50) that are studied to solve the challenge, it has a different game mechanic. I will say that as a fan of DECKSCAPE I had high hopes for DECKTECTIVE, and after playing it I must say I was disappointed.

 

My disappointment stems from the fact that DECKTECTIVE, like DECKSCAPE, can only be played once. After you have completed it and made your case you get to read the solution. Here is when you discover if you are correct and also whether you have located and logged all the necessary clues. Once you have read all the clues there is no going back. Throughout the game you score points and to be fully successful you need to score the Maximum of 10. 7-9, 4-6 are also successful cases but with a lesser degree of decktectiveness. 0-3 points and you haven't paid attention to the clues spread throughout.

 

I cannot say too much about the game because, obviously, anything I say may be used to gain you extra assistance. I will however offer you one tiny hint - look at everything very closely and discuss things between yourselves (assuming you are not playing solo - discussing things with yourself is still a good idea though) and don't rush to conclusions. Okay that's two tiny hints. Also don't rush to conclusions, try to ratify them first. (As I said I will offer only three tiny hints).

 

I like the novel way the cards and box are used to create the scene that greets the Detectives as they arrive. The Mansion house is impressive and the bridge across the river is cleverly conceived. One wonders (me being the 'one') whether the author/designers will be able to come up with something equally as dramatically imposing for the next game in this series, for there is bound to be another, if not a series, of like games to follow on.

We played with three players and each of us found something either before the other two or when the other two had missed it; we passed the card/s around so they were seen by each of us in turn as we found it difficult to view them at the same time as we were positioned at the table.

The artwork, by Alberto Besi, is more than adequate, in fact it is perfect for this game style as it does all that it needs to without over emphasising or under valuing the clues it may contain. The English edition text (adapted by William Niebling) is more than cogerent and the story, by Riccardo Benucci and the two authors, is intense enough to keep the intrigue strong in the players thoughts. A very decent production all round.

 

You should be able to find this game online for the excellent price of £11.00. That may seem a lot for a one-off game but if you put it into perspective it is just over the cost of two Latte's at Costa Coffee or Starbucks* and generally less than one seat in a cinema to watch a 2 hour movie.

*As I have got older I have started mentally pricing things I am looking to buy in 'cups of coffee' 

We completed it in just about 60 minutes and reached the 6-9 category for success; we were right, but could have been 'righter'!  Do I recommend DECKTECTIVE ?  Yes, very much so, even though it is a one-play only. You can pass it on to a friend and ask them to pass it on after they have played it. It is a victim of its own success and once only playability that it will be passed around rather than each player buying their own copy.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015