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This game, Crime City-Full House, is one in a series of Micro-Macro games and is the first game I have played where the playing begins before the shrinkwrap is removed. It can be played solo but it's more fun as a multi-player co-operative. The very first puzzle, for this is most definitely a game of puzzles, is within the artwork on the front cover. Therefore, before you have paid the (average) £20.00 for it, you get a free micro sample of what is in store for you when you actually enter Crime City.

The robbery and subsequent death of the ice-cream vendor is pretty easy to solve and should take no more than a couple of minutes. It does give you an idea on how some of the mission crimes  can be solved. Just think of the headache a 'Where's Wally?' puzzle with numerous Wallys all wearing different disguises could give you, and you're halfway to understanding the depth and visual chaos of the Crime City map.

The game supplies a piece of thin plastic with magnifying properties but if you have an actual magnifying glass (or 20-20 vision) it really helps you to find and follow your suspect. If you have old or tired eyes then definitely get some sort of visual help. (Note: a seeing-eye dog will not help, but no, I haven't tried one.. yet!)

The map is filled with line-art of streets, buildings, and people who all look somewhat similar but who all have a distinguishing feature of some kind. It has been purposely designed so that it is easy to mix up suspects - especially when they hop on and off buses or take trains etc.

The puzzles are found as sets of a number of cards that should be separated and placed into unsealed envelopes. They comprise of a lead card (white, with the Title and Star Level on one side and with the mission description on the other) and a number of black cards with white text (as seen in one of my photos - I haven't shown the complete mission).

The players discuss the clues amongst themselves and then spread out and hunt down the clues. With Underground railway stations it is often possible for suspects to work there way up, down and across the map at speed, thus making it more difficult for the players to trace their steps. It's fun seeing four experienced players poring over a map like busy-bees whilst squabbling like schoolkids over who's the first to find the correct dubious character.

If you have some spare counters or markers of some kind - we use Tiddly-Winks - then placing them on your suspect when you find them allows you to discover the start, middle and end of their journey. You often need to know where these people have been as well as where they are going, and also who they meet. This can then lead to you following another possible suspect.

Apart from the case (aka mission) on the front cover, there are 16 other cases of Murder, Robbery, Diplomatic Lying, etc etc available for you to solve. It is suggested, and logically preferred, that you take each challenge in the order given in the book. These begin with the Sombrero introduction to the name of the game, Full House, with jigsaw-puzzle-like details in between.

There is an 'advanced' way to play and that is by not using the 'case' cards, having just the start card for the Case and the text on its back for your investigations. It's not actually truly advanced, it's more hard though because you really have to think and plan like a criminal. So 'advanced' not really, 'harder' most definitely!

You can pass this game on to friends and they can complete it and pass it on. This never ending passing on could ensure longevity of life, or at least as long as the cards remain in good condition. In fact it may even work its way back to you in a couple of years by which time it could seem like a new game for you to enjoy .... again!



© Chris Baylis 2011-2021