IF Comp: Death Off the Cuff

Author: Simon Christiansen
System: Z-code 
Setup: You're a detective about to do the dramatic reveal-the-murderer bit. Too bad you're still not sure whodunnit.
Time Played: 45 mins

More (pretty non-spoilery) after the break, you may wish to play before reading...

Review: I love the premise for this game. It starts out in the grand mystery tradition of getting all the suspects in one room to reveal the murderer, with the added fun of beginning before you've actually unraveled the mystery. By talking about the people and things in the room, you (the great detective with a reputation to uphold) are hoping to sort things out as you go along.

The game works by describing subtle changes in the people and surroundings. Talking about these tangible things reveals various mysteries that add up to (hopefully) finding the murderer. It's not hard to accuse someone and save your reputation, but actually solving the case takes some time. You need to look at and examine things repeatedly. Hints are provided to help you if you just can't see what's become available to talk about to move the game along.

While it was occasionally frustrating to only be able to talk about things and not topics, I really enjoyed this game. It was great as a one-room conversation setup, and the dramatic confessions and unexpected reveals were pitch perfect for the genre. Plus, I got to twirl my moustache. Good fun.

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