Review: Crime Story – life on the edge


He sat in his chair. Sounds of cars was coming from the outside, but it was dark inside. Under the brim of the hat, bright eye of the cigarette glowed. But the air floated much more than just cigarette smoke. There were a number of unspoken questions that needed answers. Detective work never ends.

A lot of detective stories are hidden for players in the card game box. Here, designer hid his idea, which found fertile soil in Poland with company . The game was released in , but was introduced at the Spiel 2016 Fair in Essen. In a box enriched with illustrations by .

The square box is wrapped in a hatched box. The lid is then decorated with black and white graphics with plenty of characters. Inside, there are more than a hundred cards of many different kinds, including characters, objects, locations, and action cards. Four large cards will capture your attention with their dimensions, that are the same size as box itself. These cards serve as an overview of all available cards and players put them somewhere in the center of the table.


Each player gets a triple of madness cards and puts them in front of himself. All card elements (characters, locations, actions, and objects) create a drawing pile after shuffling them all together. And right here, each participant gets ten random cards, choosing two of them to discard. He should remember the rest, because all these selected cards are put together in a joint pile. They are mixed together with assassin’s card and re-distributed among players, so that each has eight cards in his hand again.

Starting player will tell his opponents the opening sentence of the story, that will begin their common detective journey. Once this happens, another player continues in a row to add a new sentence. The whole story has to make sense, so players can not contradict previous sentences or, on the contrary, name just adjectives.

Why should players do all this? This is because he tries to name a word, that could be held by one of the opponents, in his sentence. Whenever this happens, its owner must give the card to him and puts it in front of himself as a trophy and victory point.


In the event, that a player mistakenly mentions one of his cards, he must also set it aside. This time he puts it in the middle of the table into the common murder deck. There are also possible to get more cards, if somebody can say more than two words from opponent’s cards in one sentence.

Anyone who gets a card receives one madness certificate card. Players need those, if they can not come up with a new sentence when it comes down to them. On the contrary, if anybody fails to win any cards for entire round, everyone must discard one card out of hand and show this already unusable words to the others. This brings the game closer to its end.

Players continue to tell a common story, but try to say the right words. This is helped by the overview cards and information they received at the beginning of the game. Task of the players is to get as many cards as possible from their opponents into their scoring pile. They are elimianted, when their madness cards run out or when they have no more cards in hand.


However, the role of the killer will hit the whole fight during its progress. This card was given at the beginning to one of the players from the shuffled pile  and he kept it secret from sight of the others. They may suspect who is the killer and charge him with the murder (using the madness card). If the player is right, he receives a three-point card. At the same time, the game ends. The end will occur even if only last two players remain in the game or when the killer has not been revealed and discards his identity as last card. If the killer remains unspoken, he will also get the killer deck in the middle of the table, that should be filled by some cards. Only then numbered cards will decide about the winner.

Crime Story is a special narrative game. It is a bit of a game of secret identities, but above all, a verbal test of the players‘ vocabulary. And this makes for a very surprising game with a little-used mechanism and will delight anyone who likes thrills. They can write their own story here. And there is truly a good idea behind the sentence creation, how they will change outcome of the whole match.


But given the overall concept, it is immediately clear that the more players in the game will be, the better for the experience. With more participants, the cards are dealt. This element is unique. All the opponents are simply trying to deduce – on the basis of their cards and those they saw at the beginning of the game – words they should say. While it’s about luck at the beginning, in the later stages of the game players must also use memory. Many cards go through their eyes and it is clear that they are no longer in possession of their opponents.


There are also penalties for inattention. Therefore, be careful not to mention the word on your cards. Such punishment is totally unnecessary. The overview of the players still gets help from overview cards, which are also nice graphically. In addition, there are different variations of difficulty in the rules.


An unexpected element in a story game is a traitor, a murderer in this case. This role is randomly assigned to one of the opponents and can be used to gain a significant number of points. The part is therefore much more interesting. Perhaps only battles in lower numbers are less exciting. But story telling is still there, and it can be enough for someone.

The game is not short, and the battle between the murderer and the detectives is easy to reach even forty-five minutes. In addition to the skills, the game is also largely fortunate in how players are able to mention the right words.

The interesting graphics also deserves mentioning. It pushes the whole game towards a comics feeling. The illustrations are beautifully sharp and go very well with the overall theme of crime and detectives.


Crime Story is an excellent narrative game that will surprise you with its gameplay. Players will test their story-making abilities, but at the same time, they must have some sense to name the opponents‘ words and gain points. Crime Story stands out for its originality, but it also does not forget to be a fun game.

DesignerPrzemyslaw "Nutii" Bobrowski
ArtistKonrad Kwiatkowski
PublisherCube Factory of Ideas
Year Published2015
# of Players3 - 8
User Suggested # of Players Best with 8+ players
Recommended with 3, 4, 7, 8 players
(2 voters)
Playing Time45
Mfg Suggested Ages12 and up
User Suggested Ages12 and up
(3 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(2 voters)
CategoryCard Game, Party Game
MechanicSet Collection, Storytelling, Voting
FamilyTheme: Mystery / Crime, Theme: Police
Primary NameCrime Story: Detectives without License

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Crime Story – life on the edge
Final word
Crime Story offers players an opportunity to show what kind of narrator soul is hiding in them. But it's not just about figuring out the best story that's amusing, but winning can only bring the correct use of words. Among the participants there is also one killer who is trying to conceal his identity to gain bonus points. As a result for your success, players can not do so much, and they also need luck on their part. Above all, however, it should be enough, because at that moment the best features of this game will reveal itself. Crime Story is an original and really fun game.
Reader Rating0 Votes
nice graphics
possibilities of different difficulty
role of a killer
great in high numbers of players
narration as the main game element
not so good with fewer players
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