I love murder mystery, true crime and love to read about Jack the Ripper, when murder entered my house, I couldn’t wait to get to the bottom of it. Fortunately, the murder wasn’t something I would have the police breaking my door for, but a murder mystery card game – and I love logic and deduction games. Foul Play: The Manor House Murder is a card game where you have to find the evidence to solve the murder.
Foul Play: The Manor House Murder is a murder mystery card game with 56 playing cards, suitable for 2-5 players aged eight years upwards and has a playing time of approx. 15 to 30 minutes.
The pack comes with 56 cards:
- 15 Evidence Cards
- 8 Suspects Cards
- 6 Crime Scene Cards
- 6 Fair Play Cards
- 6 Foul Play Cards
- 6 Red Herring Cards
- 2 Block Cards
- 2 Interrogate Cards
- 1 Full Cooperation Card
- 4 instructions Cards
In Foul Play Games The Manor House Murder we venture back in time to Edwardian England and the Lord of the Manor has been murdered. The servants are the lead suspects, and it is up to the detectives, who just happen to be us as the players, to solve the crime and prove who has committed the dreadful deed! As players, I mean detectives, we must unearth the evidence, seek out the suspects and catch the culprit in order to scupper the other sleuths and win this game of murder!
There is more than one to catch a killer and there are two ways to play this game, as Good Cop or as Bad Cop, fair or foul play – both come with their own set of rules and tactics to help you crack the case.
If you are playing as Good Cop you have to play fair and players will need to find the 3 pieces of evidence to work out who the killer is. If you play as Bad Cop you go rogue (who needs solid evidence?), you just need to uncover ANY evidence to have a crack at naming the killer. Fair or Foul, you decide.
In the pack there are 56 cards, 52 to play the game and 4 instructions cards that have the game overview, rules of play, how to set up as good or bad cop and how to win as each cop, with the final card being descriptions of the card actions.
Using the instructions cards, setting up the game is quite easy. The instructions are easy to follow (the rules and ways to play can also be downloaded from the Foul Play website as well as extra resource sheets to help inexperienced detectives). Playing as Good Cop you use 40 of the cards (with only three of the evidence cards in play), as Bad Cop you use all 52 of the cards (with all fifteen of the evidence cards in play).
To play and try to solve the murder at the manor the first thing to do is to set the Crime Scene: you place a 3×3 grid (9 cards) in the centre of the table. Deal five cards (if you are playing as Good Cop) or seven cards (if you are playing as Bad Cop) to each player (sorry, that should be detective) – these are each detective’s ever-changing case file as the investigation progresses. Any remaining cards are placed face down next to the Crime Scene, this pile becomes the Evidence Locker. Finally, place one card (face down) from the Evidence Locker pile on the opposite side of the Crime Scene, this is the Discard Pile. You are all set and ready to attempt to solve the murder of the Lord of the Manor. The cards have coloured backs (red, purple, blue and green) and whoever has the most red-backed cards gets to start.
The detective who starts takes a card from their hand and places it face up on the table, stating their play, for example if you put down a Crime Scene card you follow the card action for Crime Scene. There are seven types of cards to be played:
- Red Herring cards are useless to everybody and need to be disposed of as quick as you possibly can.
- Fair Play cards lets you swap a card from your hand with any other detective, but you cannot look at their cards in order to pick one.
- Foul Play cards lets you steal a card from any other detective’s hand. Again, you can’t look at their hand and must make your decision by just looking at the backs of the cards.
- Crime Scene cards lets you swap a card from the Crime Scene pile with one from your own hand. Don’t let other detectives see what you are putting into the Crime Scene.
- Interrogate cards you can take all the cards from one other detective, have a good look through them for clues and them hand them back.
- Full Cooperation cards sees every detective reveal their hand to every player by placing their cards face up on the table so that EVERYBODY can scout for clues.
- Block cards lets you block another detectives move.
Overall, I have enjoyed playing Foul Play’s The Manor House Murder. When we have played, for the majority of the time we play with the Good Cop rules (it is a slightly quicker game than Bad Cop). With Good Cop rules you need to uncover the three evidence cards to solve the crime (you do not need hold the cards in your hand). With Bad Cop rules you need to collect and hold three separate pieces of evidence (one card labelled A, one labelled B and yes, you have guessed it, one labelled C). Once you have collected or uncovered your evidence you can name the killer on your turn – but you must hold the suspect card of who you think is the murderer!
We played this game as a family of four; two children and two adults. Everybody was clearly able to understand the rules and gameplay and age wasn’t a barrier or disadvantage to any player. It is a great game to play, and we all really enjoyed it; stealing each other’s cards, looking for clues and trying to build a hand of suspects and clues, trying to work out if the killer had a hat, grey hair or not, is a relation to another suspect or not or if the victim was stabbed or shot, basically playing detective and seeing if we could solve the murder.
I, and my fellow players/detectives, all had great fun with this murder mystery card game. It involves lots of plotting, devious card shuffling, and cunning card stealing to try and hinder the investigation of the other detectives whilst at the same time trying to build your own case (if all one player’s cards are stolen by others their investigation is over and they are out of the game). The Good Cop case is quicker and is better suited for family games with younger players. The Bad Cop version is better suited for older teens and adults. We did find that although it can be played as a two-player game it is far more exciting and fun with at least three players but four or five is my recommendation.
With a pool of 8 suspects and 15 evidence cards, the game play and outcome is varied with every game so can easily be played more than once. The longevity of the game is excellent, and you can quite easily play quite a few hands without being bored or already knowing the identity of the killer before the game reaches it natural conclusion.
Whilst the game is suitable for eight years old and upwards, the suspect cards do feature comical cartoonish images of the suspects with a knife, sword or gun and some are shown smoking although none of the images are scary, but you might want to have a quick check through first to decide if they are suitable for your child or not )you can view the suspect reference sheet here).
I think that this is a good family card game where logic and puzzle solving skills are put to the test. It is fun, engaging and excellent for good quality family time. As it is game that comes as a pack of small playing cards, it is also very portable and can be played anywhere.
If you love escape room, puzzle, logic or even card games, I can recommend Foul Play’s The Manor House Murder as it is a great way to spend an enjoyable evening having fun whilst looking for a murderer.
For more information or to buy, visit www.foulplaygame.co.uk.