Murder Mystery SG

Game review: Murder Mystery SG: Castle Lumiere Nightfall

NOTE: This game was played at the invitation of Murder Mystery SG.

Their description: Castle Lumiere is no ordinary castle. Owned by Baron Quinn Fontaine, it appears to have a ‘magical shield’ that stops and kills anyone who attempts to enter. A dinner meeting is set-up by the Baron you are determined to attend. You know the place is both mysterious and magical. And, although you have no idea who else will be coming, you know that you have to be there!

Murder Mystery SG offers tabletop murder mystery games, similar in format to two of the games at LOST in JB’s Crime Scene branch.

Unlike Xcape’s Shanghai 1943 or LOST in JB’s main case The Tenants Upstairs, Murder Mystery SG’s games do not take place in a real ‘crime scene’ with hands-on searching. Instead, their sit-down games have maps and clue cards. Players take on the roles of suspects and must find the murderer in their midst, investigating the case by spending tokens to look at clue cards. Everyone has individual goals, and everyone is allowed to lie. Interestingly, there is no detective role, so you really can’t be sure whom to trust.

At their invitation, a group of us played one of their cases in December. You have the option of using their premises in Hougang — which we did — or finding/providing your own space.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the case we played is that every character has a fully-developed backstory and secrets to hide, making for a balanced and engrossing experience regardless of which role you get. Individual goals come with points assigned, allowing for a more complex endgame than just whether or not the team succeeds in finding the murderer.

Another interesting mechanic is the use of image-only clue cards, forcing players to analyse evidence for themselves. (LOST in JB, by comparison, has captioned cards, removing a bit of the ambiguity.) It’s possible to miss out crucial details or misinterpret evidence, which adds an additional layer of complexity.

What about the case itself? Not all of us were fans of certain broad case aspects (though I personally didn’t mind). The case solution included some clever elements, but also some questionable aspects. I enjoyed the process of the game, so my overall experience wasn’t that affected by the conclusion; players who focus strongly on the outcome might feel differently.

In conclusion, I’d still prioritise the set-based games Shanghai 1943 and The Tenants Upstairs — but if you’ve played those and are eager for more in the same vein, Murder Mystery SG might be the closest alternative. Some of us are certainly planning to check out their other cases…

(My team had some minor quibbles about production values, but Murder Mystery SG is apparently in the midst of printing an updated version of the game materials.)

Case difficulty: 4/5
Case logic: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: 5 to 8
My suggested number of players: 7 to 8