Three of a Crime Review
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Players: 2-6 (ages 8+)
Playing Time: 15-30 minutes

When I was a kid, I used to love logic puzzles—the kind where you get a chart and a bunch of clues and have to figure out which person went to which movie and bought which kind of snack from the concession stand. Of course, I wasn’t always able to solve the puzzle—but I loved trying. I loved thinking through the steps and making brilliant deductions. And the things I loved about those logic puzzles are the same things I love about Three of a Crime. It requires the same kind of logical and deductive thinking—without taking a lot of time.

To play Three of a Crime, players take turns acting as the Eyewitness, while all other players act as Detectives. To begin, the Eyewitness draws a Suspect Card—which shows the three guilty suspects for that round. The Detectives then take turns drawing Suspect Cards. After each card is drawn, the Eyewitness places a token on the card (a 0, 1, or 2), signifying how many of the suspects on the Detective’s card match the suspects shown on the Eyewitness’s card. Detectives continue to draw Suspect Cards until one of them is able to figure out the three guilty suspects. The first player to make a correct accusation then gets to keep the Eyewitness’s card, and the round ends. To begin the next round, the player to the left of the Eyewitness takes over as the Eyewitness, and the rest are Detectives. Play continues until one player wins three rounds.

If there are only two players, the rules are a bit different. One player is the Eyewitness, and the other is the Detective. The Detective gets to draw up to six cards. If she can then guess correctly, she wins the card. If not, the Eyewitness gets the card. Again, the first player to win three cards wins the game.

Three of a Crime is great for teaching kids deductive thinking. But it’s also fun—and challenging—for adults. The two-player version allows you plenty of time to think through each step. When I played with my husband, we changed the rules a bit, to increase the challenge, as well as to reduce the likelihood of a tie. We gave ourselves one point for each card that we flipped over before coming up with the correct answer—and the player with the least points at the end of three rounds was the winner. If you play with more than two players, the speed and competition will make for a different kind of challenge—though it’s best if players are at a somewhat equal level.

The sturdy playing cards and the colorful characters may be great for kids—but Three of a Crime isn’t just for kids. It’s a quick yet stimulating game that’s sure to become a favorite with everyone in my highly-logical family—from my nine-year-old nephew all the way up to my dad.

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