Unusual Suspects Review
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Players: 2-4 (ages 8+)
Playing Time: 10-30 minutes

A crime has been committed—and you’re not only one of the detectives; you’re also one of the suspects! In this dice-and-card game, it’s your job to tamper the evidence and solve the crime, making sure that someone else does the time.

Before the game begins, players are dealt seven fingerprint cards. The first card is their secret identity, and the other six are their Criminal File of suspects. Then the six fingerprint dice are rolled and placed in the Evidence Locker in the middle of the table.

The object of the game is to solve the crime by matching the six fingerprint dice to the six fingerprint cards in your hand—making sure that your secret identity isn’t included. In other words, if your secret identity is the postman, Bill Sleetersnow (designated by the blue fingerprint), you’ll want to make sure that there aren’t any blue fingerprint cards in your hand—and there aren’t any blue fingerprint dice in the Evidence Locker.

To do all this, you’ll need to do a little bit of evidence tampering. When it’s your turn, you can choose either to trade one of the six cards in your hand with a card from the draw pile or roll one of the six fingerprint dice to change its color.

Unusual Suspects is a tricky game—because there are a whole lot of “moving parts” that you need to line up. You need to match six cards to another six dice, all the while making sure that one of the colors is nowhere to be found (all of which is much easier said than done). With each roll of a die or trade of a card, there’s no telling what you’ll get, either—so, while you may be able to come up with some kind of strategy along the way, you’ll mostly need a whole lot of luck to win.

Meanwhile, the more opponents you’re playing against, the more difficult it gets. Whenever you get close to winning, you’ll have to wait for one, two, or three other players to make their changes—and if they all choose to roll the dice, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll ruin your chances, and you’ll have to start all over again.

Because of the numerous layers of challenges, Unusual Suspects can be maddening—and unless you get lucky, it has the potential to go on for a very long time. It’s an interesting and challenging game, but unless you have plenty of patience (and plenty of luck), you might find it frustrating to play.

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