Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Sunday, 6 December 2020

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Whodunnit: Mystery at the Museum

Game: Whodunnit: Mystery at the Museum

Publisher: YULU Games

Year: 2020
When I am asked, I say that I found board gaming relatively recently, thanks to an introduction from my now wife. Around 5 or 6 years ago, her friendship group started to dabble in modern board games and I reluctantly joined in. The rest is history, but that origin story probably isn't quite accurate. My family certainly played board games, and, as an only child, two player deduction games were a definite favourite. I loved to take on my Mum or Dad in Battleship, Downfall or Guess Who when I was younger. It's those childhood deduction games that I feel have really stood the test of time best. Guess Who is a really great game concept, sure it's simply, but it asks you to formulate questions that give you the best bang for your buck - a skill that seems quite advanced for the age of players who play it.

Whodunnit is a twist on Guess Who, where you're trying to identify a suspect, location and weapon to solve a crime, like you might be familiar with from Cluedo. It's a two player game, although the box suggests you can play in teams to accommodate more players, but two players is obviously the intent.


Whodunnit starts with each player being given a player board consisting of three cellophane sheets. These either feature people, places or items. They also get given three cards, each featuring a single person or item or location. These cards are the ones your opponent has to guess.
Once set up, players will take turns rolling the die to determine what questions they may ask. Depending on the die roll you may be allowed to ask for a piece of evidence (eg a white hair was found at the scene) which are printed on the other players cards, or ask more traditional guess who style questions. A lucky roll may result in your being able to ask two or even three questions in one turn. As you work out different aspects to the crime, you can use the dry erase markers to cross off suspects until you are ready to guess. When you're ready, instead of rolling the die you may guess your opponents item, location and person. Should you be right then you win the game, but if you are wrong your turn is wasted and you'll skip a turn whilst your opponent gets a chance to steal the victory.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Whodunnit is certainly inspired by mashing together Cluedo and Guess Who, which results in it feeling like a familiar childhood blanket. It's simple gameplay is nothing spectacular, but it is perfectly pleasant to play and makes for a fun activity with younger gamers who might not be ready for more advanced games yet. The inclusion of die rolls only further pushes this into the family game category. The potential of one player to get nine questions int he time the other player gets three is frustrating from an adult gamer's point of view, but can be a great way to give a less logical younger player a fighting chance against an adult mind. Of course you may also want to beware the tantrum when luck goes the other way. You may want to house rule out the die in that case!

When looking at the game as a whole it's a great concept, but unfortunately implemented without any inspiration. The components are nice, even potentially letting you see how well your opponent's doing through the semi-transparent shield. The idea of the evidence clues is lovely, requiring some genuine deduction on some of them (which items have metal on them, which locations include plaster?). While all these gameplay elements work together, it lacks anything that truly makes Whodunnit rise above the crowd. If you are looking for a family game to play with, or between two younger players then Whodunnit introduces a lot of nice concepts and is something different, but don't expect it to keep adults entertained for long.

Fi’s Final Thoughts
I love deduction games and Whodunnit is just a slightly step up from 'as simple as they come'. With three aspects to ask questions about, you can get a little more creative and there's definitely ways that older players might try and think outside the box to link ideas together and come up with some rather clever clues to get the most out of every question. The opportunity to gain evidence is also very helpful, especially if it comes early in the game because our clues can become more focused.

The main drawback with Whodunnit is, of course, luck and in general asking three questions is better than asking one. As it happens, this can be outweighed by asking a lucky question, or by the power of obtaining some key evidence at the right time. However, if the luck doesn't balance itself out over the course of the game, then you might have a rather grumpy player (like me) at the table!

Whodunnit doesn't really do anything new and I don't think it's going to be a drop in the ocean compared to its prolific ancestors, but it's not a bad game. For a family addicted to Guess Who, who just want to pull something different out of the game cupboard to break the monotony of playing the same game every time, then Whodunnit would be a good choice.

You Might Like...
  • The game offers a small step up from Guess Who, which will offer a little extra challenge to younger players.
  • The components are good quality and have some table presence.
You Might Not Like...
  • Mixing luck into a deduction game might level the playing field, but also feels like it defeats the object a little.
  • There's nothing new here and it will get old quickly for an adult audience or parent.
The Verdict
5/10 If your family enjoys Guess Who and wants an obvious next step, then Whodunnit is a great choice. If you have a family member who gets annoyed by being dealt bad luck, then perhaps it's not. For us, mixing luck and deduction is a bad combination, but for a quick family game it's not all that bad. Whodunnit is a nice production, asks you to think hard about your questions and accusations and is a fun twist on a classic.

Whodunnit: Mystery at the Museum was a review copy kindly provided to us by YULU Games.

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