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Murder on the Cosmic Express Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Stephen Eckman
Artists: Lamaro Smith
Publisher: Screech Dragon Studios
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 3-6
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 5-10 Minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

“If you confront anyone who has lied with the truth, he will usually admit it--often out of sheer surprise. It is only necessary to guess right to produce your effect.”
Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

From the publisher:
Murder on the Cosmic Express is a social deduction game that takes less than 5 minutes to play.
The Undercover Detective is attending the Captain's Dinner aboard the Cosmic Express when it is discovered that the President of the Cosmic Express Lines has been murdered. The Undercover Detective must examine the evidence, interrogate the prime suspects, and figure out who the Murderer is!

Murder on the Cosmic Express includes hidden information, passing cards, and a whole lot of bluffing. It plays 4-6 players in 5 minutes or less per round.

Murder on the Orient Express is a great book. It's hard not to think of it when you see this title. If you have never read it, you really should, or check out the audio book. Also, the recent film version was very good as well. It's one of those books that you can't talk about because you are afraid that you might give something away. Hidden role games are all about not giving too much information away.


Rules and Setup:
Separate the two decks, The characters & roles deck, and the weapons deck.

Science Fiction

Murder Mystery

Game Play:
The game consists of four phases.

Murder Phase:
Every player is dealt one face-down role and two item cards also face-down. The last remaining weapon card is placed face-down in the center of the table. The players then secretly look at their roles. The dealer now instructs everyone to close their eyes and they flip over the weapon in the center of the table; this is the murder weapon. The dealer then says "Murderer, open your eyes," and they are allowed to look at the murder weapon. After an appropriate amount of time, the dealer tells the murderer to close their eyes and flips the card back to the face-down position. All players may now open their eyes.

Investigation Phase:
You will now start the one minute sand timer (or another timer if you so desire). The timer is recommended to be placed on the murder weapon so the card does not get moved. Players will now trade weapon cards to gather information. You place the card you want to trade in front of the player you wish to trade with, face down. Every player has a different role with a different objective. You do not have to trade if you do not want to. This phase ends when the one-minute timer runs out. No more trading is allowed.

Interrogation Phase:
The Captain reveals their role card. Players may reveal any information they feel is relevant to the captain, but they are not allowed to reveal their role or weapon cards. Maybe you saw someone do something suspicious, or you're just trying to throw the captain off your trail. When the Captain decides which player they want to arrest, you move to the final phase.

Arrest Phase:
The murder weapon is revealed by turning over the card in the middle of the table. The Captain must then arrest a player. All players then reveal their roles. Winners are determined by the two goals on your character card.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork sets a nice futuristic vibe for the characters. The weapons are standard things you would see in a train car. The candlestick is futuristic looking and it seems like the name was kept for an homage to Clue. The box is very big for the nineteen cards in the game, but this was done to give you a full-sized manual. I'm always in favor of the manual over the card instructions. Also, the box has a piece on the sides cut out, making it very easy to open.

The Good:
The game is very stylized to fit the title and the futuristic characters are the strongest representation of that. I obviously named the robot butler Jarvis (How you answer this question reveals if you're team DC or team Marvel).

The Bad:
I would have liked to had a way to have a three player game without the use of the dummy player.

Final Thoughts:
The roles are very clear and the quick gameplay makes it something you can play as a filler between games, or play multiple times if people are into it. Every group I played it with did not let me put it away until every player had a chance to be the captain. It's a frantic pace for that one minute trying to figure out how to achieve the goals on the character card. Are you stopping early on purpose, or is it a tactic? Can you get enough information to catch the killer...or escape?

Players Who Like:
Deduction games, fillers, memory games.

Check out Murder on the Cosmic Express on:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/257045/murder-cosmic-express   https://screechdragon.wordpress.com/page/1/   https://www.facebook.com/screechdragon/    https://www.instagram.com/screechdragonstudios/   

James Freeman - Reviewer

James is a child of the 80's he grew playing D&D and Stratego. He currently owns more games than his understanding wife of 20+ years thinks he should. James lives in Buffalo, New York with his previously mentioned wife, 2 teenage kids and one Havanese dog. Also, if someone outside of Buffalo says they serve buffalo wings, they are lying.

See James's reviews HERE.
Murder on the Cosmic Express Review Murder on the Cosmic Express Review Reviewed by James Freeman on March 06, 2019 Rating: 5

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