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Crime Zoom: His Last Card

Brooklyn, 1980. Gunshots are heard from a locked apartment. When the cops enter they find a man lying dead on the sofa. Can you discover what happened?

Published by Lucky Duck Games, Crime Zoom is a new line of mystery games where the entire case is contained in a single deck. Players work together to solve the murder, choosing whether to go for a high score or for thoroughness.

Gameplay

The game is made up of a deck of numbered cards. You take the first fifteen cards and lay them out next to each other so that they show the crime scene. You set the rest of the deck aside for later.

Players are working together. There are no turns or rounds.  When you have a scene, such as the opening crime scene, you can look closer at a particular section of it, turning that card over for more information or clues. Sometimes these cards will give you an option to look at another card in the deck, in which case it will give you the number of the card to draw. For example, you might turn over a card and find something that can be checked for fingerprints. If you wish to do so, you then draw the numbered card indicated — however, you can also choose not to.

Sometimes you will discover new locations, in which case you will take the range of cards listed and lay them out in a row. You can interact with these new locations in the same way you interact with the main crime scene.

Once you believe that you’ve figured out the story, you turn to the questions in the rulebook (it is not recommended that you look at these before playing as they might give away clues to your investigation).

There are main questions, which all directly relate to the murderer and the motive, while the follow-up questions involve secondary elements of the case. Many of the questions will also ask for the number of the card that backs up your answer.

After answering all the questions, you then check the solution to see how many you got right. Pieces of information will be marked in blue, indicating that you earn one point if you got that part correct. You also get one point for each set of five cards still in the deck.

Finally, you finish by reading the epilogue to the case.

Crime Zoom: His Last Card Components

Review

Crime Zoom: His Last Card does a good job of packing an investigation game into a single deck of cards. It really pares down the mechanics to the simplest form, and game and box are quite compact and portable.

The locations are particularly well done, especially the crime scene. Examining each card at a location for clues and then deciding which ones to flip over is quite fun and fits nicely with the theme of trying to figure out what is important to the investigation and what is not.

We enjoyed the game’s story, and we particularly liked that each element of the solution is very much based on the cards. You don’t have to do any leaps of logic. You can find hard evidence to support your theories.  Everything feels fair and like you have a chance to figure it out.

The publisher recommends this game for ages 14+, and this is fair. This is not likely to be a game that parents will want to play with younger children. While nothing in the game is explicit, there are strong themes such as murder, prostitution, and domestic violence.

While you do earn more points for revealing fewer cards, the game encourages you to pick your own play style. Not everyone wants to compete for a high score in this type of game, so it’s nice that the game recognizes that fact. It doesn’t, however, anywhere in the rulebook, give you an idea of what would be considered a good score, if that is the style you prefer.

Despite the box saying it plays up to six, we wouldn’t recommend it at that player count. It’s probably best with one to three players. And, while you can only play it once, you can absolutely pass it on to a friend afterward. Also, since you can write your scores on the back, you can see who solved it best.

Crime Zoom: His Last Card plays in a little under an hour. There have been a number of investigation games released recently, but this one does a great job of focusing on what makes this genre fun and keeping things simple. If you prefer the more rules-light format, this is a great addition to the genre.

Pros: Good story and clues, the locations are quite well done, solutions are connected to specific cards and hard evidence, can be passed on after you’ve played it

Cons: Parental discretion advised, not a good fit for more than three players

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.