Good evening… are you up for a bit of voyeurism? Do you have a problem with rear window ethics? Not even if it is to help solve a possible murder? Fans of classic mystery thrillers will have already guessed that I am of course talking about the classic Alfred Hitchcock film, Rear Window. Maybe before you continue reading you might want to get up and close the blinds or curtains, you never know who is watching you! I can guarantee you that I haven’t, firstly I don’t know who you are, secondly I don’t where you live and have no interest in peering through your windows and lastly my time has also been taken up by playing Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window mystery board game from Funko Games (yes, with the curtains closed).
This review started with the phrase “Good evening”. Readers of a certain age will be aware that that phrase is closely associated with Sir Alfred Hitchcock, an English film director and producer well-known for his suspenseful films marked by a macabre sense of humour and a bleak view of the human condition. Known as The Master of Suspense, he directed over fifty films over six decades, with many now regarded as classics including The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Notorious, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds and, of course, Rear Window.
Rear Window is a classic, a voyeuristic mystery thriller that is considered by many to be one of Hitchcock’s best. It first hit our screens in September 1954 (nearly 70 years ago)! The plot of this classic film is that after breaking his leg during a photoshoot, photojournalist L.B. ‘Jeff’ Jefferies (James Stewart) is forced to spend a humid summer recuperating in his Greenwich Village apartment without much to do. The wheelchair-bound Jeff whiles away his time voyeuristically observing his neighbours from his apartment window, bestowing them with nicknames and growing familiar with their daily routines. However, his society girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) is exasperated and then alarmed when Jeff becomes obsessed with the notion that Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who lives in the apartment opposite, has murdered his wife…
An excellent film for fans of classic mystery thrillers. Now it has been transformed into a board game of deduction and suspense by Prospero Hall. Rear Window is a mystery thriller board game for 3-5 players, aged 13 and upwards. It has a playing time of around 40 minutes. A board game based on the classic Hitchcock film, but has a murder been committed … or not? You will need to observe the strange clues to try and work it out.
In the box:
- Director Screen
- Watcher Screen
- Day Boards (x4)
- Solution Board
- Watcher Placards (x4)
- Window Cards (x70)
- Tiles (x102)
- Tokens (x45)
- Token Tray
- Trunk Box
- Wooden Cubes (x4)
- Players’ Guide Booklet
This is a game of mystery, suspense, suspicion, observation, deduction and thrills. But has a murder occurred or not? This is a fully co-operative game where all players must work together, or a game of the director against the watchers. The game has two sets of players: The Director (1 player) and The Watchers (2-4 players).
On first opening of the box, you will find that there are a lot of cardboard pieces that make up this game. Initially, there are some things to do before you can even begin to think about playing. The game tray will need setting up. This involves punching out lots of tokens from the cardboard punchboards and grouping identical ones together. These then go into the slots on the game tray. This only needs to be completed once as it will then already be done for any further games played. The game tray has a lid that goes over the top to stop the tokens falling out when the game is packed away.
After assembling the game tray, you need to find some space to play on – preferably a large table where The Watchers can sit at the opposite end from The Director.
Now there is an important decision to be made – who is going to be The Director? Once this important decision is made, the remaining players become The Watchers.
Now set up the game so that play can begin. Place the Watcher and Director screens at opposite ends of the table in front of the relevant players. Put the four Days Boards (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4) between the screens with the text facing the Watchers. The Day 1 board should be face up and the other 3 days face down. Give the solution board to the Director who places it behind their screen so the Watchers can’t see it. Place the four Watcher placards face up next to the day boards along with the Pointer token and Investigate token. The Watchers take both Murder tokens and four of each resident tokens from the game tray. The Director shuffles the Window cards and places them face down nearby. They then takes one of each Resident tokens, three Cut tokens and the four small wooden cubes from the tray. Finally, they also take the trunk from the box and open it, placing it nearby.
With all the pre-game tasks completed, play can now begin. Players (The Watchers) can start to “watch” their neighbours. For the next 40 minutes or so, players must try to gather clues and try to work out what is on The Director’s solution board? Has a murder been committed … or not?
Interesting Gameplay Features:
- Compelling gameplay that brings the movie to life using cooperative deduction and decision-making.
- The players are unaware if a murder happened until they start noticing suspicious signs from their neighbours.
- Beautiful illustrations and design transports players to the era of 1950s murder mysteries.
- An eye-catching package that features Hollywood legends Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart.
- The recognition of Alfred Hitchcock and his history of suspenseful filmmaking immediately sets the tone for gameplay.
Overall, we have enjoyed playing Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, although I would say that adults and older teenagers will get the most from it. It is an excellent deduction strategy game packed with thrilling mystery and suspense. Featuring suspense, mystery and a complexity that makes it fun, challenging and entertaining for players that like to think their way through a game rather than just moving around game pieces around a board. The Watchers must try to figure the clues and deduce if there has been a murder or not and match their answers to Director’s solution board. Watcher’s need to decipher:
- Who is in what apartment
- What they are doing
- Has a murder been committed or not
The Director can either help or hinder the Watchers and might even be covering up a murder!
The game is played over a series of ‘4 days’. Each day involves looking through different scenes and trying to spot patterns and clues enabling players to gather their evidence to decide on the answers.
We think that this is a well thought out game. It is based on a classic film that a lot of players may or may not have heard of, never mind seen. But that doesn’t matter, you don’t need to have seen the film for it to make sense (although it is a good film and is worth a watch if you like classic mystery thrillers). The components are cardboard and mostly good quality – we thought that the trunk could have been made from stiffer card stock to make it more durable. We loved the game tray for the attribute tokens and the cards can be left in it, the lid placed on and stored neatly in the box ready to be played with easily again. It has all been designed very well.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window is an excellent game of deduction and mystery. A co-operative game where players must work together to solve it. It encourages discussion, cooperation and decision making among the players, a quality game for family and friends to get involved with. If you like mysteries and like games where you must use your brain, logic, reasoning and deduction, then we can highly recommend this game. Fun and thrilling entertainment, excellent for getting everyone involved and chatting and the game time of around 40 minutes is just about right. We loved the idea of not knowing if a murder has been committed or not before the game starts and that you must try and work it all out.
A fun and enjoyable game. We would say that it is probably best suited for older teens and adults with an analytical mind. And it can be played more than once as the outcome always changes. It won’t appeal to everyone as you do have to think about and consider carefully what is happening within the game, but it went down very well with us and definitely worthy of 5 stars.