I love a good murder mystery, so I wasn’t too surprised when murder came to my house again. Fortunately, this murder wasn’t the illegal kind that has devastating effects, but a murder in the form of a card game. A murder mystery card game from Foul Play – and I love logic and deduction games. Foul Play: The Manor House Murder is a card game where you must find the evidence to solve the murder.
The Manor House Murder from Foul Play is a murder mystery card game. It features 56 playing cards and is suitable for 2-5 players aged 8+. This game has a playing time of approx. 15 to 30 minutes.
In the box:
- 15 Evidence Cards
- 8 Suspects Cards
- 6 Crime Scene Cards
- 6 Fair Play Cards
- 6 Foul Play Cards
- 6 Red Herring Cards
- 2 Block Cards
- 2 Interrogate Cards
- 1 Full Cooperation Card
- 4 instructions Cards
Foul Play’s The Manor House Murder sees players venture back in time to Edwardian England, a time of romance and garden parties. But something foul and terrible is afoot – the Lord of the Manor has been murdered. Who could have committed such a dastardly deed? The servants become the lead suspects. Players, aka the detectives, must find the evidence to solve this heinous crime and prove who has committed the dreadful act of murder! The detectives must unearth the evidence, seek out the suspects and catch the culprit to scupper the other sleuths and win this game of murder!
And this game of murder and mystery has two ways to play – Good Copy or Bad Cop! After all, there is more than one way to catch a murderer. Fair or foul play – both come with their own set of rules and tactics to help you crack the case. Which one will you play?
- Good Cop: If you play the game as Good Cop, you have to play fair and players will need to find the 3 pieces of evidence to work out who the killer is.
- Bad Cop: If you play as Bad Cop, you go rogue and play using foul means (who needs solid evidence anyway?), you just need to uncover ANY evidence to have a crack at naming the killer.
In this murder mystery deck of cards there are 56 cards: 52 playing cards and 4 instructions cards. The instruction cards have the game overview, rules of play, how to set up as good or bad cop and how to win as each cop, with the final card being descriptions of the card actions.
Before playing, read the instruction cards. These cards will help you to set up the game, which is very easy. The instruction cards are easy to follow (the rules and ways to play can also be downloaded from the Foul Play website as well as extra resource sheets to help inexperienced detectives).
If you decide to play as Good Cop, you use 40 of the cards (with only three of the evidence cards in play). Decide to play as Bad Cop, you use all 52 of the cards (with all fifteen of the evidence cards in play).
With a murder committed, to play the game and try to solve it to win, there are a few tasks to complete to get the detectives on their way.
- Set the Crime Scene: place a 3×3 grid (9 cards) in the centre of the table.
- Deal five cards (if you are playing as Good Cop) or seven cards (if you are playing as Bad Cop) to each detective – these are each detective’s ever-changing case file as the investigation progresses.
- Remaining cards are placed face down next to the Crime Scene, this pile becomes the Evidence Locker.
- Place one card (face down) from the Evidence Locker pile on the opposite side of the Crime Scene, this is the Discard Pile.
With the set up tasks completed, you are all set and ready to attempt to solve the murder of the Lord of the Manor. Cards have coloured backs (red, purple, blue and green) and whoever has the most red-backed cards gets to start.
The starting detective takes a card from their hand and places it face up on the table, stating their play, for example if you put down a Crime Scene card you follow the card action for Crime Scene. There are seven types of cards to be played:
- Red Herring cards are useless to everybody and need to be disposed of as quick as you possibly can.
- Fair Play cards lets you swap a card from your hand with any other detective, but you cannot look at their cards in order to pick one.
- Foul Play cards lets you steal a card from any other detective’s hand. Again, you can’t look at their hand and must make your decision by just looking at the backs of the cards.
- Crime Scene cards lets you swap a card from the Crime Scene pile with one from your own hand. Don’t let other detectives see what you are putting into the Crime Scene.
- Interrogate cards you can take all the cards from one other detective, have a good look through them for clues and them hand them back.
- Full Cooperation cards sees every detective reveal their hand to every player by placing their cards face up on the table so that EVERYBODY can scout for clues.
- Block cards lets you block another detectives move.
Overall, I have enjoyed playing Foul Play’s The Manor House Murder. And I have enjoyed playing Good Cop just as much as Bad Cop (Good Cop is a slightly quicker game than Bad Cop).
With Good Cop rules you need to uncover the three evidence cards to solve the crime (you do not need hold the cards in your hand). The Bad Cop rules you need to collect and hold three separate pieces of evidence (one card labelled A, one labelled B and yes, you have guessed it, one labelled C). Once you have collected or uncovered your evidence you can name the killer on your turn – but you must hold the suspect card of who you think is the murderer!
We played this game as a family, including the kids. Everybody was clearly able to understand the rules and gameplay. Each player, regardless of age, loved playing and trying to solve the crime and unmask the murderer. It is a great game to play; stealing each other’s cards, looking for clues and trying to build a hand of suspects and clues, trying to work out if the killer had a hat, grey hair or not, is a relation to another suspect or not or if the victim was stabbed or shot, basically playing detective and seeing if we could solve the murder.
We all had great fun with this murder mystery card game. It involves lots of plotting, devious card shuffling, and cunning card stealing to try and hinder or scupper the investigation of the other detectives whilst at the same time trying to build your own case. If all a player’s cards are stolen by others their investigation is over and they are out of the game. The Good Cop case is quicker, and I feel is better suited for family games with younger players. I felt that the Bad Cop version was better suited for older teens and adults. Although it can be played as a two-player game, I found it to be far more exciting and fun with 3 or more players.
The game features a pool of 8 suspects and 15 evidence cards, so the game play and outcome change with every game. This is excellent as it means that it can easily be played more than once. The longevity of the game is excellent, and you can quite easily play quite a few hands without being bored or already knowing the identity of the killer before the game reaches it natural conclusion.
This is a murder mystery game so does feature images of weapons. As it is game suitable for 8+, the suspect cards feature comical cartoonish images of the suspects with a knife, sword or gun and some are shown smoking although none of the images are scary. If you are unsure if this is a game suitable for your children you might want to have a quick check through the cards first to decide if they are suitable for your child or not or you can view the suspect reference sheet here).
I think that this is a very good fun card game where logic and puzzle solving skills are put to the test. A game that the family will enjoy. It is a fun, engaging and excellent game. As it is game that comes as a pack of small playing cards, it is also very portable and can be played anywhere, making it an excellent game for playing on your travels.
If you like games where you must solve clues and puzzles, I can recommend Foul Play’s The Manor House Murder. A great way to spend an enjoyable evening having fun whilst looking for a murderer.
Can you outsmart your other detectives and unmask a killer before they do?
For more information or to buy, visit www.foulplaygame.co.uk.