Crime Zoom

Review: Crime Zoom – Bird of Ill Omen


60 minutes
Lucky Duck Games
Stephane Anquetil

Crime Zoom is a great pocket investigation title, that puts players in the role of detectives who must solve a grizzly murder in 55 cards or less.

Light on rules, which can be a sigh of relief in a world of complex resource management and tabletop role-playing games, Crime Zoom is made up of a simple deck of cards, featuring locations, suspects, witnesses and other clues to a rather heinous crime.

At the start of the game, players are presented with a picture of a crime scene, made up of several cards from the deck. They must look for clues within the picture and when they are ready, flip over a card to analyse it in more detail. If the card does indeed hold important details to the case, players will then be prompted to visit a new location or conduct forensic research. A glass left on a table or empty pizza box could reveal vital clues such as fingerprints and DNA to who exactly was at the crime scene. Players will need to leave no card unturned (quite literally), exploring various locations and questioning multiple suspects and witnesses if they wish to catch their culprit.

Once you think you’ve solved the crime, you must submit your report and answer a series of questions, linking evidence to back up your claims. Get it right, and you’ve caught your culprit. Miss a vital clue though and you could be sending the wrong person to prison.

The game itself can be played in two ways. If you want to get straight to the point, as soon as you have enough evidence you can submit your report. If you solve the crime, you’ll score more points by not turning over all the cards. However, if you’re like me and want to explore the full story, you’ll turn over every card to get to the bottom of what happened and how each suspect is linked to the case. A final series of witness statements, police reports and news articles play out the incident in full, revealing the final details

Crime Zoom comes in two scenarios at the moment, His Last Card and Bird of Ill Omen. For this review, we played Bird of Ill Omen and thankfully solved the case. We took our time and used up the entire deck of cards in an attempt to tell the whole story. Our intuition did indeed pay off and we answered all the questions correctly.

Made for 1 to 6 players, the investigative game plays out in about an hour, however there’s no re-playability as once you know who did the crime, that’s it. At just over £10 though, this is a great little game to play, then pass around friends for them to complete and try and get the highest score. There’s even a handly little scorecard at the back where you can log your attempts.

While I really enjoyed the story and ease of play, some of the artwork was a bit questionable, with the suspects looking like early 90’s computer game renders. But, that doesn’t really take away from the gameplay though. If you’re looking for a game that will get people talking and working co-operatively, this is one for the list and a nice one to roll out at a party or perhaps after dinner. Who doesn’t like a good murder mystery eh?

To grab your copy of Crime Zoom, pop down to your Friendly Local Game Store or visit the Lucky Duck Games website.