Three of a Crime

Reviewer Reviewed On Publisher Designer Published In Rating
August 16, 2007 Gamewright Heinz Meister 2007 6
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Hooray for Three of a Crime! (Gamewright, 2007 – Heinz Meister) -- I can tell you straight up that most adults will be bored silly by this game, even though it has flamboyant artwork and a nostalgic theme (I’m reminded of “catch the crook” commercials from my childhood). However, it is a tremendous introductory logic game, one that has the packaging to draw children in and just enough thinking to entertain and educate them. While I may look for a deeper game, such as Sleuth or Code 777, my young daughters couldn’t handle such a game. Some day they will, and until then – there is Three of a Crime!

Game play is very simple. The game has seven suspects – Humpty Bumpty, Loose-Eye Lenny, Jonny Cortex, Kid Cassidy, Louie St. Louis, Pencil Top, and No Neck Nick. Thirty-five cards, showing every combination of three of these suspects is shuffled, and one player is chosen to go first.

This player takes one of the cards and secretly looks at it; this player is the “eyewitness” of that round. Starting with the next player (detective), each player takes the top card from the deck and displays it face up on the table. The eyewitness then takes a cardboard token numbered “0”, “1”, or “2” and places it next to the card, denoting how many of the suspects on the card match the one hidden by the eyewitness. This continues, with the next player placing a card, etc.

At any point, any player may shout out Accusation!, pausing the game. They then indicate the three suspects they believe are on the eyewitness’ card. If they are incorrect, the guessing player is out of that round, and play continues. If everyone has guessed incorrectly, the eyewitness wins the card. However, if the player has guessed correctly, they win the suspect card. The player to the left of the eyewitness becomes the new eyewitness, and another round begins. This continues until one player wins three suspect cards – at which point they are declared the winner!

Some comments on the game…

1.) Components: The artwork on the cards is silly, comical caricatures of people, from the large cranium of Jonny Cortex, to the dorky looking No Neck Nick (who oddly enough, has a quite visible neck.) Each character is tinted a different color and is standing in what looks like a police lineup. This adds to the zaniness of the game, as the small box’s artwork also indicates. The small counters that indicate the amount of correct suspects are double-sided cardboard counters, while the cards themselves have a high thickness value.

2.) Rules: The rules are simple, and I was able to teach the game easily to my seven-year-old daughter (take that – you “8 and older” packaging!). A child can easily be taught to realize that “two of these are correct”, and they can play the eyewitness as well as the detectives.

3.) Logic: The game is built around logic, as players use the cards that have been played to determine which suspects are on the eyewitness card. With adults, however, everybody is going to simultaneously “click” with everyone; so there’s really no game there, just to see who shouts out “Accusation” first. With children, on the other hand, I get a real joy out of seeing that “click” in their heads and have found that this is one of the best introductory logic games I’ve run across. Yes, it’s simple, but young kids will find it challenging and enjoyable.

That’s Three of a Crime in a nutshell – a fun, entertaining way to teach young children logic. If you are working with little ones, then this will be a great way to teach them – and with kids, it won’t be boring. Gaming groups can pass this one by, but families may want to seriously consider it as a way to build their children’s deduction and thinking skills.

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games”