Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Mystery Express
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on May 2, 2011
The main game element is similar to Clue: you are trying to deduced who was murdered, at what time, in what car, the motive, and the murderer. One twist is that, rather than asking people questions about the cards they have in their hand, players exchange cards based on actions that occur in each car. Players must also strategize how to spend their time on each turn - there is a limited number of moves that can be made based on how long the train takes to get from one station to the next. Each card appears twice, which means that seeing it once doesn't necessarily rule it out. To determine the time the crime happened, there is a separate deck of cards that operates similar to memory - you flash through the cards quickly and try to determine which one is missing (time cards are a set of 3). Also, in starting the game, not all cards are yet in play. Passengers board the train at two stops, at which time players have access to additional cards.

Set up and first play with a rules run-down is a very long experience. With 4 players, all seasoned board game aficionados, we had to keep revisiting the rules. The entire game play took 3 hours. Even if we were all familiar with this particular game, it is unlikely to be playable in less than 2 hours. The best strategy is to keep track of where you saw the cards, to whom you passed cards, and who passed cards to you.

Esthetically, the board is beautiful and the cards are well-appointed. Each player has a "ticket book" to hide his/her notes and deductions, which are nice. The ticket book also has a run-down of the mechanics of each train car for reference, which comes in very handy.

If you like light-hearted, easy games, or to socialize during games, Mystery Express is not recommended. It's best suited for people who enjoy logic puzzles, long games, and strategy. It requires a great attention to detail and multiple moving parts to achieve the correct solution.
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on June 13, 2011
I've been wanting to buy this game for a while now. My family is really into board games, and Days of Wonder is without doubt our favorite gaming company. MYSTERY EXPRESS is another brilliant masterpiece from Days of Wonder. If you've never played any Days of Wonder games before, I would recommend playing Ticket to Ride first, but Mystery Express is almost as good.

Mystery Express is basically "Clue" on a train. On the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul, someone is murdered, and the players must spend the whole trip attempting to identify the suspect, the motive, the "modus operandi" (the "how"), and the location. These are figured out by visiting the different cars on the train and looking at other players' hands.

To keep it brief, if you like Clue, you'll LOVE Mystery Express. The one complaint I have is the length of time in between turns, but that may be because my family was playing it for the first time. I expect that as we get better at it, it will go quicker. Also,it says 3-5 players, and we had 5; I'm not sure how well it would work with 3 or 4.

DAYS OF WONDER IS THE BEST!! And Mystery Express will not fail to satisfy any family or group that loves challenging and unique board games.
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on July 3, 2010
This game is another in the series of train travels. However, despite the good idea (Clue on steroids), the game is too long and we became bored before the end.
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on October 30, 2014
Love this game. If you like Clue than you'll probably like this game although this is a lot different from that game in many ways. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you play the game once it becomes clear how things work; The prompts pictured on the board make sense after this and really help to keep you from going back to the instructions constantly. I would recommend this to people who want to take the next step beyond Clue and really use their deduction and memory skills.
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on October 25, 2011
This game is similar to clue with some difference that add depth. This game has a set number of turns during which each person receives the same number of "hours" they can spend trying to find clues as to four categories which identify the place, means, motive, time and identity of the killer. Unlike clue where all of the categories must be known to end the game, mystery express ends at the end of the train journey regardless of how much you know with the person knowing the most correct answers being the winner. The most unique thing about the game is that there are two sets of cards for every category (meaning that just because you see a card once does not mean that you can eliminate it). Add that to the fact that cards can change hands throughout the game, Mystery express creates a mystery not easily solved. If you like "whodoneit" games and are looking for a game with more depth and for a older audience, than this a a good game to get. However, if you are looking for a game with simple rules and requires little concentration then I would stick with clue.
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on January 1, 2013
I was extremely excited for this game after thoroughly enjoying Days of Wonder games in the past (Ticket to Ride and Cargo Noir are favorites in our house), but was disappointed from the moment we opened the box. Despite being a brand new game, none of the player figures were in good condition--they ranged from holes in the pieces from air bubbles in the molds straight up to two of the six player pawns having had their heads broken off at the necks entirely. We will be contacting Days of Wonder about replacement pawns, but investigation online tells me that they are not currently in the business of replacing individual parts. For what the game costs and for how beautifully the board and all the other materials are drawn/made, the molded resin pieces leave a ton to be desired.

As for actual gameplay, I can see how the game gets rave reviews from true mystery buffs. I didn't scoff at the 60-90 minute play time at first, but when our first game dragged past the three hour mark as the four of us consulted the rules for what seemed like the hundredth time, I was ready to throw in the towel at about 75% of the way through. It's got a LOT of modifiers and side rules, and your "turn" is extremely complicated with multiple steps. We each found ourselves sitting for 20+ minutes while the other three people around the table got through their turns, so the pacing was awful. To sum up the gameplay itself, I'm afraid that my first go-round felt way too much like sitting through an Advanced Algebra class for the first time after having been out for a week with the flu--I spent way too much time trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing and worrying about how much I was getting wrong to learn the numerous complexities of the game, let alone get around to having any fun.

I'm giving this a 2.5 out of 5 for now. I'm not sure if I'll bother to play it again.
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on January 13, 2014
When I received this I tore into it as fast as I could. I pulled out the instruction manual and started looking over all the beautiful pieces. Then I realized... the green piece was missing. In it's place was an additional red token. I was so sad, but knew that I wouldn't be playing the game any time soon, so I contacted DoW through their website and they promptly sent me an addition green token! Besides the missing token the art, the box design, the pieces, everything is beautifully crafted and not cheap at all. I love any company that puts thought into where pieces go when the game is over.

The rules are pretty easy to follow but the game itself is a little complicated. I've only played it once with 4 people total and we had a blast. Your first game will definitely take more than an hour, so be prepared for that, but I'm sure as soon as most of the people playing get the hang of it the game will pick up.

As for the game itself it's basically Clue on steroids. You have a set amount of turns to deduce the who, what, where, when and why. To make everything complicated there are duplicates of each card. So that means even if you see the Dining Car doesn't mean that it couldn't have happened there. Also the way you have to figure out the time of the murder is pretty fantastic.

Great game for any mystery loving board game enthusiast!
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on November 6, 2014
I'm not the biggest fan of deduction games with a few exceptions. This particular game actually surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. If I'm going to play a deduction game this would probably be it.

This game is essentially Clue+. At the beginning of the game a mode, motive, suspect, location, and time are all set aside as details of a murder. There are 2 copies of every detail (except time, there are 3 copies of each time) so you spend the game trying to figure out which 5 details have one card missing from the rest of the pool. This is done by taking different actions which have you looking at cards in other people's hands as well as a few that are sitting on the board. The kicker to all this is that there are six rounds and cards constantly change hands and are recollected from discard at the end of each round. There is even an action on the train that forces a player to recollect their discarded cards to confuse deduction further.

That's what really gives this game teeth. It's not just looking at information until you've narrowed something down. It's knowing how best to manage information that is in a constant state of flux. This is both much more difficult but also much more engaging than other deduction games and I really enjoyed it.

The mechanics for figuring out the time of the murder are a little hokey though and I wasn't a fan of those. At 3 different points in the game 3 different methods of revealing the time cards to all players are performed. This isn't well designed because unlike the rest of the game which is about pure deduction and efficient action management, one person can figure out the time just because they have a more photographic memory than others. Succeeding in this has more to do with your personal mental strengths and even though all players get the same amount of information one player could figure it out while others don't through no part of actual gameplay. I just think that's a horrible design decision.

It also is really long for what it is. An accessible deduction game shouldn't take 2 hours. BGG says 75 minutes but I think that's overly ambitious. Don't get me wrong, a deduction game inherently has some "AP" although I don't even know if it's fair to call it that since you need to work through the information you collect to play well. But because of the amount of information, actions, and number of turns and frequency and erratic movement of the information this game can drag at points.
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on May 5, 2012
This game is wonderfully fun. However the packaging is horrible. The detective pieces all come in one plastic bag with nothing to protect them from bumping and rubbing against each other. So three of the four pieces I have are broken or chipped. Days of wonder doesnt sell or replace pieces. So I have no way of replacing them unless I send the entire game back to amazon for an exchange. Which I don't want to do since the pieces will come packaged the same way. Very disappointed in the packaging of this wonderful game.
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on December 10, 2013
I can not understand how anybody could give this a negative review. Mystery Express may be the best mystery game I have every played. My wife and I have a small circle of friends who play strategy games every week. This is played literally EVERY week because it is considered a top 3 game by all of us. The game take a while to learn; especially if you are new to board games, but once you learn to play it the game flows easily. It is like clue but for adults; the game takes real deduction and skill.
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