Perspectives Preview – Crime-munication

Perspectives Preview – Crime-munication

Perspectives comes from publisher Space Cowboys and Australian designer Matthew Dunstan, who is known for a range of designs including Elysium, Pioneer Days and Next Station: London as well as being a co-founder of Postmark Games, a publishing company focusing on sustainable ‘roll and write’ designs which encourage ‘print at home’ products and often provide ongoing support and extra materials for each of their current titles: Voyages, Aquamarine, Waypoints and Battle Cards. Narrative design on Perspectives was by Dave Neale, who was also responsible for the latest entry in the Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective series, The Baker Street Regulars which by many accounts is a very good entry in that long running series.

Being familiar with the likes of Detective and Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, I was interested to see how Perspectives fit in with the ‘co-operative deduction’ genre of games. The base box comes with three cases, each comprised of four acts. As part of our preview, myself and three other media personalities worked to solve Act 1 of Case One under the careful tutelage of designer Matthew Dunstan himself. This case involved the assassination of an ambassador at an embassy by gunshot. The premise is simple – players will read an outline for the case, establishing the setting and the preceding events. 12 large ‘evidence’ cards are then divided equally amongst the 2-6 player count; playing at 4, we were each given three cards. The catch is that players are only able to look at their own cards, and nobody else’s. This ensures that the information needed to piece together the solution is spread evenly, and players must communicate to narrow down the possible suspects and other pertinent information which will help them answer a series of questions in order to solve that act.

This division of information is key to the success of Perspectives and fuels the tension at the heart of the game; each player has valuable information, and through bot questions and answers, a solution can be reached. If anything, it tests players ability to describe and share information effectively as much as it does any logic or reasoning. There is however a mechanism to aid players when stuck; each card counts as a point at the end of an Act; 12 cards equal 12 points. Players may choose to reveal one of their cards to the rest of the table, losing a point for each card revealed this way. Feeling a bit pressed for time in our preview session, we elected to reveal a single card, meaning our score for the case was 11. How consequential this feels will vary from group to group, in a similar way that completing an Escape Room under time without using hints will mean more or less to participants. 

When asking Matthew his feelings on the optimal player count, he said that the experience does vary, with higher player counts being more difficult in his opinion as more players had to try and disseminate information without too much being lost in the shuffle. Similarly, two players can be a bit breezier as both players have a much larger amount of information at their disposal and can perhaps put a number of the clues together independently. Three to four seems like it would be the sweet spot in terms of balancing the interaction between every player, as myself and my fellow detectives pieced together the solution to Act 1 in roughly half an hour.

Replayability is often a major concern for these sorts of games, especially if they don’t rely on some sort of digital component to help rearrange the outcome or possible pathway. While I expect more cases to come out as expansions, there is a good 8-10 hours or more of gameplay in the Perspectives box and it would be perfect to pass on to friends and family or donate to a local library or school once complete. Much like the Exit or Unlock games, these are meant to be single use ‘experiences’ and not necessarily something returned to again and again, unless someone has a particularly poor memory for the details of each case.

For myself, the structure of Perspectives and its emphasis on communication and cooperation are the highlights of the experience, ensuring that at no point will any one player feel like they can’t contribute. The reliance on every ‘perspective’ means that Alpha players can’t force the game and will need to tone down those tendencies – on the flip side, less extroverted players don’t have to feel a huge amount of pressure on themselves at any one time as it always feels like a team effort. With the promise shown from the first case, I’m hoping the full game isn’t too far away.

Have you seen our Merch Store?

Check out our Most Recent Video

Find us on Metacritic

Check out our Most Recent Posts