We’re back, and we’re polishing our magnifying glasses, scraping the gum off our shoes and hunting for clues. This is the first of two episodes delving into the appeal of investigative games. A big topic such as this demands extra resources, so we have brought in Mike Mason, line editor for Call of Cthulhu, to help us with our enquiries.

“Give us five minutes with him and we’ll make him sing.” “Uh oh. That never ends well.”

Our discussion this episode focuses on defining what we mean by an investigative game and providing some tips and techniques for approaching investigations as a player. Because of the amount of time these topics took, we have separated our discussion about running investigative games into a second episode, which will be along in two weeks or as soon as we can follow its trail to the end.

We’ll get back on the trail once naptime is over.

It was harder than you may think to pin down exactly what an investigative game is. Investigation has arguably been part of roleplaying for as long as RPGs have been around, an element, like horror, that you can add to pretty well any setting or genre. Call of Cthulhu was the first game to place investigation at the forefront, creating a style of play now seen in a great variety of RPGs. But are only games with such a focus investigative? Is investigation a matter for mechanics or roleplaying?

“I rolled 00 on my Spot Hidden. Is that a problem?” “No, don’t worry. There’s nothing to see here.”

Speaking of inexplicable occurrences that lead to madness and horror, we sing again in this episode. In my opinion, Paul has outdone himself with the mixes of these two audio nightmares. If you are puzzled by why we would do such a thing to your ears, this is our way of thanking those generous Patreon backers who pledge $5 an episode. This was supposed to be the episode where we finally caught up with all the outstanding thanks we owe to our wonderful patrons. Before we had a chance to do so, however, we had another $5 backer, so there will be at least one more song in the next episode as well. There is no escape for any of you.

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4 comments on “The Appeal of Investigative Games (part 1)

  1. Evan Dorkin Apr 27, 2017

    So glad to have had a new episode to keep me company while I work, looking forward to the second part. Also enjoyed the last two episodes, if my opinion matters any I thought Event Horizon was an enjoyable warm mess with a game cast and enough small surprises to offset the badly-shifting back-and-forth between Hellraiser, Alien and a typical slasher. Minus points for my least-favorite genre trope, “My long-dead relative is somehow here and I’m sad instead of calling BS on it so please kill me”.

    One thing (just one more thing) I hope you don’t mind me mentioning is in re: to Scott’s Columbo aside on ep 103 — the Columbo character predates the publication of The Exorcist, the first Peter Falk pilot for the series aired in 1968, before that the character appeared in an anthology tv episode and a play. The second Falk pilot also came out before the book was published.

  2. Andreas Davour Apr 29, 2017

    I just listened to the feedback you had gotten about the last episode, and I will just say that I think you were actually quite kind to that movie, as it is a crap movie. Someones favourite or not…

  3. Neil Smith May 10, 2017

    As the Neil mentioned near the end of the episode, I’d like to expand on Matt’s point about the “I have a skill to answer riddles” idea. It wasn’t my idea, but something I heard from Erick Wujcik, the game’s author. That was his response to how to deal with a game that involved riddles with a player that didn’t much care for solving riddles. In the same way that a master swordsman’s character can just narrate, “I stab my opponent,” then move on to something more interesting, a master riddler’s player can just narrate, “I answer the riddle,” them move on to something more interesting.

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