Card Game Review: Unusual Suspects
Looking for a card game where you get to judge cartoon characters? Looking for something quick and easy to set up and play? Want a game with lots of unique looking characters, random questions to ask about them and to be co-operative? Well, I think you’ve just described Unusual Suspects; a game where you see a bunch of suspects and ask a witness a bunch of random questions, from if the suspect is interested in politics, to if they have a record player. Sound strange? Well the clue was in todays title!
|Number of Players||3-16|
|Year of Release||2016|
|Play time||Approx. 20 minutes|
In Unusual Suspects, one person takes on the role of the witness, whilst the rest of the players have to work together to figure out who the suspect is. In and amongst the cards for judgement are some rather unusual suspects; Ordinary enough people turned into caricatures of whom they really are. They tell you to never judge a book by its cover, and yet in this game, you must do just that.
The witness is given a card, which reveals which of a grid of 12 cards is the unusual suspect in question. The rest of the team will then pick up a question card and read it out to the witness. These questions range from pretty sensible, to downright strange. Questions such as “Are they interested in politics?” all the way to “Do they own a record player?” The questions are somewhat random, but yet they’re not too random to where you couldn’t use a bit of judgement. This judging factor actually managed to put someone right off the game from the offset; saying that they’d prefer to not judge a book by its covers – But as I say; these are cartoon characters.
Yes, okay, judging people for real isn’t good – But in a world where some professions actually require expert judgement, I’d say this game is pretty smart. None of the questions are truly offensive; but you do begin to wonder about your own personal biases and prejudices. Also, you’re playing with the witness who isn’t allowed to tell you anything, except for “Yes” or “No” to the questions you give them. This means your own judgement is less on the table; it’s more about guessing what the witness has decided about the people on the table. It’s harmless fun, but it’s certainly interesting!
In a question, the team must eliminate at least one character, but they are allowed to eliminate as many as they’d like. For instance, if the question is “Do they own their own home?” I might say all of the young people might not. Once we have flipped over all cards we as a team believe aren’t the suspect, we ask the witness to see if the suspect is still in the game. If we didn’t flip the suspect over, we score up our time spent. There’s a maximum of 11 questions (That’s if you only flip 1 card over for every single turn), meaning the highest time score (and thus the worst) is 66, whereas the lowest possible would be 11 points if you somehow managed to eliminate every single card on the first question.
Of course, the witness is working with your team, to try and get you to the right answer, but as they’re not allowed to say anything other than yes or no – They want to try to come up with the same theory as the rest of your team.
I really like how the cards look in this game – They’re simple cartoons, which is always a plus to me. I’m never a big fan on ultra realism in games of these kinds, as that’d be a lot more awkward to make a judgement on. Having such caricatures to rely on, the game is pretty easy and flows rather well. From some people who have incredibly shifty eyes, to people who are incredibly rich. Old, young, they’re all included in this game and there’s no discrimination with the images. There’s a wide range of characters, which makes the game a lot more interesting. Other than the characters, the box art is pretty simple, somewhat basic almost – But I’ve got no problem with this.
What’s curious is the way people in the real world interact with this game – Even though these are cartoons, some people actually took real offense to the entire plot and premise of the game. I was a bit shocked to see people be so taken aback – However, this was in the minority of views. A game like this isn’t meant to actually make you be a horrible person; but rather it’s supposed to be a silly little game which can be played in a 15-30 minute slot. This game can be just that, but if you’re like us, it can take longer as you have long discussions about how much that one guy looks like Colonel Sanders, or how much time that lady puts into making her hair look so damn good.
With this in mind, we’ve played this game a number of times and I can tell you that it’s hugely entertaining. However, with the criticisms from onlookers, it’s interesting to how much human psychology comes into this. I’d say you should all give this game a try; especially since it’s Guess Who, but with much funnier questions to be asked of the characters. But what do you think? Do you believe this game would awaken a hidden bias inside of you? Do you think it’s too critical of these characters? Or do you think it’s just a silly little party game which looks like a good laugh? As always, share your thoughts below, or over on Facebook or Twitter.