There is not denying it. Serial Killers are fascinating. Sure, they represent the absolute worst in humanity, but there is something about them we simple can’t deny. Something about the Gacys, Ramiezs, and Geins of the world we humans find intriguing. We make and consume award winning films and shows about them. Why not then, during this creepy time of year should we not partake in a disturbing trivia game about them? Enter Culture Heroes and their newest Serial Killer Trivia Game. Not some mere “I know more about Jack the Ripper than you” style game. Oh no. This time, like the best serial killer Profiler, you get into the mind of a killer and prove your intellectual superiority. In a psycho why. Morbid? Absolutely, but to deny such things would be to deny our own nature. (And a fun way to pass an evening).
With two innocent folks about to meet an untimely demise at the blade of John Wayne Gacy on the cover, The Serial Killer Trivia Game is hard to miss. The back of the game provides a much appreciated look at the board, tokens, and a messed up quote from Richard Ramirez. The box is sturdy with a good plastic coating, allowing for years of repeated use without much wear and tear on the game. Once open, the same sturdy design follows throughout the box. The folded quad playing board is quite sturdy and unfolds into place with little to no bulking. The two sets of cards, Questions and Scenario, come in a basic box (complete with Charles Manson’s wacko eyes). Double-sided for longer use, the cards are a little thin. However, like everything else in the game, the cards has a good plastic coating and will survive long term play. The game also comes with “Kill Tokens”, Player Tokens, and 3 standard 6-sided dice. Representing both location and kill, the Kill Tokens can cause some confusion for first time players with the color schemes. Still, this is a very good looking and sturdy game.
The Game –
Not a simple trivia game, the players take on the roll of their “favorite” serial killer, (or, at least their favorite from Gein, Bundy, Ramirez, Wuornos, and Fish). Test your knowledge of all things killer as you stalk the neighborhood looking for victims. The first player to get and bury 5 kills wins the game. Like I said, this sucker leans way to the morbid side and as suggested on the box, not meant for kids. If you’re okay with the concept, you’re gonna’ have a blast with this game. Starting in your own neighborhood, you need to roll up to 3 dice and move around the homes till you’re able to land in the center home and attempt to claim your kill. You make that kill by answering one of the trivia cards. Assuming your life isn’t consumed by serial killers, the questions will be adequately difficult. From there, you need to move on to a fresh neighborhood, with fresh victims. Moving around the board does present one of the issues with the game. Unless allowed by a Scenario card, more on those later, you may only travel through legal spaces. You can’t jump fences or cross “boarder lines”. The graphic layout of the game makes these legal spaces a little hard to see. So, keep a good eye on moving around the board, lest you inadvertently cheat. (Catching the irony of following the rules while playing a serial killer). Before moving, the player decides to roll one, two, or three dice; once rolled, you must move that number. As you need to land with an exact roll on a victims center house, there is some strategy in choosing dice. (You can also choose to stand still and end your turn should you not like your roll).
Scenario cards work with or against you in your quest to get 5 kills first. Like the rest of the game, scenario cards are firmly planted in the morbid humor category with events like “you tried to make a buck selling your bosses kidneys, should have killed him first though – He called the cops and you’re on the run” – Lose a Turn. There is some confusion with the scenario cards, as one section of the rules state you must draw and use them should you land on a scenario location. While a few sentences later, the rules claim scenario cards are completely optional. When testing the game, we decided to split the difference. You didn’t have to draw a scenario card, but if you did, you had to act on it immediately. Made for some hilarious and chaotic play. Perfect for this game.
Once you get a kill, you need to drop the body off at printed body dump locations on the board. Again, a fairly straight-forward concept that suffers from some fuzzy rules. Unlike the rest of the game, you do not need to roll an exact number to dump a body, simply running over the site works. While it doesn’t make the game any less enjoyable, it does generate a slight bump in the flow. You will find yourself reminding some players they don’t need to think out their dumping. (Like old school D&D, where you needed to remember what you needed to roll high and roll low for. Just pay attention). As I mentioned in the presentation portion of the game, some of the color schemes on the Kill Tokens are a little confusing to new players. The circle color representing the killer the token belongs, while the skull and cross bone color represented the neighborhood in which you made the kill. Not a big deal, but one you may find yourself explaining the colors a couple times throughout the game to new folks.
Assuming you aren’t a member of the Addams Family (or Duran house), The Serial Killer Trivia Game isn’t for family game night, but a great way for some adults to pass the hours. This is a solid trivia game with some strategy elements that help it rise above most niche-based trivia games. A few production issues notwithstanding, this is an impressive and well made game. I think after a few production runs, most of the rules slip-ups and design issues with work there way out. As the nights grow longer, get some of your twisted friends together. Bake some meat pies, pop in the Dexter soundtrack, and have a killer of a time!
You can order your copy HERE.