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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > Issue Eleven > HUNT A KILLER


Co-creators Ryan Hogan and Derrick Smith join us as we open the case on their ambitious live-action game, which challenges players to solve a murder mystery using clues they receive in the post

There’s something timelessly enthralling about a good murder mystery. From the enduring popularity of Sherlock Holmes to the golden age of Agatha Christie, gritty Scandinavian noir like The Killing to true crime hits like Making A Murderer, the appetite for grisly detective stories seems to be endless.

I’m certainly not immune to their appeal. I’ve spent hours in the company of fictional sleuths from Hercule Poirot to Philip Marlowe and binged on episode after episode of the Serial podcast. But recently I had the opportunity to step out of the role of passive observer and attempt some amateur detective work of my own.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been hunting a killer.

It all began with a plain manila envelope that slid through my letterbox one morning alongside the usual collection of bills and junk mail. I didn’t realise it at the time, but its contents would unlock something deep, dark and bordering on obsession. Inside I found a collection of seemingly unconnected objects: a chart showing positions of stars in the night sky, a woodblock engraving of a swan, a crushed paper cup, a newspaper article with words and phrases redacted seemingly at random.

It didn’t make any kind of sense, but more bizarre still was the letter. It was carefully typewritten and addressed simply to “My Dearest Friend”. While its author was clearly intelligent and articulate, it did nothing to shed any light on the meaning behind the strange package. BaThed, I did what any self-respecting journalist does upon finding themselves out of their depth: I turned to Google.

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About Tabletop Gaming

Cover feature: Starfinder: We have an exclusive chat with creative director James Sutter about the huge sci-fi sequel to massively popular fantasy RPG Pathfinder. Featuring exclusive artwork from the upcoming game. Awe of the Ring: As Middle-earth prepares to turn 80, we speak to influential and renowned creators of board games based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. UK Games Expo 2017: Picture Special: The unmissable sights and games from the UK’s biggest gaming show. Swords, Sex & Sci-fi: Legendary RPG designer and R. Talsorian founder Mike Pondsmith and his son Cody speak exclusively to us about the legacy of revolutionary game Cyberpunk and their upcoming tabletop adaptation of lauded fantasy video game The Witcher. What War Is Good For: Fans and publishers of miniature wargaming titles tell us how battling on the tabletop has fostered a strong sense of community. Playing With Yourself: Creators of single-player-only games tell us why gaming alone can be just as rewarding. How Analogue Gaming Went Digital: We take a close look at the rise of digital apps in the tabletop world. Rediscovering the Disc: In celebration of next year’s 20th anniversary of Discworld, the creators look back on one of the more unique entries in the genre. The Making of: Hunt a Killer, which uses a subscription box-like format to deliver a mystery game to players over the course of several months. Painting guide: We tackle the eighth edition of Warhammer 40,000. Ten of the Best: Word Games (That aren’t Scrabble). Introduction to: Forbidden Island and its sequel, Forbidden Desert – the kid-friendly Pandemic follow-up. Columns: With Bruno Faidutti, Jeff Tidball, Holly Gramazio and Doctors Paul Wake and Sam Illingworth Played: The latest reviews and exclusive interviews including: Starfinder, Sub Terra and Warhammer 40,000.