I had seen the movie, read the book and even purchased other books that were related to the DaVinci Code. I guess one could say that I became somewhat obsessed with the unique slant Dan Brown posed in his best selling book of the same name. After indulging in all that I could at the time, I soon began to watch for a game of the same name. I wasn't disappointed when shortly after seeing the movie I ran across the DaVinci Code Board game based on the motion picture.
I'm not a big game fan and in order for me to actually sit down for an evening of this kind of fun, the game really does have to involve me in some form of challenge that is not of the mundane variety. After reading about the board game I was prepared to pick it up for the family and immerse ourselves in an evening of mystery, quests and discoveries.
The price of the game however was what stopped me from purchasing it initially. I'm not certain why I delayed buying it then except perhaps for the fact that I was being greedy. There were other things I wanted to purchase as well at the time, such as new drapes for the living room, paints, books etc. So when I spied the game at a local discount store at a whopping $21.00 discount, I grabbed it.
The Game comes in a very sturdy, nicely designed tin box. Inside the board, the play pieces and all the necessary cards to help you unravel the clues and solve the mystery of 15 different ones including 5 new exclusive mysteries, is well presented and neatly packaged. The game comes with a detailed instruction booklet as well as a DVD which I'd recommend be the first thing you pull out, put into a DVD player and watch. The DVD clearly outlines the intent of the game and how to go about solving the mysteries the game holds.
In a little less than 5 minutes we had the DVD viewed and understood the premise of the game fully enough to be able to set it up and begin playing immediately. Gathered around the dining room table was 6 of our family members all eager to play and be the first to solve the first game. The game is rated for 2-6 adult players and I'd recommend as well that the players be old enough to be able to read and comprehend the clue cards, be able to assess the clues along the way and mark them down on the score cards that are provided.
There are five different types of cards that come with the game and each holds clues, information or facts that you must 'gather' to piece the mystery together well enough to be able to conclude and solve it. There are Taxi cards which can be used to move your playing piece along the board, Depository Cards which you use to allow you to look at any other players clues which they've gathered, Code-Breaking cards which give you the challenge and opportunity to solve and put together in proper sequence, a portion of the clues necessary, Art Cards which also hold clues and introduce you to artists, their works and where they are found in the museum. Then you have the clue cards which instruct you to learn things such as the surname of the artist who painted a certain portrait, the portrait or painting you are to learn the artists name, date of birth or place of birth etc., is pictured above the clue.
The game also comes with a Decoding Tool, one is a Cryptex Decoder which when a clue card is inserted in it and aligned correctly will spell out the name or location that you need deciphered in order to continue to work your way to solving the game. Another is the Sidebar Decoder which you use by matching the colored arrows on the clue card that will line up with the same colored arrow on the Sidebar Decoder. The clue card holds an encrypted message that once you have set the arrows adjacent to one another correctly, will reveal the answer you require.
The Mirror decoder allows you to decipher messages that have been written backwards and can only be revealed in a readable format with the use of the mirror. The Answer Sheet/Score sheet is used to keep track of your clues, guesses and assumptions as well as giving you the opportunity to get closer to solving the puzzle before others do. At the top of each sheet is a series of numbers from 1 to 20 and beneath each number is a space. In the spaces, as you uncover clues, you place the letters you've uncovered from the clue cards by matching the numbers at the top of each clue card to the numbered spaces on the score sheet. What results after the play has been in session and clues have been solved, is the key 'clue' to help you put all other clues into perspective and thus solve the mystery in its entirety.
This section is considered your Mystery Phrase and it is one way to help guide you to completing and winning the game. On the side of the score pad there are also five sections where you can keep track of clues that will hopefully allow you to answer the 5 Mystery questions. The Mystery questions remain unknown to all players until one player announces they are prepared to solve the mystery. At that point the person who wishes to solve the puzzle uses the booklet to locate the mystery game number they are playing at the time, and reads off the mystery questions one at a time...all players must be able to provide the answer to these questions in order to gain points. If you did your homework, the answers will be right in front of you on your score sheet/note pad.
The board is laid out with four main landmarks, the L'Eglise De Saint-Sulpice, the Temple Church, Westminster Abbey and Rossylyn Chapel. Players begin in one of two spots, either the Library or the Gallery and by rolling the die, they advance spaces left or right on the board, either direction is acceptable but a move to change directions can only be accomplished during a players turn if they land on an 'M' which allows you to divide your move.
The play begins by the 'Oldest and Wisest' at the table going first. So if you've been holding your age a secret, this might not be the best game for you to play if you are knowingly the oldest at the table :).
Clue cards and decipher cards are placed under a time limit and when a player is required to attempt to locate a solution to a clue, they have 60 seconds to do so. If they can't solve the clue within that time frame, they must write down what they do know about it and hope that they can have another opportunity later in the game to find the solution in full. The first person who believes that they have collected enough clues and answers, must announce that they are going to solve the mystery during any of their turns but before they have attempted to move their piece. The mystery phrase garners the person who filled it in entirely with 20 points and an additional 5 points for having solved it. All other players receive 1 point for every letter they had filled in correctly. Each mystery question you answer correctly gives you an additional 5 points and if you get all answers correct you receive an additional 5 points. Along the way if you have collected but not used any Taxi or Depository cards, you must subtract 5 points for each.
The player with the highest score at the end of this game is declared the winner.
This was a great game and it really offered a lot of opportunity to think, rationalize, deduce and compete to solve the mystery first. It's definitely a game that we'll be taking to the cottage with us as we still have a few mysteries left to solve. With 15 mysteries, this game will keep us busy for awhile!