Cole Wehrle, the creator behind Root, wants his next big board game project to be a “better Clue.”
In an interview with the designer, Wehrle told Dicebreaker that after his upcoming board game Arcs: Collapse and Conflict in the Void has been completed and released, his next project will be creating a murder mystery board game. “I love murder mysteries, but I don’t really like murder mystery games.” Wehrle explained, “there’s a big disconnect between an Agatha Christie novel and Clue.”
When asked about his thoughts on the classic family board game Clue (or Cluedo in the UK), Wehrle said “the problem (with Clue) is so fundamental […] all of the items and nouns in the game are inert, they might as well be pieces of furniture.” Wehrle highlighted the passive nature of player actions in murder mystery games such as Clue, compared to the way that films such as the 1978 film Death on the Nile – based on Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mystery novel – depict how the crime unfolds alongside the investigation. “I really want to build a murder mystery game […] that is in progress, so it feels less like an excavation of an old secret and instead has the thrill and mystery,” said Wehrle.
The designer also commented on how he wants to make a game that puts “pressure” on the player/s to solve the mystery, rather than having them investigate a cold case, as is the case in many crime and murder mystery themed board games such as Clue. Unlike many of Wehrle’s previous titles, such as Root and Oath, the upcoming murder mystery board game would not be modular – meaning that it would be released in its entirety, rather than receive a series of expansions later-on.
Besides Root and Oath – which was released last year and became Matt’s favourite game of 2021 – Wehrle has also created several historical-themed board games including Pax Pamir: Second Edition, a tabletop title about a power struggle in 19th century Afghanistan, and a board game about the East India Trading company called John Company, which is set to receive a second edition later this year.
Arcs: Collapse and Conflict in the Void is a space-themed board game for three to four players that takes place in a fictional galaxy filled with warring civilisations. At the beginning of the game, players each choose an objective to pursue, with objectives being categorised into different groups depending on how many chapters they take to potentially complete. As well as a primary objective, players also have hidden objectives that directly conflict with the other players in the game.
Each round of Arcs sees players choosing a card to play which will determine where they are in the turn order and how many actions they’ll be able to perform. On their turn, players can travel across the galaxy, acquire resources and do battle with their opponents, choosing an approach for each one of their attacking spaceships. At the end of each chapter, players tally up their victory points to determine who the winner is, with the winner of the overall game being whoever managed to complete their objective.
Wehrle’s murder mystery game is yet to receive a release date or working title.