Unsolved Case Files Game Review: Jamie & Harmony & More Update !

In one of those co-op games based on true-crime stories??” Phew. In the big boxes downstairs, “I thought you wanted to play one of those rule-heavy games,”

For our weekly Friday night gaming sessions, my wife gives it to me straight. She likes to play 7 Wonders: Duel some nights. She enjoys listening to heavier music like Vital Lacerda’s Vinhos Deluxe Edition on occasion.

On this particular night, however? Prepare for a couple of hours of working together to solve a fictional crime by pouring yourself a glass of wine and clearing the kid toys from the kitchen table.

Goliath Games, which includes the Pressman Toy Corporation and its entire collection of games, gave me two games from the Unsolved Case Files line, Harmony Ashcroft and Jamie Banks, at Gen Con. To determine the whodunit in each of these one-shot games, you’ll use the Unsolved Case Files website to see if your detective work will reopen the case and help you nail down the real perpetrator.

The Unsolved Case Files series has at least eight games in it (including a few family versions), and they’re doing quite well. I wanted to see how they compared to other one-time-play murder mystery games like the Cold Case series from ThinkFun and the EXIT: The Game series, which are resettable true crime games.

Please bear in mind that I’ve included spoilers for each game in the following paragraphs. Skip to the end if you just want to read my final thoughts on each game.


Unsolved Case Files: Harmony Ashcroft

The night before their nuptials, on May 8th, 1998, Harmony and Christian gathered with close family and friends in Riverdale, Indiana for their rehearsal dinner. Christian went out to run an errand after an argument at dinner, and Harmony ended up dead.

Bones, a homeless man in the area, was arrested and charged with the crime, but the evidence shows that he is not the perpetrator. Bone is a suspect in the murder of Harmony Ashcroft, and the Riverdale police need your help sorting through the evidence to determine whether or not Bone is guilty.

Although I had the killer figured out early on, I didn’t know the “how” as quickly as I had hoped to solve Unsolved Case Files: Harmony Ashcroft with my wife. A good mix of objectives and a well-balanced adventure kept us guessing throughout Unsolved Case Files: Harmony Ashcroft.

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As a fan of low-budget cop shows, I was surprised by the blandness of the writing in the interviews, newspaper articles, and coroner’s reports. However, I’m a fan of it, so it didn’t detract from the task at hand. It’s not that difficult to improve the quality of the writing in this situation.

We finished Unsolved Case Files: Harmony Ashcroft in less than two hours. Because we were trying to figure out which evidence was most helpful, this was a good length of time. To get through the questions on the website, you’ll need this information. There were some nice touches to make the video look like a local news broadcast at the end of the case, showing you exactly what happened.

Generally speaking, Unsolved Cases: For a cold case, Harmony Ashcroft was a solid, if unspectacular, experience.

Unsolved Case Files: Jamie Banks… followed a few weeks after that.

and things did not go according to plan.

Unsolved Case Files Game
Unsolved Case Files Game

Unsolved Case Files: Jamie Banks

Most of my experiences with escape rooms and true crime games have been positive, but Unsolved Case Files: Jamie Banks was a complete disappointment.

No, this was not a failure because I’ve lost my reading comprehension skills when it comes to witnessing interviews and evidence photographs, and statements from people of interest. This is because at the heart of Unsolved Case Files: Jamie Banks, the logic involved in the details of her murder is so illogical that it’s impossible to understand.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of things before I reveal the outcome. Jamie Banks, an 18-year-old high school student, has died. She was an above-average student, the lead actress in the high school’s current production of Romeo and Juliet, and a journalist for the school’s newspaper. She had a lot going for her at the time.

However, on the Friday before the school’s state championship football game in November 1994, Jamie committed suicide by jumping from the school’s 6th floor, out of the only window in the newspaper workroom. Fortunately, only five people from the entire school were not in the gym when the all-school picture was taken when she committed suicide during the school’s 10 a.m. pep rally, giving us our list of suspects.

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We’ve got a couple who were having a good time in the 5th-floor girls’ restroom, a guidance counselor, the drama teacher in charge, and Jamie’s understudy.

Every one of the suspects has a legitimate reason for wanting Jamie dead. Also, the case is now in your hands after a police investigation that must have been the weakest ever conducted in a board game. Whodunit??

Unsolved Case Files: Jamie Banks was a miss from the start for my wife and me, even though we often struggle to complete some objectives in these cases. As a fan of Unsolved Case Files, I appreciate the fact that each box has three objectives or problems to solve, and the first stage for this one was so obvious. We both looked at each other and said, like, 5 minutes after we opened the evidence and

A few minutes later our confirmation appeared on the website. At this point, everything looks good.

Unsolved Case Files: Jamie Banks went sour when it failed to meet its second and third goals. To come up with the second objective’s answer, we thought it was a major stretch, and the third objective isn’t just silly; it’s broken.

There’s a lack of logical reasoning.

Let’s agree that Jamie was murdered because there is no game if she took her own life. Jamie was killed when she “jumped” from the sixth floor of the school. It is safe to assume that she did not leap.

My wife and I didn’t believe a word of it until the very end of the game when the real killer himself speaks up. The reasoning is illogical, the writing supports this blunder, and then the worst offender slaps you across the face with the following statement:

This is impossible for any human being.

Jamie’s murder was reenacted between my wife and me to the point where we acted it out. As written, Jamie’s final moments would look out of place even in a bad television drama, let alone a board game.

As opposed to Harmony Ashcroft, where the Unsolved Case Files: Unsolved Case Files: Unsolved Case Files: Jamie Banks felt plausible, the latter felt hastily put together by the writers and designers.

There is something off about the other suspects even before the identity of the real killer is revealed. While there are some “red herrings,” none of them felt plausible enough to warrant further investigation.

You could argue that Unsolved Cases: There is no attempt to dissuade the reader from following Jamie Banks’s lead in the middle of the investigation. By the time you get to the end, you’ve accumulated so much information that you can’t help but wonder who the real killer is. We can conclude that “OK, it’s obvious, so what else do we need to secure this?”

Case Files Unsolved: Jamie Banks is a complete and utter failure. “How would real police miss this many signs that something else is going on here?” was a common refrain among us as we approached the end of our investigation.

Unsolved Case Files: Harmony Ashcroft’s web-based content falls short, particularly the final news clip featuring real-life reporters describing what happened. Writing in investigator interviews, on the other hand, lacks the sleaziness and wit of pulp fiction.

Unsolved Case Files: Fight the Future?

When it came to the second installment of the Unsolved Case Files series, I was less impressed by Harmony Ashcroft than I was by Jamie Banks. My preference for a true crime game series is the Cold Case series by ThinkFun, whose cases are stronger and more firmly rooted in a logical problem.

When it comes to Cold Case, it’s all about paying attention to the small details. As a player, it doesn’t feel all that great when you’re focusing on the details and miss something random in one of the pieces of evidence in the Unsolved Case Files games, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the small details.

Having the option to reset the game for friends or family to play through later is a nice perk. If you want to get used to this type of gameplay with your family, you don’t have to be concerned about the more mature themes and images like bloody knives or suicide in the Unsolved Case Files series.

Despite this, the Unsolved Case Files games feel a little sloppy. In comparison to other games of this genre, the prose here isn’t nearly as engrossing. You won’t even think about some of the extras here as you work through the evidence. What’s with the principal’s picture? It’s up to you to decide if the coroner’s report is worth your time.

In 2022, there will be a total of four new Unsolved Case Files games. There is a chance that Pressman’s team has learned from the first few games of this series and will be a positive influence on future games!

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