The first Cold Case game: A Story to Die For in the test

26. February 2022 - Anika Semmer

Cold Case Board Game: A Story to Die For - A Case to Solve at Home | Review


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On the table is a decades-old unsolved murder case. As clever investigators, the task is to reexamine this cold case and solve the case. How well is Thinkfun’s Cold Case board game done and does it captivate us?

June 1988: Murder of investigative journalist Andy Bailey. In front of us is a thick file of witness statements, evidence, photos and a letter as an introduction to this Cold Case. As big fans of Bosch, the series about the taciturn genius detective who just can’t let go of old cold cases and who regularly throws himself into the bullet fire with full commitment to solve them, we were immensely looking forward to this case from Thinkfun, the game publisher known for its crisp puzzles.

Does the game create a whodunit atmosphere and does it succeed to captivate us? Is the case easy to solve and does it address beginners or advanced players? How tricky is the case and is the solution comprehensible and coherent?

Crime Games to Solve at Home – Cold Case Board Game and Crime Dinner

After Escape Games dominated the market as puzzle games in the last years, more and more interesting crime games for home are coming out at the moment. In the style of the adventure crime dinners, there are also crime dinners for the home, for which you usually have to be at least six people and play the role of the suspects yourself. The largely depends on how much effort you put into dressing up and embodying the role and playing it.

In the Cold Case board game A Story to Die For, on the other hand, you can expect a crime game without preparation, without disguises, which you simply open and start playing and it can also be played alone.

Note: Thinkfun, or rather the Ravensburger Spieleverlag to which Thinkfun belongs, kindly provided us with a review copy of the Cold Case board game A Story to Die For. However, this review is unpaid and reflects our honest opinion.

Cold Case Board Game: A Story to Die For at a Glance

  • Game type: Crime game
  • Players: 1-4 players
  • Duration: approx. 1.5 hours
  • Publisher: Thinkfun / Ravensburger Spieleverlag
  • Game creator: Light in the Lab, LLP
  • Year of release: 2020
  • Game objective: Together or alone, use the clues in the old murder file to uncover who killed Andy Bailey.

Thinkfun Cold Case Files - A Story to Die for - Murder Mystery Game for Adults and Kids Age 14 Years Up
Thinkfun Cold Case Files - A Story to Die for - Murder Mystery Game for Adults and Kids Age 14 Years Up
Logic, Deductive Reasoning, and Critical Thinking; Dieses Spiel ist für 1 bis 4 Spieler geeignet
18,00 EUR Amazon Prime

Cold Case Board Game: A Story to Die For – The First Mystery Game of the Game Series

"All the game material from the Cold Case board game is in one file."

With the opening of the Cold Case file, the journey back in time to the 80s begins.

There are currently two Cold Case board games released by Thinkfun and the case A story to die for is the first Cold Case game in the series.

Game Material and Game Principle

In the box there are the files. It consists of letters, lists, witness statements, autopsy report, photos and other clues.

On the Thinkfun homepage you can play an intro video to start the game. There is no predefined gameplay. As in a real case, the objective is to meticulously look through the file and come to conclusions. The goal of the game is to answer four open questions on the homepage about the murderer, the murder weapon, the possibility of escape and the stolen money.

Whether the results of the investigation are correct is then checked on the homepage, where you also get hints on how to solve them. Once all the questions are solved correctly, we learn the background to the murder and the Cold Case board game A Story to Die For is successfully solved and over.

Puzzles and Clues in This Cold Case Board Game

"When discussing and drawing conclusions together to solve the cold case board game, the typical mood arises"

Plenty of reading material before discussing and drawing conclusions together

The game consists of a lot of reading material that is examined and combined. In fact, there are no tricky puzzles to crack but the material in the file is there, as in a real case, to be studied and to discover clues that contribute to the solution. The clues are not convoluted and challenging but quick to classify. From the difficulty level, this cold case is easy to solve, because the clues are quite obvious and this cold case board game is very suitable as a starter or for beginners

Rating and Conclusion

"To solve the first Cold Case board game, check the Thinkfun homepage to see if you got it right."

Whether our assumptions are correct can be checked on the Thinkfun homepage

Journey into the past with an atmospherically designed murder case. A thick file with a lot of reading material keeps one to four investigators busy in this unsolved murder case from 1988. There is no need for an introduction or explanation, you can get started right away. And the design of the case with clues and clues address newcomers to the mystery genre as well as beginners and are designed in such a way that a sense of achievement is almost guaranteed.

Price / Performance

Pros and Cons to the Cold Case Board Game: A Story to Die For

Files with coffee stains, quality material. The Cold Case board game basically consists of a file with a lot of reading material, which is beautifully crafted and fit into the 80s in the presentation. We were four investigators, two of whom let out a sigh of relief at the prospect of having to work through 24 pages of paper. For this game, all players should in any case have a desire to read, because this is how you spend a large part of the game time. It would have been nice to have the option of playing back written documents such as the witness statements in an app in order to delve deeper into the case – this is done particularly well and atmospherically in the new Audio Mystery games from Ravensburger, for example.

The enclosed additional clues can be quickly classified after a brief look and the chain of clues also quickly takes shape. It is quite classic to pay attention to motive, means and opportunity and to search the file for them. Overall, the case is easy to solve and the Cold Case board game takes about 1.5 hours, most of which is spent reading and listening. The shared fun of the game is mainly in sharing trains of thought, combining the clues together until a conclusive chain of evidence emerges.

It’s a pity that at least a small interaction on the homepage wasn’t built into the case, since you need the homepage to play anyway or the one or other surprise is waiting for you. A creative or surprising idea would have done us good, since we are spoiled by the competition in this respect.

The price is very fair. For little money you get with the Cold Case board game A Story to Die For a game designed with attention to detail to enter the world of crime games with a sure sense of achievement.

For Whom Is the First Cold Case Board Game Worth Playing?

The Cold Case board game A Story to Die For is a good introduction to the crime game genre with an almost certain sense of achievement. Regarding the difficulty level, it is rather aimed at beginners with the obvious clues of the evidence.

Experienced investigators and seasoned puzzle game professionals, whose hearts beat faster with complex combination tasks and tricky puzzles like in the EXIT games for advanced players, should be through with the solutions in about 20 minutes and miss the lack of creative thought work.


The first Cold Case baord game offers atmospheric evidence, designed with attention to detail. Recommended as an introduction for new investigators to the crime game genre and beginners with a sure sense of accomplishment, but for experienced investigators on the hunt for complex cases with convoluted clues and quandaries, this is the right crime game.


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