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Board Game Review: Solve ‘Whodunit’ in the Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper Board Game by Studio H!

Well I did these completely out of order when I’m talking about the Suspects board game series. I started with Suspects: Clair Harper Takes the Stage, and then directly moved on to Suspects 3: Adele and Neville. And today we’ll be covered the middle installment of the mystery board game series – Suspects 2: Claire Harper Eternal Detective!

Suspects 2 board game
Board Game Box Cover for Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper by Studio H!

Suspects 3 is designed by Guillaume Montiage and Manuel Rozoy. Claire Harper is no longer a green detective; she has already carved out a name for herself as one of the prolific detectives of our age. It’s arguable, considering that she always seems to need OUR help to button up these cases.

Once again we’re hit with three brand new cases set in a universe inspired by Agatha Christie. The cases stack up in similar way as the previous installments, requiring some leaps of logic and a bit of luck to solve them in record time.

What do we think about Suspects 2? Grab your magnifying glass and let’s dive in!

Suspects 2 Gameplay

Just like its predecessors, Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper begins each case with an introduction to the case details and some additional documents. This sets the proverbial stage for the case, along with a deck of cards that are numbered to represent various clues, objects, people, and locations that you’ll be able to investigate along the way.

You’ll use these numbered cards to follow a lead, which will lead you to more cards and clues until eventually the trail will run into a dead end. At that point you’ll need to reassess and find other avenues of investigating the mystery unless you already feel confident that you’ve put the pieces together.

The scoring is determined by the number of cards that you’ve revealed at specific thresholds. It’s a good idea, as you approach a given threshold, for the group to make an educated guess on the answer to each of the questions presented to you at the beginning of the case. Then, when you reach the next threshold, you can reevaluate your answers. The more cards that you’ve revealed when you make your final guess at each question, the fewer points you’ll receive.

Right answers are the most important, but super detectives will be able to piece the mystery together with less information. Spoilers: I am not a super detective.

Staking Our C.L.A.I.M. on Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper!

Suspects 3 Icon Components

The Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper board game comes with the same components as the other titles in the Suspects lines. Each large overview card contains references to items that will be pertinent to the case (maybe) and in so doing, there is a lot of flavor to be gained by doing a cursory investigation of such cards.

Since the gameplay is simple, the components are simple as well; you won’t find anything frivolous in the box and the quality level is just what you need for a game of this style. Now that I’ve played through two and half boxes worth of cases, I really don’t have any other critiques or suggestions; the layout of the cards and usage of the components keeps the costs of the games static and reasonable.

Suspects 3 Icon Luck

There is definitely some kind of strategy when it comes to the Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper board game, but really it boils down to the number of cards that you reveal and the order you reveal them in. I’ve seen some critiques that argue that there is too much luck when it comes down to the cards because you could have multiple viable avenues to investigate – all of which are reasonable – and you might just pick the one that doesn’t give you as much information as another might have.

I agree with this to an extent, but at the same time I really just want to correctly answer all of the questions for a case. Gamifying the mystery by slapping some points on it does matter to some people, but I really mostly play these types of games for the story and the puzzle. And even if I stop the investigation with cards remaining, I always go back to see what those yielded anyways.

So yes, the order in which you reveal cards can be luck-based if you don’t happen to choose the ‘best’ route towards solving the mystery, but I’m personally not getting hung up on that.

Suspects 2 board game
Different cards serve different roles.

Suspects 3 Icon Aesthetics

Once again, I’m impressed with the way that the card design ties into the overall feel of the cases and how it lends itself to be easily replicated across the titles in the series. Whether the Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper board game is your first foray into the Suspects line or the last (like me), future games of any of the Suspects titles basically become a pick-up-and-play experience. Mechanically, everything is the same from one box to the next.

I also adore the little details on the overview cards and within the cards themselves because they certainly help to breathe life into the story and the mystery. Not only do they provide you with actual mechanical clues sometimes, but you can also get a better idea of the setting and tone through the artwork.

Suspects 2 board game

Suspects 3 Icon Interest

What I love about Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper applies to the entire line of Suspects games. Not only do I love a good mystery that is presented to me for solving, but I also really enjoy the level of difficulty that these cases present. You never really feel like anything is spoon-fed to you; everything you deduce feels earned, not given. If you enjoy a challenge, then these games are definitely made for you.

To take that a step further, you will have to do quite a bit of reading – and reading between the lines – to arrive at your logical conclusions for each case. I tend to ham it up when I’m the one reading the cards by trying to get into character and really sell the performance. In my opinion, the game is that much better for it, by almost creating a murder mystery night kind of vibe where everyone really gets into the roleplay.

Suspects 3 Icon Mood

As with any kind of mystery game like this, there are moments of frustration where you can’t seem to put the pieces together in a profound way. After the fact, when reading about the solution to the cases, you will often have a facepalm moment of something that you can’t believe you didn’t notice along the way. There are also a few instances where you will shake your head wondering how anybody could have come up with a certain aspect of the case given the clues provided.

Generally, logical deduction is possible. And, since you’re not on a physical clock, you can take your time. This is another way that Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper sort of sets it apart from other games in the genre like Unlock or Exit. You don’t have to feel pressure from the clock; you only feel pressure as the number of revealed cards goes up.

Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper: Can You Solve the Case?

Nerds on Earth logo with 'Deal with It' sunglasses. Text inside the seal reads "Nerds on Earth Seal of Awesomeness".

Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper is another smashing success and I really hope that Studio H doesn’t stop at just three installments. The format for the mysteries and the content is too good to put to rest just yet.

I’m as impressed with this entry of the Suspects line, Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper. As such, it’s only fitting that this game receives the Nerds on Earth Seal of Awesomeness award, thanks to head-scratching deduction that rewards those who think outside the box. It remains my favorite series in the genre of mystery games.

You can find Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper in the USA through Hachette Boardgames or try to find it at your FLGS!.

Disclaimer: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of Suspects 2: Eternal Detective Claire Harper from Hachette Boardgames in exchange for an honest review.

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