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Mortum - Medieval Detectives
Mortum - Agenten des dunklen Zeitalters

[Mortum - Medieval Detectives]

Sergey Minevich




G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Agents on cloak-and-dagger ops in an unwelcoming medieval fantasy world. That’s what BGG tells us in a subtitle about the game. I think that’s already a good explanation about what’s going on in the game, at least as far as the story is concerned. So, we are in set in a medieval world. And we are agents or better a group of three adventurers who are drawn into three criminal cases. Well, at least we are charged with finding out where our friends have gone, as they haven’t returned from their trip yet..

Compared to our modern times, the Middle Ages were hard times and people often vanished, were robbed and murdered just because of some pennies, a horse or a golden bracelet. Basically, our task in our first mission is to find an informant who has some information for us where our friends might have disappeared in a far-away village.

But, of course, our informant is not at the appointed meeting place. And so, we find ourselves in a lonely encampment near a farmhouse, a pub, a smith and some stables. The residents are friendly, but some seem to bite back the one or other detail when we ask them about the whereabouts of our friends. This is suspicious and soon after we are drawn in a entanglement of some inhabitants and some dark figures we spot at the one or other location around.


Click on image to enlarge!

You see, Mortum – Medieval Detectives is a detective game, a genre that’s getting more and more popular in recent years. It’s purely card-based and does not need any app on a mobile device like so many other games of this genre. Each turn, a player chooses one of the options of the already revealed card. The card tells which new card is drawn from the deck for the scenario and the active player reads out what’s happening and what possibilities there are to decide for the group of adventures.

Yes, it’s the whole group of adventurers the active player is choosing for, not a single adventurer. As a result, Mortum – Medieval Detectives is actually not really a multiplayer game and you can perfectly play it alone. But, as so often, it is much funnier (and mostly also better) to make decisions in a group than it is for the single player. Of course, the active player has the final word, but advices are always welcome.

In contrast to some other games of the genre, Mortum – Medieval Detectives does not impress with its illustrations. To the contrary, most cards are text-heavy without any graphics. But still I think that the game is something special and I really liked to play it. Why?

Well, one of the reasons are the special actions with that you can put an object or a location under surveillance, raid or investigation. All of these actions demand heroes’ abilities and depending on your choice of characters (five are at choice at set-up) you have more of the one or other action available. Those special actions demand time that you keep track of on the time track. So, for instance, you decide to put a location on surveillance. As a result you are marking this action on your hero and on the time track. The two other characters continue to make choices on the available cards and only three hours later (game time not playing time) you will get the result of your surveillance by drawing (and reading) the matching surveillance card of that location. Sometimes you will see that your special action was pointless, because you already have found the hint of the surveillance before the commissioned hero returns to the group. But much more often, in the meantime you do some other research and end up with two new information at the same time.


Click on image to enlarge!

The other reason why I think that Mortum – Medieval Detectives is something special are the brilliant dialogues and well-written story elements on the cards. Yes, it’s a lot to read, but it’s worth it.

In the end Mortum – Medieval Detectives is very similar to the mechanics of Detective. But that’s not bad, of course, as Detective is a very good game. I personally prefer the medieval setting of Mortum as well as the mechanics of those special actions. It’s medium challenging, but the story is interesting, logical and involving. Three missions are to be solved, the first one is slightly shorter and also a little bit easier than the other two. Each mission ends with an interrogation of the heroes and a lot of questions has to be answered. Only if you have find out enough information you are allowed to go on. And some elements (physically or story-orientated) can also be kept for the next mission, so you continually find out more about the world of Mortum. The next stand-alone scenario has already been published, so hurry up to solve the first three cases to be prepared to whatever is still waiting for us!

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