I had not played Murdero since the initial play (which you can read about here) and decided to pull it out for a quick session last night. After the first game I had some mixed feelings but thought it had potential as a two player game and I was eager to try it out with that format, but last night we wound up having three instead. After playing through it again I can safely say that Murdero is not a particularly good game. It has several weaknesses, the most glaring of which is that it is just not that much fun. More often than not I felt as if I was just crossing my fingers and drawing a card or two each turn. The game leaves little room for strategy or decision making which are two things that I know that I am into, and I imagine most other gamers are as well.
I do feel that we got as much fun out of it as could be reasonably expected, maybe even more than should be expected. Mike, Katie, and myself are fun and we know how to play games. We laughed at all of the ridiculous, formulaic quotes that are on the cards (We even made up some of our own like “Rebecca Lane never killed people. Until she did.”), imagined ourselves piecing together the crimes, etc. We did all of it and more that could be expected to make the game fun and it just wasn’t there. Murdero is really just about card farming and a whole bunch of luck, neither of which are really stand out elements in a game.
One of the aspects of this game that really became apparent to me on a second play is just how useless the majority of the Action cards are. A handful of them have value (Overtime is exceptionally good, Sabotage is useful, and Real Estate is almost too good) but most of them are total garbage. The Alibi’s are almost pointless since it is so hard to complete a set anyway (especially with four players), by the end of the game we were laughing each turn when The Don’s Alibi was discarded for a second draw. I think it happened in literally every game that we played, which to me says that the card is sort of irrelevant. Each of the action cards has a use, but they are often so circumstantial to render it almost pointless to hold onto. When faced with the option of holding it or discarding for a second card in a turn the choice is really a no brainer. Take the card.
Murdero definitely worked better, in a mechanical sense, with three players than with four, so it is also a decent assumption that two players would improve it further. But maybe not. I could envision a two player game just to be a constant drawing of cards until someone closes out a set, which does not sound like much fun. This is the only rummy style mystery card game that I’ve played so I am not really sure how it fits into the genre. Despite the play of Murdero I would be willing to give others a play and see how they are.