The Investigations card game is designed to be easy to learn and short to play. The game consists of four phases each turn, plus opportunities to compete for clues. The game is for two or more players.
Rules last revised January 8, 2012.
Each player must bring their own set of cards to the game, and each card must be marked in the "Owner" space. Each player must bring two Character cards, one Case card, 6 Clue cards, and 27 'deck' cards. The Clue cards must match the selected Case card and at least one copy of each Clue card for the Case must be included. The deck must contain only Item and Development cards.
To start the game, each player places their two characters in front of them. All players' clue cards are shuffled together into a single 'Event Stack' deck. All players' case cards are shuffled together, then laid out (face-up) in order. (This case ordering is used to break ties for winning.)
Each player then shuffles their own deck and draws a starting hand of 5 cards.
Determine the first player by any mutually agreeable means.
On their turn, a player has four phases, which must be done in order:
- Setup: Two actions to:
- Exhaust a character for resource counters
- Play an item card from your hand, spending resource counters
- Draw 2 cards from your deck
- Play a development card from your hand into the Event Stack
- Conduct an Investigation
- Clue: Start a competition for the clue
- Each player, starting with the current player and going clockwise, does one of:
- Exhausts a character for its stats
- Uses an in-play item
- Development: Follow card instructions
- Discard down to 5 cards
- Refresh your characters
- End your turn; play proceeds clockwise
Winning the game
A player wins the game immediately when they collect three of the four cards required for any case (even if it is not the case they brought to the game).
The game also ends when the Event Stack is empty. If that happens, check the first case. The player with the most cards matching that case wins. In the event of a tie, all tied players move on to the next case in order.
A player may have duplicate clues, but victory requires three of the four cards for a particular case, so duplicates are generally useless.
Example: Tim is playing a game with a "Wendigo Hunt" case, and he currently has the "Mr. Shaw" and "Quick Shadow" clue cards. The next investigation reveals a "The Wendigo" card belonging to him, which is immediately given to him. He immediately wins the game, because he has three of the four cards required for "Wendigo Hunt".
Note that required cards that are not clue cards are indicated on the case card in parentheses. For example, "Constance Welch" is a development card that can count as one of three required cards for the "Woman In White" case.
In the setup phase, the current player has two 'actions' to use. They are not forced to use both, but any unused actions are lost.
With each action, the player may either exhaust a character for resource counters, play an item card, or draw 2 cards. The player may do the same thing twice (for example, using two actions to draw 4 total cards).
Resource counters gained from exhausting characters are added to that player's resource pool (see below). Counters used to play a card are spent from that pool. A player may not play an item if they do not have enough resource counters in their pool to pay for it.
A player must do one (and only one) of two things: play a development card or conduct an investigation.
The development card may be placed anywhere in the Event Stack, face-down (such as on the top or bottom, or three cards down). This location (but not the card) must be announced publicly.
Example: Greg knows that the second card of the Event Stack is "Amy Hein", a clue with an observation stat competition. His opponent's characters have more observation than him, so he inserts an "Arrest" development card into the Event Stack above that clue. He announces, "I placed a development below the top card."
See "Investigation Phase" below for information on conducting an investigation.
Not every turn will have an Investigation phase... it is skipped unless the current player opts to conduct an investigation. To conduct an investigation, flip over the top card of the Event Stack. What happens next depends on what type of card it is.
If it is a clue card, this immediately starts a Competition for the clue. See "Competitions" below.
Otherwise, if it is a development card, it has its listed effect. If the card has an 'Owner cost', the card's owner may pay that many resource counters, or the card is immediately discarded with no effect and the player flips over the next Event Stack card. ("Continue investigation" or "Stop investigation" directives on discarded developments are ignored.) The card's owner may choose to not pay the cost.
Each clue and development, and Investigation phase abilities, will either say to "Continue investigation." or "Stop investigation." If the investigation continues, flip over the next card in the Event Stack. Otherwise, the Investigation phase ends.
Example: It is Tim's turn, and he conducted an investigation. Flipping the top Event Stack card reveals a "Trapped" development card belonging to Alan. Alan spends two resource counters (due to the "Owner cost 2.") to make all characters strength -2 each. Tim then flips the next Event Stack card because "Trapped" says to "Continue investigation." The next card is a "Wendigo's Lair" clue card. This starts a competition with the strength stat, but all players' characters have -2 strength due to the effects of "Trapped".
Example: It is Dan's turn, and he conducted an investigation. Flipping the top Event Stack card reveals a "Drowned Children" clue card belonging to him. He has the "Sam Winchester" character, and chooses to use his ability. He exhausts Sam, places "Drowned Children" at the bottom of the Event Stack, and ends the investigation.
Note that an effect that would stop the investigation overrides any effects that continue the investigation.
A player must discard down to 5 cards if they have more than 5 cards in their hand. Afterward, they must refresh both of their characters.
When a clue card is revealed during an investigation, all players compete for the clue. Starting with the current player and going clockwise, each player may either exhast one of their characters for its stats, use one of their in-play item cards, or pass. This continues around until every player passes in a row. At that point, the competition ends, and the clue card is given to the player with the highest of the specified stat. In the event of a tie, the player closer in turn order to the current player wins the clue.
Example: Mark and Keith are playing, and the revealed clue was "Mr. Shaw", which starts a charisma competition. It is Mark's turn, and he first chooses to exhaust his "Dean Winchester" character for 8 charisma. Keith then exhausts his "Shawn Spencer" character for 8 charisma. Mark passes. Keith then uses his "Andrea Barr" item, discarding it for 3 charisma. Mark passes again, then Keith passes, ending the competition. Keith receives the "Mr. Shaw" clue card, since he has 11 charisma to Mark's 8.
For competitions involving multiple stats (for example, a "Charisma and empathy competition"), add together the applicable stats. The player with the highest sum wins the competition.
Note that a player may pass, and then later choose to exhaust a character or use an item if the competition comes back around to them.
Each player has a pool of resource counters. Counters are added to the pool by exhausting characters (in the Setup phase), and are spent from the pool to play item cards and to trigger development cards. Counters in the pool persist between turns, so a player can spend several turns adding counters before spending many in a single turn to play items.
When a character is 'exhausted', turn it 90 degrees. An exhausted character cannot be exhausted again until it is refreshed. To refresh a character, turn it back 90 degress so it is straight again.
Each player has their own discard pile. When a card is discarded, it always goes to its owner's discard pile. If a player needs to draw a card and their deck is empty, they must immediately shuffle their discard pile to form a new deck.
Thanks to Tim M. and Ian L. for playtesting. Supernatural, Psych, and other shows are property of their respective companies. "Mom's Typewriter" font by Christoph Mueller.