Who Did It?

Who Did It?

The game: Who Did It? by Jonathan Favre-Godal. The game was published by Blue Orange in 2018. My copy is a review copy from the Finnish publisher Lautapelit.fi.

Elevator pitch: A combination of memory and reaction speed, Who Did It? is a silly game of avoiding poop tokens for children and childish adults.

What’s in the box? The box is very nice, small and sturdy, with a magnetic opening mechanism in the lid. Inside there’s a small deck of 36 cards and a bunch of cardboard poop tokens.

The components are good. The cards are well-illustrated and functional, they are easy to tell apart. The only thing I’m worried about is their durability, but that’s more because of the game’s nature and less because of the quality of the cards.

What do you do in the game? Everybody gets six cards with six different animals on them. The youngest player begins by playing a card and declaring, for example, “It wasn’t my parrot; it was the turtle!” which means that now everybody else must rush to play their turtle card on top of the parrot. The first player to do that then declares “It wasn’t my turtle, it was…” and names the next animal.

The round can end in one of two ways. If you name an animal that nobody has in their hands anymore, your attempt to pass the blame fails. Everybody will show their hands to prove the case and you’ll get a poop token. Also if everybody else runs out of cards and you’re the only one left with cards, you lose and get a poop token.

Once somebody collects their third token, the game is over and the players with the least tokens win the game.

Lucky or skillful? There are very few random elements in this game. There’s some luck in what the other players call and how that matches your cards. The amount of luck in your own guesses depends on how good your memory is: if you have a perfect memory, there’ll be no luck, but for those of us with less perfect memory capabilities, some luck is involved.

Being fast is generally advantageous, because as soon as you’ve ran out of cards and someone plays a card after your final call, you’re safe – but there’s that one catch, you can still fail if your last call goes wrong. I like it how being fast is good, but not a guarantee of anything, really.

Abstract or thematic? The poop theme works really well for kids. My daughter was all over the game after seeing a short intro video. Childish adults will also find the scatological theme funny.

Solitaire or interactive? Full interaction, all the time. You’re trying to be faster than your opponents and you have to pay constant attention to what cards are played.

Players: 3–6. The more the merrier. With fewer players, it’s easier to remember which cards are played, but also easier to hit an animal that’s gone. With five or six players, the game can go on slightly too long: with just three players, the game is over in seven rounds, maximum, but with five players, it can go on for eleven rounds, and that’s a bit too long.

Who can play? The publisher age recommendation is 6+, which I think is pretty accurate. The game isn’t particularly hard to teach or play, and doesn’t require more skills than recognizing six different animals, but handling the cards fast enough is something smaller kids won’t be able to do. As always, skill differences between players may be a problem, but the memory effect here makes Who Did It? a lot more forgiving than most speed games.

What’s to like: Lovely, silly theme, with a really nice combination of memory and speed. It’s always fun to see a speed game where being fastest is good, but not the only thing that matters.

What’s not to like: The poop theme is probably too silly for some, and if you really don’t like memory or speed as a game element, this may not be for you. If you hate both of the main mechanisms here, you definitely won’t like this game.

My verdict: I had to get this game, just because my daughter found the concept so attractive. I’m willing to play all sorts of games to make her happy, but I’m pleased to find out Who Did It? is actually something I enjoy playing myself.

I like speed games a lot, but most of the speed games aimed for kids are just too easy for an adult, and not fun to play: either you win all the time or have to play really slow on purpose. Either way, it’s not good. This game works better: even if you’re the fastest player, that’s no guarantee of winning, if you can’t remember which animals have already been played.

My only niggle here is the length of the bigger games. Playing with more players is fun, but playing until three tokens may stretch the game a bit too long. Playing for two tokens, on the other hand, seems a bit too quick. How to balance? One option might be to set a fixed cap on rounds by using just, say, nine poop tokens in total.

On the scale of Enthusiastic, Suggest, Indifferent or Avoid, Who Did It? gets Suggest from me.

Who Did It? cards

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