OverviewFor those not familiar with the story, photojournalist L.B. Jefferies is confined to his apartment after a near death experience when working at a Grand Prix event. With a fertile imagination and continuing heatwave, he starts to have suspicions about his neighbours activities which leads to him encouraging his friends to help him uncover the truth. As the director, you will try to leave clues as to what is happening in each of four apartments and possibly uncover foul play. The watchers will try to guess your clues and uncover what is happening in each of the four apartments. Rear Window is generally cooperative until it isn’t..Mainplay
Those who have played either Mysterium or Dixit are going to feel right at home here. The core of the game centres around one the players acting as the director who will play two cards into each of the four apartment areas. The cards at first glance are fairly straightforward to understand. All are wonderfully illustrated and clear with striking acrylic based art. Some of the cards will feature the residents of the apartments, while some of them will contain objects and infer that something has potentially happened in the portrayed scene. On every round the Director will play a one card into each of the eight slots available hoping to give enough clues about who the resident is and also what they are known for in relation to the watchers. So of the residents are known to the Watchers by name, while some are only known by a certain trait they have, which is an interesting twist as it emphases how little the watchers know about the people they are observing. While the illustrations with the obvious characters on them are a given, it certainly becomes more of a guessing game when the picture played is full of objects and you are trying to interpret why they have been played in that particular space. What seems obvious to the director can sometimes be the last thing that the watchers end up looking at and it can end up with moments of mirth once the game has finished and the thinking has been explained. If the card offers no help to the Watchers or maybe offer too much help in your plan to get away with murder, you can play it face done instead in order to avoid giving useless or confusing clues. Rear Window ends up like some kind of version of mastermind, where your score on each round dictates to you what you have right and what you need to rethink without fully telling you which of the windows are correct. It becomes a tight process of elimination since you are only playing four rounds at the most. Things ramp up even more if the murder tile is drawn, because at that point the game becomes one of competition where the Director is trying to let the Watchers guess the identities but also make sure they don’t discover which flat had a murder take place in it all while the Watchers don’t even know if murder has taken place. Get a hang of how that works and you can add in tiles that require you to guess two residents in an apartment and not just one though this mode really is for those who are at the top of their guessing game. You’re not alone in figuring things out yourselves though, as you can bring in the Watcher Placards which have abilities to help you in your guessing game and should always be considered based that you only have four rounds to get everything correct.
If there is no murder tile drawn then the whole team wins if all eight spaces are guessed correctly, however in the case of the murder tile being drawn the Watchers only need to guess seven correctly, as long as one of them was the murder tile and the Director wins if they fail to find where the crime was committed.
Rear Window looks lovely. Everything from the illustrations to the components to the character art represents the look of the film to a tee and the game looks fabulous when set up in full flow and illustration cards adorn the boards. The components are of thick card stock and the screens both players use are chunky and unlikely to fall down. High quality all round here.
There’s an ongoing joke in my group that I hated Mysterium with a passion. Though the real truth at the time was that hated that I was given certain clues that I was adamant were definitely saying that I was murdered with a pair of scissors and not by being poisoned by a duck. So when the chance came round to play Rear Window it was time to face my inner demons and see if my ability to interpret illustrations as clues were complete garbage or not. I’m happy to say report that one of the strengths of Rear Window is the lack of abstract which works extremely well in its favour. You’re still sometimes tempted to look at the obvious clue and try to make two and two equal ‘The Heartbroken’ but most of the time the clues you’re given will make sense and have you guessing correctly. Unless of course the Director pulled the Murder token and they are trying to give you obvious clues to put you off and lead you down a certain path. You won’t really know until round two if things simply aren’t adding up with your guesses. At that point it is time to bring in the special abilities and make the Director spit some actual facts instead based on the power your using. While clutching victory in the last round is the sweetest reward, I think Rear Window misses a trick by not suggesting that after the dust and claret has settled, you then take the time to go through the windows one by one and understand why the clues were played on each round. It’s something that I insisted on each play as uncovers the thoughts behind their decisions as well as on more than one occasion, everyone laughing at the not obvious clue that the Director thought was definitely obvious and you’re all bloody stupid for not picking up on it. Rear Window is a relatively light fun interactive social game that doesn’t take all afternoon to play and is not too difficult to learn and looks great on the table.
Value For Money
An average price of £30 ($34) and based on the quality of the game, components and potential replay value, I would say that Rear Window is worth the price if you are going to get it regularly to the table.
Keep the quarterbacking under control is maybe the trickiest thing to do here. Make sure to listen to every Watcher taking part because they might just be seeing things differently. Make good
You can find out more about the game by visiting https://funkogames.com/games/rear-window-game/
This review is based on the retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.
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