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Coffee Detective


  “Good evening, everyone, my name is Agent Lilah Conway, and I’m here in Maple Valley, Vermont to speak with you about the murder of Chip Pedansky. As you all know by now, young Chip was on his way to his job at the paper plant when his motorcycle was driven off the road and into an industrial strength wood chipper. We at the FBI have reason to believe this was not an accident…”

Such is one possible beginning for an entirely improvised investigation that will take your game table through a evening of wild accusations, shocking twists, absurd alibis, and genre-savvy confrontations, presented through the lens of a coffee-loving investigator visiting a tiny town where anything can happen. 

COFFEE DETECTIVE is a zero prep, rules-light, highly improvisatory game of small-town mystery and murder. It is an homage to genre fiction in the vein of shows like TWIN PEAKS, the X-FILES, and NORTHERN EXPOSURE with an emphasis on low-stakes collaborative play and safety mechanics. Players will need nothing but their wits, wiles, and a willingness to leap into a world designed by the group as you go along. Take turns inciting scenes and eavesdropping on suspicious happenings in order to determine an ending where anyone could be the killer. Play is driven by interpersonal interaction, lightly guided collaborative worldbuilding, and a set of PLOT TWIST cards that change up the game every time while staying true to the nature of the genre and the quirky absurdity of the locals. Also included are tips and suggestions on improvisatory roleplay, creating worlds and characters from scratch, and how to adapt COFFEE DETECTIVE for nonviolent scenarios or employ safety mechanics, ensuring a fun evening for anyone at your table!

Game includes full manual, printable sheet of PLOT TWIST cards, and printable example character sheet [not necessary for gameplay].

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Reviews (2)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Paul B March 02, 2023 10:39 pm UTC
I’m curious. How do you eavesdrop on a scene if you can only do so when it’s your turn and for that to happen the previous player’s scene has to end? Is that covered in the pages not part of the preview?
Customer avatar
Alex F March 02, 2023 10:55 pm UTC
Hi there! Eavesdropping doesn't have to happen "during" your turn--essentially, it's a choice you make on your turn to forego your own scene and instead jump into someone else's before the turn order gets back around to you.

For example: Player A goes first in the round and starts a scene with Player B and the Detective. The scene concludes and it is now Player B's turn. Since Player B just went, they decide to Eavesdrop instead. It is now Player C's turn. Player B can either eavesdrop into this scene, wait and eavesdrop into Player D's scene, or let play circle back around to Player A and eavesdrop into that scene instead. It's a little bit like dropping out of the combat order to let other people go first and take advantage of a reaction move--you're just opting to change up the flow of gameplay a little bit.

Hope that helps!
Customer avatar
Paul B March 02, 2023 11:01 pm UTC
Sure does - thanks!
Customer avatar
Doug V December 13, 2018 6:10 pm UTC
The character sheet download gives an error message "FAILED - A file was found, but no job related to the file was recorded." is there another way to get the character sheet?
Customer avatar
Alex F December 14, 2018 2:52 am UTC
So sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know! I'll take a look at the file and try to fix that--if I don't get that taken care of by tomorrow afternoon, feel free to shoot me an email at therealalexflanigan (@) and I'll take care of that for you.
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December 04, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on December 05, 2018.
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