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P.I. (Private Investigator) is a simple deductive game consisting of 3 mini-games.

Objective

Each player has three cases that they need to solve.

You win by getting the most points for solving the three cases.

To solve a case you need to show the following elements: the criminal, the location of the crime and the type of crime.

Each player solves his own unique case each in round. The player on your right has your Case Cards, which show the elements of the case you are solving.

Actions

Each turn you choose only one of the following actions:

1) Use an investigator on a location (you only have 5 for the entire game)
2) Pick an evidence card
3) Attempt to solve the case

Using an Investigator

Each Location Card consists of a criminal tile, a location tile, and a crime tile. Using an Investigator on a Location Card tells you the number of tiles matching your Case Cards elements (the criminal and/or the location and/or the crime) in or near that location, as well as the number of elements. Discs and cubes are placed by the Investigator as follows:

  • Disc: An element is in this Investigator's location.
  • Cube: An element is in a location that is adjacent to this Investigator's location. It does not tell you what that element is.
  • Note: You only have 5 Investigators and they are 'one use' only for all three rounds of the entire game.

Example Results

Examples
Exact Cards Adjacent Cards 'Components Used
3 Exact 0 Adjacent 3 discs / 0 cube: all matching cards are on that location, how lucky!
2 Exact 1 Adjacent 2 discs / 1 cube
1 Exact 2 Adjacent 1 disc / 2 cubes
0 Exact 3 Adjacent 0 disc / 3 cubes
2 Exact 0 Adjacent 2 disc / 0 cubes
1 Exact 1 Adjacent 1 disc / 1 cube
1 Exact 0 Adjacent 1 disc / 0 cubes
0 Exact 0 Adjacent 0 disc / 0 cubes

Using Evidence Cards

Using an Evidence Card allows you to investigate one particular element of your case. It will only tell you the matching tiles that are the same type as the selected Evidence Card.

  • Disc: If the Evidence Card matches one of your Case Cards, a disc is placed on the matching tile.
  • Cube: If the Case Card's tile is in an adjacent location to the Evidence Card's tile, then a cube will be placed on the tile.

Additional Rules With Using Evidence Cards

  • If you already have a disc/cube on one of your Investigator Counters and it corresponds with the selected Evidence Card then the disc/cube is moved from the Investigator Counter to the tile matching the selected Evidence Card.
  • If a disc/cube is placed then it must be placed on the tile.
  • If no disc/cube is placed then you place the Evidence Card in front of your position to remind you that no information was gained.
  • If you do place a disc/cube then you discard the Evidence Card.

Attempt to Solve the Case

Finally you can attempt to solve the case, click on a criminal, a location and a crime type.

If you're right, then you get points according to how many players solve their cases before you (7 for first, 5 for second, 3 for third and 1 for fourth).

If you're wrong, then you lose 2 points.

The rules seem to imply that you can try to solve only once, and then the round's over for you. On BGA, that's not the case, you can try again, but you accrue the VP penalties (and lose time). If everyone has solved but you, you get 0 points (and penalties you have accrued).

Phases

The game consists of 3 rounds, players are attempting to solve one case in every round.

Each round is composed of phases where each player takes a turn playing one action (beginning with the starting player)

Solving a case

Once a player solves a case for the first time in that round, (in phase 6 of the current round for example,) they get 7 points, and each subsequent player who solves their case in the same phase (phase 6 in our example) also gets 7 points.

Once the phase ends, if there are at least two players who didn't solve the case yet, then the game continues, but on the phase the next player solves the case they get 2 less points and that goes for all players who solve the case in that same phase.

This continues on and on, until only 1 (or 0) player remains.

That player won't gain any points, and the next round starts.