This post about the thematic set collection game Arkham Noir: Collector Case #1 – The Real Leeds was previously published on a Solitaire Games on Your Table-list in the 1 Player Guild on Boardgamegeek. I'm hosting it this month. If you play a solo game, please drop by to say hi and maybe write a small session report. I'd love to see you there.
You'd think I'd remember that face.
I'm a detective, trying to solve some horrible cases in Leeds. I'm following leads and trying to find clues. Vernon is my contact and can really help me out when I'm stuck or about to lose my mind. And I keep forgetting his number - or rather, I discovered that card still lying unused on the table after I finished the game, realising again how I made things too hard on myself. And that's because I get totally absorbed into the thematic gameplay of this one. It's really cool how logically the mechanics are connected to the story. You get punished when you waste time, there will be more victims. Solving these cases will take their toll - if you take too long, the mental strain may wear you out.
Every card you play will have a mandatory or optional effect, like: take a mental stability check, take a card (you're on the right track), discard a card (you may be wasting time). On every card there's a moody illustration and a short flavour text. They are all pieces of the puzzle. It's not just abstract set collection, you're putting clues together in some way that makes you see the big picture.
They found the body of my predecessor Clement Lestrange. According to his notes he was investigating a children's camp "Little Leeds" whe he went missing. I contacted agent Swaller of the FCC who had hired me and she told me about strange eye witness accounts that hinted about one Benjamin Stockton being a warlock. But so far nobody could make the accusations stick.
I also started looking for clues in the case of Tim McLellan, one of the missing children.
Tick tock. Wasting too much time. Another victim was found. Bill StClair, another kid. I felt guilty and was not able to get much sleep. Walking through the town at night I thought I saw men with animal faces in the distance, suggesting terrible things were going on. The broadcasts on the radio were getting very uncomfortable and hard to handle. Were those cannibals, making gleeful confessions? Were those the cries of the damned?
Anne Glare, a friendly bookseller, told me about the history of occult activity and gave me a hint where I could find the key to the real Leeds.
Well, at least I knew what Clement was looking for in the woods. I filed my clues on his case and started focussing on the children. Two informants, an intermediary and a cook, got me on the trail of the Secret Lords of Leeds.
Tick tock. Time was running out. Another dead child found. Rangel Bantam. I was starting to feel sick. That night when I looked out my window, I saw a nightmare procession in the streets. I started hallucinating, had a vision of everything. Thought I heard the voices of the missing on the radio. Telling me, showing me. The children were drawn into the woods, they thought they had friends in the woods.
I turned my evidence over to the local cops who now uncovered The Real Leeds.
So yeah, you can totally play this like it's just another abstract Patience variant and connect the symbols in order. Or you can read the texts and look at the beautiful illustrations. Fill in some gaps in the story that unfolds. And maybe not play it just before you go to sleep.