Ever wanted to know what it’s like to work for the police? Never could take that step into their shoes but always wanted to know what it was like?
Police Precinct is a board game with a two fold objective: solving murders along with other general crimes and giving its users a glimpse into what police work is really about. The game is for 1-6 players ages 13 and up, with a playing time of around 90 minutes.
The premise of the game is simple, take on the role of a specific police officer and work together to solve a murder in the city. This is done by collecting evidence around town until you can nail down a suspect to arrest. There are a few wrinkles in the game, however, that could prevent you from doing this.
For one, there is a lot of evidence to collect and a lot of it doesn’t relate to the case. Your job, as in real police work I suppose, is to be able to sift through this data in order to find the evidence that’s applicable to the case. There are four investigation decks placed throughout the city, and you’ll need to go through all of them to get the appropriate ate evidence to lead to a conviction. There is also potential for police corruption which doesn’t make things any easier.
Each player will have different abilities depending on which character card they draw, so you will have to manage those special abilities in order to maximize your turn when it comes up. Once a players turn is over an event card will have to be revealed. These cards typically consist of lesser crimes and other issues that need to be resolved while you are simultaneously searching for the murderer. Should you neglect your regular police responsibilities to focus on the murderer, neighborhoods will suffer with the introduction of gangs into the city. This game is about managing crisis while chipping away at the ultimate target. Don’t take too long though, as there is a time mechanic that, if left unchecked, very well may lead to the murderers escape!
Police Precinct makes a strong claim that it can and has been used to help prepare candidates for actual police work. The general theme and mechanics of the game seem to support this.
I’ve never done police work myself, but I can see how the game could give a glimpse of what police work is really like (as much as a board game could anyway). The only issue I had with the game was related to the gang tokens. The tokens get placed in certain areas of town and if too many are consolidated without being addressed, a gang is formed, making the game more difficult. There isn’t a mechanic issue, but the graphic on the gang tokens used (represented by one singular picture being printed on several tokens) are made up of only minorities. Some people may be offended by this, while others may not think anything of it. Also note that the character cards (i.e. police officers) are represented by various races and genders. Either way, that was the only issue I wanted to bring to light. Other than that, the components seem to be of very high quality. It’s an amazing looking game once everything is set up (though it may take some time to do so). I really enjoyed reading the different characters abilities and how one could use them in different ways during the game.
Police Precinct is an action packed game with more components than one could ask for in a game of this complexity. The developers (Common Man Games) boast the game’s usefulness for aspiring cadets and say that it can be used as a learning tool for teenagers (junior high and up). Barring the one issue with the gang tokens, the game brings a lot of depth and intuitive mechanics to a theme that surprisingly hasn’t been heavily utilized as of late.
Until next time,