Post Mortem LA: Death in La La Land is not your traditional board game, it’s not even a escape room type game, but it is a tabletop game in that we sat at the table to play it so I guess it counts?
Either way it was a really fun and unique experience which I’m happy to share with you all!
As with most noire detective stories, this one starts with a dead body and some pretty suspicious circumstances! The investigation centres around a fairground in Los Angeles and you are transported back in time to the 1940’s.
You will question suspects, follow leads and decipher puzzles to solve the unraveling mystery. Nothing is quite as it seems in La-La-Land…
|Player Count||1 + players|
|Publisher||The Mysterious Package Company|
Disclaimer: This game was provided by the publisher, but my reviews are always 100% honest and all photos and opinions are my own!
GAME PLAY 8/10
This really is more of an interactive story than a game as such, but it is a wonderful story, beautifully presented and well designed. There is a lot of reading involved, so you will need to be comfortable with this if you are playing with others but I found the story was written in a way that really helps you to voice the different characters, if that’s something you enjoy doing!
We played with just the two of us but this game could easily be played solo or with a larger group as there are no player roles. In larger groups you may wish to share the reading responsibilities to keep everyone involved and engaged.
Depending on how thorough you wish to be in your investigation, this is a pretty long experience, it took us around 3 hours in total, but it can easily be paused so you can come back to it at a later point. Once you feel you have followed enough leads and finished your investigation, you will be asked a series of questions to test your deductions and see how well you did!
I can’t help but compare this to Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, and while they are similar they do each have their own merits. Post-Mortem LA has better writing, I find Consulting Detective to be poorly translated at times which can really break the flow and immersive nature of the story telling. The theme and components are also more immersive and to my taste in Post-Mortem LA, but Consulting Detective can’t be beat on replayability and value (see below for more details on this).
AESTHETICS & COMPONENTS 10/10
The work that goes in to these boxes is incredible, you can tell that so much care and attention has been paid to every little detail. From the artwork, to the bags of evidence, even the pencil is branded with the detective agency slogan! Everything is dripping with the theme of 1940’s Hollywood and creepy carnivals.
The box it all comes in is just a postal box, designed to fit through a letter box so it’s not the most durable but as this is a single play experience it doesn’t really need to be stored like a regular board game in theory.
RULES & TEACHING 9/10
There is very little to say on the rules and teaching as there are no rules as such. You simply read through the story turning to different pages in the book as you follow leads using the 3 digit numbers found on components and documents etc.
The only real rule is (as with all games) don’t cheat! In choose your own adventure games it might be easy to read ahead or sneak-a-peek, but why would you?!
REPLAYABILITY & VALUE 3/10
The box is retailed at $50 plus postage (£38 approx.) and for a one play experience this is quite expensive in my opinion. Of course cost is very subjective so for some this might be good value. If you compare it to the cost of an escape room or taking the family out to the cinema, you might find it compares favourably.
If you compare it to the cost of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective however, you can’t help but feel there is far less ‘bang for your buck’, so to speak. Consulting Detective retails at around £30 and you get 10 stories for that. Each story could easily take you 2-3 hours to work through so you could be looking at ten times the gameplay time for similar money. Again this is all subjective as you may feel the unique theme and superior quality of Post-Mortem LA is worth the added cost.
While it is possible you could reset the box and pass it on to a friend, there are no instructions on how to do this so you would need to remember what goes in what bags etc. and the seals will be broken.
OVERALL SCORE 30/40 = 7.5
… you are looking for a uniquely immersive experience
… you enjoy choose your own adventure games like Consulting Detective