Murders at Karlov Manor: The Case of the Three Blade Knife review ⏤ Join the Ravnican Agency of Magicological Investigations, say that three times fast

From the fine purveyors of nerdy products, Beadle and Grimm, comes Murders at Karlov Manor: The Case of the Three Blade Knife. What is The Case of the Three Bladed Knife? It’s a murder mystery in a box game that was released alongside the Magic: The Gathering set Murders at Karlov Manor. Murders at Karlov Manor is a set all about solving a series of murders, and this game challenges you to solve a different group of murders currently vexing the detectives of RAMI. (See the very long review tagline) So, this is a unique crossover product for those who love murder mystery games and Magic: The Gathering. I don’t understand why Beadle and Grimm make the products they do, but every time they release something it is interesting and unique. When I saw they were releasing The Case of the Three Bladed Knife, I knew I wanted to check it out. Good or bad, at least Beadle and Grimm are doing something different.

Cracking Open the Case

Mystery games are always tough to review because I can’t show or tell you too much about the game without ruining the very thing you might be interested in. Without going into specifics, I can tell you that inside you’ll find a collection of thematic documents and a beautiful RAMI badge. Beadle and Grimm’s strength seem to be their high quality thematic props and this RAMI badge certainly fits that description. The badge is quite large, measuring approximately 3” x 3”. It’s arguably the centerpiece of the entire box. I’m surprised you can’t purchase the badge on its own, but I suppose that is part of the allure to this product. I have also seen other murder mystery games include a physical prop, so perhaps that’s more common than I am familiar with. This RAMI badge is by far the highest quality prop I’ve seen included in a murder mystery game.

The rest of the contents are all documents of some kind: dossier files, maps, posters, newspaper articles, notes, codes, etc. The goal of a murder mystery game is to parse these documents and glean answers into the question of who dun it? Why? How? This is the meat of the mystery and these games can be enjoyed solo or with a group. There’s value in playing one of these on your own, at your own pace, and sifting through the text at your leisure. There’s also great fun in sharing these with friends and discussing your discoveries. I played with friends, most of whom knew little of Ravnica, but were interested in a mystery to solve. The Case of the Three Blade Knife works great with a group; there’s enough paperwork to spread out so that multiple people can be reading and the mystery is structured in a way that it’s easy to share with friends.

The back cover of the box

Examining the Evidence

The important question is whether or not the mystery was interesting and fun to solve. For me, I enjoyed the story we unfolded together. I don’t think it was an Agatha Christie novel, but it was better than a penny dreadful. It’s hard to recommend something without being able to tell you why, but if you’re curious, you’ll just have to see for yourself. For me, I’ve done a handful of murder mystery games and this one ranks among the ones I’ve enjoyed the most. My main criticism would be that the way this story is structured is a bit nebulous compared to others I’ve done. I don’t actually know that this is a bad thing, but it did lead to a small amount of confusion about the overall goal.

I can tell you that the documents inside the game are beautifully crafted and detailed. This was a level of detail and bits of lore I appreciated as a fan of Ravnica. Even if I didn’t have that knowledge, there was a lot of enjoyment across the group in absorbing the material within. If all you knew about Ravnica was that it was an urban fantasy setting, you’d be fine to delve into this game. If the main draw of a murder mystery game is the time spent taking in everything, The Case of the Three Blade Knife has a solid core. I found the writing across everything inside well thought out and interesting to read. The small details displayed across everything showed me that Beadle and Grimm put a lot of work into everything. Replay value is basically nonexistent for these games, but having these fun documents from a favorite setting of mine does help take some of the sting out of being unable to replay the game.

What doesn’t work particularly great is the app used to advance the game. I have seen other games use cards or envelopes, but this game relies on the augmented reality Pinfinity app. If you’re unfamiliar with Pinfinity they make collectable pins that can be scanned by the app for additional features. Here, the RAMI badge is used by the Pinfinity app to bring up the menu, provide information, and the questions for the case. I had a lot of trouble getting the Pinfinity app to scan the RAMI badge until I put the badge on a blank sheet of printer paper. After that, the app worked great and I had no problems from that point on. As neat as the augmented reality functions are, they are gimmicky. As a whole, the Pinfinity app didn’t add much to the game other than some technical problems. This is a nice concept, but it needs to either be improved or removed entirely.

The functions of the RAMI badge in the Pinfinity app

Forming Conclusions

Overall, I recommend The Case of the Three Blade Knife. I enjoyed my time with the story, though I feel it could have been a bit stronger in a few places. Beadle and Grimm always create high quality products and this is no exception. The physical contents of the case are fantastic, as they are incredibly detailed and thematic. If you’re a fan of Ravnica you’ll get even more out of this than someone unfamiliar with the plane. I encountered some technical hiccups with the Pinfinity app, but nothing that wasn’t solved by one sheet of blank paper. Whether solo or amongst friends, this case is a fun romp into a mystery worth unraveling.

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Chris began tabletop gaming in college and quickly fell into the addictive world of cardboard. Beginning with D&D and Catan he became an enthusiast of all things gaming; analog or digital. Chris, now a relapsed MtG player, loves connecting with people via gaming through RPGs, board games, and video games. A particular favorite is testing friendships through social deduction games.



Murders at Karlov Manor: The Case of the Three Blade Knife

Review Guidelines

I enjoyed the mystery and story found within The Case of the Three Blade Knife, though I feel some of the story could be a bit stronger. For Beadle and Grimm’s first outing into murder mysteries, they’ve done a good job. The Pinfinity app required for the game works, but takes some getting used to. Overall the augmented reality features are neat, but are unnecessary as they get in the way of the game. I appreciated the physical contents of the case, as they are wonderfully crafted, detailed, and give you more story to find. Overall, if you’re wanting to spend some time in Ravnica or just solve a few murders I can recommend The Case of the The Blade Knife.

Chris Wyman

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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