Everything is connected. This is the mantra of the world’s only Holistic Detective, Dirk Gently. In the new party game from IDW, players take the role of the famed detective or the actual police, and work to solve crimes using disparate evidence and suspects, assembled from the hands of other players, and create the best story that explains the suspect, evidence, and crime. How does it all make sense? Well, that’s up to you.
Another in the familiar line of card-based party games, Everything is Connected utilizes several elements of its predecessors to similar effect. Players receive a hand of cards from the “Persons of Interest” and “Clues” decks and, each turn, must give some of these to the designated Holistic Detective. The Holistic Detective takes half of the Clue cards, along with a Person of Interest and attempts to connect the dots. The player to their right represents the Police and attempts to do the same with the remaining cards, hoping to connect a more plausible story. The remaining players vote on whose story worked best and that player receives a point.
If you think you’ve heard this all before, you have. Everything is Connected is the latest in a string of party games using very similar mechanics to, hopefully, create a funny story-telling experience among friends. Like many of the others, it is skinned in a new way, but the gameplay – and the results – are basically the same. Without the raunchiness of Cards Against Humanity or the innocent fun of the original Apples to Apples, Everything is Connected falls somewhere in the “play it for a round and then play something else” category of party games.
The illustrations on the “Persons of Interest” cards are adorable, but they are only on certain cards, leaving others with enormous amounts of negative space. While CAH has gotten away with minimalist cards for years now, having a small number of cards illustrated while the rest remain blank seems like a mistake. Rather than demonstrate creativity in design, it magnifies how blank the other cards are. Fans of the BBC America show will surely enjoy the connections, as well as the illustrations, but the game is otherwise fairly lackluster. Without the branding, this would just be another game in the party pile.