While a lot of games on this list have been loved by us because of how easy they are to explain the next one is not one of those. Tragedy Looper is one of the hardest games we have to get into but once you really get a vibe for how it is played it can really sing. A competitive deduction game that incorporates the fun of time loops similar to a dark and twisted groundhog day!
One player is an evil mastermind with a scripted goal with a few different methods of achieving that goal. The other characters (always three) are trying to stop those evil plans from happening. If the plot is successful time restarts back at the beginning and with the knowledge of how events unfolded the characters try to stop it again. The mastermind wins if the players cannot stop the event from happening even after multiple loops through time.
The game actions are mostly done through card play with each player having a deck of cards to play face down in certain locations of the board. It starts with the mastermind placing his cards on locations and/or characters in the game scenario. Then the players trying to stop him must figure out what those cards would mean (generally without discussion) and play in such a way to stop things from happening. The cards generate resources in some situations or move the characters around the board. Players need to be careful because sometime their movement cards can be joined with the masterminds cards to make new things occur.
Each scenario has a set number of possibilities for the mastermind to use. The goal might be to kill someone before turn 6. There might be another character that is a murderer if left alone with a character. This could easily be used to achieve the goal. The target might also be self destructive if left alone so players would need to make sure the mastermind never gets them alone. You generally start pretty lost when you first play a scenario but each trip through time you learn more information. Especially from how the mastermind plays their cards.
We’ve tried to explain the game as best we could but as we mentioned it is a complicated to grasp game at first. Obviously though since it is so high on our list we feel that the barrier to entry is totally worth it. Whenever we get this game to the table we have tons of fun trying to sort out the evil plot and try to figure out what the evil mastermind is trying to accomplish and stop it. You should definitely try it before you buy it - but that's what is so great about Platypus-Con, ask us for help at the con and we will definitely try to find time to get you into the game!