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Or, “Covering your tracks by pinning it on someone else”

by Bobby Stickel

My mother constantly used to tell me two things:

1.     “You always seem to get away with murder”

2.     “You need to be a better listener”

I don’t remember why she said that second thing.  But the first part is true: as a child, I would get away with murder. Not the ‘hand-in-the-cookie jar’ caper, more like the ‘wearing mother’s dress and creeping into the shower with a butcher knife’ kind of deal. (I was an odd child…)

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Despite my predisposition to jamming amputated limbs into a Lawn Chipper ™, Mother was quite proud of me, and even let me stay up late to watch Hitchcock movies.  But today, Mother would be proud to know that there is a board game about getting away with murder. And its main mechanic? Listening.

Mord Im Arosa (‘murder in the Arosa’ (hotel) ) is a fun little number consisting of painted wooden cubes and a stackable high-rise hotel building. The scene is this: Two bodies have been discovered on different floors of the Arosa Hotel. Whodunnit? Who cares?! Just make damn sure you’re not the one sporting iron wrist-wear by the end of the game.

The players take turns dropping their cubes (clues) into the shaft of the stackable hotel. Everyone must listen to their cubes as they tumble down the shaft and come to rest on one of the floors of the hotel. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You’ll have to be a discerning listener to determine if it’s your opponent’s cube, or your own, and on which floor it now resides. If you correctly find your opponent’s marker, you’ve put a little more evidence on to their already suspect reputation.  Guess wrong, however, and it’s your name on the chopping block.

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This game forces you to manage a balance between covering your own tracks, and pushing more guilt on your opponent. (A cautionary word on playing with shady dames: women are much better listeners, and I have a hard time beating the rap against a smokin’ lady with a smoking gun).

I happen to adore this game-- it sheds all the moral responsibility of “Clue” and the little wooden cubes help me detach from the notion that these are actual people who I may (or may not) have bludgeoned with a bowling trophy. I can simply focus on covering up these nameless corpses while shifting the blame to my unassuming partner (they say you always hurt the one you love- the converse is also true).

I would recommend Mord Im Arosa to any aspiring serial killer who wishes to etch his or her name into the body of a hotel bell boy.  A warning, however: This game is nigh-impossible to find in the US. I obtained my copy by prying it out of the hands of some unlucky  “Johnny” moments before he ‘accidentally’ fell out of a 7th floor window. I never heard where he ended up…