This Police Precinct review was made after playing the game six times.
What is Police Precinct?
In Police Precinct, you and your fellow cops are trying to both solve a murder and keep crime down around the city. Your main focus is on finding the murderer, but you can lose the game if crime gets out of hand.
Police Precinct Gameplay
Before you start playing Police Precinct, you will need to pick a character, who will have his or her own stats and unique special abilities to use throughout the game. You will also get a couple police cards that will help you on your mission.
The stats on your character card will tell you how many dice you use when performing actions or how many cards you can draw. You can add to this by having other cops with you at a location and/or by using cards with the correct symbol on them.
You can do exactly four things on each turn: move your car, do an action, draw a police card, and then draw an event card. Some cards and abilities allow you to do special actions on your turn.
You have quite a few actions to choose from. You can investigate the murder, arrest street punks, take care of emergencies, and even upgrade your character’s abilities. It’s always a good idea to perform actions that you are best at doing, but sometimes you are pretty much forced to take care of something before/when it gets out of hand.
You are hoping to find evidence when you are doing your investigations. These evidence cards will be placed on the Investigation Board as the game moves along. Your goal is to fill up this board so you can catch the murderer.
There are two main “tracks” to pay attention to during the game: the crime track and the time/turn track, which counts down the days you have to catch the murder. If the crime track ever reaches “Fail” or the turn track reaches zero, everyone loses. If you can catch the murderer before either of those things happen, everyone wins.
You also have the option to play Police Precinct with a “dirty cop,” but we haven’t used that variant yet. It does seem interesting, though, because it adds bluffing to the game and it probably adds even more tension.
Check out Police Precinct (2nd Edition) at Amazon
- Cooperation in Police Precinct is excellent. If you don’t work together to take down the bad guys and solve the murder, you pretty much have no chance to win. It’s good to talk it out before moving to help each other so you are performing actions that will help both in the short and the long term.
- Thematically, the game is great. We had no problem getting into the police theme since everything you do – from arresting punks to taking care of different emergencies – makes the game come to life.
- We also liked that this game is a great challenge. We’ve won fewer than half of our games, and I don’t see that win percentage going too much higher regardless of how often we play.
- The game runs a bit long for what it is. We did have a few games that lasted around 90 minutes, but most of them were closer to two hours. Considering the majority of this game is samey (dice rolling, drawing cards), it would have been great if they had made it a 45 minute game instead.
- I’m not sure yet, but it seems like Police Precinct could get a bit boring once you play it 15 or so times. It would have been great if there was a bit more variety in the decks and if they had found a way to have different murderers that changed the game in some way. As it is, you pretty much see everything the game has to offer in the first few playthroughs.
If you love the idea of playing a co-op game with a police theme, then chances are you will be very happy with Police Precinct. It’s not going to make it onto our top family games list, but it’s easy to see why so many people love it as a family game.
We see this as a slightly above-average co-op game, but we’re still going to keep it since it’s the only police-themed board game that we have and it presents a good challenge.