Dale Yu: Review of Inspector Nose

Inspector Nose

  • Designer: Reinhard Staupe
  • Publisher: NSV
  • Players: 2-5
  • Age: 7+
  • Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by NSV

inspector nose

Inspector Nose is a team game where players work together to solve cases.  One player is the Inspector, and his job is to give clues to the rest of the team – and they then discuss among themselves as to the actual meaning of the clue… 

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The game revolves around a deck of 54 double sided image cards, only 25 of which are in play in any game.  The 25 randomly chosen cards are shuffled and then 5 are dealt face up on the table in a row (you can shuffle or decide which side of the cards to use).  The clue card is then put to the left of the row.  The main purpose of this is to assign numbers to the image cards.  The card closest to the arrowed clue card is numbered “1” while the furthest away is “5”.

At the start of the round, the player who is Inspector Nose takes the 5 Number cards, shuffles them and then looks at one of them.  This tells him the target image card for the round.

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Next, the 8 dice are mixed up, and Inspector Nose chooses 5 at random to roll.  These are rolled on the table, and then Inspector Nose chooses any one of the 5 dice that he thinks has a good symbol to clue to the correct image card.  This die is picked up (without changing the face) and placed on the clue card.  It may also be important for the team to see which dice symbols were NOT chosen. After all, sometimes you do not get a great match on the symbols and you have to make the best of what came up on the dice!

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Note that this is the only information that the Inspector is allowed to give!  He cannot talk during the round and he is not allowed to give any non-verbal clues.  He should make a point not to continuously look at the target card lest that give away the answer.  The other players discuss amongst themselves as to the meaning of the die symbol placed on the clue card.  Once they agree on a card that is NOT CORRECT, they slide it upwards out of line.  If they have eliminated the target card, the group loses; otherwise, another round is played.

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Inspector Nose now takes one of the unused dice and adds it to the four dice not chosen from the previous roll; this new pool of 5 dice is rolled, and Inspector Nose again chooses a symbol that he thinks is best related to the target card.  This die is placed on the clue card, alongside any previously chosen cards.  Again the team discusses and tries to eliminate an incorrect card.

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This process continues until either the one correct card is remaining (the team scores the maximum 4 points!) or the correct card is eliminated (the team scores one point for this round for each correctly eliminated card).  To keep score, simply place all the correctly eliminated cards in a pile.  Now, play another round – either alternating who is Inspector Nose, or perhaps keeping the same person as the Inspector for the whole game!

At the end of the fifth round (i.e. when you have played through all 25 image cards), count up your score to see how you did.  The rules give a breakdown of how you did – hopefully you’re not a clueless snooper!

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Inspector Nose turned out to be a really nice game to play with my nephews.  The pictures are all nicely illustrated and represent objects that just about any grade school aged child should be able to identify.  The same goes for the icons on the dice.  Since the Inspector can’t talk with the team, it’s paramount that all players be able to know what the pictures and symbols mean without having to ask for help.

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LIke many non-verbal games, the biggest thing here is making sure that the Inspector doesn’t give away any clues (but trust me – it’s really hard to stop an excited eight year old!); but in the end, that doesn’t take away from the game.  While the goal is to score the most points, for me, this game is just very good at getting people to work together to talk about which pictures are right/wrong given the dice.  It’s a great game to foster communication and cooperation.

While some of the rounds are very straightforward; there are times when the Inspector has to really come up with a stretch because the icons just don’t really work.  I really enjoy hearing what the Inspector was thinking at the end of the round when he gets to explain why he chose radio to describe the kite card (well… it was because the antenna looked like the string on the kite!).

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For the children at the lower end of the age range, playing as the Inspector may be a bit difficult, but it is also a great opportunity for them to learn some vocabulary and some critical thinking as they try to clue to the target card.  If it becomes too challenging, they can always play as part of the detective team, and some of the older players could then play as the Inspector as needed.

Like Robots last year, NSV continues to try to produce games for the young set, and the entry this year is solid – and I think that this will be a game that sees a lot of play with my nephews in the year to come.

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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