We had another chance to play A Weekend in the Country (Second Edition) by Lari Assmuth. Here’s how the author described it in the reddit post where I learned of the game: A Weekend in the Country is a GM-less game for one or more players, in the British cozy mystery style of Hercule Poirot. Spend a weekend relaxing in the Adlers’ country home with the old cavalry colonel, his wife, his family friends and his staff. Until… a murderer strikes! Gather clues to find out what really happened at the Adlers’ estate, and to find out which of your main suspects had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime!
Lord Adler, retired colonel of the Imperial Yeomanry Cavalry.
Lady Adler (Q♥), Lord Adler’s young wife. A child of merchant wealth rather than the aristocracy.
Lady Blakeley (Q♠), amateur artist and friend of Lady Adler. Her sickly older husband is not visiting the estate.
Lord Entwhistle (K♦), a young lord here with his mother, the widow Lady Entwhistle. His late father served with Lord Adler but was dishonorably discharged following a court-martial.
Mr. Cooper (J♣), Lord Adler’s ambitious valet.
A Weekend in the Country is designed to have a single detective investigate the Adler murder, with all players controlling that one detective. However, our group of three players decided to each create our own character.
- Miss X, an MI-5 agent. For Crown and Country!
- Ash, a dapper gadabout. A hot-headed know-it-all and hobby detective.
- Lars, a working class immigrant. A snitch for Scotland Yard, but a better detective than any copper.
1. Study/7♦: Miss X sifts through Lord Adler’s books in his study, and a blackmail note falls out of one of them.
2. Kitchen/5♠: Ash shares with the others investigating the crime that when he got up during the night for a snack, he heard a floorboard creaking upstairs.
3. Servants’ Quarters/10♠: One of the servants shares with Lars that the carpet at the end of the upstairs hall was wet this morning. Rain must have come in through an open window there. Perhaps a criminal did, too?
4. Bedrooms/9♠: Miss X investigates the scene of the murder and finds a pendant cast down on the floor. It is a military decoration.
5. Bedrooms/A♠: Lady Blakeley tries to warn Ash to drop the case, saying she could make life very difficult, but he just brushes her off. She has no power over him.
6. Attic/5♦: Lars is poking around in the attic and finds a painting that Lady Blakeley had earlier been complaining was not on public display.
At this point, we start implementing our threat mechanic. If we get 18 or higher on a roll of 2d6+clues, there will be another murder. The roll this turn is 12+5=17, which we interpret as follows. On his way out of the attic, Lars almost has a fatal accident. One of the steps snaps underfoot, but he is able to catch himself in time. Was it chance? Or foul play?
7. Bedroom/8♦: Miss X searches the other bedrooms and finds debtor letters in Lady Blakeley’s room. (threat = 15, still safe)
8. Study/K♣: While Ash is in the study, he hears a commotion out in the hall. Lady Blakeley accuses Lady Adler of having murdered her own husband. Lady Adler scoffs that it wouldn’t be profitable. (threat = 13, still safe)
9. Kitchen/10♦: Lars learns from the cook that the Adlers recently had the Blakeleys over to play Whist. The betting got out of control, resulting in the Blakeleys owing more than they could afford.
With two pair, 10s over 5s, we take a chance on an accusation, rather than risk the threat roll. It is not strong but might beat a random hand drawn in Lady Blakeley’s defense. Lady Blakeley, worried that the gambling debts would undo her and her husband, initially tried to buy them off through artwork. Her paintings were deemed insufficient. Lord Adler was sending the debts to collections, at which point they would become too high profile. Lady Blakeley killed him during an argument over that. Then she tried to cover it up by opening a nearby window so that people would believe the murderer had fled.
Lady Blakeley’s defense is a pair of queens, her own Q♠ and Q♣. We use the Q♣ clue to inform her defense. She tries to foist blame onto Mr. Cooper, but he grants us access to Lord Adler’s most private papers, which back up the story we have uncovered. We turn Lady Blakeley over to the police.
This is the fourth time we have played A Weekend in the Country, and for the first time Lord Entwhistle is innocent! We played with someone who had no previous RPG experience, but they were able to come up with the personality of Ash and base their investigative decisions on that. Then we were able to rope them into a Genesys RPG one shot with us. So this was a good light roleplaying experience to ease someone into the hobby!