Written in Blood

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I facilitated two games of A Weekend in the Country (Second Edition) by Lari Assmuth at the 2023 RinCon Gaming Convention. This first game uses the victim and suspects from the book, and we set the action in the 1920s.

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!

Session Report

Dramatis Personae


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. All players contributed to this description.

Detective Inspector John Han, retired, was injured in the line of duty at Scotland Yard, leading to his early retirement. During his convalescence he spent some time in the United States, where he developed a taste for hamburgers, now his favorite food. He is still well-respected in the field and has become an author of crime fiction. His Scottie dog Tucker is a bit of a detective, too, and can be credited for finding several of the clues that follow. John dresses sharp and always has his cane and a cigar. Even Tucker wears a bowtie—plaid, of course. 


1. Bedrooms/9♠: John first investigates the scene of the crime. Under the foot of the bed, he finds a locket that contains a black and white photo of a baby. 

2. Bedroom/J♠: John’s search of Lord Adler’s bedroom is interrupted by a knock at the door. It’s Lady Blakeley’s chauffeur, Anthony, who warns John that Lady Blakeley can be difficult. She fired her previous chauffeur just for having forgotten to put a rose in the car vase.

3. Servants’ Quarters/2♥: John heads to the servants’ quarters to see if any of the other staff has information to share. No one is there, so he pokes around on his own. In a tin can he finds a love letter. There are no proper names in it, just the pet names pookie and sugar bear. 

4. Attic/4♥: In the attic, John finds a page for a diary. It’s from a couple years ago and says that one of the servants has been acting strangely.

5. Study/6♣: While John looks through Lord Adler’s papers in the study, Tucker sniffs something of interest in the settee. Between the cushions, John finds a bloody paring knife.  

6. Kitchen/5♣: John investigates where the knife came from: the kitchen. There, at the door leading outside to the kitchen garden, he finds a name written in blood. The only letters he can make out are the first two: AD. (threat: 2+6=8)

7. Kitchen/3♦: While they’re still in the kitchen, Tucker draws John’s attention to a small tin for dainty tea biscuits. But inside, John finds cocaine! (threat: 4+7=11)

8. Study/2♦: John returns to the study to complete his search of Lord Adler’s papers. There he finds that there is a recent adjustment to the will. No one was cut out completely, but the percentages were adjusted. The change was quite extreme and in favor of Mr. Cooper, the valet.

At this point, we have a 6-high straight. We’re at least three cards away from the next best hand, a flush. We decide not to wait until clue 11, since the chances of another murder would be much higher. 


With a 6-high straight, we present our case. Mr. Cooper was strategically working to place himself higher in Lord Adler’s esteem. Lady Adler noticed this, and she was trying to scare him off. She wrote his first name, Adam, in animal’s blood in the kitchen. She was making further plans against him in the study when Lord Adler entered it. She hastily sat down on the settee and crammed the bloody knife in between the cushions to get rid of it quickly. Not knowing that he had changed his will so recently, Lady Adler decided to act before he could. The couple were in the habit of taking some cocaine now and then, and she laced his evening tea with enough to cause an overdose. Unfortunately for her, the will had already been changed.

Lady Adler’s defense is weak, not even a pair. She claims she heard arguing between Lord Entwhistle and Lord Adler about the court martial that disgraced the Entwhistle name (2♠, 3♠, 7♥). When pointing the finger in that direction doesn’t work, she turns on her old friend Lady Blakeley, saying she was having an affair with Lord Adler. She insists the corpse be checked for the kind of small wound that could come from a hair pin (8♣, 10♥). Despite her protests, Lady Adler is taken away by the police. Looks like Mr. Cooper will be inheriting an even larger share of the estate now.

Lady Adler loses to a 6-high straight.


For this session, I had 6 players (not including myself as facilitator), my largest group ever for A Weekend in the Country, and the game still took just about an hour. Before each person drew a clue, I’d prompt them for a detail about our detective (appearance, personality, or history). I think the players had as much fun sculpting John Han’s character piece by piece as they did investigating the murder. As we uncovered clues, everyone was furiously taking notes. Then, when Lady Adler was found guilty, one of the players actually asked, “But did she do it? Is that what really happened?” It was great to see that level of engagement with the story that we had just pulled together.