It is often frowned upon to look in your neighbor’s window, but when it comes to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, you will not only be looking in their windows, but making decisions and assumptions around who they are and what they are doing… and if there is a murder. The director is calling the shots, and it is down to everyone else to figure out what is going on.
It’s worth mentioning that Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window has a player count of three to five players, but you can really play it with any amount of people as it’s mostly one against everyone else. The game kind of has two modes: The director is one player, and the rest are the watchers. Let’s talk about the director first.
In the rules, it says that the director should be your most skilled player, so set them up with the role. Everyone then picks 12 of the traits that the neighbours can have and add to it the murder tile. These traits are things like virtuoso, drunk, heartbroken, ect. There is a further set of traits which are a bit more challenging as they require another person to be added into the mix. They are traits like arguing with or drinking with, and leave a blank spot for an extra character to be slotted on. Once these traits are picked, they get randomly shuffled and the director pulls out four to lay out their board.
The director has a board and a screen, which means no other players can actually see what they are doing. They then must place the traits in the highlighted sections of their directors board, creating the storyline. Then, they must randomly put in characters, discarding the rest of the characters and traits into their trunk box. Once the board is set up, the game begins.
Players who are not the director also have a board to help communicate if they don’t want the director to hear them. The director isn’t able to speak at all. Either everyone is working together in this game, or it’s players vs directors, this is entirely dependent on if the director pulled the Murder trait. The murder trait is always put into the traits pile, but as there are twelve other traits, it is rare that the murder trait is pulled. If the murder tile is on the directors board, the director will be trying to keep that one element (of eight) a secret, but if there is no murder tile, the director will be trying to get everyone to correctly identify who are in which window and what their trait is.
This is done in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window through days of looking at the window. The director will silently pick 8 cards, then place them all down on the house board on the day they are currently solving. Two windows can be face down if the cards aren’t particularly helpful, but the rest must be face up. The director does also have three times, the entire game, where they can discard a card and pull another.
This is how the players will guess what’s happening, putting down the traits they think are used in that window and the people tokens they want to guess at. There are only four days to guess, so checking out previous days and making sure you are all agreed is really important when playing. As the days build, there are patterns that can be found, to help you solve what is going on. At the end of each day, when all decisions are made, the director will mark how many on that tile is the correct person or trait in the correct place, before moving onto the next day.
As previously mentioned, there are only four days, so this can be quite the challenge! Especially if the director is unable to pull good cards. We all did feel the director should be able to discard and re-pull more than three times in the game, as we had moments where no “people” cards were showing up, and just cards that could depict traits were there. The trait cards are really interesting, as many of them can mean many traits. There was one card with a bunch of animals in a box, next to two people arguing. Could this mean the couple are there? Or is this the animal lover trait? Or is it the heartbroken trait? Also the animals are in the box, so is this the thief trait? It’s all up for discussion!
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window is a fun game to play and feels really wonderful when you’ve found a pattern or solved something! There is a lot of strategy and maths that end up being involved towards the end, as you work hard on the last day to figure out what is going on. We did not end up pulling murder, but have no idea how that would even be solved if I am honest — so are glad it’s so rare.
You can purchase a copy of Alfred Hithcock’s Rear Window on Amazon.