Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Game
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- 1 to 8 player game
- Updated version of the 1985 Spiel des Jahres winner
- Challenge your mental abilities
- 2012 As D'Or winner
- Updated version of the 1985 Spiel des Jahres winner
- 2012 As D'Or winner
- Challenge your mental abilities
- 1 to 8 player game
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Analyze and solve the greatest mysteries of the Victorian era. Ten Sherlock Holmes adventures in which you are the hero. You are a member of the Baker Street Irregulars working to solve mysteries before the Master. You are either investigating the mysteries as an individual, or trying to win against up to 8 other investigators. The curse of the mummy, the murders of the Thames, the mysteries of London, the stolen paintings... strange cases of the most famous detective ever: Sherlock Holmes. Equipped with a copy of the Times, a map of London, a directory and more importantly - your logic, you will roam the streets of London trying to solve the most heinous crimes. Will you visit the crime scene? Meet Inspector Lestrade? The decision is in your hands and each clue that you follow will bring you a step closer to the truth. Unravel the string of intrigue, answer a series of questions and compare your score to that of Sherlock Holmes. Can you beat the Master.
From the Manufacturer
Analyze and solve the greatest mysteries of the Victorian era. Ten Sherlock Holmes adventures in which you are the hero. You are a member of the Baker Street Irregulars working to solve mysteries before the Master. You are either investigating the mysteries as an individual, or trying to win against up to 8 other investigators. The curse of the mummy, the murders of the Thames, the mysteries of London, the stolen paintings... strange cases of the most famous detective ever: Sherlock Holmes. Equipped with a copy of the Times, a map of London, a directory and more importantly - your logic, you will roam the streets of London trying to solve the most heinous crimes. Will you visit the crime scene? Meet Inspector Lestrade? The decision is in your hands and each clue that you follow will bring you a step closer to the truth. Unravel the string of intrigue, answer a series of questions and compare your score to that of Sherlock Holmes. Can you beat the Master?.
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The game includes the following:
1.) 10 cases (a booklet for each case)
2.) 10 sets of newspapers, one for each case
3.) Directory booklet (like a yellow/white pages, with a list of names, locations, and businesses)
4.) Map of London
5.) Rule book
For each case, you take the corresponding booklet, read the case, and afterwards you begin to pursue leads based on the information of the case. Each lead might potentially direct you to another lead, and so on until you feel you've questioned enough leads to potentially solve the case. The related newspaper for the case can also generate leads as the newspaper might contain particulars related to the case that you may pursue.
I'll give you an example of one playthrough using a case I'll make up.
Case #100: An Amazon.com reviewer, named Joe, was riding his bike on Liverpool Street, near the intersection of George's Road, when, suddenly, a tomato crashed against his head, causing Joe to fall off his bike and onto the pavement, wounding his head in the process. A witness, Paul, says the tomato-thrower wore a long overcoat and top hat but perpetrator raced away from the scene before Paul could take a solid look at him.
After all the players have had a chance to read the case, they decide who goes first. The following is based on competitive setup (not group play). The difference is that, in a competitive setup, each player may pursue leads and handle clues separately from the other player; in a group game, all players work together and share information/notes/clues, thus eliminating the concept of "turns."
Player 1: Well, the first thing Player 1 would probably do is try to question Paul, the sole witness, some more, so Player 1 grabs the directory booklet and searches for Paul's name, and gets his location (3E). Player 1 then grabs the Case Book and searches for 3E, and after finding it in the case book, proceeds to read the corresponding information quietly to him/herself. This information provided by Paul in the case book may yield even more clues, more information that Player 1 will jot down for future reference.
Since each player is allowed to only follow ONE lead a turn, Player 1's turn is over since Paul is considered a lead.
Player 2: Player 2 may decide either to pursue the same lead as Paul (if this were a cooperative game, Player 2 wouldn't need to since Player 1 has already done so on the previous turn and has already shared his/her information with Player 2), but instead Player 2 elects to refer to the map of London and investigate the scene of the crime (intersection of Liverpool and George). Having located the intersection (4WC), Player 2 goes into the case book and searches for 4WC, then reads the corresponding information to him/herself, taking all the necessary notes.
That concludes Player 2's turn. Now, on to Player 3...
Player 3: Player 3 has the option of pursuing either of the aforementioned leads already exhausted by Players 1 and 2 (Player 3 would get the same information), but instead Player 3 remembers seeing something about a disgruntled tomato vendor in the newspaper and elects to pursue that lead instead. So Player 3 finds the name of the disgruntled tomato vendor from the newspaper, tracks the vendor's name in the directory booklet, gets the vendor's location (7NW), takes the case book and searches for 7W, then reads the information, takes down notes.
That's Player 3's lead, so his turn ends.
This VERY BASIC example reflect a competitive setup, so none of the players know exactly what information (clues and so forth) the other players' have, unless they use their turn to access the same leads (which happens more so than not), but even then each player might not pick up the same, minute clues each lead yields. Since, in this example, none of the players have opted to pursue the same leads, everyone has a unique set of information. However, this will change during the course of the investigation because everyone will eventually exhaust every possible lead in a case, and it'll be up to each player to come up with their own solution - through deduction - for the case.
I hope I didn't make it sound more complicated that it really is. There are no game pieces, coins, or any of that stuff associated with this game. The game revolves around reading, taking down notes, and formulating a hypothesis once all evidence and leads have been pursued.
It's very simple, but very challenging and rewarding.
But good luck solving some of the cases.
My girlfriend and I have completed 4 cases (out of the 10 that comes with the game), and we've been unable to solve all the primary questions related to any one of those cases, much less beat Sherlock Holmes.
At the end of each case, you have to answer 4 primary questions related to the main case and 4 "bonus" questions related to a separate or loosely-related case. By default, Sherlock already knows the answer to the primary questions and explains how he came to his conclusion, so you have to know the answers as well (giving you a tied score with Sherlock, but correctly answering the bonus questions - which Sherlock doesn't answer - can put you over the top).
The most challenging part is that the game gets harder with each case you tackle. Why? Because, included with the game, you have 10 sets of newspapers (one for each case), but the clues of each case might have been referenced in an older paper, so if you're on Case #2, for example, you'll not only have to read the newspaper for Case #2 but also the previous newspaper from the previous case for clues. By the time you reach Case #10, you'll have to potentially sift through 10 days of newspapers!
We love it. This game is very intelligent and it forces players to pay attention to detail, be creative, and exercise a lot of logic and deduction. I suspect you'll be smacking yourself on the forehead a few times for missing a clue or failing to logically apply it to the case at hand. A single case can last 2-3 hours. On the first 2 cases, my girlfriend and I spent about 3-4 hours and a lot of paper (you'll be taking pages of notes for each case, trust me).
We're going to tackle case #5 tonight, but already a hint of sadness has set in because we're almost at the halfway point of completing a great game and adventure. No English expansions have been released yet but the recent reprint of the original game has ignited some hope that more cases will be forthcoming. If it never happens, we'll accept it and cherish this adventure and experience.
The cases are VERY difficult and even if you read every clue, there are some big jumps in deduction the player has to generate from their own head--this game doesn't serve you the answer on a platter, that's for sure. It's doubtful I'll ever come close to beating Sherlock's score (so far, I'm on Case #5 and my best score was 75/100), but I don't mind at all.
My biggest complaint is that some of the fonts are so stylized that they're unreadable. Also, there are a LOT of typos in this game, which can make players wonder "Is that an intentional misspelling or a clue?".
We have been enjoying many of the board games recently (Pandemic, Betrayal, etc) but SH:CD is quite a different animal. The game itself is mostly text: a set of ten casebooks, a directory, a bunch of newspapers and a map of London. Over the course of the game, you solve a mystery based on evidence you gather from people around London. It's a very free form game with basically no rules. The artwork and graphic design is great - it really puts you right in the heart Victorian London. There are a few typos in the books, which is annoying. They're easy enough to ignore once you're engaged in the game and none were content related.
We made some tea, set up the map and opened the first casebook. It was about a murder which (of course) the boys at the Yard had misidentified as a simple robbery. In the introductory text, a few clues are dropped and we had a couple people who we already wanted to talk to. Afterward, we looked through the day's newspaper and started to connect some dots - what things were going on that day that could be connected to this murder?
We then started following our leads, taking notes about who was where, when and why. To follow a lead, you look up that person (or where you think they might be) in the the London directory, which then gives you their address. Interviews are sorted by address in the casebook, so you flip to the pages and then read it aloud, taking note of important facts. Using the map and directory to locate specific tobacconists, theaters, etc that were mentioned in the text felt so thematic that it made flipping through a phonebook exciting.
We had our ups and downs, went back on our hunches more than a few times. It was actually quite a challenge pin down whodunnit. We had basically exhausted our leads when we reexamined our notes, came up with a few possible scenarios, examined each and decided we were ready to check our answer with Sherlock himself.
The scoring in this game works as following: There are several questions about the main case, worth 100 total points if you get them correct. There are bonus questions about tangential goings-on that are worth up to 40 points. Sherlock presents his solution, revealing the leads he follows to score his 100 points. You score additional points for each extra lead Sherlock followed and lose points for each extra lead you followed (with a couple freebies).
We got all the questions right, but followed a ton of leads, and ended up scoring a 55. While I like that the scoring system incentivizes thoroughly examining each lead so that you take as few as possible, we had a hard time deciding which of our leaps of logics were Holmesian genius and which were poppycock. Also, the fewer leads you follow, the less of the game's content you experience. There's some challenge and fun in beating Sherlock's score, but there's as much fun soaking in every detail of the case.
Regardless, the game was an incredibly fun. It took us nearly 3 hours to complete, but we imagine future cases would go a little quicker. For $40, this game basically plays out in ten movie-length sessions, which have no replay value. 20 hours of fun for $40 isn't the cheapest, but is on par with buying a couple of movies or tv shows which aren't nearly as engaging. We look forward to passing this game around to our friends when we're done so we can talk about our experiences solving the cases.