Amanda and I typically look for games that can be played with 2 players, which sometimes can be hard to find, and limits our choices a bit. But we do find games are a little less mainstream when this happens. I had never heard of ‘Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective – The Thames Murders and Other Cases – Stand Alone Expansion Board Game‘ before, but it was a nice cheap little find that we did enjoy playing. I will start off by saying this game is difficult to win.
This is a cooperative game in which you and your team are members of Sherlock’s Baker Street Irregulars, and during the game you are essentially playing against Sherlock. The goal is to solve the case quicker then he did, and you are judged on a point system. Sherlock gets 100 points to start and your team gets 0. To start, you pick a case from the box (10 cases are included in this box) and you read the case introduction. Included with the case is the days newspaper, it will give you clues to the current case. Also included with the box is a map of London and the London Directory which you will use to locate the leads you would like to follow. After the introduction is read, whoever is chosen to be the lead investigator chooses a lead to follow from the introduction, and looks up the lead in the directory to find the corresponding entry in the case book. After the lead investigator’s turn, its the next investigator’s turn to decide what lead to follow or try to solve the case. It goes on like this until your team decides they want to try and solve the case. At which point they move on to the “Questions” section of the case and answer two series of questions about the case. You then move on to the “Solutions” section and read Sherlock’s conclusions out loud. After this you open the case envelope to add up your score and compare it to Sherlock’s. To give the team a sense of urgency when you calculate final scores the team must compare how many leads they followed compared to Sherlock’s. If the team followed more leads you subtract points from the total, if you followed less leads you add points. If you have more the Sherlock’s 100 points your team wins.
Amanda and I lost… badly. I think our total was -5 points. The main problem was we followed too many leads. We had something like 15 leads we followed, while Sherlock solved it with 4 leads. It is a difficult game; however, had we had more people I think the game would have been a bit more enjoyable. I am a bit of a day dreamer you could say, my trail of thoughts often leads me to thinking about things that have nothing to do with my current situation. The problem with that is that, with this game, you need to pay attention to the introduction and leads as they are read aloud. You can easily miss little clues that will help you solve the case. Luckily Amanda is a good note taker and she read most of the time so she was able to pick up on a lot of little things. I would often have to go back and re-read a few times as my mind wandered. So you really need to pay attention in this game.
My final thoughts on this game are that this is a fun cooperative game that would be ideal for teen to adult players, because much of it will probably go way over the head of anyone younger. Also, once you solve a case, you know the outcome, meaning there is no replay-ability in it. Once you are done with the 10 cases in the box then its basically a paper weight, unless enough time passes that you forget the outcome. There are other expansions for this game, which include more cases, but at the added cost of purchasing another complete game. Otherwise, I would say that this makes for a great party game. I would recommend Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective to groups of three or more players; but in the end, after 10 games, it will probably never leave your gaming shelf. If you are interested in purchasing this game it can be found here.