Review: Beyond Baker Street – Sherlock’s not alone

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All victims and survivors go to Baker Street. Whether it is a case of strayed cat, lost child or just a sense of some injustice, all people count with the fact, that they receive assistance there. But there is only one Sherlock and he chooses cases. So, a number of his aides come to action, whenever he is not interested in such case.

And one of those assisants, who got Holmes‘ trust, is our team of detectives. This is a story told by the board game , which comes from a pair of designers: and . The game was published in stable of in and distribution is commaned by company.

Box is a little bigger than small, but even like this, it does not deny its card origin. The more we come to wonder, when we uncover lid with three detectives at work. We see first and foremost a game board. At the top, there are two scales – one indicates progress of the investigation, while the other patience of Holmes himself. Below are then placeholders for various cards.

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Now to those components, that really contents of the box. There are different sets of cards, that offer eighteen different detective characters (with differing capabilities), six cases and twenty-four cards of evidence. They belong to different categories (clues, witnesses and others). The main and most important thing is a set of 28 cards, that are divided among motives, opportunities and suspicion. Helping hand in completing a common task will give to players also round token and one Holmes pawn.

At the beginning of the game, players spread the board and each participant chooses (or draws randomly), one character card. Players then choose by common agreement one of the cases and put the card into the upper left corner at the specified location. Three tokens of confirmation are placed on it. According to the difficulty of the card, Holmes pawn is placed on his scale.

Players draw three cards from each suspects, motives and opportunities decks. The upper card of all three types is then revealed and investigation token begins its journey in the field with the number zero. Individual players will receive a set of evidence cards (according to number of participants), which should be dealt hidden. Throughout the game, these cards will be held towards others and their owner will not know their identity.The rest of the evidence cards creates a supply. Player order is determined by their identity.

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When player’s turn comes, he must choose one from a range of actions. There are a total of five of these and their primary purpose is to determine (guess) identity of their cards and provide others hints about theirs. In the first activity, player may tell one of his teammates specific information about his cards – point to cards of the same type or showing the same number. Thus, players gradually learn stuff about their cards and must remember these informations to be successful.

That’s because a second action is to drop a card to one place in the middle, trying to convict this card of being evidence. Gradually placing cards, players are trying to work together to get the desired sum printed on the destination card (any of three types). If they succeed, and cards combined have the correct sum, further action becomes possible: to confirm this information as one of the three necessary proofs.

Besides these activities, players may also discard cards. Its value is thus added to investigation scale. This represents second goal of all the players, because before they may confirm third and final evidence card, they must have enough work and exploration in their back to support their claims. Pointer of investigation scale must stand exactly on number twenty.

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Both goals have to be achieved without knowledge of the values on their cards in hand. However, after playing a card, player immediately draws a new one. This makes the game stirred constantly with memory and overview requirements.

In addition to stepping on the lower scale, Holmes is also growing impatient with their work. His pawn advances to the next position at any time, when players use their action to provide help to each other by telling some identity. Conversely, from time to time, they are allowed to move it in the opposite direction. In case, that player is baffled by identity of his cards and makes the sum value exceed the target number, new information (second of three cards) is revealed and can be marked as evidence, if its sum is met.

Game can end a victory for all only, if all three visible evidence cards are confirmed and investigation scale shows twenty. But before that can happen, there are situations, when Holmes will be faster in solution. In addition to achieving zero on Sherlock scale, players can also lose by overreaching twenty points on investigation scale or loss of the last cards in one evidence pile.

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Beyond Baker Street is a unique cooperative game, which offers incredible experiences. This is true despite the fact, that its basic mechanism borrows from the classic fireworks game Hanabi, that you should already have played by now.

But its adding to the original gameplay of Hanabi a Sherlock Holmes theme and number of other innovations. And they all enrich the game, just as characters, which change the basic rules of the game and added an interesting element of asymmetry. They build a tremendous amount of variability, which itself makes each game unique.

However, playing cards with the correct values is not everything there is to this game. Indeed cards together make up the sum, which must match the target number. Players must adjust their played cards according to what others have and this itself is quite a new concept indeed. Fortunately, you have excellent overview over your friends cards. Only you can not see your own cards, which is of course the basis of the experience. And it still works perfectly.

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Game is really tough with less experienced players and for the first few times. There are several objectives, that must all be met. And while the first case is really simple, once you move to deal with the others, you may get a really hard time. Every new job brings with it not only the specified position of Holmes at the beginning of the game, but also limit of impossible deck (exceeding their number moves Sherlock closer toward zero and end of your efforts). But if you have trained enough in Hanabi, then you generally will not find such a challenge, as you might expect, in this game. Its all mostly about family and beginner fun.

Of course, players who do not like Hanabi will not be enthusiastic over this game either. So if you are among them, then do not expect in this box anything to change your mind. The game is entirely similar, although it is mounting up a number of interesting new mechanisms and game board. It is slightly more complicated, concerning the rules, but still easily understandable even for beginners.

Game is a little less exciting. One mistake does not necessarily mean defeat, while building fireworks, you have to be perfect for audience to remember your deeds. But in here, solving the crime is all that matters are there is a little less restriction, when it comes to time. Difficulty also depends on the number of players, who participate in the game. With the increase of their number, game becomes more difficult. But the game is still fast and finishes within thirty minutes.

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Conversely, players who liked (or like) Hanabi (or do not have experience with it), while enjoying cooperative games, should be thrilled by this sherlockian theme. All the more, when the game itself looks really nice and whole processing level is top-notch.Actually, there is one complaint, because the cards have their value only in the upper left corner and their visibility depends on how the players hold them. This is a bit annoying in a game, where the players themselves do not see their own cards to correct it.

Beyond Baker Street is a new cooperative card game, in which players will have to primarily interact and communicate to identity their cards. They do not see them for themselves, so also memory has to be involved. By playing cards, they are gradually fulfilling predetermined sum. Time is running out, but any help shortens it even more. Beyond Baker Street is an excellent choice for less experienced players, who appreciate having cooperative experience.

DesignerRobin Lees, Steve Mackenzie
ArtistMarie-Elaine Bérubé, Atha Kanaani
PublisherFilosofia Éditions, Gém Klub Kft., Z-Man Games
Year Published2016
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players
(32 voters)
Playing Time20
Mfg Suggested Ages13 and up
User Suggested Ages10 and up
(13 voters)
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(8 voters)
CategoryDeduction, Murder/Mystery, Novel-based, Post-Napoleonic, Print & Play
MechanicCommunication Limits, Cooperative Game, Deduction, Hand Management, Memory, Roles with Asymmetric Information, Variable Player Powers
ExpansionBeyond Baker Street: Promo Cards
FamilyBooks: Sherlock Holmes, Cities: London (England, UK), Mechanism: Deduction – Blind Man's Bluff
Primary NameBeyond Baker Street
Alternate NamesBeyond Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes árnyékában, Más allá de Baker Street

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Beyond Baker Street – Sherlock’s not alone
Final word
Beyond Baker Street transfers us from fireworks production to London, right on Baker Street, and let us work together with the true mastermind to solve the murder. Players must work together, provide help to each other and all this in Hanabi style. From the perspective of rules, it is a simple game, while adding many new possibilities to really simple concept. The game is still random, but everything can be deduced very well. Overall impression is significantly simpler (that the original), but it also depends on number of players. Beyond Baker Street will surely attract many players, who are looking for a new co-operative challenge, but it should not be overly difficult.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
variability due to the characters and cases
difficulty settings
new mechanisms to make the game more interesting
remains reasonably long
very nice processing
joy for anyone, who loves Hanabi
Cons
too easy
descriptions of card only at the top
misaligned in various numbers
0
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