Review: Lady Alice – a thrilling detective story

Lady Alice - packaging

„Mr. Holmes, Mr. Holmes,“ Mrs. Hudson ran breathless into the room. Detective sat brooding in his comfortable chair and while it took him a while, he finally turned his head toward his houselady. From his sight, it was not sure, if he really listens, but nevertheless Mrs. Hudson continued her speach, still gasping for breath.

„There was a messenger from the conference. Your friend Lord Henry Morton Stanley did not come to his lecture on wild Africa, nor he did not send a replacement. He reached London, but hotel room is empty .. Everyone fears the worst!“

There appeared a glimmer of light in Sherlock Holmes’s eyes and his face went through a hint of interest. „Call Watson, Mrs. Hudson, we’ll visit that hotel as soon as possible, I’m sure we’ll find a clue there.. Do not worry, Mr. Stanley will surely be ok..“

Lady Alice - game is ready

And so begins Sherlock’s search for traces of boat , whose crew was made up of several experienced scientists, and for lost ancient relic, that disappeared from Lord Stanley’s hotel room. And together with him, we will go on this epic adventure too. But unlike Sherlock, we do not have brilliant deductive skills and attention to detail. Nevertheless, we hope to solve the mystery of Henry’s disappearance..

All this promises a game called Lady Alice, which in its story aims to teach some deductive skills to Sherlock’s students, called Children of Baker Street. These children are players, regardless of their age.. They are all chidren now. Author of game is and game was published under the auspices of the Swiss publishing . This is new game for spring 2013, so we should not hesitate to get into detective work, while trail is still hot.

Even box clearly shows the turn of the 19th and 20th century with portrait of Sherlock Holmes and his Baker Street Children. Inside, there is a game board, that will wear all the important information and clues. Top part share a group photo of explorers and a map of London. At the bottom are photographs of preserved African relics and a list of the times, where kidnapping could have happened.

Lady Alice - game is ready

Each of these indices is important and you have to pay attention to all four. Only this way can you win. Around photos and maps are also boxes with the names of participants in the expedition, suspects, who knew about lords discoveries, and also places in London. One of them is crime scene, where kidnapping occurred. Fields are near every relic and time frame and you will use them for voting, trying to guess right answer before your opponents do.

In addition to the board, you get a sheet with round tokens. They represent your role of Baker Street children – one big token with portrait of each child and nine deduction tokens. There are also cards – 32 of them, a number corresponding to each piece of information on the board – four indices types, each with eight specimen. Packaging includes also four envelopes for gathering verdicts, where you stash your cards in public polls.

Twenty-eight sherlockových business cards are used for labeling indices, which were eliminated by common agreement. Very important is also pad, you will use each round. It not only specifies an active player, but especially gathers once more all indices in four groups and spiral binding. It will be used during your turn to accuse a combination of variables, which play a role in this investigation (place, time, person and object).

Lady Alice - game in progress

At the beginning of the game, each player chooses one character, in whose name will he want to investigate the case. He marks his identity with a big token, which will be in front of him until the end of the game. He also has to reach out for dozen of small round tokens, which will be spread across the game board during the match, in different locations to verify theories. Each player will also receive one envelope and card with Sherlock portrait, who has different expression on both sides. One is consonant and the other dissentient.

Now is the right time to prepare game board. Just simply spread it on the table with spiral binding notebook and detective’s business card next to it. Now is the time to determine conditions of crime, that was commited. Cards must be divided into four stacks with one card randomly drawn from each of them and put them aside. They determine, where kidnapping happened, at what time, who committed it, and which relic was stolen. These four cards are now shuffled again and randomly dealt to players so that they have one each. Everyone now holds part of the puzzle, but knows only a quarter of it. He must find out the rest.

Unlike with other deductive games, you do not need a pencil and paper here, because all the necessary information is recorded directly on the board. It also means, that your hunt for criminals can now begin!

Lady Alice - board detail

On your turn you have one obligation and one option. First, pick up notebook with ring binder and present your theory to others. You are asking them, if they by any chance have this particular piece of the puzzle. As we know, each participant is holding one clue to the crime in his hand. After speking up your theory consisting of four leads (for example, I think thief is Mary Kingsley and she commited it at 11 hours in Westminster Abbey and stole a pipe), all players take their ballot envelopes and double-sided Sherlock card.

There is a windwow in each envelope. You put your card inside, so Sherlock replies to actual question – do you have one of the four cards? The side matching your anwer (red = no, green = yes) must be visible through the window and you are not allowed to lie. Players (including player, who accused) place envelopes on a pile, active detective shuffles them without looking and reveals answers. If all four answers are negative, you can cover these clues on board with these business cards. You can be sure, these indices are not related to crime in any way.

Otherwise you will find, that particular number of informations is in player hands. But you do not know who has it, as its not important to finish the game. You know, there is one card of each type. At this point comes also very important part of the turn. Everyone can based on newly acquired information bet on any of the indices with his token of zero, one or two points. They do this simply by taking one of their tokens and put it on the board in column next to this clue, secretly with a number down. Nobody knows, how much you believe in this being correct answer.

Lady Alice - game in progress

Active detective passes notebook to the next player and new theory is born. At any time during the game, players have the opportunity to solve the case. This shall be verified again simply by voting with help of envelopes. In case of bad tip, its game over for the player and others can continue playing. Elminated player, however, still must vote on his clue. If the opposite situation, when tip is correct, game is over.

Now, however, winner is yet to be determined. This could be anyone, not only player, who answered correctly the final question Victory is based on credit put towards solving the case. It could be just a coincidence, player guessed right. Therefore, you sum up reward for finishing the game and points for guessing tokens put in correct columns (next to clues leading to culprit) during gameplay. Therefore the aim of game is not to find answer as quickly as possible, but also get points for your powers of deduction. Whoever has most points together then, is Sherlock’s new favorite child of Baker Street.

Lady Alice is an excellent deductive game. At first glance, it seems very much like classic Cluedo. But in fact, it is really very much different and in several ways, which we will cover in the course of our evaluation part of our review.

Lady Alice - game in progress

Firstly, players hold only correct answer cards. No one knows, what is wrong. You have fight much more ignorance, than in other games of this type. Overall, this results in game being much more focused on real powers of deduction and linking several seemingly unrelated information together. Its a real detective game! And it really shows during the gameplay, when some players guess it correctly far before others do.

It is also essential, need of notes was removed. It was causing large differences between players in the original game and favoring some over others. Here everybody have same chances, with a little memory emphasis, because it can help a little. Notes are made only on the board, where you see clues, which are certainly incorrect.

Very important element of bluffing and tactics still remains present during the whole match, when it comes to gathering information. You can choose your card as clue to deceive your opponents. You put tokens with numbers secretly on the board, but when they receive a new neighbor, original number is revealed. Game has thus a very interesting progress. Everyone is trying to keep the best tokens for the last, not to waste them for initially useless tips. In addition, those with zero allow opponents to bluff, which is especially great feeling, when they are revealed.

Lady Alice - cards

Detective work is often not exactly fun. Rather, it is about focusing on details and contains a lot of thinking. This all can be found also in Lady Alice, of course, but in addition, all players must constantly watch the game and whole process is real fun.

A large share of this is based on the fact, that game is relatively quickly over and usually lasts takes 45 minutes of your time. Reasons are twofold. First, players have all important information clearly ahead on the game plan and are not taking any notes, which takes time. And secondly, you have clear idea about what to ask, when your turn comes. There are not any unnecessary delay before players decide, what they want.

Perhaps the only significant negative is three player game, which brings not full experience. Thanks to the principle of the game, players have no chance to determine identity of the fourth hidden information. So they need only three of the four indices to win, while fourth is on the table, but can not answer players questions.

Lady Alice - game in progress

Lady Alice is very well designed game. If it wasn’t for small setback in the form of three-player match, which is not so good, it would be an excellent game directly. But even like this, Lady Alice ranks maybe even on top of deductive games tree rank.

DesignerLudovic Gaillard
ArtistJean-Marie Minguez
PublisherHurrican, Albi
Year Published
# of Players3 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5 players
Recommended with 4 players
(17 voters)
Playing Time30
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(3 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(6 voters)
CategoryBluffing, Deduction
MechanicBetting and Bluffing, Memory
FamilyBooks: Sherlock Holmes, Cities: London (England), Country: England
Primary NameLady Alice

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Lady Alice – a thrilling detective story
Final word
Lady Alice is exemplary manner, to carry out modernizations of popular mechanics. You leave basics in, but wrap enough new things around. Not only any ideas, but those, which will deepen your entertainment and make it into a whole different experience. But the core still remains and you still feel like pursuing the same goal. This game proves, that detective games can be fun and still remain really challenging and not depend on luck. Negating of principle with cards in your hand means, you already know one quarter of the secret. This gives you chance to bluff from the start, while trying to gather informations, what are the others holding in their hands. Also a new type of voting is interconnected to this decision. You not only vote for every accusation made during game, but also when someone names his final thought, which can end game or eliminate him. Perhaps the most important thing is correct guessing throughout the match, when you put your tokens on interesting clues, you think they might be the right ones. In case your guess was correct, you get some points in the end. But winner is decided based on more things as points can be gathered also for correct accusation. Match is best as a four-player game, because three and five need a little modifications in the rules. Lady Alice has wiped out necessity to make notes and polished surface of deduction game almost to perfection.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
perfect deduction game
nice processing
you work with Sherlock
guessing during game
bigger emphasis on deduction skills
winner is not determined only by correct final accusation
players hold card of commited crime
Cons
not as good as a 3
player game
4
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