Review: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective – to be is to think

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Sherlock gave you unprecedented responsibility. He chose the case, but you have the option to interrogate all suspects and verify their alibies. That’s because the famous detective is said to be unwell and unable to leave its home on Baker Street. It is time to show, that you are not just a second-rate detective as everybody thinks.

Same chance awaits players, who pick up and open dark brown big box with title . The game was first published in and it has a trio of authors – , and . This classic were redone and republished by with illustrations by and . Stories were rewritten as well. Since we have not played the original, we will not compare it, but approach it as new game.

Inside the box, we find large variety of paper and texts. They are divided into a number of books, but everything starts with a large map of London divided into sectors and full of various numbers and addresses. Then there is one address book with all the available names of London (at least in this game). Most space is occupied by clippings from The Times and primarily a staggering ten separate cases. Each has dedicated its own large A4 booklet with many pages of text (up to thirty!).

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We can reveal one vital information to solve our review case here. If you are not confident in reading English, then you can skip this game. Without a thorough understanding of the text, you simply will not be able to play. However, this Sherlock Holmes game could serve as good motivation to learn this language better.

Why? Because the game is a true experience. Players really investigate various crimes and no differently, than they would in reality. They visit sites, ask suspects and check alibis. Each lead has some text referring to it in case manual (booklet), that assists investigators in finding the answers.

Players can at the beginning of the game decide, whether they want to cooperate or compete. In both cases, all participants alternate in position of chief investigator. He has a privilege to choose the next step in the investigation, that can be based on studying newspaper excerpts, introductory text or previous leads.

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There is a lot of reading waiting for all. That is what decides, whether you will be interested in this game or not. If, in fact, you do not like working through a lot of rows and pages of text, then you probably will pass on this game. Only from many newspaper pages can be gathered enough information to catch the perpetrators. In addition, there may be vital echoes of the crime not only in articles from the date of the case, but players must use all older newspaper as well.

Detectives have as much time as they need. No timelimit is here. They can use any number of clues and investigations, but with every clue they follow, number of points obtained in the end decreases. At the end of each case, players will be answering questions. They get points for correct assumptions and their total sum will be compared with Holmes. He usually needs very few clues to solve it all and when players use more clues, they get five points deducted from their total score for each one. Conversely, if they were by any chance faster, than the best detective of all time, they receive a bonus for each clue less.

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There is really damn much questions for each task and it is not easy to answer them all and still be able to work the answers quickly with only some clues. However, if you fail in solving or get really bad outcome, you can not replay the case again. You know some fundamental  informations and you would have an unsportsmanlike advantage. So if you have not succeeded first time, you can play just for fun again only with goal of find the right solution by yourself. But without scoring process.

Large number of players can participate in the game. But when that happens, it also means, you do not get enough chance to determine flow of the investigation. That’s why every effort to convict the guilty men works best in lower numbers up to five. And we found having most fun just with two.

This is actually more of a storytelling game and not so much a board game. But it still deserves interest of all boardgamers, because it can get real fun. Story sucks you in and players feel swallowed up in their efforts to solve it. Moreover, if you have a soft spot for thematic games. That is the only element, that might obstruct with you falling in love after the first game with Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective – if you are not into stories. But why would you be playing board games then?

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Individual cases can last for several hours. This should be taken into account especially when planning your evening, because truly unique experience is associated with playing the game and there should be as few distractions from playing as possible. Entire box is overflowing with theme, individual cases are really interesting, and players must have excellent deduction to score high in cases.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a game, that tells ten different stories. These may not be replayed again, but with each of them is waiting for you huge portions of experience. Both positive and negative over your own skills and errors. This is a really tough game, that will not allow you to breathe, but at the end spits you out with a sense of real adventure. Great job, Sherlock Holmes!

DesignerRaymond Edwards, Suzanne Goldberg, Gary Grady
ArtistBernard Bittler, Arnaud Demaegd, Nils Gulliksson, Neriac, Pascal Quidault, Stefan Thulin
PublisherSleuth Publications, Space Cowboys, Angry Lion Games, Asmodee, Asmodee Italia, Asterion Press, Ben Sanders Co., Casper, Chessex, CrowD Games, Descartes Editeur, Edge Entertainment, International Team, Kaissa Chess & Games, KOSMOS, Rawstone, Target Games, Ystari Games, 二見書房 ( Futami Shobo Publishing Co., Ltd. )
Year Published1982
# of Players1 - 8
User Suggested # of Players Best with 8+ players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4 players
(317 voters)
Playing Time120
Mfg Suggested Ages13 and up
User Suggested Ages12 and up
(49 voters)
Language DependenceUnplayable in another language
(81 voters)
CategoryDeduction, Murder/Mystery, Novel-based, Post-Napoleonic, Spies/Secret Agents
MechanicCooperative Game, Narrative Choice / Paragraph, Solo / Solitaire Game, Storytelling
ExpansionThe Diavolo Case (fan expansion for Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective), Sherlock Holmes Consulente Investigativo: Il Mistero dell'Impiccato, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Adventures by Gaslight, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Murder Behind Closed Doors, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Sherlock Holmes & The Baby, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Mansion Murders, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Queen's Park Affair, Sherlock Holmes Détective Conseil: L'Homme Sans Visage, Sherlock Holmes Détective Conseil: La Piste Tordue, Sherlock Holmes Détective Conseil: La rançon du diable, Sherlock Holmes Détective Conseil: Les Masques Africains, Sherlock Holmes Détective Conseil: Octobre 1891, Sherlock Holmes Détective Conseil: Oliver Stone
FamilyBooks: Mystery Novels, Books: Sherlock Holmes, Cities: London (England, UK), Country: England, Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Misc: Limited Replayability, Players: Games with Solitaire Rules
Primary NameSherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases
Alternate NamesConsulting Detective, Détective Conseil, Sherlock Holmes Détective Conseil, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Beratender Detektiv: Die Themse-Morde & andere Fälle, Sherlock Holmes Consulente Investigativo, Sherlock Holmes Consulente Investigativo: I Delitti del Tamigi e Altri Casi, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Sherlock Holmes Criminal-Cabinet, Sherlock Holmes Detective Asesor: Los Crímenes del Támesis y otros casos, Sherlock Holmes Détective Conseil: Les meurtres de la Tamise et autres enquêtes, Sherlock Holmes: Detective Asesor, Sherlock Holmes: Los Crímenes del Támesis y otros casos, Σέρλοκ Χολμς, Σέρλοκ Χόλμς Ιδιωτικός Ερευνητής: Οι φόνοι του Τάμεση και άλλες υποθέσεις, Шерлок Холмс детектив-консультант: Убийства на Темзе и другие расследования, シャーロックホームズ10の怪事件, 咨询侦探夏洛克 · 福尔摩斯:泰晤士河谋杀案及其他案件, 셜록 홈즈 컨설팅 디텍티브: 템스 강의 살인 & 그 밖의 사건들

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective – to be is to think
Final word
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a game, that grabs you by your investigative heart. Players get in the middle of an investigation and have to find clues to go through the case, following different tracks, visiting places in London and eventually scoring by answering tricky questions. The game is anything but easy or short. But great is also an important feature, that belongs to it, although it can often be saddened by some unresolved case, that can not be replayed. If you do not like reading or storytelling, then it may be your only excuse, why you avoided Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
ten unique and exciting cases
great adventure
unique gameplay
dense atmosphere
opportunity to play together and against each other
Cons
inability to play adventure again
5
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