Hello, Dearest Romance Readers. Did you miss me as much as I missed you? I’m back with your latest Date Night Board Game: Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective. I know a lot of romance readers also enjoy reading a great mystery, and in these games, you get to experience the mysteries case by case in the streets of old London.
These beautiful games, by Space Cowboys, have an old-world look and feel to them. Its team of designers and team of illustrators did a lovely job. What makes this a fantastic Date Night Board Game? The play is COOPERATIVE, so you and your date will work as a team to solve the mysteries together; you will not play against one another.
There are many things that excite me about this game:
1. The artwork is not only simple and elegant in style but also visceral enough to transport you back in time.
2. This game is cerebral. There is no board to traverse; there are no pieces to move about. You are given a few tools, but the most helpful tool is your very own brain. Is there anything more delicious than a date who is also clever?
3. There are currently three games of Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective with the fourth game scheduled for an April 2020 release.
4. There are ten cases per game. That’s ten potential date nights in one box! Be still my heaving bosom because this game isn’t simply a purchase, it’s an investment.
So, how do we play? In each game there is a map of London (sometimes double-sided), a directory, a few newspapers, ten case files, and a rule book. On the back of the rule book, there is a list of trusted informants. After you have chosen a case, decide which lead to follow. (In larger groups, it’s suggested that players take turns being the “Lead Investigator” and directing the group. However, my date and I chose to simply agree on the next lead together to save the constant swap, making the play even more cooperative.) Keep in mind not all leads will be fruitful.
Your leads will walk you through London to certain places on the map which you find with the help of the directory you have searched. There is even a ‘time’ key on the map, so you can calculate how long it takes to get from one place to the next. This may be more helpful in some cases than others. The leads—and witnesses—will give you bits of information that you will compile.
Once you believe you have solved the case, you can choose to stop the game and declare your answers. You will then be asked two sets of questions. For every correct answer you will garner points. How do you know if your answers are correct? You then read Sherlock Holmes’ conclusion. Tally up your points for the questions and compare your total to Holmes’. Sherlock Holmes always scores 100 points. Now, Holmes will tell you how many leads it took him to solve the case. For every lead that you have gone over compared to Holmes, you subtract five points. Yes, you read that right. If you follow every single lead to exhaust all of your options, prepare to end your game in potentially the negative number range!
This is the fine balance of the game, and it is all up to you. Control Freaks unite and rejoice. But, prepare for your competitive spirit to show itself in not necessarily a flattering way. I was fully aware that it was against Sherlock Holmes we were competing. I wanted to solve the case in as few of leads as we possibly could. This is the part where I caution you: remember in the paragraph above when I said you will be asked TWO series of questions?
The first set of questions directly relates to the case as it was given to you. However, the cases just might evolve a bit. The second set of questions asks about additional information that you uncover from your leads. For instance, AN ENTIRELY NEW MURDER. Yep, we called the case so quickly [six leads] we had no idea there was even a second dead body.
Also, another word of advice for playing the first time: make your first game one of the standalone cases. In each box set, there are a few cases which coincide. For instance, there are four cases to Jack the Ripper, and although you will use the newspaper (and witness testimonies) of the day for each case, as you progress in related cases, you will stockpile that information from those daily newspapers, and you may find yourself using not only the last day’s paper, but also the first day’s. Pen and paper are recommended to assist you.
The four games are all titled “Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective” but they are boxed with ten cases each as (a) The Thames Murders & other cases, (b) Carlton House & Queen’s Park, (c) Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures, and (d) The Baker Street Irregulars [coming April 2020]. Fun fact, this game was originally published in the early 1980s and has been re-released and expanded.
They are packaged beautifully, and each case will take you about ninety minutes, plus or minus, to play, which makes this a perfect Date Night Board Game. And once you have solved the cases in each game, you pass the game on other friends for their date nights.
Therefore, put on the soft jazz, grab that bottle of wine, get the fireplace going—or put it on the screen—and get ready to practice your communication skills. Remember, this is a game of intuition and brain power. And what could be sexier than cleverly paying attention to the details? Those skills will also come in handy for the rest of your date night.