Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective - Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures
Got this for my fiance for Christmas (we'd agreed to each buy the other a game to play while we were off, she got me Pandemic ). She loves a good murder mystery on TV so thought this would be right up her street. Sat down about 9 on Friday to play this and ended up going until 1am!
This is the one with the Jack the Ripper campaign of 4 cases, plus an additional 6 standalone ones. We started with the unconnected Dr. Goldfire case as per the recommendation (neither of us having played this before). There are no rules to learn so we were able to jump straight in. There is a map of London with hundreds of numbered locations, a directory listing the addresses of citizens and places of interest, plus you get the day's newspaper and a case book filled with narrative passages linked to locations on the board. The introductory section of the case book sets the scene for us; we are a team of aspiring detectives assisting Mr. Holmes and are approached by a client in fear of his life following an attempted assassination. The client hands us a list of suspects and we are let lose on London to unravel the mystery.
Players are free to approach the case however they please. To follow a lead, you decide to visit a particular person or location, look up their address in the directory and then look in the case book to see if there is a corresponding passage. This is then read aloud (funny voices mandatory!) and the players discuss any new information or clues before deciding where to visit next. When you believe you have solved the case you can turn to the end of the book to view a list of questions. Answering these correctly nets you points. You then get to read how Holmes solved the case and subtract points from your score for each location you visited over Holmes' total. I don't think Holmes is beatable. We visited 25 locations and still couldn't answer all of the questions. Holmes managed it in 6, leaving us with a final score of 10 points.
This was a brilliant experience. We both got really into it, doing the voices and taking notes (about 8 pages!). I think it would have been easier had we known what questions we would be asked at the end and feel that we will do better in future cases knowing the sort of information we should look for (also pretty tired and a couple of bottles of wine down by the time we decided to cash in our chips). The writing in the case book was great, with some real twists and head-scratchers and the whole thing is superbly crafted and presented. We got a great feeling of closing in on the criminal towards the end as we began to narrow down the clues and leads. I didn't see the 4 hours going in at all and can't wait to try the next case. A perfect game for a night in with 2 players and definitely great to play with someone who isn't into board games as there are basically no rules.