Board Game Review: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Case 1: The Munitions Magnate
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a solo or co-op board game that is ideally played by 1-4 players. It takes place in Victorian London (the 1880s-1890s) and you are trying to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson. The goal is supposedly to beat Holmes – solve the mystery with fewer clues than he does – but the real fun is if you follow all the clues, and get a picture of the entire mystery, including the parts Holmes doesn’t touch upon.
I wasn’t hooked on the first case. It was atmospheric, I liked the historical tidbits interwoven in the mystery (you do get to meet real historical figures while you try to solve these cases), and the use of The Times with potentially helpful newspaper articles was a nice touch, but the case didn’t win me over. Maybe it was because I was still getting used to the playing style, or just because this case wasn’t entirely my cup of tea, but I found a lot of other cases in this base game that I liked a lot more.
Anyway, on to the first case: The Munitions Magnate.
The first case has one of the longest introductions of all the cases. We meet Mr. Richard Allen, brother of the late Courtney Allen, president of the Grant Arms Company. Courtney Allen was apparently shot to death, and this is the case you have to get to the bottom of. The police are convinced Courtney’s death is the result of a robbery gone wrong, but Richard suspects other motives were behind his brother’s murder.
This is one of the few cases where you’ll start off with more clues than you can reasonably follow. Even the introduction already gives five or six leads that you can check out: visit the arms’ company, you can visit Captain Egan, the cigarette found at the crime scene, the plant, and lots more. There’s certainly an abundance of clues to be gathered from the introduction alone, and soon enough, you’re thrown in the middle of Victorian London, rushing from one clue to the next, trying to solve the mystery.
Be aware though that you don’t let yourself get caught chasing a red herring. Sometimes the answer is rather straightforward, even if it’s a Holmes-inspired game.
Some downsides to the game were immediately apparent:
- Not all leads go where you expect them to. If, for example, you are looking for a particular person, it’s possible that they are at home, but they might as well be at work or hanging about somewhere else. This can be frustrating because you’re wasting two leads.
- Sometimes you have to make some assumptions, and the evidence isn’t always 100% crystal clear.
I will not spoil the answer for you, but after circumventing some red herrings, we managed to come up with a solution to the questions asked in the back of the booklet. Opening the solution showed that Holmes had come to the same conclusions, except he had done so by taking some major leaps of faith.
Holmes may be fast, but the man is far from thorough.
This first case is an interesting foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes, but compared to the other cases in the box set, it’s rather mediocre.
If you like Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, then I recommend…
A Study in Shifters (The Adventures of Marisol Holmes Book 1)
Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes wants to live up to the family legacy; after all, she is the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. What’s more Holmesian than a grisly murder? The Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, is giving her just one chance to catch a killer and join them. After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—since every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter.
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
There’s more to this than just evidence. Is one of her own people really involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?
When Marisol discovers her handsome best friend, Roan, is missing, she realizes Roan may be the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue.
“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. In her last case, Mannix broke her heart and ruined her case, and Marisol isn’t sure which is worse. Marisol fears this case too might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.
It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.
This book is perfect for fans of: shapeshifters, steampunk, paranormal, high school drama, teen romance, Sherlock Holmes and deadly intrigue.
Purchase from Amazon.