Clue Cards: The Forgetful Elf | Review

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10/12/2020 UPDATE: Please note, the Kickstarter was cancelled and all pledges refunded, but you can still purchase a copy of one of the cards on cluecards.ca (link at the bottom of the review).


It’s Christmas eve and Santa has just finished delivering the presents to the Franklin family. As he was unloading he noticed that Francois the forgetful elf has forgotten to label the presents! Santa needs your help! Jump down the chimney and figure out how to label all 6 names, but be quick -it’s almost Christmas morning!

Rating: Impressive!
Completion Time: ~25 Minutes
Date Played: 28th November 2020
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: A Christmas Gift

Even though I marked this as (Did Not Finish), I LOVE the idea and am so excited to have been sent an early copy of The Forgetful Elf to play. Very refreshing, surprising and absolutely charming. A lot of fun on a Saturday night over a cup of mulled wine, which is exactly how a festive game like this is meant to be digested. Oh yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

At the time of writing, the clue system isn’t yet live on Clue Cards’ website. So whilst I’m 99% sure I’ve got 5/6 of the names correct, I can’t realistically say I finished *nervous sweating*. In all likelihood, I’ll come back and update this review once I’ve checked my answers. But for now I’ve popped the card in centre place on my mantelpiece for all to admire in December, pretty as it is!

Clue Cards: The Forgetful Elf is a well thought out experience that I’d be both excited and proud to send to just about anyone for Christmas – veteran escapist and casual player both! It’s sturdy and easy to write on card stock, with a space for your stamp and your personalised letter too, which I love.

One of the absolute best things to highlight however are the illustrations. When somebody suggests to be a “puzzle Christmas card”, I immediately assume that it’s going to look… Well… Puzzly! Design sacrifices a lot to fit puzzles in (believe me, I’ve designed escape games myself). But Clue Cards pull this off flawlessly with what looks like an absolutely regular Christmas card until you take a closer look. Yes, I might have scribbled all over my copy right after I took these photos – but scribbles aside, it looks PERFECT with my other Christmas cards.

In terms of content of puzzles, Clue Cards recommends The Forgetful Elf as a 2/5 difficulty experience. My experience was that there was a very good mix of puzzles in there, with some solid logical deduction. A few I picked up immediately, spotting what to do and how. Other puzzles I had to think over a few times, flipping back and forth between the instructions and the card’s front. But once you’ve figured it out – you’ve got it. There’s a strong “OH! YES!” moment to each of them, fuelling the positive reinforcement of solving a game.

Overall, to end with my opinion – I only played the one from Clue Card’s series but I can confidently say I had a fantastic, festive time with the game. I can only imagine how much fun (and how challenging) their other Clue Cards are! But one thing is for sure, they’re a company to watch and I’m very excited to see what Clue Cards will come up with next!

Clue Cards cards can currently be purchased on their website here.

Ratings

The UK’s Top Black Friday Escape Room Deals 2020

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Even though your local escape room might not yet be open, this weekend is a fantastic opportunity to support them and pick up an early Christmas gift, or give yourself something in 2021 to look forward to! Check our my list of Black Friday and Cyber Monday escape room, gift voucher, and UK play at home game offers!

Please note, this list is a WORK IN PROGRESS. I’ll be adding to it regularly over the weekend!

This list was made with by checking all the rooms on the list by www.exitgames.co.uk and suggestions from the lovely people on the UK Escape Room Enthusiasts forum. If I’m missing your deal, please email me at theescaperoomer@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram or Twitter.

England

Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

Play at Home

Not from the UK? Check out Escape the Roomer’s global list here.

Access Escape: Escape the Mailbox: A Peculiar Potion | Review

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Can you find your friend Luna. Help Merlin recreate the potion found in her lab to get answers on her disappearance.

Rating: Something Different!
Completion Time: 20 Minutes
Date Played: 5th November 2020
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: People who want more interesting emails in their life

November is NEARLY OVER! So stop what you’re doing and go subscribe to Access Escape’s “Escape the Mailbox” series before this absolute gem of a game disappears!

(Even more exciting – January’s Escape the Mailbox game is designed by yours truly, so if you subscribe now you can be the very first to play my game when it is released!)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll have noticed my review for October’s escape game “Diamond Detectives“. The Peculiar Potion is the second email inbox game in the Escape the Mailbox series and takes a very magical departure from the detective thriller that was the previous.

In a Peculiar Potion, your friend Luna has gone missing. You contact her neighbour, Merlin to go investigate. He finds a mysterious potion recipe and the witch nowhere to be found. Together, you must solve the puzzles, retrace Luna’s steps and concoct your own magical brew to try and bring her back.

In this one there’s a good mix of maths puzzles, logic puzzles and puzzles that require thinking outside of the box! Maybe I’m getting used to the format, or maybe the magical theme is more familiar to me – but I found this one a little bit easier than the last, in a good way! A lot less “Please Merlin, may I have a clue.”

Every puzzle in Access Escape’s “Escape the Mailbox” series is fully accessible to blind or partially sighted players too. In simple words each puzzle is easy to follow and you’ll need only your wits about you (and maybe a quick Google via Siri) to solve it. I love this A LOT as it really is a fun game enjoyable by absolutely everyone. I say “recommended for everyone” a lot on this blog, but this time I really mean it.

Overall, really good fun as always! Access Escape have outdone themselves and created a format which is perfect for not just lockdown, but plain and simply “making your day better”. I literally hate checking my email (shh don’t tell anyone). I’ve subscribed to way too much nonsense and almost none of my relatives email me (hey it’s 2020, people Zoom me now). But Escape the Mailbox is an exciting breath of fresh air you can tackle at your own pace or devour the moment it arrives.

A Pecular Potion can be played for free by subscribing to Access Escape’s Escape the Mailbox.

Oh, and if you want to create your own email-based escape game like this, Access Escape have created their own software called Puzzle Panther which you can try here.

Ratings

The Locked Room: Operation Code Black

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Rating: Different!
Completion Time: 45 minutes
Date Played: 22nd November 2020
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: Secret Agents

The lovely people at The Locked Room have a BRAND NEW online escape game out. I enjoyed their last game, The Heist and was excited to hear they’ve levelled up with Operation Code Black by using a new interactive system called Telescape!

In Operation Code Black, you collect evidence on the left hand side of your screen and used these panels to navigate back and forth between important clues, maps and locations. In the main portion of the screen is the page, clue, or location you’re currently on. On each there are clickable elements, hidden objects, and puzzles to be solved.

Your role, as a team of super spies, is to track down a mysterious criminal who has been taunting you all over the UK. It comes to a head when the Prime Minister goes missing – an immediate Code Black! Your team is on the case to safely rescue the Prime Minister and bring them home.

You’ll be scouring through maps of the UK and London Underground maps, watching security CCTV cameras to find hidden details, and scouring through the evidence, taunts and cryptic clues your nemesis has left behind for you to solve!

I played solo on this one, as Player 2 was busy – and I have to say it was hard! I struggled and used a few too many clues than I probably should have. The ending too is fiendish, with only 5 attempts before getting it incorrect, there’s a sort of “Choose-your-own-adventure” vibe. If you get it wrong, that’s game over. If you get it correct, you win!

And I… Lost! In the end, I couldn’t catch my nemesis and he slipped away from me.

*shakes fist*

Overall, it was a fun little game made by a fun escape room company. They’ve put a lot of heart into this one, and the theme will resonate with a lot of players!

Operation Code Black can be booked for £8 on The Locked Room’s website.

Ratings

Secret City Trails: London’s Camden and Primrose Hill

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There’s more to Camden than its famous market. This discovery walk was created by Secret City Trails’ co-founders, Kristina & Wendy, for you to experience its buzz and authentic charm by yourself. Fun location-based riddles will guide your exploration of the gorgeous Regent’s Canal and streets lined with brightly coloured houses.

Rating: Surprising!
Completion Time: 2 – 3 hours
Date Played: 21st November 2020
Party Size: 2
Recommended For: Families, Couples, People who want a lovely day out (go on a weekend!)

So, I’ve had itchy feet lately. London is pretty much locked down entirely at the moment, meaning we’re all back indoors baking banana bread, picking up Animal Crossing again, or just twiddling our thumbs staring into the middle distance. So finding out that Secret City Trails still had a whole host of trails that are open was a welcome breath of fresh air (literally!).

This Saturday myself and Player 2 picked the London’s Camden and Primrose Hill trail – a walking route around 2 hours long that takes you through some of the prettiest parts of Camden and Primrose Hill, along the Regents Canal, past some filming locations of Paddington and to (a surprisingly quite bustling) marketplace to end your trip.

Yes, we did the trail in November. The weather wasn’t perfect, but the walk more than made up for it. It’s packed with history and facts and the puzzles are accessible enough that everyone in the whole family would enjoy playing along.

Secret City Trails is founded by all female team Kristina & Wendy back in 2016. Now, they accept user submissions from all over the world but this route is special as it was one of their originals and written by themselves. For that reason alone it deserves a double shout out!

The concept of playing a Secret City Trail is fairly simple. You receive your starting location and a link in an email. This opens into a mobile web browser where you’ll receive your riddle. This can only be solved by using something in your surroundings – so you’ll have to read it carefully and look closely. Once correct, you get a ‘Story’ about the area.

As I say, although none of the puzzles were particularly challenging – the whole route came as a surprisingly fun day out! We’re unfamiliar with this area of London and discovered more than a few surprising little nooks and crannies along the way.

We did skip a couple of questions – we weren’t particularly worried about our end time and, although the app gives you optional breaks, we stopped for a coffee whenever we fancied it. In my opinion, this is a much better way to play any walking treasure trail – entirely at your leisure! One of the skips was down to a puzzle being inaccessible, which was understandable – some parts of the Camden lock were roped off due to lockdown. The other was the very very final one, as we could see the end goal in sight, but chose instead to wait in line for some takeaway pancakes and sat on a bench a little way away. Which again, I think is justified! Haha!

Overall, this game is particularly good fun for families and couples. I literally cannot wait until I can see my own family again, and I’ve got a wishlist of other London trails picked out to share with them. But, lockdown or no lockdown, this one was really special. The perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon, whoever you’re with!

As a final note, the folks at Secret City Trails have been kind enough to provide me with a free London game I can give away to one lucky reader of The Escape Roomer. You can enter that competition over on Instagram! T&Cs Apply: The promo code is valid for one free city discovery game in London (apart from the Mystery Game). It has to be claimed on secretcitytrails.com by the end of the year. The game can be played up to 12 months after the ‘purchase’.

London’s Camden and Primrose Hill Puzzle Trail can be booked for £27 per team on Secret City Trails’ website here. Or, enter my competition to win free tickets for your team, over on Instagram now!

Ratings

Flatpak Calendar 2021

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With the help of hundreds of international customers working through the flatpak catalogue, the full scandal was revealed at the headquarters and our hero was freed from his captors. The senior managers are behind bars for corruption but it still remains difficult to trace all the embezzled funds and it seems there were severe irregularities in the pension fund.

If you’re a regular reader of The Escape Roomer, you’ll notice today’s post is a little different! This is because Flatpak 2021 Calendar isn’t a “Game”, as such it wouldn’t make sense to write up a regular review. How many players did I play this with? Well, probably everyone who visits my little flat in 2021. How long did it take me? The whole year!

So instead I’m going to talk through the Flatpak Calendar as a gift idea, or just something to treat yourself to going into 2021! I’ll talk you through what it is, what Flatpak is all about, why I love it, and what to expect from your calendar.

What is Flatpak?

If you’re looking at this (and Flatpak’s catalogue) and wondering why I’m talking about an Scandinavian furniture shop on my escape room blog you’d be… Absolutely correct to question me! The famous Scandinavian catalogue store “Flatpak” has a lot more going on than meets the eye. The calendar comes as a sequel to a catalogue where a series of hidden clues within the pages lead the eagle-eyed reader to a website trail of puzzles. There’s drama! Intrigue! Conspiracy! Oh, and furniture?

So where does the calendar fit in?

In this sequel, it’s your job to clear the name of our hero. Hidden throughout the pages of the calendar are clues. 12 bank accounts hidden around the world that, when deciphered, will surely clear our hero’s name? But only if you can solve them in time.

How to “Play”

As I’ve got my copy earlier than 2021 (and because I wanted to write this post) yes, I’ll admit, I have read ahead. I skimmed through the first couple of months solving what I could.

Each month you must find hidden bank details. You may only use what you can see on that month’s page. You’re looking for a country, a first and last name, an account number and a sort code. Sounds simple? Maybe! Truth is this one is HARD, but very, very rewarding.

I believe the calendar is best ‘played’ by hanging it in your kitchen, or your study (or wherever else you keep your calendar) and taking each month as it comes. When January is here – solve it! If you can’t do it all in one day, that’s okay too. Take your time and puzzle through each month. Yes, there are some cryptic hints at the back of the calendar but no answers given (that I’m aware), so it’s just you and the calendar.

That said, if you’re like me, there’s no shame in rushing ahead to try and solve as much as you can 😉

Who is this for?

You! Your friends! Your family! Colleagues? Sure. Anyone who you’re thinking about buying a gift for, really! People who like unusual calendars, or solving puzzles, or both?

Whoever you choose to buy this calendar for, I’d recommend picking up the Flatpak catalogue too (there’s a bundle of both which is currently on sale!). The Catalogue is the perfect introduction to the whole Flatpak experience. Plus, it gives your lucky recipient something fun to play on Christmas before hanging the calendar up and beginning their calendrical “Part 2”.

My Opinion

So far I’ve kept the article as factual as I can. But here’s the best part! What did I think of the calendar? I LOVE IT.

It’s beautifully made and looks very slick hanging on my wall. What’s more it’s creative and I think the only thing like it on the market. No doubt in a few year there’ll be tens of puzzle calendars to buy, but Flatpak has a special place in my heart for being the first and creating something so wonderfully elegant.

Objectively speaking too, it’s an absolute bargain. You literally get a YEAR’S WORTH OF PUZZLES. Yes, if this were an escape game I’d say “Completion Time: 365 Days”. That alone is brilliant and I cannot wait to turn back to January and start the adventure (for real) on New Year’s Day.

Flatpak 2021 Calendar can be purchased for £10.99 on Flatpak’s website. Readers of this blog can use promocode ROOMER10OFF for 10% off your order!

Ratings

Edaqa’s Room: Carnival | Review

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Edaqa’s Room: Carnival Review | The Carnival is coming and you’re definitely going! Rumour has it that a secret society is hiding there, luring potential members with puzzles spread over the fair grounds. Come; show your mettle; beat the carnies at their own games.

Rating: Creative!
Completion Time: 50 Minutes
Date Played: 17th November 2020
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: Everyone

Carnival by Edaqa Mortoray

Carnival is a brand new online escape room by Edaqa Mortoray and it describes itself as “A 1 – 4 player game full of puzzles, horses, and hot dogs.” – Yep! I couldn’t have said it any better than that. Although, I’d add one extra note. It’s PACKED with charm. And exactly as it should be! Edaqa is a fellow escape room enthusiast with over 120 escape rooms under their belt (which is more than me). The creativity of puzzles really shows!

The story goes, you’re visiting a carnival. Fun, right?! But not all is as it seems. There’s a secret society of, uhh, illuminati-esque carnival dwellers hiding somewhere deep within the attractions. How you enjoy the game from that point onwards is completely up to you. If you want to attend the carnival, play some games then leave – that’s fine! If you’re here for the conspiracy, you won’t be disappointed either.

A Collaborative Game for Lockdown!

One of the most enjoyable things about playing Carnival was that the game is collaborative in the same way The B.R.U.C.E. Project is, making it perfect for playing remotely with friends via Zoom. Whilst playing, there’s a chat functionality where all players can share messages – and players can see in real time what everyone else in the game is doing.

In short, it revolutionises the “Point and Click” genre! I only wish I’d played it with more people to share the fun with. I chose to do this one solo on a quiet Tuesday evening. It more than entertained me for the 50 or so minutes I took exploring (and solving!) the carnival.

In terms of puzzles, you can expect a bit of everything! I’d class this whole game as “Medium” difficulty. For sure, there were a few puzzles I couldn’t solve. But then there were even more puzzles that sparked a lot of joy. Every single puzzle in the game fits perfectly into the carnival universe. Whether you’re fixing lights, or operating a swinging pirate ship ride or trying to calculate your ticket for entry into the park… It worked!

Video Game Style Achievements

Another feature I’d love to highlight are the “Achievements”. In typical videogame as you proceed through the game you can unlock “achievements” as you go. Solve a puzzle? A large gold star and the name of the achievement flashes up on your screen. I wasn’t completely sure how to view what I’d achieve and what I still needed to achieve but, it was a really nice touch to an already fantastic game.

Carnival is available to play for $12.50 USD on Edaqa’s Room’s website.

Ratings

Cardiff Escape Rooms: Post-a-Puzzle

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Post-a-Puzzle is a wonderful way of keeping in touch. It can be used as a greeting card and gift in itself or even better, an exciting way to present a gift!

Rating: Fun!
Completion Time: ~35 Minutes
Date Played: 12th November 2020
Party Size: 1.5
Recommended For: A Birthday Gift!

You get a puzzle! You get a puzzle! You get a puzzle! *hurling Post-a-Puzzle envelopes at all my friends*

How to describe Post-a-Puzzle? So much fun! Whenever I review anything OF COURSE my current state of mind affects how I play and how I review. I headed into Post-a-Puzzle all bubbly and excited and it totally fit! THEN came the confetti. I’m sold. This was so darn fun.

Post-a-Puzzle is a new product from Escape Rooms Cardiff splashing into the “this is a really cool way to send a gift” market just in time for Christmas. The formula is familiar (but effective!) – you receive a mysterious letter in the mail. Contained inside is a ‘secret message’ from a friend but, in order to unlock it, you must work through a series of puzzles. Each puzzle gives a small chunk of code (in this case, 1 – 5 digits) which form your username to log into a website and claim your friend’s message.

…In short, it’s a really lovely way to jazz up a gift. Planning on sending vouchers, or want to record yourself singing happy birthday? An extra like this makes the whole gift-giving experience extra special. Plus, since you can pick your own card to go with the game – there’s something for every occasion too.

In terms of puzzles, I’d rate this one around a “easy/medium” difficulty level. There’s a comfortable combination of puzzles I’ve seen before (and spotted right away how to solve), and ones that took a little bit longer to think about!

You’ll need a pair of scissors and some tape or glue mind. A couple of the puzzles in this will require thinking outside the box (once you’ve assembled a box, of course!). In particular, there’s a puzzle right at the end (no spoilers here though) that took us very long to figure out but gave such a “OH THATS COOL!” moment when we did. If in doubt whether you’re allowed to cut something, go for it!

I say ‘we’, but you might have noticed I’ve marked this as 1.5 players in my stats. Player 2 dipped in and out of the game, posing for the photos, providing moral support and topping up my glass of wine. I joke, but in this case some of the puzzles I couldn’t solve he cracked in an instant. So if you’re planning on giving this as a gift, it would go down well for a couple or a family group. More heads are better than one.

But overall I think the thing we enjoyed most about this whole experience was how bright and fun the game was. Now, maybe this is the balloon card and confetti talking (which is an optional add-on I should mention quickly), but something about the whole experience felt good. From the moment the large and bright letter came through the door, to finding the card, to the really, really lovely message and photo the owners had left for me at the end. This game is excitement in an envelope shaped package.

Let’s face it, we (or most parts of the UK anyway) are in lockdown still. I haven’t seen my friends in weeks, some in months, and some not since February this year?! But this is just the kind of gift I’d love to send everyone I know. A little “hey I’m thinking of you”, packed with fun puzzles, a short respite from *gestures at the world* this.

Thank you Post-a-Puzzle and Escape Rooms Cardiff!

Post-a-Puzzle can be purchased for £12.99 from Post-a-Puzzle’s website here. There are optional gift voucher and confetti add-ons.

Ratings

Next Level Escape: A Temporal Tangle

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The Future Directions Bureau sent their top agent (code name Fox) on a crucial mission in the 21st century to preserve the timeline. However, Agent Fox has now disappeared from the time stream. Enemy action is suspected – it’s up to you to trace his whereabouts and save the future.

Rating: Excellent!
Completion Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
Date Played: 11th November 2020
Party Size: 1
Recommended For: People in lockdown missing escape rooms

So I recommend this one for “People in lockdown missing escape rooms” because it’s actually the closest experience to an escape room I’ve had in lockdown so far? No seriously! It’s… Exactly what you’d expect from an escape room. I almost regret doing this as a solo player rather than calling round to my regular team, but we live and learn!

A Temporal Tangle perfectly recreates that experience that’s been missing from my life as of late. Yes, it’s a point and click. But, like an escape room you can pick up (or click, I should say) literally everything. You want to look out the window and rattle an air vent twenty times? Why yes you can! And yes I did.

There are locks to fiddle with, boxes to open, drawers to pull open, plants to ruffle through. Some objects you need to pick up and handle too – with a 3D object manipulator, this is no problem. As you go, you collect items that may be used later, such as keys or trinkets. But the best part? It’s from the comfort of your own home. The ‘escape room from home’ genre is SO HARD to crack but, dare I say it, Next Level Escape has done it. Not just done it – but done it with style too!

This game is not just a joy to play, but visually very impressive! It combines real life sets and graphically designed elements in a seamless way. Every time I entered a new ‘area’ (especially the last location), I was taken aback by how many exciting things there were to interact with and how ‘wow’ some of the sets look. Nothing felt unrealistic, in fact I almost forgot it was a digital game and that I couldn’t just plonk myself down on a chair to think for a minute or so.

The real stand out with this game (I’ve saved the best to last!) is definitely the storyline. A Temporal Tangle tells a story of… Well, where do I begin? It’s about climate change, but also has an underlying future apocalypse sci-fi vibe. There’s spaceships and time travel. But at the core? At the core of the story it’s beautiful and heart breaking. I don’t want to give any spoilers but I bet you can guess what my sentimental self chose in the “choose your own ending” final few minutes of the game.

*dabs eyes and blows nose*

In summary, A Temporal Tangle was an ABSOLUTE JOY to play. I picked it out based on a recommendation from Escape Mattster and was not disappointed. But if you’re planning on giving it a go, don’t be like me! Play it with a small group of friends – it’s too good for a game not to share with your loved ones!

A Temporal Tangle can currently be purchase for $5 AUD per person on Next Level Escape’s website here. All screenshots for this review are not my own, but taken from the Next Level Escape press pack!

Ratings

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders

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Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective casts you and your friends as the investigators working to solve 10 cases in Victorian London. Pore over a map of the city, consult Watson’s journals and the day’s newspaper for clues, and rush around London to investigate key locations and interview persons of interest. Follow your leads and put together the truth – only you can collect the proof needed to stop whomever is manoeuvring in the darkness.

Rating: Fiendish!
Completion Time: 2 hours +
Date Played: 30th August 2020
Party Size: 2
Recommended For: Murder Mystery Fans, Board Game Fans

Wait what? What is this? It’s a NEW CATEGORY on my website for Board Games? Yep! As you can see, I’ve played Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective back in August and I’ve been holding off writing about it. “It’s not an escape room” I hear you say? No, but it’s very, very close. You’ll have to utilise the same logic and puzzle solving skills in order to crack the case.

Please Note: This game has 10 cases to solve, each taking at least 1 – 2 hours. I have decided to write this review based on the first case only (The Munitions Magnate). Whilst the experience of playing differs from case to case, I feel that this ‘introductory’ case is representative of the experience of playing the game as a whole. If there’s any sort of demand I’m happy to write separate reviews for each case.

So to begin this review, there are a few things to know about Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective:

  • The game is completely narrative based. If you don’t like reading a lot of text, this isn’t for you.
  • I’m calling it a “board game” but there actually isn’t a board.
  • It’s really, really difficult. It took me 3 or 4 cases before I realised it was possible to actually solve a case 😉
  • You can’t beat Sherlock Holmes’ score, don’t even try.

With that out of the way, I’ll explain the game!

This game is best played co-operatively in a team of 2 – 6 players. You could definitely play solo if you like, but any more than 6 players and I reckon it might get out of hand. Actually a few weeks after we played the first case, we had a couple of friends round for wine and board games (within our strict social bubble, I’ll add). 3 bottles in and someone suggests we give it a go. It did not end well. So my second piece of advice would be to be on your absolute a-game when you give this one a go.

You start with a map of London, a case book, the day’s newspaper and a London directory. That’s right! No board, no dice, no meeples. Your case book is the game, it’s in here that the scene is set and the clues are to be found.

Once you’ve heard the case and Watson’s advice, you may quite literally move anywhere on the map in any order! Points are given based on the ‘fewest moves’. When I played with Player 2 I think we were up to 30 locations before we tried to give our verdict of the case. A lot of points = A low score.

In terms of those points, technically you’re up against Sherlock Holmes himself. Beat his score and you ‘win’. But I wouldn’t take this too seriously. He’s super-human and frankly impossible to beat. Fight me if you disagree, haha.

*shakes fist at Baker Street*

I mentioned at the start that this is a review for Case 1: The Munitions Magnate, so a few notes on this. The case is quite simple – it’s a murder. The head of a munitions company is shot and robbed. You interview a connection to the victim and then, the game is afoot.

Plenty of place names and people are mentioned in this introduction, so it’s up to you to choose wisely and follow up the relevant leads.

How did we do? TERRIBLY. We followed false leads, asked for help from irrelevant people, never investigated 2 key places, and eventually condemned the wrong person to prison. Then of course, when Sherlock Holmes explains the true solution it all makes sense. I was reminded of this meme:

But was the game fun? Oh ABSOLUTELY! It’s like nothing else I’ve ever played and is such a refreshing experience. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like being a detective (or Sherlock Holmes himself!) give this a go. It’s completely cerebral, you’ll have to quite literally solve the case and absolutely nothing is going to be handed to you easily.

Even though you may get a lot wrong and wander down the wrong alleys, it is possible to solve a case. And those you don’t solve, you learn a lot from.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders can be purchased for between £30 – £50 from any good board game shop, like this one.