Nicole Dennis-Carr
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I have not played this game so please keep spoilers to a minimum

I want to GM (game master) this game at UCon (http://www.ucon-gaming.org) this fall but I have a few questions for people who have played it:

1. Will a person who hasn't played it be able to effectively GM it? Do you recommend me knowing the case and giving hints if people get stuck? I was thinking if everyone wanted me to play too, I could start a case that I haven't done yet but if they want to play alone, I could watch and help if needed.

2. Since I don't know how many people will register for the event (I expect it to be almost full though since it is a very sought-after game), how much time approximately do you recommend for a first play? The ticket price goes up based on the number of hours though. I was thinking 3 based on the posts here but I don't know if that will be enough time with 5+ people. If I block out 4 hours, would we be able to maybe do 2 cases in the time if we have a smaller number of people playing?

3. What can I do to make it a better for experience for everyone? I was thinking fun little Sherlock hats but also I wanted to get practical things, like a notepad and pen or something. Any ideas?

4. Age range. The box says 10+, BGG recommends 12+ but my options are 13+ or 18+. I hate to exclude kids but I feel this would be a more enjoyable game with just adults. What do you think? I don't have kids but for the people that do, would you be upset if your kids couldn't come to play with you?

5. Anything else I should know?


Thank you! I really appreciate it
 
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Chris Ley
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1. I actually think giving hints would hurt the game more than help the game. So I don't think you should know the case beforehand.

2. This is very subjective. Can you finish in 3 hours, absolutely, but could you take 5 hours definitely. It really depends on the people playing. This is a choose your own adventure type game. I feel like with more people the discussions could take longer, but the solution could come quicker. So it really depends on the type of people playing. Also, if you have people who want to be 100% sure of the answer before they finish, the game will never end. You will never find the smoking gun that gives you that without a doubt answer.

3. I think be able to read aloud well, and add thematic flair when reading would add a lot to the experience. Also, maybe have a grease board or a easel for taking notes for everyone to see. Maybe assign someone with good penmanship to the task.


4. 13+ Should be fine. It doesn't need to be just for adults.

5. I wouldn't try to rush the cases, just to fit in two cases. I think the fun of the game comes from discussing it with the other people playing. It really makes you feel like you're a detective.

Also, you might want to make copies of the newspaper for each participant and if you can make an enlarged map that everyone can look at.
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A J
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1. Not necessary to know the solution, but I would recommend you at least read through the case prior to GMing to familiarize yourself with it, if only to read through it aloud. Then play a couple turns just so you get the flow of the game. It will help you better understand what you will need to prepare.

2. It's tough to know. Sort of depends on how you're making it competitive or cooperative. Competitive will definitely take longer. I'd think about 3 hours for co-op and 4 hours for competitive depending on number of teams/players. I don't recommend co-op if you have any more than 6 people. Give yourself a time limit per turn/clue. People can get a bit bogged down, especially in a team.

3. Notepad is nice. Also have the case printed for everyone to hand out (probably after the initial read through). Newspapers too. Maybe scan the map and project it.

4. Yeah 13+ ish. There isn't anything explicit, but have suggestive adult themes.

5. If you're playing competitively, you wouldn't want to read the clues out loud.
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Paul Schulzetenberg
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For components, make sure there's a notepad and pencil for everybody. Making copies of the newspaper would be good as well. Also, a player aid that lists the general resources you have on every case (Mycroft, Scotland Yard, Old Bailey, Porky Shinwell, etc.) will help people remember that they're an option when they feel stuck.

You should be okay to GM this even without having played it. Read the case intro in advance, and make sure you have a solid grasp on the rules. And don't forget -- Sherlock is way, way smarter than you and will make you feel stupid when you realized how quickly and thoroughly he solved the case.

I would cap this at one case, for three hours, and just make sure that everybody understands the time limit ahead of time. 13+ should be fine. It'll be difficult for the kids (heck, it'll be difficult for the adults), but there's no reason they couldn't play.
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Keith Scholes
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ayejae wrote:
2. It's tough to know. Sort of depends on how you're making it competitive or cooperative. Competitive will definitely take longer. I'd think about 3 hours for co-op and 4 hours for competitive depending on number of teams/players. I don't recommend co-op if you have any more than 6 people. Give yourself a time limit per turn/clue. People can get a bit bogged down, especially in a team.

5. If you're playing competitively, you wouldn't want to read the clues out loud.


If you are playing competitively not reading out the clues could lead to a lot of down time, also not so much fun as working as a group. If you are able maybe split into two groups somewhat apart. While you are reading to one the other can be planning their next set of activities. Probably take a bit more time and more work for you but it might be fun if each presents what they did and why at the end.
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A J
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keitharchaeologist wrote:
ayejae wrote:
2. It's tough to know. Sort of depends on how you're making it competitive or cooperative. Competitive will definitely take longer. I'd think about 3 hours for co-op and 4 hours for competitive depending on number of teams/players. I don't recommend co-op if you have any more than 6 people. Give yourself a time limit per turn/clue. People can get a bit bogged down, especially in a team.

5. If you're playing competitively, you wouldn't want to read the clues out loud.


If you are playing competitively not reading out the clues could lead to a lot of down time, also not so much fun as working as a group. If you are able maybe split into two groups somewhat apart. While you are reading to one the other can be planning their next set of activities. Probably take a bit more time and more work for you but it might be fun if each presents what they did and why at the end.


Wouldn't reading the clues aloud defeat the competition?
 
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Paul Schulzetenberg
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I think the implication is that competitive = "not reading the clues aloud", which is more time-consuming than cooperative. Definitely you can't play competitive without keeping the clues secret. Or I suppose you could try, but it'd be very strange.
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Peter Cooper
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Nikkimarie, if you haven't played the game before, don't play competitive - not even experienced players (see above) can agree on how to do it!

I would also recommend not trying to compete with Sherlock (he cheats). Possibly the best way to play is to join forces, talk and speculate a lot, and allow the players to read the clues aloud. You job would be to make sure nobody dominates, and that nobody feels left out, feels pressure to read when they don't want to, etc. That's a big enough job on its own!
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Keith Scholes
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ayejae wrote:
keitharchaeologist wrote:
ayejae wrote:
2. It's tough to know. Sort of depends on how you're making it competitive or cooperative. Competitive will definitely take longer. I'd think about 3 hours for co-op and 4 hours for competitive depending on number of teams/players. I don't recommend co-op if you have any more than 6 people. Give yourself a time limit per turn/clue. People can get a bit bogged down, especially in a team.

5. If you're playing competitively, you wouldn't want to read the clues out loud.


If you are playing competitively not reading out the clues could lead to a lot of down time, also not so much fun as working as a group. If you are able maybe split into two groups somewhat apart. While you are reading to one the other can be planning their next set of activities. Probably take a bit more time and more work for you but it might be fun if each presents what they did and why at the end.


Wouldn't reading the clues aloud defeat the competition?


My assumption was that the two groups could be placed far enough apart that they were out of earshot of one another.
 
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Chris Ley
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IMHO, I don't think competitive would be a good idea with one moderator. You would want two rooms and two moderators. Not reading the clues aloud would drag the game on, and having to whisper your discussion would hamper game play.

Also, I don't see what is gained by playing this game competitively. Personally, I think the fun is in the process of following clues and trying to solve the crime. The score is an afterthought and almost irrelevant to the game play itself.

I strongly suggest not playing this competitively. I think making it competitive would take more away from the game than it would add. Just my 2 cents.
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Nicole Dennis-Carr
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ayejae wrote:


2. It's tough to know. Sort of depends on how you're making it competitive or cooperative. Competitive will definitely take longer. I'd think about 3 hours for co-op and 4 hours for competitive depending on number of teams/players. I don't recommend co-op if you have any more than 6 people. Give yourself a time limit per turn/clue. People can get a bit bogged down, especially in a team.


I think for a convention setting co-op is the way to go so I'm thinking I would cap the number of people to 5. Then I can block off a more appropriate time to play and have more control over it. I hadn't thought of this, thank you for bringing it up.
 
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A J
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nikkimarie918 wrote:
ayejae wrote:


2. It's tough to know. Sort of depends on how you're making it competitive or cooperative. Competitive will definitely take longer. I'd think about 3 hours for co-op and 4 hours for competitive depending on number of teams/players. I don't recommend co-op if you have any more than 6 people. Give yourself a time limit per turn/clue. People can get a bit bogged down, especially in a team.


I think for a convention setting co-op is the way to go so I'm thinking I would cap the number of people to 5. Then I can block off a more appropriate time to play and have more control over it. I hadn't thought of this, thank you for bringing it up.


Good luck -- let us know how it turns out!
 
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David Miller
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I watched a brief runthrough of the game. In it Rahdo runs through a crime not in the game so theres no spoilers. And in fact I only watched about 15 minutes to see if I would like it. The game seems easy enough that I think you could play it. Also please do co-op and reiterate the fact that you shouldnt try to beat holmes. But just have fun and do your best. It seems like a storytelling game. I think it would be cool to give out a little flip notepads with small pencils. For taking notes. In fact I was thinking of signing up for the event and bringing one for everyone if you want.

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Bryan K
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Hey Nikki,
I recommend paper and pencils for sure. We always wrote down every character, location, and important time. If you get stuck (which is bound to happen). It is useful to have a list of all locations mentioned, then head to those and try to get another clue. I wouldn't play competitively, more just for fun. This is less of a board game than a choose your own "group" adventure. Enjoy! And, remember the cases are HARD, it's never obvious and you'll have to infer some facts to get it %100 correct. After a set time limit, I would do your best to just jump in and guess the solution. It might be beneficial to do one case on your own before hosting just so you know what the feel of the case/solutions are. You don't have to have all the details figured out since their are a lot of things going on in each case. Good luck!

Bryan
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Nicole Dennis-Carr
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Which case do you recommend for the group? I heard case 1 is the worst out of all of them and I want everyone to have a good time.
Besides, I have done case 1 and 2 but I don't mind doing them again (and not contributing) if they are the best to start with.

 
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Peter Cooper
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I quite liked case 1. I think it's a good idea not to do case three with them, but other than that, they all look fine.
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