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Mihnea Cateanu
Romania
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Hello everyone, this is my first atempt at a review so hopefully it will be of use to someone. And any feedback is very much appreciated!

Where do we come from?

I very much like it when a reviewer talks a bit about himself, it helps me put his thoughts and rating of a game into perspective. So: I got into boardgaming about 4 years ago when someone introduced me to Settlers of Catan and I`ve never looked back. About a year ago I started operation "Pulling my girlfriend into the rabbit hole of boardgaming" and I think I was succesful, it`s slowly become our prefered hobby to share together.

We mostly prefer interesting mechanics over cool theme, so we`re more attracted to eurogames, but we won`t shy away from (some) amerithrash games. A good game for us needs to play well with 2 and focus on strategy/tactics instead of luck. We love games where every action or decision is meaningful. We do not like direct conflict in our games (or outside them!), but a bit of passive agression is fine.


So can we actually get to the game please ?

We sure can! Holmes: Sherlock and Mycroft is designed by Diego Ibáñez and published by Devir in 2015. It is a short filler for 2-P only involving set collection and worker placement, in which Sherlock and his brother Mycroft work against each other trying to solve the case of the Parliament bombing by gaining clues.


How does it play ?

Over the course of 7 days (or rounds) each player will take 3 actions via worker placement (kind of, you`re not blocking your opponent from an action, you`re blocking yourself from using it again this round). These actions represent visits (interogations?) to various characters from the Sherlock universe (I suppose, I`m not a fan of Sherlock, I like my detectives more modern and alcoholic). Each day a new character will randomly pop up, so the number of available actions increases from 5 (at the beginning of the game) to 12 (in the final round).


Image credits: Bruno Costa


Most of these actions involve gaining investigation tokens in some form (the currency in the game, represented by nice sturdy magnifying glass tokens) or spending previously acquired tokens to gain clues (cards numbered 1 - 9, in a deck with 3 threes, 4 fours and so on, plus 5 wild cards). The clues are usually taken from a line of four visible ones, or more rarely from the deck, or even your opponent.

These cards are what you`re after. At the end of the game you will score each set (type of card) in which you have majority. A majority of threes nets you 3 VP, a majority of fours 4VP and so on....but you lose 1VP for each card of that type your opponent has (aha!). So if I have 4 sevens and you have 2, I`ll get 7 - 2 = 5 VP for my troubles.


Image credits: Pedro Soto



More importantly, how does it feel to play ?

It`s a short light filler, but there`s a decent amount of stuff to take into account with each action.

So I can`t catch up with you in 8s...but do I take 8s anyway to make you lose points? Or go for something else ? Should I exhaust* this character ? Do I want a card from the face-up line (where I can choose the best one) or take one blindly from the deck (lucky shot course but very powerful, since you keep these cards hidden until the end of game - after 1-2 plays you realise this is a big thing). And most importantly, how do you actually interrogate a dog ? (or is he sniffing and licking the clues ? I hope not).

Overall for me it feels like a classic card game (think rummy) but with an interesting scoring and some twists here and there that make it feel fresh, modern and enjoyable.


How much glue did they use to manufacture this ? (or, is theme pasted-on)

Theme is pretty much pasted-on. This is a straight up set collection game, no actual deduction or improbable leaps of logic involved. The characters are true to the universe I suppose, there was a lot of care put into the overall presentation (art, rulebook, the fold-up board looks like a leather notebook) so kudos for that. And at least it`s not about merchants collecting silk and stuff in ancient Orient.


Will I sleep on the couch after this ? (amount of spite)


There actually is some spite here.

1 an action lets you discard 1-3 cards from the line...could hurt your opponent, not such a big deal usually.

2 an action lets you steal a card from your opponent. This sounds like a big deal, but it`s not. Remember that you`re not blocking your opponent from taking the same action, so it`s very likely they`ll take it and get their card back (even though it might make sense to steal something else, I want my card back dammit!). So then the character is exausted* and two rounds later it will probably be too expensive to use (you have to pay tokens equal to the round number you are in to use it). Sure, it could be the last action you take in the game, just to mess your opponent but one: it would cost seven tokens (which is a lot) and two: you can simply choose to not be a jerk. We actually ignored it from the 2nd game onward and everything works ok.

So overall, unless you`re not completely against anything which could be possibly be interpreted as being spiteful in any shape and form, you`re fine playing this.


Will it take over the kitchen table ? (replayability)

I would say replay value is average. You see all characters (but one) in each game but they come out in a different order and that affects the game somewhat. And there are some variants in the rulebook which I will not go into (minor additions, but welcome) to spice it up a bit.

This is a matter of preference probably, because I know I`m actually doing the same things each game, but it`s so elegant and streamlined I could do it over and over again. So, definitely good value in this little box.


How well does it scale (especially, how does it work 2P ?)

It`s a 2P only game, so nothing to say here.


I was intimidated by all this text so I skipped it, can I get the gist of it ?

Don`t worry it`s fine, I sometimes skip to the conclusion myself.


Conclusion: if you`re looking for a simple, mostly abstracted short couples game to fit around larger offerings, one that would appeal to non-gamers but has enough meat on its bones to satisfy gamers, you should check this out.



Our rating: a very solid 7.5 / 10.



* when each character takes the same action in a round, that action is not available the following round - the character is exhausted. Or spooked maybe, because of all these detectives showing up at his doorstep.
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Pedro Soto
Spain
Santander
Cantabria
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Great review

But one annotation:

When you steal a card with Irene Adler, the card is included in your pile of hidden cards (not in your public row).
And the rules say that Irene cannot steal hidden cards.

Regards!
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Mihnea Cateanu
Romania
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randast wrote:
Great review

But one annotation:

When you steal a card with Irene Adler, the card is included in your pile of hidden cards (not in your public row).
And the rules say that Irene cannot steal hidden cards.

Regards!


Huh! That is very interesting, I did not catch that subtle rule. Hmm...interesting.

Thanks for the feedback!
 
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