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May Wung
United Kingdom
London
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So - taking into account what we learnt from our approach to Case 1 https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1659207/first-play-case-1-m..., we decided to leap into Case 2: The Tin Soldier.

Part 1: The Game isn't just afoot, it comes without a tutorial

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Which means:
1. Read the opening statement
2. Form a timeline of the victim's last known movements
3. Note down the scene of the crime and go there first
4. Speculate on perp/motive/means/execution.


We knew Case 2 was going to be hard, given what we had read about it, and were not surprised at the sparseness of the opening statement (OS). We then hit the newspapers, combing through them to match up names in the OS.

We then go to the scene of the crime (SOTC) first. Off to General Armstead's (GA) house. Yay! It's a long section!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I read it aloud first. Mr Tineykitty reads it again. We note down several possible motives, but this time, try to work out what the bulk of the text seems to be leading to. One thing we noted about Case 1 was how where the bulk of the text seems to be leading to seems to be the right lead. Also, not to be too distracted.

From visiting the SOTC, we establish this:
1. GA is an author. He was part way through revising a section on the fabulous Polar Star, a diamond stolen from a Russian Count the year before.

2. GA is a widower who never liked his wife. His brother in law, Lord Fitch (LF) really didn't like him. LF was also due to visit him that morning, but never showed.

3. The elderly man with a French accent turned up with a very old letter, written in "a graceful" (woman?) which looked like it was written at the time he was in France (maybe in his 20s?) as it is addressed to his old regiment.

4. There is a sense of deliberateness to getting the sword. No evidence of a struggle. Only one sword is taken, and not grabbed off the wall (time to get a chair, drag it to the wall, with footprints indicating walking rather than panicked running). There is a pause before sword fighting is heard.

5. There are only two exits to the study. One which was locked (to the hallway) and one to the garden (escape route of the perp).

6. The only way the perp could have escaped was via the garden, over an 8 ft wall.

7. GA was due to meet an old friend from his tour of France at the French Embassy, Jean Gerard (JG).

8. GA was due to meet with Pierre Matin the following day at The Bridge House Hotel.


So now, we revise the timeline:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. 11th June: a elderly man arrives at GA's house at about 0930. He insists the valet shows the letter, written by a woman, and probably at the time of his tour of duty in France. GA freaks out, and asks to see the man. The hallway study door is locked.

2. 15 mins pass.

3. Swordfighting is heard, then a smash of glass.

4. The valet struggles with the door, then runs through the kitchen, out into the garden, then back through the garden study door.

5. GA is found with a rapier in one hand, dying. Wellington is found to be turned around.


Both Mr Tineykitty and I are drawing a blank. Unlike Case 1, where we devised motive quite quickly, we have nothing at this stage.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We've ruled out the Lottery thing. It makes no sense for the others to kill GA. Anyhow - their age belies the whole "leap over an 8ft wall" thing. Also, the Tontine Ticket is intact.

Also, it can't be purely for money, as all the other grand artifacts weren't stolen.


Or, at least, we can rule out a few things, but narrow it to two soft motives.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. Something about Lord Fitch
2. Something about the Polar Star.


Then, I'm idling through the March 11th 1888 paper and note a thing. I point it out to Mr Tineykitty. He looks through the scene of the crime again - and come to a great conclusion:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Polar Star went missing in 1887. In the March 11th 1888 paper, there is an article about the large De Vries Robbery - and how Nat Cook continues to maintain his innocence.

Also, Pierre Matin is dead - so what business is he doing sending letters from beyond the grave? Who is then meeting with him at the Bridge House Hotel?

We rush to find De Vries Diamonds in the directory. We page through excitedly to find.... no entry.


We visit the Coroner. We decide to take a break because we have some pie and we need beer.

Part 2: Just one more thing...

This is frustrating work. Our main lead has gone cold. We have one soft lead. We have another discussion about the game and what we learned from Case 1. We realise that the main lead may be the things comprising some of the questions at the end which buff our scores. We read the newspapers again. There is a French acting troupe in town. What we note from the previous case is when things start appearing which appear vaguely related, they really are totally related.

Also, when things are absent, that's the game telling you - "no, not this path".

So, we decide to visit LF.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Hurrah! A long passage! He really didn't like GA, but not seemingly enough to kill. However, GA did get involved a lot of saucy stuff, but in particular, with a French woman from a respected family and left in some "scandal". Mr Tineykitty and I speculate this involved pregnancy. LF tried to sell this to the press at the time, who didn't want to because the old Lord Fitch had paid them off.


Now our soft lead is hotting up. To the French Embassy!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
JG is happy to speak privately. GA was involved in a lot of naughty stuff in France, knee deep in lust and libations. One last hurrah before his marriage of convenience. We confirm there was one person, ma Fleurette with whom he took a particular fancy, and it seems, severe regret.

They went to see a play before his death, having met up for the first time in ages. We take note of the lead actor's name, Phillip Arneau (PA). We cross reference this with today's newspaper.


But where to next? In summary, we have this.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. GA was a cad and bounder in his youth. He has one regret during his tour of France, and it involved a woman. We don't have her name. We know the papers didn't want to know.
2. This fits with the letter which was shown - the "graceful hand" was probably this woman.
3. The man who turned up could be GA's son out of wedlock, come to possibly duel with his dad, being in absentia for all of his life.


So, based to the above, we flick through who in the press we know. There is only one who would.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Off we go to the paparazzi! We note a dodgy gem dealer, Cabot, who might currently have the Polar Star. We get pointed to a retired paparazzo - who we go visit. He has a whole dossier on the affair, and, more importantly, a name.

Arneau!


Part 3: Isn't this a plot point in Columbo?
Oh, my - we're high fiving now as our only lead is pretty solid. We know where to go next.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
To the Princess Theatre we go! Loads of text there, much to our delight. We now have likely perp and motive.

PA is angry. Really angry. It's his sister who was deflowered, and is dead. His mother died last week. Something triggered in him, and he visited GA.

He's a great actor, and good at age makeup - acting Napoleon throughout the ages with grace and ease. a 70 year old man won't be able to jump an 8ft wall, but a strong 48 year old man could. We still don't have means. We know the death blow was a sword blow to the heart from the Coroner, but only one rapier was taken.

PA also fits the build of the "French accented man" who may have struck the killing blow "from below", as he is short enough to play Napoleon.


So, we go to the only other place which we may need a warrant for.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
PA is staying at The Grand Hotel. The room is searched, and we find the sword-cane. We find the letter.


So now, we have perp, motive, means and execution:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Perp: Phillip Arneau
Motive: Revenge for his sister, sparked by the death of his mother in an asylum.
Means: Disguised as an old man, he goes to GA's house. Shows the letter to valet, visits GA. Once the door is locked in the study, he tears off his disguise, and challenges GA, for the honour of his family. He takes the chair, drags it to the rapiers, takes one off the wall and gives it to GA. PA takes the sword out of the cane, and en garde! After 15 mins of fighting, PA kills GA with a single blow to GA's heart. He puts all the stuff into the carpetbag, and legs it through the garden study door, and over the wall.


This being said, we don't have all the information...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Wellington being turned around? We have no idea. I tell Mr Tineykitty I'm fairly sure its a plot point in a Columbo episode. In fact, it is part of the plot of the episode, Grand Deceptions. There's something in the paper about the Iron Duke being Irish, but nothing else.


In spite of this, we're happy with our lot, and we go to the back. We answer 2 out of 3 questions in Part 1 correctly, and only one in part 2. We then prepare to feel pretty stupid again as we turn to Sherlock's solution.

We're correct! We visit 5 more places than Sherlock did, giving us a score of 55!

Although this is a lower score than Case 1, we feel we did better this time round with the structured approach, but also, still no less fun.

Bring on Case 3 - and we are prepared for that one being a bit of a crapshoot
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Australia
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Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.
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"At the landing, and here ever since" - Anzac Book, p. 35.
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[q="tineykitty"]
Spoiler (click to reveal)
We've ruled out the Lottery thing. It makes no sense for the others to kill GA. Anyhow - their age belies the whole "leap over an 8ft wall" thing. Also, the Tontine Ticket is intact.

Also, it can't be purely for money, as all the other grand artifacts weren't stolen.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
We ruled this out for different reasons. We felt it made sense for others to kill GA [increase their chances of getting the prize], and we couldn't rule out the use of an agent to kill GA, but there was little information to narrow it down to any particular person. Without any particular leads, we'd potentially have to go around and visit each individual, which didn't suit the style of Sherlock Holmes.


...

Spoiler (click to reveal)

We rush to find De Vries Diamonds in the directory. We page through excitedly to find.... no entry.


Spoiler (click to reveal)

We did exactly the same thing. Thought we were onto something with the jewellery thefts, but couldn't find the right lead.


...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We read the newspapers again. There is a French acting troupe in town. What we note from the previous case is when things start appearing which appear vaguely related, they really are totally related.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
We hit on this too. There were a few too many "French" themes for our liking for it to be purely coincidence [or so we thought/hoped].


...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Wellington being turned around? We have no idea. I tell Mr Tineykitty I'm fairly sure its a plot point in a Columbo episode. In fact, it is part of the plot of the episode, Grand Deceptions. There's something in the paper about the Iron Duke being Irish, but nothing else.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
This is the part we didn't get also. We thought maybe he was 'turning his back' because he was ashamed of his actions [ie GA=Wellington=shame].

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John McD
Scotland
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In real life, I would say, if a trip to the mortuary makes you hungry for pie...

Nice write up,one of the things I like about this game is that attempts to play a meta-game about how to read the clues, how to spot red herrings, just don't work (at least for me!). You have to play the game as it is.
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Andrew MacLeod
Canada
London
Ontario
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There are twelve of us, Sire, and I place all the resources of my people unreservedly at your Majesty's disposal.
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Well done, May! We pretty much followed the same lines as you did, and did slightly better, because:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We (more or less, sort of) figured out the significance of the turned soldier: we thought (almost immediately) that it meant the killer was French, and only later realized that it meant Napoleon.
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Bruce Danner
United States
Potsdam
New York
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Just played this scenario, and enjoyed it better than the first, mainly because I know now what the case expects from me, whereas in #1 I felt that I had to know everything before flipping to the end.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The tontine looked like a red herring from the beginning. I got sidetracked on the Polar Star, because of the notice of P. Matin's death in the 1st episode Times. I'll have to go back to work out how/why his brother was impersonating him. I fell for the theory that the Russian goon was lying about finding him dead.


Very satisfying gameplay, extremely well written! Captures the fast pace of Conan-Doyle's style as well.
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Bryce Lynch
United States
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Welcome to the PLEASUREDOME
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We did this last night, and beat Holmes to the main solution by finishing correctly in three moves.

They key to this, I think, is:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
He was killed by a sword, in a duel. This communicates only one thing: honor killing. From there the letter becomes obvious, and reinforces the data from the embassy.
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