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Subject: Some Tips for Future Gumshoes (Spoiler Free) rss

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Martin Smith
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Hi all,

I realize I am about 20 years late to the party here, but having just played through this excellent game solo I wanted to share a few things about the game which I wish I had known before I started.

- The cases are not self contained. By this I mean that you cannot solve a case just by playing through the day on which it first appears. The case that you are given in day one for example cannot be completed until several days later as you do not have all the facts until this point.

- For the above reason it seems that it was intended for the player(s) to play though all nine days in succession, only attempting to solve a case once they are sure they have the answer. I would actually suggest not attempting to solve any of the cases until you have completed day nine.

- I found that the evidence to solve all the cases is in the game and that the answers do make sense if you've found all the evidence. The problem is that finding all the evidence is somewhat tricky. As a solo gumshoe you will definitely need to play though each day more than once and will probably need to do the same as a team.

- One irritation about collecting evidence is that some clues are time sensitive (i.e turn to this clue if its after 6pm this clue is its before 6pm). Most of the time this is flagged up in advance in the text, however annoyingly a lot of the time its down to blind luck. Since some of the major clues hide behind these paths I would suggest sending two or more investigators to the same clue at different times.

- You can look at the autopsy reports at any point after the time at which they are published. Oddly they are not in order in the book, but if you look at the bottom of each report on its second page you will see the time after which you can access that report. I would suggest making a note at the top of your investigator sheet of the times as otherwise you might forget.

- The lab reports are the same, however there are no times - you can look at these reports at any time during the day which you playing. Oddly again they are not in order in the book, so make sure you leaf through (one of the case one reports is strangely in the middle of the book and easily missed).

Well, hope this is of use and have fun with this great game !
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Green Knight Games
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Thanks for the tips. We're just at the end of day 3, playing one day every (real) week.

We had worked out most of your tips, but the big one is probably: Don't look at the Q&A booklet until you've finished the whole thing. We've peeked at a couple (having previously played Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective) and found the answers to be confusing and containing more detail than we have amassed. We'll wait until after day 9 now and keep detailed notes on our theories.
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Green Knight Games
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We've now finished the complete game and got about 75% solved. It was a huge experience that we all enjoyed. It is quite easy to miss things so here are a few more tips:

To save game time, we split up and each player ran their own time sheet. We made the thematic assumption that you could always phone your findings into the Continental office and pick up clues from the others. We stuck to the rule that this had to be realistic. If one player didn't discover something until (say) 2:00pm, no other player could act on that until after 2:00pm. This did cause problems when the game provides a choice of direction (Do you want to continue following the car or stop and follow the man who got out?)

Talk to everybody. Whenever you get a name, go and talk to them, even if it doesn't seem like they are of any interest. Even if you think you've solved the mystery.

The method described in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective of visiting (say) every chemist when investigating a poisoning case - doesn't work so well in Gumshoe, although Hotels etc. can be useful for locating people.

Check the encounter tables at the start of each day to see if the clue number has changed. Some clues only have a narrow window of time.

For ease of playing, make detailed notes about fingerprints - type, number, where found, identity (when discovered). If you're keeping notes electronically, it helps to scan or photograph the print and keep it with your notes. This will help save time when you meet the same prints again.
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Paul Schulzetenberg
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I know I'm digging up an old thread, but this was by far the most helpful thread for my group when we did this game. I'll add a few extra tips that I wish I had known at the beginning of our game.

- Contrary to the first two posters, you can read the questions and try to answer them all at the end of each day. The questions don't give anything away. However, you DEFINITELY should not read the answers to the questions until the end of the last day. The answers give away things that you can't possibly find until much later in the story.

- We played with a group of four of us, and split up every day. That was definitely too many detectives. It got kind of silly, as most of the days we were visiting every single new clue point in the book. 2 detectives seems like a better number -- you might miss a few things, but at least you'll have concrete reasons for visiting every place you go, as opposed to "It was all that was left in the clue book."

- If you're playing with more than one player, it helps enormously to create a second copy of the clue book. Otherwise there's a ton of downtime as you wait for the Clue Book to come back around to you. It cost me $35 to have it done at a local print shop, and they had to cut and rebind the first book in order to copy it, but it halved the playtime of our sessions. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

- We played that we had to be in the same place to share information, but it got pretty tedious, and if I were to do it over again, I'd just share information any time I thought it was useful.

- After two days of taking notes with pencil and paper, we ditched the analog notes for a shared Google Docs spreadsheet. Rows represented clues, with columns for the numeric value of each clue on each day, with a large column for our notes on that location. This made it very easy to track when clues had changes, when clues had been visited by other players, and what was remaining to follow up, and best of all, allowed us to use a search function when we saw names popping up. I wish we had done this sooner.

FINGERPRINTS
- Fingerprints will always be EXACTLY identical -- there's no variation for smudges, partial prints, different digits, or even orientation.

- I think (though haven't confirmed) that every single fingerprint from any source in the game is duplicated on the cards with numbers on them. It's easy to miss them, but if I double- or triple-checked, I'd always find it in there.

- As a consequence, it's worth it to immediately correlate prints to a number, as it's much easier to correlate those numbers than it is to correlate them directly against each other.

- Also relatedly, if you think a print is on the suspect cards, try correlating the print with the numbered print, and the suspect card with the numbered print.

- Just because every fingerprint has a number on it, does not mean that it's at the Fingerprint Bureau. Many times, you have to determine from context whose prints are whose.
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Dave Neale
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We just started playing this and I am wondering if someone who has contributed to this thread could help me out. So far, we've played the first day, but a few issues/queries have come up.

First question: The book of mugshots of suspects - can we look at that? I originally thought we'd be told to look at it at certain points, e.g. "you meet a tall red-haired man (see mugshot #5)", but I'm now thinking maybe you can just refer to it whenever you like. Is that how other people have used it?

Second question: It's never possible to visit anywhere other than those on the list of clue points for the day is it? I ask because we found addresses for places we wanted to go on Day 1 and they weren't on the clue point list.

Third question: We ran out of places to visit very quickly on day 1, were we doing something wrong or is there just not much to do or find out on day 1? We had two detectives. A bit more info (spoilers):

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We talked to everyone we could think of, ran out of leads, got desperate and went to the newspaper reporter, the FBI.. then realised we could go back to the crime scene and found a fingerprint - for a second it was "wooo!" then we realised that still didn't give us anywhere new to go. By this point it was about 4pm. We had arranged to meet Nick, our contact about gambling, at a club at 7pm, so we just wasted 3 hours and skipped straight to that. He gave us a list of names. We found addresses for some but they weren't on the clue list. We couldn't think of anything else to do so we just ended our first day at 8pm. It all felt very much like we were missing something or doing something wrong.


Hope someone can get help us out - enjoying it so far but finding it a bit frustrating as well.
 
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Paul Schulzetenberg
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Ours weren't a book, but a collection of loose index cards with mug shots. Yes, you can look at those whenever you want. Same with the fingerprint cards, and the newspapers, crime reports, and autopsies, provided that the relevant date has passed.

There are occasionally places that are not in the clue points. Usually they open up on one of the subsequent days.

You definitely can exhaust your clue points, especially on the first day. The later days will start to provide a few more clues. It's also sometimes worth going back to a location, because it is sometimes a new clue. We kept track of when the clue book locations would change, which felt a little like cheating, but we knew it was going to be a once-through experience, so we wanted to get as much as possible from the plays. The clues are so scattered and difficult that you're unlikely to solve the whole case anyway.
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Dave Neale
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Thanks for the quick response!
 
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Dave Neale
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I'm back with some more questions:

1. Are the clue points that are listed by name rather than address (e.g. 'DMV Fingerprint Division') intended as hints about where we should go? Is it expected that you will visit those places simply because they are on the list? Or are you supposed to visit them only if you find a specific reason to do so? If they are not hints about where to go, is there any difference between the cluepoints listed by name and those listed by address? I imagine no one may know the answer to this question, and whatever the designers intended is probably lost in the mists of time.

2.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The allies thing is very odd if you're used to the allies in Sherlock. We are given a list of allies at the start of the game, but on the whole it seems very difficult to actually visit any of them. Fanny Feathers sounded fun to visit, but isn't in the lists of places to visit and isn't in the Directory. Curious, I skipped forward to see if maybe we could visit her on later days but didn't see her name anywhere. Do we ever get to visit her? I don't want to know details, just whether or not we do. It seems odd to give players a list of intriguing allies and then not let players visit them.
 
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Paul Schulzetenberg
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The ones identified by name rather than address aren't necessarily special. Some of it is to keep the addresses secret from the player if they don't know what it is. If the book wrote "Gerald Smith's apartment" you'd have a clue that Gerald Smith was relevant, so they use addresses to obfuscate why these places are important. As I recall, the ones identified by name are particularly obvious why you would want to go there, such as the fingerprint division (if you wanted some info about fingerprints).

Yes, the allies are different from Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases. The allies here are usually useful once or twice during the game, but most of the time they simply aren't listed so you can't visit them. I don't recall if every one of them can eventually be visited, but I think so.
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Dave Neale
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We have just finished it, and I will add a few more useful bits of information to this thread:

1. The Allies in this game are quite odd - you cannot (as far as I can tell) actually visit all of them, and even when you do get information from one of them it will sometimes be by visiting somewhere else rather than their normal hang-out. So it is quite different if you are used to the Allies in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective.

2. ERRATA for second edition. There are errors (I think quite a lot) in the second edition. I can only imagine how bad first edition must have been. Here are two of the main errors we noticed and remembered:

If you come across a reference to 504 Scott and a reference to 508 Scott they are intended to be the same address.

When you reach Tuesday, July 10th, look at the following spoiler for a correction to what you are told in the introductory text:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Mr Czygelstreich was kidnapped on the SAME day (Sunday) that the hotel room was broken into, and not on the following day (Monday) as Mrs Czygelstreich's account implies. The solution makes more sense if she says they noticed they were being followed on Sunday, and so they immediately took the Holy Pictures to the church as they assumed someone was after them. Then Mrs Czygelstreich went out (on Sunday afternoon) leaving her husband to rest, and when she got back the room was broken into and her husband gone. Ignore all references to the Fisherman's Grotto.
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Tofof
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Further errata-

1. 411 15th Avenue, July 5 - the listed '307' is clearly a nonsensical response to this clue. I believe it was intended to match either the July 4 version (Clue 294) or the July 6 version (Clue 275).

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ultimately, though, it's pointless - both of the other responses are simply along the lines of "I knock at the door but noone answers." Joaquin Ruiz appears to be unreachable (at least at that address).


2. Autopsy reports for victims of July 3 - One of the pairs of bullet images (i.e. both 1a & 1b) is erroneously vertically flipped.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The 38 in each body and the 45 in each body appear to have matching markings on the bullets themselves, albeit at different points of rotation. However, on the 38, the pairs only match if the images are vertically flipped. This is a common enough printing error with graphics from that era that we concluded that was a simple accident, and not an intentional oddity.


If anyone cares to verify these findings, that would be great, as our group is still playing.
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