Monday, July 24, 2017

Product Review: Watson & Holmes

(Image from:  Boardgame Geek)
I was never a big fan of the mystery genre, with one exception--Sherlock Holmes.  My wife's son-in-law is also a fan, while she loves police dramas.

So when I stumbled across the game Watson & Holmes, I thought this would be a good family game, rather than the usual games I play that involve mass-casualty mayhem.

In Watson & Holmes, 2-7 player-detectives attempt to solve 13 cases of "Dr. Watson's lost archive."

The game comes with the following--

1 x Rulebook
13 x Case Booklets
206 x Location Cards, divvied-up into 13 x case envelopes
7 x Player Pawns, representing characters in dapper Victorian fashion, along with 7 x Player Tokens
11 x Character Cards and a Carriage Stop Card
57 x Carriage Tokens, for haring-off around London
6 x each, Police and Call Off Tokens
2 x Lockpick Tokens and,
1 x First Player Token and a "Wiggens" Token

(Image from:  Monkeys With Fire--closed
The artwork and graphics exude Victorian elegance, while the playing pieces are thick and sturdy, capable of handling wear & tear, short of being the The Hound of the Baskervilles' chew toys.

Basically, after being read the case file, players move around to various locations, expending carriage tokens, and gathering clues.  When a player feels he's solved the case, he goes back to 221B Baker Street and consults with The Great Detective.  If the player is wrong, he's out of the game, while the other would-be detectives keep investigating.  The first person to make it back to 221B Baker Street with the correct solution, wins the game.

This sounds a lot like Clue, but with a hefty dose of immersive Victorian ambience.  Each case contains the narrative of the mystery, the Location Card layout, and the Solution, tucked-away in the middle of the file.  The first 5 cases are considered easy, while Cases 5-10 are intermediate, and Cases 11-13 are difficult.

Watson & Holmes costs $66 on Amazon.con, where three reviewers give it a 5-star rating.  But there may be a few copies left at The Miniature Market for $47.50.

The only problem I can see with this game is that it's limited to 13 sessions for the same players, unless someone acts as a mentor or gamemaster of sorts.

The quality of the game certainly deserves a 5-star rating.

But as to how Watson & Holmes plays, well...

(Image from the movie:  Without a Clue)
...I haven't got a clue.

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