Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Review

SH Consulting Detective board game review

Year: 1981 | Players: 1-8 | Minutes: 60+ | Ages: 13+

This Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective review was made after playing through four of the cases (at multiple player counts).


What is Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective?

In Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective you and your friends try to solve one of the 10 cases included in the box. You’ll get the details for a case and you’ll then use the case book, the London Directory, a map of London, and local newspapers to find all of the clues that you need to solve it.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective was designed by Raymond EdwardsSuzanne Goldberg, and Gary Grady, and it is now published by Space Cowboys.


Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Rules Overview

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective review - directory, map, and case book

Each game of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective starts with someone reading the case details aloud. The other players take notes so they can figure out which leads to pursue.

After you’ve read through the case file, you’ll start trying to solve it. This means that you need to read through the newspaper to find clues and use the directory to find leads. You can always look at the map to see if there’s anything nearby that can help you solve the case. It’s up to you to decide where to go next.

Anyone can choose which lead to follow next, but it’s recommended that you go around the table picking one lead at a time. You can also decide on leads to pursue as a group, then simply pass the case book around the table to let everyone have a chance to read. It really is up to your group.

Once you and your team think that you’ve solved the mystery, it’s time to answer the questions in the back of the case book. You’re hoping to score more points than Sherlock himself (good luck with that!) by answering the questions correctly and by using as few leads as possible. For us, it is more about solving the case than beating Sherlock’s score, but it’s always fun to read about how he went about solving each case.


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Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The theme in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective just pops out of everything included in the box. The cases feel like real Sherlock Holmes cases, the newspapers were brilliantly designed, and you really do feel like a detective when you’re looking around the map and through the directory for leads.
  • The newspapers deserve their own spot on this list. It was just a very cool idea to have players look through the newspapers for clues because they really do pull you into the story. Multiple people have told me that it was the newspapers that elevated the game above other detective games.
  • The writing is fantastic. We’ve played through four of the cases so far and each one kept us on the edge of our seats. I could see all of them working well as TV episodes.
  • I like that clues can pop up just about anywhere. This is cool because often you’ll work hard as a group to come up with a direction you should go and usually you’ll find something useful wherever you end up going.
  • It’s also great that the game is designed in a way to let you jump right in and start playing. There are very few rules, so if one person reads the rulebook quickly before people get to the table, you really can just start the game right away.
  • This might sound weird, but I think it’s great that Sherlock ends up beating most people who play this game. Sherlock is the consulting detective and smarter than most, so it makes sense that he knows which leads to chase and can usually crush your team’s score.
  • The game also has a very cool “open world” feel to it. You’re on your own to figure out which leads to chase, which is great because it makes solving the cases that much more rewarding.

Cons

  • Unless you’re very close to it, the map can be pretty tough to read. I don’t necessarily think it needs to be bigger, but the numbers could have been bolded a bit more to make them stand out.
  • If you’re going to be playing with five or more people, expect the game to drag a bit since more people will be chiming in. It is best when played with 2-4 players (or even solo), but we did have one pretty fun game when we had six people at the table. It’s just really important that you make an effort to get everyone involved, which can be tough for some groups.
  • You have to do a lot of reading while playing this game. That isn’t an issue for everyone, but if someone in your group isn’t fully immersed while listening to the story bits, it can get boring for them. That can throw the whole experience off for everyone.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective – Final Thoughts

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is pretty freakin’ amazing! It’s such a great feeling to solve the mysteries this game throws at you. My group has even had a great time when we haven’t figured them out. So far, this is the only game that has made me feel like a real detective.

I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, as is the rest of my group, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. For example, if you’re not into deduction board games, then you might not be a fan of this one. If you don’t think your group would enjoy a game with a lot of reading, then you’ll want to pass on this one.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective goes right near the top of my group’s top cooperative board games list. It’s different than every other co-op game that we’ve played, and it’s one of those rare games that feels complete. It’s a must-have game for Sherlock Holmes fans… and just about everyone else. If you’re looking for a Sherlock Holmes board game to get to play with friends or family, I’d say this is the one you should check out first.

Update in 2023: All links now point to the newest version of the game. The newest edition fixes some of the minor issues some people had with the older versions. Below I’ve added a list of the newest Consulting Detective games that have come out over the years.


Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Games

The Thames Murders & Other Cases (2016)

The Thames Murders & Other Cases

Why were two lions murdered in Hyde Park? Who is responsible for the missing paintings from the National Gallery? Who murdered Oswald Mason and why? These are just a few of the cases that will challenge your ingenuity and deductive abilities.

These are the original cases from 1981 that were updated in 2016. This is the game that we played for this review.

LinksBGG | Amazon | Miniature Market


Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures (2016)

Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures

Included are six independent “West End Adventures” cases (redesigned and updated from the 1995 expansion), and a series of four new cases based on the Jack the Ripper murders.

LinksBGG | Amazon | Miniature Market


Carlton House & Queen’s Park (2017)

Carlton House & Queen's Park

Carlton House & Queen’s Park introduces ten exciting cases, each one drawing players deep into the world of Sherlock Holmes. Among these cases includes two classic, long out-of-print expansions which are now revised and updated.

LinksBGG | Amazon | Miniature Market


The Baker Street Irregulars (2020)

The Baker Street Irregulars

In 1880, Sherlock Holmes appointed a group of street children as The Baker Street Irregulars, his unofficial “police force”. This is their story, and the story of a particular year that thrusts the Irregulars and the master detective into a series of challenging and dangerous events…

LinksBGG | Amazon | Miniature Market


 

Thanks for taking the time to read our Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective review!

Be sure to also take a look at our Best Cooperative Board Games list and other rankings.

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