Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft


Diego Ibanez


No. of Players:



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

The DEVIR group was founded in Brazil in 1987. Since then the company has established offices in a lot of countries over the world. You can call this a success and probably their products are quite profitable, too, but still they describe themselves as romantics, as geeks, who want to bring people together, not for playing solitary computer games but for facing each other while playing boardgames. Ok, that is probably the aim of every boardgame publisher, but at DEVIR there seems to be a serious interest in this matter, so let us see if their newest 2 player game Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft lives up to their own expectations:

In the game Sherlock competes with Mycroft. Both of them are from the famous Holmes family. I have to confess that I had to look up who this Mycroft is. Although Sherlock Holmes was one of my favourite characters in my youth, I am not too familiar with the novels by Arthur Conan Doyle. So for me and all of you who do not know Mycroft: he is the elder brother of the main character and is described to even exceed his brother's ability of deduction. However, he is only a minor character in the stories, because he is also described as little ambitious and shiftless. So it is no wonder if you do not know him...

Nevertheless in the game he is the direct counterpart of Sherlock, and indeed one player takes the role of Sherlock and the other that of his brother. Both brothers are investigating the same case. But while Mycroft thinks he has found the guilty one for a bomb explosion, Sherlock is engaged by the family of the accused to prove his innocence. And at precisely this moment we begin to play the game:

Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft lasts for seven days of investigations. Each day a new character enters the game, who helps us to find out if the accused is guilty or not. To be successful it is necessary to find more clues (get more cards of that type) than your opponent. But beware! Not the sheer mass of clues is the key to win, you must be successful in several disciplines. We find the different clues in a clue deck of 52 cards. Four clue cards are placed in a visible line and as soon as a card has been chosen, a new one is added from the clue deck again. In the deck we can find seven different kinds of clues, wild cards that serve us as a joker and map fragments that give players a special bonus at the end of the game.

Both players have three action markers to use on a day. On the first day we already start with five characters ready to be investigated. To do so, a player takes one of his action markers and places it on the character card. The action marker is placed laying down, so that it is marked as used for the day. Those used action markers remain on the character cards until the next day, when they are are put in the standing position again. No character can be investigated by a player if another of his action markers is on that character, be it standing or lying. Also, characters who were investigated by both players in a round (two action markers are placed on the card at the end of the day) are spent and so they are not available for investigating at the next day (indicated by turning this card face-down during the next day).

Now, what is the use of all this investigating? Well, that depends on the character. A lot of characters let you draw investigation markers that can be used with other characters to obtain one or more clue cards from the visible line. Some others let you draw clue cards directly from the clue deck and still others let you steal cards from your opponent. Exchanging clue cards and discarding them are only two other options you can find on the character cards.

The whole time you can see the cards your opponent has already collected, as the cards are normally placed face-up in front of a player. So you can calculate your chances to collect more cards of a type than your opponent by subtracting the number of cards from the available ones (the total number of cards is printed on every type of card). But there are some characters who let you draw hidden cards directly from the draw pile and those cards are not put to your face-up cards. Instead they are placed on a personal pile of hidden cards that only the owner of the pile may look at. This pile of hidden clues is safe from your opponent and is only revealed at the end of the game when it comes to the scoring. So there are more tactical actions in the game than it seems at the beginning. And remember that there are also the joker cards that further influence the outcome of this battle of wits.

When it comes to the scoring at the end of the game, we must check which player has the majority of each type of card. A player gets as many victory points for a majority as there are cards of this type of clue in the game minus the number of cards of that type his opponent has collected. So if you have the majority of a clue with 5 cards in the game and your opponent has collected two cards of that type, you get 3 victory points.

My first thought was that Holmes - Sherlock & Mycroft would be similar to Mr. Jack. But that ain't true. Holmes - Sherlock & Mycroft is much more a card game with the task to optimize your card collection and see how you can harm your opponent at the same time. So sometimes it is clever to take cards from the visible line that you had not planned to collect, but which prevents your opponent to take them. The same applies for the characters. Especially the effect that a character is not available on the following day when both players have investigated him on the current day can be used to influence the actions of your opponent.

Although the name Sherlock gives reason to expect that the game is very tricky and complex, the weight can rather be compared with classical games from the 2-player-series by KOSMOS. The rules are easy to learn and all character cards have excellent symbols to tell you what you can do with the character. I really liked the mechanics of the game and although there are only few characters (in the standard game there is one more character than the number of days), every game feels a little bit different. It plays a major role at which day some characters come into play, because some characters' costs depend on the current day. For players with more tactical interests, the game offers two more characters and a Sherlock/Mycroft card that alternately can be used to reserve clues without the need to use an action marker on a character.

I think that Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft is a good, light two-player game. Maybe the theme is a little bit pasted-on, but the collecting mechanism and the scoring is quite interesting, the character cards have great illustrations and there are some challenging choices. So I like it for a fast-paced game in the evening after a long work day. This is Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft.

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright © 2016 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany