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Subject: Sherlock - A Review rss

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Craig Hargraves
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Sherlock

Designer: Reinhard Staupe
Publisher: Playroom Entertainment
Year: 1999
Players: 2-5
Ages: 5+
Playing Time: 15 minutes

The Idea
Sherlock is a children’s memory style card game in which players move “Sherlock” around a circle of face down cards remembering items as they go.

In the Box
The box for Sherlock is a bit bigger than is really necessary for the 50 cards it contains but it stores the cards well with a cardboard insert and allows for a larger rulebook than would otherwise have been possible. The rule book is well written with important points bolded and game play clearly explained through an example with clear diagrams.

The 50 cards are all made from a thick durable card stock that will stand up to plenty of punishment from children. One card contains a picture of our canine “Sherlock” while the other 49 cards represent the clues that Sherlock will follow. The first element on each of the clue cards is a large colour illustration of a simple object. All of the objects are quite easy for children from age about 3 to identify and include things like an umbrella, the sun, a duck and so on. The second element on the cards is a number from 1 to 4 and an arrow pointing either left or right. This element tells you where Sherlock will move next if you correctly remember the object that was on the card.

Basic Game Play Summary
Game play is quite simple, as is appropriate for a children’s game, but it isn’t without challenge for adults. The game can move fairly quickly and children are unlikely to get bored between turns.

To begin, a circle of eight cards is placed face up on the table. Players have a short amount of time to memorise the cards before they are turned face down. The first player then places Sherlock somewhere on the outside of the circle and tries to remember what object is on the card. The card is then turned face up and if they are correct the card is left face up and Sherlock moves around the circle according to the arrow and number on the card. This continues until either a mistake is made or Sherlock lands on a card that is already face up. If a mistake is made the cards are turned face down and the next player continues the game. If Sherlock lands on a face up card then the player takes that card, a new card is placed into the circle and then all the cards are turned face down ready for the next player. The first player to collect 6 cards wins.

One of the great features of Sherlock is that it’s very easy to increase or decrease the difficulty of this basic game play simply by increasing or decreasing the number of cards in the circle. This is an excellent feature for allowing the game to grow in difficulty as children grow in ability.

Who Would Like It?
Kids will enjoy Sherlock as memory style games are popular with most children. The illustrations are also quite appropriate for children. What sets Sherlock apart from many other children’s games however, is that it can also engage and challenge the memory skills of adults. This makes Sherlock a very enjoyable (if occasionally humbling) game for parents to play with their children.

If you don’t have children around to play with then this game is unlikely to be all that desirable for your collection.

Where to From Here
Playroom Entertainment publishes a number of excellent games appropriate for young children. In particular, “Monkey Memory” and “Hop to It!” have game play based on the player’s memory ability.

Gamewright also produce many excellent children’s games. In particular, “Rat-a-tat Cat” is a well liked game that has a memory aspect to it.

As kids get older they will likely tire of these “children’s” games so you could try to move them on to other adult games which rely on memory skills such as “Mamma Mia!” from Rio Grande Games.
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Julie Taylor
Canada
Waterloo
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I'm actually a big fan of Sherlock and find it works nicely as a filler. We often have friends over for games on a Fri. night and sometimes will allow my 4-yr old to stay up late and play a game with us. Of the 50 or so kids games that we have, two will lead to uproarious laughter by all of us, both by the same company, one is Gopher It, and the other, is of course, Sherlock. I think it's one of the most elegant kids games I've seen. I've bought a lot of chrome-y, theme heavy games for the kids, but Sherlock's simplicity just somehow allows you to really enjoy the time spent with others.
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Craig Hargraves
Australia
Morayfield
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That's great to hear. While I mainly bought Sherlock to play with my 3 year old nephew my wife and I have played it by ourselves as well. Glad to hear other adults are getting value out of it too! I'll have to pull it out with larger adult crowds sometime.

And thanks for reading and your comments.
 
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Great review. I have the German version - Der Plumpsack Geht Um. As you say, this is a great game for children and adults to play together. I've also played it with adults and have found it can be a tense and exciting game.
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