SNAP Review – Sherlock: Case Connection
Handsome British men, criminal intrigue, and smug antagonists eventually getting their due? This sounds like a TV show Anitra and I can actually watch together!
And it turns out, it was a pretty good show. Filled with iconic characters and set-pieces, and brilliant writing and acting, Sherlock has cemented itself as incredible British television and vaulted Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman into becoming household names.
Now you can connect-the-dots and catch the bad guys yourself in a new game from Lucky Duck Games.
So let’s get into our mind palace and take a look at this light family game.
This is a SNAP review for Sherlock: Case Connection.
Sherlock: Case Connection is a connection building, set collection game for 2-4 players. It’ll take 20-30 minutes to play and anyone in the family, age 8 and up, can play.
Most of Case Connection is actually pictures from the TV show, which is great. Lucky Duck got the full license to this series, including the likeness of the actors – look at this handsome box lid – and the cards are filled with pictures from the TV show.
The icons are clear and easy to understand, and they’ve got colors and symbols to represent everything.
The graphic design is just great – Your Lead cards have connection icons and point values. That’s it! They do add a skull to remind you that they’re your goal to complete; unlike the Thread cards which might have bonus tokens on them, but also add those connection icons, which are very important.
In fact, let’s talk about those. How do you play this game?
You’ll start the game with four location boards set out with Thread cards and Proof tokens on each location.
Each player gets two Lead cards and picks which lead they’re going to go after.
Play goes around the table with each player taking two items from a single location: two Thread cards, two Proof tokens, or one of each. But they have to be on the same location.
When two locations only have one option on each, refill all locations from the Thread deck and token pile.
Your goal is to construct a path from your Lead card through tokens and Thread cards to fulfill all of the symbols on your lead card.
Cards can be directly connected, or they can be indirectly connected through another card. Some thread cards have bonus values which will add some kind of reward when the lead is finished, but you’ll only get those bonuses if that card is directly connected to the Lead.
When you’ve completed a Lead, turn that card face-down. You can pick two items (and only two) to save from your mind map for that lead and everything else goes back to the central supply.
The game ends when one player gets to nine points (usually this is their third completed Lead). Then everyone else gets one last turn. Whoever has the most points wins – that’s how games work!
We play a lot of games. The vitals on the box give us a sense of what to expect (age 8+, time 30 minutes, 2-4 players).
With the actors on the box we did expect some darker themes, which I suppose we got, but again, the vitals told us to expect a relatively light game that the entire family could play together.
We also figured content from the show would feature pretty heavily, given the cover of the box.
This game is really simple! The images are great – and for those of us who have seen the show, it brings back awesome memories.
So many times I would look at my Lead cards and pick which one I wanted just because I wanted to get that guy, because I remembered what happened in the show.
There’s nothing in the imagery that’s gory or inappropriate for older children. It won’t be as meaningful for players who haven’t seen the TV show, but you don’t need to know anything about Sherlock Holmes to play.
[Andrew] I will say that the Universal proof tokens – I think they’re too powerful. Like we said, you keep two things when you finish a Lead. I think that the Universal proof tokens, which are wild, should always be discarded back to the box after use. Maybe that’s a way to mediate difficulty, for playing with different ages? But once you get two, why would you ever keep anything else?
[Anitra] I disagree. I don’t think that two Universal tokens are a game-breaker; because there is a lot of luck in this game. We’ve played where one player only drew the highest-value, most difficult Lead cards – and that ended up putting them behind, because they couldn’t the exact Thread cards they needed. It took several more turns, just to get one extra point.
On the other hand, the luck involved in the game means that it’s not impossible to balance between older and younger players. And the game moves quickly – most of the time. Last-minute refills of the board did often slow us down at a higher player count, and then it can feel like a long wait for your turn to come around again.
If you’re not planning with that extra time that you have, then just like other games, you could end up feeling bored. Our youngest definitely did. Adults will fill this time with friendly banter, but kids often don’t do that with their parents. (Has anybody had a quiet time at the dinner table? It just happens.)
Anyway, this path building game is a fun way to re-live the show for adults, and a neat way for kids to learn how to think multiple steps ahead without being too overwhelmed. The barrier of entry isn’t that high – kids as young as seven or maybe even six can play with minor rule adjustments, or even no rule adjustments at all. There’s no reading required in this game!
What are we going to rate Sherlock: Case Connection from Lucky Duck Games?
Well, it doesn’t feature groundbreaking mechanics, and the theme is pretty evident. So keeping in mind it’s likely only going to be people really interested in the Sherlock theme who pick it up, we’re going to rate it 4 clues out of 5.
Find it this summer on Amazon or at your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Sherlock: Case Connection from Lucky Duck Games for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Sherlock: Case Connection
Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30 minutes