SNAP Review – Sherlock Solitaire

Sherlock Solitaire

Sherlock Holmes has enduring appeal. I think this is the fourth game we’ve talked about with a Sherlock Holmes theme.

I think so.

But this isn’t a deduction game. Instead, it’s a simple puzzle game that riffs on the theme that Sherlock Holmes works alone.

But doesn’t he work with Dr. Watson?

Sometimes. Like when we’re playing together.

This is a SNAP review for Sherlock Solitaire.


Sherlock Solitaire is a small card game by Peter Scholtz and published by Wise Wizard Games. It’s for one or two players, ages 12 and up, and it plays in 20 minutes or less.


What can we say about the art in this game? I really like that violin.

It’s evocative and dark. Every Investigation card has a number 1-4, and a unique image of a suspect, location, and clues. The letter cards, which are called Threats, come in four sets, and these are even darker than the numbered cards.

Threat cards - Sherlock Solitaire

By looking at the bottom of the cards, it turns out there are actually five different artists for this game, which is really impressive! I never would have guessed that, because they’re all remarkably consistent.

There’s a lot of detail in these images. But some of it does seem kind of off to me. Faces have a strange line across them that might be dirt or might be wrinkles, but just doesn’t quite fit. And I think it feels more threatening than it should – Sherlock faced death many times, but the books aren’t ALL darkness and threats!

On the other hand, the graphic design is really well done. Identical numbers all have the same border, and there are just a few symbols used for special powers. And they’re all pretty easy to decipher.


Enough about the art. How do we play Sherlock Solitaire?

You start by choosing a case card, a difficulty, and a detective – either Holmes or Watson.

Shuffle all the Investigation cards and Threat cards together. The game involves making sets, so shuffling well is really important.

And don’t forget your Wound Card! This usually starts sideways with “Minor Wound” face up, to show you haven’t taken any wounds yet.

On each turn, you draw four cards from the deck into your hand. Then play them, one at a time. Two must be played in “the Office” and two must be played into “the Crime Scene”.

Four cards in hand - Sherlock Solitaire

Let’s start with the Office. Cards are played here in columns. Each column starts with an Investigation card, then alternates Threat cards and Investigation cards. The catch? Every Investigation card in a column must be the SAME number – but each Threat card in a given column must be a UNIQUE letter. Each scenario specifies certain final layouts for one or more columns that you must achieve to win the game.

What about the Crime Scene? You play cards here to form – or avoid forming – matching pairs. A pair of numbered Investigation cards activates the corresponding action on your detective card – usually this is moving a card from one area to the other, but sometimes it might also be drawing an additional card or looking for a specific card in the discard pile. You MUST play the action – and if you can’t, you take a wound, turning or flipping the Wound card to show the increasing severity.

Making pairs of Threat cards in the Crime Scene will ALSO cause you to take a wound. If you take three wounds before completing your scenario objective, you lose the game.

You can also play Sherlock Solitaire with two players, as a cooperative game. Each player takes a detective. Alternate turns between the two players – although you share the Office, the Crime Scene, and the Wound card, you may ONLY trigger the actions for your specific detective.

Sherlock Solitaire in play
Crime Scene (left), Office (right)


So Anitra, what did we expect from Sherlock Solitaire?

Our friends at Wise Wizard gave us this game and told us it had a surprising amount of replay, with two scenarios and three difficulty levels.

So, I expected a game with some kind of story line or goal that felt fitting of the great detective.

It’s also a small box with about 50 cards. So I hoped it wouldn’t be terribly complicated or terribly long.

Knowing this was primarily a solo game that could also be played cooperatively, I expected something on the shorter end – especially after seeing the small box and the components.


But despite the small box, and the components, there were some surprises in this one.

I was surprised at how much this felt like a traditional solitaire game, very much like Klondike or Spider Solitaire, something like that, where you’re building up columns of alternating cards, and sometimes moving cards around between areas.

The two scenarios each lay out a story along with your goal, but the only thing that’s really “Sherlockian” in this game is the art.

Sherlock Solitaire Case cards - The Valley of Fear, The Final Problem

I actually completely agree with this. As much as I appreciate the theme, and pairing Sherlock with puzzles always makes sense, it’s absolutely pasted on here.

I’m also surprised that for a game that has “solitaire” in the name, I enjoyed this more at two players. Watson and Holmes have slightly different sets of abilities, and it feels really good to make plans for who should attempt to move cards, and where, and when. It’s a great teamwork thing.

It also gives more flexibility, which you will definitely need for the second scenario!

Super frustrating when I have the cards for your abilities, and vice-versa. But that’s okay, it’s part of the game.

My expectation ended up true – this is a co-op game on the shorter side. This game is perfect for date nights or something like that.


I think we’d recommend Sherlock Solitaire if you like standard solitaire card games and you’re looking for a little twist. This is a small box, it’s easy to get started with, and it looks like Wise Wizard intends to release more scenarios in the future.

More scenarios here is actually really interesting! They’re really only one card with some goals on them, so I would expect to see them fairly inexpensively (which the game already is), or maybe even promos at shows or something like that – so make sure you hit up that Wise Wizard booth at your favorite convention.

We probably wouldn’t recommend this for your kids, unless they really love Sherlock Holmes or this dark, noir-style setting.

I think I agree – the darker setting isn’t inherently kid friendly – unless you’re Darkwing Duck.

So what are we going to rate Sherlock Solitare?

I think we’re going to give it four threats out of five.

And that’s Sherlock Solitaire – in a SNAP!

Buy it today on Amazon (for $10!) or ask for it at your friendly local game store.

Sherlock Solitaire

The Family Gamers received a copy of Sherlock Solitaire from Wise Wizard 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 Solitaire
  • Threats


Age Range: 12+ (dark themes)
Number of Players: 1-2
Playtime: 15-20 minutes