Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty’s Trail

Furriarty is on the move and it is up to you to capture suspects and gain clues, bringing you closer to capturing him before he escapes for good.


Purrrlock Holmes Furriarty’s Trail

Designer: Stephen Sauer
Artist: Jacqui Davis
Publisher: IDW Games
Type: deduction, family/kid’s

Official: 2-5 players, 20-30 minutes, ages 10+
My Opinion: 2-5 players, 30-40 minutes, ages 7+

Takeaway:
The art is fantastic in this simple deduction game. Good game for children, too simple for adults.


In the Box

  • 60 clue cards
  • 5 player boards
  • 5 card stands
  • 18 paw print tokens
  • 2 Furriarty/reward tokens

As is expected with IDW Games, the components are of great quality. The artwork is gorgeous and is what really sells this game.

Clue Cards

Each clue card shows one of five suspects (goose, toad, rat, crow, or dog) and a number (1-12 for the numbers on a clock). The animal and number are what you will be deducing in order to get your clue (paw print token).

Paw Print Tokens

Paw print tokens have numbers on one side. These are the points you calculate at the end of the game.

Gameplay

Each player will have a clue card in the card stand, back of card facing them. All players can see the suspect of other players, but not their own. On your turn you will play 2 cards from your hand of clue cards, one at a time. With each card the other players will say whether the card is a lead or a dead end for the card you have in your card stand. It is a lead if it is the same animal, or if the number is the same or is an adjacent number to what is on your card. For example, if the card in your card stand (your suspect) is a crow with the number 6, then playing a toad with the number 5 would be a lead, because 5 is adjacent to 6 on a clock face. If it is a lead you put the card to the left of your player board. If it is not a lead, it is a dead end, and goes to the right of your player card.

Suspect cards
Suspects

After you’ve done this you have the option of guessing what your suspect is. You can guess either animal, number, or both. If you guess one thing correctly you get one paw print at the end of Furriarty’s trail. If you guess both, you get two. If you guess incorrectly you do not get to draw cards at the end of your turn, giving you fewer cards to choose from on your next turn.

Furriarty’s Trail

Furriarty’s token starts in the middle of a trail of paw print tokens. After each round, he moves up one. If someone catches him, or if he gets away (no more paw print tokens ahead of him) the game ends. If he is caught everyone wins, but the person with the most points is the biggest winner and is named Scotland Pound’s Chief Inspector. If Furriarty escapes, everyone loses. The person with the least number of points is dubbed Litter Box Inspector.

Experience

Purrrlock Holmes Furriarty’s Trail is a fairly quick. It moves fast as people go around getting leads and making guesses.

The game felt very different when playing with adults vs. playing with children. When playing with adults it felt too easy and even boring, depending on everyone’s luck during the game. With the kids, however, it became challenging and exciting. I could see the kids using their skills of deduction to figure out what their suspects were.

Because of the time pressure with Furriarty’s imminent escape, there were tense moments where you feel pressured to make a guess, even when you don’t have enough information to be sure. This added pressure kept the game exciting when playing with children.

Much of your success or failure in this game is going to come down to luck. Because you are using cards in your hand to get your leads and dead ends, whether or not you get cards that will help you is left to the luck of the card draw. This has the potential of making the game more difficult or very easy, depending on what cards you end up with throughout the game.

Conclusion

Purrrlock Holmes is a fun game for children, and an excellent way to get them practicing their deduction skills. It is simpler and shorter (and cuter) than Clue, making it a better alternative for some families. It is a good introduction to deduction games, giving them practice before working up to other games. The game, however, was too simple and redundant in my opinion when playing with adults.

I also wonder about the replayability of the game since each turn is the same. Children do enjoy repetition, however, so this may not be an issue for them.

Overall, a good beginner deduction game that my kids enjoyed playing, and asked to play again.

 

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