30 November 2017
A lightweight mystery that will leave you purring with pleasure
Animal puns have sunk their claws so deeply into Purrrlock Holmes that it’s a mystery why the family-friendly guessing game wasn't subtitled ‘On Furriarty’s Tail’.
That conundrum isn’t the only puzzle you’ll be trying to solve, as the feline detective and the inspectors of Scotland Pound try to identify the hidden suspects in front of them. Like Hanabi, your friends know what you’re looking for, but you’ll need to deduce their identity and the time of the crime by chasing two cards each turn that are either close ‘leads’ (pun!) or dead ends before taking a stab at naming the criminal.
It’s as simple as it comes – players must tell the truth, so there’s no room for betrayal here. You’re technically competing, but there is a joint effort to catch the titular tabby before he escapes – only one inspector can take the glory though, so there’s a very slight strategic timing element. Not that it makes that much difference – if Furriarty escapes, there’s no winner and points decide a loser, but you’ll probably name a winner anyway.
The Sherlock Holmes-meets-The Aristocats theme is cute (unless you’re not a cat person) – the zoological criminals all have witty era-appropriate street gangs, including the Charing Cross Canards and Thames Toadies, illustrated with amusingly gritty mugshots.
Purrrlock Holmes doesn’t stick around long enough to use up the goodwill of its theme or basic, luck-dictated gameplay. Social deduction connoisseurs will find it far too lightweight to stick with, but it’s more than solid enough to be a gentle introduction to the genre for kids and those seeking a less intense brainteaser. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself purring with pleasure.
Time: 30 minutes
This review originally appeared in the October/November 2017 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.rot/Rene
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