If you are like most game buyers in the United States it is unlikely that you have ever heard the name Reinhard Staupe. That is a shame since he might just be the greatest designer of games for children. Fortunately, the folks at Playroom Entertainment are not only familiar with Staupe, they are big fans of his. Playroom publishes a wide range of his games for the US market. What makes his games so good?
- Simple rules. It shouldn’t take you more than 60 seconds to learn how to play.
- No words on the cards, only simple but engaging graphics.
- Fun for both children and adults.
- Easy enough for children to play competitively with adults.
I plan on reviewing a number of his games in the next few months. Since Sherlock is my favorite Staupe game let’s start there.
A series of eight “Clue” cards are placed in a circle. Players need to remember the card in each location. After 30 seconds the cards are turned face down. The tricky part is the clues change during the game, as players collect them. Be the first player to collect six clues and you win.
Each card has a picture of a common everyday object. Things such as foods, clothing, animals and household objects. The cards also have a number between one and four along with an arrow indicating the direction that Sherlock moves. When it’s your turn, the player to your right places the Sherlock card next to any of the face down cards. You must then say what the object on that card is. The card is turned face up. If you are incorrect then your turn is over. All face up cards are turned over and the next player goes. If you are correct, then Sherlock is moved in the direction of the arrow the number of cards indicated by the number next to the arrow. You then need to remember what is on the card next to Sherlock. As long as you correctly identify the card, Sherlock moves and you keep guessing. If Sherlock is moved back to card that is already face up then you get that card. A new card is drawn from the deck to replace it, the cards are turned face down and the next player goes.
A typical game takes about 20 minutes. If you want a more challenging game then start with 12 cards on the table instead of 8. If you want to really make things challenging then add a rule that the player must also mention the color of the object as well. That’s one of the things I like most about Reinhard Staupe’s games. You can easily make it the game easier or more difficult.
The box says for ages 5 and up. With younger children you might need to remove the cards that have pictures of object they aren’t familiar with. Since the game comes with 49 clue cards, you can easily remove the few that your younger players don’t know.