Monday, 30 November 2015

Quick Watson! To The Library!

It's no secret that I'm a bit of a fan of Sherlock Holmes. Indeed as I may have said here before, it was through our mutual interest in the Great Detective that Mrs Kobold and I first met. So we were very excited when Wollongong Library announced that they were having a Sherlock Holmes Mystery Event. At first we thought that it would be a quiz night, such as they did for Doctor Who a few months ago (we came fourth), but when we signed up we found that, in pairs, we would be expected to roam the library on a Friday evening, doing puzzles and gathering clues to solve a mystery.

And what we actually ended up doing was playing a live version of the classic '221B Baker Street: Master Detective Boardgame' (pictured above). We'd both played this years ago, so were really keen to see how this version worked.

In the original a case is selected from a deck of 40 or so, and the players move around a board, Cluedo-style, visiting locations. At each location a clue can be obtained from a book with numbered paragraphs, the case card telling you which paragraph to go to for that particular location. When a player thinks that they have the answer to the mystery they race back to Baker Street and check their conclusions against the solution in the book. If they're right, they win, otherwise they're out.

The library ran it fairly straight. Each pair was given a different case, and the locations were spread around the main part of the library. Each location had a task to be completed - a logic puzzle, or task involving skill or dexterity. When you completed the task, you found one of the librarians running the event, and they gave you the paragraph for your case relevant to that location.

Suffice to say we had a great time, and actually visited and completed all of the tasks to collect a full set of clues. What this told us was that we'd actually solved the case about thirty minutes before we decided to try our luck with the solution; our hesitancy cost us a probable second place, but we finished fourth (despite a librarian colluding with our daughter and her boyfriend to convince us they'd beaten us).

It was a great way to play a favourite old boardgame, and an excellent social evening as well, with people of all ages having fun together (I say 'all ages' - the event was 18+, as that allowed us to have alcohol in the room where the food was being served. They'd done an under-18 event a couple of weeks earlier.)

Here's the gathered detectives

(Picture via Wollongong City Library)
And here we are completing one of the tasks - the easiest one, which was to take a picture advertising the event and load it to social media:

I have no idea what Catherine's face is all about.

Here's my lovely daughter and her boyfriend, doing the same task

So, once again, many thanks to Wollongong Library for organising and hosting the event. We are blessed with a very nerd-friendly library service in this city, with events like this through the year. They even had an actual games day the other week, but it wasn't well advertised and we missed it. Next year we will have to do better.

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