Friday, March 2, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: Women Game Designers - Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Women's History Month: 

A Joy of Gaming Tribute to 

Women Game Designers


I found that after posting my first article, I probably should have immediately shared that I am not making an exhaustive list of all women game designers. I don't have the resources, time, or capability of doing that. I just wanted to honor the women and, in the end, reflect on the direction that the industry is going and to, really, wonder why the industry is so devoid of women designers comparatively, especially solo women designers. I'm not pontificating on this point to stir controversy, but as a teacher, I am genuinely interested in what about game design seems to subconsciously or consciously push women away.

With that thought in mind, the first two games and designers have delved into the world of intrigue in England. I'll start with the older one and tomorrow will share the second one.

Suzanne Goldberg (Part of a Team)

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases (1981)

A unique design for a board game even today, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective received a recent reprint from Space Cowboys (Elysium, T.I.M.E. Stories) as well as some updated sequels. The great thing about this game is that it really evokes that detective feel. You have a story, you follow the clues, you take notes, and you solve the mystery! If you've ever wanted to truly be a detective, this is for you. The game is steeped in classic Sherlock Holmes and weaves in historical information to craft something that will challenge the deductive mind and any amateur sleuthing skills. The cooperative play aspect helps you to build the investigation and develop your theories to solve the mystery.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective won the Spiel des Jahres awards in 1985 and continues to circulate in the game community 30 years later. Suzanne Goldberg was part of developing a testament to great design and engaging game play. I love this game, because it plays into not only my passion for Victorian England, but my love of mysteries. I was already playing Mr. Jack and Letters from Whitechapel when I saw this game and it became an immediate must-have. The sequel, that I don't yet have, incorporates the popular Jack the Ripper story, as well as others. This is brilliance in a box.

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