A year ago, I got lucky enough to marry my best friend. Jen and I have known each other for over seven years, and in that time, I’ve realized that my perspective on things has changed. Television, films, podcasts, books, they can all be great on their own merits. But when I get to share them with her, they become something even more special, a way that we can continue to learn more and more about each other as we explore the world. When I find something that I love, the first thing I want to do is tell her about it, to share it with her, to pour over every detail. Board games are a big part of our life because of that very thing. She’s my favorite person to sit across a table from and play a game. Games become more special when she and I both love them. It’s one more thing to add to the list of shared experiences, and I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to share as many experiences with this stubborn, brilliant, wildly enthusiastic woman as I possibly could. A while back, we opened up our copy of Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective together, and we got to share a something new.
We have two teenage daughters, and the parade of friends, boyfriends, and other stragglers keeps our house noisy and chaotic. Our dogs are lovable wrecking balls, always ready to pile up onto our laps for attention. But with this game, we retreated into our room, closed the door, and opened it up. We found a casebook, telling us the details about a murdered man outside a munitions factory. Jen was delighted as she unfolded a map of London, with hundreds of locations marked. A stack of intricately detailed London Times newspapers were paired along with the cases. When we began the case, we had a small reporter’s notebook to take notes. Within an hour, we’d pulled our family whiteboard into the room and had two yellow legal pads, both filling with details about evidence, witness interviews, and random theories. We sprawled across the bed, paced the room, laid on the floor occasionally while discussing timelines and witness statements.
For two hours, I watched my wife exclaim in delight as she recognized a name she’d seen in the newspaper, furrow her brow in frustration as she tried to fit pieces together, and nearly vibrate with excitement as we realized we’d figured out a key part of the case. For two hours, I got to appreciate this brilliant and tenacious woman who’d found her way into my life, and for two hours, the rest of the world was gone, and it was just her and me, experiencing something wonderful. It was a gift; a rare, wonderful thing that comes along so seldom in our lives of college courses, work, and kids.
I could talk about how brilliant of a design this game is, and it is indeed brilliant. I could talk about why everyone should own a copy of Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, and they should. But those are incidental, and have little to do with why I call it the greatest board game I’ve ever played. It’s my favorite game because my wife and I escape from the world, and share something that makes us see each other in a new light every time we play. That’s why I love board games, that’s why I play them. For the few hours you give to this collection of cardboard and plastic, you can find something amazing about the people you love.
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective helped give me two wonderful hours with my wife. That’s why it’s the best game I’ve ever played.
- Dietrich Stogner