A while ago my brother-in-law took quite some convincing to come round to the realisation that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character and never truly existed – “But what about Baker Street… And then there’s the statue…” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Victorian sleuth is as much a household name nowadays as he ever was, but in CMON’s upcoming game, Victorian Masterminds, Sherlock has disappeared, allowing the evil masterminds of the steampunk era to wreak havoc on the world and construct giant monstrous mechanised vehicles of doom!
In Victorian Masterminds, a 2-4 player worker placement game by acclaimed designers Eric M. Lang and Antoine Bauza, players take the role of a malevolent villain and compete against each other to be crowned the most evil and dastardly of all!
You’ll do this by sending your five special agents to various European cities, secretly placing one of your agent tokens face-down on an action space and revealing them as soon as three tokens are on a space. Then, the agents will plunder the city for materials for your contraption, destroy buildings, and complete missions.
The agents may also interfere with each other and quash the schemes of others – I can see this aspect of the game being very exciting for the players as they try to second-guess which agents their opponents are laying down on a certain city.
One hilarious component is a cardboard monocle (an evil genius trope!), which is handed to the current player just before a location is resolved so that they can remember it’s still their turn once the location has been resolved.
As well as being able to capture scientists, who can grant your agents special bonuses, you will have to keep the Secret Service in mind – they act as a barrier to capturing buildings so you’ll need to keep your firepower higher than theirs when you’re ready to nab a building. Their influence will increase every time a building is captured, illustrated on a lovely speedometer dial, making it harder to capture the next one.
When a contraption is complete of the Secret Service reaches full power the game ends and the villain with the most points is declared the baddest of them all!
Victorian Masterminds - Coming Soon
The artwork looks bright, fun and colourful while the components appear to be of the usual CMON high standards. I particularly like the look of the chunky plastic buildings and the unique blueprint-esque player boards with the puzzle-like contraption pieces.
Victorian Masterminds plays in around an hour and so won’t outstay its welcome while still providing a substantial experience. This game will be sure to scratch that I-want-to-be-a-baddie itch, and it looks like it will be a lot of fun with a lot of depth.