Master Detective and Mastermind
Holmes and Moriarty – Review
- # of Players: 2
- Play Time: 30-45 Minutes
- Ages: 12+
- Designer(s): Josh Tempkin and Brad Lackey
- Publisher:Escape Velocity Games
- Price Point: $20.00
Holmes and Moriarty is a drafting and
What I liked
- The asynchronous aspects
- The mechanics are appropriate for the theme
- The board is built into the game box.
What I Didn’t
- Gameplay can be slightly confusing at first
Playing The Game
Setting up the round
Deal 3 case cards face up onto the playing surface. Shuffle the plot cards, remove two from the game without looking and deal both players the remaining 14 cards.
Players choose two cards from their hands and place one as a crime, and the other as a clue. Players then switch hands and repeat the process twice. Once all three cases have two crimes and two clues players discard their remaining cards, face down. Players may rearrange their own clues before the scoring phase.
Cases are scored one at a time. Both players reveal their crime and clue for a case and compare the value of their crimes. Typically the crime with the highest value wins, unless there is a wrap around. A wrap around happens when one player plays a 16, 15, or 14 and the other player plays a 1, 2, or 3.
- 1 beats 14-16
- 2 beats 15-16
- 3 beats 16
The location on the winning crime determines the trump location for the case.
Next players compare clues. If a clue has the same location as the crime the owning player wins this case. If both players have clues with the same location, the highest value wins. Otherwise the clue that has the highest value wins the case.
Once the winner of the case has been determined, players place the appropriate token on the score board. Holmes scores using his clue, placing a token on the space that corresponds to the value of his clue. Moriarty, however, uses the value of his crime to determine the placement of his token.
To win Moriarty must place 3 of his scoring tokens in a row, either horizontal, diagonal or vertical. Holmes on the other hand must prevent Moriarty from doing so for five rounds, or make it impossible for Moriarty to place 3 tokens in a row.
“Holmes and Moriarty” is not a game that will have you chasing criminals through the streets of London or solving crimes from your armchair while Dr. Watson sits by, coming to all the wrong conclusions. However, it is a game that will have you trying to outmaneuver your opponent in a battle of wits and strategy.
Much of Holmes and Moriarty centers around figuring out what your opponent will do
One aspect of Holmes and Moriatry I really enjoy is that you have access to almost exactly the same information as your opponent. Because you are constantly passing the cards back and forth between the two players, you will know what cards your opponent has played or is likely to play. This lets you plan your responses accordingly. The exception to this is the first case of each round since the cards have not passed between players yet.
Holmes and Moriarty allows you to make changes to your placement of clues just before you reveal your choices. Because of this, you can play a card that won’t help you on THIS case but will help you on another case this round. Provided you know, or can reasonably predict, what your opponent has planned.
Additionally, the simultaneous play, asynchronous scoring, and different win conditions are very appropriate for the theme. After all, Holmes is all about the clues and stopping his foe. Moriarty on the other hand is trying to outwit Holmes and bring about the completion of his plans.