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Moriarty
An entry in the 2003 Simultaneous Movement Game Design Competition

Designed by Scott Slomiany
For 2 players

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Object

To win the game, you must score the most points over your opponent. This is done by cleverly moving pieces on a gameboard in order to gain the best advantage. Also, if you can deduce what color your opponent has selected, you will score ALL points on the board.

Components

  • 1 Checker/Chess board
  • A sheet of paper and a pen for both players
  • 4 pairs of tokens (8 in total). The tokens can be anything, such as 2 pennies, 2 nickels, 2 dimes, and 2 quarters. Or they can be poker chips, shot glasses, etc. For the purpose of the rules, they will be called Tokens, and the four "varieties" will be called Colors.
  • Some other item that can be passed back and forth to the players, known as the Edge.
Game Start

One player (South Player) is selected to set up the board. South Player takes the 8 tokens and places them on the black squares of rows 4 and 5 on the checker board in any order desired. The tokens, once placed, will always stay in the column that they started in.

There is an invisible line between rows 4 and 5 which is known as the Center Line. This is the logical fold that divides the game board in half.

Once the initial placement is done, both players will choose and write down their Bonus Color of token secretly, and place this information aside. While all tokens score points at the end of a game, Bonus Color tokens score bonus points. However, if your opponent can figure out what color your bonus color is, then your opponent scores all the points.

After recording Bonus Colors, North Player now decides who gets the Edge. The Edge merely indicates who's turn it is. After each turn, the Edge is passed to the other player. Once North places the Edge in front of himself, or passes it to South, the game begins.

How a Round is Played

The player with the Edge selects one of the tokens to be the Pivot. The two tokens which are on the columns to either side of the Pivot become the Active Tokens. The player without the Edge selects one of the Active Tokens, the player with the Edge now must select the remaining Active Token. If the token selected as the Pivot is in column 1 or 8, the board is thought to ‘wrap around' for the determination of the Active Tokens. So, if the Pivot sits in column 8, the Active Tokens are in column 7 and 1. If the Pivot is in column1, then the Active Tokens are in column 2 and 8.

Both players put their hands on the Active Tokens they have chosen. The player with the Edge counts out loud a steady, "3…2…1…move". On the word "move" both players slide their token simultaneously either one space towards themselves, or one space away.

The player with Edge now moves the Pivot, according to these rules:

  • If both Active Tokens moved in the same direction IN RELATION TO THE BOARD (both tokens have moved South or North), then the Pivot slides two squares in the opposite direction.
  • If both Active Tokens moved in opposite directions IN RELATION TO THE BOARD (one token moved South, while the other token moved North), then the Pivot moves one space towards the Center Line. If the pivot is in row 4 or 5, the Pivot will actually cross the Center Line, moving to the other row on the other side of the Center Line.

Tokens can be moved one step beyond the squares on the game board (as if there was a row 0 and 9). Tokens cannot be moved any further south than 0, or north than 9. If a player has to choose one of the tokens as their Active Token, they MUST move it towards the Center Line. Pivots can still be ‘asked' to move beyond these ‘borders' but any amount of spaces they are asked to move are lost.

After the Pivot has been moved, the Edge is passed to the other player, and a new turn begins.

Ending the Game

There are two ways to end the game.

If there is at least one token on rows 0 or 9, any player MAY declare the game over during the token selection phase. This includes the selection of the Pivot, and the selection of the Active Tokens. Once the count has begun to move the tokens, the end of the game may not be declared. If the game has ended, points are totaled for each player.

The game can also end if a player declares a ‘Moriarty.' This occurs between rounds when the Edge is being passed. To avoid confusion, here is the order of how a Moriarty can be declared: A)The player who currently has the Edge can declare. B)The Edge is passed. C)The new owner of the Edge can declare. At this point, the declarer announces what color he believes the other player to have written down as that player's Bonus Color. The non-declared reveals his color. If the person who declared Moriarty is correct, the player who declared wins ALL points on the board. If the declaring person is wrong, the non-declared person wins ALL points on the board.

How Points are Totalled

Points are totaled based on how many squares a token is from the center line on a player's side of the board. So, if a player is playing South, for every token on row 4, he gets 1 point, on row 3 he gets 2 points per token, 3 points on row 2, 4 points on row 1, and 5 points on row 0. For the North player, he gets 1 point per token on row 5, 2 points per token on row 6, 3 points on row 7, 4 points on row 8, and 5 points on row 9.

Before points are totaled, Bonus Colors are revealed. All tokens that a player has of his/her Bonus Color score a multiplier of the regular points. They score 3X for the first game, 4X for the second game, and 5X for the third. So, a South player who has a Bonus Color token on row 3, would get 6 points, instead of 2 points for that token during the first game of a match.

All tokens on the other side of the Center Line from a player score zero points.

Regardless of who declared (non-Moriarty) the end of the game, both players score points. So the person who ended the game might not have had the most points for the game.

In the case of a declared Moriarty, points are totaled as normal, except only one player will get all of the points, based on whether the player who declared Moriarty guessed their opponents correct Bonus Color.

A running total of three games is kept. The player with the best score over three games is declared the winner.

This game © copyright 2003 Scott Slomiany.

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