Clash of Minds Holmes Vs Moriarty from Creativemaker LLC is a brain bending 1v1 card game. You take on the role of one of literature's games double acts to see who can outwit the other in a race against time.
Will you play as Moriarty and attempt to pull off the crime of the century? Avoiding detection by your arch nemesis and escape into the darkness when the clock strikes twelve. Or will you side with the famed detective Sherlock Holmes. Seek to solve the puzzles laid out for you and catch Moriarty before your time runs out.
So how does Clash of Minds play?
Moriarty picks a victim, a weapon and a felony from his deck. He then randomly places them face down between the two players forming a line. Holmes takes the two identical influence decks. He shuffles them to provide random influence cards. This is with their associated actions that each player can choose to play during each round. Holmes shuffles the investigation site cards and creates a draw pile at one end of the table. Each player is given their four identical action cards. The influence scales are placed between the crime cards so that scores can be recorded at the end of each round.
At the start of each round players draw up to five cards from their deck to form their hand, the first player, Holmes always starts the first round, turns over the first investigation site card, moves the clock hand round by the number of hours indicated for this site and then reads out the effect of the card.
Players then take it in turns to add three cards to the crime scenes, placing them face down, on their side of the table, behind one of the cards.
Once all of these have been played, the cards are revealed. Each card has influence points and the aim is to gain more influence points than you opponent on each of the cards.
However, before the influence can be decided there is the second phase. Here, players draw back up to five influence cards and then can use up their action cards. Unless cards in play dictate a limit. They must use the compulsory action which is playing one further influence card but then can choose to do any of the following: they can then use a card and its associated action, rotating it after use, this often reduces the influence of the card but will have other benefits. They can add supporting cards to their own side, here influence cards are placed face down and will remain under a specific crime card adding plus one influence or finally they can choose to draw additional influence cards from their draw pile.
Once all actions are completed, you assess the investigation. Looking at each of the three crime cards separately, players calculate who has the most influence. If Holmes gains the initiative with influence greater by 1-2, he places a deduction marker on the card. If influence is three or more, Holmes solves that card revealing it and applying its effects.
The crime cards effects add another edge to the game making solving crimes ultimately risky for Holmes. As each of the cards has a different effect, one supporting Holmes, one Moriarty and one providing a neutral effect. This adds another layer of tension to the game. Holmes may use a powerful card to solve a part of the crime, only to have a negative response as he flips the card over.
If Moriarty gains 1-2 influence he adds an hour to the clock with influence of three or more he gains two hours. There are only twelve hours in the game so accelerating time is vital if Moriarty is to remain undetected.
Knowing when and where to play your cards is vital but clearly you are unsure how the opponent will plan and responding, to the cards played by your opponent, with the cards you have available makes this a really thinky game. Clash of minds will truly have you tied up in knots. Do you go all out to win on one card or spread your influence across the three and try to gain small advantages? How will you manage to adapt to the ever changing tactics of your opponent? What about the impact of solving a part of the crime, which piece of the puzzle will you solve? Who will it benefit? All these questions and more make this game so much fun and unbelievably engaging, you will immediately want to play again to try different tactics and strategies to see which will work best.
More depth is added with the location cards as these have effects that last the round and can impact on your abilities during the round.
Clash of minds is exactly that. You really do feel like you are trying to win the mental battle between you and your opponent. It's not a bluffing or a push your luck game but these skills will be useful. You truly have to work your opponent and their tactics out. They try to get inside your head and second guess and respond to their perception of your tactics. The result is a beautiful battle, matched by the beautiful artwork on both the front and backs of the cards.
This game is just so good.
The addition of the agent character cards adds so much to gameplay. They can be used in an additional step in the game. Players receive an agent at the start of a round and choose when to play it. They benefit from their agent’s supporting actions. This builds on an already great game. It allows increased depth and further replayability making the game all the more worth it.
If you enjoy a game that requires psyching your friends out and has you second guessing the options available. If you love a game with simple but beautifully balanced gameplay and wonderful artwork then look no further. Clash of Minds is an absolute steal. The only crime would be not to add it to your collection. If you don't Holmes might come looking for you anyway!