Polysleuth: Rules


Polysleuth is a variation of Sid Sackson's deduction game classic "Sleuth". Players try to infer the distribution of cards between their opponents with help of their own cards and questions. The player who scores the most sleuth points wins. Game can be played with 3 to 7 players.

Material and initial settings

There are 36 cards in play, each being a unique combination of the traits Gem (Diamond, Pearl, Opal), Colour (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow) and Number (1, 2, 3). Cards are evenly and randomly distributed between players (and revealed to the individual player), any remaining cards are not distributed (they "remain in the safe"). Each player gains 30 Private Eyes at the start of the game (the currency used to place value on an individual question). The game master may impose a restriction to the randomization such as "no player has more than two cards that share more than one trait", but has to reveal this information.


All players make their move concurrently and independent from one another. A turn consists of the following moves:

* Guessing cards
* Placing questions
* Collecting Private Eyes

Turns are not revealed to public but sent as private messages to the game master.

Guessing cards

A player may guess as many cards as she desires. A guess is placed in the form: "<guess number>: <name of player> has <Number> <Colour>; <Gem>" or "<guess number>: <Number> <Colour> <Gem> is in the safe." Every player may place a guess on any one card only once in the game.

Placing questions

A player may place as many questions as she desires. A question must be assigned a weight in number of Private Eyes spent. A question must be placed in the form "<question number> (<#Private Eyes>): <name of player> has how many <trait1> {<trait2>}?" A question must address one or two traits.

Collecting Private Eyes

At the end of their turns, each player collects 12 Private Eyes.

Resolving turns

The game master answers all guesses publicly, revealing, however, only the player and guess number. The game master assigns Sleuth Points for each guess. If a card is guessed correctly for the first time, the player collects Sleuth Points even to the number of players, each subsequent guess on the card is rewarded with one point less each. If a card is guessed correctly by several players, they collect the total score, divided by the number of guessing players. For instance, in a six player game, if a card is guessed correctly for the first time by three players, they receive (6+5+4)/3 = 5 Sleuth Points each. The guessed stone is not revealed, neither is the number of points the players scored for a specific question (but see down for the total Sleuth Point score).

The game master answers for each player one question, namely the one that was assigned the most weight. Any question for one trait only is marked up by 2 Private Eyes before weights are compared. Tie breakers are: Player with less Private Eyes wins, player with less Sleuth Points wins, a coin is flipped. The game master publicises the answers in the following form: "<name of player> has <number of cards> <Trait1> {<Trait2>} (question by <name of player>, <#Private Eyes spent plus markup>)." Additionally, if a question for two traits was answered, the game master reveals to the player who asked the question the cards in question. The player still has to "guess" these cards in the subsequent turn in order to score.

The game master also publicises the Private Eye and Sleuth Point score for each player.

If no Sleuth Points can be scored any more for a specific card, its owner is publicised too.

End of Game

The game ends once all cards are publicised. Player with most Sleuth Points wins.

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