Time bomb game

Time Bomb Rules

A bomb has been planted in the heart of Big Ben by Professor James Moriarty, the sworn enemy of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock understands the urgency of the situation and takes it upon himself to defuse the bomb.

Contents of the Game

  1. 8 Role cards:

These determine which team the player belongs to.

Team Sherlock:
5 blue cards
This team’s objective will be to defuse the bomb before Moriarty blows up Big Ben.

Team Moriarty:
3 red cards
This team’s objective will be to detonate the bomb causing the destruction of Big Ben.

  1.  40 Wire cards:

These represent the wires that are to be cut to defuse or detonate the bomb.

31 Safe Wires: cutting these wires will have no effect.
8 Defusing Wires: finding all these wires defuses the bomb.
1 Bomb: blows up the bomb causing the destruction of Ben Ben.

Content of Time bomb game

Optional Contents:

  •  1 Wire Cutter token or card to cut the wires.
  •  8 Tachometer tokens that track the progress of the game.


  • Prepare the Role cards according to the number of players:
Number of playersTeam SherlockTeam Moriarty
4 to 532
7 to 853
  • Unused cards will be returned to the box as they won’t be used for the game.
  • Shuffle the Role cards and deal one, face down, to each player, who must read it discreetly.
  • In games of 4 or 7, one of the cards will not be dealt and will be set aside face down.
  • The preparation of the Wire cards will also be done according to the number of players:
Number of playersSafeDefusingBomb
  • Shuffle the Wire cards and deal 5 to each player, face down.
  • Every player will discreetly look at their cards before shuffling them and placing them one by one, face down, in front of themselves.
  • The last player to have visited London starts the game and receives the Wire Cutters.

How to Play

  • The game is played over a maximum of 4 rounds.
  • The first player will take the Wire Cutters card or token and place it in front of another player’s wire that they want to cut.
    • The player with the Wire Cutters should listen to the other players’ arguments before they decide which wire they are going to cut.
    • The player with the Wire Cutters cannot cut one of their own wires.
  • After cutting a wire, the player reveals which wire it was and places it in the center of the table.
    • If it’s a Safe Wire card, nothing happens.
    • If it’s a  Defusing Wire card, it’s separated from the rest to make counting the cut Defusing Wires easier. If it was the last card, Team Sherlock wins the game.
    • If it’s a Bomb card. Team Moriarty immediately wins the game.
  • The player whose wire was cut plays the next turn. They take the Wire Cutters.

End of a Round

  • The round ends when there are as many Wire cards revealed as there are players.
  • These cards are set aside and the remaining cards are shuffled and then dealt, face down.
  • With each new round, each player will have one card less than they had at the beginning of the previous round.
  • The last player to have held the Wire Cutters starts.

End of the Game

The game ends if one of the following three occurrences take place:

  • All the Defusing Wire cards are revealed: the Sherlock team wins.
  • The Bomb card is revealed: the Moriarty team wins.
  • If none of the above situations has taken place by the end of the 4th round, the Moriarty team wins.

Official rules in PDF

Explore the official Time Bomb Rule in PDF.