One player controls "Mr. X", a criminal whose location is only revealed periodically, and the other players each control a detective, which is always present on the board. All players move between stations following taxi, bus, London Underground or water routes. The detectives have a limited number of tickets with which to pay for each type of transport; these are turned over to Mr X, thus effectively giving X unlimited transport.
The game is won by the detectives if they end a turn on the same square as Mr. X. The game is won by Mr. X if he remains uncaught for the duration of the game, 24 moves.
Scotland Yard is interesting due to the fact that the game is asymmetrical. In most board games, the players have the same goal, but in Scotland Yard the goals of the detectives and Mr. X are quite different.