Besides role-playing, I’m a big fan of mysteries and the Victorian era and therefore I am a pretty big fan of Sherlock Holmes. And morbid historical events like Jack the Ripper. To blend all that in a game? Lovely!
Allow me to have the pleasure of introducing you to:
Mr. Jack was designed by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, with artwork done by Pierô. It was published by in 2006 by Hurricane Games. It’s a strategy game focusing on the use of deduction and grid movement with variable player powers.
The game is designed solely as a two-player game, which makes it a nice game to play when you can’t find a lot of friends to come out for game night! Usually I am not a fan of two-player games, nor strategy games, as my partner and I have very different playing styles and his style wears on my patience quickly, however, I really enjoy Mr. Jack for its quick pace. There are a limited number of turns and the game is up by the end of them!
A little bit of Clue. A little bit of Chess. A battle of wits in the streets of London
The year is 1888. Fog rolls in through the Whitechapel district of London as the night covers gloomy alleys with a veil of darkness. Jack is on the loose and the finest investigators have gathered – but Jack is cleverly impersonating one of them as he moves through the shadows.
Mr. Jack is a relatively complex game for such a short game – but that is one of its appeals for many. There are eight investigators on the board, one of them is Jack. The two players decide amongst themselves who will be Jack and who will be the detective. Jack draws from a deck of “alibi” cards a single card – this card will stay with Jack and the character on that card is the guilty one.
The rules advise that players read through the rules once – set up the game after that, AND then read through the rules once more before playing. So that already gives away that it’s rather complex. Each character had different moves they can make. The turn starts with drawing four character cards.
These character cards are divided between the two players, usually with player 1 taking one card, player 2 taking two cards, and then player 1 taking the last card – and this alternates each round. They are played in that order as well. While the cards do show symbols to help remind you what the characters can do – we found it necessary to keep the rules out in front of us.
As the game progresses lights in the city area are being turned off – so it is getting darker and darker. Each round the player playing Jack must reveal if “Jack” is seen or unseen, which is determined by the character’s position near a light source. This helps the detective eliminate possibilities. The game ends if Jack can leave the city space – through four possible exits, if all the rounds are played, or if the detective accuses the wrong person. The detective wins by accusing Jack.
It’s a bit of a complex game and you need to really think about which characters you want to play. Sherlock for example is really useful because his special ability is to draw a card from the alibi deck – this allows him to instantly know that that character is innocent.
Check out some photos below of our game play:
Once you figure out the game it’s really fun – if you like deduction games. The game’s playing time is 30 minutes and while this is likely correct – reading the rules and set up can take a while. It also takes a while for players to get to know the characters and the moves they can make, especially their advantages and disadvantages. There were a few times I had a character to play but decided to do nothing with him because it wasn’t beneficial to me in anyway as the detective to move him or use his ability.
The artwork of the game itself, in my opinion, is great. It’s colorful and well done but not too overwhelming as some games can be. The game itself is extremely good quality, with wooden tokens and stiff tiles for cards.
Of course one of it’s greatest asset is that it is a good two player game. Many of the reviews rave about Mr. Jack for the fact that is one of those rare two player games that is actually enjoyable!
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/21763/mr-jack Or check out Mr. Jack on BoardgameGeek.com!
http://www.hurricangames.com/data/pdf/Mr_Jack_GB.pdf The publisher Hurricane Games offers information on Mr. Jack
Interested in watching a review? Check Ryan Metzler’s review (from The Dice Tower)!