Mystery Rummy Case No. 2: Murders in the Rue Morgue
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"The assassin had escaped through the window..."
...and Edgar Allen Poe's detective, C. Auguste Dupin, knows The Orangutan did it! Still, Adolphe Le Bon has been arrested for the crime.
Score points for compiling Evidence Cards and making brilliant deductions to capture The Orangutan and prove your case.
Murders in the Rue Morgue is challenging and fun... a unique combination of a rummy card game and Poe's classic mystery.
Rue Morgue is rummy but to leave it at that misses the whole point. If you get a chance to see or play this game with seasoned players you'll realize what a fantastic game it really is.
Jack the Ripper is a better non-partnership game and its theme works better, but Rue Morgue delivers 'in spades' as a true partnership game. The ability to play Dupin's Help to swap unseen cards with your partner really adds to the fun and strategy. It really builds solid partner play ability while providing a strong game of its own.
Anyone who views this as just rummy with a slight twist has missed the entire concept.
I was not very impressed with Mystery Rummy Case No. 1, but decided to buy this anyway because the 'feed the orangutan' mechanic seemed interesting. I'm glad I did! I know many disagree, but I enjoy Case 2 quite a bit more than Case 1 for several reasons:
The best part of the game is the kitty that is won by the player who goes out (the cards under the orangutan). This adds a nice little strategic element to the basic rummy play. Do you feed in cards you know are probably useless, making the kitty not worth much? Or do you feed in good cards betting on being the first player to go out so you win them? Since you only have two cards to choose from when 'feeding', it often becomes an interesting task of choosing 'the lesser of two evils'.
Getting to look at the top draw card during the feeding process is also a fun bit of strategy and gives you a chance to mess with your opponent a little. If it is a card you need, you can play a Dupin's Help card to get it. If it is something your opponent needs, you can feed it to the ape so she can't get it (not without a particular Dupin card). If it is something neither of you need, you can leave it for your opponent so she wastes her next draw.
Definitely play with the advanced rules once you get the hang of the game. The chance to shut out your opponent is a challenge but worth the risk if you can pull it off. The negative point penalty for using Dupin's Help makes you use those cards much more judiciously. Very good additions to the game.
In summary, while I found Case 1 to be tedious and straightforward (except for the rare times when you have a chance at 'shooting the moon' by making the Ripper escape), Case 2 is quick, interactive, and straightforward. :-) Both games are good variations on rummy and worth owning, but I prefer Case 2 because it is quicker and less cumbersome.
[This game has earned the nickname 'Feed the Monkey' in my gaming group because every time you make a meld you add a card to the stash underneath the Orangutan card (I acknowledge the incorrect label, but 'Feed the Ape' doesn't roll off the tongue so well).]
Mystery Rummy Case No. 2 is certainly of the same genre as its predecessor, Case No. 1: Jack the Ripper. It features similar-looking cards, and the distinction between evidence cards (with the little magnifying glass in the corner), which you can play any number of on your turn, and gavel cards (with a - surprise! - gavel in the corner), which you can only play one of, remain. But that's about where the similarities end.
The premise of the game is that you are an investigator in the case of the murders at the Rue Morgue. Unlike in Jack the Ripper, everyone knows the orangutan did it; the task is to prove it before everyone else does. At the beginning of the game, four cards are set aside, hidden underneath the orangutan card, as a kitty which goes as bonus points to the player who goes out. Every time you make a meld, you have to add a card to this kitty (feeding the orangutan), from either the top of the draw stack or the top of the discard pile. Needless to say, this pile gets pretty big the further the game progresses!
Murders in the Rue Morgue can be played by two or three individuals or by four playing partners. There is a bit of trading between partners in the four-player game that allows you to subtly suggest to your partner what cards you are interested in. There are also special gavel cards that give you bonuses if you have certain other combinations of cards, which raises the game above traditional rummy.
This game doesn't seem to offer quite as many possibilities as the first in the series and is something of a more pedestrian kind of rummy game. One hand I played ended before it got round the table once. I suspect it is a better partners game than for two or three individuals. It is different enough from Jack the Ripper for me to not feel that it is the same game rehashed. If you enjoy rummy games, this may be your cup of tea. Just beware of the orangutan.
Mike Fitzgerald, back from a successful tour of London's dark alleys in search of Jack the Ripper in Mystery Rummy #1 last year, has produced a fine sequel. If you have not yet read Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue, do so immediately. Done yet? Good! Now you know the orangutan did it. Each time you meld, you must feed the beast by putting a card under its representation. Playing pairs of associated melds (e.g., dark green and light green) earns bonus points. The corresponding Brilliant Deduction card (only playable after its pair of melds) also earns extra points. Stumped? A Dupin card allows you to draw two cards, or to search for one in the discard or orangutan piles. The player who goes out first may add cards under the orangutan to his melds. Rummy players everywhere welcome you home, Mike!