Mystery Rummy Case No. 1: Jack the Ripper
second edition (2003)
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Will you succeed where Scotland Yard failed? The case of Jack the Ripper is re-opened in this innovative card game that combines the elements of an exciting mystery with the strategies of traditional rummy. Each suspect, victim and murder scene is depicted with historical accuracy in this challenging game of intrigue and suspense.
Average Rating: 4 in 16 reviews
Jack the Ripper isn't complex and it won't impress many of the seasoned gamers who prefer more complex games but it will impress just about everyone else.
The interaction of this game is fantastic and the theme is well done. It's just dark.
The ability to interact with the discard pile (Scotland Yard) and other melds really makes for a wonderful light strategy game. Don't play the Scene too early because you're going to need it to dig out that Alibi for suspected Ripper!
It is best played with 2-3 players. If you want a great 4-player partnership game, this isn't it. However, its sibling Rue Morgue is!
The game is well reviewed above so no sense in adding to that. Yes, the game is at its heart a rummy card game. But alas, the low-scoring reviewers miss the point. The game is not trying to reinvent the wheel--just putting a different spin on it!
The wife and I find it a lot of fun, and anyone who enjoys playing basic card games will too. The Jack The Ripper theme really works well and was well thought out. Gather the evidence, look for suspects and alibis, now another victim is found, etc. So while it plays like rummy, it feels different.
Bravo! Well done! Now I must return to the game--another victim has been found!
I've played it with my wife about 20 times, its one of our favorites. As you play it more, some subtle card plays (tactics) will be discovered. It's not just a simple game--there is some bluff and psyching out the opponent, plus some risk taking. Plus subtle plays. Far superior to rummy.
My only concern is the frequency of the "Ripper Escapes" card being played. We find that the card gets placed about once every 2 games and there is not much you can do about it. It's worth 35 points, and that can easily determine a 100 point match. The designer says it very rarely gets played, but there's not always much you can do about it.
Still, the game is a good blend of luck and skill. Highly recommended. Were looking forward to playing Mystery Rummy #2 The Rue Morge with 4 players.
With all of the party-style games out there, it seems like it's getting difficult to find a great card game that works well for two players. This game works beautifully with two. It's close enough to ordinary rummy to make it familiar, but there are enough twists to make it original. Especially devious is the ability of players to call for a perpetrator-vote for bonus points at any time. Makes it a bit of a mind-game, as you want to call for a vote the second you think you have a lock on who's gonna be the prime suspect.
At first the game looks daunting because of the amount of instructional text on the cards. Quickly, though, you realize that the text is either a duplicate of what you just learned in the manual or 'flavor text'. We were able to get up-to-speed after only a couple of draws.
My only complaint is the packaging. It's packaged in an oversize book-style box, and the cards either want to sneak out the sides, or they want to hide in the extra space. A standard playing card-size box would've been better, as the directions are small enough to fit.
There's a lot more going on here than 'rummy with a theme'. This is a game about deciding on and executing strategies, and it gives you a rich environment in which to do this. Making the right choice ('Should I go for Sir Gull or Dr. Pedachenko') is never easy because the information you need to make the decision is always just out of reach ... so you have to improvise.
I've played this game dozens of times in the last few months: with my girlfriend, my sister, even my mom. Okay, and a couple of guys. It holds up remarkably well, with new and better strategies constantly coming out. The Alibi cards, especially, throw a monkey wrench in all your plans.
I can't recommend this game enough. It is also obviously a labor of love ... every question I've ever had on the game is clearly answered in the rules, if not right on the cards. And the illustrations, in a simple woodcut style, are attractive and evocative of the setting.
Perhaps some of the less than stellar reviews were playing the three and four player variants, which are not as strategic and tense.
Summary: Come on! 8 bucks! Go buy it!
This rummy style card game is lots of fun! It's easy to learn, the card play is fast, the cards are gorgeous (and historically accurate) and there is plenty of room for strategic possibilities. I thought this would be like any other rummy game, but it is unique and at the end of the round you know who Jack the Ripper is (of course, it is different after every round). We were so interested in the information on the cards that we went out and bought THE MANY FACES OF JACK THE RIPPER book. All of the suspects, scenes, victims and evidence were the same! US Games Systems called this Case No. 1 - my family hopes they come out with a Case No. 2 that is just as fun.
My wife and I really enjoy this game. I'd give it 5 stars, but the rules book is needlessly complicated (giving minutia before the flow of the game is explained, etc.). Just play a game and the flow, and the rules will make sense. This game is not complicated, and flows quite well once you get started. This is a definite winner in my book, and look forward to many, many games over the years.
Mystery Rummy Case No. 1: Jack the Ripper is a variant of rummy which is rich in theme and game play. So far I have played this one, Mystery Rummy Case No. 4: Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld and Wyatt Earp and all three of them are enjoyable games.
I was going to write more, but Randall Peek covered everything I was going to in his earlier review.
I did want to comment on the gamer a few reviews down who found the game to be too dark. First, I applaud her for wanting to monitor what her children are exposed to. I did wonder what she expected when she bought a card game about the Jack the Ripper murders?
Despite what others have written, my gaming group has enjoyed this game quite a bit. The rules are not complicated, but should be read carefully. I do like this rummy-style game a lot, and it's theme is interesting. The cards even have some facts about the real life Jack the Ripper case.
I have only ever played the first game in the [page scan/se=0456/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Mystery Rummy series, so can not comment on it as a whole, but Case No. 1 is quite a nice take on the rummy theme.
Let's be honest, there are only so many different kinds of card games to be found. Rummy and trick-taking games are by far the most common. What Mr. Fitzgerald has done is to come up with some interesting new mechanics for the basic rummy game, welding them on and breathing new life into an all-too-familiar subgenre.
By dividing the cards between Evidence cards and Gavel cards, the game develops a very different dynamic than the original game had. Since only one gavel card can be played per turn, a player must weigh many more options as to which card has the most potential for gain.
The Alibi cards, too, are an interesting twist. The most likely suspect can suddenly become a mere victim of rampant conjecture, and some other suspect becomes the target of the search. The Ripper Escapes card is like a hot potato. It can earn a lot of points under the right circumstances, or can cause a player to lose big.
All in all, the best rummy game I have had the pleasure of playing. My next stop in this series is sure to be the unofficial entry, Wyatt Earp.
Two thumbs up.
Having played this game a few times, all two-player games, I have the following observations to add.
The theme is dark. The cards have engravings of dead bodies, and text which relates circumstances of the crimes. If you plan on playing this game with folks who might be sensitive to such things, you might want to think twice about this game. This game may not be appropriate for young children, for example.
Some of the elements don't appear to come into play for two-player games. The 'Ripper Escapes' card, for example, hasn't been a factor in any of our games. Most games have been decided in the first half of the draw deck making the 'Ripper Escapes' card fairly useless.
That said, I have enjoyed playing this game. The mechanics make this an interesting variant of rummy. The one-gavel-card-per-turn rule often prevents a player from laying down all at once. This adds a little more predictability to this version of rummy while eliminating some of the bluffing aspects.
Mystery Rummy Case No. 1 is a nice version of rummy, with a Jack the Ripper theme. That is all it is, however, so if you are expecting anything more you will be disappointed.
For those who enjoy rummy, this game has some novel rules that do fit in with the murder-mystery theme. You can only play a meld of evidence when there is a victim; you can only play a suspect or alibi when there is evidence implicating that suspect. Other nice touches allow you to play a scene to steal someone else's corresponding victim (or vice versa), or to play the Ripper Escapes card and make off with a pile of points while your opponents get none (but of course it's hard to do that).
This edition of Mystery Rummy is well-designed and well-researched, with the actual historical figures from the Jack the Ripper case. It plays very well with two, but lacks control somewhat with four players. The colours of the cards are clear enough, and don't need to be relied on if low light or genetics make seeing them difficult - there is enough information on the cards anyway.
If the mystery surrounding the case of Jack the Ripper intrigues you, then this game will appeal all the more. On the other hand, if (like me) you don't much care for the theme, this is still a great card game with play that more traditional 52-card decks won't give you.
This game is rummy, pure and simple. The added restrictions (can't meld evidence before a victim, can't meld a suspect before evidence, etc.) do not add any excitement or strategy to the game. The concept of the suit with the most meld being worth more points than the others (the Ripper) and the added mechanics (Ripper Escapes, Ripper Strikes, etc.) add more strategy to the game, but do not really change the essence of the game: which is rummy. So if you really like rummy, this game is probably a nice diversion. If rummy is no big deal to you, though, your money is better spent on card games that deliver a more diverse experience such as Bohnanza, Mamma Mia, or King of the Elves.
I bought this at a Con because I thought my wife and non-hardcore gamers would like the game. However, the rules come across as very complex and immediately put off even serious gamers I tried it on. Even after putting in the effort to work out and play the game a few times we decided it was just not worth the effort. The theme/concept is interesting, but you might as well play regular rummy with 'novelty' playing cards.
The way the game is played sounds really fun and original. The art is well-done and goes well with the theme. The picture of Jack on the back of each card is plenty scary looking, and I think inappropriate for to have around my 4 year old. I don't want a game I have to hide and play only when a child isn't around. The theme is very, very dark. Its not gory but those victims were real women who lost real lives. I just couldn't stomach it.
Whether you like this game depends on whether you like Rummy. Contrary to the blurb, there is no mystery-solving involved. The rules are not simple. The deck is attractive, though.
Rummy games are common and old as mankind, yet Mike Fitzgerald has managed to take this ancient concept and create a fresh and new-feeling idea. Using the basics of card melds, two to four players compete in an environment where victims are slain, evidence is gathered for different suspects, alibis protect the innocent, and several other surprises pop up.
At the heart of the system are two types of cards: "gavel cards" and "evidence cards." Each card has a point value, and play begins by dealing 10 cards to each player and establishing a face-down draw pile ("Case file") and a face-up discard pile ("Scotland Yard"). On your turn, you draw a card from either pile, then play cards as desired, and end by a required discard. Only one "gavel card" can be played per hand, and this is a constraining variable as the mischievous and higher-value cards are designated with the gavel. All the melds are made with the evidence cards, and the more evidence against one of the six suspects the better chance that person will be named the Jack the Ripper for the round. When the typical hand ends, players score points for the cards they've played less any cards they hold that could not have been played on any existing melds on the table. In addition, all cards related to the suspect who is designated as the Ripper are worth double their value.
The gavel cards include five Victims, which when played allow you to draw two more cards from the case file. No evidence melds can be played until a victim is played, but once one victim is out the field is open for all suspects. Each victim has a corresponding Scene card, which comes with the very nice feature of taking the victim card if it has already been played plus allowing you to sift through Scotland Yard and take a card previously discarded. The six Suspects are also gavel cards, as are Alibi cards for each suspect. Consistent with the theme, suspects and alibis can only be played after a corresponding evidence meld has been offered.
In addition to the basic cards described above, there are several interesting cards that spice up the game play. "Commissioner Resigns" cards force anyone holding a Victim card to play it immediately and forfeit the two draw cards that normally come with that play. "Ripper Strikes" cards force a draw of up to five Case File cards in search of a Victim. And lastly, the single "Ripper Escapes" card allows you to "shoot the moon" and cripple your opponents when all five Victims have been played. This adds tension once the fourth victim shows up (if you're holding the escape card!), and in combination with the "resigns" or "attacks" cards can really turn the tide. The Ripper Escapes card can be played as soon as the fifth victim appears, even if it's not your turn.
Mystery Rummy plays fast, is fun, and very well thought out. Individual cards can be played against the melds of another player, making the pace of the round quicken as more cards are revealed. Many nice features are built into the play, including one Alibi card being usable for only one of two victims, and the previously stated feature of not deducting points for held cards that could have been played. For example, this allows you to hold an alibi card of a suspect for which you have played a lot of evidence, improving the chance your suspect will be named the Ripper but not penalizing you for the held card. The Scene cards, which allow you to go back to the discard pile, are also a valuable card to play later in the round when you need that third evidence card for a key meld or want to thwart someone else's plans by surfacing an alibi. A few evidence cards are "wild cards" and these can be very handy both to complete a meld and to strengthen the evidence against the suspect of your choosing. A discard is required even for going out, a feature that makes the decisions about which melds to collect and which to discard more subtle. Also, at any point in the round a player can call for a vote, requiring each player to privately bet on which suspect will be named the Ripper, with added points given to those who guess correctly.
The game is nicely produced, with good-looking and historically accurate cards. It makes a great filler or opener, works well with 2, 3 or 4, and the replay value is stronger than you'd expect. The "case #1" title obviously promises [page scan/se=0456/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]more to follow, and it's interesting to think about how this concept can be applied to other mystery-type settings. Bonnie and Clyde, Search for the Loch Ness Monster, or other historical and fantasy situations could be modeled similarly, although the addition of new types of cards and relationships is what will keep the game fresh. Let's just hope Jeffery Dahmer doesn't show up any time soon!