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Scotland Yard
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Store:  Family Games
Edition:  Scotland Yard
Series:  Scotland Yard
Theme:  London
Genre:  Logic & Deduction, One Player Vs. Many
Format:  Board Games
Other:  Tin Editions

Scotland Yard

20 Year Anniversary limited edition tin

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Product Awards:  
Spiel des Jahres
Game of the Year, 1983

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 45 minutes 3-6

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Product Description

Scotland Yard is searching for Mister X. Will his pursuers catch him in the London fog? How will Mister X try to escape? Will the detectives find him in time? If they work together, they have a chance. Mister X will try to escape by bus, underground, and taxi. One player is Mister X, the others are the detectives. Mr. X moves secretly, but leaves a clue on each turn. With clever teamwork, the detectives can surround and trap Mr. X in time. But if Mr. X can slip away, he escapes and wins the game!

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Game of the Year, 1983

Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 29 reviews

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Deep thought versus no thought
June 27, 2005

By reading the reviews it's obvious that the people who hate it just don't know how to play it. That being said it certainly won't be everybody's cup of tea, involving very little luck and a great deal of careful thought. Stabbing around in the dark is only attempted if you have no idea what you're doing. The game involves trying to deduce Mister X's possible moves from the moves he's had and the moves remaining corresponding to his last known position on the board and then moving the detectives to try to intercept him or narrow down his avenues of escape.

Admittedly it's usually more fun being Mister X but played as a team game being a detective can be very rewarding. Usually doesn't take too long to play and in my experience Mister X has evaded capture fewer times than he is caught, lots of fun.

by Tony
International Is the best version!
March 08, 2004

This game is awesome! Find Mr. X. Really. Try. When you can't catch him, don't get mad. You can play X next time. :) A fun game that needs a digital counterpart. I thought it was best just one on one. I'd take 3 - 5 detectives and try to find my friend. Fun, fun, fun. Make this digital for internet play and redefine the genre.

by Robby
So good
December 24, 2003

OOOH! I love this game! It is so much fun. Go buy it! Its not too long, and not to short. Its tons of fun for the whole family. Everyone will enjoy it. It can be fun, nerve racking, thought provoking, laughable, just fun fun fun. Have a good time with this game

by Tyler
awesome and fun game
August 19, 2003

this is one of the best board games i have ever played it doesnt take an hour for someoe to win like monopoly or risk and it isnt short either. if you are mister x it can be nerve racking or hallarious cause they cant catch you...but if you a detective its alot of fun just figuring out where they went...but it can stink when you run out of peices and they are right next to you and you cant get them. overall if you like trying to figure stuff out you willl like being a detective and if you like being sneaky you will like being mister x i give it a 5 all the way.

by Brian
One of my favorites
June 17, 2003

I would consider this game one of my all time favorites. It provides some serious nail-biting fun(if you are Mr. X), and some mentaly tantilizing fun(if you are the detectives). Scotland Yard is fun with any number of players. It does't take 5 hours to play like Risk, but it isn't over in 20 minutes either. So if you have an hour or so it would be a great one to sit down with. Five stars all the way!

exciting and thrilling
April 13, 2003

No better game exists for THRILL. Whether you are Mr X or one of his chasers, you will find this game to be the most adrenalin-pumping game you ever played.

I liked the older (1991) board's graphics, with its easy-to-follow road map and color scheme. But once you get used to it, the new board is passable.

Originally introduced to the game by a family in Morfelden, Germany in 1992, I was immediately hooked. Its best to play with people who will cooperate in capturing Mr. X, but even without cooperation, its very exciting.

January 15, 2003

I played this game last weekend and simply enyoyed it like no other game before. I think the best is to be Mister X. It's an excellent strategy game. For anyone who doesn't know it and want to buy a great game, I strongly recomend it. You won't beleive how fun it is.

I also don't agree with Mark from Canada. I think the other way, that with just Mister X and a cop the game will get pretty boring. One of the best things of the game is to be Mister X and have five cops trying to get you.

It's one of the best game i've ever played. I highly recomend it to buyers who don't know which new boardgame to buy. Simply excellent.

May 06, 2002

This is a really fun game for children and adults.It involves teamwork and lateral thinking skills.

Here are a few hints when you are Mr X:

~Don't look where you are or you give it away.

~Just after you have revealed yourself take a Taxi so then there are 5 or 6 places you could be rather than say one or two. This means there are too many options and the detectives will back off until you reveal your self again.

~Also as Mr X try not to corner yourself.

I would highly reccomend this game to anyone who likes poroblem solving.

You get a great buzz as either Mr X or the detective. As Mr X you really do feel like a criminal being hunted down.

Great detective game
November 20, 2001

This game rocks. I have a vast collection of games, many of which are intriguing, interesting, entertaining--but this one gives you a rush that many of the others don't. Why? Because you are either hunting or evading and it is a great cat-and-mouse game. Plus, the rules are super-easy to learn, and you can make up variations easily.

To make it easier for Mr. X:

Give Mr. X a handful of the number tokens at the start of the game. At any point during the game, he can 'play' one of these which prevents any detectives from entering that single spot for a turn. Thus, Mr. X can thwart the detectives.

Draw a random chit from a bag of movement chits for each round. Have there be 1 bus and 4 taxis in this bag. If it is a bus, the detectives can not use that mode of transport for that one round. Draw just before Mr. X moves. The other transports always operate.

Complete variations:

Have Mr. X draw 10 position chits at the start of the game which everyone sees. His goal is to reach 6 of them. If he does this before being caught, he wins. Use the normal movement revealing rules, and continue revealing at specified intervals. Mr. X doesn't reveal when he has reached the spots, but detectives can visit the spot and ask if he has already reached it or not which must be answered truthfully.

Have each player draw 4 position chits at the start of the game. If Mr. X reaches 2 of them for any player, they instantly become Mr. X and Mr. X becomes a detective. Two new chits are drawn for them in case they become a detective again. The game is over whenever somebody gets caught while playing Mr. X.

Playing Mr X gives a great feel of isolation
June 27, 2001

I remember seeing advertisements on television for this game when I was young, but I never got to play it until age 27. How unfortunate that I missed all that game time! Scotland Yard is not only a great game, but it's not overly long, so it fits well into those situations that our gaming group finds themselves in, occasionally needing a shorter game to fill in time.

One player takes on the role of Mr. X whilst the others play detectives hellbent on tracking him down. Most of the time Mr. X is invisible to the other players, but on certain turns he must show himself, and the detectives react accordingly. The players controlling the detectives need to use teamwork to win (I've played Mr. X in a couple of games against players who didn't work together, and have cruised to easy victories both times). The player controlling Mr. X, however, will soon find himself feeling completely isolated, as if he were truly being hunted down. If there are any people out there who don't get a rush from that feeling, I advise they only play detectives. Highly recommended for gamers and family alike.

Terrific Game of Logic and Strategy
October 28, 1999

Scotland Yard is a very good game for two or more players. As the unknown Mr. X travels, surfacing only at a few intervals, the detective players must deduce from the taxi, bus or underground tokens he plays where he is moving. The play is fast enough not to bore younger players and the deduction of where Mr. X is moving enough to satisfy the serious gamer. The game elements are beautifully rendered in the Ravensburger edition and make the game that much more enjoyable. The board is especially well done, a fairly large, accurate map of central London. Altogether a great game.

by Chris
Our family's favorite
August 16, 1999

We bought the game 15 years ago, and again when it was reprinted. The game is challenging whether you're one of the detectives, or Mr. X. Both sides constantly thinking there's no way they can win. You never know until the last few moves.

Ingenious and entertaining
February 17, 1998
A visually exciting fox-and hounds game, it pits criminal mastermind "Mr. X" against 3, 4, or 5 of Scotland Yard's finest in a chase through the streets of London. If Mr. X eludes the detectives for 24 moves, he wins--but the palms sweat and the heart races as the team of detectives tightens their noose. 1 to 5 players can play the detective team, making it a superb flexible family game in which detectives can actually quit the game but not cause it to end, then come back later and rejoin the team. And what kid hasn't wanted to either escape from or catch his/her parents? Ingenious and entertaining.
I had forgotten how much fun this game is!
April 17, 2006

Until just recently, I hadn’t played Scotland Yard in over 3 years! I played it with a group of couples this past weekend, and we had a blast. I had forgotten how much fun this game has been—The very first German game I ever played that introduced me to the world of German/Euro-style games—and I hope I never go this long without playing it again!

Scotland Yard is played on a sturdy board featuring a layout of London—including actual geographic locations and sites, such as the Thames River. The escaped criminal “Mister X” is on the loose, and it’s up to Scotland Yard’s finest to hunt him down and bring him to justice. The detectives will have to work together, using a limited supply of taxi, bus, and underground tickets to get around town to corner and catch Mister X.

But this can be difficult—even with 5 detectives—because Mister X has an unlimited supply of transit tickets and only appears on the board every so often. Although Mister X leaves a clue each turn (i.e., he reveals what form of transportation he used) Mister X has several tricks at his disposal. He can make use of a special “double move” ticket (1 x per game with 4 detectives, 2 x per game with 5 detectives), which allows him to take 2 turns in a row when the detectives are hot on his trail. Mister X can also use a “black ticket” which allows him to keep hidden the form of transportation he used (thus making the detectives jobs more difficult) as well as move along the designated routes along the Thames River. When Mister X appears, this is the chance for the detectives to move in on Mister X and capture him.

At the beginning of the game, each Detective (and there can be 4 or 5) receives 4 underground tickets, 8 bus tickets, and 10 taxi tickets. Mister X starts off with fewer tickets, but this doesn’t matter, as Mister X will have an unlimited supply during the game. Each player is randomly given a starting point by receiving a tile having a number on it. This starting point allows a person to use a taxi, bus/taxi, or bus/taxi/underground ticket depending on the colors on that particular space. The detectives put their little detective pawns on the spots indicated on the tile. Mister X notes his starting position mentally, but does not put his pawn on the board until it is his turn to reveal himself. My game came with a groovy black visor, that allows Mister X to hide his eyes while he’s looking at the board—so that he doesn’t accidentally give away his position.

When a detective takes a turn, he/she gives the appropriate transit ticket to Mister X, and then moves the pawn accordingly. The detectives will need to collaborate well together in order to be effective in trapping Mister X. But bear in mind that Mister X gets to hear all of the table talk!

Some comments on the game:


The elaborate map of London looks very nice and contributes well to the theme. The board is well constructed and looks nice. The small numbers and lines connecting the various routes, however, can be a bit of an eye strain—even if you have good vision—over the course of the game. For new players, it can be mildly frustrating to find your initial spot on the board—with so many numbers scattered all over.


I have not encountered any problems with the rules. They are fairly straightforward with little or no ambiguities. I basically covered most of the basic rules and game play earlier, but I’ll mention 2 other rules: (1) Detectives cannot trade or give away tickets and (2) the Detectives always need to move in the same order.

Strategy and Tactics:

For the detectives, it is generally advisable that they control as many underground spots as possible when Mister X reveals himself (especially at the start of the game), as these routes are generally longer and allow for more rapid transportation if the detective needs to get to the other side of the board in a hurry. If, by Mister X’s first appearance, most or all of the detectives control and underground route, it will be very hard for Mister X, indeed! Group dynamics come into play as the detectives attempt to cooperate, coordinate resources, and communicate with each other regarding the recommended method to get closer to Mister X. Disagreements may arise. Arguments may occur. One or more of the detectives may get fed up with the way another detective is playing and just “do their own thing” regardless of what the “leader” says.

It is also advisable that at least one of the detectives carries a notebook and pen to record the number where Mister X appears, and what his possibilities are given the clues he has left. There may very well be times, too, when neither of the detectives has any idea where Mister X might be, and then the question becomes “What spaces should we occupy that would give us the best chance?”

Mister X will have several opportunities to be sneaky and clever. Besides the double moves and black tickets, Mister X can be clever in all sorts of ways. Mister X can listen to the table talk to get a good idea for an escape route. He can double back to make the detectives think he’s trying to leave the area when in fact he is not. Mister X can keep track of which detectives have certain tickets left, and which don’t—and use this knowledge to his advantage.

Mister X must use good judgment in when to use his double moves and black tickets. If he uses them all at the beginning, he may very well wish he hadn't!

The Fun Factor:

The elegant board, the opportunities for sneaky play, and the psychological group dynamics make this a very interesting game to the very end. I have never played a game of Scotland Yard where the players were bored. The tension starts and usually does not let up—sometimes leading to a very exciting finish. This game is a lot of fun, and I need to play it more often.

This game may not be a “gamer’s” favorite, but I sure like it, and I think it is an excellent family game and gateway game. It sure worked well as a gateway game for me, and I have no hesitation in recommending this game.

The Best Semi-Cooperative Game Ever!
June 24, 2005
Apart from a good dose of randomness in the first few turns, Scotland Yard is essentially an abstract strategy game that has been elegantly draped with theme. Even roleplaying begins to set in, as the detectives start to speak with pathetic cockney accents, and Mr. X starts to laugh like the nefarious fiend he is. The game very quickly becomes very tense, especially for Mr. X: not a role for a newbie to play!
Competitive and Cooperative
March 02, 2005

This game has a great balance between competition (Mister X versus the detectives) and cooperation (the detectives working together). The amazing thing to me is how an enjoyable game like Scotland Yard has drawn such varied reviews. Apparently it is just not some peoples cup of tea.

There is a bit of luck involved, because everyone randomly chooses a tile that tells them where they start. In some cases Mister X starts right next to a detective, but other times he is isolated from them all.

Contrary to some other gamer's reviews, this is where the luck factor ends. It takes careful planning for Mister X to avoid detection. It also takes a great deal of communication and strategy amongst the detectives to succeed.

It is a game that encourages a lot of talking for the detectives, and therefore isn't boring. But being Mister X is a blast too. It can be very exciting trying to evade detection when you are close to being caught. Also, it can be very humorous to see the detectives run around chaotically searching when they aren't even close to you.

This game takes a few minutes to explain, but it is worth the time. The unique aspect of one player against the others is very enjoyable. If you like deduction and intrigue, try Scotland Yard.

A rebuttal
October 07, 2002

I have not had the same experience with Scotland Yard that the earlier reviewer did, who found the game to be boring and more oriented twoard two players. My experience has been with a more egalitarian group of players who cooperated quite nicely in trying to track down Mr. X, no small feat!

While it is certainly most fun being the elusive Mr. X and trying to elude the dogged investigators, there is also a great deal of fun in trying to interpret the clues given as to the villain's whereabouts, and players must copperate quite a lot in order to cover the bases.

Granted, the experience can be similar to that mentioned in the earlier review, but I think in general players will try to coordinate their play, making for an enjoyable game for all. Definitely recommended.

Really fun if you get to be Mr. X
April 10, 2002

If I get to be Mr. X (the fugitive) then this is one of my favorite games. The problem is: that seldom happens because everyone else wants to be Mr X. Sure it's fun being one of the detectives - you'll feel tension every single move, knowing that Mr. X could really give you the slip. And your task appears to be more challenging (not necessarily true though). But it's just seems a lot more fun taking on a whole group of people as Mr. X.

One thing that surprises most people about this game is how hard it is to get away from the detectives if you play Mr. X. At first it seems like there is no way they will get you, but before long, just like in real life, the net gets tighter and smaller and before you know it, you have nowhere to go.

If you like strategy, thinking, and tension, then this is the game for you. If your idea of fun is throwing dice, or relying on cards for success you may want to look elsewhere. No dice or cards in this game.

Summary - When playing as Mr X, I give this 5 stars, as a detective - 3.5 stars. Overall, we'll give it a 4.

A deductive classic
June 30, 2001

I remember playing this game at lunchtime in 7th grade on rainy days. I enjoyed it then and enjoy it nearly as much now. One player is Mr. X--on the lam in London--and everybody else is out to capture him. Sounds too simple? It's actually a lot of fun. The deductive nature of the game makes it GREAT for families with kids because the kids will be using their brains to try and track Mr. X. And this one even works well with 2 players!

A classic
June 27, 2001

I really enjoy this game, but I stress that the game's success hinges upon the group you play it with. The only way you can possibly catch Mr. X is to work as a team and deduce where he could possibly be. I have had some great fun with the guys at work, only to be disappointed with my gaming group's lack of enthusiasm. Perhaps we are a bit more cutthroat and prefer to play independently. I love this game. I think it's brilliant.

bridges the generation gap
December 20, 2000

This is a great game to play with a group of people of different ages. It is designed for anyone 10 years old and up. It is currently our family favorite. The fact that everyone can cooperate and work together to catch Mr. X makes for great entertainment. As a parent, I always enjoy games that have a strategy element, because it evokes thinking and planning on the part of my kids. This is not an easy game to win, whether you are Mr. X or one of the spies. It plays in about an hour and a half, so it is not a simple game.

My family enjoys a variety of games, and this is a definite repeat play game in the strategy category. We plan to play it fairly regularly, as everyone wants an equal chance at being Mr. X.

A grand game of hide-and-seek
November 02, 2000

This game is fine for adults who want to relive their childhood hiding games, but it's even better for teaching youngsters how to logically deduce all possible motion patterns of the criminal, Mr. X.

Of course, if all the detectives cooperate fully and discuss all possible moves for Mr. X, they can nab the bandit in 19 out of 20 games. For that reason, the game rates only 4 stars. Though Mr. X is the center of attention, his desperate plight makes players wish to be a beat patrolman.

Good family game that promotes cooperation vs. competition
October 25, 1999

My family really enjoys this game. In its favor are a good mix of strategy and luck, a healthy lesson in cooperative gameplay, fairly simple rules, and not unreasonably long gameplay. On the downside is that it's a little difficult for young players to be 'Mr X'.

Strategy is needed in planning and executing the capture of 'Mr X', while luck makes the game interesting since you don't usually know exactly where 'Mr X' is.

Our two kids (ages 8 and 11) sometimes get grumpy when they fall behind in a game, but this one solves that problem wonderfully. It's one player against everyone else. My wife or I can be 'Mr X' (or 'Ms X') while the other of us forms a team with the kids. Although one person ends up making the final capture, most of the action, and the overall feel of the game, is cooperative for the players on the detective team.

While the rules are simple enough for younger kids, it's a little difficult for them to play as 'Mr X'. As 'Mr X', their moves are hidden and they can easily make an accidental illegal move without anyone being aware. Also, they tend to look at the board directly where their hidden 'Mr X' is, which makes for a quick capture. This really isn't a major problem though, as 'Mr X' can be always played by an adult, or by a child with an adult's assistance.

Overall, I highly recommend this game, with respect to my comments above.

by Rick
Track this one down
February 01, 1999

The game is quickly anything but afoot in this dice-less chase game with one player as Mr. X and the others as detectives in hot pursuit throughout London via bus, taxi or underground. X shows himself at select game turns, and the detectives respond to track down the elusive X using their tickets, wits and logic, although some occasional luck doesn't hurt. The tension mounts as the whereabouts of X is narrowed down and his escape routes are cut off.

This game is an award-winning classic, and seems just as innovative now as it was 12-plus years ago when I first began playing it. It's not only different than any other game I've known, it plays well with any number of players. Play is even seamless for 2, and an older/experienced player can be handicapped to even things with a younger/less experienced player by adjusting the number of detectives or tickets. My game has the original, and now well-worn, high-quality German components. This is one chase you won't get tired of.

The hunt is on
August 14, 1999

Scotland Yard is one of those Fox-and-Geese games, where one powerful player (Mr X) takes on several less powerful ones (the detectives). In this case, the advantage Mr X has over his pursuers is that his position on the map of London isn't always known to the detectives. Therefore the detectives have to use logic about the modes of transport Mr X is seen using to deduce his position. If the detectives manage to nab Mr X before the end of the game, the responsible detective is the winner, otherwise Mr X escapes! There is also a resource-management aspect for the detectives, who only have a fixed number of rides available before they are unable to move any more.

While the rules of the game say that each detective player should control one detective, the game works quite well for two or three players if each detective player controls more than one piece on the board each (one player always controls Mr X). Four detectives seem to be about the right amount, which can easily be changed to balance players' differing skills.

Scotland Yard has just the right amount of suspense for the detectives, who start out not having the faintest idea of Mr X's location, but slowly get more of an idea as the game progresses. Mr X's job is seemingly easier but he can be pushed into a corner by cooperating detectives, which can end the game for him. This is an enjoyable game that really does feel like a battle of wits.

by Mark
Really a two player game
September 29, 2002

This is not a bad game but is boring if too many players play the detectives. One or two things invariably happen, the detectives step on each others feet and X gets away or one detective co-ordinates all the other detectives and the other detectives get bored. Two players will have much more fun.

Give Me a D! Give Me a U! Give Me Another D!
December 28, 2003

What does that spell? Scotland Yard! (Alternate title, Give Me a C. Give Me an R. Give Me an A. Give Me a P.)

Scotland Yard reminds me of Bingo with only slightly more strategy involved. It can be slightly more fun and slightly more challenging if you are Mister X.

Basically players stab blindly in the dark trying to land on Mr. X, who only reveals himself every 5 turns. Mister X should have no problem evading capture with the recommended rules. Scotland Yard might be a 2 star game with rule modifications, such as Mr. X revealing himself every 3-4 turns later in the game, giving detectives more tickets for the various modes of transortation, and limiting Mister X's tickets.

The biggest rule modification would have to be the number of players. Scotland Yard would only work as a two player game. That is not to say that multiple players can't play the game, but multiple players have to coordinate their search in such a manner as to be a unified force or Mr. X will easily evade capture.

Scotland Yard is slightly too complex for young children to play, and, likely, too boring for children older than 12.

If one person in your group likes a bit of a challenge and the others enjoy games that require no more strategy than Bingo or Monopoly, try Scotland Yard. The person who likes a bit of strategy can be Mr. X. Maybe, and only maybe, with that specific group, Scotland Yard might be fun. Otherwise, AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE.

This is no Clue, why's it so popular? I have no clue!
August 29, 2003

Few games have been given so many good write-ups and I love the genre of logic and deduction, but this just doesn't play well. I purchased it years ago and was given another copy also. I've tried playing it with various numbers of games and I've never have such a dull time. It's like A-1 Sauce. It's in every steakhouse and it has won awards and some people love it. I think it taste like hazardous waste. Like Scotland Yard I drag it out now and then to see what the big deal is. Maybe I'm missing something.

by Can
May 14, 2003

For the first time i am so sad for the money i spent to a board game.It seemed to me very beautiful when i first saw the board but when i played it, it was a SHOCK.4 people cant catch the thief if he doesnt make something silly.If you have extra money to throw to the bin buy it.If want some joy go and buy something like acquire or Tikal.

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