international edition of Une Ombre sur Whitechapel
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The night covers the gloomy alleys with darkness and only a few corners are still illuminated by the gaslights. Eight investigators have gathered to catch the cunning Jack the Ripper. But Jack is in fact cleverly impersonating one of them.
In Mr. Jack, one of the players must help the investigators. By moving each character into light or shadow, the detective player makes successive deductions to uncover which investigator is in fact Jack, then he/she must try to catch the infamous ripper.
The opponent, playing Jack, must do his best to delay the investigation. He can even try to use the darkness to secretly flee the district!
A thrilling game for two players!
One of the best two player games on the market. This game is easy enough for children (8+) but has enough strategic decision making for a great game between adults. Fun and Exciting, Highly Recommend!
NOTE: This review was first published in Knucklebones magazine
A shrill scream pierces the night. A shadowy figure is seen darting down a dark, narrow alley. Investigators discover the mutilated body of yet another woman. Clearly, the bloody Mr. Jack has struck again, striking terror into the hearts of all Londoners.
Eight of London’s top investigators have quickly gathered at the scene of the crime – the famous Whitechapel district. However, word has spread that one of the investigators may not be what he (or she!) seems; Mr. Jack himself is likely impersonating one of the investigators! The detectives’ job is to unmask and capture Mr. Jack before he makes his escape.
Mr. Jack is the brainchild of designers Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, and is the inaugural release of Hurrican Games. One player assumes the role of Mr. Jack, while the other is the detective using his assistants to hunt the devilishly clever killer. In an innovative twist, both players will maneuver the eight investigators, with Mr. Jack attempting to keep his identity secret until he can make good his escape.
The board depicts a section of the Whitechapel district of London, complete with houses, fountains, gaslights, and manholes. Four exits are located at either corner, but at any one time two of these exits will be blocked by police. The eight investigators each have unique powers, and some of their delightful caricatures actually bear eerie resemblances to the game’s designers and their friends! Completing the components are eight alibi cards and eight character cards, one for each investigator.
Prior to beginning the game, the Mr. Jack player draws an alibi card and secretly notes its identity. As in the classic game of Clue, this card is set aside and only revealed when an accusation is made. The eight investigator tokens are scattered on the board, and four character cards are revealed. The investigation begins …
Each turn, players alternate moving the four characters whose cards have been revealed that turn. On the first turn, the detective selects and moves one of the characters, then Jack moves two others, and the turn concludes with the detective moving the remaining character. This pattern reverses on each of the game’s eight turns. All eight character cards will cycle-through over the course of two turns, and then be re-shuffled. Thus, players cannot continually move the same characters over-and-over again, as the system forces players to divide their movements and actions amongst all of the characters. Choosing which characters to move is critical, as it can not only benefit you, but prevents those characters from being utilized by your opponent.
Characters can move from 1 – 3 spaces, and each has a special action that they can perform. For example, Sherlock Holmes can take the top alibi card, thereby eliminating the character depicted as a possible suspect. John Smith, the city lamp- lighter, can move one of the gas lamps to a different location, thereby possibly illuminating some of the other characters. Sergeant Goodley can blow his whistle and force some characters to move closer to him. Inspector Lestrade can order the police to move their blockade from one exit to another. Other characters can seal manhole covers (the sewers can be used for quick movement), move through normally impassable spaces (houses, fountains, gas lamps, etc.), illuminate numerous spaces in a direct line, and swap spaces with another character. All of the abilities can be quite useful, and choosing how best to utilize these abilities can be critical and is part of the challenge.
After all four characters have moved, the Mr. Jack player must state whether his alter-ego character is visible or invisible. A character is visible if he is adjacent to a gas lamp or another character. If Mr. Jack states that he is visible, then all characters that are invisible can be removed from suspicion, and their tokens are inverted. Likewise, if Mr. Jack is invisible, then all visible characters are inverted and removed from suspicion. Thus, the game doesn’t force the detective player to rely on his memory, which is a good thing. The challenge for the Mr. Jack player is to keep his character hidden amongst numerous characters that are either visible or invisible, thereby making it difficult for the detective player to use a process of elimination to deduce his true identity. The detective player, of course, is attempting to do the opposite, so as to gradually eliminate characters from suspicion.
The detective player should beware if Mr. Jack states that his character is invisible, as he can only attempt to escape if he is not seen. If the Mr. Jack player successfully moves his secret character through one of the two unblocked exits while he is invisible, he has escaped and wins the game. In order for the detective to win, he must reveal Mr. Jack by moving another character to the same space and making a successful accusation. It isn’t enough to simply prevent Mr. Jack from escaping, as victory goes to Mr. Jack if a detective has not caught him by the end of the eighth turn.
Mr. Jack is a clever, 2-player deduction game that is fast, fun and challenging. While the rules are simple and the mental gymnastics required aren’t overly taxing, it still requires clever movement and ability combinations in order to be successful. The detective player may have a slight advantage, but it is only slight. My matches have all been tense, and haven’t been decided until the final turn or two. In the hands of a clever player, Mr. Jack can be quite devious and slippery, and catching him will take all of your skills as a detective. Indeed, the real “Mr. Jack” hasn’t been reliably unmasked in over a century … and the detective here has only 30 minutes or so to do so!