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It would be nice if Miss Stealthy wasn’t the only girl

February 18, 2013

Mr Jack is a purely two-player game of deduction, misdirection and sneakiness, based on the hunt for Jack the Ripper in Victorian London. This could, of course, be really quite dark, but this is actually quite cute, with some nice, cartoony artwork, and no dwelling on the murdering of young women.

Looks like our perpetrator is actually either Watson or John Smith the lamp lighter.  And the lamp man seems to be making a run for it...

Looks like our perpetrator is actually either Watson or John Smith the lamp lighter. And Smith seems to be making a run for it…

So the game involves moving eight characters (from the street lamp lighting man to Sherlock Holmes) around the board, leaving them either seen or unseen by others depending on their positions. One of these characters — it could be any of them — is actually Jack, so one player is attempting to unmask the felon, while the other is trying to ensure his escape. This is all slightly complicated by the fact that both players may move all of the characters at some point (they all have special abilities too), so part of play is denying your opponent access to a critical character at the right time.

Anyway, this isn’t really meant to be a general review of how to play, but it is worth knowing that the Jack player in particular has to be quite sneaky in order to prevent the detective finding out too many clues too quickly. This, of course, means that I wasn’t expecting things to go too well for Miss B. But she wanted to play and, more worryingly, wanted to play as Jack. Luckily, S was willing to sit by and give her some advice. I actually figured out which character was Jack pretty quickly (thanks to a not-too-subtle six-year-old), but kept playing to ensure that all suspects were eliminated before making my arrest. We immediately played again and Miss B took over the detective this time. With S off to do something else, I was able to advise on possible options, and Miss B managed to make her own decisions most of the time, eventually getting a win.

I’m very new to this game too, and can see it being a good battle of wits between two adults. With Miss B, however, I think if we play it again I will strongly encourage her to play the detective for the time being. We both enjoyed playing though, despite frustrations when she was being Jack, so hopefully we’ll get more out of it in future.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 6): “I didn’t really like it when I was the murderer because it was too tricky finding an entrance that is free because you need to guess which the police will move to next. The detective was a lot easier because Daddy kept saying light for the clues. At the end of each round the murderer has to tell the detective if the murderer can be seen or not. I really liked it when I was the detective.”

The game: Mr Jack (Hurrican), 2 players aged 9+.

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