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Perhaps if they used Oyster cards instead…

March 12, 2013

This latest weekend was a good one for many reasons, but one of them was that I got to play a real classic of a game for the first time in years and remembered how much I enjoy playing it. Scotland Yard has been around for thirty years (though I was introduced to it in the early nineties) and is still pretty easily available, which is great. Basically, all but one player gets to work as a team of detectives hunting down the mysterious and evasive Mister X, played by the other member of the group. While the box says three to six players, I think this really needs five or six to really motor, and luckily there were five of us.

Mister X was last sighted somewhere in Southwark.   Is he making a break for the river?

Mister X was last sighted somewhere in Southwark. Is he making a break for the river?

Back in the days of yore, we could never play this once as everyone wanted to be Mister X. Being part of the team is great, but the challenge of evading capture is so much fun that there could be big arguments over it. Luckily this time there was no fighting and everyone rolled their eyes, sighed and agreed to my somewhat enthusiastic request to be the villain.

In the game, movement takes place using tickets for various forms of public transport (the police being without cars or bicycles for some reason) and Mister X uses hidden movement, but his location is revealed at various stages of the game. Miss B quickly got the hang of this and was soon chipping in to the team discussions as the detectives planned how to close the net on the villain. I noticed something similar when we played Flash Point in a large group a few weeks ago: Miss B gets quite involved in the planning and acts like she is really enjoying being part of the team.

Given our recent discussion on cooperative games, I think Scotland Yard might be in a bit of a sweet spot, being a cooperative game but having a “real” adversary. It’s probably not worth over-thinking this, because we all had fun and, happily for me, Mister X escaped, albeit by the narrowest of margins.

The verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 6¼): “Daddy was the bad guy and he won but I still liked it because it was kind of a guessing game and I’m quite good at guessing. I’m not too keen on teamwork games but we went to the right side of the board but just the wrong numbers. That was the best teamwork game I’ve played so far.”

The game: Scotland Yard (Ravensburger), 3 to 6 players aged 10+.

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