In our house we just love to play board games. There are so many games available of many different types from adventure games to quiz games, and we love playing them all. We love playing sitting around the kitchen table in an evening for family game night. Board games are an excellent for having fun and family bonding, and an excellent way of interacting with each other. For this review we were playing a game that is 40 years old: Scotland Yard – The Hunt for Mister X.
Scotland Yard – The Hunt for Mister X through the Street of London (the Ravensburger version) is a co-operative game of deduction where all but one player must work together as a team to hunt and capture the elusive criminal (and the final player) Mister X.
The premise of the game is that the mastermind criminal, known only as Mister X, is on the run around the streets of London. He is travelling around the city using various modes of transport (bus, taxi, underground tube trains and the occasional ferry) and a team of highly-dedicated detectives must work together to locate his trail, track and apprehend him – can everybody work together to find the elusive mastermind criminal?
In the box:
- Game Board (Map of Central London)
- 6 Playing Pieces
- 29 Start Cards
- 130 Transportation Tickets (57 taxi, 45 bus, 23 underground & 5 black tickets)
- 3 Double-move Tickets
- 5 Detective Ticket Boards
- Travel Log with Paper Insert for Mister X
- Visor for Mister X
- 2 Rings for the Police
- Instruction Booklets (Beginner Game / Standard Game)
Scotland Yard has two ways to play – beginner and standard. The main difference between the two is the number of rounds played. The beginner game plays up to 13 rounds whilst the standard game plays up to 24 rounds. Setting up this game is quick and simple, although be warned, the children will probably fight over who wants to Mister X (apparently it is more fun being the criminal mastermind than the detectives on the hunt!). Depending on what game you play determines how many tickets to travel around the board each player receives. We played the game in the standard mode, so after deciding who was going to be the villainous Mister X and who were going to be the detectives:
- Mister X receives: 1 transparent playing piece, Mister X visor, travel log with paper insert, a pencil (not supplied with the game), 5 black tickets and 2 double-move tickets.
- Detectives receive: 1 coloured playing piece with corresponding ticket board, 4 underground tickets, 8 bus tickets and 11 taxi tickets.
Once the detectives and Mister X have received everything they need to play, the remaining travel tickets are placed next to the playing board. If there are less than four detectives playing, help is required from the police. As we were playing with 3 detectives, we had 1 extra member of the police force (if there are only 2 detectives playing then 2 extra members of the police force are used). Each extra member of the police force is one of the remaining coloured playing pieces with a cardboard ring placed on it (the ring symbolizes free fare for all modes of transport, this playing piece requires no tickets to travel around the board).
The hunt for Mister X is on. To play, the start cards are separated (D or X), shuffled and placed face down on the table. Each detective and any extra police force members picks up a D card and places their playing piece on the corresponding station on the board. Mister X picks up an X card and looks at the card without revealing the card to anyone (this is where wearing the visor helps as it helps to disguise where the Mister X player is looking on the board so that the location is not given away by other players watching their eyes). Mister X does not place their playing on the board as that would give away the location and make catching him far too easy.
The player who is Mister X starts by using one of their travel cards and writing the number of the location travelled to on the travel log, concealing the location with the travel card. Detectives must then try and deduce where Mister X is by using their travel cards to move around locations on the board. If a detective lands on the same location as Mister X or the detective’s box in Mister X so that he is unable to move any further, then the detectives win. If Mister X evades capture for 13 or 24 rounds (depending on if you are playing in beginner or standard mode), Mister X wins. To aid the detectives in their hunt, Mister X must surface (place their playing piece on the board) on moves 3, 8, 13, 18 and 24, disappearing again on the next move to aid the detectives in their hunt.
Overall, this is a fun game of logic and deduction where teamwork and good communication skills are essential – a great way to exercise your mind whilst having to co-operate and talk to with your fellow players. Teamwork is an essential part of game. The thrill of the chase adds the excitement.
This isn’t a game of frantically racing around the board, it is a slower-paced game and quite sedate. It is a thinking and logical deduction game – a game where you do have to be planning ahead and forward thinking to try and work out your strategy to avoid capture or to capture the elusive Mister X.
Whilst Mister X plays solo, the detectives have to work together and talk to each other to decide their strategy and moves, constantly trying to deduce and where Mister X and where he is going to go next. It is a game that keeps the players engaged, involved and immersed, even when it is not your turn as you are always watching the board trying to work out possible routes for escape or capture. All players really do have to be paying attention and be aware of the moves made and possible future movements.
Scotland Yard – The Hunt for Mister X is a fun and very competitive game, where the battle to outwit the detectives or capture Mister X is exciting. Game play can be as quick as 10 minutes (if Mister X is really unlucky) to 45 minutes. Teamwork, good communication and engaging with your fellow players is a must.
This is a game that has been very well received in our house, more so with the kids (10 and 13), as cries of let’s play again are always heard from one or both of them. And the adults enjoy it just as much.