Another game that TacoMa’am got for us recently was a pocket size version of the game Mr. Jack by Asmodee.

mrjackpocket_03

In this 2-player game, the players take on the role of Jack the Ripper, and Sherlock. The goal of the game is for Jack to either escape, or for Sherlock to capture him. Pretty simple premise, no?

This is a game that’s kinda hard to describe in words, so bear with me. Basically the game consists of 9 tiles which are placed randomly in a 3×3 grid. Each of the tiles has a face in the center which corresponds to one of 9 possible aliases for Jack. The cards have streets and buildings on them which represent the line of site. Around the 3×3 board are 3 tokens which represent Sherlock, Watson, …and their Dog. At the beginning of the game Jack pulls an identity card which sets his alias for that game. Each round consists of randomly tossing 4 tokens into the air, and then playing the moves off those tokens to rearrange the grid and the investigator tokens. The idea is that by using the line of site on the board, the investigator is trying to narrow down who he can see so that eventually only jack remains. Jack, on the other hand, is trying to delay the investigation long enough to get away.

Specifically, at the end of each round the line of site is considered and the investigator asks Jack “Can I see you?” If jack says yes, only the tiles within the line of sight are left face up and the others turned face down, and if no, then the tiles within the line of sight are turned over. Also, if Jack can’t be seen for the round, he collects an hourglass token. If Jack can collect 6 hourglass tokens before the investigator narrows the search (only 1 board left face up). Then he escapes. If he fails to collect 6 hourglasses before there is only one tile left face up, then the investigation succeeds.

In playing this game with TacoMa’am I found I enjoyed the quick play and random setup of the game, as well as the strategic element of token and tile rearrangement. However, from our experience with the game, it appears that the game is stacked against Jack. Jack’s victory conditions are much more confining than those for the inspector, making Jack’s side of play much less forgiving to small mistakes while the inspector can make a few more mistakes and still retain a good chance of winning. More testing will need to be done with the game, but we’ve already discussed possibly reducing the number of hourglasses to make the odds of winning more even. Even so, it’s really fun and can be played in 15-20 minutes, making it a great game when all you have time for is a quickie.

Err… yeah.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

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