Being the crazy game monsters that we are we got very excited to try out a new one recently. Scotland Yard looked like it had a good set up (and good games are like good movies, you need a good set up) and it looked a little different from some of our other favorites so it started with promise.
You play with up to six players and one player is designated as "Mr. X." (you want to be Mr. X, trust me, it's lots of fun) and the rest of the players are detectives. The game is a board version of hide-and-seek where the detectives have 22 moves in which to catch Mr. X by trying to land on the space he's secretly occupying.
Mr. X's position on the board is kept a mystery at all times except for special "reveal" rounds where he must show his location before disappearing once again. The players move around a map of London (which is kind of fun) via taxi, bus and underground to get to about 200 different stops around the city. Mr. X can be hiding on any one of those stops and it's the detectives' jobs to get him before he moves to his next destination.
It's great fun, we've loved it so far, though I say that with a lot of "buts" in there.
We loved it, BUT . . .
It's not an easy game for small children. Even older children have to be very careful to not make illegal moves or it throws off the game and makes it impossible to catch Mr. X. So if you're playing with smaller children don't let them be Mr. X unless they have an adult "escort."
It's a game that really requires a lot of players. The minimum number is three but with only two detectives trying to catch Mr. X you pretty much have a zero-percent chance of nabbing the guy. There are just too many hiding places for only two detectives to cover. However, if you only have three players you can double up so that each detective actually is playing as two detectives, with two pieces instead of one. That way you at least have four detectives rather than two. Much better odds.
It's a game that is rather delicate in fact. Six players and your Mr. X is nearly guaranteed to get caught. Four players and he's going to have an easy ride so five is nearly perfect. If you have to you can, once again, have players managing extra pieces to try to achieve this optimal balance.
It's a game of skill and logic. There is NO luck. No dice, no spinner, no drawing cards--only Mr. X and his opponents. Now this doesn't mean it's bad or good, it's just a fact that makes the game what it is. Again, harder for small children.
We've played it with friends and had a great time, though to make it really fun you need to have a shot at playing both a detective and Mr. X. I could give you a couple tips for what we've discovered along the way but then half of the fun is figuring those out for yourself.
Congratulations to Linda of San Jacinto, California, Amy of Anchorage, Alaska and Jennifer of Port Aransas, Texas for each winning a Baby Bjorn bouncing chair from last weekend's giveaway.
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