Scotland Yard review

16 December 2015
scotlandyard-51018.jpg Scotland Yard
Try to stop the nefarious Mister X in this co-operative game

Ravensburger | Deduction | £31.99 | 2-6 players | 45 minutes | 

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and when the man who created modern tabletop sensation Pandemic kneads your game mechanic into one of the expansions you know you're onto a winner. Scotland Yard is a gloriously simple game which pits a team of up to five police players against the nefarious Mister X, who has outwitted justice and is on the run in this nation’s fair capital. The shady so-and-so is briefly visible at the start of the game before slipping quietly into hiding, with only the mode of transport used to escape revealed to the police team as they attempt to corner their prey.

A game of cat and mouse ensues, with every player taking turns to use taxis, buses or the Tube in order to close the net around Mister X and bring the ne’er-do-well to book. The master criminal is forced to surface every few turns before disappearing once more, desperately trying to fool the pursuers through doubling back, spending precious secret move tokens and making occasional trips on the quaint Thames water bus, which for some reason the cops are unwilling to risk.

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Scotland Yard won the well-regarded German Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award way back in 1983, and was rebranded as Mister X in 2009 with the chase transferred to mainland Europe. It also won something called Der Goldene Pöppel in 1983/84, and if that doesn’t sell it for you I don’t know what will.

The game is straightforward but elegant, quick to set up and easily over within an hour, and generally a triumph of asymmetrical game design – it's no wonder Matt Leacock riffed on the idea for the Bioterrorist role in Pandemic: On The Brink. It’s fun with friends, can be played while really quite drunk and is exactly the sort of game which should be busted out instead of groaning and arguing your way through another round of Monopoly. Buy it! (Mike Didymus)

Buy your copy here.

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