At a Glance: Mr. Jack is a sharply designed cat-and-mouse game that is one of the best 2-player games out there.
Mr. Jack is a deduction game for 2 players where one plays Jack the Ripper and the other is the detective who is chasing him. The game is set up the same every time with 8 characters in designated spots on the board, which is a small representation of London. Before the game starts, the player controlling Jack randomly draws one of the 8 character Suspect cards to determine which character he is disguised as. This is secret information and what the detective is trying to ascertain. On each turn, the player draws a character card and performs that character’s actions. Each character has movement and an ability. There are lanterns, manhole covers, and police cordons that all can be moved by different characters. At the end of each round (thematically represented as an hour), the Jack player must reveal whether his character is seen or unseen. “Seen” means that Jack’s character is next to a lantern or directly adjacent to another character. By revealing this information, the detective may rule out certain characters and continue to narrow down the suspects. After the first few rounds, lanterns are removed from the board, making it easier for Jack to remain unseen. Jack may also move through the sewers by entering/exiting any manhole, but NOT through ones that are currently covered. There are 4 open corners of the city, but 2 of them are blocked by a police cordon at any point. Mr. Jack wins if he is able to escape out of one of the non-barricaded corners of the city following a turn where he was unseen, or if he remains undetected the full 8 rounds. The Inspector wins if he is able to find the identity of Jack and capture him by moving one of the other character tokens on top of him.
This is such a great cat-and-mouse game. It is very different playing as either side, and there is always a great tension as Jack sneaks and the detective snoops. Playing as Mr. Jack, the trick is how and when do you blend in with the crowd, staying in the light, or try to stay in the shadows and make an escape. Sometimes things just don’t go your way depending on the cards drawn, and you have to just make a break for it. As the detective, you are playing a game of deduction, trying to position the characters in a way that you can rule out some of them and keep narrowing down the suspects. The Sherlock Holmes character has an interesting special ability that lets the player draw a random card from the Suspect deck, which if drawn by the detective, can help them rule out a suspect without Jack knowing. The game rarely makes it the full 8 rounds, as Jack either escapes or is captured. We have found that the game is skewed in the detective’s favor, which is actually fine. It makes for a good challenge, and a little more special when Jack escapes. And in this way, you can maybe account for skill level, letting the more experienced player be Mr. Jack.
The game components are high quality. The character tokens are wooden, and the “cards” are not really cards at all, they’re more like thick rectangular tokens—very solid. This is one of the best 2-player games out there. It is engaging, sneaky, and so much fun no matter which side you’re on.
Check it out! Well worth it: https://amzn.to/2T7Dcz4