Mr Jack is a game for two players – one players the part of Mr Jack, a Victorian murderer masquerading as a normal member of society, and the other the detective on his trail.
The board represents Victorian London – you may have to use your imagination to interpret the hexagons – and is set up in a particular way at the start so a crowd of characters each occupy their own space. Then cards are revealed showing a set of four characters – players take turns moving and using a special power of each of these characters as they stride (or creep) around the board. At the end of each turn Mr Jack must announce if he is in the light – either beside a lamp-post or visible to another character – or in the dark – anywhere else. By process of elimination the detective will be whittling away at the suspects until he or she works out who Mr Jack is – but! – there is both a time limit (the game ends after 8 rounds) and a risk that Mr Jack may escape. If he is in the dark at the end of a round that means in a subsequent round he may make a bid for escape through one of four exit points on the board. The detective will face tough choices – to thunder after a character heading for the exit, or guess it’s being moving as a decoy?
The character’s special actions also bring other dimensions into the game – one can move a little further than the others, one can swap places and so on. Characters can also travel vast distances from manhole to manhole – slightly stretching the plausibility of the whole thing, but fun nonetheless. If you like a game with a little tension and some deduction, Mr Jack is definitely a winner.
Mr Jack’s inspiration may be brutal but the game itself feels far removed from its source material – in fact, the tension comes from the thought that Jack may either escape (if you’re the detective) or caught (if you’re Jack). For the right players it’s extremely moreish, and really does reward multiple plays.
The whole game is a little Take That-y, but it's more about brinkmanship than actual targeting.
There is some thought required here. As well as calculating your own moves, you also need to bear in mind what options you're leaving for your opponent.
After a first play Mr Jack will play quickly and isn't rule-heavy at all.