Sunday, February 19, 2012

Games From My Youth: Scotland Yard

Big name board game companies CAN make interesting strategy games. Remember this one?
Scotland Yard is a game where five players control detectives. The detectives move about the board using underground (subways), taxis, and buses. The goal of the detectives is to capture the elusive Mr. X! Mr. X is controlled by a sixth player. So although this game is a "co-op" game, you're not playing against the board - all of the players are trying to beat one other player.

What makes this game unique is the "Mr. X Mechanic." While the detectives are represented on the board by clear plastic tokens with colored dots on them, Mr. X's movements are shrouded in secrecy because Mr. X merely writes down his position without a playing piece on the board. At several set points in the game, Mr. X's position is revealed and the detectives try to quickly swarm to cut off his escape routes.

This game is a ton of fun. As a detective, it's grand tradition to look for any clue as to the whereabouts of Mr. X. Players carefully read Mr. X's eyes to see where he's looking on the board. Body language is interpreted for any sign of stress or anxiety. Even the movements of the pen are interpreted... Did I just see top of the pen move as if he wrote a one and then an eight? Is Mr. X on 18? Scotland Yard is definitely a thinking man's game. The players must use a good deal of deductive reasoning and psychology to figure out the moves of the opposition.

I still have my original copy of the gem. If you don't, fortunately, you can find them cheap on eBay.

This isa Spiel des Jahres Award winner from 1983 that shouldn't be forgotten.

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