11-Jun-2002All month
Jack the Ripper

Paul and I usually catch the same train back from work in an evening. This gives us an hour of prime game playing time but in an unusual location, ie a moving train with a small table space. Hence the choice of games is a little restrictive. Also since its on the way home the idea is to relax which cuts down the choice yet more ( No brain drain games). Our regular game is Lost Cities. Within the gaming group we have played and enjoyed Wyatt Earp so when Paul picked up Jack the Ripper we thought wed try it on the train. JTR is part of the Mystery Rummy series, ie a rummy game of playing melds but with a theme and a twist.

The idea of JTR is that the players are trying to put cases together to prove the identity of the infamous serial killer. Cards are split into Evidence cards and other cards. In a turn a player draws a card, plays any number of evidence cards and may play one non-evidence card (gavel cards), then discards a card. There are 5 victims and 5 corresponding scenes of the crime. Playing a victim/scene allows the player to draw a cards from the draw/discard pile. Once a victim is in play then Evidence can be played against the suspects. An initial meld of evidence against a suspect must be made up of 3 cards, after that anyonre can play evidence or the suspect card for that suspect. There are other cards which allow special abilities including the Ripper Escapes card, once all 5 victims are in play the Ripper can escape using this card. The end of the hand can occur in 3 ways- twice through the deck, ripper escapes or someone plays out. If the Ripper escapes the player playing the cards scores 35, with only scenes and victims scoring of the played cards, otherwise all played cards are worth their face value except for the cards of the ripper - the suspect with the most evidence (or card value) - these cards are worth double. Cards let in the hand that are unplayable to existing melds are sutracted. The game plays over multiple hands until someone hits 100 points.

Into the first hand and after almost reaching the end of the first time through the deck Paul played a card forcing all victims into play and then on his next turn allowed the Ripper to escape. In the second hand Tel managed to provide Pauls prime suspect with an Alibi ( preventing him being the ripper ) and then go out with less evidence against one of his own suspects to close the gap. The next two hands were really unkind to Paul as he drew almosyt exclusively gaqvel cards both hands while Tel had a handful of evidence cards, allowing Tel to build compelling cases and take the game quite comfortably. We played a second game but didnt manage to finish as the train pulled in before we broke the 100 point barrier though Paul was almost there.

The game is perfect for out train journey, it fits on the small train tables, requires some thought but not too much, as with Lost cities the biggest decisions are often which card to discard. Definitely recommended.

Final Scores
Tel 108 Paul 51

Tel 64 Paul 93

Ratings /10
Both gave it 8
Scores: Tel 108, Paul 51
Ratings: Tel 8, Paul 8
Winner(s): Tel