SCOTLAND YARD – The Hunt for Mister X – Review

One of Ravensburger re-makes. 3-6 players age 8+.

This game is a remake of the original 1985 Game of the same name, so a classic brought back to life, as we are the Retro Reviewers we like nothing more than a classic/retro game to play and review.

What’s going on in this game? One player takes on the role of Mister X, and illusive character who is being chased around the streets of London, England, by a group of Detectives and Police Officers from the famous Scotland Yard branch of the Metropolitan Police Force.

The board is a street map of London, travelling by tube, bus or taxi, Detectives try to catch Mister X, he remains illusive and out of sight for most of the game but every so many rounds he pops up to reveal his location, which then becomes a cat and mouse chase, perusing the the process of deduction and an awful lot of guess work as he disappears underground again for another few rounds.

The aim of this game as detectives is to catch Mister X before the end of the 24 rounds. As Mister X, your aim is to make it to the end undetected. Although you would think this is a strategic game, there really isn’t much opportunity for strategy at all, as you will never know exactly where Mister X is travelling. It is sheer luck that catches him in the end (if you are so lucky to do so).  The game does require logical thinking though, and planning ahead, which are good skills to practice.  As Mister X you have more opportunity to play strategically, planning and second guessing the detectives and their police officers.

It is an absolute must that everyone has a turn at some point at playing Mister X, as this changes the way you behave as a Detective. Although saying that, it becomes so frustrating when you are the detective as you start to plot routes that you would take as Mister X and then believe that you know exactly where he is.

Quote (in a game played just this week)

Round 4 – Jayne – ‘I know exactly where he is’ = wrong

Round 6 – Jayne – ‘I know where he is’ = wrong

Round 9 – Jayne – ‘I know exactly where he is going’ = wrong

etc., etc., etc.. to the point where Gregg (as Mister X) outsmarted Jayne and Emily and won the game by repeating his moves and travelling around in a circle for most of the game whilst escaping to practically the other side of the board in the final few rounds! So there you have it, when you think you just know, you actually don’t, or I don’t anyhow (I am Jayne!).

The box will state 3-6 players, but the game can also be played with just 2 and there are specific rules at the back of the book to help a 2 player game.

Retro Reviewers Criteria:

  1. Overall strategy – Logic, team work, guess work and second guessing, a bit of planning and strategy if you can as a detective but sheer luck is what will get you through, on the other hand, strategy and planning is everything if you are paying as Mister X.
  2. Originality and integration of theme – The theme is very apt, it is London, with all its landmarks and streets, the tube, the taxi and the bus are a  little different from what you would expect, i.e. Black taxi’s and Red busses, however in this game the taxi is Yellow and the busses are Blue. So that isn’t quite right, even though the images on the front cover of the box match the theme and reality, the components inside don’t quite.  The theme itself is good, detectives from Scotland Yard chasing a villain across the capital, yes the theme is integrated well. The game is similar to other types of cat and mouse games but again the process of getting across town and the roles people play are original to this theme, remembering also that it was first designed in the 1980’s.
  3. Depth of skill needed – As mentioned above, the skills needed mainly lay with Mister X.
  4. Originality in the game mechanics – Back in the 1980’s the mechanics of the game would have been quite original, no dice and very little components would have made this a very ‘modern’ game in terms of mechanics for its time. But of course as the decades have gone by, this type of mechanic is no longer original.
  5. Interaction of Players – Players must discuss, collaborate and keep their suggestions from Mister X, this character gets a visor to wear, to hide his eyes, which also helps when the detectives wish to converse, as Mister X is asked to lower his head away from the board.
  6. Luck factor – This has already been mentioned above, Detectives = loads of luck, Mister X, not so much.
  7. Rule Book – Easy to read and very short rule book, there are 2, one for the beginner and one for the more experienced players. the game is an easy game to play and the rules reflect this. It is good to see a very simple rule book that is easy to read these days without any hidden additional actions to try to keep track of.
  8. Fun factor – (Eight kinds of fun) – We had fun playing this game, although we do have to say, when we played all the way to the end of 24 rounds it did start to get a little boring waiting for Mister X to plot his route, but this may just have been for this game alone.
    1. Sensation – this game is visually appealing to me, I love all things London and there is something about the map of London that makes me feel quite patriotic as a British Citizen. The game is a pleasure to play, its simplicity allows you to feel you can play the game with little to no experience and still enjoy it.
    2. Challenge – the game is certainly a challenge in every way, as you can never really know what will happen next.
    3. Fellowship – for the Detectives then collaboration is key.
  9. Emotions of players during and afterwards – I think these are different from the two different perspectives, as Mister X you will feel anxious, and need to think straight, plotting and planning routes and second guessing where the detectives can reach and where they think you may go, lots of concentration needed to be Mister X. As the detectives, frustration is probably the biggest emotion in the game, unless of course you catch Mister X, you then feel accomplished!
  10. Replayability – this game is very replayable, although can get boring over time. No two games will be the same due to the vast amounts of places to travel to on the board, however if you have a particularly good Mister X who keeps winning then the feeling of constant defeat can put you off the game, which is why I recommended rotation of Mister X during replays.

Overall, if you have some spare time and you want to play a fairly simple game, then this is the one.  We enjoy this game as a lighter type of play after we have played some of our heavier games. This is another game I would recommend to families, and especially for Christmas, it is fun, for adults and children and can be played whilst other things are going on around you. I think this is a must for game shelves just because it has a past and has been around for such a long time already.

Variations: There is a Scotland Yard Junior also made by Ravensburger for the younger members of the family – see the link to Amazon below which will take you to the junior version of the game (age 6+).

If this is the game for you and you’re intrigued by our review and want to purchase this game, support a small business and click here for the Amazon link:

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Disclaimer: as part of the Amazon Affiliates Programme, we will receive a small percentage of your purchase of this game, this does not affect the price you pay, but we want to thank you for supporting us through this programme.

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