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Game Review

Scotland Yard

Ages 10 and up
Game ©1991 Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg
game in play
Uncle's Games link

3-6 Players30+ minutes


One player takes the role of "Mr. X" and is on the run from the law. All other players are detectives who must find "Mr. X" before he escapes from London.

Mr X.


The game begins by players choosing which one will be Mr. X. The player who is Mr. X is given a journal board, a pencil, a visor to hide his/her eyes, and a small set of tickets to start the game.

Next, all of the "detectives" are issued a specific number of tickets to move about the map. They get 10 taxi tickets, 8 bus tickets, and 4 tube (London's subway or underground) tickets.

Mr. X has an unlimited supply of taxi, bus and tube tickets, and receives a few special tickets -- one black ticket for each detective in the game and 2 double move cards. Black tickets can be any form of transportation (including a boat ride that only Mr. X can use!)

To begin play, all players pick a location on the board (there is a stack of 18 "start" cards) to place their playing piece. Mr. X is the only player who does NOT place a piece on the board.

Mr. X begins play. All turns follow this pattern:

  1. Mr. X writes down his new location in the next slot in the journal.

  2. Mr. X covers the location with a ticket specifying HOW he moved (taxi, bus, or tube are the most common).

  3. If the turn is number 3, 8, 13, 18, or 24 -- Mr. X places his playing piece on the board revealing his/her location.

  4. Detectives move their pieces, and turn in their appropriate tickets.

  5. If the turn is number 3, 8, 13, 18, or 24 -- Mr. X removes his piece from the board.

Detectives have two problems in the game -- the first is finding Mr. X; The second is keeping track of their tickets. Taxi tickets allow players to move along the yellow lines until the next numbered space that is marked yellow. Taxi's can reach every point on the board, but occasionally there is not a path between two seemingly adjacent points on the board. Bus Tickets follow green lines, and move a longer distance than the taxis. Similarly, the tube tickets use red lines -- but you can travel across the board very quickly. On some numbered points, players can choose any of the three transportation types -- on others, only a bus and taxi may be used. In all cases, the player may only move along the colored line until the next point that is a stop for that type of transportation.

If the detectives can no longer move (i.e. they ran out of tickets) the game will end with Mr. X winning.

No two players may occupy the same spot on the board -- If a detective moves to the same location on the board where Mr. X's journal says he/she is hidden -- Mr. X must announce that he/she is captured and the game is over.

Mr. X has a couple of special moves in the game, instead of playing a regular ticket, he/she may choose to play a black ticket to disguise the move. Additionally, Mr. X may play a double move -- in this case, Mr. X writes the next two locations in the journal and covers both up with the appropriate tickets. There is a limit to these special moves -- there are only two double moves allowed, and there is only one black ticket for as many detectives that are in the game (either 3, 4, or 5.) To play Mr. X well, you must use these special moves wisely.

close-up of the board

Mr. X's journal & tickets

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who captures Mr. X wins. (Or, if you are playing as a team -- all of the detectives win.)

  • or

  • If no player can capture Mr. X in 24 turns, the player who is Mr. X wins.

Mr. X (clear) is revealed -- Red moves in to capture!

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Down! This game's presentation and construction is great. All of the parts are sturdy, the tickets are a thick paper, and the board is printed very nicely. The rules are also brief, and reasonably balanced. When we played this game, no one had any difficulty with the rules.

Of our reviewers, I was the only player who enjoyed the game -- and I was Mr. X. The Zombie detectives were all frustrated at the difficulty of the game for the detectives. Mr. X is only revealed 5 times during the game -- and the fifth time ends the game. The most common complaint was that they really didn't have a chance against Mr. X. They felt that the game was fun from Mr. X's perspective, because Mr. X could see every move of the game. The detectives did not enjoy the game because they felt that they were in the dark for 80 percent of the game.

In our game, we played with the 3 player rules -- 1 player is Mr. X, and the other players play 2 detectives each. Our game ended on the 22nd turn because the detectives had run out of taxi tickets -- and Mr. X was only 1 taxi ticket away from capture.

This game has been on the market for a long time. I played it in the mid-1980s, and I recall that the players had similar complaints then, too. This really is a hit or miss game. Personally, I enjoy the game. I find the deductive reasoning to be a fun challenge. However, I have seen that players who disliked the game were not in a mood that was good for "deduction" and wanted more interaction without the emphasis on logical thought. The players who didn't like the game wanted a game where your opponents were more "in your face" and have a motive for playing. Here, Mr. X always runs away -- it's a difficult game of hide and seek. The game is a good model for balance, but it lacks a personality that keeps players coming back to play again.

Where to buy:

Any local toy or game store.

Uncle's Games link

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