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A criminal that goes by the name of Mr X is loose in the city of London. He is moving around London by various modes of transport and the aim of the game is to catch him before he can make his escape. You have a maximum of five detectives on the case; will you be able to work together as a team to bring the mastermind to justice? Let the chase commence!
~*~ Preparation ~*~
Before you can even think about playing, you have to choose who is going to be Mr X. Once the decision is made, Mr X acts alone whereas the remaining players can work closely together communicating and conferring their moves in order to capture the reckless criminal. The playing board is laid out on a flat surface and each player takes a playing figure that they will move around the board on their turn. In order to navigate the city, you have to take various modes of transport and so each detective is dealt their "tickets" for the game; 10 Taxi, 4 underground and 8 bus tickets is all you have. Mr X gets what is left over but as each player uses their ticket they pass it onto Mr X so basically his transport choices are unlimited. Mr X gets two other types of tickets - 2 double moves and 2 black tickets. The double move ticket can be used to make two turns in one go and the black ticket keeps his mode of transport a secret so the detectives do not know how he has moved on.The board is essentially a map of central London and various points are marked with numbers (from 1 to 199 so there are a lot of possible moves!) Each number is joined by the routes which can be taken between them - a white line indicates a taxi, a blue line is for a bus and the red routes mark the underground. At the start of the game each player is dealt a "starting card" which states where they should place their figure. Mr X keeps the starting point a secret, but he keeps a record of his moves on a log which is secret, but his mode of transport must be told unless he uses a black ticket. On moves 3, 8, 13 and 18 Mr X must show himself which gives the detectives a fighting chance of catching up with him.
~*~ My Thoughts ~*~
Although this game sounds complicated initially, it is actually incredibly simple and once you get started it is quite clear what you should do, and the concise and easy to follow instructions make it a breeze. In our experience everybody wants to be Mr X because it is the most fun part of the game, but to be honest, it is really quite nerve racking and I find myself getting quite sweaty and panicking once the detectives get close! I have to hold my hands up and say that I have never got away, I have even tried taking the underground for the entire game just to put some distance between me and them, but that still didn't work; I guess that I just don't have a criminal mind!
This game really encourages team work and logical thinking. If you try to work alone for the glory of end capture, you are going to have a struggle on your hands so you have to work as a team in order to close the net. You also have to be logical whilst playing as you have a limited number of tickets so, for example if you run out of taxi's just as you are on a taxi only stop, you are out of the game. Working out where Mr X could possibly have moved onto is one thing, but remembering all of the possibilities is another so you rely quite heavily on when he shows himself, and if he uses a black ticket or double move, that can really throw a spanner in the works. It is easier to bring the game to an end with six people playing as escape obviously gets harder with more people chasing, but this game can also be played with just two players, but the player who isn't Mr X would have to play several detectives in order to have a sniff at success.
I really like the inclusion of the black baseball cap in the game - this is for Mr X to wear and it prevents the other players from trying to cheat by seeing whereabouts Mr X is looking on the board. This game depends on a certain amount of trust, you have to assume that Mr X is honestly writing down his moves - this can always be checked on the log at the end of the game if mis-adventure is suspected!
This game is for old and young (probably from aged seven or so upwards) and is suited to males and females equally. It is the kind of game that the entire family of all generations can play together and each participant is on a level playing field with no real advantage of age or intelligence! The length of the game depends entirely on hoe canny Mr X is. If he makes it right to the end, I think that the game could easily last over an hour depending on how the detectives get along and how much they argue amongst themselves, but if Mr X is caught in the first half of the game it can often be over within half an hour. I do find that younger players (and I'm including myself in that!) get slightly disheartened if it is clear that there is not going to be a capture towards the latter stages of the game and the child in me just wants to throw the board in the air, but this is the aim of the game and the criminal walks away happy! Over all I think that this is a really interesting family board game, it is a bit different from the usual run of the mill board games and it is different every time without exception.
We have had our set for a number of years so it is definitely an older game which has stood the test of time which is why I am surprised that it does not seem to be massively available on the High Street. It is available on the internet (Amazon, ebay, Tesco) but it is worth checking out the prices as they vary considerably from about £8 - £15, even at the higher price I would say that this offers value for money as it is a durable and interesting game.
Also posted on Ciao under my username chilcott1