The hubby loves pocket games and I can’t blame him – they’re a lot easier to store and sometimes you just don’t want to get into a complicated game that could go for hours and hours. Quick little games like Love Letter and Ninja Dice are fast sweet games that’ll fulfill your need for gaming while not sucking hours out of your life or requiring a long time to set up and put away. Like many pocket games Mr. Jack (pocket) is reasonably-priced and won’t break your gaming budget while taking up little space on your gaming shelves.
He picked up Mr. Jack at our local game store a few months ago and we got around to playing it yesterday before I destroyed the world at Pandemic: The Cure. While he was saving the world I seemed to be running around and jabbing people with dirty needles. But I digress…
Mr. Jack pocket is a lovely little game for anyone looking to capture a bit of the mystery of Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper while not willing to put in hours of time for a long game. In this two player game you play the investigators and your opponent the Ripper. Yes, I said investigators – you get Watson, Holmes and Toby the bulldog (which we renamed Gladstone… you know why!)
At the start of the game the Ripper pulls a single Alias card which will represent his disguised form – he/she is also on one of nine street tiles you lay out in a 3×3 square. The investigators are placed on the board and the game’s afoot!
Gameplay is simple and fast – the investigators toss (yes, I said toss!) four discs in the air. They represent the moves that can be made, from moving the investigators around the outside of the board to rotating the tiles (this IS important!) to choosing an alias card to clear a suspect. But in the middle of your choices the Ripper makes one as well and can thwart your actions. At the end you ask Mr. Jack if any of your three investigators can “see” the alias he’s running under. This means you look at each investigator pog and look down the streets. If Mr. Jack’s alias is in line of sight he must tell you and you can flip over the other tiles that don’t apply, changing the board and eliminating suspects.
So Holmes can win by flipping tiles until there’s only one suspect left – how about Mr. Jack? Well it’s a simple quick way for him – all he has to do is delay the investigators for long enough to make his escape. This is accomplished by collecting six hourglasses. Every alias card has zero, one or two hourglasses on it, giving Mr. Jack an initial number of hourglasses. He collects more either by delaying the investigators one turn or by picking an alias card up during his part of the turn and using the hourglasses on that card. He also gets to flip the discs previously tossed by the investigators and use those actions for his turn – either rotating tiles, moving investigators around the outside of the playing field or collecting alias cards.
It might sound complicated but by the time you finish one or two turns you’ll find it easy to play and remember. The game flows logically and it’s a challenge for both players to decide who the alias is or close off enough LOS to keep the investigators blocked until you snag six hourglasses.
The graphics for this pocket game are cute and easy on the eyes – the hubby noted that many of the alias cards depict actual suspects for Jack the Ripper along with Inspector Lestrade for the Holmes fans. We really enjoyed the fast gameplay after we figured out the rules and we’ll be pulling this down from the shelf again soon for another quick and fast game. If you’re looking for a fast game with quick setup and interesting gameplay I recommend this for your pocket game shelf stash!