Author Topic: Whitehall Mystery - Review  (Read 1365 times)

Offline dirk2112

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Whitehall Mystery - Review
« on: November 21, 2017, 11:07:40 AM »
There are a lot of similar games with the same theme as this one.  The big 2 are Letters from Whitechapel and Scotland Yard.  I have not played either of those, but the similarity with this game is so strong that if you already own one of those, there is no reason to buy this one.   

Players
The game can be played with 2 to 4 players.  I have played it with 3 players only.  I imagine the game is best with 4 players.  With 3, one person is stuck with only 1 detective figure whereas another gets 2 detectives. 

Theme
There has been a murder in London.  The murderer is roaming around town and leaving body parts for the police to find.  The murderer is obviously Jack the Ripper, but the game doesn’t say it specifically I suppose to avoid the fact that the crimes actually did occur. 

How it works
One player plays Jack the Ripper and his movement is hidden.  Using a score sheet, he plots the places where he currently is and where he has been (numbers on the map of London).  This area of London is broken up into 4 white areas.  In order to win, Jack must drop off a body part in all 4 areas before being caught.  He must select these 4 locations before the game starts.  When Jack drops a body part, he must announce it and place a red chip at that location.  He has 3 tricks he can use to avoid the police.  He can borrow a boat, rent a coach, or sneak through an alley.   Jack has 15 turns to make it between body part drops.
 
The other players are detectives hot on his trail.  They each have 1 similar trick that Jack has.  They move along the black squares and not the numbers so that they can do 1 of 2 things:

#1 They can look for clues – where they ask the Jack player if he has been on a certain number.  They can do this for every number that is connected to their square until either Jack acknowledges he was there or they run out of numbers.  If Jack was there, the detective places a yellow chip on the number.  If Jack happens to be currently at that location, he must say that he was there, but does not need to tell them he is there currently.   

#2 They can make an arrest.  The detective can only choose one surrounding number and attempt to arrest Jack.  If Jack is there, the game ends and the detectives win.

 
How it plays
The only other hidden game I have ever played was battleship and this is much different.  I have played as Jack and as the detectives.  As Jack, it can get really frustrating when a detective is in your way.  The last drop is the worst because all 3 detectives know what area you are heading to.  You have to thread the needle between them to get to your last spot.  As a detective, the frustration works in reverse.  At the start of the game, say Jack committed a murder in the SW quadrant.  Odds are he is heading either to the NW or SE quadrant, but he could go to the NE.  Since there are 3 of you, you can each take a quadrant or risk 2 of you going one way or another.   After the 3rd drop, you have the best chance of catching him.
 
 
Conclusion
This is our only hidden movement game and we enjoy it.  I have heard from others that it is more advanced than Scotland Yard, but less so than Letters from Whitechapel.  The boards for all 3 are basically the same, so it really begs the question as to why yet another game is based in the same city with almost the same map and theme?  Couldn’t the murder have taken place in a city that isn’t quite as popular for board games (Kiev maybe)?  Who am I kidding, if it didn’t take place in London, it would be in New York.  The game length is about an hour, but we have had a 15 minute game where Jack didn’t play very well.  I hear that Letters from Whitechapel is 3 times as long and we chose this one as we normally like shorter games.

Like an idiot I put the detectives on the numbers instead of the squares.  Boooo to me.   :(n)

In any case the games started with the drop on 148.  Jack headed North and later made a drop on 45.  The yellow investigator found a few places Jack has been.

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3638.0
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 11:23:43 AM by dirk2112 »

Offline Decar

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2018, 02:05:41 PM »
Not sure how I missed this (+1 merit from me to start)!

I quite like hidden movement games.  We've played Spectre Ops which I talked about in our Top 10 nominations.  From what you've said Whitehall Mystery sounds a little more straight forward and although the game's bigger, it seems quite streamlined.  I hope to get this play one day...but need to find someone who has it!

Offline wolnic

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2018, 02:22:01 PM »
I played Fury Of Dracula, which seems to use the same approach - careening around Europe trying to locate Dracula - a few months ago, and after a few hours (a bit of first time run-through made it a bit slow at times), Dracula escaped our clutches and we called a halt to it at that point as it had got late and we had to go to work the next day ...

It felt much more involved than Scotland Yard (which I played many years ago) or, as you described, this. Not only have you to track Dracula down, but you have to fight and defeat him and his sidekicks before you, as Hunters (instead of detectives), win.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 02:27:45 PM by wolnic »
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Offline Decar

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2018, 02:48:08 PM »
I'd heard good things about Fury of Dracula too, although it sounds like it is much much much longer than I originally thought.  I also think that FF have lost the license to produce the game from Games Workshop too - so it may not be in print for a while!

Offline wolnic

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2018, 03:03:30 PM »
It might have been quicker had two of the 4 players (me, included) not been playing it for the first time. The owner (of the game) played Dracula. The fact was that we were unable to defeat Dracula in combat when we finally located him, so he was able to escape, so it felt as though we were going to have to start all over again ...

Offline dirk2112

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2018, 04:19:25 PM »
Fury of Dracula is a 2 to 3 hour game like Letters from Whitechapel.  Both games look to be a much more robust experience than Whitehall Mystery, but the long playtime would prohibit both from hitting the table frequently at my house.  I am glad that Fury of Dracula has a much better theme, but the current price in the US is really high.

Offline franks

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 04:25:31 PM »
dirk, nice review, thanks for sharing.

I own a couple of hidden movement games, Fury of Dracula 3rd edition and Scotland Yard but haven't played either.

I've been intrigued by Whitehall because of the reported shorter playtime. I've also been intrigued by Spectre OPS and would like to give that a try.

Right now I'm most excited for the imminent release, (at least for North America - it might already be available in EU),  Hunt for the Ring. This, to me, is the most engaging theme to grab me over all others that I've seen. Early reports are also very favourable of the game.
Franks

Wanna play Carc? Can we add just one more expansion?

Offline dirk2112

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2018, 05:38:27 PM »
Franks,

I am not a Hobbit fan by any means, but I think one hidden movement game is enough for any collection.  You may want to play your current games before acquiring more.  It would stink if you do not enjoy the hidden movement mechanic.

Offline franks

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2018, 06:37:52 PM »
Franks,

I am not a Hobbit fan by any means, but I think one hidden movement game is enough for any collection.  You may want to play your current games before acquiring more.  It would stink if you do not enjoy the hidden movement mechanic.

Fair enough, can't argue with that, games are there to be played, though I've have seen a quite a few session videos and am fairly confinement on what attracts me to the mechanics.  Hopefully either opportunity presents itself soon!

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2018, 12:20:23 AM »
'Hunt for the Ring' sounds like a great thematic setting for a hidden movement game....but how do you know when you've found him...they're invisible!

Offline Sinscerly

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Re: Whitehall Mystery - Review
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2018, 01:37:02 AM »
Great review Dirk,
As I have played a lot of Scotland Yard this game sounds very similar to me. But the fact that you can dump the body on some areas sounds much more fun. As that gives the game more the real feeling you "Jack the Ripper" instead of an mister X that has done some crime and is now escaping.
"What things can you find? Things that are hidden?


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