Tactics, strategy and bluffing: The board game ‘Scotland Yard’ is an exciting game, in which a team of detectives tries to hunt down the criminal Mr. X.
Since its first publication in 1983, the board Game ‘Scotland Yard’ has been republished and redesigned several times. Though I still prefer the old version as in my opinion the design has a more nostalgic feeling to it.
The game was named after the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, not without reason: A player-team has to cooperate as Police detectives in order to catch another player, which would then be Mr. X. The location of the criminal is only revealed periodically, but the detectives are always present on the board showing always their exact position to the Mr. X player.
At the beginning of the game every player gets a certain number of transport tickets for taxi, bus and London underground passages. Additionally, every player draws a card with a number, representing their starting position on the huge London city map, including Mr. X. And during the gameplay the player of Mr. X also gets to write down the number of his exact position after every round, making sure afterwards he didn’t cheat.
The aim for the detectives is to land on Mr. X’s current location on the map. In case this doesn’t happen by the end of the game, since there are only a limited number of rounds, the winner would be the player of Mr. X.
I know from my own experience, that although the game can be played by three to six players, many only play it in two or three. This can be done if the one or two detective players are willing to play with two detective characters in addition. Otherwise the chance of winning for them would be significantly reduced and Mr. X would seem to slip through their fingers all the time, given that the map on the play board is huge.
Sometimes the game gets a little bit annoying, because it takes too long for the detective players to decide on their next move or for Mr. X to decide, which ticket he wants to use next. And while this mostly depends on the players, it is also important for the police-team to agree on their strategies.
But all in all, I really like the game and I think the publisher also got creative with the further development of this board game regarding game aesthetics: ‘Scotland Yard’ has been adapted on maps of different locations too, like the city of Tokyo or a region set in Switzerland with additional boat routes and ski areas, which by the way sounds really funny to me.
Regardless, I enjoy playing this game in its original version with the huge London map and I do strongly recommend it as a game which can be played with the whole family and with a bunch of friends for some hilarious weekends.
All pictures used are self-made pictures by the author of this article.
Designer: E. Felix Harnickell, (2013)
Publisher: Ravensburger/Milton Bradley
Release date: 1983
Number of Players: 3–6
Playing time: 1 hour (player dependent)