There come times when the whole group can’t get together, or maybe we’re just waiting for other folks to show up. Finding a quality two-player game isn’t all that easy at times. Many games that say they can be played with just two often fail to live up to the task. But, there are games that are made specifically for just two, and Mr. Jack Pocket is fun and makes your brain get all tingling with logic and thinky stuff.
The game plays simply enough: one player is Jack the Ripper, the other is Sherlock Holmes and his trusty companion Dr. Watson. The goal of Sherlock is to discover the identity of Jack, while Jack just needs to delay his nemesis long enough to make his escape.
The game board is made of tiles representing the streets and alleyways of Victorian London. Each tile has the image a person on it, and one of these people is the secret identity of Jack the Ripper. Holmes, Watson, and their loyal canine move about the outer edge of the board. Each turn, action tokens are divided between the two players. These tokens determine what each player will be able to do during their turn. The actions could be to move either Holmes, Watson, or the dog, or perhaps swap two tiles or rotate one in place. At the end of each turn, Holmes, Watson, or the dog ask if they can see Jack. This is determined by where they are and if they can see down a street. If they can see him, Jack must answer “yes;” if not, Jack would answer “no.” Regardless of the answer, it should narrow down the choices. If the Holmes player can see Jack, then they can flip over any of the tiles with people they can’t see, thereby eliminating those from the pool of suspects. However, there is a time limit, and if the Holmes player can’t narrow it down to a single person, he will lose.
The quality of the components is very good, with nice, thick cardboard for the tiles, the tokens, and even the different identity cards. The art is also beautifully rendered. My one complaint is that the box, while it does fit into a pocket, is just slightly too thin to properly contain all the components. A box band or other rubber band is recommended for keeping things tidy and in place.
I love games like this, the ones that make you think. It is a battle of wits, and a little bit of luck as well. The game plays quickly; 10-15 minutes is about the norm for a game, and it tends to work best if each player takes a stab at being Jack. The game retails for US $15, and you can pick it up on Amazon for a buck less than that (though you really should be supporting your FLGS). It’s great as both a filler as well as a handy game to keep in your backpack or purse so you can play whenever you have a little time to kill.