Scotland Yard ($4.99) by Ravensburger Digital GmbH is a complex board game that lets your roam the streets of London as the criminally minded Mister X, or try your hand at detective work as one of Scotland Yard’s finest. Take your pick and see what mysteries unravel in this digital version of the 1980s board game of the same name.
Players get to pick whether they want to be Mister X or one of the detectives. Mister X works alone, but has the advantage of knowing where his enemies are and has more means to move about on the board. The detectives can be as many as five on the board, but they don’t know where Mister X is hiding and they have a limited number of times they can move around to find him.
Players who choose Mister X get to move around on the board in secret. The detectives only have clues as to how he is getting around town. For example, after a few turns, his whereabouts are revealed to the detectives, but if they are not close by, Mister X can slip away, undetected. Mister X can travel along secret paths that the detectives don’t get to use. He can also hid his transportation choices at times with special black tickets that help him escape. As an added bonus, Mister X can sometimes move twice in a single turn as a “fast getaway.”
Players who choose to try their hand at detective work are tasked with finding the elusive Mister X. They don’t know where he is at, but they do know what form of transportation he is using to get around. All players can use three forms of transportation; taxi, bus and train. Mister X can also travel by boat to secret locations. Whenever he moves, an icon appears on his movement track so that detectives know how he is getting around. This is helpful when his location is temporarily revealed. Every four turns, Mister X’s location becomes visible to the detectives. If he has four possible routes to take on his next move, but only one is a train and that is what he takes, the detectives can hone in on his whereabouts.
Detectives work best when they are teamed up. That is really the only way to find Mister X. The least amount of detective on the board should be three. This game is multiplayer compatible by letting users link up through local Wi-Fi, or through Game Center. If you don’t have any real life friends to play this game with, you can always select computer-generated players to fill the void.
This is a well-designed transfer from physical to digital board game. The graphics are smooth and the intricate map can be zoomed in or out for better viewing. The game tokens also hover above the board so that no portion is blocked from view. The only problem with this game is that the computer-generated players take up a lot of unnecessary time. If they were real life friends, I wouldn’t mind waiting around for them to take their turn, but there should be an option to skip past the computer-generated player’s turns.
Overall, this is a fantastic addition to the board game genre. Fans of the original will love every aspect of this game. Players who enjoy percentage-based calculation movement games will really enjoy the complexity of Scotland Yard. If you’ve never played this game before and are new to the genre, you may want to have a seasoned vet show you how to play. It is not easy to wrap your head around.