November 1888: Dr. Francis Tumblety, an American quack got arrested by the Metropolitan Police on charges of gross indecency. He was bailed some time later, fled to France and then took a steamboat across the Atlantic to New York city.
In a letter from Chief Inspector Littlechild to a journalist years later, he mentioned the name of the doctor as a possible suspect of having committed the “Jack the Ripper” murders.
Did they let the murderer go?
What you get for your money:
A board, 9 wooden disks, 6 gaslight tokens, 7 metro station tokens, 4 building tokens (gaslight, metro and building tokens have a park on the other side), 2 investigation tokens, 2 steamer tokens, 1 informant token, 8 character tiles, 8 alibi tiles, 1 witness tile and the rules.
How do you play the game:
In this game the New York police is on the lookout for Dr. Tumblety. They ask some prominent citizens to help. Is this Tumblety guy really Jack the Ripper?
The basic idea of this game is the same as Mr. Jack, the first one in the series. In a nutshell, one player plays Mr. Jack in disguise and the other player is the detective player who tries to find out which character is Jack and tries to accuse him or her before time runs out. Every turn players choose characters, move them and use their special ability. At the end of the round the detective asks whether Jack is visible or not, the other player answers and then the detective can, hopefully, exclude some characters. The game ends after eight rounds, if Jack is found before that, the detective wins, otherwise Jack is the winner.
But there are some differences. The board is changing constantly. At the beginning of the game, Manhattan is quite empty. There are some buildings, four metro stations and two gaslights. During the game, characters will build up the city. The hexes will be filled with gaslights, building blocks, metro stations and parks.
Another difference is the ways Jack can escape. There are three ways: one by land and two by steamer. The thing is, there are five possible locations for the steamers, but only two steamers available and captain Smith, a character, has the ability to change the location of the steamers.
And yet another change is the way you obtain Alibi cards. In Mr. Jack, Sherlock Holmes had the ability to take an Alibi card. In this game there is an informant somewhere on the board. At the beginning he is located on Liberty Island, where everybody is invisible. Once a round a player can go to this informant, take an Alibi card and turn the informant to his silent side. The next round he is available again for some conversation.
And some characters are a bit different too. Some characters build buildings, metro stations or install gaslights. Mrs Grant can turn these tokens into parks. In a park a character is always invisible. Callahan, moves the investigation tokens (similar as the police cordon tokens in Mr. Jack). Captain Smith moves a steamer from one harbour to another. Monk Eastman, a mafia godfather, can move other characters if they are loyal to him. And lastly, Tumblety, also a hypnotist, can swap an adjacent character with another character on the board.
This game is a standalone game, but I am going to compare it with its brother, because the games are quite similar and you might want to know which one to buy.
The atmosphere in this game is very innocent, same as in Mr. Jack. You don’t feel like you are chasing a dangerous murderer. It’s also very cartoony. Mr. Jack in New York maybe feels a bit darker, because of the darker (more blue) colours, but it’s a tiny bit.
The characters do not appeal to me as much. They are, at least for me, less familiar than Sherlock, Watson etcetera from the basic game. Jack the Ripper is very much connected to Whitechapel and not so much to New York. That part of the story is less known and maybe not even true. So therefore I find this game less thematic in that sense.
The sense of suspicion and the feel of a being part of a manhunt are still there.
Although the basic idea of the game is the same, the way the whole game plays is and feels different.
Mr. Jack in NY is far more dynamic than Mr. Jack itself. The board changes constantly. Steamers move from one place to another, new building blocks arise, metro station are constructed, lighting is installed in unexpected places and later all these things can turn into parks if you don’t pay attention. Because the board is build by the characters, it’s really important that you choose them wisely.
So this game is more tactical than the base game. You have to take everything into account, an impossible escape route can ‘suddenly’ change into a perfect one.
In Mr. Jack the exits and the buildings are all fixed. The manholes and the lights do change places, but you know where they can go.
This difference doesn’t mean that this game is total chaos, it just means that, as a detective, you have to be more careful. Eliminate characters one at a time instead of whole groups and try to keep Mr. Jack visible as long as possible, so he can’t escape.
The NY version of the game is more difficult. A bit.
This game looks similar to the base game. They’ve used darker colours and more blue, so it looks a little colder than the base game, a bit darker.
But still, the game looks good and very entertaining.
Quality of the game parts
Exactly the same as Mr. Jack. Very good. Nice wooden tokens. Plus, sturdy cardboard bits and cards
Now. OK. The big question. Which one is more fun? Mr. Jack or Mr. Jack in New York?
Well, NY is definitely more tactical, there’s more stuff to think about. The board will be different every time you play and I also have the feeling that I have more impact on the game outcome, because of that changing board. It’s more important that you really think about which characters you choose and which you leave for your opponent to choose. (Not that wasn’t the case in the base game, but here it’s even more so.) That’s more fun.
Similar as in the base game, the starting setup is fixed, so no surprises there.
The feel of the game, participating in a manhunt, is the same in both games, but the NY theme and characters are less appealing to me.
Difficult, difficult, but I think I find the ever changing board slightly more fun than the more static base game board. This game appeals more to me. Mostly because of the slightly increased difficulty and the various tactical possibilities.
It’s still not a game I want to play every week, over and over again. Just once in a while will satisfy me.
So more fun than the base game, but not enough to make it an eight in the fun category. Think of it as a slightly higher seven.