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Mr. Jack Extension» Forums » Reviews

Subject: I love it, but it's just not the same... rss

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Jaime Lawrence
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Let me preface this review by saying that I love Mr.Jack for many reasons, but perhaps the first among them is its simplicity. The base game is brilliantly constructed, entertaining and a true battle of skills for the players. I realise that the general consensus is that there is a bias towards the investigator, but I have found that the game is fairly balanced 50-50 for the investigator and Jack.

The extension, I fear, will disrupt this, for two main resons:

1) It contains characters who benefit the inspector more than Jack
2) It removes the set starting positions and allows players to place all the characters themselves.


Let's look at the characters to start:

Inspector Abberline prevents adjacent characters from moving more than one square away from him.

John Pizer scares adjacent characters three squares away from him at the end of his turn.

Madame can move up to 6 squares, but will not use the sewers

Spring Heeled Man can jump over obstacles and other characters

Joseph Lane can erect a barrier between any two squares.

All fairly straightforward in terms of what they do, but with the potential to unbalance things. Lane's barrier, for example, can be placed between two characters, preventing them from seeing each other. This doesn't seem like much, but it can be devastating to Jack's attempts to keep people in the light. After a few games it became obvious that he was a first pick for either side, much like Goodley in the base game - Jack wants to keep him away from the Investigator, who similarly can't leave him to Jack.

Pizer is far too easily eliminated by the detective due to his 'scare others off' ability and it becomes obvious when Jack is trying to keep him in the light. This makes him troublesome also for game balance.

Abberline is surprisingly well balanced and useful to both sides, as is Madame (although her prospects for escape are amazingly good if she is Jack)

Spring Heeled Man's movement is very good, but not really any more powerful than anyone else's.

The second issue with the extension is the set-up. Instead of having set starting positions for the characters, the players choose four from the nine 'unfixed characters (the fixed ones are Sherlock, Lestrade, Smith and Bert), then take turns placing characters anywhere they like on the board. Jack can thus place up to 4 characters near the exits!

In the games we have played so far with the extension, this hasn't really caused a problem - only one easy escape for Jack so far in a dozen games - but the potential is great for abuse.

Overall, I do enjoy the added variation the extension brings to the game and I rated it an 8 out of 10 (I gave the original 10). But there are issues in terms of balance and I do feel that the Investigator has significantly benefited out of this box.

Should you buy it? Yes. But occasionally play without it, just to remind yourself what a sterling, solid, excellent game Mr. Jack is!
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Manuel Pasi
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Hida Mann wrote:
But occasionally play without it, just to remind yourself what a sterling, solid, excellent game Mr. Jack is!


I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.
But IMHO the extension has made the excellent base game even better. The added characters and the uncertainty which characters will show up (we blinddraw the 4 characters that are changeable), forces you to play much more variably and tactically adjust your gameplay.

And then there is Mr. Jack in New York which adds yet another layer to the experience.
If I was forced to choose between them, I still say: get them all!!
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Jaime Lawrence
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I'm looking forward to Mr.Jack in New York, but as with the original, I promised myself 50 plays before I'd buy the extension. Once I've played the extension 50 times, I'll get New York.

If I can find one at any time, I'll get Mr. Jack: The Carriage!!
 
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James Mckane
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Mr. Jack in New York is balanced very well, It has quickly become my most played game. Anyone who likes the original will love New York. The original i still play and have been planning on getting the extension for some time,This review convinced me that it will be my next pick up.

Great Work.
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Josh
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Hida Mann wrote:
I'm looking forward to Mr.Jack in New York, but as with the original, I promised myself 50 plays before I'd buy the extension. Once I've played the extension 50 times, I'll get New York.

If I can find one at any time, I'll get Mr. Jack: The Carriage!!


Now that is discipline!!

Regarding the Carriage, it is quite easy to make the single token and print off the rules to use until such time as it becomes available for purchase somewhere (if that time ever comes).

And as for Mr. Jack Extension, I love it because it adds nearly infinite replayability to the base game with all the different potential character combos and the setup which is different every game. However, I agree that the base game (as well as Mr. Jack in New York) are both absolutely solid games! But then, I'm a rather rabid fan of this game:



cool



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Jaime Lawrence
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squash wrote:

Regarding the Carriage, it is quite easy to make the single token and print off the rules to use until such time as it becomes available for purchase somewhere (if that time ever comes).


Easy if you're in Canada! No-one here makes tokens (I suppose I could make my own...) and the overseas companies don't send wood to Australia?!? Weird import laws, I guess...

squash wrote:
And as for Mr. Jack Extension, I love it because it adds nearly infinite replayability to the base game with all the different potential character combos and the setup which is different every game. However, I agree that the base game (as well as Mr. Jack in New York) are both absolutely solid games! But then, I'm a rather rabid fan of this game:



cool


That is indeed some cool ink. I don't like the game that much, but I am a pretty big fan!

I guess that while I do like the expansion, I didn't feel the original game needed more replayability. It's pretty much perfect and adding to it subtracts from that in some ways.

jamesmckane wrote:
Mr. Jack in New York is balanced very well, It has quickly become my most played game. Anyone who likes the original will love New York. The original i still play and have been planning on getting the extension for some time,This review convinced me that it will be my next pick up.

Great Work.


Ooh, a tingle in the cockles of my heart! Glad I could tip you over the edge on this one, it's great fun.
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Cindy Nowak
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Great review of the characters and their abilities.

The Carriage is still available from Spielbox magazine. Click on Spielbox on the upper left and look for issue 2007/4. Including shipping, it cost about $13. That was in January, not sure what the exchange rates are now.

I love Mr. Jack - and agree the extension adds a great deal of variety to the base game. I also found that Abberline is great when you are Jack - pinning 3 other suspects with him. But Pizer can be good as well, forcing people into the light - just as Goodly calls them.

Lane's barricade can prevent the inspector from getting to Jack if he should be revealed. It can also be used to keep suspects from being moved.

As Jack, I have combined Abberline and Lane to pin Pizer in place so that he could not "disrupt" another group of suspects.

Spring Heeled Man can literally bound just about anywhere on the board - if the other pieces are in the right spots. You can really see just how much he can do if you play the game online.

Madame's ability is great, but there are times when the "no sewer" part can really trip things up.

Everyone should keep in mind that there are a set 4 of the base characters that are always played in the extension. Then Jack and the Inspector take turns choosing additional characters - divided between the two of them, not from the same pool.

And as Jack, you have the ability to just keep placing your characters right next to the ones placed by the Inspector (again, done in turns) so that you can start with everyone in the light.

The base game is still one of my top rated - and absolute favorite games. The extension is nice for a change of pace. And then there is NY - great fun as well.

edited for spelling

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Dan
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Quote:
I'm looking forward to Mr.Jack in New York, but as with the original, I promised myself 50 plays before I'd buy the extension. Once I've played the extension 50 times, I'll get New York.

Good man. I played 200 of Mr Jack before starting with the extension. There really is that much to this game.
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