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Letters from Whitechapel» Forums » General

Subject: Should investigators take notes? rss

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Angry Augury
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After testing out the game the other day, one player says that he wants the investigators to each have a pen and paper to plot Jack's movements while they are searching. Is this a good idea?

In general I don't really have a problem with it mechanically, but something makes me feel like it's going to affect the social element of the game and make it longer. If after every move, the police players are going to be buried in making notes and studying the board, I worry that a lot of the discussion about where to go and what to do will die down. Plus, as the turns go on and if no clues have been found, the extrapolation of where Jack could be would continue getting larger likely taking even more time to plot out every single possible combination. I just worry what it would do to the length of a game that can already be horribly stretched out with AP.

Has anyone tried this method and did it work well or was it negative for your group?
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Jason Reid
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I'd say that notes are basically a must. Don't worry, they won't kill discussion at all (in fact there's a good chance they preserve it; without notes, the detectives might just throw their hands up at some point in the game).

I can't promise you that game-length won't be an issue, though. Depending on how many detective players you have, yeah, the game can take awhile.
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Angry Augury
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Thanks, that's encouraging. I really liked the player interaction in the test game we played and was mostly worried about losing that. If your experience showed it didn't change that, it's a good sign.
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Jason Reid
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n107 wrote:
Thanks, that's encouraging. I really liked the player interaction in the test game we played and was mostly worried about losing that. If your experience showed it didn't change that, it's a good sign.


Well, I can't say it didn't change, since I've never played without notes But yeah, the player interaction a huge part of the experience for me as well.
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You can't handle the truth?
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jasonwocky wrote:
n107 wrote:
Thanks, that's encouraging. I really liked the player interaction in the test game we played and was mostly worried about losing that. If your experience showed it didn't change that, it's a good sign.


Well, I can't say it didn't change, since I've never played without notes But yeah, the player interaction a huge part of the experience for me as well.
Agreed. I have only ever played with keeping notes, and it's great that way.
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Ray Greenley
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Hmm... Of course, everyone should play however they like. I've played with the investigator player taking notes when I've played 1v1. But in general, I feel like, if it wasn't included in the box then the players probably shouldn't use it. There wasn't a pad included for investigators to use, so... It's probably a nice, non-intrusive way to help the investigators if Jack is winning too much, though.
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Angry Augury
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RMGreen wrote:
Hmm... Of course, everyone should play however they like. I've played with the investigator player taking notes when I've played 1v1. But in general, I feel like, if it wasn't included in the box then the players probably shouldn't use it. There wasn't a pad included for investigators to use, so... It's probably a nice, non-intrusive way to help the investigators if Jack is winning too much, though.


I also feel that way, too. I can't help but think that if it were meant to be played that way it would have been mentioned in the rule book or a pad of note sheets would have been included. That's one of the reasons why I question its helpfulness for the game.
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Tom D

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My group always takes notes when we play. You can make more accurate deductions based on the notes you've taken if you've done them well. Jack can still lose you pretty easily though if he's tricky. It usually comes down to the very end.

The last time we played I arrested Jack on the first turn though. That was hilarious.
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Jacob Gowans
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n107 wrote:
RMGreen wrote:
Hmm... Of course, everyone should play however they like. I've played with the investigator player taking notes when I've played 1v1. But in general, I feel like, if it wasn't included in the box then the players probably shouldn't use it. There wasn't a pad included for investigators to use, so... It's probably a nice, non-intrusive way to help the investigators if Jack is winning too much, though.


I also feel that way, too. I can't help but think that if it were meant to be played that way it would have been mentioned in the rule book or a pad of note sheets would have been included. That's one of the reasons why I question its helpfulness for the game.


The game also doesn't say you can't. My take is that the game is hard enough for the investigators as it is. To achieve the best possible balance:

1. Take notes.

2. Add the rushing variant.

Happy chasing!
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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jacobugath wrote:
The game also doesn't say you can't.

That's a perennial statement in the forums here, but repetition doesn't give it weight. The game doesn't say you can't set it on fire, or pour ketchup on it and eat it, but I wouldn't recommend either.

Whether note taking should be allowed is something for people to decide amongst themselves prior to play. It's a matter of personal preference, and no amount of internet discussion will make one choice right and the other one wrong.
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Angry Augury
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Sphere wrote:
jacobugath wrote:
The game also doesn't say you can't.

That's a perennial statement in the forums here, but repetition doesn't give it weight. The game doesn't say you can't set it on fire, or pour ketchup on it and eat it, but I wouldn't recommend either.

Whether note taking should be allowed is something for people to decide amongst themselves prior to play. It's a matter of personal preference, and no amount of internet discussion will make one choice right and the other one wrong.


Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the mindset suggesting that absence of a rule equates permission.

I guess for the next game (first full game, hopefully) we can try with the notes and see if it has any negative impact on the experience. If so, then I won't allow it afterwards. Still, something in my gut is saying it's a bad idea.
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Mattias Elfström
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In my opinion the game is not playable if the police can't take notes.

The police have to note both where and _when_ they find clues. Without that information they will only be able to find Jack by luck and that devalues the great experience that can be had from this game.
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Angry Augury
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Mattias wrote:
In my opinion the game is not playable if the police can't take notes.

The police have to note both where and _when_ they find clues. Without that information they will only be able to find Jack by luck and that devalues the great experience that can be had from this game.


I'm sorry but that just sounds irrational.
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Bart R.
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We allow it too. All efforts are made to tie the game in to 'real life' (see the discussion on Jack waiting to kill giving him more time to escape), so letting the policemen take notes seems reasonable enough.

Still, it's a decision that should be made by the group before starting to play.
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Rob Robinson
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You could always download the map sheet the original publisher Nexus intended to include with the game.
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Kristo Vaher
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Everyone can play however they want. I do use rushing variant, because in an equal playing group Jack has an advantage.

Notes? No. It seems not thematic to me and notably increases downtime in the game.

I do recommend using a timer in the game though, because it can become too slow with too long discussions.
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Jason Reid
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Notes? No. It seems not thematic to me and notably increases downtime in the game.


I get the other arguments, but it doesn't seem thematic that detectives would take notes during an investigation?
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Angry Augury
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jasonwocky wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
Notes? No. It seems not thematic to me and notably increases downtime in the game.


I get the other arguments, but it doesn't seem thematic that detectives would take notes during an investigation?


I could understand. If the police are running through the streets chasing a murder who is still in flight, I don't think they'd spend a lot of time writing down notes until the chase is called off.
 
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You can't handle the truth?
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For me, it boils down to: as Jack, do I want to win while the investigators made smart, well informed decisions? Or do I want to win because they forgot a key piece of information because they couldn't write it down?

If I wanted the latter, we'd just play Busen Memo, because at least that's supposed to be a memory game.
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crambaza wrote:
...If I wanted the latter, we'd just play Busen Memo, because at least that's supposed to be a memory game.

Don't you mean a mammary game... whistle

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Stefano Colombo
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We use this HouseRules for notes:

- Only the current Police Boss can take Notes on a piece of Paper, no one can look at it, and he can write what he wants.

-When a new turn starts and there is a new Police Boss player, the old one take is Notes and give it to the new Police Boss.

-The New Police Boss can now take notes under the previous one.

This open up to a great social moment, and is very thematic.
It symbolize the Dossier given to a new Policeman, and the fact that is written by another player makes all much un-clear (typo, different calligraphy, ecc...)
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Mattias Elfström
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n107 wrote:
Mattias wrote:
In my opinion the game is not playable if the police can't take notes.

The police have to note both where and _when_ they find clues. Without that information they will only be able to find Jack by luck and that devalues the great experience that can be had from this game.


I'm sorry but that just sounds irrational.

How so?
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Mattias Elfström
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Mattias wrote:
In my opinion the game is not playable if the police can't take notes.

The police have to note both where and _when_ they find clues. Without that information they will only be able to find Jack by luck and that devalues the great experience that can be had from this game.

To add to this they also need to note when and where they _don't_ find clues.

I suppose they could go without notes if they have photographic memory...
 
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Forgive me for stating the obvious but laminated maps are much more effective than note-taking.

I agree that without some method of recording information the game favors an experienced Jack significantly; then again everyone approaches the game differently- it's up to each group to figure out what works for them.

After 100+ plays I find myself using laminated maps, the rushing variant, random hideout for Jack, and the rule that if Jack walks home on his first move of night 4 the Investigators get to take their turn. My games are mostly 2p.
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Jacob Gowans
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n107 wrote:
Mattias wrote:
In my opinion the game is not playable if the police can't take notes.

The police have to note both where and _when_ they find clues. Without that information they will only be able to find Jack by luck and that devalues the great experience that can be had from this game.


I'm sorry but that just sounds irrational.


So you're coming here and asking us (who have played the game dozens of times) whether we allow notes, and when we answer you by giving you specific reasons based on our extensive experience, you tell us what you wanted to hear? Okay ... whistle

This is not a "chasing Jack through the streets game." This is police following a trail, looking for clues. Not only do police have to note where Jack has been, more importantly, they have to remember where he DIDN'T go on every turn because that's where all the information lies. If you expect your friends to remember all that information off hand, any Jack player with half a brain is going to have a waltz back to his hideout.

I've played this game many, many times. Allow notes and allow the rushing variant. It's the only way to balance it out, especially once you figure out how to play Jack effectively.
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