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Letters from Whitechapel» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Playing for fun vs solving a puzzle rss

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Luiz Borges
Brazil
Araraquara
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I'm having sort of a problem with my gaming group. We played about 4 times and I lost as Jack all the times because I'm trying to play some cat and mouse chase and they seem to be playing a puzzle.

I do things like using random hideouts, killing next to the police and pass through them, doing a huge detour instead of going straight to the hideout, etc.

Meanwhile they stop and analyse every move and after I reach my hideout they cross reference everything and have the possible locations figure out by the end of the 2nd or 3rd night, and from there they just stay put and try to block my path never moving. Not to mention the huge downtime while they ponder everything.

I really want more thematic game of chase and pursue, what do you recommend to make the game more fun for all the players and with less downtime. So far I've used only the base rules and a random hideout (2 locations from random.org and I choose one).
 
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Alexander Steinbach
Netherlands
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You can try using a timer. 30 seconds per cop should be sufficient to put them under the gun a little.

On the other hand you could also change up your game a little by not choosing random hideouts and such.
 
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Diogo Poupado
Portugal
Ourém
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As suggested, try a timer and selecting your hideouts.
Also, the Detectives realy need to do what they're doing, or they won't be able to win the game.
Maybe you should also try harder to outsmart them!
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Inappropriate Andy
United Kingdom
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If you think the game is unbalanced for your group you could also add in Jack's Letters and False Clues to give Jack a few extra abilities (page 22 in English edition rules).
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Luiz Borges
Brazil
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I played two more games.

The first as Jack, being really meticulous and leaving the players all the time they want to plan their moves (one of the players was being an alpha player too). If not for a mistake of mine (I counted 3 black spots before a policemam could reach a place where I passed, when in reality it was just 2 and he found a clue). They end up finding me at the last night one spot way from my hideout because of that mistake. I honestely didn't think it was a fun game, it felt more tactical than strategical and like an individual puzzle. Analyse every possible police move, plan accordingly and make a move to stay away from them. Rinse and repeat.

The second one another player was Jack, and he was as meticulous as I was, but I played trying to plan a strategy to corner Jack and find his trail, while I just discussed general strategies with my partner. We end up losing because we lost his trail on the second night and never found the trail again, just picking 3 clues on the third night, and none on the fourth. We were thinking he was in a east central position when in reality he was in a northeast position, close, but far enough to be able to avoid us. I was fun while we could get a glimpse of his trail and retrace his steps on the first and second night, but the third night onwards we where lost and the game was almost decided by then.

So far I still think it is more fun for the group when they act like policemen trying to corner a murderer in a big city, rather than just making the game a mathematical puzzle. Also as Jack I think is funnier to show his pride and hubris toying with the police.

I will try to implent all the optional rules and see if works better as a cat and mouse game. We where using (unconscioslly) the rule that prevents the hideout to be adjacent to red spots.
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United States
Aventura
Florida
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Luiz,

I think Garibaldi: The Escape is much more what you are looking for. IMHO Whitechapel is just way too long to be played casually; the whole point of there being four nights in which Jack has to return to the same location is for the Investigators to approach the game like a 'mathematical puzzle', to use your words.

Garibaldi only lasts one 'night' and the mechanics limit the ability f the Investigators to really analyze in depth the same way you can in Whitechapel. Of course there's also the classic Scotland Yard, which similarly highlights the cat and mouse aspect more than the math. Whitechapel is the most cerebral and heavyweight of the deduction/chase games I know; given your preferences it's naturally not the best fit.
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Luiz Borges
Brazil
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@verandi, it may be that the game should be played as a puzzle to be more challenging, but I still think that it loses much of its theme doing so (this is #44 thematic game after all).

But if someone is looking for a more thematic game(and more true to the history of Jack the Ripper), then instead of the killer just plan a full 4 night strategy and avoid/throw off police at all costs (or reversly, a team of cops that have a map of distances and is able to correlate how many steps for on place to the next on every night), it makes sense to have a killer that shows off and toys with the police, sending letters boasting his kills and giving false clues, while the police having just a notion of possible victims spots must try to plan their stategy on cornerning the murder while patroling with a limited number of cops.

I'm more of a thematic gamer at heart, so that might be cause for such strangeness. I laminated a map for the cops to use on our next gaming session with dry-erase markers, making that will make the game faster and give them a more visual way of identifying possible paths and locations while keeping with the theme.
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