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Subject: Balance issues - is the game broken? rss

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Eric Flood
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I have yet to play this game, but I have read many people's declaration of the Inspector winning *much* more often than Jack. As the game has caught my eye as an interesting prospect for 2, I'm a bit hesitant to continue my interest with these reports. This further confounds me with the high scores it's been receiving.

So, what is the general response from those who have played it half a dozen times? Is the game broken? If so, are there fixes (aside from switching sides - playing twice)?
 
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Tommy Dean
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No...it is not broken. Yes...the inspector has a better chance to "win"...but this does not mitigate the fun. In fact it makes a victory for Jack all the more exciting!

This is the best review I have seen for this game...

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/218547

But if nothing else...why not try before you buy? You can play online at...

http://mrjack.biludi.de/

and decide for yourself.

I personally think it is a great game and always a challenge!
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Jim Cote
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/164123

It's not a perfect 50/50 split. Who cares?
 
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Christian Liljeberg
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The difference between the inspector and Jack is partly what makes the game so fun! It makes you feel like you really are the character (I suspect it actually is quite difficult to be a murderer on the run).

So no, it is definately not broken, but rather the other way round, very well made.
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Hunter Shelburne
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Are historical simulations broken because one side is heavily favored? No. Just play as both sides, switch off every now and then.
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Stefan Esch
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The split is 59/41 at mrjack.biludi.de - unchanged since my last report; more than 17000 games are finished now.

Here a link to detailed statistics:
http://mrjack.biludi.de/fmsglink.php?m=797

So: It is asymmetrical, but certainly not broken!

And the extension (released tomorrow) will probably change things a bit.. :-)
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gregory duff
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I agree...I have played over 300 games face to face and online....I win 60% of the time as the inspector and 40% of the time as Jack....It is fun to play each....I prefer to play Jack because it is more difficult....just try this game....the mindset and tactics are sooooo radically different playing Jack as opposed to playing the inspector....it is a very addictive game...no two games are ever alike because of the vast possibilities and variables.....online I sometimes have ten games going at once....it's my favorite board game!!!!!!
Some handy tips:
if you see me playing Mr. Jack at the airport, please don't yell,
"Hi, Jack" !!!!!!!!!!
I have played and won many Mr. Jack games...please don't say
that I don't know Jack
If I am playing the inspector....Don't Jack with me.
Don't always try to get Jack off the board, you could go
blind!!!
Don't tease me by saying "I want a Jack-in-the-box" and then
munch& slobber over a greasy burger instead of playing me my
favorite game!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Eric Flood
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I'm just not convinced...it seems like, as Jack, you're trying to win, while as the Inspector, you're trying not to lose. These things are not the same...if you made the statistics 25% 75%, this would be all the more obvious.

Although, I suppose I'm a big WotR fan, yet there are similar balance issues in the base game. I like the idea of winning as Jack being a difficult puzzle, but really, only if you can do that one-player. Otherwise, it sounds sort of less fun for the inspector.

Have you noticed a positive trend in your games as Jack (aka, have you been getting better?)
 
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gregory duff
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The more I play as Jack and as the Inspector, the better I have gotten....You should know that as the inspector/detective, your goal is to win & capture/accuse Jack....the goal is not "just not to lose". As the inspector, you may recieve alibi cards to clear a suspect(courtesy of Mr. Sherlock Holmes no less), you have a labyrinth of sewers (almost like having another game board in the underbelly of Whitechapel) to manuever through, the ability to provide red herrings to Jack to convince him you don't suspect certain characters when you already have proof of their innocence, you may use the card turn and light/dark mechanic to your advantage, and it is possible through your deductive powers to figure out who Jack is by his incriminating moves. For example, I just played a game where two suspects, Gull & Goodley, were on open manholes....with both of Lestrade's cordons on the sewer-less exits......and it was Jack's turn to move.....neither Goodley nor Gull attempted an escape on Jack's turn (BOTH OF THEIR CARDS CAME UP) ...I correctly deduced that they were not Jack hence they did not have the ability to escape!!!!...that led me to correctly deduce that Jeremy Bert was the culprit. Also, there is a illustrated suspect sheet below that you may download to TRACK Jack's or the Inspector's moves while playing face to face, thus possibly being able to select from a short list of suspects the identity of Mr. Jack!!!! This is valuable info, especially if you are in round seven or eight and have to guess betwixt two or three suspects!!!!!! Plaaaay the game, enjooooooy the game, let you haaaaaaaair down, take your clothes off....oh No, not that!!! gulp

iLLUSTRATED SUSPECT SHEET pdf....

http://files.boardgamegeek.com/geekfile_view.php?fileid=2665...
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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blueatheart wrote:
I'm just not convinced...


Well, that's up to you. Over 800 people have rated it, and very highly. There are all kinds of threads and reviews to read, and lots of people have chimed in here to tell you it's good. If that doesn't work for you, so be it.
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gregory duff
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ERIC please read this:

TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH

L'avis de NIM The opinion of NIM

In most "games deduction for two players" are often limited interactive games: (1) the "Master Mind" is a lonely secret, since only one player thinks while the other responds mechanically ( 2) the solitary crusaders, such as "Who's he?" Or "Touché-coulé", where each player tries to achieve the objective set by the other.

I was wondering which of these categories Mr. Jack falls into. When playing Mr.Jack, I finally discovered it is different and much more fun and more interactive than what is found most often.

The great pleasure of the game is that it is "asymmetrical", ie a duel where roles are not equivalent. Mr. One player embodies the investigator who, by inference, is to identify Mr. Jack among eight suspects and arrest him. Oh, says one player who deducted, so it's a "Master Mind"?
Well no, because the other player embodies Mr. Jack and actively tries to derail the investigation. Jack has two ways to win the game. The first is to wade the investigation by minimizing the number of innocents rejected by the inspector. The second is to evade in the dark and out of the city before the end of the game.

The game takes place in eight rounds. At each round, four characters are activated: 2 by the investigator and 2 by Mr. Jack, according to a sequence that varies according to the tower of Big Ben. Selecting a character is moving and / or enforce its special ability. At the end of each round, the player who embodies Mr. Jack must say whether the culprit is visible or not. A character can be seen if he is under a lamppost if it is turned on or next to another character. With this index, the investigator can identify innocents and advance his investigation. He must also be careful that no suspect will be able to exit the city. At the end of each round, a new lamppost shuts down, which gives more opportunity for Mr. Jack to make his escape.

The game is difficult to play as Mr. Jack, more difficult than for the inspector.It's finally a good idea: a player accustomed to the game may take the role of Mr. Jack to bring the game to a novice. It is also an opportunity to play both sides in a row, reversing the roles between the parties.

The effects of the characters are very well determined, and each in its own way helps to put pressure on the game, one way or the other: a lamp post move, move a manhole to prevent travel underground , moving a barrage of police to block (or unlock) exits of the city, draw a map for innocent suspect a character (an ability that Mr. Jack also used to prevent the investigator forward), use a whistle to police to draw itself up to 3 characters, etc.

I love the originality and variety of Mr. Jack: the asymmetry of roles, the range of capabilities of the characters, the sequence variable towers, varying the order of appearance of the characters in the towers, the variety of strategies to Mr. Jack .....I am confident that Mr. Jack brings a new stone from the games of deduction and it is on the threshold of becoming a classic.

Reasons to love:
The beautiful illustrations.
The quality of materials in general.
The iconography on the board and on the cards to simplify the assimilation of the game.
A game of deduction where the two players are actively involved and interact.
The thematic well integrated (in the sense game of hide and seek between detectives and Jack, (fortunately I do not have the cruelty of Jack the Ripper) which contributes greatly to the pleasure of the game
The capabilities of each character.
The sequences of game turns and activation character variables.
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Eric Flood
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The game really does sound like a great amount of fun, really something I'd enjoy. I just wonder why nothing was done to correct for this - it must've been playtested, and been obvious after a few plays. Add a ninth character, or give Jack some other perturbation which gives him that edge. You said there is an expansion coming out that might "fix" the problem - but I do not want to pay extra for a patch to a broken program.

It just sounds too much like the effects of a rushed product. I suppose I'll have to try it at some point, though...

Thank you all for your thoughts in this! It's made me more confident about giving it a shot at some point.
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Christian
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blueatheart wrote:
It just sounds too much like the effects of a rushed product.

No matter what your feelings are about this game, this simply was not the case. This is the second edition of the game, the first one was a limited set of 250 (iirc) boxes. Bruno & Ludo had plenty of time to "fix" it if they wanted to, but they didn't, because they were happy with this slight unbalance.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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There is nothing to fix. It is a wonderful game exactly as it is. I was so taken with it when I first got it that I created a list of great games that are not perfectly balanced:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/20815
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Jim Cote
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I don't think it was rushed at all. If that was the case, there would be obvious "holes" in the game, or characters that players simple didn't want to use. The characters, board, and other physical objects are amazingly well integrated. There are cases where you specifically want one character over another. Each spot on the board has its own peril. I don't think I'd like the game as much if the game was tweaked to make it 50/50.

I doubt any asymmetric 2p games has 50/50 stats.
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Anselmo Diaz
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ekted wrote:
I don't think it was rushed at all. If that was the case, there would be obvious "holes" in the game, or characters that players simple didn't want to use. The characters, board, and other physical objects are amazingly well integrated. There are cases where you specifically want one character over another. Each spot on the board has its own peril. I don't think I'd like the game as much if the game was tweaked to make it 50/50.

I doubt any asymmetric 2p games has 50/50 stats.


NO game has 50/50 stats
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Pieter
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Echtalion wrote:

NO game has 50/50 stats


Roshambo.
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Scott Smith
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
Echtalion wrote:

NO game has 50/50 stats


Roshambo.


Do you have the game id? I cant find it on BGG.
 
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Ken Takacs
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Even chess does not have 50/50 stats.
 
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Jim Cote
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The current rule correction just given by the designer will swing things a little more Jack's way. Apparently, you cannot use Goodley's ability to move another character to make an accusation.
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Aaron Dusso
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Did I miss something? Was 50/50 win ratio for two player games the eleventh commandment? If not, why is this the only "correct" way to produce a 2 player game? All else being, obviously, rushed and broken.
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Pieter
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ChemEng wrote:
Flyboy Connor wrote:
Echtalion wrote:

NO game has 50/50 stats


Roshambo.


Do you have the game id? I cant find it on BGG.


In case this is a serious question, or if anyone does not know: Roshambo is the official name for "Rock-Paper-Scissors".
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
ChemEng wrote:
Flyboy Connor wrote:
Echtalion wrote:

NO game has 50/50 stats


Roshambo.


Do you have the game id? I cant find it on BGG.


In case this is a serious question, or if anyone does not know: Roshambo is the official name for "Rock-Paper-Scissors".


That may be how they play it in the Netherlands, but thanks to American late-night cartoon "South Park", it has a decidedly different connotation to a lot of people today.

"
Cartman: Well, I guess we'll have to roshambo for it.
Pip: What do you mean?
Cartman: Well. First I kick you in the nuts as hard as I can, then you kick
me in the nuts as hard as you can, and we keep going back and forth until
somebody falls. The last one standing gets the arrowhead.
Pip: Oh. By, weh. I suppose if I must.
Cartman: Okay, ready? I'll go first. [back up, then runs at Pip, and kicks
him in the nuts. Pip goes down in pain. The other kids laugh]
Pip: Well-uh I, I guess you win.
"


Though I expect this version of Roshambo is not a 50-50 game at all. Like Chess, I suspect the first player usually wins.
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Gary Bradley
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OK I admit I am still a newbie at this game, having only about a dozen games under my belt (6 as Jack 6 as the cops). However, to me it IS broken. I have never once seen Jack win. In fact I have never once seen Jack survive past turn 5. As far as I can see, the numerous man-holes make it next to impossible for Jack to escape the pursuing characters, once his identity is deduced.

Sure we may just suck. I am prepared to bow in the face of the above stats, but for me it IS broken, because it has been so one-sided thus far that I never want to play it again. Hence I will never get any better with Jack. Sorry but this much one-sidedness puts me off trying to get any better.
 
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Chris
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GaryB wrote:
OK I admit I am still a newbie at this game, having only about a dozen games under my belt (6 as Jack 6 as the cops). However, to me it IS broken. I have never once seen Jack win. In fact I have never once seen Jack survive past turn 5. As far as I can see, the numerous man-holes make it next to impossible for Jack to escape the pursuing characters, once his identity is deduced.

Sure we may just suck. I am prepared to bow in the face of the above stats, but for me it IS broken, because it has been so one-sided thus far that I never want to play it again. Hence I will never get any better with Jack. Sorry but this much one-sidedness puts me off trying to get any better.

Jack takes some practice. For me, I've only lost playing Jack twice. One was my first game, the second was a 50-50 in round 8 and the detective got lucky (which I consider a moral victory).

Some strategies for new Jack players:
1) The first round only one character should be revealed. If there is more you screwed up.
2) Corollary to #1 above: Jack has the most power during odd turns. Use it.
3) During the first half of the game, it is much easier to stay witnessed. Do so.
4) During the second half of the game, it is easier to not be witnessed. Do so.
5) Sherlock is very powerful during the first half of the game, less so as the game progresses. Take him if you can to avoid the detective from receiving an alibi card.
6) Goodley is almost always a powerful character. Take him whenever possible.

Bonus) Regarding all of the above, they are generalities and there are always exceptions. Plan accordingly.
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