Recommend
57 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper» Forums » Reviews

Subject: The Original Mystery Rummy: Still The Best! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Sheamus Parkes
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's really a shame this game is getting difficult to acquire. It really is that awesome in my opinion. I only have a handful of "10"s in my collection, and this is one of them. It plays quickly with plenty of tension in every hand. There's choices to be made and it's just a lot of fun!

0. Description

This is a rummy genre game. That means you are collecting sets of cards and laying them down. On your turn you:

Draw Cards
May Play Melds of Evidence (If a hooker has been killed)
May Play A Single Gavel Card
Must Discard


When somebody empties their hand, you stop and score. It usually takes 3-4 hands for someone to break 100 points and win.

Of course there are a few twists over regular rummy. The gavel cards are all special action cards and you can only drop one per turn. There is a "Ripper Escapes" card that bombs the game. If you play it, you score 35 points and everyone else scores pretty much nothing. But you can only play it if all five hookers are dead.


All these babes have gotta die before the Ripper can Escape

There is also a great mini-game about figuring out who the ripper is. The suspect with the most evidence played against them becomes the ripper at the end of the hand. You get points for predicting who the ripper is, and evidence played against the ripper counts double. There's even Alibi cards that divert suspicion and prevent a suspect from being the ripper.

Overall, just a great game!


1. Analysis Paralysis / Downtime


There really isn't any downtime to speak of. You do draw your cards at the beginning of your turn, but even this little bit of extra information doesn't take that long to process. Most of the time you'll probably just pick a single gavel card to play and something safe to discard.

Once per hand, someone can call a "vote" and everyone stops to write down a guess of who the ripper will be. But you all do it at the same time and in secret, so there's no need to wait around.

Really, this game just flies.


2. Frequency of Meaningful Decisions


You only get to play one gavel card per turn. All too often, you've got a nice selection of 2-3 that would really help you out. Just what gavel card should you play? There are a few wild evidence cards that you have to figure out what best to meld them with. You also have to figure out just what to discard without helping your opponent too much. Usually that translates into at least one interesting decision per turn and often times two to three.

Another big twist is killing hookers. Hookers are gavel cards that let you draw more cards. They are powerful and you want to play them. But if you're not holding the "Ripper Escapes" card, then you don't want all five hookers dead. If they all die, the "Ripper Escapes" card lets the owner instantly end the hand and pretty much shut everyone else out. So killing the first few hookers is a darn easy choice. Beyond that though, it becomes much riskier and difficult to decide if their death is worth it.


The elusive "Ripper Escape" card


3. Multiplayer Solitaire / Player Interaction / (Competitive / Casual)


This is far from Multiplayer Solitaire. You are constantly evaluating your opponent. Who did they predict to be the Ripper? Are they sitting on the "Ripper Escapes" card waiting for all the hookers to die? What cards have they been collecting? What card can I safely discard without giving them a ton of points?

You play the odds of the deck some, but more than that you play off of your opponent.

At the same time, there isn't any pure "Take That" gameplay. So it's definitely a spouse friendly game IMHO.


4. Skill / Luck / (Competitive / Casual)


I think this game strikes the perfect balance between Skill and Luck. There is just the right amount of each. Each hand can have wild swings. But by the time someone reaches 100 points, the victor is almost always the more skilled player. There are just so many odds to calculate and decisions to be made, that a skilled card counter can make just enough difference.

It's not like a pure abstract of course. There are plenty of hands that just are given away to certain players with an awesome deal. Casual players will still have a good time.


5. Runaway Leader / Effective Elimination / Catch-Up Mechanics / Score Obfuscation


It's all going to be over in a few hands anyway. The current leader isn't punished, but he also isn't helped. And the presence of the "Ripper Escape" bomb makes sure that any player has a fair chance of earning a third of the score needed to win while almost shutting out all the other players. I don't think anyone ever completely feels like they're out of it.


6. Fiddliness / Elegance (Rules & Bits)


First, the game bits. It's just a pile of cards, and it doesn't take that much room when you play. You just need a draw pile, a discard pile and some room to lay out melds. You also need some small amount of paper and pen to keep score and write down your ripper guesses each hand. It really moves fast and I'd never call it "fiddly". The cards are solid quality, and I've had mine sleeved to keep them in great shape.


Hell, you can play it in a tent even

The rules though. Oh dear the rules. They are not clean. They are not really elegant. There are plenty of gotchas and learning the game from the rules is not smooth. Once you have a few games under your belt, they all make sense and are easy to remember, but they are not easy to learn. Just a few examples:

You have to have a meld before you can call a vote.
Cards left in your hand only count negative if they can't be added to a suspect.
The "Ripper Escapes" bomb is instantaneous and can be played on someone else's turn.
Only one alibi card can be in play at a time, all others are discarded.
If you grab a gavel card with a scene gavel card, you can still instantly play it.


And that's just a hand full. I recommend reading all the rules rewrites and FAQs you can find here on the geek.


7. Theme / Enjoyment


Right. You're killing hookers. There's no way around that. This isn't g-rated. Now, the theme is well done though. The artwork is nice and all the cards have some neat flavor text. It is evocative of an older London.

And I personally enjoy the game a lot. There's plenty of suspense. You know how people talk about Battlestar Galactica having deep theme to mechanics integration? I think Jack the Ripper is right there too. Is the ripper going to escape? If he's caught, just who the heck is he?

Anyway, if you can get over killing hookers, I enjoy it a lot.


8. Tactical / Strategic / (Short Term / Long Term Planning)


Well, the planning only lasts as long as the hand. You can plan pretty far for the hand though. Do you want to go out quickly and stick the other player with a full hand. Do you want to drag out the hand and just pile on the evidence onto the suspect you chose to get a huge score. Or did you draw the "Ripper Escapes" and really just want to kill some hookers?


9. Story Line / Multiple Paths to Victory


Well, there isn't much of a story line outside of a single hand. Each hand is all about "will the Ripper be caught" and "just who the heck is he".

But as mentioned above, there are multiple ways to approach each hand. That gives just enough variety to me to keep the game from getting stale. I do feel like there are multiple paths to victory inside of a single hand. The game as a whole boils down to "get more points", but there are at least a couple ways to go about doing this.


10. Approachability / Player Ranges


Well, I've only played it as a two player game, and it makes the most sense to me for it to stay that way. The whole "Ripper Escapes" tension works best with only two. The game length feels just right too. With more, somebody is going to get the draw needed to go out really early every hand.

It's just not quite as approachable as I would like though. All the fiddly rules are rough to pick up on. It works best if you have someone teach it to you.


Conclusion


This game is getting hard to find, but I think it's totally worth it. It's a real masterpiece to me. It packs a lot of interesting decisions in a short time frame and is a lot of fun.

There are other Mystery Rummy games, and I've played a few of them. They just don't compare to the original for me. Mainly, they don't have the multiple ways to score. The "Ripper Escape" card just does sooo much for the tension in this game. All the others in the series are lacking that for me.

Do be aware of the fiddly rules and the sometimes offensive theme. They didn't stop me, but they are legitimate concerns.

Happy gaming!


A big thanks to all the image providers!
43 
 Thumb up
0.26
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
Canada
Chestermere
Alberta
flag msg tools
Life lesson: Hamsters are NOT diswasher safe.
badge
There are 10 types of people-- those who understand binary, and those who don't.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Isamoor wrote:


All these babes have gotta die before the Ripper can Escape



"Babes"?? I am constantly amused when I look at the cards of the victims, and think that the Ripper must be one tough hombre to take on one of those dudes. Er, babes...


Nice review/ summary, though- you've hit all the right notes and summed it up best with your title.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pasta Batman
United States
Tustin
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
Isamoor wrote:
This game is getting hard to find, but I think it's totally worth it.
Then this must be some card game. Last time I looked (a few days ago), this could only be had for around $40+ for even a used copy, and much more for new. A new German version by Pegasus has been released, but I'm guessing the cards are too text-intensive for us non-German speakers. Let's hope this sees an English reprint soon.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sheamus Parkes
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yea, I did pay $40 for my copy. I don't regret it.

You could make the Pegsus edition work, but it might be a little rough. I also hope that they release a new English edition soon.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David F
United States
Emeryville
California
flag msg tools
Luck in games, in measured doses, is the catalyst which enables shocking game-changers that you'll remember and talk about forever.
badge
Let the Lord of Chaos rule.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Shoot. I don't usually care too much for reviews which go over the rules, but I actually understood the game better after glancing through your review than studying the game manual. You're definitely right about awkward and inelegant rules!

I do not think the theme is well-integrated, by the way. I think it's completely tacked on. A mark of a well-themed game is if you tell me the name of a card, I can probably give you a good, reasonable facsimile of what I think that card would do in terms of the game mechanisms. Can't do that with Jack the Ripper.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sheamus Parkes
United States
Carmel
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
selwyth wrote:
Shoot. I don't usually care too much for reviews which go over the rules, but I actually understood the game better after glancing through your review than studying the game manual. You're definitely right about awkward and inelegant rules!


I try very hard to only give a single paragraph to rules. I mean, they were all of 10% of the review eh? And I'm glad they helped straighten it out for you.

selwyth wrote:
I do not think the theme is well-integrated, by the way. I think it's completely tacked on. A mark of a well-themed game is if you tell me the name of a card, I can probably give you a good, reasonable facsimile of what I think that card would do in terms of the game mechanisms. Can't do that with Jack the Ripper.


I can understand where you're coming from. Why should a Victim make you draw 2 cards? Doesn't match much...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Lewis
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Most of the cards are evidence or suspects, so in my mind it made sense that you would have more evidence (cards) after finding one of the victims.

Idk, it made sense for me
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gerald Rüscher
Germany
Paderborn
flag msg tools
badge
Brettspieler
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pastabatman wrote:
A new German version by Pegasus has been released, but I'm guessing the cards are too text-intensive for us non-German speakers. Let's hope this sees an English reprint soon.

There *is* quite some text on the cards but at least half of it is only thematic chrome. Playing the German version shouldn't be too hard since there are actually only 7 different event cards and all of these cards have a pretty simple functionality.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.