[Even] in their poverty, they referred to their garden of necessity as if it were a hobby.
I really love this game! It is a unique hybrid of deduction and abstract strategy, with solid components. I thought I’d take a moment to write why I think it fits the latter so well. Obvious to some, not so to others.
Abstract Strategy games are often (but not always):
- theme-less (without storyline)
- built on simple and/or straightforward design and mechanics
- perfect information games
- games that promote one player overtaking their opponent(s)
- little to no elements of luck, chance, or random occurrence
Is MJNY Theme-less?
No. Beautiful artwork in this game really help add to its theme. The mechanics fit snugly with the theme and the game is easy to talk about in terms of its theme. Were I to rest my case here, all would be lost.
Does MJNY offer a Simple design?
Yes. Though, perhaps elegant is a better word. On your turn you select a pawn to move and you move it. That’s it. Granted, your selection may also produce a side effect such as modularizing the board or eliminating a suspect but the only action available on every turn is to move a pawn.
Can we obtain perfect information from MJNY?
I am not a game theorist. My apologies in advance for butchering the concept.
Yes and No. Yes, because at any time you can readily see the full current game state and all the options available to your opponent. Even though all options are only available every 2 rounds, this aspect of the game still appears, to me, perfect.
No, because of the alibi deck; the opposing player might not know what card you’ve selected from that deck, neither at the beginning of the game nor during. However, the information in the alibi deck can be perfectly known to both players without disrupting the game - in fact, the game continues until a win condition is met! If we view games on a continuum of perfection, I would consider MJNY to be more perfect than not.
Does it promote one player overtaking his/her opponent?
Yes. The theme really supports this too.
Is there a lot of luck or randomness?
No. Even less so than an abstract like Backgammon.
Thanks for reading; have a good day!