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Letters from Whitechapel» Forums » Strategy

Subject: An almost perfect winning scheme for Jack rss

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Michael
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(This has also been posted in another thread, but I think it might be interesting enough to warrant its own thread in the strategy section.)

What do you think about this little scheme of mine for getting Jack home fast and safe on 3 out of 4 nights, effectively leaving only a single night to trace him and to prepare his capture. Which is near impossible. Here it goes.

1st night: Jack kills at 27, coaches (29,66); police reacts once; Jack reaches home at 51.

2nd night: Jack kills at 149, meanders up to 148, 114, 96 (hoping that the police move in and spot him around there); then coaches twice (78, 80) and (82, 65); then reaches home at 51. (This is an just an example, of course. This is the one night Jack has to play out a regular night. Using his ample special moves it should be possible to reach home without running into the police and ideally the police finding a few traces in the northerly west of the map.)

3rd night: Jack kills at 3 and 84; police react; Jack reaches home at 51.

4th night: Jack kills at 65 and moves home at 51.

Note that after the end of the 2nd night, the police gets a single move in the 3rd night and none at all in the 4th night! So the police has to be positioned perfectly at the end of the 2nd night, which is the first night they have a chance to pick up any traces. Perhaps I have made a some huge mistake or misread some rules or whatever. If so, I'd be happy if someone could point it out to me.

Obviously a lot hinges on what exactly the police end up doing, especially during nights 1 & 2, so this is really only a scheme, not a strategy. For instance, on night one, a patrol starting at [29,30] can simply stand his ground and scan for Jack or even move and arrest him (on a hunch or by anticipating him to play this strategy, risking that if Jack doesn't play the strategy, an entire move of the closest patrol is wasted). However, a similar scenario has Jack pick his home at 66 and coach (48, 49) or (48, 64). If the police moves as just described in this case, they end up without a clue (but could, of course, move differently and DO pick up a clue). Also, no police should end up within 84 at the end of night 2. If that happens, then Jack has to choose different targets and play out an extended 3rd night.

In any case, all of this is well within the undisputed set of rules (ie. the rules both in letter and in spirit), albeit perhaps far from how the game should ideally play out. The problem is that variants of this can be found (especially ones that give the police one or two extra moves, which reduces the effectiveness, of course), so it's not the case that "now that we know of this, we can think of a counter scheme".

My question is if this scheme necessitates Jack to be a mass murderer who plays fair and likes to tease the police - rather than a Jack who wants to remain free. (I have suggested a variant that takes care of this problem.)
 
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Pokey 64
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Wouldn't be too perfect if I moved my investigator from the yellow crossing near 30 two crossings south and arrested you at 66 would it?

That'd be a mighty short game.

Oops...missed ya...you went to 50 instead and got home safe.

During night two, Two investigators may get lucky as you make your way home from 149. The other three I stake out at 3, 65 and 84 waiting adjacent to each spot ready to pounce on night three.

Feel those handcuffs.

I anticipate a mighty long list of "what if" scenarios here. As you've said, now that the hypothetical situations for Jack are coming out, now they'll come out for the police.
 
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Andy Andersen
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I'm not sure if this works, but just in case, I will not alert my wife to this thread.
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Michael
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panzer6 wrote:
Wouldn't be too perfect if I moved my investigator from the yellow crossing near 30 two crossings south and arrested you at 66 would it?

Of course it cannot be 100% perfect, because the police may simply win by way of a lucky stab in the dark. I guess I was not so much talking about a strategy that is a near certain win but rather a strategy that can unhinge the deduction aspect of the game by requiring the police to do certain things, like move them to the places you name.

panzer6 wrote:
During night two, Two investigators may get lucky as you make your way home from 149. The other three I stake out at 3, 65 and 84 waiting adjacent to each spot ready to pounce on night three.

OK, I told you the plan ahead of time, and with that knowledge you can easily work around it. Try to think what you might have done for real without knowing my intentions beforehand. Would you seriously have pulled two patrols from a systematic hunt for traces in the second night after having had a meagre first night on a hunch to be able to have them wait near 3, 65 and 84? Also, once I see that you commit your police to block the scheme, I'll just let go off it and try to play a good regular game on night 3. Would you leave those two police commited to 3, 65 and 84 all night long then? If not, they might end up not blocking off the kill zones on night 4, where a kill-step-safe is possible.
 
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Pokey 64
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If you make a quick kill on the first night, like in your scenario above, the police need only to cover the other potential murder locations and wait for the third night. With five police, they can cover five locations and knowing your hideout is so close from the first quick kill, they'll have you in jail on night three. You can change your scenario and kill in the east or southeast of Whitechapel but then you'll have a long trip home and the five of us will be waiting.
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Scott Sims
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grey_wolf wrote:

1st night: Jack kills at 27, coaches (29,66); police reacts once; Jack reaches home at 51.

Not so sure about this....

There is a good chance one detective will start at the crossing between 29 and 30 which derails your first night strategy. What would Jack do then???
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Michael
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SSims wrote:
grey_wolf wrote:

1st night: Jack kills at 27, coaches (29,66); police reacts once; Jack reaches home at 51.

Not so sure about this....

There is a good chance one detective will start at the crossing between 29 and 30 which derails your first night strategy. What would Jack do then???


Simply coach past him.
 
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Scott Sims
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grey_wolf wrote:

Simply coach past him.


and pass directly through a detective occupied crossing?
 
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Michael
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SSims wrote:
grey_wolf wrote:

Simply coach past him.


and pass directly through a detective occupied crossing?


Rules page 12 (my emphasis):

"Coach: Jack can use a Coach to move by two adjacent numbered circles on the board at once - a 'double move'.
Moreover, with the Coach, Jack can move through crossings containing Policeman pawns."


There's reasons why some people argue that the game is imbalanced in favour of Jack.
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Scott Sims
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Yep sorry I forgot about that rule, thanks.
 
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Michael
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panzer6 wrote:
If you make a quick kill on the first night, like in your scenario above, the police need only to cover the other potential murder locations and wait for the third night. With five police, they can cover five locations and knowing your hideout is so close from the first quick kill, they'll have you in jail on night three. You can change your scenario and kill in the east or southeast of Whitechapel but then you'll have a long trip home and the five of us will be waiting.

You are saying that after a quick kill with little evidence on night one you would spend your investigators' moves on the second night just to get them in position to cover the possible five spots in the northwest? That would mean that that you are unlikely to collect any evidence on that night either. What makes you think that you will be able to stand a chance for a catch on night three? Don't forget that Jack would most likely start at a spot you have not covered and break the obviously extremely wide cordon with his palette of special moves. If he does, he'll announce "home", and then it's night four...
 
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Andrea Bampi
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Hi Michael, I don't find any error in your example, it perfectly fits the new official rule interpretations and clarifications from the FAQ.
Whait colud I say... it's one of many (but particularly clever and deadly) possible scenarios exploiting one of the most discussed issues of this game, the possibility for Jack to imediately reach his hideout after a killing. Unfortunately even the new clarifications don't solve the problem, they prevent the "instant-wins" but just increase by 1 the number of moves Jack needs to reach home safely. Not much a deal for the police in turns different from the 3rd, since they move AFTER Jack, so instant-wins or wins-after-first-move are practically the same thing (of course strategies to obtain those wins are different, but that's another story).

I think that the problem of "quick-homeruns" is an issue in general, but it especially becomes lethal in your example scenario or in other very similar ones exploiting a very particular (and unique) feature of the map graph, the proximity of 65 and 84. One of the most evident things of the game: they are the only two killing zones reachable in one move from the same numbered circle (in fact, from three, 51, 66, 67). Of course they catch Jacks' eye and are often chosen as 4th and 5th killing spots, in ways similar or identical to the one explained here.
If we don't use any special variants (like the one you brilliantly proposed in the other thread, the one forcing Jack to wait before returning home), I think an almost obligatory police general strategy should be positioning a bobby on the crossing adjacent to 65 and 66. It isn't fun at all and it freezes a player for two turns (3 and 4) but it increases BY TWO the minimum distance between two red circles on the entire map: and there're only 4 paths left connecting two red circles and exactly counting two moves: 65-(83-99)-84 65-(83-100)-84 3-(2-28)-27 3-(2-26)-27.
Not a definitive solution, but Jack has to make considerably longer trips.

Anyway, I'll try your variant, simply because I like chasing Jack around the table and I like fleeing away and being chased and FORCED to do so by some rule!
 
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Michael
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RickNash wrote:
Hi Michael, I don't find any error in your example, it perfectly fits the new official rule interpretations and clarifications from the FAQ.
Whait colud I say... it's one of many (but particularly clever and deadly) possible scenarios exploiting one of the most discussed issues of this game, the possibility for Jack to imediately reach his hideout after a killing. Unfortunately even the new clarifications don't solve the problem, they prevent the "instant-wins" but just increase by 1 the number of moves Jack needs to reach home safely. Not much a deal for the police in turns different from the 3rd, since they move AFTER Jack, so instant-wins or wins-after-first-move are practically the same thing (of course strategies to obtain those wins are different, but that's another story).

Exactly, according to my scenario, the police can move once on nights 1 & 3 and not at all on night 4. They have all of night 2 to trace Jack and set up a cordon. I dare to say that that they have to be very, very lucky to win.

RickNash wrote:

I think that the problem of "quick-homeruns" is an issue in general, but it especially becomes lethal in your example scenario or in other very similar ones exploiting a very particular (and unique) feature of the map graph, the proximity of 65 and 84. One of the most evident things of the game: they are the only two killing zones reachable in one move from the same numbered circle (in fact, from three, 51, 66, 67). Of course they catch Jacks' eye and are often chosen as 4th and 5th killing spots, in ways similar or identical to the one explained here.

If I am not mistaken, the marked locations are the historic crime scenes... In view of game balance they are a bit unfortunate, as they are very attractive for Jack, I agree.

RickNash wrote:

If we don't use any special variants (like the one you brilliantly proposed in the other thread, the one forcing Jack to wait before returning home), I think an almost obligatory police general strategy should be positioning a bobby on the crossing adjacent to 65 and 66.

The police have to address a possible scheme by playing a counter scheme, and then the game is no longer a hunt, it has become a stand-off. It isn't deterministic, of course, as all sorts of things play into it, and either party can choose to play differently. But the possibility of an attempted "coup de jeu" locks potential and stands in the way of a pure, innocent enjoyment of the game.

RickNash wrote:

Anyway, I'll try your variant, simply because I like chasing Jack around the table and I like fleeing away and being chased and FORCED to do so by some rule!

I agree, I prefer it if the rules sit tight enough to enable choices for constructive playing, i.e. prevent simple schemes that ruin the spirit of the game. A lot of effort in other threads has gone into trying to convince people to make the choice to play the rules in a way that makes the game fun. While I wholeheartedly agree that that is how and why games should be played, I pose the question why the rules cannot simply be stated in a manner that prevents stupid hacks. If the game is about a hunt, the rules should guarantee that there is a hunt in the first place. Also, thematically, this game is not about hide and seek, it is about a multiple murderer trying to evade pursuers who want to bring him to justice. And as such, Jack trying to maximize his chances in ways that cut the chase short might ruin the spirit of the game, but is thematically absolutely appropriate.

In any case, please let me know how you find the variant!
 
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Georgios P.
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grey_wolf wrote:
1st night: Jack kills at 27, coaches (29,66); police reacts once; Jack reaches home at 51.


Let's assume that there's a police pawn on the station between 29 & 30.

As a police player I'd ask myself why would Jack use a coach on his first turn? Even in the best possible configuration, it would take at least three turns for a second policeman to come close to the murder spot.

It'd be reasonable to assume that he used the coach because he had to. That is, because he wanted to move past the police pawn on the 29/30 station.

There are five possible spots Jack could have tried to reach when moving past 29. Namely: 30, 49, 50, 64 and 66.

30 is an unlikely candidate, as it puts him right next to the police pawn. 49 & 64 are also not very likely as they could easily be reached with 2 regular moves without the police picking up anything useful in time. No need to waste a coach. (Other than to prove a point in an online forum, of course. )

That leaves us with spots 50 or 66 as the current location of Jack.

That's a 50/50 chance of making a successful arrest and catching Jack on the first turn in the first night. All through deduction and "reading" your opponent. A more adventurous Jack might move to 30. A more careful player might move Jack to 49 or 64.

It's not just luck. It's not a stab in the dark. It's deduction and reading people. It comes down to your ability to call the bluff of Jack's player.
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I'd be likely to use a coach movement for Jack's first move on first killing anyhow - it gets me further and increases the number of possible locations - and the police only get one opportunity to move. If I then do an ally move followed by another coach move there is a huge number of places I could be.
 
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Michael
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Joe Dizzy wrote:
As a police player I'd ask myself why would Jack use a coach on his first turn? Even in the best possible configuration, it would take at least three turns for a second policeman to come close to the murder spot.

It's not just luck. It's not a stab in the dark. It's deduction and reading people. It comes down to your ability to call the bluff of Jack's player.

Obviously a lot depends on the styles of play. As Jack, I literally always use a coach as first move (except the 4th night), and often a second coach as the second move in the 1st night (and I don't ever play that stupid scheme - it is merely a device I thought up to show that the rules should force Jack to stay afoot). Why? It gets you around the board exceedingly fast, and you have coaches and alley walks to waste. With 3 coaches and 2 alleys, why on Earth would Jack slowly move away from the crime scene...? As I said elsewhere, this is a deduction game, and the worst thing Jack can do is to give the police moves to pick up evidence and make deductions. Why should Jack do that if he can zoom home fast...? The whole idea of "saving coaches" is already the mindset of a Jack who doesn't realize that his strength is NOT trickery or deception (because that requires time, which will eventually benefit the police) but speed. If the police happens to make a good guess as to Jack's path early on, he can always default to your idea of just staying afoot and trying trickery and deception. If not, he is home early, and the night's over.

In any case, if that were you reading me in a real game, I would frequently have you riveted on the spot just by taking a coach (losing you yet another round for picking up evidence) while I race home.

Also, don't forget that Jack can decide to play this scheme or not. Of course, if Jack announces that he is going to play this scheme, it is obviously ridiculous.
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Michael
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andyholt wrote:
I'd be likely to use a coach movement for Jack's first move on first killing anyhow - it gets me further and increases the number of possible locations - and the police only get one opportunity to move. If I then do an ally move followed by another coach move there is a huge number of places I could be.

You beat me to the answer.
 
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Joe Dizzy wrote:
grey_wolf wrote:
1st night: Jack kills at 27, coaches (29,66); police reacts once; Jack reaches home at 51.


Let's assume that there's a police pawn on the station between 29 & 30.

As a police player I'd ask myself why would Jack use a coach on his first turn? Even in the best possible configuration, it would take at least three turns for a second policeman to come close to the murder spot.

It'd be reasonable to assume that he used the coach because he had to. That is, because he wanted to move past the police pawn on the 29/30 station.

There are five possible spots Jack could have tried to reach when moving past 29. Namely: 30, 49, 50, 64 and 66.

30 is an unlikely candidate, as it puts him right next to the police pawn. 49 & 64 are also not very likely as they could easily be reached with 2 regular moves without the police picking up anything useful in time. No need to waste a coach. (Other than to prove a point in an online forum, of course. )

That leaves us with spots 50 or 66 as the current location of Jack.

That's a 50/50 chance of making a successful arrest and catching Jack on the first turn in the first night. All through deduction and "reading" your opponent. A more adventurous Jack might move to 30. A more careful player might move Jack to 49 or 64.

It's not just luck. It's not a stab in the dark. It's deduction and reading people. It comes down to your ability to call the bluff of Jack's player.


Michael's "game breaking" strategies all seem to rely on incompetent play by the police.
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Georgios P.
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grey_wolf wrote:

Obviously a lot depends on the styles of play. (...) The whole idea of "saving coaches" is already the mindset of a Jack who doesn't realize that his strength is NOT trickery or deception (because that requires time, which will eventually benefit the police) but speed.


There's a very important point buried in those two sentences.

grey_wolf wrote:

In any case, if that were you reading me in a real game, I would frequently have you riveted on the spot just by taking a coach (losing you yet another round for picking up evidence) while I race home.


Hardly. The whole point of "reading" people is not about following an effective and perfected algorithm to determine what somebody does, but knowing enough about a person to gauge their behaviour in a certain situation. Having never met you, I have no idea if I'd consider you the kind of person to follow that line of reasoning during gameplay or not. Judging from what you've posted so far, I'd probably assume that you will usually take the shortest and most direct route to your hideout, therefore narrowing things down in a different way were I to play against you. That's the whole point of this interpersonal level of gameplay here. That's the element that is rather awkwardly covered by the term "bluffing" in the game's byline. You're not trying to deduce a perfected movement algorithm, that might just as well be thought up by a computer, but dealing with a person sitting across the table from you and trying to trick you into believing that he isn't doing what he is doing. You shouldn't underestimate the effect of having your hidden movements accurately analysed despite not having a single clue on the board. It makes people abandon their plans rather quickly, trying to remain unpredictable. I'm going to assume that this isn't a problem for you, since you've surely abandoned this "inferior" mindset of a Jack player. (Although to be honest, this might be closer to your problem with this game, than any issues with the rules. But that's just my armchair psychology from across the screen. Please don't take it too seriously, it's not intended this way. )

I feel a lot of the arguments seem to come from a position of looking solely at the board and making the most efficient choice to obtain your goal. In that case reaching the hideout before the police has a chance to catch Jack. All of them wilfully ignoring the element of the game, that make the whole thing interesting in the first place. Bluffing, figuring out your opponent, how they think and so on. If you're playing Jack with a complete disregard to this aspect of the game or even to the other players at the table, then I am hardly surprised that you would find the experience underwhelming. The social and psychological element of the game is not optional, it is essential. Without it you could just as well be playing Scotland Yard.

Now I am not arguing that you shouldn't play Letters from Whitechapel to win. At best I'm arguing that your desire to win shouldn't overpower your desire to have a good time playing a game. Or rather, that's the attitude I've had with every game I've played so far. And aside from a catastrophic Diplomacy game*, it has always led to an entertaining evening.

I've only played this game a handful of times. And so far it's been a fairly even result. It's quite possible that there are spots and set-ups in which Jack is almost unbeatable and can finish the 4 nights in under 20 minutes total. I don't have the impression that they are either very common or even representative of the game.

* - Diplomacy, for those who care, is not the kind of game that allows for players to go after the win condition with any less than 100% at all times. Whitechapel on the other hand works rather beautifully that way, it seems to me.
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joedogboy wrote:

Michael's "game breaking" strategies all seem to rely on incompetent play by the police.


I completely and strongly disagree with you. You're probably judging police actions from a wrong point of view - because Michael is providing Jack's strategy too, fully explained. Try to "roleplay" a bit and imagine how you would react to those moves, WITHOUT knowing Jack's strategy.
...Jode Dizzy's example unfortunayely doesn't demonstrate ANYTHING because it all depends on a totally false statement, as both Michael and Andy already pointed out - Jack's first move is quite often a coach (and often the second move, too) for the reasons explained by Michael and I can assure you that A LOT of players, when they play Jack, begin every night with a coach or two (less often an alley). It's simply the best and less risky way to start. So there's no reason at all to suppose that Jack is using a coach just becuase he wants to "jump" over some police patrol. In later turns maybe - not at night start, for sure.
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RickNash wrote:
Jode Dizzy's example unfortunayely doesn't demonstrate ANYTHING because it all depends on a totally false statement, as both Michael and Andy already pointed out - Jack's first move is quite often a coach (and often the second move, too) for the reasons explained by Michael and I can assure you that A LOT of players, when they play Jack, begin every night with a coach or two (less often an alley).


Ah yes... I take it your excessive work in statistics and numerous polls have given you this insight into the majority of groups playing this game.

Unlike you, I only have personal experience, with actual people, to go on. And the discussions following those games. And they do not really line up with your assertions. I guess there must be silent majority out there supporting your viewpoint.

And why would I want to argue against the silent majority whose playstyles seem like such an open book to you? Surely your argument must be water tight if you have the experiences of "A LOT of players" to fall back an.
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Joe Dizzy wrote:

Now I am not arguing that you shouldn't play Letters from Whitechapel to win. At best I'm arguing that your desire to win shouldn't overpower your desire to have a good time playing a game. Or rather, that's the attitude I've had with every game I've played so far.


We all want to have fun playing this game, and Michael for sure wants to, if you have read all his posts about the game. The problem is that in a game like this, totally diceless, strongly based on "graph theory" (even if many people playing it don't know what graph theory is), it's damn hard to determine the line between the "play to win" and the "play for fun" strategies. And BTW: it strongly depends on who your opponent is (and what attitude he has).
THAT's why rules exist. To make sure people don't cross that line, providing clear rules that prohibit such strategies.
I think it's a rather simple concept to understand

Quote:

I've only played this game a handful of times. And so far it's been a fairly even result. It's quite possible that there are spots and set-ups in which Jack is almost unbeatable and can finish the 4 nights in under 20 minutes total. I don't have the impression that they are either very common or even representative of the game.


It's a respectable opinion but it seems quite clear that for many people those situations are NOT uncommon neither unrepresentative. Anyway, even if they were rare, they should be addressed in some way, by rules and/or variants.
 
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I played out the scenario in the OP, setting up my police pawns before looking at the kill location for night one. With my one turn of reaction, I found a clue at 29.

For night two, with something approximating your plan, I think you'd be caught. Two moves from 29 gives a limited number of options, and even fewer given the starting location of night two. I predict that after the second coach, Jack is arrested or in a position where he will be trapped very soon.

It's hard to be certain, of course, because I couldn't replicate it with truly hidden information and Jack's exact coach moves would be tailored to the actual police positioning.

But I remain unconvinced that you are correct about the ability for Jack to go uncaught. I don't think we'll ever establish whether the people who claim the game is broken are correct or incorrect until there's an online implementation of the game. Then they can just play against each other!
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Dormammu wrote:
I played out the scenario in the OP, setting up my police pawns before looking at the kill location for night one. With my one turn of reaction, I found a clue at 29.

Hi Max, the move across the patrol was based on the assumption that the patrol closest to the crime scene would move in there as fast as possible to pick up a trail, which is very often the most reasonable thing to do. Depending on the play style of the group, I'd instead pick 66 as hideout and coach on the alternative route (48,64), in which case your staying in 29/30 would not result in any evidence. Let's assume that this is what happens. And in any case, as I've stated several times, whenever the scheme is thwarted by a police move that goes against the group's usual style of play or otherwise crosses the scheme, Jack - instead of stupidly following the scheme to his doom - simply defaults to instead drawing the 1st night out as usual by doing the usual back-and-forth paper chase (and the hope that he can still benefit from the 3rd and 4th night fast kills).

Here's an exhaustive enumeration of ALL the spaces that can be reached by a coach and another step (I hope I didn't miss one or count one that is wrong):

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 95, 96, 97, 98, 115, 116, 117

That is a total of 55 spaces. Now, considering a patrol at 29/30 who doesn't move and Jack (knowing this preference) taking the alternative route, this will result in no clue found, which removes the following spaces: 4, 12, 13, 14, 29, 30, 31, 32, 51, 52, 67. This leaves 44 possible hideout spaces. Assuming a further ideal placement of the other patrols, the single move could move a patrol from 139 near 116, a patrol from 118/119/120 to 80 & 81 or (alternatively) one of 83 or 98. Thus, another 3 spaces can be excluded. This leaves 41 possibilities.

I'd wager that that is at the very least a pretty good night. With Jack walking all over the board, the police will usually pick up enough information to pinpoint Jack to a narrower set of possibilities. In my experience, it has been between 10 to 50 spaces after the 1st night. So while Jack might do better, it is (i) unlikely and (ii) empowers the police by letting them move around.

Dormammu wrote:
But I remain unconvinced that you are correct about the ability for Jack to go uncaught. I don't think we'll ever establish whether the people who claim the game is broken are correct or incorrect until there's an online implementation of the game. Then they can just play against each other!

My main point is not that by following the scheme, Jack will remain 100% uncaught. I argue that by making a bare minimum of moves, Jack can do at least as good if not far better than by convoluted schemes to trick the police. At the same time Jack will cripple the police's ability to set themselves up. Thus, a clever Jack will always strive to minimize his (and thereby the police's) moves and ONLY go on extended trips if some of his first steps are discovered.

And the moral I draw from this observation is that the game's rules allow a fairly good scheme for Jack that is actually against the spirit of the game AND at least as good as any zig-zag/back-and-forth approach. In my opinion, it it a game's rules and not some gentlemen agreement amongst players that should discourage such disruptive schemes. In this case, the rules should require Jack to make a bare minimum of moves in order to guarantee that the game is always played in a way that is fun.
 
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Michael
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Joe Dizzy wrote:

Ah yes... I take it your excessive work in statistics and numerous polls have given you this insight into the majority of groups playing this game.

Well, Joe also mentions "incompetent" versus supposedly "competent" play. So everybody, including you, seems to have a lot of assumptions on their own and other people's style of play running...

However, there are a few really basic insights that are hard to dispute. One of them is why a "competent" Jack will almost always use a coach right away: The police will try to contain the possible spaces that Jack can be at. That is their job, that's what they need to do in order to pinpoint Jack. If Jack already contains himself by restricting himself to the few spaces he can reach in a single step (between 3 and 9) from the crime scene instead of vastly expanding the possibilities by using a coach right away (usually up to 30), he leaves the police's job fairly easy instead of exploiting the possibility of making it hard for them from the beginning. Now, why would he want to do that? By taking a coach, the police must exert their deductive power to a much greater number of possibilities, thereby increasing the chances of error or of erroneously focusing on some of these possibilities due to some psycho-social interaction. Given the ample amount of coaches (and other special moves) in all nights but the last, only a really timid Jack would not go for this. Also, once the trail is picked up, coaches are far less useful in multiplying Jack's options than before the trail is picked up. They do have some use in skipping over police patrols, of course... but so do (more indirectly) alleys, which are much worse at multiplying possibilities.

This is not a matter of polls, it is just playing through the possibilities... Try it out in your group and see if you'll ever go back to a "lame" Jack.
 
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