Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Test Drive Update- Scotland Yard

I recently dragged several non-gamers into a game of Scotland Yard to see how it would fly. Our options for the evening included Settlers of Catan and Bohnanza so expect some test drive results of those games in the future.

Scotland Yard has one player trying to escape from the other players across a map of London. All the players move their play tokens through a series of bus, subway, and taxi routes. The person being chased ("Mr. or Ms. X") has to tell the other players which sort of transportation they are using and the detectives use deduction to guess where the criminal is located.

The game itself played pretty smoothly. The deductive player caught on quickly and was able to track Mr. X's likely position with frightening accuracy. The player who likes strategy was able to circle the area and use the transportation system to his advantage. The complete beginner player took a few turns to catch on. I played Mr. X and barely stayed a few spaces from the pursuers.

I really enjoyed the game, especially the excitement of being chased and almost being caught on several occasions. The other players had mixed feelings. It's probably simplistic and obvious (although it wasn't to me until this game) but Scotland Yard is great if you love chasing and being chased. It also absolutely requires a desire to think systematically and logically. This is a game for people who can manage chess or Clue. On a positive note it did take perhaps five minutes to explain the rules and even the absolute gaming beginner was playing with ease in a turn or two.

After our test drive I'd continue to recommend Scotland Yard for families looking for an exciting chase game. Keep the caveats in mind however, impulsive players may find the system too stuffy.

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