Mr. Jack Pocket
review by Alapai
Mr. Jack Pocket is an asymmetrical deduction game from Hurrican Games for 2 people. In it, you play as either Jack the Ripper trying to escape the District of Whitechapel or as Sherlock Holmes and his companions trying to track Jack down.
To play, you take the area tiles and arrange them as a 3x3 grid and place Holmes and his companions around the outside of the grid. The Mr. Jack player then draws an Alibi card to determine who he's disguised as. There are 4 action tokens in the game. On the odd turns, the Investigator randomizes which side each action token is on, then uses one of the actions. The Mr. Jack player then uses 2 of the remaining actions, leaving the last action for the Investigator. On the even turns, the 4 action tokens get flipped to their opposite side, then the Mr. Jack player takes one action, the Investigator takes 2 of the remaining actions and the last one gets taken by the Mr. Jack player. The various actions in the game will move Holmes and his companions around the board, rotate the area tiles, swap area tiles or draw Alibi cards. At the end of a turn (once 4 actions have been taken), the Mr. Jack player lets the Investigator player know if the character he's disguised as can be seen by Holmes or any of his companions (as a simple "yes, one of the three can see Jack" or "no, none of the three can see Jack"). The Investigator is trying to determine which of the 9 characters Mr. Jack is to win the game. Mr. Jack is trying to obtain 6 hourglasses before being found out to win the game, but also wins if the Investigator cannot find him before 8 turns are over.
Mr. Jack Pocket, as evidenced by its name, is a pocket sized version of the game Mr. Jack. Or more accurately, a pocket-sized game inspired by Mr. Jack. Both games have one player playing as Mr. Jack and one player playing as the Investigators tracking Jack down. In both, Jack disguises himself as one of the characters in the game , both players take 2 actions per turn and at the end of a turn, the Investigator gets told whether Jack is seen or not. But while the Pocket version uses 9 tiles that get rotated and swapped with Investigators looking from the outside, in the original, there is a board that gets used and all the characters are potentially Jack with visibility being two characters next to each other or Jack being next to a light source. While similar to each other, Mr. Jack is a bit longer and more complicated with its actions being more involved than the Pocket version and the board being an obstacle that's trickier to navigate than a 3x3 grid of tiles.
One of the things I really like about Mr. Jack Pocket is that it is a fast game. As it takes at most 8 turns and around 15 minutes, it's a game that is good for working your brain, but not overwhelming it. The original, while deeper, isn't always what I'm looking for on a game night. Sometimes, I just want a simpler game that will be done faster. Another great thing about Mr. Jack Pocket is that it is a pocket-sized game. It is very small and easy to carry and takes up very little presence, while a larger game like the original will have a larger box and take up more table space.
For a quick, 2-player, asymmetrical deduction game, I highly recommend Mr. Jack Pocket.
Mr. Jack Pocket is available through our webstore.