Saturday, 8 December 2018

Scotland Yard

Once upon a time, before my brothers and I started playing role-playing games, we were very much into board games. To a point when they sometimes even influenced our make belief games. I used to ask for at least one board game as present at Christmas. One of my favourite has been Scotland Yard, which we received at Christmas 1987 if I am not mistaken. I was then, and I am still an anglophile and loved very much old fashioned crime fiction stories set in London and England and its police had a fascination over me. I didn't even know then that Scotland Yard was not even its real name, or even its real nickname anymore. In fact, everything about it being the élite of police in England was a tired old cliché. All the same, it was all I knew then of England's police life, or all I thought I knew, and it all seemed so exotic and exciting.

So I got the game as a Christmas present and to this day this is maybe my favourite board game (I rank it slightly higher than Clue/Cluedo). The premise is pretty simple: master criminal Mr. X is in London and he must be captured. One of the players is Mr. X, the others are detectives from the Yard and they are pursuing him in London through public transports: taxis, bus and underground. How much more British can you get? You spend tickets to travel (yes, even in taxi) and when you spent them all, you are stuck. That's a rip off, but not entirely unrealistic. In any case, it is a very exciting game and it is full of atmosphere and character. And what makes it unique is that it is a game of collaboration as the police officers work together to catch the villain. Strangely enough we did not play that often to Scotland Yard, maybe because I considered it a bit of the Holy Grail of board games. Maybe also because we played it as a make belief game more than anything else, although then Mr. X was not the only adversary we had. In any case, I would like to revisit Scotland Yard again.

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