A compelling detective game
For 3 to 6 Players
Mr. X, a most-wanted criminal is on the run in Central London and Scotland Yard's finest detectives are in hot persuit. To escape capture, Mr. X must move cleverly and secretly (Mr. X's whereabouts are revealed only as many as 5 times during the game); to corner Mr. X, the detectives must use ingenuity and cooperation.
One player is Mr. X. All other players are the detectives. Whether one is being chased or doing the chasing, all players travel from location to location by bus, taxi or underground. To take a certain form of transportation, you must be on the correct boarding spot and have the correct fare - no ticket, no ride!
If you're Mr. X, you must avoid capture long enough for the detectives to run out of their fare tickets.
If you're the detectives, one of you must capture Mr. X by landing on the same space Mr. X occupies.
- 1 gameboard map of Central London.
- 6 pawns
- 125 fare tickets
- 5 black tickets
- 23 pink underground tickets
- 43 green bus tickets
- 54 yellow taxi fares
- 18 start cards (13, 26, 29, 34, 50, 53, 91, 94, 103, 112, 117, 132, 138, 141, 155, 174, 197, 198)
- 2 double move cards
- 1 logbook and pad
Select one player to be Mr. X. They receive the logbook and the uncoloured pawn. The logbook is where Mr. X records his movements, usually in secret, and gives ticket fare clues to his whereabouts.
The other players are the detectives, and control the movements the rest of the 5 coloured pawns. Depending on how many players are in the game, a detective may control as few as 1 or as many as 3 pawns. Distribute the pawns as follows:
- With 5 detective players, each one receives one pawn.
- With 4 detective players, the first player receives two pawns (usually purple and yellow), while the others each receive one pawn.
- With 3 detective players, the first and second players each receive two pawns (usually purple and yellow, red and green), while the third receives one pawn (usually blue).
- With 2 detective players, the first player receives three pawns (usually purple, yellow, blue), while the second player receives two pawns (red and green).
At the start of the game, each detective pawn receives the following fare ticket cards, which can only be used by that pawn (so, in a 2 detective game, the player controlling the Purple, Yellow and Blue pawns will receive 3 sets of these cards):
- 10 Taxi
- 8 Bus
- 4 Underground
A detective's ticket supply is limited. Once a ride is taken and the fare paid, the ticket is spent and passed to the player controlling Mr. X.
The remaining tickets are issued to Mr. X:
- 4 Taxi
- 3 Bus
- 3 Underground
- 5 Black
- 2 double move ("2x")
During the game, Mr. X's ticket supply increases, as they receive the spent tickets from the detective players.
Place the start position tokens (the 18 cards) face down and mix them up. Each pawn draws one token (the five detectives, and Mr. X). The detectives place their pawns on the locations indicated on the start position tokens. Mr. X does not.
How to move
All players move from one numbered location to the next, either by a yellow taxi route, a green bus route or a red underground route. Each trip MUST be paid for with the appropriate ticket. Note the routes are all colour coded to their proper tickets.
The numbered locations are stations or stops for one or more of the routes. Each location is colour coded to show which transportation service you can use to move to that stop or from that stop. For example, stop 153, near Buckingham Palace on the game board has all three transportation services on it. The green signal at the top shows you can move to here or from here by bus, the yellow signal in the middle shows you can move to or from here by taxi, and the red signal at the bottom shows you can move to or from here by underground.
Note: All numbered locations are yellow signals, so you can always move to or from these by taxi, if you have enough yellow taxi fares for it! Two-stop locations (yellow and green signals) allow you to move to and from them by taxi or bus, while three-stop locations (red, yellow and green signals) are the rarest and allow you to move to and from them by taxi, bus or underground.
3 key movement rules for all players
Rule 1. Follow the routes for one stop per turn
On your turn, follow these three rules whether you're Mr. X or a detective. Mr. X also has some special moves which are discussed later.
You can only move ON the coloured route, and to the next numbered location on the route that matches the ticket you paid. The routes are: solid yellow line for a taxi, solid green line for a bus, broken red line for the underground.
+-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ | Bus |===| |===| Bus |===| |===| Bus | +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ | Taxi |---| Taxi |---| Taxi |---| Taxi |---| Taxi | +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ | U'gnd |~ ~| | ~ | |~ ~| U'gnd | ~ | | +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+ +-------+
In the above diagram, you could:
- take a bus from 1 to 3, but not as far as 5 (that would be a second trip).
- take a taxi from 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4 or 4 to 5. You could not take a trip from 1 to 3, 1 to 4 etc.
- take an underground trip from 1 to 4.
- take two trips (one per turn), from 3 to 1 by bus, and then 1 to 4 by train.
- take three trips (one per turn), from 1 to 2, then 2 to 3, and 3 to 4 all by taxi.
Rule 2. You must move each turn
No player can refuse to move and remain in the same location. You MUST move all the pawns you are controlling each turn.
Rule 3. You can never move to an occupied location
There can never be two or more pawns on the same spot, and of course if Mr. X moved on to an occupied location, or a detective moved to a location where Mr. X was located, then the game would be over.
Pawns may pass over one-another, for example, if pawn A were in location 2 in the above diagram, and pawn B were to travel by bus from 1 to 3, then this is permitted, but if pawn B were to try to travel by taxi to location 2, this is not permitted.
Play always moves clockwise, starting with Mr. X playing first.
You should pay your fare ticket to Mr. X before moving your pawn. A detective controlling more than one pawn should move all their pawns before passing play to the next player.
Tabletalk is encouraged with your fellow detectives! Talk over the best move for each of you before your pawns are transported. Cooperation will help tighten the search!
Remember, your ticket supply reduces as you play, and it's possible one of your pawns could be stranded at a location without any applicable tickets to move. If this happens, your pawn is out of the game and is stranded, potentially blocking passage for all other pawns!
You must leave your ticket supply visible at all times to Mr. X.
For Mr. X
While all the detective's moves are made in the open, yours are made in secret, by writing on your logbook.
In order to move, you shield your logbook, and write in the first available spot where you're moving to, and then cover that spot with the ticket you used to move to that location. Note that the starting location card should not be written down. The detectives MUST be able to see the logbook once you've finished writing, as this is their clue to finding you.
Additional rules for Mr. X
Surfacing: Mr. X must "surface" or reveal themselves at regular intervals. when the holes on the logbook cover are wider. These are at moves 3, 8, 13, 18 and 24. When you surface, note the location you've moved to, as normal, and then place the clear pawn on that location number on the board. It remains there until your next move, when it is removed again.
Double moves: As Mr. X you can move to two different numbered locations in the same move by using the special 2x double move card. You only have two of these cards, so use them wisely! When you use this rule, discard one of the 2x cards.
A double move is a quick-escape feature that allows you to take two moves in quick succession. Both locations are recorded as usual, and all the normal movement rules apply. You can use whatever movement methods you want (taxi and bus, bus and underground, underground and taxi, or two of the same methods).
If you must surface on a double move, reveal yourself properly on the relevant part of the double move. Hint: double moves are great "cover your tracks" features, so if you can avoid using them when you have to surface, the more elusive you'll become!
Black (camoflage and boat) tickets: These are great camoflage tools. As Mr. X you only have 5 of these, so make good use of them! You can use them in place of any other regular fare ticket to camoflage the form of transportation you used to make a move. You can use them like this on a double move, if you so desire.
Alternatively, Mr. X is the only pawn who can travel down the Thames by boat! Mr. X must move to and from specific riverfront locations, following the solid black line in the river, and MUST use a black ticket to take the voyage. These routes are between locations 115 and 118, 115 and 157, or 157 and 194.
The end of the game
The game is over IF:
- A detective moves onto a numbered location that Mr. X occupies. In this case the detectives are the winners.
- If none of the detectives can move because they've all run out of applicable tickets, then Mr. X wins.
- If none of the detectives have caught Mr. X after their 24th move, then Mr. X wins.
After the game is over, Mr. X's logbook can be checked to confirm the movements of Mr. X.
Optional additional rules
None of these rules are required. Feel free to add them if you want to make the game more challenging!
In addition to the 5 times that Mr. X must reveal their location, the player MAY reveal themselves at other times in the game, in return for taking one ticket of choice from each of the detective's piles.
Mr. X cannot pass over another pawn on their route (by bus or underground) to reach the next numbered location. If a detective is sitting on, for example, location 2 in the above diagram, and Mr. X was intending to travel from location 1 to location 3 by bus, or to location 4 by train, this route would not be possible, because the detective is "Cutting Off" that route. Detectives do not have to obey this cut off rule and may pass over by bus or train another pawn sitting on a taxi-only location.