Game Review, Scotland Yard

This is a game review of Scotland Yard, one of the oldest board games in the cafe. I got this game as a gift when I was in primary school back in 1988. So this game is almost 21 years old!


Scotland Yard is a very interesting deductive and cooperative game for up to 6 players. One player will play as Mr X the bad guy who is at a secret location on the map. The rest of the players will be detectives working together to deduce the location of Mr X.

Game Components

The components for the game are of pretty good quality and perhaps that explain why it survive the last 20 years. The game board depicting the map of London is beautifully illustrated. The player pieces are simple but functional.

Game Play

Scotland Yard has very interesting game play mechanics. It is a cooperative game that involves both deduction and strategy. Players acting as detectives will cooperate to beat one player acting as the villain. The game starts with detectives placed at various locations on the map.

Each player acting as a detective will have a number corresponding to a location on the map.

The player acting as a villian has a location as well but nobody know exactly where he is. For the detectives to win the game, they have to catch him at his current location.

Where the heck is Mr X?

To try to capture Mr X, detectives have to move to different locations on the map, hoping that they will land on the location of Mr X. To move around the city, detectives can take different modes of transport such as taxi, bus or train by using the tickets allocated to them.

Run out of tickets and you are stuck!

Different locations have different modes of transport available (indicated by color) and detectives can only travel one stop to another location using an available mode of transport. For example, the detective below can take a taxi and only travel from the current taxi stand to the next immediate taxi stand.

Only taxi are available at location 158 as represented by the yellow semi circle

Different modes of transport enable players to travel different distance as the stops may be further apart. Effective use of the transport system is the key to winning this game.

Trains allow you to travel further since the train stations (red marking) are further apart

Mr X, like the detectives, get to travel around the map too. Transport tickets used by the detectives are given to Mr X. As Mr X moves, the only clue that  detectives get is the mode of transport that he uses.

There he is!

At various intervals, he will have to reveal his location. Using this location and mode of transport that he subsequently takes, detectives will have to deduce his location and land at his location.

Mr X is going to reveal himself soon!

Detectives have to catch him before the end of 24 rounds before he escapes. If that happens, the detectives will have lots of explanation to do. "You mean that 5 detectives can't catch a single fugitive!?"


Scotland Yard has a great theme. Players engage one another trying to hunt down Mr X. There are lots of interactions as players strategize on how they plan to corner the villian. 

One of the strategy is to spread out initially and close in once Mr X reveals himself

When Mr X reveal himself in the location and provide clue on his next mode of transport, it is really fun to try and deduce where he plans to go. Playing the villian is exciting as well as the player will have to try and shake off the detectives that are hot on his heels.


I think Scotland Yard is a real classic. The game mechanics are interesting and it is a pretty easy game to pick up. There are lots of interactions as well as excitement as detectives anticipate the revealing of the location of Mr X. There are many interesting strategies that both sides can use such as Mr X giving a glance at a particular location of the board to mislead detectives about his current location.

The only drawback of the game is that the game experience is heavily dependent on the players themselves. The player that acts as Mr X got to be good enough to give the detective team a good challenge. Similary the detective team has to be good enough to make the hunt exciting and rewarding. A off balance in either side can make the game experience less than ideal.

The experience of playing as a detective or Mr X is also very different. In the role of detective, the emphasis is more on coooperation and deduction while playing Mr X involves more of planning your movement so that you don't get trap into corners.

Scotland Yard is a great game with great game mechanics. Perhaps it is a bit old which is why most people would not have noticed it. That is a pity considering that Scotland Yard is the recipient of the 1983 Spiel des Jahres game of year award. If deduction and cooperation game is your cup of tea, you definitely do not want to give Scotland Yard a miss!

Pitstop Cafe, be part of the fun!

P.S On the side note, I think someone should come out with a Singapore version for this game considering we have a great theme for it....

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