Whitehall Mystery is the second game in the Whitehall series and follows from its predecessor Letters from Whitechapel. Whitehall Mystery captures the same theme whilst streamlining the gameplay and runtime. The force at Scotland Yard are caught in another cat and mouse as a new killer is running about London dropping body parts. It’s as gruesome as it sounds! Is this a copycat or is the infamous Jack back!
To begin, players must decide which person is going to take on the role of copycat Jack. Once this has been decided the player who is Jack takes the screen and hides their movement sheet behind it. The rest of the players will choose an investigator to control.
Throughout Whitehall Mystery, Jack must place a body part in each quadrant of the map. When placing a part, they must choose a number in a white circle. At the beginning of the game this player chooses 4 locations in which they will drop the body parts. These will be known as the discovery locations. The Jack counter is then placed on the 0 of the board’s movement track. Jack then collects the red and yellow tokens and the special movement cards.
The investigators then place their figures on one of the yellow bordered crossings. These are black squares with a yellow boarder.
Once the setup is complete the hunt begins. During Whitehall Mystery Jack will move along the numbered circle locations and the investigators will move between the black squares. This means they will never share the same space. Each turn Jack will have to move once whereas the investigators can move up to 2 times or stay still.
Jack will begin by placing a red token on the board. This will be known as the discovery marker and will show the investigators the location of the first body drop. After this, Jack will then get to move and escape into the night. Every time Jack moves, they must also move the Jack marker on the board’s movement track so the investigators can see how many moves they’ve taken. Jack cannot move through an investigator unless they use the coach ability. But more on that later.
Then, it is time for the investigators to hunt the monster. Going in order of rank the yellow investigator will move, then blue and finally red. Once all have moved, they will then be able to perform 2 actions, clue or arrest. By clueing they can ask if Jack has gone through a space this round. If Jack places a yellow token down, known as a clue marker, the investigator cannot clue any other spaces. The next investigator will then take their turn. It is worth noting that investigators cannot clue a space which is not adjacent to them. This means the numbered circle has to be connected to the line they are on and isn’t blocked by a black square.
Arresting allows the investigator to choose one space they are adjacent to and arrest. If Jack is on this space, they have successfully caught Jack and won the game. If he is not, then the investigator’s turn is over.
This process is then repeated. Jack will have up to 15 moves to try and get to their next drop off point. Once they get to their next discovery location, all clue markers will be removed, and Jack will place a new red token on the board. The investigators will then start the chase again.
If Jack cannot get to their next location in 15 moves, they lose the game, and the investigators win. For Jack to win they must drop all the body parts and escape into the night.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
To mix up gameplay in Whitehall Mystery, players can use abilities. Jack has 3 different abilities they can use each game. They have 2 coaches, 2 alleys and 2 boats. These special moves can only be used once per game. The coach allows Jack to move 2 circles instead of one and they can pass through investigators using them. Alleys can help you move across a block of houses. A block of houses is an area that is bounded by black dotted lines. Boats mean you can travel between 2 blue circles if they are in the same block of water. A block of water is one bounded by black dotted lines. These special abilities can help with clean getaways or hiding your scent. However, you cannot use one of these abilities to jump directly to your discovery location. You must always arrive at your discovery location via a normal movement.
Each time Jack uses a special ability they must declare them and put them next to the movement track on the board. If using the coach, they must move the Jack marker 2 spaces instead of one. If you want to make the game harder, Jack can declare these movements but face down, so you do not know which transportation they have used. Additionally, you can let Jack reclaim one Alley or Boat at the start of each round, but I would only recommend this if the investigators are finding it too easy.
Investigators also get special movements they can use once per game. The red character can use the alley ability, the blue can use a boat and the yellow can move any investigator to a crossing adjacent to him. This officer cannot move, execute an arrest or search for clues if moved. As an optional rule, the yellow investigator can also use Smoker. Smoker is a Spitzbergen dog that offers 2 abilities, although you can only use one per game. Smoker can help you move one extra crossing, but you cannot do any action after that. Alternatively, you can continue searching for clues even if you have found one that turn.
Letters From Whitechapel
If you have played a lot of Whitehall Mystery and you want to increase the challenge, you can add in components from its predecessor – Letters from Whitechapel. In this bigger version, Jack has access to false clues. If you have this version, you can incorporate that rule into Whitehall. For every 5 clues discovered each round, Jack gets a false clue. Once Jack has moved, they can place a number of false clues down on the board. These tokens mean investigators cannot execute an arrest or search for clues on this space for the remainder of the round. Jack cannot place these on their next discovery location.
Furthermore, if you own the expansion Whitechapel Dear Boss, you can incorporate the Green and Brown investigator into Whitehall and switch them with yellow, blue or red. These characters come with different perks you can use once per game. The Green investigator lets you execute an arrest on all adjacent circles. Whereas the Brown investigator can call out any white numbered circle, if this circle is a discovery location, Jack is yet to reach, the investigators win the game.
And that is how you play the Whitehall Mystery! Best of luck out there. Will you catch the killer or will you outfox them all and escape into the night.