Set in 1888, Scotland Yard's new recruits have a tough case on their hands. Based on the real-life Whitehall mystery, there is a copycat Jack on the loose dropping body parts around London. Can investigators follow the trail and catch Jack before they disappear into the night.
To begin, players in Whitehall Mystery 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 the game, 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 and Jack can visit these in any order. 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. These include carriages, alleyways, and boats.
The investigators then place their figures on one of the yellow bordered crossings. These are black squares with a yellow boarder.
Jack then drops a red marker on their first discovery location and moves. They will have 15 moves to make their way to the next drop point. If they manage to drop all parts successfully, they win the game. If they run out of moves or get arrested the investigators will win.
The Hunt Is On
Over 3 Whitehall Mystery rounds, Jack will have to navigate their way around the map to make it to 3 discovery locations. They must survive a round of cluing and arresting before they can make their drop. This sounds easy, but after each drop you narrow down where you will be heading next which shrinks the board. When it comes to the final drop, the investigators know which area you will be going to and can surround it. This makes slipping through the gaps challenging and tense!
As an investigator, it is exciting when you finally catch a clue and start to pick up where Jack has been. Yet, it’s easy to second guess yourself and move out of formation on a whim that Jack may have tried to flank you. Most of the time, Jack is stood in front of you hoping you don’t arrest them on a last-minute hunch. This role works well with one person playing the investigators and with 3 people controlling them individually. When you play this role with others, it is fun to bounce theories off one another and strategise.
The way the game balances gameplay for both parties is satisfying. However, it is hard to be Jack in this game. Due to the small board, there aren’t many places to go where the investigators cannot easily follow. You have to use your abilities wisely and try not use them up too quickly. If you drop a body part close to an investigator, and you don’t have carriage, it makes escaping near impossible as the investigators can close in quickly for the arrest. I have yet to see Jack win this game.
Whitehall Mystery is a great deduction game for 2-4 players. One player plays Jack, and the rest must try and deduce where they are and catch them. It’s a great setup for cat and mouse gameplay with palpable tension throughout! Unlike its predecessor, Letters to Whitechapel, this game is streamlined which makes it punchier. The setup is quick and the rules easy to teach. Also, the chase is quicker which means you can polish a game off in about 80 minutes at a push. A few new abilities help scale difficulty, and you can add in elements of the first game to help Jack out. You get the same hide and seek feeling that you do with Whitechapel with half the runtime and setup.
The theme may be a bit grizzly, and the developers haven’t shied away from this. The detectives are based on those from the unsolved case and the testimonies from it can be found throughout the rulebook. The board is less bloody than the original so could be seen as more child friendly.
Despite building on Whitechapel, Whitehall does have some shortcomings of its own. This game only caters up to 4 rather than 6 and it doesn’t offer as many unique elements which make Whitechapel so dynamic and tactful. Whitehall, at times, can seem a bit skin deep as there are only so many things you can mix up before you feel like you’ve tried everything.
Overall, this game is perfect for those that want a quick, heart pounding deduction game. It’s easy to play, setup, and delivers a great chase as one player tries to outmanoeuvre the others in any way possible. Even if you have Whitechapel sat on your shelf, Whitehall has a place as it offers a similar experience in a smaller package which is great for when you don’t have hours to game or for holidays. This is a well-produced game which will have you biting your nails to the wick as you try to catch Jack, or as you barely make your escape.