Night is about to fall in London’s Whitechapel district. The detectives and their patrols have gathered for one last hurried conversation before they split off to begin their beats for the night. There is a strange sort of energy in the group. For a month, they have been patrolling the streets, hoping to catch the Ripper at his gruesome task. He hasn’t claimed a new victim in weeks. Will tonight be the night they finally capture the monster?
In Letters from Whitechapel, designed by Gabriele Mari and Gianluca Santopietro, one player takes on the role of the Jack the Ripper. The other players become Police detectives, trying to deduce Jack’s location and arrest him before he can commit any more horrific murders.
Played over four Nights, Letters from Whitechapel immerses players in the terror gripping London’s Whitechapel district. This thrilling one-versus-many game features a series of phases carried out by one team or the other, as Jack plans his kills while the Police work together to close in on him. In our last preview, we stepped into the mind of a predator while we looked at Hell, part one of the game. Today, we will search for the Ripper in part two, Hunting, following a hypothetical game turn as played by the detective players.
After the brutal slaying of his victim, Jack has replaced the Wretched pawn of his choice with a crime scene marker, and recorded the location of the crime (159) on his Move Track sheet.
Next, during the Escape in the Night phase, Jack chooses any adjacent numbered circle connected by dotted lines. He documents the number on his secret Move Track sheet. Jack has moved in secret, and this number is now his location.
The Police know that Jack is making his escape, starting from the Crime Scene token. Now, the rush begins to cut off Jack’s route back to his Hideout. Remember, the Jack player chose the location of his Hideout in secret at the beginning of the game, so no one Police player knows exactly where he is headed.
Now, the deduction begins. In the Hunting the Monster phase, each Police player moves his pawn along the dotted lines, from Crossing to Crossing. The Police players may (and should) consult with each other before and during movement in order to strategically place their pawns to give them the best chance of discovering Clues and ruining the Ripper’s escape!
Police pawns are moved from Crossing to Crossing along dotted lines. These Policeman pawns close in on the Crime Scene. The black pawn serves as a round marker, keeping track of which Night is currently being played.
After all of the Policeman pawns have been moved to the satisfaction of their players, the search for the Ripper begins in earnest. During the Clues and Suspicion phase, detectives track down leads, in an effort to deduce Jack’s location and capture him. In order to get an idea of Jack’s escape route, a detective may choose to Look for Clues. A detective who thinks he as deduced where Jack is lurking could even choose to Execute an Arrest.
The Investigation Heats Up
Using the photo above as an example, let’s say Jack has just made his first move of the Night. The Detectives have finished moving their pawns. Now, it is time for them to take their actions. The player controlling the green Policeman pawn can choose to Look for Clues or Execute an Arrest. He decides to attempt an arrest, after deducing that Jack must be on one of the circles adjacent to the crime scene, since Jack has only moved once so far this Night. The detective announces he will execute an arrest, and chooses circle 173. Referring to his secret Move Track sheet, Jack confirms that this is not his current location. The green player’s turn is over, and Jack is still at large . . . for now!
The detective controlling the blue Policeman pawn decides to use his action to Look for Clues in order to gain more information about Jack’s escape route. He chooses to inspect number 183. Looking at his secret Move Track Sheet, Jack informs the Police that he has not been to circle 183 on this Night. The detective tries again, this time with the adjacent 157. Jack refers to his sheet, and then places a yellow Clue marker on 157 – the Police have found a trace of Jack’s former whereabouts!. A player may Look for Clues with the same Policeman pawn until there are no more numbered circles adjacent to his location, or until a Clue marker is placed.
Since Jack has only moved once this Night, the detectives can deduce that his current location is 157. Now, they have an idea of where he might move next, which will help them formulate a strategy to close in on the Ripper and bring him to justice.
If Jack has not been captured, and has not reached his Hideout after all of the Police players have taken actions, Hunting continues with Jack making another move toward his Hideout in a repeat of the Escape in the Night phase.
The Hunt ends when the Ripper eludes the Police, reaches his Hideout, and announces his escape. Unfortunately for the denizens of Whitechapel, the Ripper will begin a new Night by targeting his next set of potential victims. If the police arrest Jack, or keep him from reaching his Hideout by square 15 on his Move Track sheet, the Hunt (and the game) is over, and the Police are victorious!
In our next preview, we will discuss Special Movements, which help the Ripper evade capture. We will also examine optional rules for both Jack and the Detectives, which add new levels of difficulty for both sides, including Jack’s Letters and False Clues.
Letters from Whitechapel pits the infamous Jack the Ripper against up to four dedicated Police opponents, each side trying to deceive the other in order to achieve their own agendas. Will the Police players finally succeed in bringing down history’s most elusive serial killer? Or will the Ripper once again get away with his awful crimes? It’s up to you, in Letters from Whitechapel!