The Best Classic Board Games – Scotland Yard

If you’re looking for a game that has a little more depth, but not to the point of needing to take a course from your local community college to play it, Scotland Yard is the game for you.  The object of the game is to capture a criminal who is on the lam from Scotland Yard, chasing him or her through the streets and subways of London, England.  One player takes the role of the fugitive, the rest work together as members of Scotland Yard’s finest.

The 1985 Milton Bradley Scotland Yard

The criminal, Mr. X, can hop on board the subway, take a transit bus, or grab a taxi as he attempts to elude his pursuers.  The police players are always attempting to move into the same space as Mr. X, thereby capturing him.  However, although they know what method of transportation Mr. X is currently using, they usually don’t know where on the game board he is, except during the five times in the game that Mr. X must reveal his location.  Even armed with this knowledge, the police players have only so many turns to capture Mr. X, as they each have a limited number of movement tokens they can use.  Once all players have used up their movement tokens, they cannot move again.  If Mr. X avoids Scotland Yard’s net until all the other players have used up their tokens, he wins the game; if any player lands on Mr. X’s current location, they win the game.

The 1991 Ravensburger version of Scotland Yard

Interestingly, two game companies published this game.  In the United States, Milton Bradley secured the rights to sell Scotland Yard.  In Canada and Europe, Ravensburger distributed the game.  Of the two versions, the Ravensburger game is a far superior product, with much better quality playing pieces.  The game play is exactly the same, though.

The 2000 Ravensburger version of Scotland Yard

This is a game for 3 to 6 players, ages 10 and up, and takes around 45 minutes to complete.  Although Scotland Yard is not a true 100% cooperative play game, it has cooperative play elements.  The more players there are, the more difficult the game becomes, as the police players need to coordinate their searches (which can lead to some spectacular fiascos worthy of the Keystone Cops!).  It is also an award-winning game, winning the 1983 Spiel des Jahres (the German Game of the Year).

If you and your children are seeking a slightly more challenging board game to sink your teeth into, I heartily recommend Scotland Yard. Pick up a copy – you won’t be sorry!


5 Responses

  1. I just did a review for this on my site. I never played it as a kid, which is too bad. Its a wonderful game, but at least I’ve discovered it now.

  2. I am just making a blog related to this. If you agree, I would like to use some of your content. And with full refernce of course. Thanks in advance.

    – Andre

  3. Scotland Yard is one of the all-time best games. I don’t know what happened to our game growing up, but I recently bought the original milton bradley verson on e-bay, and my brother and I play all the time.

    The best way we like to play is have 3 detectives; 5 black tickets and one double move for mr. x; and remove restrictions on amount of times you can travel each method (taxi, bus, underground). It simplifies the game a bit, but is still a fantastic challenge for both teams. We have found the detectives have a slight advantage as far as percentage of wins.

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