The sound of footfall is heavy on the crooked stones of the streets. The officers split up, venturing alone into the foreboding alleys, in dogged pursuit of the killer they are seeking. On the main street, the rumble of carriage wheels is mostly unheeded. Those who bother to glance at the coach only see the shadowy outline of its passenger. From the street, no one can see the eerie smile on the man’s face, nor the bloodied handkerchief he tucks back inside the pocket of his coat. As he is carried off into the darkness, the police hunt on.
In Letters from Whitechapel , players take on the roles of detectives, scouring the streets of London’s Whitechapel district in a hunt for history’s most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper. One player steps into the mind of the killer, trying to commit his savage acts of murder while eluding police capture. The game pits one against many, as the police try to apprehend Jack before he can claim five unfortunate victims, while Jack races to make his kills and escape to his Hideout.
In earlier previews, we looked at both parts of the game, Hell and Hunting . Today, we will discuss Special Movements Jack can use in his escapes, the sinister Double Event, and optional rules for both the Ripper and the police.
Special Movement and the Double Event
As Jack flees the scenes of his horrific murders, he has a few tricks up his sleeve to fool investigators. Each Night, Jack receives Special Movement tokens that he may use to better elude his pursuers. Using a Coach token, Jack may hire a carriage to move two circles instead of one. Also, by using the Coach, Jack can move undetected through crossings containing Policeman. The Alley token lets Jack cross a block of houses that is bounded, but not interrupted by the dotted lines. This lets Jack sneak his way past detectives and move more rapidly toward his Hideout. However, Jack cannot declare his escape after using a Special Movement to move onto his Hideout; he must always take a normal movement to end on his Hideout space.
In the above example, Jack uses an alley token to move from 139 to 115.
On the third Night, the Ripper ratchets up the stakes for detectives by committing two murders. This is known as the “Double Event.” Regular rules are followed, though this time Jack kills one victim, and stealthily moves to another location to murder a second. He records the number of each crime scene on his Move Track sheet, in any order he wishes. The Hunting phase does not commence until both murders are revealed, and since the detectives cannot be sure which order the kills took place in, they cannot be certain which location Jack is escaping from at the beginning of Night three. This makes their job of trying to hem him in even more difficult, as they must choose to either focus their forces on one crime scene, or attempt to divide and conquer. If the police don’t manage to capture Jack on this night, or at least narrow down his Hideout, the Ripper only has to kill one final victim and escape to dodge justice for his heinous crimes once and for all.
Optional Rules to Help the Ripper
For players who want to present the Police with an added challenge, optional rules can be implemented to assist Jack in carrying out his vile acts and escaping from those who would seek to stop him. Jack’s Letters is one of these rules, and it allows Jack to use one of his letters on Nights two through four. The Ripper, known for his taunting missives to detectives and other important figures in the Whitechapel Murder cases, can use a letter once per Night to change the position of the Police Patrols attempting to stop him. The letters are “Dear Boss,” “Saucy Jacky,” “From Hell,” and “Goulston Street.” Each of these letters has a different effect, but all result in a disruption of the carefully laid plans of the Police players.
For example, Jack can use his “Saucy Jacky” letter to move two Police patrol tokens to other positions on the board, so that he may kill and flee the scene more easily.
The “Goulston Street” letter, which represents the Goulston Street Graffito, allows Jack to choose a Policeman pawn (red, green, or blue). The Police players must then choose to move either Jack’s chosen pawn or the brown pawn to Goulston Street, disrupting the plan they had set up to capture the Ripper.
With the addition of the False Clues optional rule, Jack may gain blue False Clue markers, which he can use to throw the pursuing detectives off his trail. For every five yellow Clue markers Jack reveals to the Police during a single Night, Jack receives a False Clue. These can be placed on any numbered circle at the beginning of the Clues and Suspicion phase, and block that circle for the rest of the Night. The False Clue prevents Policeman pawns from searching for Clues and executing arrests on that circle. This means that Jack can safely use that space during his escape without detection or capture.
Optional Rules to Assist the Police
In order to better help the Police as they search for the devious Jack the Ripper, the following optional rules make the killer’s horrible agenda more difficult to carry out.
Rushing allows detectives a third action to choose from. When a detective chooses to Rush, he may move his Policeman pawn to any adjacent Crossing. This is particularly useful if other detectives have turned up Clues that allow detectives to get an idea of Jack’s potential location. Rushing allows a detective to block Jack’s escape, possibly leading to a capture!
The addition of Area Arrests means that a detective may Execute an Arrest on all of the numbered circles adjacent to his location, instead of just one. This wider net makes the Police extremely difficult opponents to elude.
The I Know Your Address optional rule involves a special Police role called the Head of Investigation. Each Night, the police players randomly determine who will lead the task force for the night by turning over the top tile in the Head of Investigation pile. The Policeman of the corresponding color will take command for the Night. Interestingly, each Head of Investigation tile has an image and name of a real member of the Whitechapel Murders Investigations.
The I Know Your Address optional rule comes into play if Swanson (brown) or Abberline (red) become Head of the Investigation for the Night. Once per game, when either of these players is Head of the Investigation, he may immediately Execute an Arrest and name any circle on the game board. If that circle is Jack’s secret Hideout, the detectives win the game.
Finally, with the Catch Me, If You Can optional rule, Jack may not choose red numbered circles OR numbered circles adjacent to them as his Hideout. This allows detectives a head start in deducing possibilities for Jack’s Hideout, while making the Ripper’s choice of hiding spots even more difficult.
Join the hunt for Jack the Ripper, or take on the role of the killer himself in the suspense-filled game of cat and mouse that is Letters from Whitechapel. Pre-order at your local retailer today, and check keep checking back for more on Letters from Whitechapel !
Letters from Whitechapel is a thematically engrossing board game of deduction in which one player takes the role of the infamous Jack the Ripper, while up to five other players are detectives pursuing him through Victorian London. After committing his horrible murders, Jack must outmaneuver the detectives in the tangled streets of the Whitechapel District. Meanwhile, the detectives must use clever deduction and their superior numbers to hunt Jack the Ripper down before he can kill again or elude them forever.