First Impressions: Jack the Ripper

Hello everyone! I’ve put together review for you for this week. This weeks review is for Crypt Monkey Games, and the game is called Jack the Ripper. Let’s jump in and have a look at the game.

If You Love

  • Hand Management
  • Draw and Discard style games
  • Hidden Traitor
  • Card Based Combat
  • Quick “Filler” Games

How It’s Played

Jack the Ripper is a very straightforward game. The game play is completely draw and discard. The goal of the game is to figure out which player is Jack the Ripper, and get their health down to zero. The goal for Jack the Ripper is to make sure he is the last player standing. To start the game, you will be given a character card to determine whether or not you are Jack the Ripper. Each player will then be given three cards, and from there the game will commence. On your turn, you will draw a card from the item deck. Next, if they have a card in their hand that has a straight razor in hand, they must play at least one card. Once the card is played, complete the effect on the card. A player may use a card they have in response as well. Once each player has taken their turn, a card from the Ripper deck is drawn and that card is resolved. Play makes its way around the table in this fashion until there is only one player left standing, or if Jack the Ripper has been defeated.

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The Pretty Little Bow

When I received Jack the Ripper in the mail, I was at first a little confused. I opened up a box to find a burlap sack. Upon opening the sack, I realized it was the card game, and included with it was a play mat that helps keep the game and life points organized. After reading the name of the game (I’m a reviewer who likes to be surprised at the games I review so I have no bias either way towards it), and realized the setting, the burlap sack made much more sense to me to depict an old time feel to the game. It was a very nice touch. The cards themselves in terms of quality of the card were very nice. I would say nicer than most decks of playing cards. Very nice pick on the card quality. As for the layout on the cards, I was less than impressed. All the items that were depicted in the cards were just sort of there on the card in front of a black background. Some cards had the items sitting on something, but the background was creeping in much to close to the items depicted. If the item wasn’t sitting on something, the only background was a grey hue until it faded to black. Maybe it was meant to be thematic, but to me, it just gave the card too dark of a look for my liking. On top of that, it seemed like the items weren’t centered on the cards. Which was just odd to me. The item art itself was just decent, but that’s all. That’s not to say it is bad, but for me, there was nothing that popped out and grabbed my attention immediately. Another great thing is the rule book quality. Rather than being a fold up rule book, it a nice booklet and stapled together, which I much prefer even in small games over fold up books.

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Great Quality Card, But Why Is The Vase Off Centered?

What’d You Love?

Jack the Ripper has a refreshingly simple mechanic that works wonders for the game. All it is essentially is draw and discard. The only thing that makes this more complex than that is that you have a life counter and character that is being targeted by other players. With this mechanic, you have the ability to add in items, and defense mechanisms. Otherwise, this is a very easy game to get the hang of. This lends itself to making it to the table in many situations where you may not necessarily want to spend time explaining rules, or setting up a large board. Taking Jack the Ripper to a restaurant for example is a great place to pull this card game out. Its light and quick, and it can keep your attention while waiting for a meal, sitting and enjoying coffee with friends, and countless other situations. Its versatility is really what makes this game a good grab. I find that many small card games are trying to put too much on their cards and making everything quite confusing and tough to read, but Jack the Ripper steers clear of that with a game that gets down to the basics, without missing out on theme, nor fun.

What’s Not to Love?

I hate to rag on this more, but really, the only thing not enjoyable for me in this game was the layout of the cards. I’ve already gone over what part of the card layout doesn’t appeal to me, so I’m not going to take up more space by repeating myself about that. One thing however that I noticed was a slight hiccup in the rule book. While I was learning the game for the first time, I was going through rules and teaching as I went. We had the set up all done and I told our first player to draw their card. I was immediately told that we didn’t hand out our hands. No where in the rule book itself, did it say that at the start of the game, players get a starting hand. The only reason it was noticed was because they were on the Quick Set Up cards that each player gets to remind them about set up and game play. This to me is a crucial part of the set up that was missed in the rules. Luckily it is on the set up cards, but to me, having that in the actual rule book is necessary. *UPDATE: Apparently I missed the rule in the book which actually does state that each player is dealt three cards. I looked this rule booklet up and down, and actually had my wife confirm that I wasn’t missing anything. I really don’t enjoy admitting that I misread a rule book, but unfortunately that is the case this time. So on the bright side, that is one less thing to not love at least. UPDATE OVER*

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What’d You Think? 

With the exception to my distaste in the card layouts, I think that this is a great filler. Games have been exclusively completed in less than 25 minutes. Maybe even 15 or so if I actually timed it out. This is a game that I could introduce to anyone, and within five minutes, we could have a game going. It is just so easy to learn, and play. As an example of how easy and approachable this game is, I brought this to my parents house for something to play after dinner while we were chatting. My parents are generally very closed minded in games, and don’t spend much time exploring their options. “If it can’t be played with playing cards, what’s the point of playing” is their opinion for the most part. Well, my mom anyway. But, with Jack the Ripper, she found it very easy to get the hang of, and when the proper time to use each of her card types and all that sort of thing, and as a family we had a great time playing. It took her a couple of tries to realize she shouldn’t tell us when she is Jack, but she figured it out! For the reason of being able to reach such a wide audience of gamers, and non gamers alike, I will keep Jack the Ripper around for years. Very solid gameplay for being so simple. The way it can bring gamers into games, makes me realize it is a game that can make a new gamer. For a game of such simplicity to make me overlook the card layouts, it has done something very right.

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I hope that you have enjoyed my look at Jack the Ripper, and I can’t wait to bring you more reviews in the upcoming weeks! Don’t forget, I love you all!

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3 thoughts on “First Impressions: Jack the Ripper”

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