Mr. X, one of Scotland Yards’ most notorious criminals, is running wild through the city of London, plotting destruction, and wearing a nifty, monogrammed ball cap or visor. That is the premise of the classic Ravensburger game, Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard Board game pits a team of players against Mr. X in a chase through the streets and subway tunnels of London. Using bus passes, taxi fares, and train tickets, the Police team, consisting of 2 to 5 players, combs the city, looking for the illusive criminal.
Scotland Yard was released in 1983, winning the 1983 Spiel des Jahres, a prestigious “Game of the Year” award for German games. It was released by Milton Bradley for sale in the American market in 1985. The Ravensburger edition of the game has remained in print continuously since its release, with a special 20 year anniversary edition issued in 2003. The game has sold over 4,000,000 copies world wide.
The Ravensburger Edition
According to the Archives Manager at Ravensburger, Scotland Yard began production in 1979 at the Otto Maier Publishing Company (now Ravensburger). There were six people involved in the development–Werner Schlegal the editorial manager, a product manager, a purchasing manager, a graphic designer, and a game editor. The team was asked to develop a world travel game in June of 1979. After a few months in development, the team had decided on a foxhunt. The “fox” eventually turned into the infamous Mr. X, and the hunters evolved into detectives. Finally the team chose the famous London police station, Scotland Yard, and adopted a map of London for the board.
Scotland Yard even inspired a sequel, “Mr. X,” which pits the detectives in another romp throughout the highways and bi-ways of their fair land in an attempt to capture the famous bad guy.
You can buy the older Ravensburger edition of the Scotland Yard board game at Amazon, eBay, or Board
Game Geek for about $20.00, while the updated edition is available online at the Ravensburger website for $39.99.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the Ravensburger games is the nifty Mr. X visor, or in the newer versions, the baseball cap. They are exclusive to the Ravensburger game, so you will have to shell out the extra cash if you are looking for an addition to your wardrobe and not just your game closet.
The Milton Bradley Edition
In 1985, Milton Bradley released the Scotland Yard board game under license for distribution to an American audience. With the rules in tact, the only major loss to the American version was the Mr. X visor or ball cap. Considering that we invented the game of baseball, you’d think that they would include the cap, but no luck. If you want a special Mr. X costume when you play the Milton Bradley edition, you’ll need to sew your own.
With the American version long out of print, your best bet would be to check Amazon, eBay, or Board Game Geek. If you aren’t picky about the version, start stalking your local thrift stores. With over 4,000,000 copies of the game sold worldwide, one is bound to turn up at a thrift store near you.