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Board games for couples: Mr. Jack

by David Hirtle

Our first board games for couples review is the two player murder mystery game Mr. Jack.

Mr Jack box

Complexity: medium

Setup is quick and easy. The rules are straightforward; some character powers may require clarification, but the rulebook has a section for just that purpose and we learned the powers quickly.

That said, the game definitely requires strategic thinking. It's definitely advantageous to think ahead; which characters you choose to move often depend on which characters will be left for your opponent.

Interaction: low

Mr. Jack is definitely more of a thinking game than a talking game. We sometimes wonder aloud at each other's moves, but you also have to be careful not too reveal too much. Bluffing can definitely come in handy for the Jack player.

Unfortunately, there's not much to be done on the other person's turns. You can try to plan ahead, but their move may change the board dramatically. If the other player needs time to think through their next move, it's easy to get bored. I find myself checking Twitter or something, which is definitely suboptimal for a couple's game.

Confrontation: low

Although one player is essentially trying to trap the other, the game is not all that confrontational. You're sharing the same pieces the whole game and only indirectly ruining the other's plans (which makes for a lot of fun). There's no outright hostility.

Length: 45 minutes

The box claims 30 minutes but it usually takes us a little longer; analysis paralysis sometimes rears its ugly head. Occasionally there are quick games where Jack sneaks out early.

Value: high

Lots of replayability here. You can take turns being the detective and Jack. Sells for about $35.


Thematic, low confrontational fun. Mr. Jack hits our table quite often. We have to be in the right mood, though. Sometimes after the little one is asleep we're just too tired and end up playing something else instead.

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