Billabong Boardgamers

Mystery Rummy: Rue Morgue

Players: 2-4
Reproduced here with kind permission from Funagain Games.

Feed the monkey

[This game has earned the nickname 'Feed the Monkey' in my gaming group because every time you make a meld you add a card to the stash underneath the Orang-utan card (I acknowledge the incorrect label, but 'Feed the Ape' doesn't roll off the tongue so well).]

Mystery Rummy Case No. 2 is certainly of the same genre as its predecessor, Case No. 1: Jack the Ripper. It features similar-looking cards, and the distinction between evidence cards (with the little magnifying glass in the corner), which you can play any number of on your turn, and gavel cards (with a - surprise! - gavel in the corner), which you can only play one of, remain. But that's about where the similarities end.

The premise of the game is that you are an investigator in the case of the murders at the Rue Morgue. Unlike in Jack the Ripper, everyone knows the orang-utan did it; the task is to prove it before everyone else does. At the beginning of the game, four cards are set aside, hidden underneath the orang-utan card, as a kitty which goes as bonus points to the player who goes out. Every time you make a meld, you have to add a card to this kitty (feeding the orang-utan), from either the top of the draw stack or the top of the discard pile. Needless to say, this pile gets pretty big the further the game progresses!

Murders in the Rue Morgue can be played by two or three individuals or by four playing partners. There is a bit of trading between partners in the four-player game that allows you to subtly suggest to your partner what cards you are interested in. There are also special gavel cards that give you bonuses if you have certain other combinations of cards, which raises the game above traditional rummy.

This game doesn't seem to offer quite as many possibilities as the first in the series and is something of a more pedestrian kind of rummy game. One hand I played ended before it got round the table once. I suspect it is a better partners game than for two or three individuals. It is different enough from Jack the Ripper for me to not feel that it is the same game rehashed. If you enjoy rummy games, this may be your cup of tea. Just beware of the orang-utan.

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