General Inspector strategy

Publié le par jpganong

Like Jack (see General Jack Strategy), there are three main strategies for playing the Inspector.  The Inspector's first and most common strategy is the Number's game but with the opposite aim of Jack.  In the Inspector's version of the Numbers game, the Inspector tries to equally split the remaining suspects between seen and unseen each turn in order to maximize those eliminated (i.e., flipped to their innocent side).  This is the most common strategy and it works pretty well.  For two players of roughly equal ability, if both are playing the Numbers game, the Inspector should win the majority of the time.  Jack typically has two or three suspects remaining at the end of the game and alibi cards will tip the balance in favor of the Inspector.

A second strategy is strength Erosion.  In Erosion, the Inspector gradually erodes the power of Jack by targeting the more desirable characters for elimination.  In general, both players would prefer to move the remaining suspects themselves.  Often the special power of that suspect is a bonus.  Some characters are more powerful or harder to isolate.  There is no consensus on which characters are most useful, but most would agree that Goodley and Holmes are more useful than Gull, for example.  If the Inspector has no reason to suspect one more than the other then it is better to rule out Holmes than Gull to prevent Jack from getting a free alibi card whenever he moves Holmes.  In my experience, this is the order of elimination desirability:
- Holmes
- Lestrade
- Stealthy
- Goodley
- Smith
- Watson
- Bert
- Gull

So, if everything is equal, the Inspector should eliminate Holmes before Lestrade, Lestrade before Stealthy and so on.  Most players would not agree with this specific list.  In particular, most players seem to rate Goodley higher.  My reasoning is that Goodley is so powerful that most players will choose to play him even if he is not a suspect so there is no much gained by eliminating him.  Also, Goodley isn't much of an escape threat.

Another consequence of this ranking (or your own ranking) is that at the end of the game if the Inspector must guess between multiple suspects, the odds on favorite is the lowest ranked one (all other things being equal).  This is because it was more difficult for Jack to save a lower ranked character throughout the game.  For example, if Holmes is still a suspect, then it could be because Holmes is Jack or it could be that Jack wanted to hoard alibi cards.  If Gull is still a suspect, then either Gull is Jack or else Jack got lucky as Gull's special ability makes him particularly difficult to save.  So, if at the end of the game, the Inspector must accuse either Goodley or Gull, most of the time he should choose Gull.  Even if Jack recognizes this, it is hard to do much about it.

A third strategy is Multiple Accusations.  In this strategy, the Inspector identifies a suspect that he thinks might be Jack and tries to isolate him.  They aren't actual accusations but they can be as powerful as an accusation.  If the Inspector is right, a huge number of suspects will be eliminated.  However, just like the normal accusation, if the Inspector is wrong, there can be dire consequences.  At the very least, fewer suspects will be eliminated.  This strategy works best when the isolation is proportional to the suspicion.  In early rounds, the Inspector typically doesn't have a lot of reason to suspect any character.  There still is a benefit to guessing who Jack might be but complete isolation if wrong will result in only a single elimination.  So it's best to isolate a couple of characters.  If the guess is right then there will still only be two suspects remaining!

Publié dans Stratégie

Commenter cet article

bonoracle 24/05/2009 21:58

Hello jpganong,

I would like to react to your so called strategy « Erosion strength ». As you probably know, I am not as experienced as you are : I mostly play at home with my children. Nevertheless here is my list, prepared as a result of reading your paper :

Group 1 : Goodley and Holmes
Group 2 : Lestrade and Stealthy
Group 3 : Gull
Group 4 : Bert, Smith and Watson

Comments:
There are characters that I can not break, so I created groups.

Group 1: as for you, here is Holmes ; I also place here Goodley, but I have no big arguments, simply, I noticed that some strong players like to eliminate Goodley early, so I do like this as well, and I admit it's pretty nice. My position on Goodley could evolve: I read an article written by scalpaf that said rightly that Goodley is easy to isolate (he can move and move the other characters in his turn on squares where they no longer can light him). 

Group 2: Stealthy and Lestrade are annoying to control, and their ability to escape put them here.

Group 3: Gull. It's hard to explain. I understand that you place him at the end of your ranking, because he is so easy to isolate; I do agree with you. However, in my opinion, I like to eliminate him early, because once he is isolated, he represents a threat to the remaining suspects, who must play unusual moves to keep him lightened.

Group 4: I can not yet decide between them. 

Thank you for your paper jpganong, it made me think a lot...

jpganong 12/05/2009 16:10

Hello, Bonoracle,

Yes, I would be very interested to see your ranking.

Thanks!

bonoracle 12/05/2009 01:01

Merci cyanidrik pour ta réponse.
Même si je pense avoir (à peu près) bien saisi les pouvoirs des personnages, j'ai encore un peu de peine à comprendre à quel moment de la partie ils sont importants. Je me méfiais de Gull, mais je n'avais pas encore perçu l'importance de Smith. Merci.

Thank you jpganong.
I think I have this time well understood what you mean. I will think about your article when I will play my next games, it will improve my skills. Thank you very much.
(I am not able to propose yet my own ranking, but I will try to create one. If so, I will propose it to you, if you want, for discussion.)

jpganong 10/05/2009 01:58

Hello, Bonoracle,

I'm not saying that it is a bad thing to eliminate Goodley but rather that it is my preference to eliminate Holmes, Lestrade and Stealthy first. The advantage of eliminating Holmes first is that otherwise Jack may choose to move Holmes and gets to preserve a suspect and get an alibi card. With Lestrade, Jack gets to move a police barricade. Jack does not get any extra benefit from keeping Stealthy but she is such a dangerous escape attempt that it is good to eliminate her. Even if she isn't Jack, she can force moves by making escape attempts. I can definitely see your point of view.

Thanks.

cyanidrik 04/05/2009 22:44

je n'ai pas été assez complet ... dans certaines configurations gull ne peut être laissé à l'inspecteur à cause de son pouvoir d'échange (s'il est dans l'ombre et que que jack choisit une stratégie de mettre les suspects à la lumière)... smith a également trop de pouvoir sur les lampadaires au premier tour et est donc trop important...