Just in time for the spookiest time of year, Dark Stories, from Z-Man Games, has arrived. The deduction game (known as Black Stories elsewhere) features 50 cards, each describing a horror, macabre, or twisted tale. You take turns as the master, reading from cards. Each card is a different story and the front provides details to the detectives across the table. Based on what they’ve been told, the detectives ask a series of yes/no questions to the master. Hopefully, they are able to piece together the real story, which is spelled out on the back of the card.
For example, one card reads: “Veronica lies dead in the middle of a rye field. Behind her lies a package. No tracks are found near the body.” Players might ask the master questions like “Are there any gunshot wounds?” or “Is the package bigger than a breadbox?” The master can answer “yes,” “no,” or (to prevent wild goose chases) “irrelevant.”
Some scenarios really make detectives think and are very rewarding when they are sorted out. Others, I feel, border on too much exaggeration. (“A woman gave a man something to eat. Some time later, they both died.” Answer: “The man and the woman were Adam and Eve. After Adam ate the apple, they both lost their immortality.”) A bit of a stretch, in my opinion, but the ones that are fun are really fun.
Dark Stories are available in three varieties–Dark Stories, Dark Stories 2, and Dark Stories: Real Crime. While the first two deal with fictional situations, Real Crime refers to actual criminals and crimes, so brush up on your criminology before playing! You can play as many cards as you like and some mysteries can be solved quickly, some take a bit longer. More players (recommended age 13+ because of the content) make the game more fun as the group solves together. Dark Stories (and its sequels) is available now.
Disclosure: GeekDad was sent a copy of this game for review purposes.