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Game Review: Black Stories: The Movie Edition

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“Kiss of Death – The secret agent was supposed to be killed from behind. A kiss saved his life.” Guess why?

Kikigagne? takes its classic Black Stories riddle game to a new level with Black Stories: The Movie Edition. Like the previously reviewed Black Stories, The Movie Edition gives a set of cards with riddles on one side and the answers on the other. One player is the Riddle Master and reads the clue aloud and then answers “Yes” and “No” questions from the other players. Gradually, the players are able to sort out the mystery and discover the cause of death.

While some players may complain about the lack of background information given in the original Black Stories–there are oddly specific answers that can only be deduced through a marathon of questions–The Movie Edition gives the foundation that each riddle is based on a popular film. This brings in a new dynamic in which players can draw inspiration not only from the ether but also from movies they have seen.

Further hints are available from the eerie black, white, and red drawings that accompany each riddle and solution. They are cartoony, but have an edge to them that complements the dark stories nicely. Just flipping through the artwork can raise hairs. They can also be another springboard for thought as players attempt to think of the solution to the black story. For example, in the above riddle about the Kiss of Death, the image of the man looks not unlike a sketch of Sean Connery.

Given the story, the image, and their own knowledge of film, the players ask yes/no questions attempting to come to the solution. On the Kiss of Death, a player might ask if the agent is about to be attacked (yes), if something he saw gave him warning (yes), and then if the person killed was in fact the assassin (yes). Bonus points could go for naming the film, 1964’s Goldfinger in which 007 sees the reflection of his would-be killer in the Bond girl’s eyes.

Some of the movies from which the riddles come are fairly obscure, especially for younger audiences. While this could be a negative in terms of playability, it does provide hints as to what movies to add to one’s “to watch” list. Most films, however, are widely known.  The game includes titles such as Sleepy Hollow, Black Dahlia, Nightmare on Elm Street and plenty more from Bond.

Black Stories: The Movie Edition is a game for two to 15 players, ages 14 and up. As it is set in films, the game asks a whole new level of game play and thought from players. The randomness of these situations one is queried about seems more credible with a story set around it. On top of that, players who have seen the movie get an extra thrill by being able to name it, and players who have not seen it now know what to watch next. While perhaps frustrating to those who do not enjoy guessing games, The Movie Edition is great for riddle-enthusiasts and film-buffs alike.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.