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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night» Forums » Reviews

Subject: You might like the cards, but probably not much else rss

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Mark Schlatter
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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night is a roll-and-move trivia game. If that statement leaves you disinterested, the rest of this review probably won't change your mind. The trivia in question involves identifying books and authors from the first lines of the book. If that gets you interested, well, there's not much more to the package than that.

The game contains a game board, four player tokens, a die, book tokens for keeping score, and lots of cards with first lines on them --- at least 550 of them. While the tokens are nice, the cards are pretty minimal, thin, and not up to (say) Trivial Pursuit standards for construction.

The rules are intended to be pretty simple. You roll a die and move along the single track on the board. Where you land determines a category (e.g., Fiction: 1900-1950 or Poetry). Someone draws a card from that category, reads the first lines, and you get to try and guess the author or book. If you do either, you get a book token. First to eight book tokens wins.

There's almost nothing in terms of decision making. You do have four corner spots --- two where you get to choose your category and two where an opponent chooses your category, but that's it. There's even a "Lose Your Turn" spot on the board (which I ignored with the indulgence of my wife).

Surprisingly, you do have to house-rule this game a bit. Recall that you get a book token if you name the author and/or book. Well, one category is Shakespeare, which makes naming the author pretty trivial. We decided you had to name the play (although my wife suggested naming Bacon as the author).

The cards range from easy (the first sentence of the Constitution of the United States) to quite hard (The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu). We saw at least one mistake --- the card had the Communist Manifesto written by Marx only, instead of Marx and Engels. There's only one question per card, so you have the basic trivia game problem with replayability, and some categories have twice the cards of others (although you appear to have the proportional numbers of spaces on the board). The smallest categories have about 26 cards.

Since there's really little to no mechanics involved, you are basically getting a bunch of cards with first lines on them. My wife and I enjoyed the questions (especially when we made good guesses), but not the game. This is one of the cases where you probably get just as much entertainment, if not more, from reading questions to other people than from playing the game.
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