Game Designed by: Jakub Caban & Bartosz Idzikowski
Developed by: Malgorzata Mitura
Illustrated by: Magdalena Klepacz
Published by: Board & Dice
There are over 150 cards, nearly 30 wooden tokens, a game board, a rules booklet and 3 adventure booklets. These story books are the three 'games' that link together as a complete tale.
In each story you (collectively 'you' if you are not playing solo) play one of the main characters and view the story from their perspective. This is a unique way of solving mysteries, very clever.
After playing through the first book, where you are in the mind of Elizabeth Weber (wife of Ben, who is another character of interest), and reaching a conclusion, you move onto File #02 and step into the mind, and shoes, of John Barns, and ex-boyfriend of Elizabeth.
About the game's production.
1. All components are high quality.
2. The three books are the 'go to' clues and actions as directed by the player/s exploration of the story board.
3. The books are very well laid out, with headers highlighted in multi colours (patchy like the lines that appear on a VCR tape when it has a wrinkle or you have Low Memory in your PC) and advice highlighted in what looks like white paint.
4. The first File: Elizabeth Weber, contains a short, but equally compelling, Tutorial. If you cannot complete the tutorial you have little hope of solving the mysteries. There is an option to skip the tutorial, but my suggestion is that you really shouldn't.
5. On a different note, I, personally, do not like the font used, especially for the clue paragraphs which are smaller text than the prologues, mainly because the lower-case 'a' and lower-case 'o' look similar; on at least one occasion I read 'cooch' instead of 'coach'. This is the only complaint I have about the game and I only bring it up because it's one of those things that hits me whenever I open any of the books.
Now onto Book #3 the file of Black_Princess. Like all of the game books this is filled mainly paragraphs which you reach via your examination and exploration of the map board. To make finding the necessary passengers easy the outer column of each page has the paragraph numbers printed on it in bold red.
There is no time limit on solving the mysteries, so players aren't under the pressure of the clock. There is more than one conclusion you may reach, generally being told that you have reached the final point of your investigation on the track you are on, go back and try another tack.
Every move you make, every road you take, every paragraph you read, may direct or redirect the way the story unfolds for you. Each character sees things differently, so it is up to the player/s to weave and stitch the dialogue into the truth and correctly identify the required solution.
Throughout the investigation you will get frustrated, with the hints and clues sometimes being confusing, and want to do more than your available Actions allow. When this occurs you have to take a 'Stress' card and do what it says before continuing to play. Similarly you can pick up 'Condition' cards which are advantageous by allowing you entry to some specific paragraphs.
If you play with other people then you should all put your brains together and cooperate - the more players, the more mind power, the more suggestions, the better.
You need to involve yourself in a full investigation as this is no light-weight, join the dots game. Treat it with the respect it deserves and you will enjoy a truly invigorating adventure.