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The Black Spot
by Edward C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/24/2014 13:06:57
Bottom Line Up Front: The Black Spot is a fun game for creative people that could benefit from expansion and/or adult libations.

Extended Review:
The Black Spot is a diceless-GM-less storytelling game that lends itself to the Horror or Disaster genres, but could easily be adapted to any adventure that lends itself to a cinematic-style story. The equipment required for the game includes roughly a hundred cards (provided in the reasonably-priced PDF) and some means of generating a random number from 1-20, which most gamers will probably have on hand in the form of a d20. However, the numbers are only needed prior to the start of the game for generating characters, so any method can be used if a die isn't handy. Players will need to decide beforehand about how long they want the game to run, as that will have an impact on some of the rules. Once the length of the game and characters are estabished, play is begun by setting the initial scene and dealing out cards. Each player will take a turn explaining actions taken by their character, as guided by the cards they are dealt. Play ends when the cards run out or all players have left the scenario, either by escape or becoming a victim.

I did a Test-Drive on The Black Spot with a small group of experienced gamers. We chose the short minute-by-minute rule set, which limits the players to 15 seconds of explaining their character's actions. Rolls of the dice generated three characters that were drawn from the archetypes of horrod filmdom. Our characters were Ashley the Cowardly Athlete, Dave the Pensive Acrobat, and Serge the Madcap Mechanic. After choosing an opening scenario and playing a couple of cards each, we quickly found ourselves on top of a bus surrounded by zombie fry cooks. Ashley and Serge managed to escape by the luck of the draw, and will mourn the loss of Dave if they ever hear about it.

There are a few things to keep in mind with The Black Spot. First, there isn't a clearly-defined winner of this game. You could say that the winners are the survivors, but the survivors are just as likely to be eliminated from the game early as those who are victims. You could define the winner as the last person standing, but a game played by the rules could easily allow for the last few players to be eliminated all at once, or even for the game to end with more than one player still standing. For all practical purposes, the only way to determine a winner in The Black Spot is to decide who told the best story with the cards they were dealt.

Second, if you are the compulsive sort you must be made aware from the beginning that The Black Spot seems to have been somewhat of an arbitrary decision. In the pirate tradition, an individual who is given the Black Spot can expect to die in the near future. In this game, The Black Spot is an indicator that the game is transitioning into a new stage of activity. It could have just as readily been called "Dim the Lights" or "Cue the Eerie Theramin Music", but that would have been difficult to illustrate on a card, and The Black Spot is much more catchy.

The Black Spot, as mentioned previously, is geared toward the Horror genre. When the game is shifted into Danger Mode some sort of homicidal character or situation is engaged and the players are required to react in accordance with the descriptions of their characters. With very little effort the characteristics could be adjusted to Fantasy archetypes, for example, and Danger Mode could be a dragon or troll rather than a miscreant in a hockey mask. The author could probably think of an entire set of cards and market an expansion for any number of film genres. I don't know how well a RomCom set would sell at Drive-Through RPG, but if they could be advertised in Seventeen Magazine they could be a runaway hit.

The key to this game, though, is creativity. People who are not good at making up stories are going to find this game frustrating. People who are good at it will have a lot of fun. And if you are hanging out with your old friends from the High School Drama Club and are now old enough to have a couple of adult beverages, this is going to be EXTREMELY popular.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Spot
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The Black Spot
by DIMITRIOS K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2010 17:21:13
I am impressed, how good storytelling game it is. The cards create exciting adventures. It is easy to learn, as it has a few pages of rules and great replay value. it has 9 scenarios that gives the starting scene and then the cards will create the rest ones. It is a really good game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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