There is a common and unfortunate assumption by many in the gaming community that there is a direct correlation between a game’s complexity and length of time to play it with originality and uniqueness. To many, the belief is that because there are so many more quick, concise, and short titles out there compared to their more weighty brethren that by a sheer matter of statistics any new lightweight social game must be some kind of ripoff, retread, or derivative of another previously released game and is therefore clearly not worth paying any attention to.
In fact, the argument could be made that making memorable and creative filler games is actually more challenging to design than complex ones because you only have so much space to work with. The less room you have, the more effort and ingenuity it takes to create something that can stand out on its own.
You know, like Visitor in Blackwood Grove.
In this lightweight card-based deduction game, you are effectively transplanted into your own version of Flight of the Navigator. One player acts as an alien whose ship has accidentally crash landed here on Earth. The only thing holding the outside world at bay is a strange forcefield the ship has erected. This forcefield is oddly permeable to certain things however, which is determined by the alien setting a “Pass Rule” at the start of each game. However, because they’re an alien and all (contrary to like every sci-fi TV show and movie), they don’t speak English. Which means the Rule can only be determined via a series of picture cards.
On the alien’s side is another player acting as The Kid, the plucky do-gooder who wants to help the alien repair their ship and get them home. Their goal is to figure out what that Rule is. It could be anything from “Things that contain metal” to “Things that fit in a picnic basket”. If the Kid can correctly guess in time, then both they and Alien win!
Working against them are the remaining players, acting as various branches of US security forces. Each agency is looking for the opportunity to break through the forcefield first, which won’t bode well for the Alien’s whole ‘wanting to live’ angle. The only saving grace is that every agency is in it for themselves, because reasons. But if any of them correctly guess the Rule before the Kid, then it’s all over for our extraterrestrial tourist.
Over a series of short rounds, players take turns offering up a picture to the Alien who then tells them whether it would make it through the forcefield or not and / or must make a guess. At the end of each round the Alien will also share another card with the group. Time is of the essence though! If the Alien runs out of cards to share, then they also lose.
Apparently that forcefield only has so much juice.
Visitor of Blackwood Grove is essentially Mysterium meets E.T. Using a mix of slightly asymmetric player powers, a shrewd implementation public and hidden information to keep players guessing, and a high degree of replayability between the variety of card pictures and the open-ended nature for the Alien to pick a Rule that’ll be easy enough for one player to guess but difficult for the rest. The resulting efforts is an original 20 minute game that’s approachable, entertaining, and just a little out of this world.
To prepare you for that situation, we’re raffling off a copy of the game as a form of preparation material. So get ready to get your 80’s sci-fi on.
From now until June 2nd you can check the contest out on our Facebook page, or by entering below. Just follow the entry form and proceed with the contest. The more you do, even if just one, you still have a better chance than not entering at all. Of course you’re welcome to do that too. But your odds of winning drop to zero. No pressure or anything.
The Fine Print: The Cardboard Republic, in conjunction with Resonym is giving this game away strictly for entertainment purposes. This act is not a paid endorsement by Resonym or any other entity. This contest is open to individuals only. Staff members of The Cardboard Republic and Resonym are not eligible to participate. For winners outside of the Continental US, the publisher reserves the right to request they cover part or all of the shipping costs.