The upcoming board game St. Noire has a few very interesting things going for it. For one thing, it comes from X2 Games - a company created by Nolan Bushnell (co-founder of Atari) and Hollywood VFX wizard Zai Ortiz. Second, and most importantly, it takes physical board games in a new direction with its clever use of Amazon's Alexa devices.
Note that Alexa won't be speaking to you during the game, because that would be terrible. No, Alexa's job is to provide the atmosphere and actor voice performances (which they describe as being "Hollywood level") for an immersive murder mystery game. You'll be tasked with uncovering clues and questioning suspects to determine who's lying and who's telling the truth. Naturally, the main goal is to identify the killer - a character that's randomized for each game. There are also multiple storylines, victims, and endings to increase replayablility. So it's kind of like Clue, but, as you'll see, not really like Clue. Here's How X2 Games describes the gameplay:
Pay close attention… You only have 'til the end of night seven to solve the case.
To deduce who the killer is, explore the different locations in town to find the right murder weapon and confirm suspect’s whereabouts on the night of the murder.
Not everyone will give an HONEST answer when asked where they were or who they saw the night of the murder. Compare suspect’s answers and look for inconsistencies to figure out who is telling the truth and who is lying. Be careful -- liars will always lie, but not all liars are the killer! Nothing they say can be trusted!
On every turn you can choose to either:
- Examine a location for evidence.
- Choose to question a townsperson about where they were and who they saw on the night of the murder.
- Accuse a suspect.
- To win the game, identify and accuse the correct suspect before the end of night seven. The killer is caught. You save the town.
- Lose the game by making two incorrect accusations or making an incorrect accusation at the end of night seven. The killer skips town.
So, the murder mystery concept itself is interesting, and it seems like an ideal starting point for this kind of AI-powered board game. If you would like to try St. Noire out for yourself pre-orders are live on Amazon now for $39.99 with a release date slated for August 19th (you won't be charged until it ships). Naturally, Amazon has an exclusive on this, and you'll need an Alexa-enabled device complete with the St. Noire skill to play. It's playable for one or more players with a 20-30 minute game time.
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