So was it for our first session of A Dark and Stormy Night. For fun, and because the check hadn’t arrived yet, we played another round. This time, instead of taking books out of the box each time we got an answer right, we put them back–the first team to reshelve all its books won the game. The Winners, true to their namesake, won again. (“It’s even harder to shelve books, apparently,” said Daniel.) Next time we’ll have to trade team names and see how it works out.
A few random notes from the rematch:
- Responding to a suggestion that the game was too easy, Ilene said, “Well, their entire audience isn’t Booklist staff.” (Meaning, people who read for a living.) Then, pausing exactly the right length of time before delivering the kicker, she added, “Or perhaps it is.”
- I guessed Bret Easton Ellis when the answer was, in fact, Jay McInerney.
- Ilene’s guess of “F. Scott Fitzgerald” paid off when, in fact, the answer was F. Scott Fitzgerald.
All in all, we had a good time, and we all agreed that we’d play it again, although we did wonder if, after playing the the game three times, we’d know all the answers too well to play it a fourth time. (The creators could always release another box of questions, I suppose: A Dark and Stormy Night: Master Class.) We wondered, too, whether the questions were arranged to start easy and get harder or if that only appeared to be the case.
I polled the other three for final thoughts and they had this to say.
Ilene: “Like Trivial Pursuit, Dark and Stormy Night is fun and frustrating. You find out that you know both more and less than you thought.”
Daniel: “My first date with this game was all over the place. It made me feel smart, then it made me feel dumb, and at times it made me lose control. It’s no looker, that’s for sure, but I appreciate that it kept the conversation going. Overall, I found it kind of ‘easy,’ if you know what I mean. (Though, strangely, it did deny me a good-night kiss.) So, yes, I would go out on a second date with this game.
Ian: “This game provides a rare opportunity to combine being a book nerd with being really proud about being a book nerd with feeling really good about yourself for being such a good book nerd with feeling superior to other really good book nerds who weren’t quite as good book nerds on that particular afternoon of book nerdiness.”
Because we don’t rate books with numbers or grades in Booklist reviews–they’re either starred (sometimes) or not starred (usually), I jump at the chance to give letter grades to anything. Here’s the report card:
Game packaging: A
Game board: C-
Questions: B (the genre questions seemed to need the most work; some of the authors quoted aren’t widely read anymore)
All in all, a solid B. And, best of all, the rules are simple, so players can start playing right away. Recommended!