As of this writing, Noir is a semi-finalist in The Game Crafter Hook Box Challenge. It also looks to be a shoe-in to win with over 100 more community votes than the next highest-ranking game. Noir is an 18-card storytelling game where players are competing to come up with the best story of how one of the game’s characters killed another. It’s free to print-and-play, but can also be purchased through The Game Crafter for $4.99.
Noir starts with the cards being shuffled and everyone getting 3 cards. A player is chosen to start as the Judge and they choose 2 cards from their hand, Character side up, to be the Victim and the Killer. Their 3rd card is discarded. All the other players must now use their cards, text side up, to form a Means, Motive, and Opportunity for the murder. They then must tell a story using their chosen text. After a story is told every player can ask the storyteller one question about the story, then the Judge chooses the best story and a new round begins with the next player taking the role of the Judge.
The game ends once every player has had a chance to be the Judge.
There’s not much to Noir other than 18 cards and a Game Crafter style hook box. The box is a bit flimsy but serviceable. The cards themselves feel like they’ll hold up to a bit of play and have a character portrait on one side and 3 blocks of text on the other. They’re more functional than beautiful, but they get their job done well.
Ideally for creative-types, Noir does an excellent job of facilitating the storytelling process with minimal fuss. The cards and their text are thematic and provide an excellent starting point for the pulp noir-style murder tales they’re supposed to. The best part? It’s absolutely free as long as you’re willing to expend some printer ink. Even if you don’t want to do that, $4.99 is an excellent price for this microgame.
There’s a reason Noir is currently leading in community votes on The Game Crafter Hook Box Challenge. It’s a great little game., though I’d steer clear if you don’t like games that are just a framework for something more imaginative.
A copy of Noir was provided free for review by the designer
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.