Review: Dark Stories



Tales of grim darkness and mysterious murder… do they entice you, or scare you away? When presented with a strange and perhaps unexplainable tale, will you stop at nothing to uncover the truth?

How many yes or no questions does it take to get to the center of these Dark Stories?

How it Plays

Dark Stories is a social brain-teaser game in which the players are trying to figure out the explanation behind seemingly bizarre or nonsensical stories.

The game consists of a deck of 50 cards. Each card presents a scenario on the front, and the explanation on the back.

Simple and classy... at least as far as presenting murder stories goes
Simple and classy… at least as far as presenting murder stories goes

One player reads the scenario to the group, then flips the card over and reads the explanation silently, keeping it to themselves. The other players can then ask yes-or-no questions to try and figure out the explanation. The reader can only answer yes or no, although they can suggest that a question is irrelevant or misleading, say they don’t know, or point out that a question does not allow for a yes-or-no answer.

There aren’t exactly points scored or teams or winners; it’s all about the fun of trying to figure out what’s going on with these bizarre, dark, mysterious stories.

Did the Players Die While Playing?

Everyone loves a good brain teaser right? If you don’t, you can go ahead and look elsewhere, this isn’t the game for you. It’s literally just a box of brainteasers.

Still with me? Okay, cool. The kinds of stories you’ll find in this box are more than just riddles; the “answers” while providing explanations for the bizarre and often grim introductions, are generally not one-liners or puns. I won’t tell you any of the actual stories from any of the cards in this game, but as a generic example, you’d get something like, “A man looks in the fridge and sees two sticks of butter. Then he dies.” Players then embark on a series of questions to try and discover the backstory. So far, every answer – regardless of how bizarre it is – makes sense and has been a satisfactory, if not bizarre, explanation for the story.

Stories on the front, spoilers on the back
Stories on the front, spoilers on the back

This isn’t particularly a “game” in the sense of scoring points and/or winning, either as a team or an individual. It’s not a competition of wits and reasoning, which is probably a good thing. Everyone’s brain works a little differently, and this is the sort of thing that certain people will naturally make creative connections more quickly, while others would be totally left in the dust. Fortunately, working as a group, everyone can participate – it’s not hard to ask yes/no questions no matter HOW your brain works.

There is a range of difficulty, but it depends a lot on your group’s experiences. We’ve had stories in which the answer just snaps into someone’s brain almost immediately, while others take dozens of questions and 10-15 minutes. Some solutionss involve more complexity, so your group might get stuck for a while trying to figure out the last important detail. Either way, it’s entertaining.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is “Dark Stories” not “Happy Rainbows and Unicorns Stories.” While not particularly gory or gruesome, the stories tend to land on the morbid/macabre side of the scale, with fairly high death count. In fact, pretty much every single story has involved a death in some form. It’s like a micro Sherlock Holmes mystery. That is to say, I’m not sure you would want to introduce this in a family setting with younger kids involved, at least not if you’re not prepared to answer a lot of questions outside of the game about life, the universe, and everything.

There's definitely a death count
There’s definitely a death count

There’s not a lot of replay value here, once you get through the cards, but there are 50 included. You’ll probably go through several in one session, but for the price you’ll get a decent number of plays out of it. And maybe you’ll forget some of the stories so you can go through them again after a few years. Or, just get the next pack – Dark Stories 2. Point is, you are getting your money’s worth.

This is a great little game to simply have on hand if you’re… I dunno… waiting in line for a big movie premiere at midnight, or waiting for the rest of the game group to show up, or too lazy to get up off the couch and set up something that has a board and parts. Just whip out a card and read of the story, and you’re off. Easy peezy, no playing surface needed. Don’t expect a deep gaming experience, or a more involved story exploration like Sherlock Holmes or T.I.M.E. Stories, but if you like puzzles, the cost is low, the box fits in your purse or pocket, and there’s plenty of content to keep you entertained for a while.

iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Z-Man Games for providing a review copy of Dark Stories.

  • Rating 8.0
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  • Portable box
  • Quick and easy to play
  • Easy to pull out in a variety of situations to pass the time
  • Interesting, unique stories


  • No points/scoring system at all
  • Once you go through all 50 cards, you're pretty much done
8.0 Very Good

Futurewolfie loves epic games, space, and epic games set in space. You'll find him rolling fistfuls of dice, reveling in thematic goodness, and giving Farmerlenny a hard time for liking boring stuff.

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