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Black Site

Only one player will be left alive as players battle to the death over an ever-shrinking battlefield.

Currently on Kickstarter, Black Site is a battle royale style game played on a module board where players are trying to deduce where the other players are while also keeping their own locations a secret.

Gameplay

There are seven map tiles in the game. At the start of the game, you shuffle them and link them together in any shape, so long as each map tile connects to at least two other tiles. Number tokens are also shuffled and placed on each map tile face-down. Each player draws a character card. Each character has a set number of health, inventory limit, and a special ability.

Everyone then takes a set of location cards, numbered one through seven. Each location card corresponds to one of the numbered tokens on the map tiles. At the start of the game each player selects a location card and places it secretly at the bottom of their location card deck. This is their starting location and they do not reveal it to each other. After each player has chosen a number, the tokens on the board are revealed, showing you which tile you’ve selected.

At the start of your turn you draw two item cards. You then choose to move or use a location's special ability. After you take a move, you move the correct location card to the bottom of your location deck so you can keep track of where you are. You are trying to keep your location secret from the other players while also trying to find their locations.

When you attack, you announce which areas you are targeting. Some cards will allow you to hit multiple locations, having different amounts of range. You announce the tiles you are hitting and any players at one of those locations take damage (unless they have a card to prevent it). If targeting multiple locations and you hit a player, you do not know which of those locations the player was at. Attacking also gives your opponents information about your location since they know the range of the attack and which tiles you hit.

At the end of your turn you check your hand limit and discard if necessary. At the end of each round, the starting player marker is passed. Every other round, the lowest numbered token on the board is flipped face down, that location is now a death zone. No one can stay in that zone (although you may travel through it at the cost of one health point). The last player left in the game is the winner.

Black Site

First Impressions

Black Site manages to take a genre that is typically a bit massive and complicated and bring it into the range of something accessible, easy to learn, and fast to play. With a new tile becoming a death zone every other round, the game has a built in timer that forces players into a smaller and smaller playing field, which also increases the suspense as everyone runs lower and lower on health.

The puzzle mechanic is clever: trying to deduce where players are, based on when you hit them, when you didn’t, when they moved on their turns, and where they’ve attacked. You need to choose your moments to attack wisely since it not only gives away clues to your location, but also immediately ends your turn, and can also potentially use up valuable cards.

There’s a fun, manga-style artwork to the characters, and the game appears to have nice aesthetic that runs throughout all the components, while the module board allows from variety from game to game.

The game does have player elimination which can always be a bit tricky, and it’s unclear just from the rules how likely you are to be knocked out early. However you can focus on keeping more defensive items in your hand when discarding down, so you do have a little control over your protection.

If you enjoy the battle royale genre, Black Site does appear to be a fun, more casual, take on it, with many hallmarks we’ve come to expect from this type of game but with its own clever approach. Plus, the element of stealth is a mechanism that you don’t often see in this type of game.

Pros: Balancing the need to hide with attacks, modular board, simplicity of rules

Cons: Player elimination can always be a bit problematic

Disclosure: this preview is based on our first impressions of the rules and game components, which are subject to change prior to publication. We received a modest payment to write this article.