In an age where party games are a dime a dozen, and fill in the blank party games with crude/lude humor are even more common somehow due to mathy things which I don’t quite understand, It is really hard to stand out if your game falls into this genre. With the wild success of exploding kittens we are destined to see hundreds of clones of it in the near future, however for the time being we are stuck with Apples to Apples and Cards against Humanity clones. If you are going to release a game that is a fill in the blank party game it better be something interesting or at the very least fresh enough to stand out.
This is exactly what Paul Cosca of Brikenbrak Games has done with Bill Shakespeare is dead. Take the tried and true method of playing a card when prompted and throw in some of the most famous works of the English language with just a dash of timing and a pinch of context and you have a brilliant game. Bill Shakespeare is dead is played over five acts where one player is the stage manager and two players act out the scene. Everybody else playing is a part of the groundlings. During an act the stage manager reads the narrative while the performers read their appropriate lines. All well and good until DREAD! You’ve forgotten your lines. You must call out for your fellow groundlings to help you remember your lines. It’s up to the groundlings to provide the proper noun or verb to fill in the long pause. As you go along the story starts to drift a bit. When Mercutio calls a plague on both of your ______ something has gone wrong.
Bill Shakespeare is Dead takes a style of gaming that many people use to get people into gaming and makes it accessible to an entirely new audience. English/ theater/ and divine comedy nerds will rejoice in taking the piss out of the tired old stories of doomed romance and Father chasing. The base game comes with Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet stage manager books but I could easily see the tempest and Midsummer’s night’s dream being easily added to it. We were pleasantly surprised by this one as we expected it to be another pasted on fill in the blank game. It is not. It is smartly crafted and accessible enough that anybody could pick it up and play. So if you are looking for something marginally smarter than CAH then look for Bill Shakespeare is dead on Kickstarter when it relaunches in the near future. If you grow weary of party games that require little thought or strategy then you should probably avoid this one.
And with that this has been your humble moderator,