Today at the Alexa Conference, Atari and Chuck E. Cheese founder Nolan Bushnell displayed publicly for the first time St. Noire, a groundbreaking Alexa-based board game. St. Noire is the first game to market from X2 Games, the company he co-founded with Hollywood creative director Zai Ortiz.
St. Noire is a collaborative mystery board game in which players solve a murder in the mysterious and dark town of St. Noire with clues provided through Alexa. What I like best about the concept of St. Noire is that it takes a familiar experience like playing a board game (I play board games all the time with my friends) and makes it more multi-dimensional by adding Alexa. It’s one of the very first Alexa-based board games.
Expect high quality production value
While I wasn’t able to demo the game, the production value sounds like it will be extremely high. All of the character voices are played by professional voice actors. And the board game art was done by the designer of the J.A.R.V.I.S. display in Iron Man (there are nice similarities in the look and feel). Expect some sound effects too. St. Noire could elevate the entire Alexa game category.
Check out the trailer:
How does the game work?
St. Noire is a mystery puzzle game. The player is a detective trying to solve a murder by interviewing witnesses and moving around to different locations in the town of St. Noire. There’s the doctor’s office, the coffee shop, the diner and the bar to name a few. Some witnesses are honest, some maybe not. It’s up to the player to decide based on the evidence you discover.
To play St. Noire, you’ll need the board game (comes with a board with locations, cards for people and pieces representing weapons) and access to a device with Alexa on it. When you’re ready to play, you say “Alexa, play St. Noire,” and the game starts with a short monologue explaining the crime.
Alexa helps to guide you through your game (the game might suggest that you go to the morgue to see how the victim was killed, for example). You could say “Alexa, ask Davis where he was on the night of the murder” and so on. Davis’s response will come in his voice (played by a professional voice actor). The game was built for use on Echo devices without screens, so you’ll be all set with your Echo Dot or Echo.
There are 6 broad plots, which get randomly chosen each time you play. The murderer, location and weapon are also randomized so there are many permutations of the game. Each game takes approximately 15 – 30 minutes.
How do you win?
St. Noire is collaborative, which means that the players are working to solve the mystery together as the detective instead of competing against each other. The game is best played with 2 to 6 people, although you could play alone.
The objective, of course, is to crack the case and figure out the murderer. If you take too long, the murderer will escape the town and you’ll lose. Or if you make too many false accusations, you’ll be fired as the detective and lose.
How do I get the game?
According to the X2 Games team, the game will be released in late February or early March.
You’ll be able to buy the board game on Amazon for $30 – $40 (exact price is still to be determined). The companion Alexa skill for playing the game will be free. I know I’ll be buying this as soon as it’s available on Amazon!
Will there be more games?
Yes, there is more coming in 2019 from X2 Games. Bushnell and Ortiz told the Alexa Conference audience that X2 plans to release 6 St. Noire-like games this year. The games will involve either a board game like St. Noire or card decks. There will be a party game for adults (I’m very excited for this one!), an educational game for kids and some all-around good fun games for families.