► brief demo video about intro section at MyDrive – IntroSection_Demo.mpg

Table and title/image insertionshotsEllie speech and action
turning from musical instrument
Hello – I’m EB, and I’d like to introduce you to a good fun game for just one player. As always at fun games for casual players, it’s a game that’s within reach of most casual players, but that’s not to say it’s lightweight.
image of page header floatsSo, I’m introducing you to Black Sonata. Let me first tell you why it’s called that and then I’ll give an overview of how it’s played and how it works. But this isn’t a how to play it video. You’ll find links to pages and videos that will do that for you on our website.
image of Black Lady floatsSo why Dark Lady? Well, in many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, there is reference to a Dark Lady. Even today scholars still argue over the identity of the Dark Lady ~ the woman who held him in an agonised state while she also conducted an affair with the Fair Youth whom he refers to. : see DarkLadypedia.
OK, we can understand ‘Dark Lady’, but why Black Sonata?
Well, having themed the game around Shakespeare’s Dark Lady, designer John Kean sought a name that would evoke a shadowy pursuit. In the sonnets, Shakespeare repeatedly refers to the Lady as black (both in colouring and deeds): but “Black Sonnet” didn’t seem to sound right. Black Sonata did, especially since in Shakespeare’s time ‘sonata’ could refer to any instrumental music: music that was “sounded” rather than “sung”.
The clincher for John was the fact that in sonnet 128, we learn the poet’s feelings as he watches the Dark Lady play the virginals (an early keyboard instrument).
►DLady ~ back of cards
In Black Sonata you’re in pursuit of the Dark Lady, who moves around Shakespeare’s London. Here’s the back of the Dark Lady clue cards, which I’ll come back to shortly. Your goal is to establish her identity.
►Map full view.Her walkabout is nicely depicted on a small map that’s based on a medieaval map of London.
Show cards fanned : point to letters on cardsThe manner in which her movements through the city are brought about is amazing – “how did he do it?” (John Kean, that is.) There’s a deck of small cards that have to be sorted into a specified order (all clearly shown in the manual). As they are turned over one buy one, these cards will determine her movements from place to place.
Show cards and three examples – E mentions three places – show cards, then show map lociThere are only eleven places she goes to, but there are nearly thirty different card-orders, which determine the route she takes. And the fact that there’s always at least one deck-cut means that the chances of her route from start to finish ever being the same twice is minute.
Just as an example, she may start out at Cripplegate where there is/are ??, then move to ?? and then to ??
show a location ‘I’ll look for her here’
show two clue cards
explain meaning of symbols on one
This clever pre-game management of the cards and the order in which the Lady visits different locations takes the place of luck.
The solo player must deduce her location as she moves around town: trying to be in the right place to catch a glimpse, and gain a clue to her identity ~ is she in Cripplegate now, or Blackfriars? Several clues will be needed to work out who she is, and the extent to which you’re lucky enough to get clues that tumble together varies from game to game. Sometimes you might want to take a guess: go for pot
Annoyingly, with each clue gained the Dark Lady runs away ~ and she runs
further each time each time you gain a clue!
There are times when you are certain that you know where she is. Then she takes a path that leads back to uncertainty.
show a card progressionSometimes does not move
There are times when you are certain that you know where she is. Then she takes a path that leads back to uncertainty.
What a woman! 😁
Can you identify her characteristics and reveal her identity, thereby solving one of literature’s greatest mysteries?
Or will the Dark Lady elude you too?
♦takes a few minutes to set up the cards each time
♦do the easy game first, to get used to it – essential
♦the guide makes all pretty clear (a good quick summary at its rear)
deduction, puzzle solving is paramount
♦minimal luck involved, but it sometimes doesn’t seem that way
♦definitely replayable … quietly exciting (define ‘replayable’)
♦having someone nearby to help you is permitted but …..
♦swearing at the Lady is forbidden