Noises at Night is a family style deduction and set collection game from B&B Games. I got to meet the designer Floyd Lu at Origins this year and the fun illustration style instantly pulled me into this game. Each player is a member of the Larson family home. Players are playing clues in 5 different rooms of the house in order to score end game points and possibly confuse the other players on figuring out their identity.
While Noises at Night is pitched as a deduction game, I feel like this is one of the weaker mechanics in the game. Players have secret identities, but in almost every game we played, we guessed each players identity within the first 2 rounds. Players want to play cards that match their secret identity, but in order to remain secret, you have to play clues that award other players points.
Each round of the game is tracked using a faux kitchen timer. During a round, players will play two clues into any of the 5 rooms on the table. Some rooms give special bonuses and some cards give you special actions. Most of the cards will contain symbols that are worth points for those matching characters at the end of the game. Players can play a card face up or face down. Playing a card face down keeps the symbols from giving points to the players at the table.
In a lot of ways, Noises at Night feels like a sneaky set collection game.
After everyone has played 2 cards during a round, players get a chance to guess other players identities going in turn order. A correct guess will award you points equal to the round you are in (Round 5 = 5 points). An incorrect guess awards the accused player points equal to the round number. This can put another player into a slight lead while multiple incorrect guesses can push another player into a winning position.
At the beginning of a new round, an event card is revealed which can change or rule or add a wrinkle to a round. These are fun little twists in the game.
Rooms with a Secret
When setting up the game, 4 random rooms are set out to the left of the bathroom which is a constant in every game setup. I like that there is some variability from game to game with the 10 different room cards that come in the box.
Each room has a special ability that triggers if a player places 1 or 2 cards in that specific room. Some of these abilities are more useful than others. It’s important to use these if you want to have any type of strategy in the game. While it seems cheap, players can always earn a victory point by placing a card in the bathroom during a round.
Once the kitchen timer card hits 0, the game is over and points are counted. Point tokens received during the game is worth face value. Players are given points based on the number of cards played on the room their character is in. Finally, players receive points for every icon that matches their character, no matter what room the icon shows up in. The player with the most points wins.
Fun for the Whole Family?
While the game looks like a kids game, the box says 14+ and oddly enough the rulebook says 6+. After multiple games of Noises at Night, I would suggest playing with older kids and adults. Younger players didn’t seem to grasp some of the reasons why they should/shouldn’t play cards face up or down. While the game is light in strategy, it seems to work better with people who can see the value of playing cards in specific places. Since it’s fun to make accusations, younger players might be more likely to guess an identity wildly which would skew the points in an otherwise close game.
I would suggest this game is a better fit for 12 or older even though the artwork points to a younger demographic in my opinion. The game is cute and never really scary and the illustration style is what first drew me into the game.
A Couple Bumps in the Night
If you are going in hoping for a good deduction game, you really should look somewhere else. There’s not enough meat here to be a good deduction game. It’s too easy to figure out who players are and it barely feels like a challenge. At best, a great player may go 4 rounds without being found out. This also means that player is forfeiting points in some way to keep their identity hidden.
A big issue with Noises at Night is the poorly written rulebook included in the box. You’re better off watching a video or downloading a simplified rule sheet from BGG. You may want to also bring some pennies to the table when playing because there’s never enough 1 point tokens in the game. Every single time we played a 4 player game, we ran out of 1 point tokens and had to have “substitute tokens” on hand. This seems like such a huge miss that should have been caught during play testing.
I enjoyed being able to use action cards and room abilities to swap cards and change the number of icons present in the house. It was a lot of fun using the “Evidence Extractor” card, removing a card that would have awarded another character 4 points. Players should really pay attention to cards that offer “take that” options.
Noises at Night is better not being pitched as a deduction game. Honestly, we had a really good time with the game and think the “deduction” tagline is actually a hindrance. This game is going to be a good fit for players looking for a filler game with great art with a (mildly) spooky theme.
You can purchase a copy of Noises at Night on the B&B Game Studio website.
B&B Games Studio provided us with a review copy of Noises at Night. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game.
- Great illustrations on every card
- Events cards offer a little shakeup during the game
- The game takes around 20 minutes which feels just right
- Deduction aspect of the game is not strong
- Younger players may not get the nuance of the game