Game rules

Adults   »   2-4 players or teams

Correctly identify the author or title of 8 books after hearing their first lines. It’s that simple…and that challenging!

» Game board
» 4 player pawns
» 30 book tokens
» 12 categories of clue cards with divider cards
» Die

Initial Setup
The first time you play, you will need to separate the 12 divider cards and file them among the clue cards. Cards are color coded to match the dividers, and the categories appear in alphabetical order—just like a card catalog:

Children’s Books
Children’s Movies (adapted from books)
Movies (adapted from books)
Novels, Pre-1900
Novels, 1900-1950
Novels, 1950-Present
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Shakespeare’s Plays
Short Stories

Game play
» Decide whether to play as individuals or teams. We recommend teams since they allow players to draw on each other’s areas of interest.

» Each team places a pawn on the same corner space. Decide who will go first. In case of disagreement, roll the die. Highest roll goes first.

» Roll the die and move your pawn clockwise around the board. More than one player may land on the same space at any time.

» If you land on a category space, the opponent to your right picks the first card from the corresponding category and reads the clue aloud.

» If you correctly identify the author or title, you receive a book token. Whether or not you succeed in identifying the book, your turn ends. Play proceeds to the left, with each player rolling, moving, and answering in the same way.

» Once a clue has been read, the reader places the card at the back of its category in the card catalog of clues.

» If you land on Reading Room, you or your team chooses the category from which your clue will be read. If you land on Reserved Reading, the opponent to your right chooses the category from which your clue will be read—and, yes, they may go for your weak spots, if you have any.

» When you gather 8 book tokens, you win.

Notes and Variations
Including children
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night includes two children’s categories. Anyone who has ever been a child—or read to a child—should have some success with these clues. If you do have children around, you can include them by inviting them to answer the children’s category clues for you. It’s a great way to engage children in the life of books.

Offering hints
Depending on how competitive you wish to be, you and your opponents should feel free to give one another hints. This may include revealing the year the book was published, which is printed on the clue card for that purpose.

Making educated guesses
Even if you don’t know the answer you should make an educated guess based on style or content. Listen for the names of characters and locations, sentence structure (concise? elaborate?), vocabulary (old-fashioned or up-to-date? flowery or realistic?), and point of view (moralistic? indirect? matter-of-fact?). Once you’ve identified the author’s period and attitude, you’re on your way to winning.

Shortening (or lengthening) game play
The game may be shortened or lengthened by changing the number of book tokens a player must collect in order to win.

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