Black Mirror: Nosedive review
In the acclaimed episode ‘Nosedive’, science-fiction series Black Mirror imagines a society where every citizen receives a ranking based on their interactions with friends and colleagues.
The result is a hideous social media circle of judgement – a world based on vindictiveness, sycophancy and obsession with personal image. Essentially, it’s like a system of government devised by Instagram ‘influencers’, where appearance and conformity mean everything and individualism is regarded as a kind of societal leprosy.
This app-enhanced card game aims to capture the show’s nightmarish, dystopian feel. But where the original programme conjured a sense of dread through the gradual disintegration of its central character, there’s not much in this tabletop adaptation to elicit any kind of emotional response.
Each round of the game is divided into two halves. The first is a fairly thin card game where you’ll aim to assemble collections of cards to benefit yourself or harm your rivals, with a smattering of hidden information and trap-laying. What’s likely to interest players more is the second phase, where you’ll turn to the game’s companion smartphone app.
You’ll take turns to assign ‘experiences’ to your opponents – snippets of text describing different events such as eating homemade lasagne, being struck by food poisoning at work or getting a telling-off from your gran on social media. Players give a thumbs-up button for one of their experiences and a thumbs-down for another, with the opponent who gave them their preferred option getting a boost to their score.
For all its fancy smartphone tricks, it’s basically a game of ‘Would You Rather’ and makes very little sense when you find yourself forced to express a preference for one of a set of equally unpleasant options. There’s none of the cynical bite of the Netflix show – and what’s left is just a substandard party game wearing a licensed skin.
PLAY IT? – NO
Time: 30 minutes
This review originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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