Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.
Black Angel reminds me of a pocket watch I once had. (This isn’t the setup to a bad joke.) You see, the watch was broken. A memento from my time in Germany, the watch broke during shipping and never kept good time, made a weird grinding noise when I wound it, and had an unsightly crack across its face. I still keep it around, though. With its open face and back, you can see the inner workings—gears, flywheels, jeweled pivots. The craftsmanship is breathtaking, even if it loses a minute every half hour.
Let’s back up. The board game Black Angel, designed by Sébastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges, and Alain Orban, is something of a spiritual successor to their previous collaboration, a well-known game by the name of Troyes. Like Troyes, Black Angel is a dice game in the loosest sense, tasking players with utilizing pools of dice in ways that are almost entirely novel. It also resembles a busted clockwork—lots of ideas working in sync—just not quite in sync enough to keep regular time.