Full Disclosure: A preview copy of the Fair Youth expansion was provided to me by Sideroom Games so that I could produce this preview.
What is Black Sonata: The Fair Youth about?
I previewed the base game for Black Sonata in Summer 2018, and I have been a fan ever since. Black Sonata is a solo hidden movement and deduction game in which you pursue the Dark Lady, a mysterious woman mentioned in several of Shakespeare's sonnets. The original game is excellent, and I am delighted to see it get an expansion: The Fair Youth. It's actually a collection of mini-expansions, which can be enjoyed individually or all tossed together into a single game. One of the expansions offers you a set of more challenging Dark Ladies, but you can also hunt down the Fair Youth (another mysterious person from Shakespeare's work), try to catch the Dark Lady at a rendezvous point that was meaningful to the two of you, or compete with rival poets even as you continue your search. There are also new ways to track the Dark Lady's movement for players who would like to leave themselves some hints.
What I like about The Fair Youth
The Fair Youth does exactly what a good expansion should do--it adds variety and challenge in a way that perfectly complements a game that is already great. Each of the expansion modules adds something challenging and interesting to gameplay. I particularly like having more challenging Dark Ladies, but searching for the Fair Youth or trying to cut the Dark Lady off at a rendezvous point can be thrilling. I am truly impressed at the way John Keane has managed to create a game system that does solo hidden movement and deduction so well... and then adds even more layers.
Possible Concerns about The Fair Youth
Although all of the mini expansions are technically mix and match, I prefer not to play with more than one or two at a time. This is not really a problem, in my opinion, and may change when I play the final copy enough times for a formal review.
Should I back it?
I certainly intend to. At $12 plus shipping, the price is right. This campaign will also give you a chance to pick up the base game, which I absolutely recommend.