The Lost Score Entertainment Death Note Card Game

Earlier this week, IDW announced a Death Note card game was on its way to the US this June. A popular anime for sure that narrowly missed having its own game during the heyday of the anime card game bubble. While nothing was ever created and released stateside (there was one in Italy), Viz Media was shopping the license around to US game companies. Score Entertainment was one of those companies.

So this is a story I’ve told for years at panels, but the challenge was put forth to the games department to make a game based on the mega-popular Death Note, which was currently airing on Cartoon Network. Unfortunately, like the TV show, the license for the Death Note card game came with a few rules.


Rule #1: No one can be killed during the course of the game.

Rule #2: At no point can any names be written in a note book.

As you can imagine, given the source material, these were pretty restrictive rules. While there was never any elaboration on these given to me, I imagine it had something to do with a series of highly publicized incidents of students making Death Notes about their classmates (essentially kill lists that detailed the time and method of execution) and an actual goddamned Death Note-inspired killer dubbed the Manga Murderer by the media.

Given that we were essentially cut off from the most iconic parts of Death Note, I took inspiration from the Fruits Basket Card Game and attempted to make something that incorporated a standard 52-card deck and adding Death Note on top of it. Sadly I have nothing from the development of Death Note, but what I eventually came up with was a game where you “eliminated” suspects your opponent controlled by building certain poker hands as dictated by a “Rules Card” that changed every round. As the suspects you controlled were eliminated, they’d give you a temporary ability for the use in the next round (for instance if Misa was eliminated, Queens would be wild for the person who controlled her for the next round). If all suspects other then your own were eliminated, you won because SPOILER ALERT… you were Kira the entire time.


In all honesty, this version didn’t have a lot of fans behind the scenes, mostly because ::SURPRISE:: it didn’t feel like a Death Note card game. Based on this and the fact that the game wouldn’t reach stores until after Death Note had finished airing on TV (with no guarantee of continuing to air), Score Entertainment decided not to go forward with the Death Note license.

It’ll be interesting to see what IDW does with the license (from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like the game is compliant with the two rules we were given). I’m sure the license is much cheaper these days, especially after that horrendous Netflix movie. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this small little tidbit from Score Entertainment history.

Later, BroZ!


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