February: Lovely Games for a Lovely Month

For this month, we pulled together a set of games that have relationships at their core. How do we interact with each other? How do we play out these dynamics.

Board Game: Fog of Love

• Designer: Jacob Jaskov
• Publisher: Floodgate Games
• 2 players
• 1-2 hrs
• 17+

Fog of Love is a game of comedy and tragedy, of love and loss. Players create characters who enter into a romantic relationship, and then they must attempt to keep the relationship going in the face of different obstacles, events, and choices. Each character has their own traits and goals they hope to accomplish. Players’ choices will determine if the relationship ultimately succeeds. Fog of Love is a great game for less confident gamers because it comes with a tutorial mode. It’s also more inclusive and allows for both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

Card Game: Red Flags: the Game of Terrible Dates

• Designer: Jack Dire
• Publisher: Skybound Games
• 3-10 players
• 30 min
• 17+

In this game of romantic schadenfreude, players are dealt cards with traits to a hypothetical date. Once they establish the “perks” of their respective romantic candidates, they will then play a “red flag” on their opponent’s candidate. Players must then make an argument with “the Single” (the judge for the round) as to why they should overlook their candidate’s flaws and go out with them.  With mechanics similar to Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, this game has a familiar play style and is easy to pick up. Players will have a raucous time sabotaging each other and trying to convince one another that the red flags aren’t that bad. This game can get a bit saucy, so it is best for older teen and adult programming. 

Card Game: We’re Not Really Strangers

• Designer: Koreen Odiney
• Publisher: We’re Not Really Strangers
• 2-6 players
• 15 min
• 15+

This “game” toes the line between game and activity, and it does not appear to have a listing on Board Game Geek. One person asks a person, or a group, a series of questions designed to allow everyone to get to know each other better. You can’t really win or lose the game, but the questions are a lot of fun. There are three different levels of intensity to the questions, so you don’t have to ask anything too probing too soon in a relationship. This game is great for easing a non-gamer into the concept of playing games. I have started using this game at the beginning of a library program as a way to get the new patrons engaged with board games and interacting with the group.

Role Playing Game: Fiasco

• Designer: Jason Morningstar
• Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
• 3-5 players
• 2-5 hrs
• 14+

Fiasco has undergone some significant redevelopment lately – while previously it was a book-based ruleset, the newest version now includes a set of cards to help speed gameplay along.  In either edition, however, relationships are a central (and often highly destructive) element to gameplay, with players defining how each of their characters relates to the others involved and role-playing those relationships out across the game (Ex-lover?  Boss?  Former cellmate?  All three?).  A GM-less system characterized as an interactive Coen Brothers movie, this game encourages players to inhabit dysfunctional people with unseemly motives as they muddle through circumstances that quickly spiral out of control.  While this game is certainly for older audiences familiar with the genre of black comedy/tragedy the game references, it provides a great outlet for improvisational types.

Role Playing Game: Star Crossed

• Designer: Alex Roberts
• Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
• 2 players
• 2 hrs
• 16+
• Available: https://bullypulpitgames.com/products/star-crossed

Hero and Leander, Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet—all couples doomed to fail because of circumstances beyond their control. In Star Crossed, two players make characters who are attracted to each other but find themselves in these difficult circumstances. Star Crossed employs a Jenga tower to represent this uncertainty and tension. If characters advance the story romantically, the situation becomes more precarious, and they risk toppling the Jenga tower. The game ends when a player knocks the tower down or when they can’t think of another way to avoid romantic circumstances for their characters. This game is great for couples, but it can also be great for storytelling.

Video Game: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

• Designer/Developer: Astroid Base
• 1-4 players
• 6-13 hrs
• 10+, ESRB
• Available on: Switch, Steam, PS4, Xbox One
• Available: https://www.loversinadangerousspacetime.com/

This uniquely (and awesomely) named game enables four players to work together to simultaneously control a spherical ship traveling through a vibrant, cartoony aether filled with planets, asteroids, and a constant stream of creatively designed aliens swarming you from all sides.  Players run through the ship and crew stations as needed – whether the engines, the shields, the map, or the guns mounted on each quadrant of the ship – and have to coordinate what they’re doing to succeed and rescue the cute animals they’re after.  This is a great couch co-op game that works well for in-library play without breaking the budget. 

Need a few more relationship games? Check out these gems

• Blue Rose – RPG
• Dream Daddy – Video-game
• Gottman’s Love Map cards
• Ko-op – Card Game
•The Romance Trilogy – RPG

Anything to add? send us an email at GameRT@ala.org

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