Fog of Love
Love is a many-splendored thing and building a relationship is hard – can you overcome the challenges in this 2-player game?
|Publisher:||Hush Hush Projects|
|Authors/Artists:||Jacob Jaskov, Cecilie Fossheim, Mike Højgaard, Lotte M. Klixbüll Jaskov|
|Type of game:||2-player, deduction, bluffing|
Concepts: Fog of Love is based around the idea of two players who each portray a character and the romantic relationship those characters share. Players select a scenario pack, each of which comes with a set of cards that contain dilemmas and hurdles for the characters to overcome.
When gameplay begins, each player builds a character, using a set of random personality cards that they collaboratively select until each of their characters has three personality elements – greedy, lustful, outgoing, easy-going and so on. Also selected is a character’s occupation, and the players are encouraged to invent their character’s name, background and how they met one another. For people who enjoy roleplay elements in their games, this is excellent – the game is also quite clear to ensure that you are playing as characters, not yourselves, and we would suggest keeping this in mind.
Writing: The majority of the game’s cards are genuinely witty and extremely interesting. Choices are varied, and often times they can be legitimately hilarious – and not just the questions, but sometimes the answers as well are just so funny that you can’t resist selecting the most comical answer.
Some of the cards are extremely strong, changing the course of the entire game, like the afore-mentioned pregnancy one. It’s worth noting that some cards which are gender specific state that they can be discarded and re-selected if neither of the characters are of that gender – the game does not presume that the players will be playing a different-sex couple, and although a few of the cards do presume cisgender portrayals there is still a clear push to make the game accessible for non-binary gender/sexuality players.
Mechanics: Each player takes turns to play a card from their hands, which list a situation and a variety of possible outcomes. These range from comical (“Should you confess your embarrassing geeky hobby?”) to dramatic (“I’m pregnant!”) and more, and are drawn from any of three decks (sweet, serious, dramatic). The players then vote in secret for which outcome they wish, with a different reward or penalty assigned for matching answers.
Depending on the answers given, you will find yourself being awarded points in a set of twelve traits, which are listed on the board. By the end of the game, you should (hopefully) have a good number of points in some of these traits – specifically the ones that are listed on your character’s personality cards! Doing this enables your character to achieve self-actuation, which is important for winning the game. However your reward may also be to build the relationship stronger by earning love points (which are not shared between players, which gives the potential for a rather one-sided relationship) which is used to gain the best co-operative ending.
For the happiest endings, players need to anticipate one another’s answers and work co-operatively, whilst also balancing their own needs to get as many points onto their relevant traits as possible.
Design: There’s no doubt at all that this is a beautiful game. Cards are sturdy, the text is crisp and easy to read. The board is clear, with sharp and strong colours to make it easy on the eye. The design is both floral at points and sleek, and very appealing.
To make matters even better, the tactile elements of the game are lovely. Tokens, especially the poker chips used to determine choices, are chunky and have heft to them, making the moment in which the player places them down on the board simply resonate with meaningful impact. Even the plastic boxes that the tokens come in – which could very easily have been left out – feel luxurious. This is definitely a lovely game in terms of aesthetics.
Playability: Playing Fog of Love quickly becomes a game of trying to balance what each player is trying to achieve. At times, you may need to be selfish and pursue your own goals, whilst at others you’ll want to try to set your answers in order to help the other player to pursue theirs. Because each player selects their answer to the questions in secret, there’s times when you will be doing your best to guess what answer the other player is about to select (remember, matching answers tends to earn love points), and times when you will want to bluff.
Fog of Love is extremely flexible in the type of game that it offers. As mentioned, the game includes a number of scenarios, which include specific cards that must be played (in order to form narrative keystones). Aside from those specific cards, all other cards are drawn from three decks – sweet, serious and dramatic – which become available throughout the course of a game session. This means that the players have a strong means to control the tone of the game, so that no two sessions play quite the same.
Conclusion: Dedicated two-player games (as opposed to games that simply have a two-player option) are rare, and Fog of Love offers a unique and enjoyable means for an entertaining experience. This is aided by a beautiful presentation, with witty and sharp writing. One downside that I will note, though, is that whilst the game is advertised as a romantic comedy, the random nature of the cards means that it cannot truly replicate the narrative ebb and flow of a romantic comedy movie – ‘exciting chases through airport to reunite’ type of scenes can occur at any point during the game, meaning that a typical game of Fog of Love is less like ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and more like a random series of eccentric events.
This certainly doesn’t become a negative point to the game, though – Fog of Love is a fantastic experience! It gives a strong head-to-head bluffing game where you need to both help your fellow player whilst still at times pursuing what is best for you and yourselves as a couple – and that’s a very strong allegory for a romantic relationship. If you have the chance, definitely check this out!
FINAL THOUGHTS: A charming and invigorating board game which offers hours upon hours of entertainment. Feels good, plays great, and a load of fun for an evening with a special someone – or any board game buddy, really!