Let's Play Fog of Love, A Rom-Com Board Game: We Give it a Year
Fog of Love is often described as “Romantic Comedy as a Board Game”, so what happens when a married Ace couple gives it a play? In this episode, we roleplay a fraught year in the relationship of Priscilla, the advertising manager and Bertrand, the career criminal. Silliness ensues.
- Fog Of Love Board Game (Board Game Geek, Twitter)
- Follow Jacob Jaskov, the Game Designer! (Twitter, YouTube)
Courtney: Hello everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. My name is Courtney. I’m here with my spouse, Royce. Together, we are an asexual married couple. We are so delighted to have you here with us today. As we play a little game called ‘Fog of Love.’
Courtney: We’ve played this game. A couple of times. But we haven’t gotten...into any of the really serious. Scenarios. This game is described as a...romantic comedy. As a board game. We’re hoping, maybe we’ll get into a little allo nonsense. Maybe we’ll get into some...standard, romance tropes, that normally make us groan. Except, we are the stars of this game.
Royce: Yeah, the base game comes with a handful of different scenarios in it, including a tutorial. It was actually interesting, that, the...way that the game was packaged. Everything was sorted. In a very specific order. You could take it out of the box and...flip through. The deck. And learn how to play the game, while playing a game.
Courtney: Which was very helpful.
Royce: It was just four years ago–
Courtney: It was several years ago. So, we had to. Refresh our memories, before we sat down here today.
Courtney: I actually asked...our followers, over on Twitter. If you would like us to...just play the game, and give you a discussion recap, of everything. Or if you wanted us to play it live on the microphone. Most of you said you wanted to see us play, in real time, so that is what we’re going to attempt to do today. We’ll definitely try to walk you through what we’re doing, as it’s happening.
Courtney: To set the scene. We are a...couple. Right off the bat, we get an...occupation. And a couple of personality traits. This game tracks six different...personality dimensions, they call them. Those are – Discipline, Curiosity, Extroversion, Sensitivity, Gentleness, and Sincerity. You can either have positive or negative points in any of those. Depending on what our job is, and what our base personality traits are, we’re gonna start with a few points– positive or negative– on some of these traits already. Then, as a couple, we’re going to encounter some scenarios that are...going to be drawn from the deck. Depending on how we respond to those situations...our points can start to change. The goal being that, by the end of the game. Each of us was able to accomplish our own personal goals for our life. But we also have a shared ‘couple goal.’ That we are...simultaneously working toward. If we’re a successful couple...all three of those are goin’ to work out.
Courtney: [singsongy] Potentially!
Royce: As you mentioned, this is a more...advanced scenario than the ones we’ve played before. We each have individual Destinies. That we’re trying to get to. We have a...small deck of these, ourselves. That we’re going to try to be playing towards, towards our own individual happiness. Over the course of the game, it could be clear that...our own individual. Happiness. Is achieved together. Or separate. So, breaking up is a...scenario here.
Courtney: It’s an option. [crosstalk][03.40] Just like real life!
Royce: If our personality traits don’t align... Because we have a few Secret cards. That are...bits of our personality. And if we’re true to ourselves, we’ll get. Positive or negative...happiness points– Satisfaction points– at the end of the game. That may determine whether or not we individually win or lose, is if we’re actually. Achieving our personal character goals. Or, sacrificing those. Trying to chase the...relationship goals.
Courtney: Yeah. I think the moral of the story is that nobody should...sacrifice who they are...for the sake of a relationship. That will just lead to long-term misery. [brightly] Just like real life!
Courtney: To get us started off, here... I’ll also say this. Because. We have. A lot of queer listeners – this is a queer podcast! The base game...leans pretty heteronormative.
Courtney: We’ve got– quite literally– pink and blue...corresponding character tokens.
Courtney: That’s about as...binary-gender as you can get. We’ve got a card with a...female-looking figure, and a card with male-looking figure. The game does...address this in the rules. Very lightly. They say, “If there’s a very...hetero scenario, that’s not gonna work for you, you can just discard it.” Which...isn’t a perfect response, but–
Royce: They’re also... I don’t think that there are a lot of those. Or, there’re some, that...could be reworked. For example, there’s another scenario, that surrounds...having a kid. You could probably take the cards as they are, and...throw a couple of them out, potentially. Or, twist them into...an adoption scenario. Or something like that, if you wanted to.
Courtney: Yeah, absolutely. I love how the rules–
Courtney: So precious! The rules actually said, [stilted] “two women, in a relationship, can still have a kid.”
Courtney: Ya don’t say!
Courtney: So! Royce, do you wanna play the man or the woman today?
Royce: Well, I have...the blue tokens, in front of me. So...
Courtney: There is no. Agender option. An’ the rules don’t even...address that. But that’s fine. We’re just going to pretend to be...cis, het, allos...today.
Royce: The way we’re going to get that started. Is by...creating our characters. This happens in three phases. We’re going to split up here, in a moment, because...the first phase is kind of secret.
Courtney: [mischievously] Secrets!
Royce: We...are choosing our own occupations, and personal traits– one occupation, three traits– from...a few that were drawn at random. We’ll do that alone, on camera. So that the other person can’t know. These are the...personal goals. That we will...be pushing for. These are our actual, individual personality traits.
Royce: Then, the features...we’ll describe afterwards. That one. Goes the opposite way.
We’re each going to draw five, and then assign the features. To. Each. Other. So we don’t actually have control over our...say, physical appearance, or mannerisms, or–
Courtney: Yeah, style things...? We’ll see what pops up. What options we get for those. But...Royce, I’m just sayin’. [teasing] You better not do me dirty.
[Courtney and Royce laugh]
Royce: It’s a back-and-forth assignment, so it could escalate.
Courtney: It’s true! I have your fate in my hands as well.
Courtney: Okay. Wow! Yeah. I think...we dive right into it. So...get out! I have to share secrets.
Courtney: With the microphone. [mischievously] Only our listeners can know.
Courtney: I started by drawing three potential occupations. All three of these occupations...don’t appeal to Courtney...but I gotta pick one of these. I’m not gonna pick Banker. Which I drew. I did a little stint as a banker. I worked in a banking call center, an’ I was the...[dramatically] department lead, of customer service. Yeah, we’re not goin’ back there. Absolutely not.
Courtney: I also have Advertising Manager. Which I haven’t been in any real capacity, but I am...self-employed, I run my own business. You kinda gotta be your own advertising manager. Advertising’s my least favorite part of the job. So...we’re not doing that, either.
Courtney: I will point out, just ’cause I think it’s funny. Both of those. Occupations. Give you a negative point in...Sincerity. Which. Could. Cause you to be more Deceitful, Pretentious, or Self-Centered. Sorry, bankers and advertising managers. I don’t wanna do that.
Courtney: My other. Third, and final, occupation I drew, is the one I think I’m gonna go with. That is, Parking Attendant. Which, unfortunately, gives me a negative point in Curiosity. Since I’m picking this. I’m a...TINY bit Close-Minded. [dramatically] And Conventional!
Courtney: Now, as for my traits. I drew...five. I’m gonna keep three.
Courtney: The ones I drew are – Flirtatious, Worrywart, Innocent, Pretentious, and Subservient.
Courtney: Actually...you guys, I’m gonna level with you.
Courtney: I might need to change my occupation, before we get started. ‘Cause I do not have ANY traits. That affect Curiosity at all. Which my Parking Attendant job would. Oh...I hate to say it. I think I’m gonna be an Advertising Manager.
Courtney: Because I have Pretentious as a character trait. That’s just strategic gameplay, because those two complement each other. On the lack-of-Sincerity side.
Courtney: Which means I can’t pick Innocent, because Innocent gives you a lot of GOOD Sincerity points...positive... Nope. So, I’m Pretentious... What the heck? Let’s go with Flirtatious!
Courtney: Who I want [sic] to be, Subservient or a Worrywart?
Courtney: Hmm. I think, realistically, I would be a worrywart, if I were a full-time advertising manager. We’re gonna go with that.
Courtney: So, my final character. Advertising Manager, who is Pretentious. Flirtatious. And a Worrywart. I really like how they...define “flirtatious” here. It says, “Inclined to...playfully suggest sexual attraction, without serious intent.” I’m going to call my character...Priscilla. I’m gonna go get Royce back here. To share their character traits and occupation with you.
Royce: Alright. I have a little bit of a mess on my hands here. The three occupation cards I drew, were – Police Officer, Manager, and Criminal. I can’t have this whole game going into an ACAB scenario, so Police Officer’s out. Courtney also has manager trauma from past work-life experiences, so that’s out, too. I guess today I am playing...Bertrand, the career Criminal.
Royce: When it comes to traits... I have to pick three of the five I have here – Task-Oriented, Withdrawn, Cynical, Jealous, and Spiritual. Task-Oriented and Withdrawn are both extreme...introverts. Actually, they’re “shared introverts.” That means I need to pull Courtney’s character. Away from being an extrovert, as well, to achieve these goals. But, because they align, and I’ll probably be able to play towards introversion a little bit better, we’re gonna go with that.
Royce: The other ones... I’m concerned about...being Cynical, or Jealous, on top of being Introverted. I think it’s going to make. A lot of relationship goals complicated. I think I have to be, the introverted career criminal, who’s currently undergoing a...new spiritual awakening. Which is setting myself up for a little bit of a disadvantage, right off the bat. The personality points that I start off with, as a Criminal, actually are in the opposite direction that I need, to...become Spiritual. That’s something I’m going to have to work towards. As we’re playing three scenarios, I’m going to be gunning for the Introverted, and Sincere, options.
Royce: Okay. At this point, we reveal our occupations to each other before...we’ll read off the synopsis for this...scenario. Then choose our features
Courtney: [dramatically] I. Am an Advertising Manager. And you are a Criminal!
Courtney: Those give us exactly the same personality traits!
Royce: What does that say about ad sales?
Courtney: [coyly] I’m not sayin’ anything. We’ll let. [strained] Our lovely audience decide for themselves, on that one.
Courtney: My name is Priscilla. Priscilla, the Advertising Manager.
Royce: And I am Bertrand, the Criminal.
Courtney: [stilted] Pleasure to meet you, Bertrand. Shall we be lovers?
Royce: [teasing] We’ll give it a year.
Royce: The synopsis for this. Scenario that we’re playing. Is. “We Give It A Year.”
Courtney: That was a beautiful segue. Well done.
Royce: The opening is, “You meet at a dance floor. After a period of sweet romance, you decide to give this relationship one year. You won’t break up before. What happens after, is up to each of you.” The challenge is, “‘We Give It A Year’ is a long story, with potential for dramatic reversals. You will be less sure about what your partner is up to, as there is room for deceit, as well as misunderstanding.”
Courtney: That’s what happens when you get in a relationship with an advertising manager.
Royce: I know. All the criminals out there need to be wary.
Courtney: How did we meet on a dance floor?
Royce: It says we met on a dance floor. I. Would...be willing to say that we actually met– this is the story we tell...anyone who talks to us, is that we met on the dance floor– we actually met in the parking lot. Of a club. You were going to the club, and I was. Trying to put a coat hanger through a cracked window of a car in the parking lot.
Courtney: Ah. As you do. Yes. Absolutely, that makes sense. As I happened upon you...
Courtney: ...during this crime attempt. When you looked directly at me. In that half a second, when I could tell...that, you didn’t know. If you wanted to...run away. Or, threaten me, to keep me silent. The way you looked at me in that moment, I...really, fell in love with your...piercing eyes...that seemed to pierce right into my soul.
Royce: That’s interesting, because the first thing that I noticed when you approached was, this...looming shadow, that covered the small amount of light I was trying to work with, as I was trying to get in this car. You’re very, very tall.
Courtney: It’s true, I am. Y’know the one thing...that was more piercing than your eyes? Was your nose. ‘Cause you have a nose piercing. That was the second thing I noticed about you.
Royce: I understand “nose piercing” giving Creative or Unconventional points. But why does “tall”...give Honest, Modest, Fair points?
Courtney: I don’t know why does [crosstalk][15:15] tall mean I’m more sincere?
Royce: Is there a “short” card that means that you’re more Deceitful, Pretentious, and Self-Centered?
Courtney: Maybe! I’m so sorry, to the short people out there. I’m a little mad, that...
Courtney: ...you made me tall and Sincere. I’m...[dramatically] an advertising manager. I am not supposed to be sincere! ...I’m too tall for this job.
[Royce and Courtney laugh]
Royce: Very tall, an’...very lean.
Courtney: Mmhmm. Quite lanky, really.
Courtney: I wasn’t gonna call the cops on you. I’m not a narc. For a criminal, you dress...really, really extravagantly. Very impeccable taste, you’re very, very well dressed. I’m sure that’s because of all of the money that you’ve stolen, you can afford to dress that way. But...when you’re actually doing a heist, maybe you want to...tone it down a little bit. Although, I’m into it. I love how well-dressed you are.
Royce: I remember that little bit of commentary, from that first night, quite well. Only because...well, it was the first time someone had. Tried to give me pointers. On criminal activity. You also had the squeakiest voice I had ever heard before.
[Courtney laughs in a high pitch]
Courtney: Oh, okay. [high-pitched, but softer] So I’m really tall an’ lean, and I have a squeaky voice?
Royce: Yes, that is Priscilla the advertising manager.
Courtney: Excellent. Yeah, I’m not gonna talk like that the whole episode, ‘cause that’s gonna annoy everybody. But, in my mind, I feel like I have the...Delores. Squeak. From...Encanto. Maybe I talk normally, but I occasionally go–
[makes high-pitched, soft squeak sound]
Courtney: Like, “You really shouldn’t draw so much attention to yourself when you’re doing crime–
[Courtney and Royce laugh]
Courtney: And so our grand love story began!
Royce: Chapter One – “Disco Star, Under A Full Moon. Children, marriage, shared dreams, travels, romantic dinners, spooning in bed, the first kiss, the first date. It all began with a first special moment. How was yours?” Both choose. “A) I was dancing all night, alone, but I noticed you noticing me. In the end, I asked you to walk me home. The full moon made me a bit crazy. I still am. B) You were dancing all night, alone. I couldn’t help but notice you. And then you asked me to walk you home. The full moon made me a bit crazy. I still am.” Or, “C) I can’t remember. I was drunk.”
Courtney: So. This isn’t how we actually met. We’ve decided that this is...our cover story. This is what we tell...other people.
Courtney: We’re just gettin’ our stories straight.
Royce: The way that these choices work. We have tokens for A through...D. A through C, in this case. We both. Set them down, face down, and then flip them simultaneously. The points that we get, or the...effect that we get, from this scenario, depends on our answers.
Courtney: Our little love...ometer? Yeah. Our Love-Ometer. Let’s go with that.
Courtney: Ahh. I thought I should be dancing all night, and you thought YOU should be dancing all night. Hmm.
Royce: No. You thought you should be dancing all night, and I thought you should be dancing all night.
Courtney: Oh, so we actually did that very well.
Royce: Yes. We got our story [crosstalk][18:36] straight.
Courtney: Perfect! We got our story straight.
Royce: So that puts us both, starting out at 8 Satisfaction.
Courtney: Wow. We’re on the same page already. Love that.
Royce: It helps. When the relationship started with a cover story.
Courtney: Yeah. Now, we aren’t just partners in love, [mischievously] we’re partners in crime... And marketing.
Royce: Same thing.
Royce: According to the rules. The first player. Is supposed to be. The one who last blew a kiss.
Courtney: [teasing] When was the last time you’ve blown a kiss, Royce?
Royce: I. Don’t. Do that.
Courtney: Yeah. That’s...probably me.
Courtney: Not that I’m...the biggest kiss-blower in the world.
Royce: You do it fairly often. I’ve noticed that my...tolerance for forced behaviors has dropped dramatically. I feel like I used to...play along for. A little bit. Now I don’t want to do anything that I didn’t wanna do in the first place.
Courtney: I know this about you, too. So I’m not expecting...you to try to do anything cheesy, like [teasing] try to catch the kiss...or anything like that. But...you do stick your tongue out at me.
Royce: Well, yeah. That’s...the only reasonable acknowledgement.
Royce: Maybe if I had something soft in my hand, I could...toss it at you. But, I usually don’t.
Courtney: Yeah. But...you know what would happen, if you threw something at me. It would go [crosstalk][19:58] right to the eyeball.
Royce: It would hit you in the eye...
Royce: [teasing] You would open your eye wider, and move it directly into the path.
Courtney: I don’t do that. I swear, you aim for the eyeball. Every time, anything is thrown in a room. It will end up in my eye. It’s like my eye’s a magnet, for [crosstalk][20:13] everything.
Royce: You have a history of eye injuries, from before we met.
Courtney: Yeah, but those don’t count. Some of those were self-inflicted.
Courtney: Okay, Bertrand. “Who Would Be Your Dream Dinner Guest? Pick one of the following, and tell us about them – a movie star, an entrepreneur, a historical figure, or your lovely grandmother, who passed away 12 years ago.”
Royce: Well. I really miss my grandmother. She had a big impact on my formative years. She was the fastest lock-picker I’ve ever seen.
Royce: [wistfully] And a wonderfully caring person. It’s a shame I didn’t get to spend as much...time with her, as I could have.
Courtney: Did she teach you all of the...tools of the trade?
Royce: She taught me a few. In particular, a few harsh lessons about how to not get caught. This is part of why I didn’t have a lot of time with her as a child. She spent the last few years in prison.
Courtney: Ah. Such a shame. I wish I could have met her. She sounds lovely.
Royce: I’m playing “Close Your Eyes. Can you guess where I’m taking you?” We both choose. “A) To a secret party, with famous people and champagne. B) To...I don’t know. I lost track of where we are going. Or, C) To the local square to listen to the street storytellers’ sentimental love stories.” We both picked C.
Courtney: [wistfully] Sentimental love stories, how sweet! How much Satisfaction does that give us?
Courtney: 2 Satisfaction? Why, now we’re both at 10 whole Satisfaction.
Royce: That may or may not be a lot, depending on what our personal goals are.
Courtney: [brightly] We’ll find out!
Royce: Destinies range from needing between 15 and 60.
Courtney: Bertrand. “I Am So Madly In Love With You.” We must now pick...how we want the other to...react in this situation. The Reaction options are “A) How much in love? B) Return a huge smile. Or, C) Cry with happiness.”
Courtney: Oh...too bad. I wanted you to cry in happiness. [accusatory] Why aren’t you crying, Bertrand?
Courtney: See? This is why it’s a game. Very unrealistic for us to not both be crying in happiness right now.
Royce: “Happy Birthday. Here’s something special for you.”
Courtney: Happy birthday!
Royce: “What do I give you, and what gift would you prefer? A) A lazy weekend at home playing games and eating pizza. B) A blindfold, a bottle of champagne, and a surprise.”
Courtney: Oh no...
Royce: Or “C) An antique brooch with an embedded ruby.”
Courtney: Oh! [nervously] What would Priscilla do? Don’t be Courtney right now. Be Priscilla.
Courtney: Oh no. Oh no! Well, gee, I hope you got me a blindfold, a bottle of champagne, and a...“surprise.”
Royce: Well, I forgot the blindfold an’ the bottle of the champagne. The surprise...is this antique brooch with an embedded ruby.
Courtney: Courtney is happier about that than Priscilla is. But that does make sense, where did you steal this from?
Royce: It’s best if you don’t know.
Royce: ...huh. I guess the game didn’t expect me to lift that. It said that the brooch was Close-Minded and Conventional.
Royce: Not Creative and Unconventional.
Courtney: But it’s an antique!
Courtney: Antiques are beautiful. They don’t make ’em like they use’ta!
Royce: You lose 1 Satisfaction...
Royce: And I have to draw a Drama Scene.
Courtney: Oh no. [flatly] How could you not know what I wanted for my birthday. Was something definitely implied to be sexual.
Royce: Oh! Is that what was going on there?
Courtney: Isn’t it?
Courtney: Maybe I made a jump there. What else would blindfold be? And a non-specified surprise...? Guess it could be like a surprise party. It’s probably something kinky, though. ’Cause it gives you a point in...
Royce: In Extroversion.
Courtney: And Assertive. [crosstalk][24:12]Is part of Extroversion. And Curiosity.
Courtney: It raises Extroversion [crosstalk][24:18] and Curiosity.
Royce: Well, you mentioned...
Royce: ...a party, and it gives you a point in the Social skill.
[Courtney hums thoughtfully]
Royce: Who knows? Up for interpretation. That was definitely not what Bertrand was going to do, so...
Courtney: Is Bertrand ace?
Courtney: “Let’s get a photo of us together.” Hire a photographer and do this right. “How do you think we should pose?”
Royce: I don’t like any of these options.
Courtney: I could hold you protectively from behind. You could hold me protectively from behind. We could face each other, hold hands and smile. Or we can jump. Up in the air, while holding hands. No option for vampire portraits. Which is, of course, the only professional photos we’ve ever had taken of Royce and Courtney. Priscilla and Bertrand, though, are gonna take a different path.
Royce: I am apparently either not in Bertrand’s head right now, or Bertrand and Priscilla. Are not matching. On things. Given the last few questions. So let’s try to course-correct.
Courtney: BE Bertrand.
Courtney: What would Bertrand do? W.W.B.D.
Royce: Let’s try this...
[sound of dice rolling]
Courtney: Yeah. I think we should jump up in the air while holding hands.
Royce: That seems like a lot. I figured that this was probably your idea, and you’re probably taller. So, Priscilla would probably be holding Bertrand from behind.
Courtney: Well, we’re just not on the same page at all. Yet, you have slightly more satisfaction in this relationship right now than I do.
Royce: Yeah, we’ve had a series of missteps! Let’s try something here.
Courtney: A little side note. I hope the microphone isn’t picking any of this up, but if any of you hear some knocking or some sawing... We definitely have a neighbor who’s been doing major home construction, for...multiple days at this point. Apologies! If you’re hearing any weird background sounds.
Royce: I am going to play a card. Called... “Like putty in my hands.”
Royce: Now, if I guess. One of your personality traits correctly. You have to discard it, and draw a new one.
Courtney: Wow! Okay.
Royce: Do you have positive Extroversion?
Royce: You have to discard that and draw a new trait.
Courtney: But Bertrand. [teasing] Don’t you like how flirtatious I am?
Courtney: So “inclined to playfully suggest sexual attraction without serious intent,” that I am?
Royce: This. Marks. A...negotiating point. In our relationship, that wasn’t really working for me.
Courtney: If I can’t flirt with you, let’s see how I will now redirect my energies. Get out! So I can share the secrets with the microphone!
Courtney: So my Flirtatious quality required a LOT of positive points in Extroversion. Now that that is discarded. I have. No traits. That require any Extroversion points. It has now been replaced with Nurturing. I am “lovingly caring and protective of others, to help them grow and develop.” So now, instead of Extroversion points. I’m going to be trying to make decisions that will increase my Gentleness score.
Courtney: Okay, Bertrand. Tell me. “What is your most treasured memory?”
Royce: Oh, my most treasured memory comes from... When I was a young child. I didn’t fully understand the gravity of it all, or why we were doing this, but. My mom and dad would set up these scenarios in our...home. I guess they were...training drills, in a sense, now that I think back on it. They would create these elaborate. Series of...I guess you could call them puzzles, or obstacles, and the goal was to...sneak through them.
[Courtney laughs with more frequency as this description continues]
Royce: With my mother, while avoiding my father, who was playing security guard at the time.
They would make up little schematics that...had to have been modeled off of bank floor plans. And...
Courtney: So what you’re saying, is. You come from a whole family of criminals.
Royce: Yeah, but at that point in time I thought this was what every little kid did. With their parents.
Courtney: Wow. This is so...off-topic, but reminiscent of...Jul Kalendern from this year. I think I’ve mentioned before, but I am...actively learning Swedish. One of my favorite things to do in December is to watch the Swedish Christmas Calendar. There’s a short...12- or 13-minute episode. Of an ongoing Christmas story. Every day in December. This year was about a family of criminals! It was very, very silly. The little girl criminal is named “Kriminellen.”
Courtney: It was quite good. Now I’m picturing Bertrand comes from a family just like that.
Royce: To round out the chapter. The last card played before we move to Chapter Two. I’m going to play, “Everything you did. It’s over now. I love you for who you are. What you did then is NOT who you are. Let’s just forget about it.” I’m going to wipe those Extrovert tokens off the board.
Courtney: You forgive me all of my past flirtations?
Royce: Yes. We’re past that now.
Royce: And, with that, we’ll move into Chapter Two. This...scenario is played over three chapters. The second chapter will be the longest. The third one will be the same length as the first one. But, we will get into more serious cards. During this chapter we’ll be able to draw from the Sweet, Serious, or. Dramatic piles, instead of just the sweet ones.
Royce: A lot of these upcoming cards will probably have a higher impact.
Courtney: Dare I say, we may be getting a bit saucy.
Royce: Chapter Two. “What would break your heart? You promised that you will give this relationship exactly one year before you decide what to do. What would break your heart after this year?” We both choose. Either, “A) If we break up, or B) If we don’t stay true to ourselves.”
Courtney: Hmm. Okay, we both said. That it would break our heart, if we don’t stay true to ourselves.
Royce: We both get 4...Satisfaction for that. In addition to starting that chapter, we’ve also had to…discard three of our seven Destinies– our win conditions– so we’ve had to narrow down what. The Endgame is going to be.
Courtney: “Let’s pretend to be each other. It might be weird, but let’s act on each other’s behalf for a day.” We are going to both secretly select a scene from our hand to...give to the other. “You then trade scenes simultaneously. If you trade the same type of scene,” we get some more Satisfaction.
Royce: Those matched. So…[crosstalk][31:00]
Courtney: Same type.
Royce: ...that’s 2 [crosstalk][31:01]
Courtney: We get some more Satisfaction.
Courtney: Well done, love.
Royce: Now the problem is, I don’t know exactly how to be you, because you...have been growing as a person lately. I don’t know where you stand right now.
Courtney: Well. I am no longer flirtatious!
Royce: Instead of roleplaying a scene pretending to be you. Bertrand is gonna get distracted by a triple rainbow in the sky.
Courtney: Triple rainbow! What does it MEAN?
Royce: We both select a scene, and trade it. Again.
Royce: And the next scene played has...double Satisfaction points.
Courtney: Wow. Alrighty then. So, Bertrand. Honey. Darling. Oh, love of mine. My boss just called. I’m sorry, but...I just can’t go out tonight. Something came up at work. You know, at the advertising...firm?
Royce: It’s okay. I understand. These things happen. [loud whisper]…oh, it’s double! I just lost double points! That stung, it must have been a special night.
Courtney: It MUST have been a special night! It wasn’t our anniversary, because...it hasn’t been a year yet.
Royce: We were talking about weird...arbitrary anniversaries in a recent episode.
Courtney: Ah, is this our three-month anniversary?
Courtney: Two-and-a-half. [dramatically] Our two-and-a-half month anniversary!
Royce: It was our...74th day anniversary.
Royce: Burned by that triple rainbow.
Royce: Priscilla, “What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done in front of a crowd?”
Courtney: I have never done anything stupid.
Royce: Never. Not once.
Courtney: Never once in my life. Not even...not in front of a crowd. Just, period. Never done anything stupid in my life. You should know this about me by now.
Courtney: So, Bertrand. As you know, we have a couple friends who are getting married. We were both invited to the bachelor and bachelorette parties, respectively. What happened at your party? I’ll tell you what happened at mine.
Royce: A couple of my friends and I split off from the big group, and just had a really...intimate and thoughtful conversation, for...the majority of the night. It was nice and quiet and peaceful.
Courtney: Oh, that’s not what happened at my party at ALL! I talked with somebody– can’t remember who– we also kissed. Just for fun. I don’t know how Bertrand feels about that!
Royce: [confusedly] I don’t know how Bertrand feels about that...
Royce: It does bring up the question, Priscilla. “How many people have you been with before me?”
Courtney: That’s not important. It’s in the past. Didn’t you forgive me all of my past flirtations already? Aren’t we past this, Bertrand?
Royce: That is exactly the answer that I...said Bertrand wanted to hear.
Courtney: Great! Then we’ll never talk about this again.
Courtney: So, Bertrand... “Is that a party over there? A lot of people seem to be having fun over there, and don’t seem to mind random people joining in.” Whaddaya think? Should we crash the party?
Royce: No way. We’re not invited, and I don’t know these people.
Courtney: Yeah, that doesn’t bother me too much. Now that you mention it, I’m not really in the mood. I feel a bit down tonight.
Royce: Priscilla, I’m not actually sure how to say this, but...you’re actually “my first unconventional relationship,” and no, I have no idea what unconventional means. Maybe it’s...we’re kind of in relationship limbo, or Giving It A Year?
Courtney: Yeah, I dunno. It does not specify. “Use your imagination!” Bertrand...to be honest, I must admit that it does make me a bit nervous. Do you even really know...who you are, and what you want?
Royce: Well, I believe so. I think there are still some things I’m...trying to figure out. I don’t think that’s a problem?
Courtney: Well, you know, in whatever way we are unconventional, it is...abundantly obvious, just from the looks of us, that we are an unconventional couple. In some unspecified way. But how are you going to react when we are standing. In a queue. And a stranger in front of us turns around and says, ‘Are you a couple? I would have never guessed people like you could be lovers.’
Royce: “Baffled stranger drama.” I think I would be too surprised to say much of anything at all, in the moment.
Courtney: Well, I’d give them a piece of my mind. I’d say, ‘Yeah, things are changing. Luckily, the world has become a more diverse place.’
Royce: Where criminals and advertising managers can be in a committed relationship!
Courtney: We can be out and proud, publicly. At least for a year! Then we’ll see.
Royce: On a lighter note. “We’re hanging out with a friend, and the friend confides in us that they’ve seen something strange. A shadow, perhaps. More like a ghost. What should I do?”
Courtney: “Haha. That’s funny. Perhaps you should check your eyesight. Or your brain.”
Royce: Bertrand, trying to cover for Priscilla’s outburst here, is like “Relax. It’s just your mind playing tricks on you. It’s probably just stress.” ...I need to stop drawing from the serious pile.
Courtney: Not liking the possible outcomes you’re seeing?
Royce: My hand is TOO serious!
Courtney: Since things are getting a little bit more serious. I invited you to...my parents’ house. We got in a HUGE fight. My mother yelled, [shrill, mocking tone] ‘I can’t believe you have the nerve to come to our house and say something like that! It is completely uncalled for!’ And then she turns to you, and says ‘And you! Are you just going to stand there, watching?’ What do you do?
Royce: I would side with you, of course. I don’t know what this argument was...
Courtney: That’s not very Gentle of you, but I’m glad that you stuck up for me.
Royce: Does your mom just really not. Like hearing. About advertising at the dinner table, or something?
Courtney: Maybe it has more to do with our...“unconventional relationship.”
Royce: I’m going to play a Secret.
Courtney: Bertrand, you’ve been talking in your sleep. Lately. And you’ve said some things. So I know what you’ve been up to lately, but...I’m gonna let it go. We don’t have to talk about that now, since you’re. Clearly not ready.
Royce: Well, good. There’s a time and a place for everything, and that time. Is currently. Christmas. I don’t have...the energy to discuss other things right now.
Royce: “I love this time of year!” We’re going to trade scenes again. The next scene has double Satisfaction.
Courtney: You know what I think, Bertrand? “I think you should get a tattoo with my name.” Just so it’s...REALLY clear, how committed you are. Plus, it’ll go so nicely with your nose ring.
Royce: “What? No way. I love you an’ all, but this is not the right way to show it.”
Courtney: [crossly] Fine then!
Royce: Heh. So, Priscilla. “What are you thinking about?”
Courtney: I’m thinking how I might improve my workout. You know how...much I like to keep lean. I’ve heard about this. New, wild thing called weighted hula hoops? I’m wondering if I should work it in, to my regular regimen.
Royce: That scenario concludes. Chapter Two. We’re going to the Final Chapter now. Where the only thing available for us to draw is, drama scenes.
Courtney: Drams! [sic] Bring it on.
Royce: This also means that we’re going to end up narrowing down our Destinies, and actually getting to the finale here, pretty soon. Do you want to...take a little break, to recap what’s been going on? I realize that, with no visuals. People can’t see the board, and where all of our personality shifts have happened.
Courtney: Yeah, absolutely. Right now, we each have our individual level of Satisfaction. My character is currently sitting at a score of 16 for relationship satisfaction.
Royce: Bertrand’s at 15. So we’re pretty close in that regard. Our...personality dimensions are...MOSTLY in alignment. We are pretty Introverted. Pretty Disciplined. Bertrand hit. Heavily, on...Close-Minded and Conventional. Mostly by not. Going out and doing things. The only other big split is in Sincerity. Where...Priscilla is coming off very self-centered and pretentious. Bertrand is coming off more honest and fair.
Courtney: Yeah. That’s the only one with the really major split. The other ones tend to align, a little bit. Closer. Royce, if you wanna step away. I will actually get into specifics. About my character sitting with my individual traits.
Courtney: Coming into the last round, I’m actually sitting pretty well. My Pretentious trait. Means that I need at least 3 negative points in Sincerity. Of which I currently have 4. If that doesn’t change at all, I am good with that trait. My Worrywart trait. I must have a shared TOTAL balance of at least 5 points in Sensitivity. Which, we have exactly 5. If that one doesn’t change, I’m good there. The only one I really need to try to work on to meet is the...Gentleness, from my new Nurturing trait. After my Flirtatious trait got wiped away. Now I need 5 points in Gentleness. There are currently only 3. The unfortunate thing is. Looking at all of the different scenarios in my hand, very few of these actually affect Gentleness. So, I’m gonna hope for a lot of luck!
Courtney: In that, perhaps, Royce will play some cards that my answers can affect that Gentleness. That is...the one that’s concerning me right now.
Royce: Okay. Coming into the Final Chapter of the game, I’m sitting pretty well. All of my trait goals for the game are looking pretty good. If I can end the game with those all complete. That’s an extra 15 points of Satisfaction. I also have a Secret in play right now, which is that Bertrand is currently...planning to start a business, maybe to...move away from a life of crime, although it will probably start as something like a pawn shop to get rid of. The merchandise. That he already has in his possession. Then, maybe it will become more legitimate over time. Priscilla is already aware of this, because apparently Bertrand talks in his sleep, but she’s decided to not call attention to that.
Royce: I have another Secret I’ll probably be playing soon, which is a Surprise Party. Which should help get me towards that goal. And will also help both of us in terms of our relationship status, if it...goes off without a hitch. When it comes to Destinies, I don’t really know how this is going to shake up. Over the next few rounds, I basically have to decide...are we staying together? If so, in what capacity? Or is Bertrand going his own way? I’m going to have to guess. Based off of where the board is at, around that point in time.
Royce: Okay. Chapter Three. “What are you willing to sacrifice?”
Courtney: Well, not our sense of self. We already established that.
Royce: We already established that. “Things get rough. What are you willing to sacrifice? A) I will change who I am for you. B) Your happiness is more important than mine.” Or, “C) I will sacrifice...something. I guess.”
Royce: This is a tough one.
Courtney: This is a really tough one. I’m looking at all these Destinies and I’m like, ‘Ooh! How are we gonna be able to meet any of these?’
Royce: Oh! Okay.
Courtney: Aww. We both think that the others’ happiness is more important than our own.
Courtney: ‘Awwww’ goes the audience.
Royce: That was definitely the...game theory answer. What is that, the Prisoner’s Dilemma?
Royce: Based off of the options. Basically, if we both chose that one, it would have been the best option. If we didn’t, it would have been the worst option for both of us.
Courtney: Gonna play a Secret card.
Royce: What a coincidence. I’m also going to play a Secret card!
Courtney: You know, I feel like you’re keeping some secrets from me. So I... “started browsing some of your texts.” What did I learn?
Royce: Oh, you must have seen those texts with...Steve. He owns some property in. A shopping district, I’m trying to rent out a small...space. To. Sell. Off. Some of the merchandise. I’ve acquired over the years. I’m thinking, maybe it can be a...transition into a more legitimate. Business.
Courtney: So you’re starting a business. Is that what all of your sleep-talking has been about?
Courtney: Yes, you’ve been talking in your sleep. Now it all makes sense.
Royce: Oh! So you already knew, then.
Courtney: I had my hunches. You know, I really wish you would have told me, so we could talk this out. I just don’t think it’s a good idea. We need a little more time together. In OUR relationship, to see what ‘this’ is. Before venturing on a...big project like this, don’t you think? [dramatically] I’m worried about what this will do to ‘us’!
Royce: Yeah, fencing all this stuff could take up quite a bit of time. Maybe I should...wait a bit. Circle back on this after the year’s up.
Courtney: [brightly] Yeah, we’ll give it a year!
Royce: Priscilla, I just got off the phone. “My best friend died.” I don’t know what to do. I feel like I have a huge hole in my...stomach.
Courtney: Oh my God, Bertrand! I am. So…so sorry. I can’t even imagine how sad you must be. Here. Come. Bring it in.
[Courtney and Royce laugh]
Courtney: Let me hold you!
Courtney: Look at how Gentle...of a response that was. In the face of your friend’s death!
Royce: I kind of expected you to be like... [dismissively] ’I never heard of ‘im.’
Courtney: ’Why don’t I know about this friend?!’a
Royce: Yeah! You’ve been going through my texts. ‘Why didn’t I see any text from him? Was he REALLY your [crosstalk][44:42] best friend?’
Courtney: ‘How many more secrets are you hiding from me, Bertrand?’
Courtney: This is why it’s good to give it a year. ...I’m gonna play another Secret.
Courtney: Yeah! What’s Priscilla up to? What’s she hiding?
Royce: Bertrand is going to find...a letter. Written to himself. From himself. That says, “Dear me. If you’re reading this, you have done something you shouldn’t have. Don’t worry. You’re still me. Don’t let all your- my- actions encumber you too much. Remember, live and forget, don’t live in regret. Or, as Jack London once wrote, ‘To be able to forget means sanity.’ I’m going to clear off all of these...Close-Minded. Conventional. Traits. Of mine.
Royce: Turn over a new leaf.
Courtney: It’s more like. Going back to your old self, I mean, you’ve got the nose ring.
Courtney: You’re a criminal.
Royce: Yeah, I lost my way for a little bit.
Courtney: I’m gonna play another Secret card.
Royce: Oh, Priscilla. You’ve been playing an awful lot of Secrets. I can see here that, during the course of our...relationship. You’ve been a little Insincere. A little Deceitful, at times. So, I found this brilliant self-help book!
Courtney: That’s perfect for an advertising manager!
Royce: Is negative Sincerity one of your traits?
Royce: Can you discard it [crosstalk][46:05] and draw a new one?
[Courtney moans in dramatic pain]
Courtney: How dare?!
Courtney: I said I wouldn’t CHANGE for you, Bertrand! Yes, I’m pretentious.
Courtney: This late of a game? I’m getting another brand new trait?
Royce: Uh huh!
Courtney: When I was just...Ugh. ’Kay.
[sighs in exasperation]
Courtney: Bertrand, get out.
[Royce and Courtney laugh]
Courtney: [accusatory] I need to talk to my FRIENDS! About what YOU made me DO!
Courtney: Y’all, this is a bunch of nonsense. I told you at the top of this round, Gentleness was the one thing I needed, and I finally got. Up there. All of my traits were covered, I just needed to hold them all down. Now? Playing this card has wiped clean. My Pretentious trait. And what I just drew. Is Fun-Loving. “Cheerful, energetic, and likes to have a good time.” Which requires 5 points in Extroversion, which was exactly. What. My Flirtation needed. Before THAT got wiped!
Courney: I can tell, from the way Royce is playing, that Introversion is something that is needed for Bertrand, because...there are. 5 points total. Negative, on the Extroversion scale. Right now. There is no way that I am going to be able to make all of that up. Hmm. Well. Maybe I’ll mess with one of...Bertrand’s traits. I think I have a card that’ll do that. Game on!
Courtney: Listen, darling. “We need to have a very serious conversation.” Are you Introverted?
Courtney: No you’re not. Fix yourself! ...Ah, “Withdrawn” is what you were... Listen. I changed my...Flirtatious habits. Because of you. And that still wasn’t enough, you just kept...pressing and pressing. I’m gonna need you to give a little bit here, if this is gonna work. Try to step out of the box a little bit. Break out of your shell. Talk to a human, for once in your life, that isn’t me.
Royce: Go away for a moment. Or plug your ears.
Courtney: [melodically] I’m not listening! La la la...
Royce: Okay. This is how the Final Chapter is gonna be, I guess, is us going back and forth, completely changing our characters right before the finale. We have three Scenarios left, and then it’s over. There’s almost no chance to...reconfigure, these...personality traits. I had to discard one of my two, identical Introverted. Traits. I still have one of those. What I drew was Irresponsible. Which. Is completely in character. But. Does not fit what the board has said, because I’ve had very few choices that deal with Discipline. I’m probably going to try to swap that out, and hope I get lucky.
Royce: Oh, Priscilla, you are right. I have been asking a lot of you in this relationship. After you brought it to my attention, I...went ahead, and...scheduled an appointment with a psychologist. I’ve been. Working on myself, a little bit. With that, I’m going to change the Trait that you just made me draw into a new Trait.
Courtney: Okay! I guess I’ll just...leave again!
Royce: Okay, so that didn’t work. I traded out Irresponsibility for being a Perfectionist. Which is...the exact same personality dimension, flipped in the opposite direction, instead of being. Undisciplined, it’s. EXTREMELY Disciplined. I definitely don’t have that one covered. So, we’ll see!
Royce: We’re down to the final two scenes.
Courtney: [melodically] It’s the final countdown! ...oh, I forgot I’m supposed to be squeaky.
[Courtney squeaks softly a few times]
Courtney: There’s...no way.
Courtney: Man. Where do I go from here?
Royce: We haven’t really played any decision scenarios. It’s just been...Secrets, and forced personality changes. [flatly] Oh, and my best friend died.
Courtney: Priscilla feels like she’s really needed to...give a lot here. She’s not getting a lot in return.
Royce: I went to THERAPY!
Courtney: Took ya long enough!
Royce: It’s been less than a year...
Courtney: Fix. Your. Self. Bertrand!
Courtney: Well, Bertrand, now that you’re going to therapy. And I trust that you’re working on yourself. “Where should we live?” Let’s have THAT discussion right now, why don’t we.
Royce: Really liking the quiet of the suburbs.
Courtney: See, but I wanna be downtown, close to everything.
Royce: No match. We are not moving in together just yet.
Royce: “My aunt is coming to town. She would never approve of us.” She hates advertising. “Should we tell her that we’re just friends?”
Courtney: I know this is difficult for you, but we really need to tell her. Let’s just...tell her in a very CALM way, once she’s down here. I know a lot of people are terrified of advertising managers, but. I think once she gets to know me, maybe she’ll warm up. You know?
Royce: That was the final scene. Now we go into the...finale. “The moment of truth. The year has passed. Now it’s time to decide. Will you stay together?” We both. Select. A Destiny. Before we proceed. …’kay. Reveal Destinies!
Courtney: Well, call me Pat Benatar, because I’m a “Heartbreaker.” I’m breaking up with you, because that’s what I DO!
Royce: I attempted to go with “Unconditional Love.” Staying in the relationship. But assuming that. You were going to be happier in the relationship than I was.
Courtney: Sucks for you!
[Courtney and Royce laugh]
Royce: Let’s resolve the rest of this. “If you have any Secrets at play, let’s reveal them.” I have one. It was a surprise party that I had arranged. That’s +4 for both of us. Now, you have many, many Secrets.
Courtney: I have many Secrets. The first Secret is that...you forgot our anniversary.
Royce: How is that a secret?
Courtney: You weren’t listening to me when I said, ‘Honey, dear, please don’t forget our anniversary.’ Are you listening to me? Clearly, you weren’t listening to me, because you forgot our anniversary. That’s why I am breaking up with you. On this, our anniversary. I get -2 Satisfaction because you forgot our anniversary. However. Being the Heartbreaker I am. I had a casual fling with somebody. But the sex was good. But you didn’t find out. So I get +3 more Satisfaction.
Courtney: Then that casual fling was so good that I thought, maybe I would up my cheating game, and I actually slept with your best friend.
Royce: But my best friend died.
Courtney: Yep. Sure did!
Royce: Before or after?
Courtney: I plead the fifth. I was really convincing when I was helping you through that...grieving process. When I was so gentle with you. Wasn’t I?
Royce: Yeah, you acted like you didn’t know him at all.
Courtney: I knew him. In a way that you never would. But you didn’t find out about us cheating, because he died. So I get. +3 MORE satisfaction in our relationship. Ya know, he really wanted to tell you. At a certain point, he [crosstalk][53:15] felt guilty...
Royce: Just how did he die?
Courtney: ...what do I look like, a coroner?
Royce: Okay! So now. The fun part. Personality traits.
Royce: At the beginning of this game, I was a Spiritual, Task-Oriented, Withdrawn, Criminal.
Royce: As you can see here, Withdrawn and Task-Oriented are identical.
[Courtney utters in acknowledgment]
Royce: They both required a -5 total. Which was- we HAD, for most of the game- until you slipped this back in the very last scene of the game.
Courtney: ’Kay, that was your OWN...damn fault, though. Because, the only trait I’ve kept this whole game is that I’m a Worrywart. So I need a +5 to my Sensitivity. When I originally had...Flirtatious, that was, like, +5 to Extroversion. You got rid of that. In favor of Nurturing. Which changed that to 5 Gentleness. But then you got rid of my Pretentiousness, which gave me. Fun-Loving. So I once again needed 5 Extroversion in the last round!
Royce: I went [crosstalk][54:19] from being Withdrawn...
Courtney: How dare you?
Royce: ...to being Irresponsible...
Royce: ...to being a Perfectionist.
Royce: I failed two of my goals, and I succeeded in one. I actually Achieved Spiritual Enlightenment, which is what I set out to do in the beginning. I failed at my Introversion- at my group Introversion- so. That’s going to total a -1 for me.
Courtney: I almost had everything I needed, when you made me change that last personality trait.
Courtney: How dare.
Royce: I was set, until the very end, too. How did you do on your three traits?
Courtney: I...made my Nurturing goal. With 5 Gentleness. I made my Worrywart goal. With 5 Sensitivity. And I...didn’t get a single point in Extroversion, for my Fun-Loving.
Royce: Okay. You get a +7. Overall. Now, my destiny is already shattered, because we are no longer in a relationship. Did you meet your goal? ...Oh, your goal was easy!
Courtney: Yes. I fulfill the Heartbreaker condition IF...I had at least 4 in lack of Sincerity. Which I did from my previous personality trait, which you tried to wipe. And if my partner’s Satisfaction is 15 or less, and that they did not want to break up with me.
Royce: Oh! I didn’t read that part! You just BARELY got it then. My Satisfaction is 15.
Courtney: Success! I broke your heart, Bertrand! That’s what you get for trying to change who I am! Priscilla changes for NO man. Not even a well-dressed criminal with a nose ring.
Royce: The first couple of times we played this, it seemed like Success was fairly easy. In the more complicated games, it is difficult!
Courtney: There were a lot more things that...I feel lowered the overall relationship satisfaction. Based on answers. That were...completely unavoidable.
Royce: Right! There was [sic] a lot of things...in my hand that I was trying to avoid playing. Because it would have too drastic. Of a change, on things. That were already established, or. It would affect things in unpredictable ways.
Courtney: That was fun! That was...
Courtney: That was really interesting.
Royce: I wondered where you were going with all of those Secrets. That is not what I expected.
Courtney: I just had nothing...that would have served me to play. I was so close to getting all of my individual goals already, that I was being very wary of those. When I was originally- had my Pretentious- both of the cheating ones...decrease Sincerity, so those were also gonna be...my failsafe for...if those got revealed. Then, with the chance of different cards coming about where you could reveal a Secret. I wanted a safer, more wholesome, Secret. So that. I wouldn’t just be like, ‘I cheated on you, and you found out!’ So that’s why I also played the “Don’t forget our anniversary.” ’Cause if you would have revealed that Secret, that would have signified you...listening to me, and remembering. That would have actually been a positive to reveal.
Royce: I don’t know. I think I might have had one “Reveal a Secret” card the entire game. I think I started with it.
[Courtney utters thoughtfully]
Royce: I either discarded it, or traded it to you. I don’t remember which.
Courtney: Well, cool! That was a lot of fun. I hope all of you, listening, enjoyed that. It’s such a silly game. It’s so interesting, because...you can...recognize some of the rom-com tropes in here.
Royce: There are some special scenes that are included in some scenarios, like “Rushing to catch a flight before it leaves,” or...
Royce: We don’t have any of the expansions, but I think some of the expansions get, a little ‘out there.’ One of ’em, I think, is “Paranormal Romance.”
[Courtney gasps excitedly]
Courtney: “Paranormal Romance!” See, this is interesting! We’ve got a few more scenarios in this game that we have never played before. If you guys like this, I mean, tweet at us. Let us know. Comment, if you’re listening to this on YouTube. ’Cause...down the road, a few weeks from now, we might...pop the game out. Play it again, with a different scenario, so. If you guys like this game, maybe we’ll...play a couple of different rounds.
Royce: The expansions are “Paranormal Romance,” “Mismatched Love,” and “Trouble With the In-Laws.”
Courtney: Trouble With the In-Laws! We only got a little, teeny-tiny taste of that this time.
Courtney: I think that’s about all there is for today. I hope you all enjoyed The Saga of Bertrand and Priscilla. And hey, let us know if there are any other games you’d like to hear us play through. Until then, we will...see you guys next time. Goodbye!