(For the sake of this review, I’ll be speaking strictly about the Tutorial scenario as to prevent any spoilers for later scenarios.)
Fog of Love is a game for two people meant to simulate a burgeoning relationship, romantic comedy style, and it does a pretty decent job. Each player takes on the role of one half of a couple at the start of a relationship. Characters are made up of a series of traits like “Nerdy Glasses” or “Seducing Scent” and a profession. You get to select your own profession from a small selection of cards, but your partner gets to select your traits, describing how these were attributes that attracted them to you in the first place. Play progresses through a series of chapters, each of which is separated by scenes that are determined by players alternating playing scene cards.
Scenes generally take the form of either a choice for both players (“We’ve won a trip to Italy, how long should we stay there?”) or a proposition for the current player’s partner (“You’re bringing breakfast in bed to your partner, what do you make them?”). Players are then presented with a chance to select one of four options; if players choose the same option, they’re often rewarded with more satisfaction than if they differ, but may miss out on the opportunity to advance their individual goals.
Eventually, your final goal is determined by selecting a secret “Destiny” which takes into account how satisfied you and your partner are in your relationship and how successful you were in manipulating your individual traits throughout the game. One thing I really appreciated was how well the mechanics reflected the theme. For instance, I went for the “Equal Partners” destiny which required that both partners have a satisfaction level above a certain threshold, but also required that one partner couldn’t be more than three degrees of satisfaction higher than the other. It required me to make choices that lowered my satisfaction in order to increase my partner’s satisfaction, bringing us more toward a relationship that suited us equally.
When Sara and I played, we had a silly and enjoyable time. The game really does deliver on its goal of being a light relationship-based role-playing game.
Component-wise, Fog of Love is beautifully minimalist. The type is clear (though small in some cases, and too fine a typeface to read when using light text on a dark background design), and the quality of the individual parts is superb. The majority of the graphic design is done well, but there’s one significant misstep: the player tableaus are oriented in such a way that the trait spectrums are decidedly pointing left and right. On all cards that indicate where to add tokens, icons point up or down. It’s a minor issue but considering the amount of polish throughout the rest of the game, it stuck out like a sore thumb.
One thing I want to make special mention of is the tutorial scenario. Fog of Love isn’t a game that you learn by reading a rule book or watching a video; it’s a game you learn by playing it. Cards placed strategically throughout the various decks are clearly labeled (and numbered) as tutorial cards. When these cards are revealed as the game is played, the rules are read aloud and play progresses implementing the rule or process that was just introduced. It’s a wonderfully organic way to learn a game and one I’m really hoping ends up being used more often (there’s an entire line of Stronghold games called the Fast Forward series that implements something similar).
Designed by: Jacob Jaskov
Player Count: 2
Playtime: 90-120 minutes
Time to Learn: 90-120 minutes (while playing through a wonderful tutorial)
Replayability: N/A (scenarios are played once through by a given pair of players, but it’s probably a blast to watch other people play through)
Will my mom play it?: Doubt it, seriously.
Designed by: Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli
Player Count: 2-4
Playtime: 60-90 minutes
Time to Learn: 15 minutes
Will my mom play it?: Nope nope nope nope.
I purchased this game from Adventures Underground because they’re awesome.
Written by Brendan Quinn; President of Tri-City Area Gaming. Learn more about the 200+ annual gaming events we host by visiting http://www.tricityareagaming.com.