DISCLAIMER: This post is actually longer than I thought it would be. It’s a complicated game that required a complicated explanation. But please give it a read and give the game a try, it’s well worth it. Thanks!
Just like Dungeons and Dragons, some games exist for the sole purpose of the experience rather than the competition between players. Dungeons and Dragons is a game based around storytelling and playing a role. The game also consists of constant make believe and imaginative combat, bartering, and a myriad of other nerd tropes.
Now, I love those tropes. I love the idea of playing a role and having an experience with other players at the table. You’re not playing against anybody else. You’re simply telling a story with friends.
Fog of Love seeks to do the exact same thing, however, it’s a game of relationships and all of the ups and downs associated with them. You and another person tell a story of two people that have met and are giving love a try. Of course, what kind of story would it be if there weren’t fights, disagreements, misunderstandings, and missteps? Perhaps you and another person will discover what it’s like to live through a different relationship from your own.
Fog of Love is for 2 players, takes approximately 2 hours to play, and is for ages 17 and older.
Setup for Fog of Love is complicated. The initial setup is the same for every game, but you and your partner will tell different stories each time, so choosing the story will slightly change your setup. For this blog post, we’ll be doing the starting story that includes the tutorial. That story is called Sunday Morning Date.
The first time you play the game, they have all of the tutorial cards already in place to make the first playthrough much easier. I’ll explain that a little later on, so the setup for this game will be as if you were playing it in the standard way.
The game has a general setup regardless of the story. Lay the board out in the middle of the table. Each person should take a card holder, choice token set, and a personality token choice. Our set is the male/female version, so there is blue and pink. Separate the scene cards into their respective piles: Sweet, Serious, and Drama. Shuffle those decks and place them on the corresponding place on the board. Grab the chapter cards for the story you’re playing, in this case Sunday Morning Date. Make sure they’re face down and place them on the appropriate spot on the board. Grab the synopsis card and give it a quick read. This card will tell you all of the stuff you need to start your first story. Next, shuffle the Trait, Occupation, and Feature decks. The game is now set up to be played!
Fog of Love is a game for two players. You will create and play two vivid characters who meet, fall in love, and face the challenge of making an unusual relationship work.
You will play from the very first sparks of attraction through meeting in-laws, awkward situations, parties, thoughtful gifts, secret affairs, kids, arguments, and reconciliations, to a hopefully happy end.
Will the characters end up in a satisfying relationship, or will it all end in a dramatic breakup?Fog of Love Rulebook
Now that the board is set up, it’s time to create your character.
Each player draws five Trait cards. These cards contain traits that will define the base personality for your character. Some of these traits include but are not limited to Innocent, Task-Oriented, Down to Earth, Worrywart, etc. These Trait cards will have personality token scores on them. I will discuss those later. Choose three of the traits and put them on your card holder so that your partner can’t see them. Put the others on the bottom of the Trait deck.
Each player draws three Occupation cards. These cards are exactly how they sound. Each card contains an occupation. Choose one of them for your character and place the others on the bottom of the Occupation deck. Place your occupation on the corresponding spot on the board.
Each player draws five Feature cards. These features are physical or visible aspects of your character. However, rather than assigning them to yourself, you will be assigning them to your partner. Somebody goes first and chooses a feature and then says, “One of the first things I noticed about you was…” and then give them the feature and tell them what it is and how it stood out to you. Then your partner will do the same. You do this until each of you has been assigned three features. Put the remaining features on the bottom of the Feature deck.
Now that the characters have been created in terms of features, occupation, and traits, it’s time to give them a name and begin the game.
Before anything is actually played, you need to introduce each other. Start by saying, “Hi, my name is [name]. I’m a(n) [occupation],” and then describe what kind of a person you are. The other person will do the same thing. Once you have both described your created characters (without giving away your traits, try to keep them a secret), it’s time to get your scenes and destinies in hand.
The synopsis for your story will tell you which cards you need to draw and which destinies to have in your hand. For Sunday Morning Date, you’ll want to draw three cards from the Sweet deck, one from the Serious deck, and one from the Drama deck. Check to see which destinies you’ll start with in your hand and put any others to the side.
Before I go over the gameplay and sequence of play, let’s talk about destinies, satisfaction score, and personality tokens.
Destinies are personal objectives that you’re trying to reach at the end of the game. Each destiny has specific requirements in order to be fulfilled. Now, not meeting those requirements doesn’t mean you lose the game. Instead, think of your destinies as a personal goal to reach and a marker for you to aim for during the game. The destinies in your hand will change during the game, so your end goal is always changing…just like real life.
When you set up the game, you took a character card along with your tokens and other starting things. The character card has numbers along the outside of it. Throughout the game, you’re going to to be raising and lowering your satisfaction score due to effects from the scenes and otherwise. You will always begin at zero. The satisfaction score directly correlates to most destinies, and it also sets a standard for how your character feels throughout his or her story.
The personality tokens are slightly more complicated. There are six personality dimensions in the middle of the board. Each one has polar opposites that correlate to your character’s personality throughout the game. Those dimensions are split into two types per dimension. Black is Discipline/Disorganized. Purple is Curiosity/Closed-Minded. Orange is Extroversion/Introversion. Yellow is Sensitivity/Thick-Skinned. Green is Gentleness/Rough. Blue is Sincerity/Deceitful. While the board gives you those specific dimensions, they go much deeper than that. For instance, the Closed-Minded side of the dimension could also be conventional or prosaic. It’s not limited to just one type of personality trait.
Whenever you make certain decisions found on the scenes, you will place a personality token on whichever side of the dimension your answer indicates. The card will tell you where to put it. Certain destinies require shared or individual totals in certain dimensions. These dimensions also help define who your character is and how/why he or she acts certain ways.
Your three traits will have certain personality dimensions on them. For instance, the Worrywart trait card has a goal of a Shared Balance of 5 tokens or more in the upper side, or Sensitivity, of that dimension. As long as you and your partner have 5 tokens on that side of the dimension (take away 1 for every token you have on the opposite side), you’ll fulfill that trait. This will score you in the positive or negative at the end of the game.
Now that we’ve cleared ALL of that up, let’s discuss how to actually play the game.
The first thing you should do is switch over the Chapter One card. Each story consists of differing chapters and numbers of them. Sunday Morning Date has three chapters. At the bottom of each chapter card, it tells you how many cards you will have to play before coming to the end of the chapter.
Whoever goes first chooses one of the scenes from his or her hand. The scenes consist of different elements, all of which will inevitably make you, your partner, or both of you make a decision.
Let’s say you play a card called, “Argument at the Restaurant.” The top of the card will give you a small opening line if you want to use that to start the scene. We prefer to come up with our own reason for an argument and state out loud what the argument entails. The card now forces you and your partner to make a choice.
Those choices are as follows:
A: Sorry, honey. You’re right, I’m wrong. Choosing this will give you two personality tokens toward Gentleness. If you choose this option, you’ll get -2 satisfaction. Your partner will get +2 satisfaction.
B: You know I’m right! Choosing this option will give you one personality token in the opposite end of Sincerity and one personality token in the opposite end of Gentleness. If you choose this option, you’ll get +1 satisfaction. Your partner will get -1 satisfaction.
C: Let’s stop this stupid fight. I love you and just want to have a good time with you. Choosing this option will give you one personality token in the opposite end of Sensitivity and one personality token in Gentleness. If you choose this option, you receive -1 satisfaction.
You and your partner will read the card. Grab a choice token that matches the letter you want to choose, and put it face down on the choice spot on the board. Decide who wants to flip over their token first (usually the person that didn’t play the card). They flip over their choice and say their answer (you can change the wording of it to match the feel of the character, just as long as the intention is the same). Then you flip over your choice, giving your answer as well.
At the bottom of the scene, there are some additional effects that can happen based on your choices.
For this card, if you both match B, then you each get -2 satisfaction. If you both matched C, you each choose a scene from your hand and exchange it with your partner. Any other options have no additional effects.
After you play your scene, you draw a card from whichever deck the chapter tells you. Then your partner plays a scene. This continues on until you reach the required number of scenes for that chapter. When you get to that point, you flip over the next chapter, read the beginning of it, answer the choice question on it, and the player whose turn is next plays a scene.
This is a game that tells a story. The more you infuse the game with your own imagination, the more rewarding it will be. To help you with that, some cards will ask you to tell something. In those cases, be as creative as you feel like. If you feel that it is hard to come up with something, just skip it.
As long as you follow the rules for sharing information, the game is designed to support fun dialogue and immersion. You are each playing an imaginary character involved in an unpredictable romance. It’s a comedy, and it might also be a tragedy. As in all stories, your character can change. You can move the story in any direction you want it to go.
In the end, the game is all about creating a good story. Even though you are representing your characters and acting on their behalf, you are also playing from a more ‘godlike’ position, exposing the characters to fun and crazy experiences.
You are playing the story as much as you are playing the characters. Whether you fulfill your characters’ destinies or not at the end is therefore less important than the story you have created together.Fog of Love Rulebook
Once you have finished all of the chapters in the story, it’s time for the finale. Each finale is more or less the same. Reveal the final destiny you’re trying to meet. Check your traits. Any that were fulfilled will net you positive satisfaction based on what the synopsis tells you. Any traits not fulfilled will lose you satisfaction based on what the synopsis tells you. Check to see if you fulfilled your destinies. At this point, the story is over! (As a note, SOME finales will differ in motives and actions, make sure to read each one thoroughly).
My fiancee and I like to discuss our characters and the different aspects of their lives as the story moved forward. We reminisce and talk about the story.
Other aspects of the game exist such as Minor Scenes, Secrets, Linked Scenes, Special Events, Reactions, and Special Effects. All of these cards are discussed in great detail in the rules but would be too difficult to explain here. Instead, I’ll save it for when you play the game.
The creator of the game really took all aspects of the world into consideration. We own the Male/Female version, but the game’s maker has created a Female/Female, Male/Male, and Unnamed/Unnamed gender versions. There are cards in the game for the LGBTQ+ community. They came out with expansions, each with different stories, difficulties, lengths, and character creation opportunities. In one of the expansions, you start by assigning features to your partner based on what you HATE about them instead of LOVE about them. This relationship is rocky from the beginning.
The game also comes with an instituted tutorial, where the cards are strategically placed in certain spots in each deck. You will always draw those cards at the right time, and each card you draw will explain what steps to take next and how to play the game. You can reset the tutorial or continue playing like normal once you finish it.
Fog of Love is one of the most interesting and unique board games I have ever played. I know I didn’t do a fantastic job of describing it in this blog given that it’s extremely lengthy and complex. However, once you play the game, you no longer need the instructions, and everything falls into place. Just like Dungeons and Dragons, the rules are more like guidelines than actual processes that require following. You’ll want to stick with the core basics of the game, but feel free to take some liberties while playing. After all, it’s about your enjoyment instead of competition.
In fact, I don’t even believe Fog of Love is a board game. Instead, it’s an experience. A story. An adventure. Pick up a copy of the game, play the tutorial, and enjoy the journey on which you’re about to embark.
My aim with the game was to create something that breaks away from how games are designed today.
Almost all games are about conflict, competition or optimization (either between the players or between the players and the system).
My vision was to create mechanics that somehow simulate a completely different sphere of human experience, namely interpersonal relationships and the building of trust.
Whatever happens from now on, i still strongly believe that the world needs more games that cater to our inner romantic to give us some more power to balance out our inner warlords and inner bureaucrats. I hope this game contribute to such a change.Jacob Jaskov – Creator of Fog of Love