Thu. Nov 24th, 2022

Love in isolationEvery time a new Mist of Love expansion comes out, I look forward to it, and one of them, the nationwide lockdown, is no exception. While I’m not at all interested in games or game add-ons that focus on the painful side of our life experience, I’m interested in what can – and has happened – happen to people who experience it.

Love on Lockdown is a two-player psychological deduction RPG for Fog of Love that takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Gameplay overview:

Whether Fog of Love will be a co-op or competitive game depends on how you approach it. I’ve seen people do this about themselves, guided by options on their Destiny cards or Trait Goals, about as much as I’ve seen people trying to ensure both players live happily ever after.

Replaying scenes that only the other player selects can provide useful information.

Gameplay follows the same setup as in the base game Fog of Love, where players choose three traits for themselves, their profession, and three other player’s character traits that your character has “fell in love with”. Features and activities will be the first sources of personality tokens. The game sequence follows after scenes are played out based on directions for the game’s chapters, which can be “Sweet”, “Serious”, “Drama” or “Custom” (depending on the expansion). The results of these scenes will affect many things, such as satisfaction and personality traits.

A new mechanic in Love on Lockdown is the risk/boredom dimension, which is directly related to increasing and decreasing extraversion or discipline. Over time, the level of Risk or Boredom can result in the player(s) being assigned the Reckless or Apathetic status if they do poorly on this dimension. If the player would become Reckless or Apathetic a second time, they cannot continue the game and the game ends immediately. The rules for the expansion say that you are free to interpret the reasoning, and if you have the Paranormal Romance expansion, an expired character can continue to play as a ghost!

Love in lockdown
Mix the base game “Fog of Love” to add more scenes and personality aspects such as “Risk” and “Boredom”.

Game Experience:

Chapter 1, page 1 begins the expansion of the game by examining where in the Risk/Boreness dimension players start and how their initial satisfaction is measured. I remember exchanging glances with my partner in March 2020 when it became known that we would need to spend at least two weeks together at home, the amount of planning, as well as the resulting panic and brainstorming on how to pass the time in an exciting game form. The scenes that follow have everything from innocent moments like the choice of music that leads to spontaneous dance parties, to stressful moments like dealing with one partner’s annoying habits that are exacerbated by being in the same space for too long. . Thus, from start to finish, I found Love in Isolation to be an accurate retelling of that early experience.

Quarantine love cards
Fate cards will include additional recklessness or apathy tokens to determine success.

One of the main benefits of getting the Mist of Love expansions is the ability to play with new Destiny cards that include themed scores like Isolation Love, Recklessness, or Apathy, in addition to satisfaction and other personality stats like standard Destiny maps. Over time, players can get into a rhythm where they imagine scenes during a chapter that might benefit their partner more than themselves, or vice versa, so pushing players in new directions or new considerations for that balance creates a good challenge. At the very least, I want the board games I play to continue to challenge me. As much as I enjoy mastering the gameplay, the heart of Fog of Love is a fun and dynamic fictional character.

When I first opened the box of Love in Isolation, I was a little apprehensive about whether the new dimension would be pleasant or if it would just become a nuisance. On the one hand, during the character creation process, when another player assigns traits, it may end up forcing the opposing player to choose a personality trajectory that sets them up for more risk or more boredom if those traits involve extraversion or discipline. On the other hand, players who want to find loopholes in the game can easily just avoid any scenes, professions, or features that completely involve these two dimensions, resulting in the risk/boredom dimension being completely ignored. I’m not a board game designer by trade, but you would think that introducing new mechanics to a game would require it to be the focus of attention and not as an “extra” experience. From a pragmatic point of view, you are paying for an expansion so that it spices up the core gameplay, and not just adds more features to what you already have. Thus, I found the new dimension to be a bit disappointing in its execution.

Love in quarantine Boredom
Prepare the scene with chapter 1 page 1 to describe how prepared you are for isolation with your partner.

Not only was the Risk/Boredom parameter easy to ignore, it also had a conceptually odd approach to interpreting Extraversion and Discipline as related aspects of personality. This link makes assumptions about human behavior that I don’t entirely agree with, as it suggests that extroverts or those who lack discipline are more comfortable taking risks, while more introverts or more disciplined people are at risk of boredom. During self-isolation, this simply did not happen to me; I gained a lot of energy from spending time alone, and it wasn’t necessarily the discipline that pushed me into compliance, but rather my empathy to do my part to save lives. From a design standpoint, I understand that they needed to create an obstacle for players who would normally focus on things like trait goals or Destiny map results, and that they needed to play within the base game’s parameters, so they were limited in this plan. . However, like many things in life, both can be true: I can be critical of their assumption of the Risk/Bore spectrum, but I also understand that it will be limited to what is already available in the Mist of Love.

Quarantine love cards
Custom cards specific to Love on Lockdown help retell the isolating experience.

Overall, if I were to identify specific moments in my life during lockdown and turn them into scenes, there would be a lot more poignancy and conflict than the addition provides. I admit there were a lot of scene cards that didn’t get their chance in the spotlight, so this might not be fair, but the Love in Isolation sessions I had at the table turned out to be pretty tame. Quarantines, no matter how well prepared we were or not, have been unpleasant in many ways and a blessing in others. That time period was definitely more complex than just the risk/boredom dimension, and I wish they’d dig deeper than just making a one-dimensional reskinned drama.

Final thoughts:

Love on Lockdown is for anyone who loves the base Fog of Love game and wants to either add a new expansion or continue to build on their current collection of expansions. However, if the state of the world and 2020 lockdowns are undesirable topics, this expansion is not for you, even if you like the base game. It’s an accurate retelling of that experience, and also very familiar scenes, if you’re stuck inside with your partner could possibly bring up bad memories or feelings, especially with the introduction of overly risky or overly boring behavior leading to character expiration. may not be ready.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to explore some of the early experiences you may have had – and hopefully found healthier ways to navigate now – the new dimension and fate cards included in Love in Isolation are pretty fun. role setting.

Extension OptionalHits:
• Accurate retelling of the experience of self-isolation.
• Risk and boredom are acute
• New fate cards enliven the gameplay.

• Relatively easy to ignore risk/boredom
• Strange views on extraversion and discipline
• Additional scenes were relatively boring.

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