Spotlight Series: Fog of Love
Fog of Love is like a romantic comedy movie in a box and one of the most unique, innovative games out there. It’s a two-player storytelling game where players help navigate their character through a romance. And true to rom-com tropes, Fog of Love is full of funny, cute twists and turns. Fog of Love is a great board game that entertains its participants in a creative storytelling way.
A Board Game That Defies Categorization
For many of the hobby games that Level One Game Shop carries, they often fall into pretty closely-defined styles. Each style of game brings a suite of expectations and tropes that give the names of styles meaning. A party game will probably be rules-light, but only as fun as the people you play it with. A worker-placement game will be thinky and puzzly, and will probably have a lot of rules. A deck-builder is about building a custom deck of cards, but during the gameplay. Contrast that with Magic or Pokemon; in which players build decks outside of matches and are instead called trading card games.
Then there’s Fog of Love. To use the jargon of the hobby, you’d need to name a few different genres to describe it. It’s a storytelling game, certainly, and it’s co-operative… sort of? Fog of Love is a little like a role-playing game, where players choose their own goals. But there’s no dice, there’s no endless books of rules, and there’s no storyteller. It has a board and cards and tokens like a board game… but there isn’t a lot of room for tactics or strategies like other board games. Fog of Love pulls inspiration from all these other experiences to create a wholly unique board game for its participants.
Helping Couples Make The Scene
So of course, there are two characters in the game. Each player makes their own at the beginning of the game, made up of some Trait cards. Characters are also defined by six Personality Dimensions: Disciple, Curiosity, Extroversion, Sensitivity, Gentleness, and Sincerity. Most importantly, each character has a Satisfaction score, which is the closest thing the game has to victory points.
The way these characters interact, and bread and butter of Fog of Love’s gameplay, is the Scene. Scene cards come from Sweet, Serious, or Dramatic decks, and describe how the characters interact - hopefully getting more Satisfaction. Some scenes allow both players to determine the outcome together, and some even give the control to the other player. Do you trust them enough to leave your Satisfaction in their hands?
This all culminates in each character fulfilling a Destiny card. Players have a hand of Destiny cards at the beginning of the game, and slowly whittle their hand down until they choose one. Choosing which Destiny cards to let go, and trying to suss out what Destiny card the other player is working towards, is the closest thing Fog of Love has to strategy. Hopefully, both players and characters have mutual Destinies - but they may not!
Creativity Over Strategy
While Fog of Love’s form resembles a hobby board game, with its cards and points and mechanics, it asks players to think about their game in a very different way. Very often, the game will ask players to make decisions based on whimsy. The outcomes of the decision matters, but there’s no “right” or “correct” or “optimal” decision. Just go with what you feel your character would do.
This is what Fog of Love has in common with role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. The game rewards players for just expressing themselves. Players get to make these decisions in a way that pleases them, instead of rewarding tactical acumen.
Maybe your character, or your opponent’s character, doesn’t get to fulfill their Destiny eventually. And maybe that feels like that’s how players lose Fog of Love. But that’s not really how storytelling or role-playing games work. If characters fulfilled their Destiny every time, there wouldn’t be any tension or excitement to the outcome of the game. In the end, it’s the journey that counts. The players helped craft a story about their two characters, together, and looking back over the story they created together is just as fulfilling as winning or losing.
An Interesting, Funny Board Game for Couples
Fog of Love really breaks down the expectations that other board games adhere to. The game is about sharing control of the outcome, instead of competing for it. Players get to choose their character’s goal during the game, but achieving that goal isn’t mutually exclusively. Even then, Fog of Love isn’t really a game that can be won or lost. Just finishing the game will reward players with their own romantic comedy - that they created themselves.
Using some simple board game mechanics and a healthy dose of storytelling sensibility, Fog of Love is one of the most unique and enriching experiences a couple can have.
Find out more about Fog of Love at BoardGameGeek!