Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A tiny RPG about mad relationships

Living Vie de Loca, from the Indie Mega Mixtape, combines the idea of a two-player RPG with pocket mods. One player plays the Wild One, who is trying to play the other player, the Mark. There’s room in the system for it to go from Manic Pixie Girl romance to a cynical total con job.

The game is made up of two pocket mods, little eight-page booklets that you make by folding and cutting a single piece of paper. There’s one for the Mark and one for the Wild One. And you will be writing in the game pocket mode and tearing off strips over the course of the game so you’ll need to make a new pair every time you play. 

The books guide you through a series of scenes that describe how the two characters become more and more involved with each other, one way or another. At its heart, it’s about revealing more and more details about the characters and a power struggle.

A power struggle because this is a competitive game. There will be a winner and a loser with the winner able to control the situation and the narrative. It seems like the Wild One has an edge but I’m not convinced of that.

One thing that really struck me and I liked about Living de Vie Loca is that between the amount of information the players create and the vagueness of the scenes, there’s a surprising amount of flexibility and replay potential in a game that is in a such a small space, physically and design wise. 

That said, one of the questions I always ask myself when looking at a two-player relationship game is ‘Why would I play this rather than Breaking the Ice?’ For me, that game remains the gold standard for a game about two people.

The initial answer this time is ‘To see if it actually works.’ 

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen pocket mods used as a gimmick nor is the best use I’ve seen. (Assault on Goblin Hall more fully embraces the form) And I do think it’s a gimmick in this case. It could work without the form.

The competitive aspect of the game is actually what makes Living de Vie Loca interesting. Story telling games are about collaboration so adding competition is a risk and definitely not boring.

More so than usual without playing a game, I don’t know if Living De Vie Loca is actually any good. But I admire how experimental is honestly is.

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