PRIDE month may be over for another year, but for us at Zatu, we’re just getting started. Our local PRIDE celebration, Norwich Pride, is on 29th July this year and we thought it worth celebrating the games which are proud to show inclusivity for all. There is an honourable mention to Everdell which has recently replaced the Husband and Wife cards for favour of a Hunter and Gatherer pairing, which is nice to see. Now then, let’s celebrate!
Fog of Love is a great place to start because it really does not matter your what identity your relationship holds, there is a way to play for you. In Fog of Love, two players take on the role of unique characters who meet and attempt to make a relationship work, whilst going for their own goals. Some couples may strive towards being together, whereas some may decide towards the end that they aren’t right for each other. You tread the line between board game and roleplaying, as you choose the features you noticed about your partner, your career and your own traits to push towards your own goals over a number of chapters and events that come up, developing your own personality and how you present in the relationship.
What I appreciate is that, aside from the original box art and the pink and blue colour scheme, there is nothing that I’ve seen that suggests the gender of the characters has to be heteronormative. You absolutely can play it that way, but you can choose to be a queer couple in whatever way you like. There’s even alternative covers which shows a male/male and female/female presenting couple. It’s a very nice design and an interesting way to dip the toe into roleplaying games.
If you haven’t heard about the change made in Viticulture by now, you may be wondering what I’m doing talking about a game where your objective is to run a vineyard, produce wine and fulfil orders in a fun little worker placement game. The reason comes from Viticulture World, the co-operative expansion, which introduced the possibility of having two Mama or two Papa cards. These cards are provided at the beginning of the game, to give each player a slight advantage in some way, be it financially or through a building being constructed before you begin or just by giving connections to workers and visitors.
Traditionally, the Mama cards gave you some cards for your starting hand and your first two workers and the Papa cads gave you money, your Grande worker and a choice of a building or more money. In Viticulture World, the roles are reversed, with the Papa’s and Mama’s being given different card backs so they can be shuffled together into one big happy pile and giving you the choice of a non-heteronormative couple as your parental figures. Beyond that, it doesn’t have any other impact in the game but sometimes it’s nice to have the option.
If you are a fan of Roll Player, the game about building a character for an RPG, you may be interested by the exploration of that character in Roll Player Adventures. In Roll Player Adventures, you and up to three companions will delve into a series of adventures, played in order, and boils down to a choose-your-own-adventure style game. What elevates it is the dice rolling element, relating to your attributes and certain targets set by the encounter. There’s a great deal of mitigation you can do to your dice pool and results after rolling, and even if you fail, there is a fail forward system. Whilst I’ve not deeply explored Roll Player Adventures yet, from what I’ve heard there is a great deal of inclusivity throughout the adventures.
And actually, thinking about it, any role-playing game, such as Pathfinder or Dungeons & Dragons, is a blank slate for you to play as characters of any sexual or gender orientation and any relationship dynamic you wish, as long as everyone at the table is ok with it. There are some highly entertaining shows on YouTube such as Dungeons & Drag Queens for example!
This one is a little less well known that some of the other entries, but I think it falls into the recent run of historical games that teach us something about the past, like Votes for Women, which teaches you about the Suffrage movement in America. In Stonewall Uprising, two players take on the role of either Pride or The Man during the time of the AIDS crisis. Pride’s goal is to advance the civil rights of the LGBQT+ community, whereas The Man… well, doesn’t. He wants to demoralise and detain the activists in the Pride deck. The fundamentals of the game is a deck builder, much like Dominion or Star Realms, adding additional cards to your supply to improve your chances of success along certain argument points. The game can also be played solo, with The Man replaced by an automa deck of cards.
As it might be obvious to you, playing as The Man isn’t meant to be a comfortable experience, just like playing the Opposition in Votes for Women, but it is a part of history. Understanding how the communications and arguments were held in the 60’s to 80’s is important to understand the arguments that are still held today.
Love Letter has been around for a good few years now and has spawned a whole host of different retheming’s and Love Letter: Princess Princess Ever After is one of the more recent ones. Based on the graphic novel series, Oni Press by K. O’Neill, players are attempting to be the one to deliver the love letter to Princess Isadora and win her heart. Much like the other games in the series, the gameplay is based on playing out different cards and either ensuring you have the highest value at the end of the game or by eliminating the other players in your game.
I think Love Letter is a perfect example of PRIDE equality in gaming because ultimately, it doesn’t matter who you are in the end. A lowly knight can win overall if everything goes their way. I particularly like that the later printings of the original game had artwork updated to include non-White characters, so there has been progress since the first print run in 2012. Love trumps all, regardless of who you’re with.