This was such a wildly personal topic, that I didn’t know how to approach it. It’s as though the blog readers would be flies on the wall for a private moment in my life that I wanted to keep all my own. But, after some thought on the matter (and insistence from my wife,) I decided to go ahead and write review of my wife’s anniversary game.
Let’s address the elephant in the room now, her game was vastly more “anniversary themed” than mine. In fact, my first words upon seeing the bit of the game were: “…Were we supposed to follow a theme? Was I not paying attention again???” Well, evidentially, I was paying attention…I just even fathom the pantheon of cuteness that wife operates at. It was as though the entirety of her project was tailor-made to elicit “d’awww” sounds at virtually every impasse. With every turn of the page, I felt as though I was CHRONICALLY UNDERPREPARED. But enough of my (deserved) self-criticism, let’s talk about her game.
The game itself was like a separate, mini module for the (excellent) game: Above and Below. Although, the entirety of the gameplay fixated on one mechanism in that game, the exploration. During the exploration phase of Above and Below, you’d assign two or more characters to go below ground and “explore” for treasure. Upon selecting these characters, you choose a card from a deck with six, seemingly random numbers on said card (with each number having a corresponding number from a die face on it.) At which point, you roll your die, and that selects a scenario from the Scenario Book that comes with Above and Below. These scenarios consist of anything from: “An old man is sleeping, what do you do to him?” To: “You stumble upon a pack of ravenous under dwellers, how do you proceed?” And you usually have at least two or three options on how to proceed, that require higher dice rolls to accomplish more daring (or dastardly) feats. It’s a really fun mechanism.
The moment she presented the game to me, I could tell that I was gonna cry like a baby. The game presented scenarios that actually occurred in our real lives, segmented into the last six (often tumultuous) years of our relationship. Let’s be totally frank about two things right off the bat:
1 – This was less a game, than a storytelling mechanic. It was LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE to lose.
2 – These scenarios were designed to tear my soul asunder, leave my anima nothing but cinders, and leave me in a blathering, bawling state…she succeeded. …that she-beast.
Characters in Above and Below are usually obtained by procuring them from an open pool where you can (more or less) purchase them. In my wife’s version, they were obtained automatically, just as they came into our lives. And were often introduced with great fanfare, and in a beautiful (if albeit romanticized) way that made all of the scenarios feel cohesive. The one revolving around an old pet of ours was particularly wonderful…and heart rending.
I’m gonna be honest, readers…I am not comfortable discussing this at any more length. This was special…and it means a lot to me. But, I’m simply not comfortable sharing anymore of it with you if for no other reason than this: You couldn’t feel it the way I do. No amount of felicitous vernacular, or intensive description, or several thousand characters of text could properly convey how this made me feel. And that would rob you of much of this experience. Imagine the first time you saw a movie that really resonated with you, now imagine showing it to someone who doesn’t particularly care for it. How would you react? Would the intensity of the love you had for the movie effect how that other person’s indifference (or possible disdain) affected you? I’d hazard to say it would. So…I’m gonna keep the finer points locked up in the porous colander that my brain, and the steel trap that is my heart.
Sorry for a particularly meandering post, readers. I appreciate anyone who had the fortitude to stick it out and finish…lord knows I barely did. Either way, thanks for reading, and (ideally) I’ll be back soon with some indie gaming reviews.
Thank you for reading and please keep an eye out for my Anniversary homebrew: wife edition.