Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Beast, Reflections

Over the past 22 days I played a card game on my thatlittleitch blog called The Beast (link) by Aleksandra Sontowska and Kamil Węgrzynowicz of naked female giant. I had played a version in beta that had been pretty interesting and fascinating, but I had trouble keeping up with it. I also had trouble keeping up with it this time, but was able to make up for it, which made all the difference.

My experience with The Beast begins here. (link)

Today, I finished the game. I am - for I think the first time - struggling with ending a game. I have always been sad to end games because of the people, but I don't think it's ever a game that has made me feel afraid and anxious to be done.  I've been thinking about it and there are a few key reasons:

1) This game has the ability to dig into you emotionally and mentally in a way most people might be unfamiliar. If you let it, it keys into dark desires and horrors, and if you take the time to write those out in an exploratory fashion, it can open up a lot of thoughts you might otherwise hide.

2) I played in public. This is not recommended by the book, but I chose to do it as a way to demonstrate what such a game can be, and to show the kind of experience someone could have, even for people who would never play it. It also made it hard to decide how much I would share.

3) Some of these questions get incredibly personal, and I'll tell you now that I was 100% honest, and pulled all of those responses from somewhere inside me. There is something to be said to being honest with everyone including yourself, especially about things that might be scary or taboo or gross.

4) This game opened me up to a lot of opportunities to express things I haven't. Talking about pains I've hidden or sexual desires I don't talk about - you don't just decide randomly to say that stuff. This gives a special place to do it, where you tell the stories, you control the events that happen - and the consequences.

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Questions I received while working on this:

1) Is their replayability?

Yes! You'd have to be creative and I'd take a break inbetween but yes, I totally think The Beast is replayable.

2)  What about triggering content?

Most of what actually goes into the content is up to you. There are prompts on the cards, but there is no forcing you into using specific behaviors. I admittedly triggered myself twice, but it was a choice I made to go through something really hard and the reality that it was in my control made a difference. 

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With all of that in mind, I have to say I honestly wouldn't change a thing about The Beast. There's so much there to explore and so many things to do. In all, I feel like there is a rock in my throat as I write this. I feel terrified but yet so grateful. I look forward to free days with no digging into my soul but yet I will miss them, I will miss the excuse to be bare and open, I will miss something deep to pour them into.

I feel like I'm breaking up with a toxic lover who I had the deepest of intimacies with, and who satisfied me in ways I didn't think could be done, but hurt me in the same. It has surely be an experience.

I do think I may be giving away my copy of The Beast not because I wouldn't play it again, but because I want someone else to get to play it, and carry forward something that treated me so well.

Best to you all!




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