Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Five or So Questions on Kiss Her Before the World Ends

ETA: Sorry, now with links! Blogger borked.

Hey all, today I have an interview with Alice Grizzle, who has a really cool name and made an even cooler game: Kiss Her Before the World Ends. I've heard nothing but praise for it and her design since its recent release, so check out what Alice has to say!


A woman with long hair pushed to one side, staring toward the camera with determination, in front of a city setting.
Alice Grizzle, designer.

Tell me a little about Kiss Her Before the World Ends. What excites you about it?

Kiss Her Before the World Ends excites me because it prioritizes how the PC's feel and allows space for all players. My main goal when creating the game was to create a game that encourages romance while still letting everyone play characters like themselves. Be the ace, pan, aromantic, polyam, etc. I think it achieves that.

There are so many games about being a badass, that focus on violence. I wanted to make a game about being vulnerable in front of other people. My hope is that people will see games like mine and realize that relationships and romance can be the centerpiece for your game. Tabletop games have the same ability to be about anything that every form of media has.

What do players typically do and experience in a standard session of Kiss Her Before the World Ends? What did you do in the design to allow or encourage players to play inclusively, whether they are playing characters like themselves or choosing to play characters unlike themselves?

Kiss Her is an emotional game, stressful even at times which is by design. The use of a timer puts a lot of pressure on the players to say what they have to say before they're no longer able to do so. It simulates the same pressure the characters feel really well.

During the design process I had to think of broad definitions for things like what it means to want Intimacy. That's hard enough to quantify, especially while still being inclusive to ace and aromantic folks. I settled on "Intimacy is the desire for closeness" which is open to lots of interpretations. All the definitions for the types of Needs are equally interpretable.

What are the mechanics like in Kiss Her and how do players engage them?

The two main mechanics in Kiss Her Before the World Ends, the ones that control the flow of the game and what the game is about, are Needs and the timer. Needs are the things people want and they come in 4 types: Intimacy Needs, Empathy Needs, Escapism Needs, and Validation Needs. The main focus of the game is the characters negotiating how to get what they want while also fulfilling each other's Needs. At certain points in play the players will clear Needs that they've resolved and replace them with new ones. Priorities change as the end draws closer.

The timer is the outside world collapsing around them. It is what pushes the characters forward, and hopefully towards each other. It also controls the pace of the game. Scenes can end whenever the players feel like they should, but none can go past the length of the timer.

What do you like best about the game and how it plays, from a design standpoint?

Probably the different types of Needs. Those four types and the definitions for them really feel like they incapsulate a huge part of what it is we as people want from our relationships. I feel like they push players into immediately playing interesting, conflicted characters.

I would say I also really like how we've formated it primarily with mobile viewing in mind. It encourages spontaneous play in a way that you just can't do if your game is a full book. I seriously think that books almost always being the default way we present our games is to our own detriment. Games should be presented in the way that makes them most accessible and encourages players to play in the ways you want them too.
Two feminine figures, one lit in sparkling pink from the galaxy-like background, the other silhouetted, moving towards each other as though they are about to kiss. The title is in capitalized white text: "Kiss Her Before the World Ends".
This cover is super gorgeous, and looks great in the mobile format. The book itself is designed to work great on mobile, which has gained a lot of praise from those who have bought the game to play!


Thanks so much for the interview, Alice! I hope you all enjoyed it and that you'll check out Kiss Her Before the World Ends today!

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1 comment:

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