Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bluebeard's Bride (A Closer look)

Bluebeard’s Bride is horror roleplaying game from the wonderful minds at Magpie Games.  They’ve put together a dark and sinister fairy tale of survival and determination, written from a feminine perspective.  Based off of the dark fairytale Bluebeard’s Bride, the players take the role of “sisters”, each of which represent a portion of the Bride’s mind as she explores the house her new husband has given her the keys to.  Let’s take a closer look at some core thoughts and ideas for the game.

The core tale the game is based upon is the story of Bluebeard’s Bride.  In the story, the newlywed Bride is given the keys to her husband’s home while he takes care of business.  He asks her to avoid one, singular room but otherwise has free reign of the house.  The Bride’s joy and elation turns to abject horror as her curiosity overwhelms her.  Opening the forbidden room, she finds the murdered bodies of other women Bluebeard has taken as Brides.  

From that starting point, the game takes shape as the players navigate their way through the house and interact with its environs.  Using the story as the framework for the game, it allows for players to build any type of structure, any kind of servants to interact with.  Other than the core concept of a room, a key, a servant, and a door, the players get to define the nature and physicality of these objects.  

From an artistic and design standpoint, it’s an interesting idea.  It also gives players the ability to play this game many (and many) times without it getting stale.  Because the aesthetic choices of designs and imagery are player constructs rather than a given perspective from the designers, it increases both player immersion and agency.  

Players assume the role of one of the “Sisters,” or fragments of the Bride’s psyche.  Each one has different abilities and options, and the game is designed to run with at least three of them, and up to five.  (Note, the game is a one shot RPG system, so the character you choose to play will not level up for the next game, you’ll simply get to choose either a different sister to play, or you can keep the same one for the next round).  

At the start of the game, one Sister has control of the Ring, which basically determines which Sister has control over the body and determines which way the bride is heading to explore the house.  Control of the Ring passes with each turn, so every player will have a chance to make decisions on how to interact with the environment of the Fairy Tale.

Sisters can experience trauma of either the body or the mind.  A Sister that suffers too much of either shatters into madness and misery.  This increases the horror and misery that the remaining Sisters have to manage in their quest to interact with the house.  

This is not a traditional Role-playing game where you’re battling monsters and fighting your way through ancient tombs to find the lost treasure of whositz.  It is a very interesting way of looking at Role-playing games as methods to explore different thoughts and ideas about storytelling.  Bluebeard’s Bride takes the horror genre as its riding companion, and uses the feminine perspective as its way of looking at the universe.  It’s a very slick, very clever use of the media to tell extremely cool stories and scare the pants off of each other.  No two stories should ever be the same, and if you love the horror genre and want to try reaching outside your comfort zone for what you think an RPG is, this is one of the neatest projects we’ve seen on Kickstarter in a while.  Check it out, you won’t be upset at taking a look.  

Game On, Game Fans

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