They may be childish, but board games are far from child's play as a new wave of titles taking on the subject of sex demonstrate. Robert Hutchins dims the lights, puts on some Marvin Gaye and explores the world of 'love games'.
To quote from the bible of Salt-N-Pepa, 'let's talk about sex'.
Yes, sex is no longer a conversation to be shied away from – just look at the success adult toy retailer Lovehoney has seen of late with it official Fifty Shades of Grey line, or even its Motorhead branded range of vibrators.
And I would also like to think that, in some small way, the gaming sector has played its own part in addressing the social awkwardness of the old English gentleman head on.
It’s only once you’ve indulged in a game of Cards Against Humanity with your own family (and seen your grandmother laughing at the card ‘Jizzing in Santa’s beard’ after a turkey dinner) that you realise just how far we’ve come (pardon the pun).
But what am I actually getting at here? In a nutshell, it’s that gaming is getting raunchy, and the public is bloody loving it. Even if it’s just for the comedy value.
Lovehoney itself made the leap into adult gaming last year with its title Nookii, a grownup game for playful couples, while the Fifty Shades of Grey board game promises to ‘help you get to know other players in ways you’d never had thought possible.’
But the latest title to breach the constraints of social acceptability and run with it comes in the form of a fantasy, role-play, sci-fi, erotica hybrid called The Beast, in which players spend a month – yes a month – pretending that they have a creature kept in the basement/woods/work store room.
Through a diary that a player keeps for a month, they recount all of their sexual encounters with that monster.
On paper, it all sounds a bit much. In reality, I haven’t dared play it.
For mature audiences only, each day a player draws a card with an event or a question on it. They then have to write down their reactions or answers in their diary. Each card is designed to ‘stimulate associations’ and invite players to visit ‘unusual and perverse regions of their imagination.’
The Beast is the brainchild of the Polish gaming duo Aleksandra Sontowska and Kamil Wegrzynowicz who understandably have some very colourful backgrounds - including time spent as fortune teller and a ‘sexy adventurer’ (though I have never seen a picture to prove this one).
And the fact that the rules of The Beast suggest that players ‘burn the diary’ once the game is completed is, frankly, a little unsettling. But still, look how far we have come in spicing the game space up with a bit of open mindedness.
However, while gaming is the new rock ‘n’ roll, and game creators are this generation’s Mick Jagger (or at least Jarvis Cocker), board gaming doesn’t always have to be about sex.
In fact, it can sometimes be quite romantic, as the newest Kickstarter success story Fog of Love – ‘a romantic comedy as a board game’ will attest to.
The title promises to the Notting Hill of the game aisle, bar the floppy hair and the over pronounced British accent. But despite the absence of Hugh Grant, the game has managed to smash its crowdfunding goal of $25,000 to the tune of $90,343.
“Fog of Love is about finding out how to achieve a happy ending in the love story you create together.”
Nevertheless, it might just make for a more appealing gameplay than a title that insists you have your way with a cave troll.
Click here to take a look at some of the example diary entries for The Beast, if you can bring yourself to it, that is.