83/52 New RPGs: Foreplay

I’m on a study project to improve my understanding of roleplaying games. To this end, I already have two reading projects, A Game Per Year and An Adventure Per Year. This is the third, with the goal of reading or playing 52 games made in the last few years. Originally I considered making this “A New RPG Per Week” and that’s where the number 52 comes from, even though a weekly schedule is probably not within my abilities.

The cover of Foreplay

Foreplay is a roleplaying game with the explicit intention of acting as a preliminary to actual, real sex between participants. It seeks to provide tools to use roleplaying as foreplay.

The idea is that participants create characters to play in a scenario where they seek to seduce and arouse each other. There are mechanics, such as the stats Stamina and Arousal, which are used to track the progress of these seductions. Characters have features such as sexual orientation and hard limits. If a seduction attempt involves something that’s a hard limit for the other character, it fails.

Roleplaying sex scenes and then continuing to physical sex is an obvious idea and I have a strong suspicion plenty of people have invented it as part of their own private sex lives. Still, Foreplay is the first time I’ve seen a published game built explicitly on this concept, drawing from the design traditions of tabletop roleplaying.

Foreplay has a strong queer and trans perspective, to the point that the few stereotypical cis porn characters mentioned (such as Todd the construction worker) come across as spectral fantasies. Which of course is fine in a game designed for playing out sexual fantasies!

The game can be played with two people, or more, depending on your situation and organizing ability. One of the qualities I appreciated in it was the feel that it was designed by someone with substantial actual experience of this type of roleplay. The game has been released anonymously but the design doesn’t feel theoretical, as is sometimes the case with games with more unusual subjects.

Foreplay provides light scaffolding and game mechanics for playing out erotic encounters. There’s a lot of variation in how much support different players need to play out erotic scenes. The game has a loose quality to it suggesting that each group use the parts they need to get a sexually arousing game going and ignore what they don’t need.

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