Platform: Tabletop, PDF
Technology: Google Doc, Adobe Photoshop CC
Duration: 3 Months
Team Size: 1
Role: Game Designer, Writer
Heavy Hearts is a tabletop role-playing game for 2 players about the struggle of people to move on after past unhealthy relationships. Some people usually find comfort only by discovering the truth and speculating on different and alternative scenarios; others will eventually move on and break connections with the past. What about you?
In this game the players will have distinct roles: one of them will be The Memory, while the other will be The Truth.
Both of them will explore the memories of the Afflicted character (played by The Memory) about his/her past unhealthy relationship and inability to move on.
The Truth will portrait the Lost Love character and also will secretly decide what happened in the relationship including what were the untold truths and the real problems.
Will The Memory dig deeper into the memories? Will The Memory wish things had gone differently?
If this is the case, just ask The Truth “What if…?” to explore new possibilities in a what-if scene.
The game is played in 3 phases:
● The Setup. During this phase, both players create the Afflicted, the Lost Love, and the Relationship sheets. The Memory will have the final say for some of the decisions, as specified in the manual, but collaboration is super encouraged.
● The Play of Scenes. The players tell and play some of the memories of the relationships and/or build purely speculative scenes: the so-called “What If” scenes.
● The Epilogue. During the epilogue, both players decide the fate of the protagonist based on how the game went. The rules give some suggestion to build a coherent end to the story.
You can download the free pdf rules of the game on this link.
Heavy Hearts was born as a submission for the Italian contest called “Game Chef” held in 2018. I designed, developed, and proofread the rules alone.
During the competition, each participant had to create a tabletop game by respecting a core theme “Lost Stories” and choosing up to 3 “ingredients”. Speed-walk, to weigh, and to smooth were my chosen ingredients.
While the use of theme lost stories was easy to implement due to the nature of the game (past relationships), I had to be more creative to come up with coherent mechanics and procedures which made use of the ingredients.
I used speed-walk metaphorically by introducing the concept of stepping between memories and “fantasies”.
To weigh, instead, was included in the resolution systems which handle the “problems” of the relationships. Indeed, each issue has its own “weight” to the afflicted character which will have to deal with the consequences of their choices.
Finally, to smooth is the “attempt” of the protagonist to understand the reasons for the break by “smoothing” the angles and facts of the memories to find out the real truths.