Full disclosure: A review copy of Fog of Love: Trouble with the In-Laws was provided by Hush Hush Projects.
Editor’s note: This game is intended for a mature audience and some photos of the game may show text describing “adult situations”. Please uh, I don’t know, moderate yourself? That seems right.
Onto the second one! This December, we’ll be featuring all of Fog of Love’s current expansions because, well, that’s fun. So let’s check out the next one: Trouble with the In-Laws.
In Fog of Love: Trouble with the In-Laws, you and your partner met a year ago and a baby’s on the way, but you’re starting to worry that the kind of person you’re becoming (and want to become) doesn’t quite match up with what your parents want. Even more worrisome, they’re starting to assert some influence over your relationship, and it’s time to figure out how involved you want them to be in your personal life. Can your relationship survive the intense involvement of parents from both sides? More importantly, can you?
This game sets up basically identically to Fog of Love, but with one major difference:
These look very similar to your character’s Trait Goal holders, which should be alarming. Not only are you tracking the kind of person you want to become, but helpfully you’ve also got some pressure from your parents! Add three trait cards here (draw five, add three, rather) and track those over the game as well.
There are also new scenes with a 3 inside a pentagon; those are Custom Scenes for this Scenario, and will go on the Custom location. That’s exciting!
And all-new Destiny Cards, just for this scenario! I’ll let you find out more about those when you play.
There are also some new Chapter Cards / a Synopsis card.
I’ll let you discover those, also. You’ll also need to make sure you’re tracking your parents’ influence on your relationship. Have each player take one of these tokens:
And put them on your character, at 0. Once you’ve done that, you should be all ready to start disappointing your parents!
The game plays very similarly, again, to Fog of Love — in this story, there are four chapters, but now certain outcomes can cause your parents’ influence on you to raise or lower.
That doesn’t matter a ton until the end of the game, in which you lose one Satisfaction per influence if you don’t meet your parents’ trait goals, which can be pretty rough.
Beyond that, play normally! Most of the expansion is just additional content with a few new rules. Get to the end, and try to fulfill your Final Destiny! Just for the record, though, this scenario is pretty challenging.
Player Count Differences
Only a two-player game, though the ominous specter of your parents will feel like an extra player you wish wasn’t in the game.
Again, like Paranormal Romance, the strategy is going to be somewhat similar to the base game; however, there are a number of places where you can make strategic moves (and you’ll need to, since this is a particularly difficult expansion).
- This game is one where you need to be very careful. The normally-simple task of figuring out your coplayer’s Trait Goals is now muddied considerably by the extra goals of their parents, and you need to know the difference, if possible. Try to play cards that let you guess, try to see if you can start pinpointing the difference, and also just hope for the best. The dynamic of which player has a higher parental influence will likely start asserting itself pretty early in the game, though, being honest; allow for some of the narrative interplay to emerge, as it makes the game a lot more fun.
- Low-satisfaction games aren’t the worst. Usually you don’t want to end up with low satisfaction, but if you can, pushing for Black Sheep isn’t too difficult if you miss your parents’ trait goals but have a particularly high influence from them. That will cause you to lose a lot of satisfaction, which can give you the Black Sheep / Guardian Angel interplay that you want.
- Golden Child and Like My Parent are the new Equal Partners. Both are extremely hard to get right, especially since Like My Parent requires that your coplayer match your parent’s Trait Goals. Similarly, I’ve Had Enough requires your coplayer to be successful even though you aren’t, which can be another challenge. I’ve Had Enough + Submission isn’t a bad combination if you both are at a pretty low Satisfaction.
- The Custom Events are a good way to change your parental influence levels. Almost all of them give you an opportunity to buck your parents’ pressure or give in to it, and that will definitely help you advance towards your Final Destiny. It’s likely unwise to play through the entire game only using the one that you were given at the game’s outset.
- Give some weight to whether or not you want to change both players’ parental influence levels when you’re making decisions. We had pushed one of my characters into the role of subservient to their parents’ whims, so I would frequently take the option that increased their influence, leaving my coplayer free to decrease theirs. Ironically, this ended up being a slightly bad decision; it left me open for Golden Child, but my coplayer had no Destiny that would work for their build. We should have gotten me to the Golden Child point, and then used the remaining influence to push them into a Black Sheep or Submission Destiny — once you’ve got a pretty solid grip on your Destiny, think about what options they likely have and let that factor into your decision-making process.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- Much more challenging. If Fog of Love was too easy for you (even I Know What I Want), this is certainly more difficult. Managing your trait goals while trying to keep within your parents’ expectations is pretty difficult, especially since it’s difficult to tell if a player is pursuing a trait because it’s their trait goal or because it’s their parents’ trait goal. Plus, the new Destiny cards are also very tough to deliver on without either getting lucky or having a really good game. It’s pretty hard, but having a range of difficulties in a game (especially a cooperative one) is very good.
- Thematically realistic. A few of the cards are (hopefully) less realistic, but the theme of trying to maintain a relationship while battling against the influence of your kind-of overbearing parents is a very realistic thing that a lot of people have to deal with (thankfully, not me). Adding in the influence marker and making that the arbiter of how much satisfaction you lose was a bit of smart design, as well, I feel. The whole thing is solid.
- First really prominent use of Custom Events. It adds a nice blend of family drama into the normal relationship drama, so you can make it a really intense familial experience or hardly ever deal with your family; it’s all up to you and this is a nice way to abstract it out.
- More content is a good thing. I’ve really been enjoying Fog of Love, and these extra scenarios are varied and interesting enough to breathe more life into the game and extend its longevity even further.
- Not a particularly aggressive change. One nice thing about this expansion (and It Will Never Last) is that it’s a pretty low-key expansion; you don’t have to add that much or change explanations or really do a whole lot to get it in place and ready to play. That’s nice when you compare it to expansions like The Genius for Einstein, which is fun and all but so aggressively changes how the game is scored that you basically have to learn it all over again. This is basically just plug-and-play, which is helpful.
- It would be nice if there were more ways to change your parents’ Trait Goals. I think there’s only one card in the game that lets you do that, which is … aggressively low. It does make the game more challenging, which I like, but also means that you might just be out of luck from the start (especially if you pull parents’ Trait Goal cards that are the opposite of your Trait Goals).
- It’s not clear how to track high levels of parental influence. There probably could have been a few more rules than we got, but once you hit 10 influence it’s not clear to us whether it caps or if it keeps going (since you only have the one influence token). We’ve just been kinda asserting that it can keep going, since usually the player who has that much influence is meeting their parents’ goals so it’s kind of a moot point anyways.
- There are a number of confusing narrative components in this one. It starts by saying you’ve only known each other a year and that a baby’s on the way, but there are also events referencing the baby without a clear passage of time / a clear note that the baby has arrived. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me that much, but it’s come up in every game that I’ve played of this; someone is confused and we have to either decide if there’s been more than one kid or if the baby arrived sometime offscreen. It’s a bit odd since normally in Fog of Love the narrative is pretty easy to understand.
- Could have used a larger rulebook. Not only is there the thing I mentioned about tracking parental influence, but also it’s unclear how to handle aligned Trait Goals between you and your parents; do they still double, since you chose them? Or is it not a Trait Goal of yours, so it doesn’t double? I think there are a few things that will end up in the errata of this, so it’s possible that having a slightly longer rulebook to smooth these things out would have helped.
Overall: 8.5 / 10
Overall, Fog of Love: Trouble with the In-Laws is a very good expansion! It fits inside the base box, so there’s no sense not just packing it in there, but it also adds some new mechanics without distracting too much from the fun of the core game. It gives players the flexibility to delve deep into a complex family story if they want, or to just have it affect them every so often if they choose. That flexibility can be an advantage or it can further complicate an already-challenging scenario that’s perfect for veterans of the base game. Either way, I’m a big fan — adding in the parents’ trait goals is a simple wrinkle that adds a bunch of complexity to the game and obfuscates player decisions, making it even more difficult to cooperate and fulfill that Final Destiny. If you’re a fan of the game and looking for a new challenge, I’d definitely recommend checking out Trouble with the In-Laws!