Full disclosure: A review copy of Fog of Love: Paranormal Romance was provided by Hush Hush Projects.
This should be interesting. Alongside a wave of new box art, Fog of Love launched their first three expansions, allowing players to delve deeper into a number of different types of relationships and adding new mechanics (generally; It Will Never Last did not add new mechanics). I’ll be taking on these expansions for the next few weeks, so let’s start with Paranormal Romance! Since it’s got a significant story component, I’ll be going spoiler-free on this one.
Paranormal Romance is a bit different than your normal, run of the mill Fog of Love stories. When you two met, you instantly felt a powerful connection and realized you were soulmates. You’ve got something truly real, and you’ll have to nurture and develop this relationship over time. The question is, will your love be able to weather anything that happens?
Setup is identical to the base game of Fog of Love, but with some caveats. You’ll be using the Paranormal Romance Chapter Cards:
I’ll only show the backs, to avoid spoilers. Also, you’ll see a second set of cards that come with the game:
Do not open them until you finish the game. Seriously, do not do it; they’re spoilery.
The game also adds some new Occupation Cards:
Shuffle those in with the standard ones and have a great time. Once you’ve set up normally, you should be ready to go!
The gameplay is also identical, which is helpful. You’ll play the game just like you would play Fog of Love, as this is primarily a content expansion.
The thing is, you may want to play carefully, as this expansion can affect future games of Fog of Love. What does that mean? You’ll have to play to find out!
Player Count Differences
None, really; there’s only two players.
Again, this plays almost exactly the same as the base game, just with additional quirks from the chapters and the finale. Try to focus on the same stuff if you want to be successful, but this is going to add a lot of complication as you move further into the game, so might I suggest one thing:
- Try to avoid particularly complex destinies. I find that especially since you’re dealing with so much, already, during this game, it’s easiest to focus on something simple like Love Team (as opposed to Equal Partners, which is very challenging to get right). That said, this is primarily a role-playing game, so if you just want to have fun, have fun. That’s the most important part, in my opinion; do what feels right for your character.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- Ambitious. It’s always nice to see groups get experimental with the format of their game, and having an extra DO NOT OPEN UNTIL YOU’VE COMPLETED THE FIRST GAME package come with the game is exactly the right amount of ambition. I look forward to seeing more ambitious work from Hush Hush in the future, especially as I hear they have Nikki Valens working on some additional expansion content; should be super.
- Presents some new and interesting challenges. I’m not going to dig too deeply into this to avoid spoilers, but it’s definitely an interesting approach and it will likely land well with some fans of the game.
- They did well covering up the spoilery content. After The Rise of Queensdale, I’ve basically got to start commending games for doing this since it didn’t so aggressively.
- The effects on future games are optional. That’s my one spoiler; you don’t have to have this affect every subsequent game of Fog of Love unless you want it to, which is very thoughtful of them.
- Honestly, more content for Fog of Love is always good. This is a game that I think 100% asserts that it needs to exist, and I’m always glad to see that they’re keeping up with it. I’m really looking forward to the additional new content, once they’re ready.
- The new occupations are pretty amusing, as well. I am pretty sure one of them is Professional Player of Games, so, good luck selling your coplayer on that one. Hopefully it pays the bills.
- The expansions all kind of feel like parts of a set, which is fine if you’re buying all three but might frustrate you if you only buy one. As a minor spoiler, this will likely be the same meh across the board for all three of them. One gives you new features and one gives you new occupations. It feels like it might have been more practical to have them all bundled as one set rather than as individual parts, but that’s just me complaining.
- The “effects on future games” didn’t land especially well for me. We played a couple games of this and noted that it kind of pushed the game in a certain direction (since all players were aware of the consequences), which made the game a bit less interesting overall. It wasn’t a bad attempt at a legacy-style post-game effect; I just feel like it was a bit heavyhanded and I would have preferred something a bit more subtle. The process of actually setting up those effects is also a bit clunky, which is unfortunate since so much of Fog of Love relies on not having additional information and this both provides information to both players and makes it hard for your co-player to avoid providing information to you. On the plus side, it does throw new content into future games, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.
- The consequences of failure are a bit aggressive. I know you want to motivate players, but, jeez. That’s rough. It’s nothing resembling a content warning; it’s just aggressive.
Overall: 6.75 / 10
Overall, Paranormal Romance doesn’t quite land as splendidly as the base game, for me. I would like to like it more than I think that I do, but our runthrough of it was disappointing for the reason I specified and I’m not particularly convinced it’s going to be possible to play it again and still be surprised, since I know what the primary surprise of the game is, now. I don’t think that’s bad and it certainly doesn’t detract from Fog of Love; we actually enjoyed playing through the scenario initially. Our problem was that the follow-up effects kind of detracted from the game we were trying to play and became a bit distracting at best, trivial at worst. For us, they made us feel a bit railroaded, which was disappointing, as I think Fog of Love is at its best when it’s free-form and willing to play fast and loose. That said, I think there’s a lot to like here, especially the additional Occupations (and other fun content), so, I’m unwilling to go much lower than, “it was fine”, as we still enjoyed the games we played, just less than usual. If you’re feeling a completionist instinct or you really like the idea of a mysterious and supernatural love affair, you might have a better time with Paranormal Romance than we did! At the very least, I’m going to enjoy having picked it up for the extra content, so I don’t feel particularly negative about it. If anything, I’m just more excited for the lessons they take from this expansion and build into the next run of content Hush Hush Projects creates for Fog of Love!