Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Rapture's Voyage

Being Valentine's Day and all, I figured I would do something appropriately-themed.  As a word of warning, my review posts tend to draw the highest traffic (ostensibly because a large number of people are searching for the subject of the review).

This...probably won't be one of those posts.

Bedroom Adventures: Rapture's Voyage doesn't actually exist.  I know this because I went around looking for an appropriate summary page (I usually link to Wikipedia articles and suchlike in the main text).  I didn't find any.  Nothing on Wikipedia, nothing on BoardGameGeek.  Nada.  The company, TDC Games, still exists, but from the look of things, did not continue the Bedroom Adventures product line (an advert on the back references the next in the series, Ecstasy Fulfilled, but I can find no evidence of its existence).  In fact, they don't reference Rapture's Voyage at all, apparently having stricken it from the histories.

Of course, no matter how deeply one attempts to bury one's shame, the internet illuminates all.  There is an archived 1993 article from The Seattle Times that discusses the game, for example.  Also, there is a series of videos depicting people playing the game at a party for laughs.

The Game: Rapture's Voyage is a combination role-playing game and board game, drawing from the tropes of romance novels.  It is meant as an intimate game for two lovers, and I strongly suspect it has never been played this way.  The male character is Lord Jonathan Coulter, a noble-turned-pirate, and the female character is Abigail Marie Charington, a wealthy dilettante whose family has fallen on hard times and has been forced to flee an arranged marriage.  She is currently masquerading as a young boy, but Captain Coulter determines her to be a woman in the prelude.

Although I like the idea that he's looking for a young boy, finds an adult woman instead, and decides to roll with it.

Each character has a script, following the format of a choose-your-own-adventure or solo RPG.  The two scripts cross-reference so that you can keep pace with each other.  There is limited decision-making, and there is a spinner that is used for some actions to add an element of chance.

The default path assumes a rather pedestrian romance novel script — douchebag captain calls in young "boy" to mess with her, they become some manner of friends, she nearly dies in a squall, both fall in love, and live happily ever after.

Did I mention that the timetable is only two days long?

The game's unplanned humor comes from the cheesy writing quality and interjection of various tropes.  Coulter notes a crewman who might be a South Seas cannibal, and Charington's arranged husband "was a disgusting dredge of a man with wisps of course [sic] orange hair grown long at the sides and brushed across the top of a shiny bald spot.  It was a contest to see which part of his body protruded more... his eyes or his stomach.  His breath could tarnish silver.  He was at least fifty, stuttered when angry and had a penchant for young women... young inexperienced women, to be more precise."

A South Seas cannibal and a deep one hybrid?  Around Boston?  This should be pretty awesome.

For me, though, the best part of the game is the potential for failure.  The game does have a couple of "Game Over" conditions — in skimming and playing this monstrosity, I found two death conditions and a nonstandard game over.  It is possible for Lord Coulter to attempt to lift Abigail Charington over his head and suffer a fatal heart attack, it is possible for Coulter to make a move such that Charington shivs him to death, and it is possible for Coulter to discover a birth mark that marks Charington as his long-lost sister, so they stop making love.


If there are more lose conditions, I didn't encounter them.

Play this game if you have time to kill and someone hilarious with which to play it.  Drink helps, too.

Since there is no way my rambling will do this game justice, you should probably make sure you watch those videos I linked earlier.  Here they are again:

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