A For The Queen Review

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One of the hardest parts of getting people into role playing games is the paperwork. Pitching friends on a game of Let’s Pretend is easy compared to then sitting down and filling out character sheets for an hour or two. For years, designers have tried a lot of different ways to speed up this process from introductory boxed sets to instructional videos. This is one of the breakthroughs of actual play for folks who don’t watch them; people can enjoy the stories and learn how to play without doing the math and trying to keep everything straight. Another option is the rise of the storytelling game. This includes games like Fiasco which don’t have combat stats or spell lists that focus on telling a complete story in an hour or two. Alex Roberts designed For The Queen as an entry into this style of game. I picked up this deck of cards at GameHole Con this year and was able to get it to the table for a few rounds of heartbreaking stories. Is this game storytelling royalty? Let’s play to find out.

For The Queen is a tarot sized deck of cards split into four sections. The first is the instructions deck which is to be passed around with each player reading a card to explain the game. Next are a few rules summaries and an X card that allow players to negate any content in the game that makes them feel uncomfortable. There are fourteen illustrated cards of The Queen in the third part of the deck ranging from brooding to regal to pensive. The majority of the deck are question cards that drive the game.

The story framework centers on the queen traveling to a neighboring county. Her land has been at war for years and she’s seeking to negotiate a peace. The players are the only members of her retinue. Each card asks a question like that defines the Queen or her relationships. The player can draw a card or pass it along. The questions can bring the player closer to the queen or set up complications. The Queen might disapprove of their relationship. The character might have brought along something that could accidentally harm the Queen. Game length is set by where the final card is placed. The final card says the queen is attacked and asks if each player will defend her. In most games, some do…and some don’t.

This game walks the line between storytelling and roleplaying. Sometimes the questions are completely answered by the player. Sometimes they get bounced around the room and workshopped. There were even a few times a difficult question passed entirely around the table before it was discarded. I think For The Queen works as an excellent warm up for an RPG night to play while everyone gathers. It’s also a good fit for board game nights to introduce RPG concepts to people who might be interested but not yet ready for a full on D&D campaign. One of my players even suggested a game of this could kick off a D&D campaign with the players being sent to find out what happened to the Queen when she didn't make it back from her trip.

If you want to tell a story of love betrayal and intrigue with your friends in the time it takes to watch an episode of your favorite TV show, For The Queen is an excellent choice.
 

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Rob Wieland

Rob Wieland


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