The Last Time (Not The Last Time)
Deltakere: 2 players
Otherworldly Consequences (2021), Online, Storbritannia
Intercon U: Ultraviolet (2023), Crowne Plaza, Warwick, Rhode Island, USA
Finding your soulmate doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. Two friends met in college, got married and invented time-travel together, only to discover that it didn’t work quite as they had theorized, and that they hadn’t predicted the strain that time-travel would put on their relationship. How do you build a life together when one partner is always leaving the present to visit the other partner’s past, while the other has to care for their unconscious body until they return? What kind of relationship can two people have when they experience the same events out of sync, and their relative ages change with context? How do you share the excitement of time-travel when anything you tell each other could change the timeline? Who are you, if time-travel can influence the past experiences that shaped your identity?
Now a visit to the future offers one partner the opportunity for a final conversation, and the other an opportunity to gain insight from someone who knows the future as well as the past. For each, this is a unique opportunity for long kept secrets to come to light and conflicting perspectives to be shared--but will greater understanding lead to the healing of old wounds or to new pain? With the past timeline at risk, is it wiser confess or to leave some secrets unspoken?
The time-travel premise of the game, but not the specifics of setting or characters, is drawn from the novel The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
This is a relationship-focused game for two players, focused on themes of secrets and misunderstandings, agency and constraint, love, loyalty and the meaning of partnership. It is a story about imperfect people who sincerely love each other but have a sometimes dysfunctional relationship, trying to make the best of a problematic situation while not always handling their own emotional baggage well. While the characters are concerned with issues of causality and the potential for time-travel to change the past, the game is not about solving the puzzle/figuring out the correct actions to achieve a desired outcome.
This is a 90-minute video-conference game for 2 players. The game will be played with two players in a single video call with text chat used only to contact GMs if necessary. No costumes, scenery, or video-call special effects required. No reading of new material during game required. This game has no visual or auditory special effects (e.g. music).
Character sheets will be long (~8000 words/20 pages) and will be distributed electronically in advance, based on answers to a casting questionnaire. Players will receive full character sheets at least two weeks before game.
This is a game with fully pre-written character sheets in which players should treat the factual details in the sheets as “ground truth” so that play can center around the two characters’ differing perspectives on their shared experiences. There is a lot of detail in the sheets, but what is most important to the play experience is the emotional consequences of events and decisions.
The characters are written as gender-neutral; players will choose the gender they prefer. The characters are in a romantic and sexual relationship with each other. This means you may be paired in a romantic/sexual relationship with a player/character of any gender.
Content warnings: Wandering around your spouse’s childhood as an adult and affecting their future; relationship power imbalance (information asymmetry, personal time age asymmetry); breaking up and getting back together; characters having consensual sex with each other and with other characters (including as teenagers/college students); adult advising teenager about sex in a well-meaning way; well-meaning discussion of asexuality by allosexual characters; neglectful parenting (by characters’ parents); parental drug use (by characters’ parents); (metaphorical) chronic illness and caretaking; grief
Some things that are NOT in game: violence, rape/nonconsensual sex; infertility, pregnancy, childbearing or parenting by the characters themselves; explicit themes of racism, homophobia, transphobia or other forms of oppression (the setting is modern USA and the characters go to graduate school in physics and work in academia, and the authors’ biases are no doubt reflected in their writing)
Most of the warned-for content occurs in backstory (the characters are not enacting them in game), but discussing backstory is a focus of gameplay, more so than is the case in some games, so some or all of this content will be “in play” via talking about it. Because this is a pre-written game and a lot of the content is intertwined, it is not possible to remove most topics from the backstory; however, there is room for players to choose what to (de)emphasize.
We envision this game as having the potential to go fairly dark/intense in the direction of grief/loss, failing to make a loving relationship work, and/or characters’ emotional baggage/wounds. It also has the potential to go more hopeful and redemptive. We don’t intend for it to go in dark in the sense of abuse or characters being creeps. It is angsty rather than grimdark.
Players will have the opportunity to express their preferences for emotional tone/intensity of play and we will do our best to match players who have similar preferences. Players will also have the opportunity to negotiate with their partner pre-game about boundaries regarding emotional tone/intensity level and “veiling” of specific content.
Note that we are offering 10 sign-up slots, and will pair players off according to their casting questionnaires.
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