Consentacle: How do I get some?

Gaze

[Update: 3 years after I wrote this post, Consentacle is on Kickstarter! Thank you for your patience. In the intervening time I was juggling a lot of other things: starting to teach full-time, getting married, and moving into a new home where we had to fix the ceiling! And then I finished the slowly-advancing plans for production. In case you’re curious about my design notes below about what’s coming next, all those thoughts were part of the design goals for the new set of Advanced Cards that will ship with the game if it’s fully funded. The most ambitious ideas (more characters to pick from, purely competitive sex, three-player mode) didn’t survive the testing and design exploration process — some of them definitely wound up in “yeah… that’s a different game, not this one” territory.)]

[Important Note that’s important enough to go at the top: you can get the rules for Consentacle here!]

Consentacle debuted at the 5th annual No Quarter exhibition of games, which was a great success! Thanks to everyone who came out to try Consentacle and the other three No Quarter games (Slam City Oracles, Corporate Vandals, and Dog Park). The game worked better than I had hoped in a public setting–despite its racy nature and the fact that it’s a card game that takes a little time to learn–and Evan Narcisse was on hand to do a write-up for Kotaku.

The most common question I’ve gotten since setting the game up at No Quarter is “how do I get this game?” It’s not currently for sale–there are only four complete sets in existence, in part because Melanie Bossert only had time to cut a limited number of Trust and Satisfaction Tokens. I’ll have at least a set or two at Indiecade in a few weeks for those who’ll be there and can track me down while I’m helping to run this year’s conference sessions.

Beyond that, what’s next? I’m overwhelmed by the positive reception and interest in the game, and something like a Kickstarter is not out of the question in coming months. Because the current version of Consentacle was put together in the space of a few months especially for No Quarter, there are a lot of issues to sort out before that can happen. One one hand, making sure we can do production of things like tokens and playmats is important to me, since Consentacle is particularly physical and… sensual? Even more than those logistics, however, I don’t consider the rules and cards of Consentacle to be final yet. In addition to being a game about consensual sex, Consentacle is designed to be a game that straddles two genres–cooperative games with limits on information, such as Hanabi or Way, and deck-designing games with complex resource management, such as Netrunner. Consentacle currently has only two pre-built decks: Kit and Dup, the two characters shown in the image above. These two decks are great as an introduction to the game: they’re symmetrical and work well together. We were originally hoping to have two more identity cards (Kulos and Joe, both more on the masculine-presenting spectrum) with slightly different decks to choose from, but there just wasn’t time.

So, what’s the point of all this? Why would you want to WAIT to get your hands on these cards, with their gorgeous James Harvey illustrations? Well, my goal for Consentacle is to explore these themes–consensual sex, intimacy and turst, different and othered bodies–in a game that’s relatively easy to learn, but also deep, replayable, and expressive.  The current version has convinced me this is possible, but there’s a ways to go still. In case you’re curious or tantalized, here’s what I’m working on in terms of the design:

  • Greater Replayability. It’s possible to “master” the current version of Consentacle if you and a partner both come to know the decks really well. There are only a few players who’ve reached that point already, of course, but when you get there, the result of your encounters mostly has to do with luck and the occasional communication misfire. It’s still a lot of fun to solve this collaborative puzzle, but my idea of a great cooperative game is one that creates new situations–and that means the game needs more cards and a slightly different combo system!
  • Better Influence over Randomness. The randomness of shuffling your deck and drawing cards in order is a huge obstacle for most deck-dueling games, and it’s what makes one session of Consentacle quite different from the next as well. At one level, this is all well and good–not every time you have sex is going to be mind-blowing, and a lot depends on synchronicity, timing, and head-space between you and your partner(s). When it comes to gameplay, however, randomness can get downright http://nygoodhealth.com/product/caverta/ annoying, as Mattie Brice discusses in a recent piece. Other deck-dueling games rely on mechanics like “tutoring” to let players control some of the vagaries of a shuffle, and even the first version of Consentacle has a few cards like this (the Extension Cards, which are currently designated for advanced play) that give you more options for controlling your hand, adjusting timing, and giving hints to your partner.
  • Self-Expression: what are your moves, what’s your body like, who are you? Consentacle is the kind of game that I hope will evolve to be highly replayable via creating and modifying a deck of cards (just as in many collectible card games and deck design games) rather than by throwing a lot of random challenges at you. The themes of the game work very well with bringing a character’s (or your own) unique predilections and aptitudes to the table, after all; right now, everyone who plays has an Envelop card and a Penetrate card, but there’s no reason these particular moves have to be part of every Consentacle encounter! What if you could make a deck that’s more heavily based around Licks or Bludgeons? Or an Extension Card called “Stone” that favors a “shoot the moon” strategy where you end up taking a lot of Satisfaction in the fact that you’ve satisfied your partner without being touched much or at all yourself? (That last sentence will make more sense if you’ve played the game, and if you know some queer terminology.) As your decks become more and more different than those of your partner, and don’t necessarily line up with each other as well, a new kind of cooperative challenge may emerge–or at least I hope so, since a lot more playtesting of this concept is needed! Every time you mutate and redesign your deck, basically, you’ll have to figure out if and how it’ll be able to cooperate with the decks of your playmates. Sound interesting?
  • Competitive Sex and Beyond. As I talked about in my last post, one of the most interesting things that came up during playtesting was that some people I showed the game to really wanted to try and play Consentacle competitively–actively trying to tip the scales of satisfaction in their favor. Some of them even managed to try this with the final No Quarter version of the game! Unfortunately, the current decks don’t have any cards that are particularly useful for this style of play–there aren’t any cards that let you betray your partner and take Satisfaction from them, for instance. This omission may seem obvious–it’s primarily a game about working together to have a good time, right? And yes, Consentacle is intended to be a cooperative game first and foremost, but if two consenting partners want to engage in a struggle for dominance and pleasure-taking (super-NSFW link) –well, I would be more than happy to facilitate that. Good times will be had by all: you just have to add more modes. Don’t want competition? Play cooperatively and put cards in your deck to match. Beyond that… three-player mode? That might require entirely different sets of cards, but we’ll see!

This is all a preview of a design process that I’m just beginning now that No Quarter is over — and it’ll probably all change quite a bit before there’s a version of the game you can buy! I’d love to know what you think, especially if you’ve already played the No Quarter version of Consentacle. Alternately, if you’re not among the few people who got to come and play the game during the exhibition–does reading all this still leave you feeling like “I don’t care, just SELL me some cards immediately, even without the fancy laser-cut tokens!?” Or maybe you’re just like “how can I get some of that amazing artwork?”  I’d love to any or all of the above, or other reactions as well; your support and thoughts are helpful for getting this game to the next stage where, I give you my solemn vow, it’ll be even more worth owning. Feel free to leave comments here or tweet at me.

A lot of people have written me or left comments and tweets saying they’d love to playtest the game. Since the No Quarter version is all done and I’m going back to the design board to work on the above stuff, it’s likely I won’t have another version that’ll be useful for me to playtest for some time. However, if you leave a comment saying you want to playtest, with an e-mail address (they’re not visible to the public, don’t worry) I’ll put you on the playtest list for a future print & play version of the game.

 

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84 thoughts on “Consentacle: How do I get some?

  1. Stephanie Bayer says:

    I would love to play test this if I could.

  2. Eli says:

    My girlfriend and I would love top playtest the game.

  3. Whitney says:

    I would also really love to play test if I could. I really admire the design, concept, and theme of this game. Thanks for putting the idea out there!

  4. chris says:

    would love to be a play tester

  5. Sean Duncan says:

    Absolutely fascinated by this game ever since I saw your first tweets about it. I’d love to playtest!

  6. Ai Nakamura says:

    I would love to play test this as well! I found your story featured on Kotaku and it lead me here. I’m half Japanese also, and grew up surrounded by tentacle jokes since me and my friends discovered it in our teen years. I was always a little heart broken that my culture was always linked (and so lightheartedly too!) to something so horrifying as rape. I’ve suffered some abuse in that nature as well, so it definitely made things tougher for me. I was enthralled to find that your game is based not only exploring your own sensuality and sexuality, but also on consent! On great, glorious, paramount consent!! In our very strict Japanese household, being sexual or sensual is on the shameful and hidden side of things. I love that it’s becoming easier for Japanese folk to explore their sexuality without it being shameful<3

    ありがとう♥

  7. Tea says:

    I would absolutely love to playtest this when possible

  8. Jade Courville says:

    I would love to play test this with a dear friend of mine who squeed with delight when she showed me a write up on the game. It looks fascinating and the art work thus far is beautiful!

  9. Matt says:

    I would LOVE to playtest this :D Amazing art :)

  10. Natalia says:

    Such a great game, would love to playtest

  11. ian says:

    i really like the look and concept of the game and really enjoy the idea behind it that you’ve put forth. if and when(hopefully) you do intend to start making more copies of the game available for purchase i’d love to be the first one to buy it.

  12. Kite Winters says:

    Just saw this thanks to the link from Kotaku, i’d love to get involved with playtests at some point when doable.

  13. Danjel Ricci says:

    I left a comment just yesterday night on the previous post, I am really intrigued by the game and would like to try it. :)
    I see you have quite big plans for the game, it sounds like a lot of fun! Can’t wait to give it a try.

  14. Andrew says:

    I’d love to playtest this! It’s a fascinating idea, and your design sounds incredibly thoughtful.

  15. Miles Boylan says:

    Hi Naomi,

    Consentacle looks awesome! A friend and I are very much interested in play testing it if you’re still on the look out for people to do so.

    I’m currently working as a designer at Stainless Games, having worked on the “Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers” titles, so seeing other strategy card games crop up is always a welcome sight, especially with such an interesting twist as this one.

    I Look forward to hopefully hearing back from you and I wish you all the best with Consentacle’s development! :)

  16. Renée Hermanns says:

    I’m really psyched about this game and would love to introduce it to my friends and playtest it.
    The cards and tokens look amazing, nicely done!
    Stunning concept, can’t wait to try it.

  17. wintermute says:

    I’d love to playtest any new versions of the game. :)

  18. Ian S. says:

    It sounds like there is a lot of potential for different styles of play and different game modes, as well as maybe even character-specific goals. I look forward to seeing the design direction this goes. Can you please add me to the playtester list?

  19. bart says:

    id love to playtest this game :D

  20. Joe Leibowitz says:

    This game seems awesome. I’d love to give it a try. Hopefully there will be a Kickstarter campaign in the future, to get more produced!

  21. Sierra says:

    I would love<3 to playtest this!

  22. Jose C. says:

    This game looks super interesting. I would love to help playtest the next time you need testers. Add me to the list?

  23. Drew says:

    Sounds like a great game. Would like to play test this too!

  24. Ben Harpham says:

    It looks like a really interesting concept! I’ve recently moved to a country where English isn’t the main language, and I haven’t built up a great deal of English speaking friends yet, which has pretty much killed my gaming life outside of video games. So I’m very interested in fun two player games I can play with my wife. This really looks like it would fit the bill. I’d love to play it!

  25. Sean says:

    I’m in college and I can pretty much guarantee that I have a pretty big group of friends that would all LOVE to playtest something interesting and new like this. I just showed it to my friend and she immediately said “we need to get it” and I was disappointed to see that it wasn’t available yet :c

    So I would be thrilled to help playtest, and I’m a huge fan of the art style :D

  26. rick says:

    Was just having a conversation about if a game like this existed, so I googled it and found this. I would like to playtest this if you would allow it :)

  27. Anel Zadic says:

    I’d love to also try and play test this when you come out with a re-designed Consentacle. Looking forward to it!

  28. Ocean says:

    Hey, would love to playtest the game! Thanks in advance!

  29. Calvin says:

    Would to love to playtest! :)

  30. Kaylee says:

    Hey! i just discovered your game Consentacle and was wondering how i can get this game to play test!

  31. Jonathan says:

    Coop game? Geat art? Sex?
    Playtester request!
    Thanks for the creativity and work

  32. sneJ says:

    I’m very interested in coop games, and I love the theme, so please let me know if/when there will be a P&P playtest edition.

  33. Elizabeth says:

    I would love to be put on any mailing list that will announce when you’re going to be selling (I hope!) this game. I’m a sexuality educator – and sex therapist in training – and I think it could be a fun tool for work. I also think it would be a fun thing to PLAY.

  34. Tiger Spot says:

    I would like to be on the playtest list, please!

  35. Luke M says:

    I would like to play test as well. And thank you for improving the world with creative game ideas that re-envision society!

  36. A. Mandible says:

    Oh heck yes, please. I would playtest this instantly.

  37. Katie says:

    This looks great! Would love to playtest it.

  38. Marc B says:

    Would be so interested in playtesting and getting updates for this game.

  39. […] Consentacle – Upcoming Kickstarter for a card game that explores consensual tentacle porn. Kotaku has a writeup. […]

  40. Katie says:

    I’d be very interested in playtesting this game!

  41. Max says:

    I would love to playtest this game and eventually purchase and share this with my friends!

  42. Mitchell says:

    This is an amazing concept with amazing art and I’d love to play it along with everyone else!

  43. Mantari says:

    I haven’t forgotten about this game since the inital write-up in September in Kotaku. Still interested!

  44. Spidere says:

    I’m joining the “I’m interested in playtesting this” horde. I really love the concept (on a philosophical, experiential, and game mechanics basis) and am looking forward to the development of this game!

  45. Tom says:

    This is literally the best thing ever and I would love to playtest.

  46. Caitlin says:

    I would love to play test this (If you’re still looking for people). I would very very much like to play test. This looks amazing…

  47. Zach says:

    Definitely interested in both the ludomechanical and communicative potential of this idea. Definitely sign me up for playtesting.

  48. Art says:

    I’d love to play test this! A coop game like Hanabi with this theme? That sounds amazing!

  49. pollox says:

    this sounds fascinating, I want to play it…

  50. Amir Ebrahimi says:

    I’d be willing to play test and/or please add me to your mailing list, so I’ll be notified when you release the game.

  51. Erik-Carl Anderson says:

    I would love to play test this game! So awesome! ^__^

  52. I am very interested in playtesting this game :)

  53. Greg says:

    That’s odd, I’m sure I left a comment here. I’d love to playtest :) I think the idea of this is really interesting and would love to see how it works out in practice.

  54. Elizabeth says:

    I would LOVE to playtest this game, i am very much looking forward to playing this.

  55. Dominik says:

    Very interesting idea. I’d love to playtest it.

  56. […] cites a couple games like “Realistic Kissing Simulator” and “Consentacle” that more helpfully depict consent in sex. One of the key questions here, he says, is “What if […]

  57. Dan Murphy says:

    Very much want. Please please please kickstarter this!

  58. Joe says:

    I am another one interested in play testing, but just being kept in the loop in regards to plans for release would be awesome!! Keep up the good work!

  59. SkorpionUK says:

    I’d love to playtest too!

  60. Blaste says:

    This would be an amazing gift to a friend of mine (with whom I would play of course).
    I would buy/kickstart/sacrifice very small rocks/whatever to get a copy.

  61. Malodomini says:

    I really want to playtest this game! It sounds so good!

  62. jimi says:

    Your comments on the possibility of competition emerging out of your game system got me thinking, how would gameplay change if the “winner” was the individual who gave their opponent the most satisfaction. Also I’m throwing my name in the hat for playtesting.

  63. Ari says:

    Great concept! I’m interested in playtesting for you.

  64. JHumes says:

    I’d love to playtest this game…I currently playtest for a couple other games and our group could easily fit this into rotation. Huge fan of masterplasty.

  65. Moon says:

    *tentacled poke*

    Still standing by to playtest…

    David

  66. I would love to submit myself for Playtesting. Unfortunately, I can’t find your e-mail address. Figured I’m certain you check the comments at least occasionally <3

  67. J-Bay says:

    I just heard about that and I’d love to playtest it if it’s not too late :D

  68. Jonny says:

    Hello! This game sounds AMAZING. I’d be honored to playtest it!

  69. Jasper van der Meer says:

    Yes, I’d love to playtest Consentacle!

  70. Samuel Kershaw says:

    I would love to playtest this with my wife!

  71. Tomasz Golebiowski says:

    This popped into my head again a few days, had played at No Quarter and loved. I’d jump at the chance to play test again.

  72. Ben Asriel says:

    I would also love to play test this game!

  73. Of course I would love to playtest Consentacle.

  74. Tardis_blue says:

    If it’s not too late, I’d be interested in play testing.

  75. david says:

    We’d love to playtest; please link me up when possible!

  76. […] Consentacle was first announced at the Sex Games panel at last year’s Different Games conference, heads […]

  77. Braiba says:

    Definitely interested in playtesting/throwing money at a kickstarter of this. Sounds super-interesting!

  78. Huck says:

    My partner and I would love to play test this game! And we have friends who would love to play it too!

  79. Hugh Carter says:

    This looks amazing. I would love to playtest the print and play version when it’s available. Thank you!

  80. aidin says:

    hi i am aidin from iran .
    i love to playtest the game.

  81. Angus says:

    Is there anyway I can pay for a pdf of these cards? I’m happy to pay 50 USD for the privilege of printing the cards and playing with my friends

  82. Alex says:

    I’d love to playtest. I love the idea of this game, and the art.

  83. Madison says:

    Hi, I and (I think) a few close queerfriends would love to playtest this. I realize it’s a bit late but I figured I’d try. Either way, thanks for making this!

  84. Rick says:

    I’d be really interested in play testing this if the chance comes up. Or just buying a copy to be fair.

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