XP: Hot Guys Making Out

1 Mar

During our Valentine’s Day session, we played Hot Guys Making Out, a yaoi role-playing game by Ben Lehman. To our delight & surprise, Ben even showed up to play it with us!

The game is elegantly simple, and can be picked up with a quick read of the rules. Each of 2-4 players picks a character established in the book–mainly centering around Honore (who mainly takes physical & direct actions) and Gonsalvo (who mainly explores emotions). Each player has a hand of cards, and they can make short descriptions or actions that rely on which card they play/discard.


Since each player only said a few sentences per turn, the turns alternated quickly but the narrative itself moved slowly. This was a great emulation of manga as a medium. Gutters of blank space surrounded the brief (and sometimes intense) bits of narrative contributed by each player–and transitions were often moment-to-moment or aspect-to-aspect.

(Yun Kōga, Loveless 84, page 9.)

The discards (a description of something in the scene rather than an action taken by a character) really emphasized this effect. An entire action could be a simple few words or a brush of a hand on a cheek, a turn could unfold time into details like a clock’s slow ticking or the sunlight’s illumination of dust in the air.


And the effect of exploding time in such a way? Delicious romantic tension & tragic suspense. Since players kept their hands concealed, nobody knew what was going to happen from one moment to the next. The world moved on around our characters as we waited in suspense. It had all the silence and slowness of a secluded nobleman’s home, and brought in the fear of being caught. A lonely block of ice melts into Honore’s empty glass, the leaves rustle outside, and Maria silently slips poison into Gonsalvo’s soup.


Our game took on quite a tragic Shakespearian flavor. In the end, our star-crossed protagonists were dying in each other’s arms after a fatal dose of poisoned tea and a fateful kiss. Depending on what the players do, this game moves quickly toward a tragic end–which is appropriate when we’re making a story about forbidden love.

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