I do not jest, friends.
The brand-new PURGATORY 4040 from Sally Bishai Games...really does combine ALL of those genres/game mechanics.
In the OFFICIAL Rules of Game-Play, anyway.
As in all of Sally Bishai Games, there are TONS of options, and TONS of ways to play.
Ever since I decided to just make games for ME (meaning "my classroom") and NOT with an eye at audience (other than students) or the game-buying public in general, I've noted a significant lessening of game-related stress.
Well... because the truth is, the Official and FULL version of Purgatory 4040 would cost over $200. For the STANDARD version.
(The LUXE version--which is now The SALLY Edition--was over TWICE as expensive to produce. And thinking of logistical whatnots saps all sorts of game-designing energy, so there we are. Ooooommmmm.)
Anyway, the PREMISE of the game is simple: a lovely, youngish maiden called ANA opens her eyes to an unfamiliar setting...and an unfamiliar body.
Did she hit her head...or has she "crossed over" to the other side?
Well, that's one of the mysteries in the game, actually.
But the mysteries (all 12 of them) are SECONDARY to the actual GOAL of the game, which is GETTING OUT.
See, the unfamiliar setting is a poorly-aging "estate" that looks more like an abandoned bachelor pad from the swingin' 70s. The property's surrounded by a forest of chest-high cacti, and the house itself is wrapped in black iron spikes.
But that inimitable setting is the only thing all the game variations have in common. (Apart from the whole "getting OUT" thing.)
Why? Because the entire story (for each play-through) is all "in the cards."
That is, there are decks to determine:
What's DIFFERENT about her body (ie "medicine only does what it's meant to do 33% of the time")
What Laws of the Universe and Discovered/Usable Technologies are NOT present (or constant) in Ana's "universe" (ie 24 hours of sunshine or electricity is impossible)
What TASKS must be accomplished in order to WIN
What player stats must be managed (HP MP GP? Food, medicine, items? etc.)
What HANDICAPS and/or AILMENTS she has to work around
Who the players are
And EVEN "is this game cooperative or competitive?" (and other variations thereof).
What began as EXPANSION packs worked out SO WELL that I couldn't very well keep them out of the fun, right? Hence the $200+ price tag. (Hence my decision to go from "Games by Sally Bishai" to "Games FOR Sally Bishai." Hah.
As of now, you can play the FULL game with 13 players--or alone.
Even with that one lonesome player, there's still a chance that s/he plays AS Ana...or becomes a tormentor. Or a helper. Or a neighbour. Or LOTS of other things.
With MORE players, it might end up as fragments of Ana's soul playing against one another (competition) for dominance, or working together in order to reunite (cooperative), or even against another player (who takes the role of tormenter or helper even).
And if THAT potential variety (of variations) isn't enough for you (or me, as the case may be), there's also the question of the BOARD.
In the Sally Version, there's a gigantic board with spaces for each room tile, and instructions/multipliers on each space.
The ROOM TILES show snippets of the somewhat-horrific estate--BEFORE. As in, before she fixes the house up.
Oh, I didn't mention that some of her tasks are DIY house-renovation tasks?
And that she has to get a JOB in order to pay for drywall mud and a new microwave?
And that those aforementioned AILMENTS have a hand (no pun intended) in permitting or preventing her occupational adventures?
If THAT all wasn't enough for you to wrap your head around, how about the mystery of WHY is she here, WHY can't she remember, IS this really a supernatural place (purgatory), WHY is her body so broken up, WHY do her ailments change every day or three?
I know, I know: it sounds like a LOT to take in. And like it would take a LONG time to play through even once.
But that's not the case, coz yet another of my gaming proclivities and preferences is the one where I have everything I could POSSIBLY need for the game, and get to tailor today's play-through to the number and personality and patience (and brains) of the PLAYERS, the TIME we have for the game, the PROXIMITY of our game-sitting-next-to-each-otherness (one gigantic board vs a baby board for each, and player markers vs whatever, and tokens vs whatever else).
But my FAVOURITE element of trickery is that of the LESSON I want them to take away once the game is over.
For SOME audiences, I want to focus on reading non-verbal cues and analysing logical arguments for, like, a LACK thereof. (Logic, I mean.) In such a case, I'd pit the players against one another, putting a "take that!" element into play and making it impossible to run and get snacks without stopping the game.
In another audience, I'd want the focus to be that of "understanding what it's like." For example, one entire permutation of the game is designed to let people with relatively "charmed" lives understand how it feels to live with a major disability or even an invisible disability. (For all the "political correctness" and "societal sensitivity out there today (allegedly), there's LOTS of INSENSITIVITY in that rhetoric, hence this permutation.