Divorce!: A Game That Encourages You To Bribe Your Son With Hentai

By Chris Priestman . August 31, 2014 . 9:20am

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Divorce! The Game is an upcoming, light-hearted two player card game that is live on Kickstarter. In it, you’re going through a divorce and have to divide assets with your ex-partner with the goal of possessing as many valuables as possible at the end of it. This means you should play dirty by using lawyers to manipulate the situation, including burning down the family home, and stealing items from your ex.

 

Two of the biggest assets you can claim are your kids as you can get child support money for them. But getting hold of them isn’t easy as they need to be bribed to your side. This is where the Hentai card comes in: with it, you can bribe your son Billy so that he’ll want to stay with you. However, the Hentai card is a limited card not sold in the standard pack and, in fact, will only be available at PAX Prime this weekend.

 

Siliconera spoke to Divorce! designer Andrew Yoon, who was previously the East Coast Editor for Joystiq, and the Editor-in-Chief over at Shack News. We asked him why he decided to give up games reporting for game design, what it was about Divorce! that encouraged him to further develop it after some failed prototypes, as well as why he is taking the game to Kickstarter.

 

Why did you decide to transition from being in the games media to being a games designer — is this something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

Andrew Yoon, Designer: I won’t lie. I’ve always dreamed of creating games, ever since I was a little kid. Even in high school, I seriously considered it, learning to dabble in programming and contemplating attending a school like DigiPen. I even created some legit design docs for games that, alas, aren’t real games yet.

Of course, being a video game reporter and reviewer was also a dream—and I was surprised to have made that dream come true! With nearly a decade of experience in that field, I knew that I had to go out and do my own thing. With so many platforms for indies to consider, Kickstarter included, I felt like maybe this was the right time to dive in. I’ll admit, I’m really scared, but I’m also really proud of where I am right now.

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You’ve mostly worked with video games previously, so what attracted you to card games rather than creating, say, video games?

I absolutely love tabletop games. Some of my favorite games include Smash Up and Dominion. But that’s not to say that I don’t love video games too. I think the two hobbies go hand in hand. I definitely want to make a video game one day, but I think tabletop game design is a good stepping stone for getting there. If my first few projects go well enough, who knows what the future holds?

 

You say you’ve prototyped a few games since leaving your previous job, so what is it about Divorce! that has made it stick for you enough to further develop it?

Divorce! The Game is actually the combination of two "failed" game ideas that I had. The first is a game inspired by Mega Man. I wanted a deck-absorption game where players got new powers and tried to absorb the entire deck.

 

The second was a game about imaginary numbers. Playtests showed that there were good mechanics, but it didn’t really "click." However, once it turned into a game about divorce, everything started falling into place. Players got really malicious, and people were having a lot of fun.

To be honest, I didn’t expect Divorce! to be my first game. I thought I would release something much more "artistic" and "serious" instead. But given how much fun people were having with Divorce!, I knew it would be dumb not to capitalize on that.

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I notice that in describing Divorce! you’ve avoided the notion of there being a way to "win" the game. Is that right, and if so, are you making a point about the nature of divorce here?

Oh, there’s definitely a winner and loser. But I guess the joke is that everyone sort of loses in the end. The "winner" is definitely whoever ends up with more net worth–but the things you have to do in order to get there might not make it worth it.

 

The game is meant to be a parody of divorce, and not a realistic "simulator" and you’ll have to do some pretty awful things in order to get ahead.

 

You’ve mentioned that there’s an exclusive three-card set and that one of the cards is a "Hentai" card. What is included in this exclusive set, how will people be able to get hold of it, how do these cards work in Divorce!?

Because we’re debuting the game at PAX, I thought it would be a fun marketing tool to give away some exclusive cards. Hopefully, they’ll entice people into buying the full version of the game. I wanted to create a deck that captures the feeling of playing the game and also represented its unique humor. That’s how the "Hentai" card came to be designed.

 

The "Hentai" card is intentionally provocative, but it’s also a card that I think many Penny Arcade fans would understand. (And if they don’t know what hentai is, I’m excited to see how they feel after a Google search!) It captures the off-the-wall humor that the game has, while also teaching people that you can bribe your kids in this game. Ultimately, you’re also trying to win custody of your kids, and Hentai will make Billy like you that much more.

The other cards included in the three-card set are a Couch, which can be sold for money. And "Prenup," which lets you go through the deck and take any upcoming item. It’s actually a really powerful card, one that probably should have been in the base game but oh well. Now only 700 or so people
will ever get that card.

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Why have you taken Divorce! to Kickstarter and why should people pledge towards it?

We went to Kickstarter because it is so incredibly expensive to make games. We’re asking for $5,000 because that will cover the minimum order we can get from a reputable manufacturer. Hopefully, people will have the same kind of twisted humor that we have, and think "divorce can be fun."

I think it’s also unique for a tabletop game, not just in terms of topic, but in terms of the audience we’re going for. There are a lot of party games meant for 4 or more people, but there’s so very few games that are exclusively designed for two people. One thing I’m really proud of is that couples really love playing this game. They can get into character and bring a lot more into the game.

 

I think that’s what we want Divorce! to be–a game that you and someone you’re really close to can play from time to time. And because of how simple it is, you can even introduce the game to a non-gaming significant other. If that sounds like your kind of jam, I really hope you consider supporting our campaign.


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