“Bitten: An Erotic Game for Couples” Review By Sarah Rigg and Jeff Kaatz
Ed Note: We sometimes are sent fun new games for review. This is one such game. Creator Aaron Bennett requested that we review his game, so I passed it along to Sarah and Jeff–because they’re passionate about table top games and are excellent reviewers. The game’s creator asks that we remind you that this is a sexy game to be played responsibly by consenting adults. Enjoy! –WLF
Review of “Bitten: An Erotic Game for Couples”
Players: 2 adult players (18+)
Time to play: Set aside at least one hour
Provided: Instructions, game board, accessory sheets
You will also need: Two decks of playing cards, seven dice, two player tokens, fake “blood,”, oil, ice cubes, paintbrush, feather, handkerchief, handcuffs, rope, blindfold, flogger, credit card, werewolf hat, candles, cologne, plus a variety of sex toys.
Have you ever seen “sexy dice” on sale as a novelty? You know, the kind where one die has parts of the body on it, and another has an action such as “nibble” or “kiss” on it, leading to combinations suggesting “stroke thigh” or “kiss neck”? If you can picture a game that combines sexy dice with a vampire role playing game, you have the basic idea behind “Bitten: An Erotic Game for Couples.”
Provided is a sheet for stacking up the playing cards, a board with six rooms and connecting halls, and sheets that explain what action is indicated by which card or dice combination.
Each “room” on the playing board has a theme – the foyer is all about kissing and undressing, while the dining room is about all things oral, and the dungeon is for BDSM play. The instructions suggest spending at least three turns in the foyer. Then, as you move to a new room, you roll dice to move along the hallway. So you’re not bored, the dice combinations that move you through the halls also suggest foreplay activities, much like the sexy dice we mentioned in the introduction.
My husband and I partially play-tested this game for review on The Horror Within, and I have to say: We have questions, questions such as:
-Who is the audience for this game?
-What is a werewolf hat?
-How was this play-tested before putting it into production, and by whom?
We played three rounds in the foyer as well as trying out the hallways to see how the dice combinations worked, but we felt things were going to get too messy to get much further into the game. Still after just 20 minutes of hands-on play testing, we found several problems with design and game play.
First, the sheet for stacking up playing cards pictures the rooms in a different configuration than on the actual game board, which can get confusing. This seems like it should be an easy fix, however.
“I don’t think you need the poker hand mechanic,” Jeff says. “It’s extraneous if the purpose is to get couples to explore new sexual territory. Earning merit badges would make more sense, or temporary tattoos.”
We just didn’t find that the poker hand win condition fitted the game thematically, at all.
Thirdly, the order of play doesn’t always work out in a sexy way. For example, we didn’t draw enough cards in the foyer to have much clothing removed, so when we were in the hallway and instructed by the dice to kiss the inner thigh, I would have been kissing Jeff’s thigh through his jeans.
Additionally, the overwhelming heteronormativity of this game might prove off-putting for some. Many parts of the game are gender-neutral, and there’s no reason a gay or lesbian couple couldn’t use the game. However, the game refers to how many pieces of clothing “the male player” and “the female player” should be wearing at the start of the game. More problematically, the Crypt, the room dedicated to penis-in-vagina penetration, is labeled simply “sex,” as if activities like giving a blow job in the Dining Room or strapon sex in the Meat Locker are, what, foreplay? Not sex? The terminology in this game needs a serious overhaul before its put into mass production.
The biggest problem, though, is that I don’t believe the designer has really thought about who the audience is for this game. What kind of person is sexually adventurous enough to own a strapon harness and handcuffs but still feels the need to engage in a dice and card game to explore sexual fantasies? Is the audience kinky role players? New couples exploring their fantasies? Couples looking to break out of a rut?
Giving the designer a bit of credit, he does indicate a shorter list of core supplies to have on hand if you don’t happen to have some of the more exotic sex toy or BDSM items. He also includes a disclaimer that if you don’t feel comfortable with an action the game suggests, you don’t have to do it.
In our opinion, the game just doesn’t work as it currently is designed. I think that before anyone attempts to play it, they should read through the instructions and the action sheets very carefully and discuss turn-ons, turn-offs and limits, whether it’s “Absolutely no butt play on me,” or “Hell no, you’re not tying me up!”
That brings me to my biggest piece of positive feedback: While I don’t think the game is playable as it’s currently designed, I DO think it could be a fun vehicle for couples to discuss their interests and fantasies, whether you’re a couple that has only been together a few months or a long-married couple who wants to get out of a rut. Just reading through the suggestions in the game could spark great conversations or light some libidinous fires.
Any game that inspires my husband to turn on “Cuts You Up” by Peter Murphy and do a sexy vampire dance can’t be all bad, can it?*
*Our editor requested video of the sexy vampire dance, but when we looked at the footage, all we had captured was a mysterious fog…
Ed note: Damn!