Hi, my name is Michael Kortekaas. I am a software engineer by day and a game designer and blogger by night. I have always been fascinated by games and how people play them. More than just fun, game play is an educational experience and important to our development in many different ways. Even more so as an adult, playing games can provide very important health benefits ( Neurobics: Build a Better Brain). Intellectual stimulation and social interaction all help maintain a healthy brain and can even help improve our immune systems. When we mix in the quality time with our love partner, we can even help improve our relationships too. So rather than just being a trivial form of entertainment, I believe there are many reasons to play grown up games. And creating your very own adult board game design can add to your fun.
Even as a kid, I was always trying to improve on the games I played. Usually these were war or strategy oriented games but included the regulars like Monopoly, Sorry, Life, etc. and a slew of card games too. My favourite book was The Way To Play – The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Games of the World. I still have it in my collection. This book was a treasure trove of game designs that I used as models for my own creations made with pen and paper. But of course, as an adolescent, other interests started to emerge which altered my game design direction.
I developed an interest in human sexuality from my first chance viewing of The Joy of Sex when I was much younger. Being an avid reader, Fanny Hill and a variety of other erotica added to my prurient curiosity. I rounded it out with an interest in the science of sex (psychology, biology, brain research, etc.). I also explored surrealistic erotic art in high school and incorporated it in many of my art projects. Although I have not painted in many years, my appreciation for erotic artwork has increased. Throughout University to this point in my life, I have read as much as possible on the history, evolution and psychology of human sexuality and relationships. I am continually intrigued by the mixed attitudes people have developed around their sexuality and their effective lack of awareness about their own bodies and minds let alone that of their partners. It’s my belief that a deeply satisfying sex life (on a physical and mental level) can stimulate an emotional fulfillment that will beneficially improve your health, behaviour, happiness and fortune. Great sex can dramatically improve your entire life and that of those you interact with.
Helping people improve their relationships and their sex lives might even be considered a socially responsible endeavour (that’s the rationalization I’m sticking with anyway). By helping to educate people about sex, love and relationships, I am hoping to encourage a more openminded attitude about it.
My quest for knowledge regarding human sexuality has encouraged me to purchase many books on the subject. Enhancing and improving my own relationship with my wife is a motivating factor as well. Many of the mainstream books tend to duplicate a lot of information such as the standard positions, safe sex, need for romance, male/female perspectives/attitudes, etc. Most do contain a few unique concepts and ideas but they are usually buried or scattered throughout the book. When you’re trying to spice up your love life with creative new romantic or sensual ideas, all the wonderful tips, tricks and techniques can be elusive. With more sexy ideas to choose from, it almost becomes a problem selecting one. I am positive there is a simpler, more effective means to compile the essential ideas, tips, techniques, concepts, etc. into a single yet expandable format. The information would be presented in a quick and fun way that encourages you to add your own unique twists. It would compliment your personality and your sexual preferences, needs and desires. This format would enable the ideas to be creatively interchanged and combined in new ways to keep things fresh and exciting.
An adult game seems to be a perfect format to playfully include humour, creativity, thinking, interaction and randomness with various sex concepts and erotic ideas. A game embraces the element of fun that should be part of every life experience especially sex. Having fun with sex is critical to the emotional well being of every adult. I believe that a game context provides an excellent foundation for exploring exciting new sexual activities with a partner in a fun yet mutually instructive way. Following this reasoning, I have purchased many sex related games over the years. Unfortunately, the critical elements I am searching for have not yet been fully implemented in the games I have examined so far. My expectations may be a little too high – they are my own opinions never the less. But that doesn’t mean the games are not fun or that you can’t learn something by playing them. And, they also give you the opportunity to redesign, enhance or customize them to suit your preferences. You can even cannibalize the really bad ones and use their bits for your own board game design.
I have come across (pun not intended) a small number of sex related games that I consider to be very playable and fun (especially in a social gathering). For instance Dirty Minds, Dirty Words, and Sexual Secrets are very interesting to play with 3 to 6 people yet provide poor playability with just 2 players. They are also not good for couples already in a long-term relationship since they (hopefully) know each other so well. The fun is more in exploring how other people think about sexual subjects. There are also a variety of board games that just use the simple mechanic of “roll dice, move token, perform action (drink, strip, stroke, suck, talk, etc.)“. Some use spinners rather than dice. You’ll find a variety of erotic card games too that either have nude pictures on a regular set of playing cards or list various timed activity instructions (drink, strip, stroke, suck, talk, etc.). The game play associated with these variations are usually fairly simple such as alternately flipping a card and performing the action. The pathetic rules (in my humble opinion) combined with the expensive price usually results in extreme disappointment. Thankfully, some of the newer games are more promising.
There are also a variety of game products that do not actually have any game elements at all. Phantasm is an example that is actually quite interesting. It may be classified as a game since it includes 69 scenarios that are deemed to be sex games. This product was a huge hit. There are also a variety of discussion oriented games intended for new couples to explore each other’s interests and personality. These cover a wide range of subjects not specifically sexual and usually perform their purpose adequately. Although useful as a refresher periodically, they may not be suitable for couples in an established, long term relationship. But people do change so if you’re in a mature relationship, it’s always good to pull these types of games out of the closet every now and again.
When reviewing the games on the market, it becomes apparent that partner oriented sex games mostly try to introduce unique sexual encounters by combining a static set of relatively simplistic sexual activities with a randomizing element. The continual teasing during the game play is intended to build the passion until it cannot be controlled and results in unbridled sexual ecstasy. This is considered to be a form of foreplay. Of course, the designers usually throw in a mix of discussion activities to help build the relationship or romance aspects of the game but these tend not to be integrated well in my opinion. There are effectively little or no elements of “game play” in these types of products. Elements involving creativity, imagination or thinking are extremely rare and minimal if they do exist.
An analysis of most successful adult games (not necessarily erotic versions) reveals a few essential elements (from I Have No Words and I Must Design by Greg Costikyan):
- Games provide a set of rules; but the players use them to create their own consequences. The rules are not overly simplistic or tediously complicated.
- Games require active participation. Players make decisions in order to manage resources in pursuit of a goal. Excellence in decision making is what brings success.
- The goal must represent something meaningful to strive for against some form of opposition. The struggle to win is key. A competitive challenge should exist between the players. Nothing is as sneaky and as hard to overcome as a determined human opponent. A game without struggle is a game that’s dead!
- Interesting decisions make for interesting games. Trivial decisions aren’t any fun. Management of meaningful game resources provides interesting opportunities to make interesting decisions.
- Tokens are provided as a means to manage resources and enable players to provide input.
- The game has a certain colour or emotional flavour that provides the imaginary context for the game play.
- Randomness is introduced to provide variety of encounter but does not dramatically impact the outcome of the game. Strategic excellence must be primary to the successful completion of the game.
- Character identification provides emotional impact. Role playing occurs when you take the persona of your position. These characteristics improve the game’s colour as well.
- The game encourages socialization – bringing people together to have fun.
- Ideally, a game should be tense all the way through, but especially so at the end. The toughest problems, the greatest obstacles, should be saved for the last.
Most of the foreplay and erotic games I have purchased do not come close to addressing any of these game play elements. Even though couples playing sex games intend to have sex together, there is no reason why there can’t be a competitive struggle between them. I believe that the heightened tension combined with the erotic nature of the game can lead to a much greater level of passion or lust than that provided by a sequenced set of random mini-activities. In fact, tension buildup is a precursor to orgasm – higher the tension, better the release. Fun and humour can also lubricate the action. This is a tricky design challenge because we don’t want any hard feelings getting in the way of the intended out come.
With all the great game designers out there, I am ever optimistic that I’ll discover a new adult game that’ll be exceptional right out of the box. In the mean time, I’ll continue buying, playing, analyzing and adapting them. Of course I also buy many non-sexual games for the exact same reason. Adapting the kill and destroy themes of some games into a mutually rewarding and loving sex game can be an intriguing and fun challenge.
To compliment the game design, I am continuing my sex related research to help identify as many positions, tips, techniques and activities as possible to integrate into the game play. Note that many games on the commercial market need to be wary of various censorship considerations so may limit or restrict the types and variety of potential pleasure possibilities. But when designing your own games or customizing purchased ones, you’re free to get as nasty and kinky as you want. What ever your sexual orientation and preference, it’s easy to tweak the rules and game elements to include the erotic and sensual pleasures you and your partner enjoy in or out of the bedroom. I hope you join me in a quest to create the ultimate adult board game design and have fun doing it (pun intended).
Please check out my other games – I’d love your feedback:
Frisky Foreplay & Fooling Around – downloadable and printable dice games
Frisky Business Game – erotic Make Your Own Opoly package
Cyber Sex Opoly – Strippopoly enhancement package
Going Down Getting Off – snakes & ladders style sex game
iLove Random Sex – generate love making ideas on the iPhone
Succulent Expressions – erotic word game for the iPhone
Forfeits Foreplay games – classic games with a twist
I will be reviewing and reworking the free forfeits foreplay game variations on this blog too.