Re-Release Part 3: Inclusivity

This is Part 3 of our series about updating our game Marital Bliss. You can read the other posts here: Part 1 and Part 2.

We’re excited to soon be launching a great new version of Marital Bliss with updates to resolve known issues and to broaden the gameplay experience. A large portion of the updates we’ve made are to make the game feel more welcoming. Today I’m taking a look at a few of aspects of the updated game that we hope makes it feel more inclusive.

Gestures of Inclusion

For years, due some decisions we made early on with the previous design, it was pretty easy for people to assume our game might not work for their relationship (more on this in last week’s article).  We always intended for Martial Bliss to be a game for all couples, and now it’s even more so. We even went so far as to make that point on the bottom of every box.

When someone sees our game at store and wonders “Will this game work for my relationship?” we wanted something on the box to indicate that it likely will.

Picture of the bottom of the game box with "A Game for All Couples" highlighted.

Gameplay with Informed Consent

One of the trickiest aspects about Martial Bliss is that it’s impossible to make a game for couples without making some assumptions about what most people do within the walls of their home. But, we know not everything in the game will work for every relationship, and that’s why we made Rule #1:

Picture of instructions from the game. Image says: "This is your game, have fun. You can always remove an unwanted card from the deck (there are usually a few).

We wanted to make it clear that the game is not imposing itself on the players, rather players should be comfortable making the game fit their relationship. If someone wants to skip a card,  they should. If you draw a card that doesn’t make sense for your relationship, just remove it from the deck.

Cleaning Up Pronoun Usage

This was a pretty straightforward but important task with the update. Throughout the game, we’ve improved our pronoun usage. We’ve reworked it to be as inclusive as possible, eliminating any references to “him and her” and replacing with “spouse” or “they” or “them” as appropriate.

As you can see in the picture above from the previous version of the game, we also had to invest heavily in the creation of new imagery and graphics. We went back to our original artist and commissioned 69 new images. Come back next week where I’ll dive into the graphical enhancements and design changes we’ve made for the re-release.

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