For the Queen is a game about love, duty, and devotion.
Players collaboratively tell a story about a Queen’s retinue undertaking a perilous journey, by each contributing one character’s subjective viewpoint. All the player characters have a complicated history with the Queen, and the journey becomes a place for them to both develop and reflect on that relationship, and perhaps grow closer to the other members of the retinue as well.
For the Queen is inspired by early digital RPGs like Final Fantasy, and elegant story games like Aleksandra Sontowska’s The Beast.
The setting information, instructions, and player prompts are all delivered via a deck of cards. This deck consists of:
Instruction Cards—These contain the game rules and setting information
X-Card—This is a content calibration tool, explained below
Queen Cards—These are illustrations which players can use to inspire their story
Prompt Cards—Forming the bulk of the game, these are short questions that are answered by players on their turn. Answers will fill in the characters, their world, and their relationships to each other and the Queen
End Card—This is the final prompt card. Once drawn, it is answered by all players in turn, and then play ends
For the Queen stars characters who are on a journey with their beloved, and often terrible, Queen. They may or may not know why they were chosen or what will happen to them along the way. No one plays the Queen; players come to know her only through the eyes of the player characters, who love and serve her. Aside from those specifications, everything that happens to and exists around the characters is determined through play. The retinue can be in a realistic, speculative, historical, or fantastic setting.
Every player shares equitable responsibility for following the rules and developing the story. There is no Game Master or Facilitator. Players take turns drawing and reading cards in clockwise order, starting with the first Instruction card, and answering Prompt cards until the End card is reached.
When a player draws a Question card, they have three options:
A player who answers a question card may do so as simply or as elaborately as they wish. Other players may make suggestions or ask follow-up questions, and the one who drew the card can accept those suggestions or answer those questions to whatever extent they prefer.
A player who receives a passed card may answer it, X-Card it, or pass it the same way the original player did. The original player’s turn is now over, and the player who received the passed card’s turn will be over when they pass or answer it.
X-Carding a card does not end a player’s turn; they draw the next card and continue. Players can also X-Card prompts that are drawn by other players, or any other content that arises during the game. The X-Card removes content from the game, and does not need to be explained or justified by the one who used it.
The X-Card was originally developed by John Stavropoulos and is adapted for use in this game. To learn more about The X-Card, visit http://tinyurl.com/x-card-rpg
For the Queen includes illustrated cards which feature a diverse set of Queens that players can use to inspire their own stories. Players can also opt out of selecting an illustration, and allow their Queen’s appearance to unfold in their minds, or draw on other materials instead.
A session of For the Queen lasts approximately thirty minutes to two hours, but sessions have been known to go longer. Pacing depends on three variables:
Where players shuffle the ending question card into the deck
For the Queen is about relationships. Focus on the player characters’ subjective impressions of the Queen, their history with her, and how that impacts their relationships with others.
To enjoy this game, listen to each other. Knowing that the world is being built around you as you go, be attentive to what your fellow players are saying, and incorporate it into your own answers.