Friday Fun: Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble
I recently had the pleasure as serving on the jury for the Independent Games Festival, and out of all the games I played, the one that I spent the most time with by far was Keith Nemitz's Indie breakthrough Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble. It's a single-player RPG based in a 1920's high school, disguised as a board game. You choose a girl to play from a set of characters, then attempt to build a girl gang through threats, intimidation, taunting, and leveling up. Your gang then attempts missions such as uncovering suspicious school accidents, finding the school's hidden still, electing a horse mayor, and other shenanigans.
Each of the 12 playable girls have different starting stats for popularity, rebellion, glamour, and savvy, and they play mini-games such as Taunt, Fib, Expose, and Flirt... not the most positive activities, but remember, these are DANGEROUS girls, and they're in trouble. It's like when Kit Kittredge turned 14 and started smoking in the conservatory and piercing her hat with safety pins.
Most of the minigames use the four card suits as tokens or icons, giving the whole experience a parlour-game feel that fits in beautifully with the 20's setting. The story sucks you in and the constant promise of leveling up one of your gang or learning new taunts teasing Bully Girl in the gymnasium makes you forget the underlying unusualness of playing a solitaire RPG that's pretending to be a board game on a computer.