Released in Mid January at the beginning of 2019, Kiss Her Before The World Ends is a GMless and diceless TTRPG developed by Alice Grizzle As she explains in the interview below, Kiss Her Before The World Ends is a wonderful example of what happens when someone designs a role playing game that is incredibly specific and sticks to their guns. I, personally, cried the first time I played through this game, and it has had profound effects on how I work within mechanics of other, more established TTRPG’s. The industry as a whole could learn a thing or two from Alice Grizzle and Kiss Her Before The World Ends.
Ruune: Kiss Her Before The World Ends is incredible. One of the things I love about indie TTRPG development is that creators are really doing an awesome job taking game mechanics, usually reserved for physical actions, and transferring them to emotional (and perhaps spiritual) mechanics. Your way of organizing people’s needs into categories to be ticked off during gameplay is brilliant and it felt like I was learning a lot about myself just by reading the manual. Now, I know that games like this aren’t meant to be therapy, but would you be willing to speak to how the way this game is set up could very well be an assistance to someone who is sorting through their feelings?
Alice Grizzle: I’m so glad you like it! Yeah, Kiss Her Before the World Ends is all about interrogating what your character is feeling — what they need. I think it teaches you to be critical of your feelings in a way that is probably helpful really helpful if that’s not a thing you’re used to doing.
R: I really love the lines “This game is about when you realize there is nothing left you can do, and about what you do with the time you have left and who you spend it with.” So much of gaming culture (and culture in general!) is about trying to “fix” or “solve” things, it’s incredibly refreshing to see content about when everything is just kind of fucked and about how we can be compassionate from a starting point of understanding that. Would you be willing to speak about how you came to that idea, and where it grew from?
AG: So Kiss Her Before The World Ends‘s first version had mechanics for actually saving the world. I was convinced that people were going to want to do it and would be uninterested in playing a game with a fixed outcome. After talking with a lot of designers I respect a lot, I realized that I was trying to hedge my bets. I wanted Kiss Her to be a melancholy story, but I also wanted people to like my game and I was afraid they wouldn’t if I took a hard stance on the type of stories Kiss Her Before the World Ends is about. I also realized that taking a hard stance on what you want your project to be about is a good thing. Hard stances leads to a clearer message of intent, which makes your work easier to engage with.
As to where it grew from, I’m not entirely sure. I think I just wanted to make a game that reflects my own experiences with happiness. It’s a thing you have to seek out, most of the time in other people. The world is dark and terrifying, but if you surround yourself with caring, compassionate, brilliant people then you can still carve out your own chunk of happiness.
R: This was an amazing piece of work and art you created. The voice of it is engaging and compelling, and I am excited at the chance to buy more games from you. Do you have plans to work on something new in the future? Are you taking some well deserved rest? Back on the hustle? All are super valid answers!
AG: Right now my plans for the future are to eventually release more pregens settings for Kiss Her Before the World Ends, but I do have several game ideas I’m toying with. I don’t have anything really specific to talk about since I’m still unsure of which I want to explore first, but I definitely have other games I wanna make in the near future.
You can buy Kiss Her Before the World Ends at Alice’s itch.io page!!