What is The Heart Set?
The Heart Set is a tabletop card game in which players take turns dating characters with randomized preferences & personalities, in hopes of finding a compatible partner and going steady... or make a friend pact and escape the dating scene altogether!
Approachable to players of all kinds, The Heart Set is easy to learn for new players, but offers a wealth strategic opportunities for advanced players to discover & enjoy.
How does it play?
Each player is represented by a character profile of their choice. The remaining character profiles make up the dating pool; these are who you'll be courting. When play begins, each is given a randomly-selected set of traits, which will determine who is - and isn’t - compatible.
Player hands are made up of cards that represent things you might do on a date, like going to a show, hitting a fast food restaurant, or streaming the latest TV series. Players also frequently receive action cards, which can be used to interact with other players - whether that means tagging along as a third wheel on a date, making their date jealous, or swooping in on a date that’s going badly.
To go be successful, you’ll need the right combination of cards to satisfy the whims and expectations of your date. A good evening out will deepen your relationship with that character, and let you learn a bit more about them. You won’t be romantically compatible with everyone, but your friendships can help you in the pursuit of love, so all relationships have value.
Throughout this process, players can eventually discover their ideal partner… and the grand gesture needed to capture their heart. Or, if the romance scene isn’t for you, make a friendship pact with your best friend. Be the first to do either, and you win the game!
At the beginning of every game, the dating pool is made of four non-player character cards, which are each secretly assigned traits & preferences.
Each round, players choose who they’ll spend time with. How those dates go depend on the cards each player has, and how they play them.
Players can swoop in on failed dates, tag along as a third wheel, and generally create drama for each other!
3. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
Good nights build up your relationships with friends & potential romantic partners. - and allow you to learn the traits, quirks, and preferences of the characters in the dating pool.
4. GO STEADY
(or make a pact)
Once you’ve found a potential partner, you can go on a dream date and ask them to go steady… Or maybe you’d rather make a pact with a non-romantic friend and opt out of the dating pool altogether!
Joel Burgess, Designer
Joel is a 15-year veteran of the video game industry, with credits on games like Fallout 76, Skyrim, Fallout 4, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Aeon Flux, Bloodrayne 2, and an unannounced project at Ubisoft Toronto.
The Heart Set is Joel’s first tabletop game design, and combines his interests in player-driven narrative, overlapping game mechanics - and observing the curiosities of personal interaction through games.
Joel lives in Toronto, Canada, and also on twitter.
Melanie Chang is a concept artist and illustrator from Seattle, with a passion for toys, games and entertainment. Portfolio.
Rachel is an illustrator from Toronto with a penchant for zines, comics and games. She designed The Heart Set’s logo, and her portfolio is here.
Julieta is an animator and illustrator from Monterrey, Mexico, She’s known for her distinctive style and contributions to Oni Press’s Rick & Morty and Invader Zim comic covers. Portfolio.
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