Cindr: Burning With Passion

  • Designers: Harold Mikolaitis and Benjamin Walker
  • Artist: Leah Fuhrman
  • Publisher: Smirk and Laughter Games
  • Kickstarter Date: February 14th, 2020

Disclaimer: The prototype of this game was provided to us for review by Smirk and Laughter Games.

Luke: Valentine’s Day is probably the most divisive holiday of this generation. Most people dread it, some people buy into it, and a few people die because of it. It also acts as a launchpad for a handful of big-name products like… the Sonic the Hedgehog movie?

Phil: On Valentine’s Day?

Luke: I think that’s meant to be the joke. Like, it’s so unfitting that they just pushed it out on an awkward holiday so people “boycotting” Valentine’s Day have something to go do.

Phil: ANYWAY.

Luke: Perhaps a more fitting way to spend your time and money this season is to check out Cindr, Smirk and Laughter’s first Kickstarter title.

Making a confession has never been so easy.

Phil: I haven’t had the chance to check this title out, seeing as we only meet up every few weeks, so you’re going to have to fill me in.

Luke: Cindr, a play on Tinder and Grindr, is a parody of your typical dating app, giving you the chance to live out your life-long dreams of dating a dragon. Be the first to earn enough love from your dates and you win the game!

Phil: You actually earn love points?

Luke: It’s mostly a gauge of how well the date went, but yes, that’s the gist of it.

Which character will you be?

Each player starts with a character of their choosing, each a fantasy archetype, that can be customized with a name, gender preference, and a few details about yourself. While your titles are just for aesthetics, the answers to your dating profile questions will determine what dice you end up rolling on a given date.

Phil: I love the art for all of this, especially the dragons.

Luke: Yeah, it looks great, and one of the goals Curt Covert had when making the game was to have every dragon be presented as gender-fluid, which I think Leah Furman succeeded at accomplishing.

You know what they say, there are plenty of dragons in the sky.

Phil: It’s great to have that kind of representation here, especially in a game so focused on dating.

Luke: On a player’s turn, they are going to have the opportunity to “swipe left or right” to select the dragon date they think is right for them. Swiping left pushes a dragon into a line-up of rejects that can be dated by other players on their turns. If there are ever more than 3 in this line-up, the oldest one gets discarded permanently.

Phil: What stops players from just swiping left until they find whatever dragon they want?

Luke: After the first 2 times you swipe left in a turn, each time you do it afterward costs the players 1 love point. Once you’ve found a dragon whose description speaks to you, clueing on in on their preferences, you flip it over to see how they answered their dating profile questions. The closer your matches are, the better the dice you get to roll.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…

Phil: I imagine the harder the dice, the fewer love results there are?

Luke: Yep, although the fire results on those dice tend to have sparks, which can trigger certain abilities on the dragons.

Each dragon has a different effect that can be triggered based on how the date goes, and when you go on a date, you get to check the Whelp app (a play off of Yelp) to see how your rendezvous might affect the date.

Where in the world shall we go, my love?

Phil: Get to rolling some dice already!

Luke: Players roll their dice up to 3 times. Each heart is a success, every fire a failure. Fires are set aside, and if you ever have 3, the whole date goes up in flames and you get no points for the round. You do, however, get a bonus card based on how many fires you rolled on your final attempt, allowing you to mitigate 1 future roll.

Sometimes, failure can be key to success.

After each roll, you can choose to stop and keep your hearts as points, but rolling 2nd time allows you to “get to the next step,” letting you keep the dragon you’re dating in front of you, allowing you to go on future dates with them, and rolling a 3rd time will bring the date to “the next level” and can trigger some bonus points, depending on the powers and abilities in play.

Once a player finishes rolling, they tally up their love points. Whoever makes it to 21 first wins!

Phil: Sounds like a pretty standard press-your-luck game.

Luke: Mechanically, yes, there isn’t too much new being brought to the table, but I don’t think Cindr needs to innovate the genre, far from it. Easily, the selling point here is the theme. Everything about the look and feel, the customization of your character, the ability to date various dragons or stick to dating one lovely lizard, it all feels in-line with the feeling of being on a cutsie romantic romp.

Phil: The dating questions affecting your dice pool is a nice touch.

Luke: And rather than outright telling you how compatible you are with a dragon, you have to read into their profile descriptions to get a feeling for their personality. It’s the story that you and your friends will be telling that’s exciting and interesting.

Phil: Any complaints?

Luke: Beyond the fact there isn’t all that much strategy to be found, even with the advanced variant that adds secret goals, the game can take a while to finish depending on how well players are rolling. If enough players are down on their luck, the game can drag on for a while, even with the help of the bonus cards.

Verdict: Cindr is a light dice-rolling, role-playing experience that sells itself on its looks rather than on its design. If you’re looking for a big, thought-provoking title, this one isn’t for you, but those interested in what the stories and funny moments have to offer, this might be the right game for you.

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