DAILY COMBO: The Pursuit of Happiness + The Bride Game

A glutton for punishment, I allow BGG to randomly pick two games for me to combine and I am duly punished. What nasty ideas are out there in game designers’ heads? Read on to see…

Today’s two randomly generated games: The Pursuit of Happiness + The Bride Game

The Pursuit of Happiness (2015): Imagine Sid Meier redesigned The Game of Life but added in horrible stereotypes of what “ought” to bring you happiness.
The Bride Game (1971): Imagine Don Draper redesigned Pretty Pretty Princess and added in horrible stereotypes of “what women want.”

Initial thoughts: Hey, I don’t write the rules, I just occasionally let BoardGameGeek pick two random games to combine. And then I write the rules for it, so I guess I lied. Can you believe this combo? Can you imagine Selchow & Righter releasing “The Bride Game” today? I don’t even know where to start on how wrong it is by today’s standards. Rest assured, today’s combo will be making fun of how horrible this Bride game concept is, even for 1971! Okay, here we go…
The form of Pursuit is basically worker placement with points being accumulated during the course of each player’s “life.” The spirit of the game is collecting Happiness. Period. By contrast, the form of Bride Game is collecting items for a “successful” wedding day. The spirit of the game consists of the following (horrible) ideas: Being the first to get married in your group of girlfriends; finding a white, middle class man who will marry you; and using luck and luck alone to do this. Oddly, both games involve accumulating items, money and fame in order to be “happy.” Hmmm. Maybe these were meant to be combined…

Game Combo: Do I need to combine these? Okay, concept number one would be using the form of Happiness (worker placement, collection of money, things and life partners) and the spirit of Bride (being your best white, cis-female). I could easily see this as simply playing Pursuit of Happiness with an agreement that all of you are role playing simplistic, cliched 1971 stereotypes of women as seen in the eyes of the worst parts of the 1950s. Why 50s and not 70s or at least 60s? Because the designers of this game were no doubt raised in the 1950s and are not even representing the best of what the 60s had to offer let alone the 70s. Concept two would be the form of Bride (collecting dumb items) with the spirit of Happiness (collecting happiness!). I can already see where this is heading…
Let’s play The Pursuit of Happiness as straight white 1950s-inspired women who find themselves being marketed to in 1971. The board for Pursuit is simple enough for us to map Bride onto it. All Projects should be twisted by the players into the Bride version of it. All Activities can be re-cast into terrible 1970s analogs. Jobs should be the most degrading, low paying, sexist versions possible. And Partners are exactly what they look like on the Bride Game standees. In fact, just place those skinny white dudes onto the Partner spaces on the board right now.

The other elements of the game, short term happiness, studying, interacting and playing, should all be overplayed to the hilt. Imagine the cast of The Brady Bunch being their worst selves. Heck, just imagine the Brady girls marrying the Brady Boys on some Appalachian compound with Alice officiating. The rest of the items from Bride can be incorporated as needed, including the cake, bouquet and the ring.
Needless to say, the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” items in Bride can and should be added as items that need to be purchased in the Happiness system. Finally, the victory condition of having the Most Happiness is not necessarily the end of the game.
Instead, the player with the most Happiness points gets to be the bride and have a wedding, but the other players all get to be at the ceremony. This is where the others get to take one last stab at making the wedding a failure. Take the action/project cards from Happiness and deal them out to the wedding attendees. Use the final mechanics of the “Wedding March” from the Bride game and allow the others to play those actions, taking turns, each time the bride takes another step down the center aisle to the altar. The bride can then use anything in her possession to fight back. If she spends all the cards, she loses. If she has any left, she gets to go off and have a horrible life with Mr. Paper Standee.

Final thoughts: It may seem like The Bride Game got the short end of the stick here. Rest assured that The Pursuit of Happiness is an abysmal game too. It’s basic tenet is that the more short term happiness you give yourself, the easier it is to buy long term happiness. IT’s one of the basic mechanics of the game. IT’s sort of like saying “You’re in the dumps? Well, pull yourself out of them! Smile a little more!” Not to mention the unforgivable concept that “well” people are entitled to an easier time of getting even more goods and services while everyone else gets marginalized.
Okay, I need a shower. Hopefully the next random combo is Battleship + a kiddie pool.