New Heart's Choice Game! "A Foreign Affair" by Anne Leonard

Well, hello everyone, this is my first post, to introduce my game in progress and myself.

A Foreign Affair is a Heart’s Choice romance about diplomatic negotiations in alternate 1885 Paris. The PC’s delegation has come to France to resolve yet another Continental war, with treaty issues on the table including travel, trade, and international law. It’s her first mission and she wants to make a good impression.

But it’s not long before she falls for someone! She can play straight, gay, or bi, and can choose her level of sexual experience: shy virgin, eager virgin, experienced lover. Her potential lovers include a sophisticated and powerful French noble, a fun-loving French army captain, the French royal heir, and a Russian diplomat. The romance leans toward the slow burn but there are chances for something faster and steamier too.

There’s also potential mystery and intrigue. And lots of France: the Paris Opera House, Notre Dame, Versailles, the Catacombs, and other locations in Paris.

I have 5 chapters out of 8 ready to playtest. The main sort of feedback I’m looking for right now is content-related (more choices? too many choices? lost momentum? not enough __?), but of course there are bugs and weird narrative transitions that need to be caught too. And the stats are not entirely consistent or reliable yet. I’m planning to get a finished draft out in the next few months.

A little bit about myself: my novel Moth and Spark was published in 2014 by Viking; it’s a traditional sort of fantasy with romance, dragons, a handsome prince, and a smart heroine. I’ve also published some short fiction, which you can find at various places online or in anthologies. There’s more info on my website, I am a lawyer with training and experience in negotiation and conflict resolution, which is part of what inspired the diplomatic mission in this game. I’m also kind of a history geek.

I’m going to be working pretty steadily on this, so any and all feedback will be taken into account promptly. I’d like to get the whole thing drafted before making major revisions, but I will keep a running list.

Thanks for reading this far, and I hope you enjoy trying out A Foreign Affair.

ETA 7/27/23: Based on feedback below which resonated with what I was feeling myself, I’m going to set the PC up with some sort of an undercover mission to give her more tense personal stakes. But it might be a while before the changes get uploaded.


Hi and welcome to the forum! This sounds really interesting and full of atmosphere, and I look forward to trying it out. Best of luck with the project and congratulations on getting past that tricksy halfway point - that’s a great milestone to have reached!


This sounds absolutely delightful! I love the idea of optional experience levels that make a difference to the story, and I know I’m going to love exploring the setting. Welcome to the forum!


I love hearts choice games. Cant wait .sounds so interesting !

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Welcome to the community!

Thank you for sharing your writing, and I must say, the breadth of offered character customization is exciting to see.

I look forward to sampling your demo when I can.


So far, I’m getting tripped up in the second chapter with the travel variable being non-existent.

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Let’s all welcome Anne to the forum! I’m thrilled to be editing A Foreign Affair, and while I’ve put it under our COG WIP section (just so it’s in company with other contracted WIPs) it is a Heart’s Choice game! I hope folks will give it a try and help us ferret out any bugs/offer thoughts on the plot!


Right off the bat, in the above choice, I would have liked to have the opportunity to reconsider my “fashion choice” once I select an option.

Also, I like that there are multiple choices if you select the third option. I wish there were multiple choices for the first two options as well.

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Gah, I fixed it and forgot to upload the new version. Sorry for the delay in seeing this. Please try again.

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Thank you for posting your website! I checked it out, and your book sounds like a lot of fun. I ordered one of the autographed copies. :slight_smile:


A lot of subjective stuff:

  • Any reason why we can only ask for water and not coffee despite being offered one as an option? I think it would make the game more immersive for players who aren’t into alcohol but would never touch a glass of water.

  • Would definitely appreciate a less crammed stats page. But I suspect that’ll happen later in the development process.

  • I read the #$!{m_heshe} is good looking, but I expect I will have to enjoy ${m_himher} from afar as a “we gotta be realistic here” choice and that’s why I chose it for my pragmatic MC. Too bad that it results in an attraction minus because, while my MC is certainly attracted, she just doesn’t think that the chances are high anything will come off it.

  • I get the feeling that any reluctance in acknowledging attraction gets punished. I’m just not a person to think “yum” to myself or to rate anyone on a hotness scale, even when I’m attracted to them. Usually, because people I’m attracted to aren’t conventionally pretty or handsome in the first place – and that’s what I love about them. However, maybe this is what you mean by “slow-burn”? As long as my MC isn’t at a disadvantage with lower attraction points down the line, it’s okay for me.

  • I’d find the opportunity interesting to express attraction to something obvious beyond just looks (status, wealth, intelligence). Even if the game never gives us the opportunity to be outright opportunistic, it could still be fun to headcanon your character that way. But only if that fits within your vision of the story, of course.

  • The I love a woman in uniform is the first attraction choice I vibe with because it feels very queer on a f/f path. That said, the constant focus on looks as a reason for approaching somebody remains something I cannot easily connect with. I’d rather approach this person because they are laughing and seem like fun than the fact that they are easy on the eyes.
    For example, the direct follow-up to the “I love uniforms” choice: She is very attractive. You catch yourself wondering if she looks as good out of uniform. For this statement to really work for me, I’d need to know what exactly makes this character attractive in their uniform. Since the uniform is the instant appeal, it would make sense to me to follow that thought up with something meatier before taking the whole thing off. And if it’s just another reference to their broad shoulders, and how well they are accentuated by the uniform. MC says that the uniform looks sharp on the character. In which way(s)?

  • It would be helpful to get a hint that more offers might be coming when MC decides to accept or decline de Villiers’ invitation. Didn’t think about that and accepted like a fool. Now, I have to take the captain’s offer as well (obviously) and look extremely messy.

Edit: Some chapter 2 thoughts:

  • I like that the style choice at the beginning influences later outfits. At the same time, I wish there was an option to change things up if MC wishes to do so: “I generally prefer [xy] style but tonight, I’d like to…” Could be a great feature for MCs who are not consistent with regard to their gender presentation.

  • The way attraction is approached in the first chapter doesn’t make a lot of sense to me with an inexperienced, shy MC. Why introduce the “inexperienced, shy/curious” difference when both characters can still immediately jump to thinking about sex when they meet their potential RO? Especially if MC’s ideas about romance are largely influenced by books. I feel it would be more effective to give us this choice in the first chapter, then let it change the way MC approaches the different ROs. Or, maybe, scrap the shy choice entirely? I just don’t get the sense that MC has a lot of opportunities to act shy when she must actively choose to meet the ROs.

  • I’d appreciate stat explanations (the relationship/attraction split, for example) and a character glossary.


Hi all,

Some great comments so far, much appreciated. Right now I’m pushing to get a whole draft out so there aren’t likely to be any significant obvious changes if you play through now (except for bugs), but I will definitely address the ones that make sense when I get back to revision. Goal is draft by October, ideally earlier.

The stats are very much a work in progress and are going to need a lot of adjusting and streamlining and substituting after the whole game is mapped out. Some are ambiguous even to me, some are redundant, and some are unnecessary.

I’m going to do a separate post on choices.


One of the complications I’m having with choices is that this is a very conversational /behavioral game. No one is choosing weapons or deciding where to turn in the dungeon or risking drinking from the poisoned glass. So a lot of the choices are response-based without immediate effect. The results show up further down the road when someone turns their back to you in public or something like that. Or they result in an omission that you won’t find out about until you play a different sort of character. I would love suggestions for more instant effect sort of choices, even ones that don’t influence game results/stats but are fun to consider.

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One more quick thought before I go offline and back to writing. (I will make a habit of checking this forum every morning [Pacific time] but probably not more than once a day, because it’s very tempting to talk about what to do instead of actually doing it. So response are unlikely to be immediate.)

The difference between attraction and relationship: attraction is how much you want to be with someone romantically. Relationship is how well you get along. A lot of times they are in sync, but you could be very attracted to someone who hates your guts, or be good friends and confidants with someone you would never sleep with.


I was instantly drawn in by the premise - I played 7kpp’s demo and it has a similar concept with delegates and nations with tense relations.

My commentary is based on my personal preferences as a player - I might have missed content based on choices my MC made/skimmed through it.

What I enjoyed most is how the issues are with English - French relations. Not much of a history buff so it was interesting to learn more about the Channel Islands, Travel restrictions etc.

What I would have loved is the reasoning for having only 3 colours for my dresscode - as a female delegate my MC was given teal blue, burgundy and cream choices - and later on it was noted that the count was wearing dark red. Was it intentional to allow MC to be a matching pair with whoever she decides to go to the ball with? Would MCs with higher insight have more perception on how others would see them with these colours? Do they signify national colours? Could a more ambitious MC be able to extract info from the servants on who will be wearing what colour and decide if they want to match it if there are reasons behind those colours?

And for the romances, I’m not sure if it’s a bug but they seem very repetitive with different people - I can make exactly the same choices between the count and the captain and they will behave almost the same. An example of this would be having a day off and we visited a cathedral - both the count and the captain mentioned the same text passage about feeling awed and it was strange for me because I expected them to have different feelings or ways of wording it due to how their lives are so different. Or when they were at the park - it was the same scene of kissing/inviting a kiss - their reactions and actions were the same. It feels like I’m romancing the same person but a variation of them in a different station in life.


Similar, I’d kind of like the option to be shy but have some experience. I don’t know why the shy=inexperienced thing gets so hard coded in romance. Some people are just not comfortable being outre no matter the situation or how fraught others may prefer to play it.

I liked the game a lot more than these bullet points make it seem like, so keep in mind that I actually think this is a fantastic beginning and has a lot of potential- overall, the romance is very sweet
-I feel like the game’s lore needs a bit of explanation. Not everything has to be a massive exposition dump right at the beginning, but I feel like some subtle explanations of the world state of affairs would be nice: why does France still have a monarch? Why are homosexual relationships okay in this version of the 1870s? What specifically happened in the war? Why does France have such a strong negotiating position despite apparently losing?
-As others have said, I think that the romance paths and events that take place with each potential RO need greater differentiation
-Belikov/a feels like they’re out of place as an RO. They’re the only non-French one, you meet them much later in the game than the other characters, and their initial description isn’t incredibly seductive. As such, it’s really easy to get sucked into another RO’s path without hardly thinking of them
-The negotiating also just feels… off. Because you ride in the backseat, you don’t really have the feeling of agency like you’re doing much, and there are a lot of issues that (tying back to the lore issue) that force you to take a strong stand on something you know almost nothing about


I’d just disagree with one piece of feedback: no author needs to have a “reason” in writing a piece of historical fiction why social mores around homosexuality are acceptable in a second world setting where they might not have been in a real world setting.


Some errors…

The count is wearing a gown?

Gives the option to react to Eugene, but it doesn’t make sense here as he was just introduced in my previous screen shot after my first dance with the count. This is after the second dance with the captain.

Also, after introducing myself to Eugene in the garden i all encounter this saying i haven’t.

Yeah, you’re probably right; I just feel like this version of history hews closely enough to the IRL timeline that seeing gay relationships accepted is a welcome change, but something that feels odd given the otherwise similar to our history context.