Regency Love

Regency Love is a dating sim I’ve been playing on my iPhone. It takes place in the Regency era — more of a Jane Austen-style “romance” sim than the high school dating sims I usually play.

Between scenes, you can throw Motivation points into activities like needlework, reading, music, and dancing; you can also solve word puzzles or answer questions about the Regency period to earn more Motivation.

It’s fun so far — a little slower and more subtle than other dating sims I’ve played, but a refreshing change of scenery with its old-fashioned, classy setting and genteel characters…

Chapter One: A Spirited Lady

My character’s name is Sophie Jennings. Her father passed away a year ago, and she’s finally coming out of her mourning period and enjoying the fresh air in town again. She meets up with old friends, including a chatterbox named Mrs. Norris and a young man named Mr. Digby, who seems to have a crush on Sophie.

img_2130Back at home, Sophie is able to study six skills: Reading, Drawing, Music, Needlework, Dancing, and Riding. In real life, would probably go with reading and music as my main staples… but I don’t want Sophie to be just like me. She’s more spirited and outdoorsy, so most of her points are going into dancing and riding, followed closely by needlework. I like to think she enjoys a life of adventure, which includes dressing up to party.

One of the people Sophie keeps encountering is a young Mr Winslow, who keeps harassing Miss Ingram. In town, he teases her about buying a new dress for a ball and calls her vain. Later, I run into them in the woods, where he pretends like he’s going to steal her honor and kill her… or something. That’s the gist of the joking, which is obviously not funny at all.

But it seems like Mr Winslow’s teasing is a middle school-style sign that he has a thing for Miss Ingram. Unfortunately for him, Miss Ingram is much more interested in Mr Brown, who is a sensible young man who could give her a sensible life and sensible kids. I guess for Mr Winslow, opposites attract.

img_2129As for Sophie, she spies a handsome stranger in the woods but doesn’t get a chance to speak with him. The men she does speak with are Mr Digby and Mr Graham. Digby is dull; he talks about the weather and he’s a terrible dancer. I’m sorry, but Sophie is a fantastic dancer and would not waste her time on somebody who stepped on her toes. Meanwhile, Mr Graham is a soldier who looks pretty dashing in his red coat, and he’s charming to boot. The question is, is he this charming with all the ladies?

At the town’s tailor shop (I think), Sophie also briefly meets a man named Mr Ashcroft. He seems quiet and gentlemanly — don’t know much about him yet. I like that he’s mysterious. Sophie would be interested to learn more, especially since she enjoys a chase.

img_2126During a dinner party, Sophie has a conversation with a man who looks a little older — maybe nearing middle age? — named Mr Curtis. Curtis says he prefers solitude to socializing, yet in the same breath comments on all the women surrounding him and how silly it is that they bother flirting… stuff like that. I don’t know exactly what his deal is, but Sophie had a surprisingly good time blowing off his advances and gaining his admiration for it.

Chapter Two: Making Acquaintances

Next, Sophie attends two back-to-back balls at the Worthingtons. They’re an older couple that was good friends with Sophie’s father, so they are helping to look after Sophie now that he’s passed. They are the ones who invited her to dinner where she met Mr Curtis… and guess who is at these balls pestering Sophie the whole time?

The trouble with Mr Curtis is that instead of asking her to dance, he wants to talk about books. It’s kind of fun for me, since I was a literature major. When he inquires about Sophie’s favorite author, she says Henry Fielding. (Tom Jones is just the best, you guys. Seriously.) But at some point, his conversation starts to bore Sophie. I mean, she’s not the type to sit around reading, as much as she enjoys a good adventure story and a laugh. She would rather be dancing at the ball, and Mr Curtis is just too uptight and judgey for that.

Sophie would much rather focus on her friendships, if the guys are going to be stuffy like that. Mary Earlwood is my favorite; when Mrs Norris comments on how low-cut her dress is at a ball, Miss Earlwood says she’s just trying to be welcoming as the host. I defend her. I find her pretty and funny — just the sort of “party” person Sophie would enjoy being friends with.

Sophie also gets to know a girl named Miss Eleanor (or “Ellie”) Ashcroft. (So that’s how Sophie met Mr Ashcroft, the quite, mysterious guy at the tailor shop.) Miss Ashcroft, who’s about 15 years old, works there and was getting in trouble over nothing from the dramatic owner of the shop. When Sophie defended her, Ellie was relieved and grateful. Since then, the two have been getting to know each other.

img_2132The weird thing is that Mr Ashcroft, the brother, has caused Ellie to lead a very sheltered life so far. He doesn’t allow her to go to town by herself, and he accompanies her on an outing to the woods with Sophie as a chaperone. Sophie is intrigued by him — opposites attract! — but she’s not afraid to stand up to him, either. She tells him to let Ellie make up her own mind more often, and that being outdoors is good for people. When Mr Ashcroft sees how happy his sister is to be outside and making a new friend, he reluctantly agrees, and his gentlemanly nature means that he thanks Sophie whenever he sees her.

After another Worthington ball or two (they’re obsessed), Mr Curtis calls on Sophie at home about three times in a row. He takes her out for walks, during which she expresses her boredom at his conversation. It’s kind of funny to see him get grumpy and stomp off — only to come back the next day for another round. Eventually, Sophie scares him off entirely (I hope).

Sophie also visits the park, where she finds the Earlwoods, Mrs Norris, and Mr Digby. They decide to have an archery contest, which is just the sort of thing Sophie would love. Sophie and Mary tease each other about who’s going to win, but the game is cut short when Mr Digby struggles with his bow and ends up hitting Sophie with it. Everyone is fine, except Digby’s pride. When Mary comments to Sophie later that Mr Digby must be such a bore, Sophie asks her to intervene next time!

One thing about Sophie is that I never want her to be rude to anyone unless they deserve it. Mr Digby is a bumbling mess, and she has no interest in him… but she’s not mean. She remains tactful, if a little cold so as not to lead him on. Hopefully he’ll take the hint.

Part Three: Narrowing Down the Field

It’s time to narrow down which of these guys Sophie is going to end up with. I wish she had more opportunities to go horseback riding and dancing. So far, she’s talked about books with Mr Curtis, and discussed watercolors with Ellie… but that’s about it.

So, here are Sophie’s potential suitors so far (as far as I can tell):

  • Mr Digby: Too dull for Sophie’s taste, though he has a major crush on her.
  • Mr Graham: A handsome, charming soldier, but he might be a cad.
  • Mr Curtis: A pretentious man Sophie has grown bored with after some initial sparring.
  • Mr Winslow: An inappropriate jokester who may have the hots for Miss Ingram.
  • Mr Ashcroft: A reserved man slowly coming around to Sophie’s ideas about giving his sister more freedom and enjoying an adventurous life.

Let’s get to know Mr Ashcroft more, shall we?

I head to town and visit his sister Ellie at the shop where she works, only to be interrupted by Mr Ashcroft himself. He insists his sister leave with him. Though he’s polite with me, it’s clear something is up.

But later I return to town to go shopping with Ellie, and guess what? Her brother has let us enjoy our time together alone, without him chaperoning! Apparently he trusts me to take care of Ellie. During the course of the day, I tell Ellie that I have no funds to afford the fine hats and dresses we’re eyeing — and that I’m telling her that in confidence. I also let her go into a dress shop by herself so she can speak to the man working there in privacy. Maybe she has a crush.

img_2140When Mr Ashcroft comes to collect his sister, she’s still inside, but he barely seems to notice as the two of us have a conversation. I tell him he’s a good brother to Ellie; he tells me I’m kind to her. We compliment each other like that, until finally he invites me to dinner that night.

When Ellie comes out of the shop, she mentions that I was patient and didn’t buy anything all day, which causes Mr Ashcroft to give me a long look — whatever that means. I’m starting to feel butterflies, guys!

At dinner, we have a pleasant meal. I guess I didn’t mention before that Ellie has a sweet tooth, and so her brother is always buying her treats like macarons and other French chocolates. Their cook, Nancy, is apparently a witch in the kitchen, so the meal must be delicious tonight.

After dinner, Ellie excuses herself early, leaving Sophie and Mr Ashcroft to chat. Mr Ashcroft confides in Sophie the reason he is so over-protective of his sister: She grew up very ill, and her life was sometimes in danger from it. But he also confesses that she has been happier lately, with a glow in her cheeks that indicates greater health. He believes he has Sophie to thank for that. She agrees she has probably helped (why wouldn’t she take credit where it’s due?), but also insists that Mr Ashcroft’s attentiveness as a brother is what gives Ellie her underlying confidence.

Their conversation is very cool. Mr Ashcroft compliments Sophie on her insightfulness. He then joins her on the ride home, which they spend in companionable silence. It sounds like a nice night. I imagine Sophie enjoys the challenge of figuring people out, so she’s feeling exceptional tonight. And the fact that she has succeeded in challenging Mr Ashcroft’s over-protectiveness is the dessert.

Anyway, Sophie also receives an invitation to a ball from Tom Winslow, which he’s organizing himself for the first time ever. When Sophie arrives, I was half-expecting Tom to hit on her, but instead he inquires after Phoebe Ingram, the girl he’s been tormenting. And then, right in front of the whole room full of people, he proposes to Miss Ingram!

img_2142That’s when I remember this brief conversation Sophie had with Tom earlier in the game, when she told him that to win Phoebe over, he needed to stop bugging her and instead make a grand gesture. Maybe this is that grand gesture.

Unfortunately, Miss Ingram gets flustered and refuses Tom’s proposal. So that’s awkward. They both rush out. Mary tells me she’s going to go check on Tom, and that Sophie should check on Miss Ingram.

img_2143When Sophie catches up with Miss Ingram, she encourages her to follow her instincts and marry Mr Brown rather than Tom Winslow. I really think Miss Ingram is more interested in a practical life than one of bickering and passion, which is what Tom’s offering.

Sophie also runs into Mr Winslow in the woods and tells him it’s too late for him. He looks pretty distressed. I feel bad, because he’s obviously sincere — just very childish and maybe not the perfect match for Miss Ingram. It sounds like he’s out of the running, anyway.

Later, Sophie runs into Mr Curtis at the tailor shop. He is “curt” with her (hehe), which is kind of a relief. Hopefully Sophie has persuaded him to stop pursuing her forever.

Part Four: Getting to Know the Ashcrofts

There is gossip around town about Lampton Hall being purchased and turned into a school. The big deal is that it’s going to be for all children, regardless of their parentage. That’s pretty cool — though some people are scandalized by the idea. Apparently the person putting it together is remaining anonymous. Mary says it’s because the whole thing is so scandalous, but maybe it’s really because the man behind it is trying to be humble. Sophie is intrigued, which Mary laughs about!

In other news, Sophie receives a delivery at her home from Miss Eleanor Ashcroft. It’s a blue riding cape, which is absolutely gorgeous. Considering how much Sophie loves horseback riding, it’s the perfect gift. Ellie sends a letter with it, saying she noticed Sophie admiring the cape in the window and bought it for her as thanks for her friendship. However, as Sophie re-reads the letter, she realizes that Ellie was inside the shop when she admired the cloak — meaning she couldn’t have known Sophie wanted it. The person who spied her admiring it was Mr Ashcroft…

img_2144She meets with Ellie to thank her. Later, when she goes to have dinner at the Ashcroft estate, Ellie cancels on her at the last minute. It turns out they have an unexpected guest: their half-brother, Richard, who was born a bastard. Sophie goes to dinner another time and meets him.

img_2145Richard is really sweet with Ellie. They tease each other; he ruffles her hair, and she keeps smiling at him. However, Richard and his half-brother Mr Ashcroft are very formal with each other.

When Sophie heads outside with Mr Ashcroft later, he explains that Richard treats him that way because of their awkward situation. Richard is the “bastard” child, and even though they are all family and love each other, there is perhaps a resentment there because Richard is not legitimate the way his brother is.

Sophie takes the opportunity to thank Mr Ashcroft for the riding cloak. Though he stubbornly denies buying it for her, Sophie flirts with, “I love it, but I haven’t had a chance to wear it yet.” That totally gets her a riding date with Mr Ashcroft.

In other news, Mr Curtis just won’t leave Sophie alone. She’s cold to him, and he always seems to storm off… but then he just comes back for more. At some point, some old enemy of his comes to town — a Mr Everett — who is married but befriends Sophie. Doing so will offend Mr Curtis, and the whole town seems worried about ruining their “relationship.” Since when did Sophie want a relationship with Mr Curtis?! She happily befriends Mr Everett just to get rid of the guy, which seems to work.

Part Five: Schools and Scandals

img_2149Next, Sophie meets up with Mary to explore the new school that’s all the rage in town. Nobody knows who’s funding it, but Mary seems infatuated with the instructor there, Mr Simmons. Sophie teases her about it.

While walking in the woods later, Sophie runs into some of the students from the school. They’re trying to lure the hermit in the woods. I heard something about the hermit before, but I never paid much attention to him. I help the kids and encourage them to go exploring, which is probably super dangerous… but hey, it’s the Regency period and a game. Let the kids go crazy.

Getting back to the Ashcrofts, the town gossip Mrs Norris is scandalized that Sophie is hanging out with the Ashcrofts, now that word is out about Richard the bastard half-brother being in town. Sophie’s mother is equally worried about Sophie’s association with the family. Not that Sophie cares, of course — she’s crazy about that family.

When the Worthingtons learn about how fond Sophie is of the Ashcrofts, they throw a ball and are excited to receive an introduction. (Ellie is too young to attend the ball, since she hasn’t officially debuted yet.) While there, Richard meets an officer…

img_2196This causes a big drama with the Ashcrofts when Richard decides to join the army. It’s wartime, so it’s dangerous — and being over-protective as usual, Mr Ashcroft doesn’t approve.

Sophie puts things right by tracking down Richard. It takes some time to figure everything out, and she employs the help of Mr Worthington in the process. She then encourages and supports Richard in discussing things with this elder brother, as an adult, in an adult way. This inspires Mr Ashcroft to respect his brother’s decision to join the army… and to see Sophie in a new light, too.

img_2190Sophie goes riding with the family and ends up scoring some alone time with Mr Ashcroft. I finally figure out his first name is Marcus. That’s a good name.

The ride seems really enjoyable; Sophie spurs her horse along at a nice pace, and Mr Ashcroft actually outruns her. At one point, he helps her onto her horse (or off the horse, I forget), and apparently the muscles in his shoulder tremble under the touch of her hand… something like that. It’s like romance novel writing, guys! They get to a beautiful point in the ride and admire the view… but Marcus suddenly runs cold and turns them back to the house, with no explanation.

When Sophie inquires about it later, Ellie explains that her brother was probably very comfortable in Sophie’s company, which only led him to think about the past. But she doesn’t want to spill her brother’s secrets — it’s not her place. Sophie gets it. She doesn’t pry beyond that, though obviously I’m dying to know what’s going on.

Mr Ashcroft apologizes later and explains everything himself. Apparently he had a period of a couple of months when he ran away from the family and got into some sort of trouble. Though details aren’t specified, I’m picturing him gambling and sleeping around or something. Sophie’s not the judgey type, though. If anything, she would be kind of jealous that he garnered some cool stories and went a little wild for awhile — it’s kinda sexy, considering how high-strung he seems nowadays.

But that’s exactly what he’s like that. He worries about his siblings. And being comfortable with Sophie, he lets his guard down and is reminded of those days. Interesting…

Part Six: A Happy Engagement

Ellie decides to debut. Sophie encourages her to do it here at home, and surprisingly Marcus is totally cool with it. He’s really loosening up these days. Sophie helps Ellie shop for a dress. It’s fun to see how self-assured Ellie is these days, largely thanks to Sophie’s friendship and constant support.

img_2194Next thing you know, Mr Ashcroft is taking Sophie out for horseback rides and walks in the woods again. And then, he proposes. He says he has a high regard for Sophie and loves how much she cares about his family. It’s pretty cool. Sophie confesses she has loved him for awhile and didn’t know if she would be so lucky as to gain his love in return.

img_2203And remember that mysterious guy in the woods she ran into? That was him!

At the ball, Ellie looks beautiful and seems so happy — not only to be debuting, but also that her brother is now engaged to Sophie! It’s like Mr Ashcroft and Sophie are coming out as a couple for the first time, too.

— Ashley