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Visual Novel / Rules of Engagement

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Will you and your siblings be able to complete the tasks and get your inheritance or will your cousin ruin all your chances?

Rules of Engagement is part of a series of visual novels by Pixelberry, the creators of High School Story and Hollywood U as part of their game, Choices: Stories You Play.

In this story, Katie and her siblings (plus their cousin) are on a cruise ship for the summer, each of them having the chance to earn $100 million each from their deceased grandmother so long as they stick to the challenges provided for them.

Among these challenges, Jess has to keep a job as part of the staff, Nicole must become more adventurous by completing a bucket list of items, and their brother Alex must take his assistant Elena out on dates.

Katie however seems to have drawn the short stick. She has to get married at the end of the cruise, but she just dumped her boyfriend for cheating on her. Luckily, the will states she just has to marry someone, not him. Now all she has to do is find a new fiance before the end of the summer.

...Easy, right?

Not to be confused with the Sitcom Rules of Engagement.

Tropes for this story.

  • A Day in the Limelight: While the story shifts between the various siblings, some chapters are more about a specific sibling. For example, Book 2 Chapter 3 was all about Nicole's first day on the job at Mansingh International.
  • Abdicate the Throne: Book 2 Chapter 19 has Leo reveal to Katie that he's given up his claim as the next king in line to Cordonia.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Aunt Mallory is this to her daughter Violet in the verbal and emotional department.
    • Blaire Hall is a more downplayed version. She isn't outright cruel to her daughter Grace, but she behaves rather coldly toward her, clearly valuing her work a lot more than her daughter. (This is further expounded upon in Endless Summer.)
  • Alpha Bitch: Violet is this throughout Book 1, though Book 2 shows Aunt Mallory as a bigger one.
  • Anachronism Stew: Played for laughs if, during the 1920s dance contest in Book 2 Chapter 4, you decide to have Katie dab.
  • Betty and Veronica: William and Leo are this to Katie (with Dean technically entering as Cheryl); Blake and Carter for Jess.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Alex has this for all his sisters but it fits especially for Katie due to what happened with Trent.
  • Birds of a Feather: Jess’s relationship with Carter in contrast to her Uptight Loves Wild relationships with Blake and Mira.
  • Blaming the Cuckold: At the start of the story, Katie discovers her fiance Trent is cheating on her. Later, when she gets the chance to become a multimillionaire and he attempts to get back into her good graces, he claims that her behavior drove him to infidelity and she "practically pushed him into Sabrina's arms". Interestingly, players who buy the premium option to view the flashback of Katie and Trent's romance tend to agree, feeling that Katie put little effort into the relationship.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Claire Pierce is this in spades.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When Elena asks Alex if the inheritance is for the firm, he insists it isn't.
    Alex: No, it's for yachts. And horses. And yachts for my horses.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Katie learns from Leo that the Santorini police are honest cops, and that you'd get in so much trouble bribing the wrong one.
  • The Cameo: Many of the guests on the ship are characters from other Choices stories.
    • Edgar, Madison, and Tripp from The Freshman are fellow passengers on the cruise ship.
    • Rose and Trystan Blake from The Crown & the Flame appear a star actors rehearsing a play in Book 2 Chapter 4.
    • Book 2 Chapter 7 has Blaire talking to her daughter Grace just as she's getting on the plane to her vacation.
    • Book 2 Chapter 10 has another appearance from Grace, this time from when she was younger, and only if you pay diamonds to speak to Blaire. Also in Chapter 10 in the Cordonian Palace dining room is a portrait of Queen Kenna.
    • Book 2 Chapter 11 has Cassandra and Ana from Most Wanted sitting at the blackjack table at the casino in Cordonia. At the roulette table is Ryan and Alyssa.
    • Book 2 Chapter 14 allows you to pay diamonds to see Katie and Trent's early days as a couple. One of them has Katie being hit on by Cyrus from #LoveHacks.
    • Book 2 Chapter 17 has Nicole going to the precinct where Mirasol, Nikhil and Reza work to seek help finding Audrey.
  • Character Shilling: Nicole spends all of Book 1 and a good part of Book 2 talking up how fantastic Blaire Hall is as a businesswoman. However, upon meeting her, it's clear she definitely more pretentious than knowledgeable.
  • Comically Missing the Point: One chapter has Nicole (or whatever you choose to name her), beginning to take off her sweater to give Audrey a piece of underwire from her bra to pick a lock, when Audrey just laughs and says that she was kidding about needing it to pick the lock.
  • Cute Kitten: Book 2 Chapter 9 allows Alex and Elena to take care of a kitten as part of the cutest couples contest after paying diamonds.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Violet will eventually soften toward you if you keep choosing to be nice to her.
  • Destructo-Nookie: In Book 2 Chapter 21, if you select Leo as your mate, you have the premium option of celebrating your engagement in a private penthouse. It gets rather destroyed by their "celebration."
  • The Dragon: Turns out that the idea of sabotaging the other siblings was not originally Violet's. She is only following orders from her mother.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Blaire Hall can be quite... odd at times.
  • Evil Aunt/Archnemesis Mom: Aunt Mallory is this to Katie and her siblings. She is making sure her nephew and nieces don't get their share of the inheritance, by making Violet trip them or breaking their drives herself. Later, it is revealed that she wants Violet's share as well, so that she can have all the inheritance for herself.
  • Exact Words: This is pointed by Jess to Katie after dumping Trent. The will states she had to get married, but it doesn't specify who.
  • Fair-Weather Ex: Katie dumps her fiance Trent after it's revealed he is cheating. However, when Katie gets a chance to inherit part of her grandmother's enormous wealth and become a multimillionaire, Trent immediately goes back to her and tries to alternately coax and trick her into marrying him.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: Alex has to convince Violet and the family lawyer Dinesh that he and his assistant Elena are romantically involved.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Jess and Nicole, respectively. To be honest, all three of Jess's siblings could be considered the responsible one, but Nicole is Jess's twin and provides the most extreme contrast.
  • Gay Option: Audrey can be this to Nicole. Mira can be this to Jess.
  • The Ghost: Liam is mentioned and never appears in the books after Leo reveals he is a prince, but he only makes his first appearance in The Royal Romance.
  • Good Bad Girl: Jess. She is a Hard-Drinking Party Girl who has very casual relationships and one-night stands, but also a caring and loyal sister.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Katie, Jess, Nicole, Alex, Trent, Violet, William, Leo, Dean and Aunt Mallory can keep their default names or get new ones.
  • How We Got Here: Book 2 Chapter 14 has a premium choice for Kate and Trent to explore their relationship from the first time they met, meeting the family and when he proposed to Katie.
  • I Can't Dance: William (aka Business Guy) says something along the lines of this during your date together in Venice.
  • King Incognito: Leo reveals he's the Prince of Cordonia if you romance him in Book 1
  • Love Dodecahedron: We have each of the siblings in some relationship:
    • Katie has three suitors, and the player has premium options to hook up with each of them until she has to choose one suitor near the end of Book 1 (which quickly gets ignored by the Cliffhanger), and also Trent is still pursuing her (for her money).
    • Jess is in a relationship with both Carter and Blake. Alternatively, she can also date Mira.
    • Nicole can have romantic interactions with both Audrey and Paolo.
    • Alex so far has only Elena as the main love interest.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Audrey is this in Nicole's story.
  • Military Brat: Book 2 Chapter 4 has Dean reveal he is one, and he later joined the Navy SEALs.
  • Mysterious Past: Leo has one of these which both confuses and intrigues Katie. It's because he's the Prince of a small nation.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Early in Book 3, Violet is revealed to be secretly pregnant with only her mother knowing, she reveals her pregnancy in the last few chapters.
  • Nemesis as Customer: Jess already has a very stressful job at a restaurant and gets to serve several unpleasant, picky customers, but the culmination is when she has to organize a party for Spoiled Brat Claire Pierce, who is way nastier than the previous troublesome customers and, unlike them, deliberately tries to get Jess sacked.
  • Noodle Incident: Book 2 Chapter 3 has Blaire Hall go somewhat into detail about why Mansingh's latest HQ is in London instead of Moscow as originally planned. Just that it involves a criminal syndicate and a particle accelerator.
  • #1 Dime: If Katie chooses William to be her husband, his wedding gift for her will be the first dollar he ever made, which he kept as a reminder of how little he started from.
  • Parental Favoritism: It's always said, but not shown, that Nana always favored and spoiled Katie and her siblings over Violet.
    • In book 3 it’s slowly revealed This is not true at all, in fact Violet used to be extremely close to the siblings, until her mother got in the way. Mallory was the one who truly felt her mother favored her sister over her. It was after the siblings’ parents died and Nana fought to gain custody of them over Mallory despite not being in the best of health even then, that convinced her her mother didn’t trust her. Nana had no choice but to accept when Mallory separated Violet from the siblings. Violet’s inheritance task is revealed to be she has to get the siblings to agree that she can have her inheritance, this to prove to her she is loved.
    • In the final chapter of Newlyweds, Mallory reveals why she felt her sister was favored, She was dating a man who her parents hated, she felt this was unfair because they always loved whoever her sister dated. In a fit of anger she destroyed a dollhouse she and Nana built together. It turned out her parents were right, her boyfriend was emotionally abusive and didn’t want a kid when she was revealed to be pregnant with Violet. In the end it turns out Nana had left her the lake house and a small fortune of her own and had rebuilt the dollhouse.
  • Pitbull Dates Puppy: One wouldn’t exactly picture someone like Chaz with someone like Violet but somehow it works.
  • Pregnancy Scare: Book 2 Chapter 14 has one of these for Jess when she realizes not only her strange taste in food (chocolate covered pickles; olives and orange slices), but she's had morning sickness and her period is late. Book 2 Chapter 19 reveals that she's NOT pregnant. The stress of working in the restaurant is what made her feel like she was pregnant according to Nicole.
  • Relationship Upgrade: In Book 2 Alex and Elena end up making their relationship real and celebrating it.
  • The Rival: Violet (though you can change her name). At every turn she is attempting to undermine you and the rest of your siblings so she can have the inheritance all to herself.
  • The Roaring '20s: Book 2 Chapter 4 has Katie and Dean in town looking for a 1920s speakeasy party, as well as participating in a dance contest. You can also pay diamonds to have Katie dress up in a period worthy dress as well.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Katie has romantic moments with her three love options (William the businessman, Leo the mysterious Prince and Dean the Bartender).
    • Jess has romantic moments with three of the Nomade staff (Blake the manager, Carter the waiter, and Mira the chef).
    • It's strongly hinted that Elena does want things with Alex to advance, since she looks disappointed whenever Alex keeps bringing up that they're still pretending.
    • The interactions between Nicole and Audrey can either be friendly or with romantic undertones. The player can even choose to kiss her.
    • Violet has feelings for Chaz. A premium option allows Katie to set them up together during the wedding party.
  • The Smart Girl: Nicole.
  • The Stoic: Alex isn’t usually open with his feelings and what’s going on much to Elena and his siblings’ frustration.
  • Strip Poker: In book 2 Chapter 1, you can pay diamonds to play this with Leo.
  • Supreme Chef: Mira Banerji
  • Twin Switch: It's implied that Jess and Nicole have done this for each other quite a bit in the past. Also, during Claire Pierce's Sweet 16, you can pay diamonds to have Nicole help Jess out with the party. Later, Jess subs for Nicole during a video chat job interview.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: You switch between the four siblings throughout the game, and toward the end of the story, you get a few chances to play as Violet. There are also premium options allowing you to briefly play as Blaire, Trent, and Audrey.
  • Unfortunate Names: Book 2 Chapter 3 has Nicole and Paolo go out into London to sell some 24-hour sunblock. Turns out the reason it wasn't doing so good is that it's called Le Prosy.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Essentially Nicole’s relationship with Audrey.
    • Jess with both Blake and Mira fits too.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Starting with Book 2, Katie can be dressed in different hairstyles and clothes like another Choices story, #LoveHacks.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: Book 2 Chapter 7 has Blaire Hall task Nicole and Paolo with making one of these with three ideas: a medieval battleground, a swamp or an office. She chews out Nicole and/or Paolo for using the medieval battle, calling it a glorification of war.
  • Wham Episode/Sequel Hook:
    • Book 1 Chapter 19 has quite a lot of it. Jess wakes up in bed with her boss and only a premium choice allows her to recall what happened. Nicole leaves the ship to pursue her career. Regardless of who Katie chose between William, Leo or even Dean, Trent drops a bomb that the paperwork that you signed that was in a marriage license, meaning she's now married to a lying, cheating scumbag!
    • Book 2 Chapter 21 is no slouch either. Katie gets engaged to one of her suitors, but before you can truly enjoy it Aunt Mallory comes and announces that she looked carefully at the will and the Exact Words refers to Elena as Alex’s girlfriend of two years, of which there is no evidence of on social media, meaning unless they find evidence they have been dating for two years he’s out of his inheritance. Meanwhile Mallory had Violet interrogate Mira and later Tina the waitress, who mentioned seeing Jess and Blake together after hours. While there’s no evidence, even a hint of something untoward means one of them has to go, so Jess quits and has to find a new job or she’s out of her inheritance. As if having two of the siblings having their inheritance in doubt, Dinesh reveals they and their cousins have a second set of tasks set out by their Nana to complete to earn their inheritance!
  • You, Get Me Coffee: In book 2 Chapter 3, Paolo has Nicole get him coffee. Regardless how you answer, it turns out he's just as much of an intern as she is.