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Author Topic: [Pumpkin Bomb] Help me, Joe  (Read 1147 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: December 22, 2010, 11:06:45 AM »

I planned to play some Pumpkin Bomb at the last gaming-group meetup, but found myself confounded by some points in the rules. Here are my questions!

Minor clarifications
Is the Heroics minimum starting value 1 or 2? The text on page 3 states both at different points.

Do I understand correctly that Heroes and Villains are not automatically paired-off from the start? Is the mortal-foe, you-and-me paired relationship between a Hero and a Villain only fully cemented when a Villain player chooses a Connection to victimize, right before the ending scenes? If I have that right, is there some way to deal with the possibility that perfect pairs may not form organically through play, e.g., every Hero player wants Villain X for his or her mortal foe?

Medium-level confusion
A number of the equations strike me as weird. Rather than go into this with picky details, I merely want confirmation that there are no typos or cut-and-paste artifacts across the scene types, regarding what exactly gets summed with what, and opposed by what. For instance, in the Threaten Innocent scene type, the Villain's side is represented by Disorder & Size Pool (Villain), which is very confusing. "Size Pool" is the City score, right, the sum of Justice and Disorder? Is this a typo that should simply read Pool (Villain) as in the Corrupt and Villainy scene types? And I'm suspicious about the "SIze Pool" factor in a number of the equations, so I'd like to know if these are intentional (and hence I should embrace them for purposes of play) or artifacts (needing correction so I can play).

Is it necessary to have a Confront Hero option for the villain? I kind of like the idea that the villain doesn't actively do this until the end, restricting his or her vs.-Hero activities to Stalk and Threaten; the only way for them to fight prior to that is for the hero to be proactive. Especially since the two kinds of scene are mechanically identical.

Major conundrum
I really don't understand the relationship among Gimmick use, scenes, conflicts, virtues/vices, and refreshment. The best I can guess is that there are two levels involved.

i) Scene-level. Here, you use Gimmicks in conflicts, and when you do that, that's it, finished, no more of that Gimmick for that whole scene - in fact, for any scene from now on, until you do a Scheme or Connect with Innocent scene (Development for Villain/Hero respectively). Very straightforward and unforgiving.

ii) Momentary level. Here, "any time" according to the text, you refresh a Gimmick by role-playing a Vice or Virtue (Villain/Hero respectively). That means you can in fact use a Gimmick more than once in a conflict-oriented scene, or use a Gimmick from scene to scene without Developing in a scene between them. It's a more forgiving subroutine to the (i) situation. The catch is only that you can only use a given Vice/Virtue "once per round ..." Uhh, full stop. What's a round? The term is only used again once, on pages 11 and 12, referring to "rounds of conflict," which is equally mysterious to me. There isn't anything in the Conflict Resolution section that defines rounds - I don't know if it refers to a subset of a conflict like a hand, or if it's synonymous with conflict, or if it refers to some around-the-table thing regarding all the players, or what.

So, sadly, I stalled out, because with all this going on, I'd have to rely on so much interpretation and guessing that it wouldn't actually be playing Joe's game but some cobbled-together thing of my own making.

All thoughts, comments, corrections, explanations are appreciated. Anyone else who's played or is familiar with the game, please chime in too.

Best, Ron
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Joe J Prince
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2010, 03:50:36 AM »

Pumpkin Problems...

Hi Ron,
Iím stoked that you want to give Pumpkin Bomb a whirl, sorry for all the confusion. Iíd pretty much forgotten about this game until I saw you posting about Dr Chaos again. Must say, Dr Chaos sounds awesome. 
Iíve only played Pumpkin Bomb twice myself, they were good games but did show thereís a lot of work to be done on it.

Minor
Well thatís a rather embarrassing mistake! Heroics begins at 1. Ignore the first reference.
The mortal foe relationship is only fixed just before the last fight. So there is chance that more than one hero will want to go after the same villain. If such a situation arises, then the hero with the highest level gets first choice. Cut the deck to decide if the heroes are of the same level.

Medium
My, my I have written this in quite a confusing manner! In the Threaten Innocent scene, the Villainís side should read Disorder & Size (Villain). In fact anywhere is says Size Pool, it should just say Size.

The way Iíve written the formula X & Y (Z), X gives Zís hole cards and Y gives Zís stack in the conflict. So in the Threaten Innocent scene, the Villain does use Size (which is Justice + Disorder) as his stack.

Errata -
Insert this sentence after the first paragraph on Conflict Resolution:
Determine each playerís stack, this will usually be their Pool stat, but sometimes might be Size.
Then (in the Conflict Resolution section), replace all references to Pool with stack.

Is it necessary to have the Confront Hero scene? Probably not! It would alter the dynamics in the way you mentioned Ė forcing a hero to be more pro-active, sounds like a good thing.

Major
Um yeah, should have clarified what I meant by Ďroundí really.  For Virtue/Vice use a round refers to every player around the table choosing and taking his turn. Effectively anytime a player uses a Virtue/Vice he cannot use the same Virtue/Vice until his next turn. 

Hope that helps and I really hope you get to play Pumkin Bomb soon, more external feedback is always really helpful!

Cheers
Joe
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 12:39:50 PM »

Hi Joe,

That helps with nearly everything. I have a few clarifying questions based on your answers, though.

Isn't it the case that the villain does the choosing, regarding the final confrontation? The villain players go after the Connections in the "special victimizing" way, and my understanding is that this decision fixes who will face off with whom.

Why does the villain roll Disorder + Size against a Connection? It seems to have nothing to do with the villain, except very indirectly insofar as this villain or other villains might have contributed to Disorder previously in the game. I understand why Disorder is involved, which makes sense, but what's Size got to do with it? Why not have the villain's total be determined by Disorder + Threat, so Threat is the stack?

Any chance you could re-write that conflict resolution with your stated change, and post it as a development document? It's pretty significant.

Best, Ron
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Joe J Prince
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Putting the fun into dysfunction!


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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2010, 09:19:53 AM »

Thanks Ron

Yes it is the villain players that choose who to victimise, d'oh!

Here is an updated (and hopefully much clearer) version of the game text.
Pumpkin Bomb 0.2

I've changed the way Villains go after innocents, to use Threat instead of Size, my original thinking was that using Size could then mitigate a high Justice to some degree. However - as you say using Threat just makes more sense.

I'm looking forward to the Ronnies and Em's solitaire challenge firing up my creative juices again. Pumpkin Bomb originally came out of the Make Game$ Fast design comp run by Joe Murphy and Graham Walmsley. It's been cool to revisit Pumpkin Bomb, it's been on my back back burner for a while.

Cheers
Joe
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