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Subject: don't buy Pumpkin King rss

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Jason Woodburn
United States
Illinois
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Responding to the threads regarding the 75% off sale at Barnes & Noble, I made a drive up to Cedar Rapids today. On a whim, I picked up a little game in a tin called "Pumpkin King." "What the heck," I thought, "it's only $3.50."

Tonight I popped it open, read the rules, and knew there were some big problems. This is a roll-and-move game, and worse than that, it contains mechanics (a 1 in 3 chance, every turn, that the other player can send you back to "go," and the need to roll the "exact number" to get to the end space, in order to win...) that seem designed to keep you locked into playing forever. If there was any playtesting here at all, it was specifically toward the idea of putting together a game to frustrate and punish any adult gamer foolish enough to purchase it. Given the demonic nature of the game's characters, perhaps there's some infernal motive behind this... Needless to say, we abandoned the game.

I hate to be entirely negative, so I'll try to make say something constructive here. If you do have this game already, and someone forces you to take it out again, I would suggest the following changes:

1. Specify that the player can choose to move his pumpkin or Baalzebub first (this isn't in the rules).
2. Roll a standard d6 instead of the cat eye die for Baalzebub's movement. Allow the "teleport" movement on a "6" only.
3. Restrict the penalty for being "bumped" to being knocked back 1d6 spaces, rather than sending someone back to go (this could also set up "chain bumping" in multiplayer games...). You might also say they can't be bumped back further than the last "safe" space they passed.
4. Take out the rule that says they have to roll the exact number to land on the headless scarecrow to win. There's no rule for what happens if you don't roll the number. Just let the person roll at least enough to get there, and get the game over with...

And then put it away, and make sure no curious little eyes can spy it out around Halloween.
 
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J Boyes
United States
Unspecified
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I say you bite the bullet. Grind your teeth and attempt to play the game once. then you can write up a review for it, sparing the rest of us!
 
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Kevin Bender
United States
Knoxville
Tennessee
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Too late. We also bought that one because of the discount. Well, perhaps the Pumpkin King mini can be put to good use in one of my wife's miniature dioramas.

We are going to try to play it before passing final judgement, however.
 
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Jason Woodburn
United States
Illinois
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Good luck. If you paid the discounted price, it's probably worth it for the bits (if you use miniatures for anything) and the tin...

I did try to play the game. In a two player game, over the course of many, many turns, and resolving some problems with the rules somewhat arbitrarily, we eventually gave up, as neither was able to win, and it wasn't any fun.

I've been trying to think of some way to make the game more interesting... the bits look nice, and it beckons to me, for some reason... I was thinking today about a card based movement system, but I think the game needs another dimension for that to work. It may be a lost cause.
 
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Jonathan Tang
Malaysia
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WP
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Yup, picked it up at a sale without checking BGG first.
Damn.

Anyways, I've been running through some ideas for fixing it.

1) Bumping pumpkins is 3 spaces back (instead of Start)
2) If the cat lands on a pumpkin, it picks the pumpkin up. From now on, all cat movements "carry" the pumpkin around.
3) The player with the "carried" pumpkin only rolls the cat dice.
4) The player with the "carried" pumpkin cannot win.
5) If the cat lands on a pumpkin while it is carrying another, it drops the "carried" pumpkin and picks up the new one. The old pumpkin is bumped (3 spaces back).

It might make this playable.

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