5. Variations

A. Default version is Surprise ending, Bob doesn't know how any of his attempts work out, except for the first Spark. Also Imelda doesn't know from the start how her actions will affect the outcome. Even if the Imelda player wants to keep Bob away, she is stuck obeying the Spark Chart created or drawn at the start of the game.

B. Learning version: Bob is given the opportunity to learn which of his actions are more likely to generate sparks. Imelda must announce her action first, so Bob has a chance to strategically confront each of her actions (after accidentally winning or losing a few early confrontations). The Spark Chart is still hidden from the other players, but Gorm announces the result, plus, minus or no result, after each action.

C. Rock Paper Scissors version: Bob and Imelda both see the Spark Chart ahead of time. Their actions are linked to hand-signs from Rock Paper Scissors. For example, Bob might use Rock=Joke, Paper=Admire, Scissors=Current Events. Imelda might use Work=Rock, Surf=Paper, Daydream=Scissors. If you work it right, you can match the chart to the RPS outcomes, for example, a Plus would match with Bob throwing Rock and Imelda throwing Scissors. An Equals would be both players throwing the same sign. In this version, neither player announces action first. They resolve actions by throwing hand-signs at the same time. Imelda could intentionally throw signs to resist Bob, or intentionally throw signs to help make sparks, although it would be cheating to only declare her action/throw her sign after seeing what Bob's action was.

D. Solitaire: Imelda could be played as a dummy hand or a non-player character. Place the three slips of paper with Imelda's actions face down. Shuffle them between turns. Bob draws one each turn after declaring his action.

Next: 6. Endnotes