An Interview with Brandon Leon-Gambetta - Designer of Pasión de las Pasiones
¡Feliz Día de San Valentín, mi corazón!
Are you ready for life-changing passion? For broken hearts and stolen moments? For scandalous reveals and scintillating drama?
Pasión de las Pasiones is now available! We are excited to announce that this incredible game by Brandon Leon-Gambetta is now for sale! Bring the heat and passion to your table this Valentine’s Day! Now is the time for love!
To celebrate this spicy achievement, we sat down with designer Brandon Leon-Gambetta and asked some fiery questions to get the heart pounding! If you’re ready for this heat, so are we! Grab a copy of the game and dive into the interview below!
Today your game is out in the wild, breaking hearts and throwing wine glasses into fires. What was the most exciting part of the journey?
Every step of this has been so exciting! It's been a whirlwind since day one. The most exciting thing has been just stumbling upon people playing or talking about Pasión de las Pasiones just out in the wild! I'll just be listening to a podcast or scrolling and, hey, that's my game!
What was the most challenging?
Writing prose is so much harder than I ever imagined it would be! Mechanics writing I can do much more easily, it's when I need to write paragraphs of explanation that I've struggled!
Who is your fave in the NPC deck?
Well, Inés Gabaldón will always have a special place in my heart because she was the first card and the first time I saw the absolutely beautiful layout for the cards! But my real fave is Ana del Ángel. She's a retired criminal genius and she just lets you skip all of the logistics for getting into a heist. Just take a little scene, drink some wine, chat about the old days, and boom! You're ready to walk in the front door of the Casino and open the vault. Then we can get to the drama of getting out and the fallout that follows. She's like a former Pasión de las Pasiones character.
What do you hope people take away from Pasión de las Pasiones?
I want people to experience and share stories of Latine characters that are full of life and joy! So many of our stories that are told focus on our traumas. I hope people play this game and enjoy the romance and love!
Is there an experience you’ve had watching telenovelas you hope people experience when playing the game?
I love watching a show with somebody and being SO invested in a romantic triangle but on opposite teams. Having the playful competition of hoping we're right about Who Kisses Who while also just wanting the best for a beloved character is such a fun experience!
What mechanic are you most proud of in the game?
I'm most proud of the roll with questions mechanic, specifically because I like how it allows the game to direct players toward telenovela tropes. The questions are intentionally not about what would realistically give an advantage in a situation; they are about what thematically would lead to a success in a telenovela. That let me make some moves more or less likely to work; for example, Express Your Love Passionately has essentially a free +1 with "Are you dressed to impress?" Of course you are! You're in a telenovela! That question isn't about actually knowing yes or no, it's inviting the player to talk about how hot they look and giving an enthusiastic yes to the table wanting to see some romance!
What’s your best advice for new players to PdlP, and to new players to the genre?
To an audience that doesn't have familiarity with telenovelas, they can seem like a comedy genre and some of them are. Your game will have laughs, because where over the top drama and romance and lies interact, you'll end up having those laughs. But don't start from that assumption; characters in telenovelas can feel over the top their feelings are so real and strong. Find the things you want and pursue those things! Secrets and truth are really fluid in Pasión de las Pasiones, so don't hold secrets tightly to you, blow things up out in the open! Just be true to your character's heart.
For people new to Pasión de las Pasiones, but not new to telenovelas, honestly you don't need my help! I've had some fantastic players who had never played another game, but sat watching with their family. You know the tropes! Just be sure that you're setting goals and following them, your story will flow from there!
What about for GMs?
Pasión de las Pasiones is a game that is designed to let the GM decide how much they want to steer the game. You can build out plots and mysteries with big NPCs, but at the end of the day your players have narrative power to drive the plot in unexpected directions! If you're a high prep GM, be ready for things to be pulled apart! If you don't like prep (or are feeling tired), that's also fine! Declaim responsibility to the table, let players set scenes, and let the PCs bash off of each other. They'll bring the drama! Just follow them and give them barriers to smash through!
What would Pasión de las Pasiones’ theme song/music score be if they were a character on a telenovela?
I swap around every other month what feels like the most Pasión de las Pasiones song! Right now, I'm feeling like it's 3am by Jesse y Joy. It's this bright, poppy song that's all about feeling the heartache of betrayal. It just feels super telenovela for me, while also keeping things bright and upbeat. It's just a great song.