By James Wallis, Hogshead Publishing, £4.99
So tell us Baron, how did you change the face of roleplaying with only a 24 page book?
The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen is not quite a roleplaying game as you might know it. It’s a parlor game. A game of tall tales and astounding adventures. Players take on the role of pompous aristocrats trying to outdo each other in the telling of outrageous stories. These stories can be about anything, like the time you tried to climb mount Everest with only a toothpick and a rubber duck, or when you defeated the Belgian army single handed. If you are familiar with the Terry Gilliam film about Munchausen (or the book from which both the film and game take inspiration), you’ll know exactly the type of thing expected.
It’s only a small twenty four page book, but it is probably one of the most entertaining games you will ever buy. And you should buy it as quickly as possible, because Hogshead, the company that published it, has just ceased trading.
The hard part about reviewing this game is that the game itself is very quick to explain, and elegant in it’s simplicity. It is as simple as “One person tells a story, and the others try and interrupt them”. I could explain the rules in more detail, but that would mean you wouldn’t need to buy it. And I think you should. Like all the best simple ideas, the creators deserve credit in the form of cold hard cash. All stories start with another player asking “So Baron, tell us, how did you…”, and proceed in whichever insanely bizarre route the narrator wishes.
The best thing about the book is the writing style. It conveys perfectly how the game should be played, and the spirit in which it should be taken. It takes you through the steps you need to play (Character Creation is as simple as writing you character’s name and rank), through the rules of play, examples of play, and suggestions for scenarios (4 pages worth of possible starting lines). It’s also written in the style of Baron Munchausen, so it’s filled with wildly exaggerated anecdotes and weird digressions, which is exactly how the stories you tell in the game should be told.
Overall: An easy game to learn, which has unlimited possibilities for stories. It’s fun, lots of fun. Ideal for playing over Christmas, while mildly (or very) drunk.