Game Review - Baron Munchausen by James Wallis


The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, James Wallis, Hogshead Publishing, 1998.

Friends,

I must tell you about a new game I recently purchased. This game is called The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, (James Wallis, Hogshead Publishing, 1998), almost a role-playing game, in which players of the game must regal the others with most extraordinary tales and adventures and yarns of preponderous proportions, much in the style of Baron Munchhausen himself. For those of you not familiar with the old baron, why he is the person who single handedly convinced a band of pirates to invade and capture Belgium in 1764. Of course he hadn't intentionally planned it that way, the pirates had merely chased the old baron into the town square of Brussels, intending to inflict bodily harm on the Baron himself. Why, he was merely defending himself from the onslaught, after defeating the pirates in a game of cards which they had played inside the belly of a whale that had devoured them whilst sailing throught the straights of the Bosporous earlier that season. But I digress, back to the game...

The object of the game is to regale the other players with tales of immense, cataclysmic concocting. The game starts with a simple proposition to the player to the right. "Tell me Baron Gallavant, how your choice of cummerbund influenced the Battle of the Crimea in 1855?" From there the Baron is obliged to tell the tale. The listeners may interject with wagers, casting doubt on the story as it is told by the Baron. "I'll wager your choice of port wine affected the eyesight of the Empress of Russia that night." The story teller gets to accept or reject the wager. The number of wagers and interjections are kept in check by a number of coins equal to the number of players. Once a player is out of coins, he may no longer interject or influence the outcome of the story. Much like the time I was drinking in an alehouse with William of Orange beyond the Pale in Ireland in 1695. We had our share of stout and whisky, when the innkeeper, a giant of a man nearly half the height of a windmill, came and asked for payment. Of course, having been invited by the man, I thought Orange would pay the bill, but the man was too drunk to speak. The locals got into a bit of an uproar and the next thing I knew, they had lit the torches and were asking for our hides. Poor old William was too drunk to move. Luckily, I outraced him and made way to a hot air balloon which I had tethered near-by. I cut the tether and escaped the rabble, landing near the farmhouse of a grape-grower of immense repute. But I digress, back to the game...

So the tales are told, and wagers and interjections are made. If ever the honor of the tale-teller is called into question, either by calling them a liar or by irritating the teller too often, the tale-teller may rebut by calling for a duel. Within the scope of the game, those not versed in duelling sabres may call for a battle of "rock, paper, scissors." Others may call for sword play, in this case the two battle for the death in the honorable fashion. Much like the time I defeated the Hessians in Luxemborg in 1771. Of course a division of men is not defeated so easilly, but luckily I gained the favor of the a band of beermakers at a brewer's conference in Saaz. When asked why their beers were not so good as the previous year, of course I told them a secret ingredient from one of my age old recipes. Incredulous, they asked for proof and so we asked the local armed force to settle the wager. "Free Beer," they exclaimed, which made them all quite insulting and lead to the duelling challenge the next day. Luckily, one of the ingredients was the vapour of bog-wort, which aides the digestion, but slows the reflexes. The honor of the duel was never in doubt. But I digress, back to the game...

At the end of the night, all tale-tellers vote for their favorite tale. I hope one day to share with you some of my better stories, but here I intend to give you a flavor of this fun and furious game. This is a game to play at the end of the night, when the barrels of wine are not yet drunk and need drunking. Obviously there are no counters or pawns or netsukes with this game, in fact, the game consists of nothing more than a 24 page rule book. The rules are summarized on the last page of the book, but much enjoyment of this game comes from reading the rule book, brilliantly intertwined with the stories of the Baron himself, with many digressions, fascinating tales, unbelievable encounters, so on, and so forth. For those not versed in story-telling and fairy tales, one may use one of the 250 prefabricated beginnings given in the rule book appendix A. Others may wish to practice with Wallis' Once Upon a Time game, by Atlas Publishing. I don't know what your gaming bunch is like, but this game goes well with my troupe, at the end of a night when dexterity is too low to push around those water-soaked bits of cardboard. I hope you and I can play late in the night of a games marathon session for I wish to tell you of the time how I eluded the guillotine with a pound of Danish cheese and to this day refuse to ride a horse on Thursdays....


[an error occurred while processing this directive] Last modified: Thursday, 09-Jun-2011 12:36:36 MST.