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Tell Tall, Thirsty Tales With the Newest Edition of the Baron Munchausen RPG

Tell Tall, Thirsty Tales With the Newest Edition of the Baron Munchausen RPG

Many great tabletop stories start inside of a tavern. Even before Dungeons & Dragons made the shadowy man handing out quests in a shadowy corner a common feature of adventures, tavern patrons gathered around to hear the wild tales of travelers who wandered into town. The more entertaining the story, the more likely it was that someone would pick up the storyteller’s tab for the night. Tables looking to blend the concepts of the RPGs from today with the exaggerated tales of mermaid queens of the past need look no further than The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Fantasy Flight Games recently released a new edition of this game in a small hardback book, perfect for taking to the bar for a round or two.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen was first released in 1998 by Hogshead Publishing. Designer James Wallis published a new edition of the game in 2008 through Magnum Opus Press. The game came in two formats that poked fun at the titular Baron’s old fashioned views on things; a deluxe hardcover edition called the Gentlemen’s Edition and an unlimited softcover edition known as the Wives & Servants Edition. The new FFG version collects the rules from those previous editions, adds in some new ones from Wallis as well as advice on how to play, wrapping it up in a full-color hardback package that looks like it’s made for a king, but priced for a scoundrel.

Playing the game is simple. Everyone gathers around a table with a drink in one hand and markers representing coins in the other. Everyone creates a character by coming up with a ridiculous title for themselves, such as Bishop Cadwalletti the Third or Rear Admiral Smirtzberg. The host (usually owner of the book) turns to the person on their right to feed them a story idea. For example,

“Rear Admiral Smirtzberg, please tell us about the time you fought a duel for a lady’s hand using only a half a feather!”

The storyteller may accept the prompt or drop out of the round by finishing their drink. If they storyteller starts the story, they aren’t just given the floor. Other players at the table can challenge the storyteller by wagering coins and interrupting with twists, turns and other things to shake up the storyteller’s tale.  If the storyteller incorporates the twist, they gain the coins wagered. If they don’t, the storyteller must give some of their coins to the interrupting audience member. The storyteller can pause to think about their next move only while taking a drink. The storyteller gives the person to their right the next prompt when they are finished, and the person at the end of the round with the most coins wins.

The new book has slightly more specific rules on the flow of the game, including a section on duels for when two players really start pushing each other’s buttons. It also included variants based on earlier editions of the game, different setups on playing a Arabian Nights style game or one where players take on fictional characters to tell their stories from a different perspective, and a kids-friendly version that doesn’t require adult beverages to play.

For fans of outrageous stories, playing a role, and drinking while gaming, The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a great way to fill in game night when players can’t make it…or to keep it going at the geek bar afterwards.

Image courtesy of Fantasy Flight Games

What is your favorite tall tale? Let us know in the comments!

 Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves, Vulcans and sometimes all of them at the same time. His blog is here, his Twitter is here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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