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    The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, third edition
    by Donald G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/08/2020 23:20:23

    "My dear reviewer, is it true you once played this game with the very designer himself?". "Why yes, gentle reader! In fact, I had the great pleasure to have Viscount Wallis himself teach us the game at GenCon 2017. To this day, the tale of the Rajah's elephant, a bottle of very fine whiskey, and all the tea in India (remind me to regale you some time!) remains one of my favourite gaming anecdotes, and a cherished memory".

    I was indeed lucky enough to have James teach myself, my partner, and a table of strangers how to play The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (TEAoBM) at GenCon a few years ago. By the end of the hour, not only had we all had great fun, but we had bantered, made up outrageous stories and then somehow made them even wilder, put on silly accents and sillier titles, and laughed more than in any roleplaying session I could remember.

    TEAoBM is a narrative-driven story game. The rules are simple, but fundamental to the game. They serve as both a framing device, and a way to encourage all the players into the action. Essentially, it is a game of storytelling and wagers, with each player taking turns to weave a tall tale, with the others interjecting to add additional wild details, or call doubt on the storyteller's recollections. Wagers drive the economy of the game, and their flow helps involve everyone in the collaborative storytelling. They also serve to determine the winner, though, as trite as it sounds, with a game this funny, everyone is a winner.

    While TEAoBM is a GM-less game, I would definitely recommend that at least one player thoroughly read and be familiar with the rules beforehand. But fear not! The book is a treat to read, written by the Baron himself (with some not-inconsiderable contributions from James Wallis and his ancestors) and often laugh-out-loud funny. I don't own the previous editions, but the 3rd Edition is graced by Omar Rayyan's gorgeous illustrations, making the whole book pleasure to read. Also included are a variety of variants, ways to tweak the game, suggestions for playing it with younger players (and I bet kids would have a blast with it!), and more.

    So, if you are looking for a narrative game that is simple to learn but has plenty of replayability, can be taught to novices or hardened grognards, that will flex your imagination and creativity, and above all, will make you laugh until your sides ache, then look no further.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, third edition
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    Alas Vegas
    by Riley S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/08/2020 09:01:11

    I just finished running this for a group of four players. Having read the whole thing beforehand (I got to the bit where it suggests having a rotating GM and thought "pull the other one, mate"), there were already a few problem areas jumping out. Actually running through the thing shone an unflattering light on what I consider Alas Vegas' biggest flaws, but also highlighted some surprising strengths. My overall thoughts are that it's kind of a railroady mess, but brings some interesting ideas to the table. If you've got a GM who's willing to jury-rig its components into an actual campaign, and a player group willing to buy into the premise, then it might be worth a look.

    Unfortunately, as an actual adventure Alas Vegas is pretty weak, and after some reflection I think most of its problems stem from its insistence on having a rotating GM. It's a fun gimmick, and if you've got a group of friends who'd be game for it I think it's something that could work with a different system. I don't think Alas Vegas is that system. With everything it tries to do, the things required to make it work, and the way it drip-feeds information, I think it'd take a really talented group of GMs to actually make something enjoyable out of the rotation. So, I guess if you're a skilled GM who's friends with three Matt Mercers, give it a shot? I ran this as the only GM.

    This adherance to being able to be run by a rotating GM has pretty dire consequences for the adventure. Each session has one or two key beats, a smattering of exposition, and then a lot of scenes that are generally a) boring and b) have predetermined outcomes the players have no control over. Several times the GM is given no instructions on how to run a particular conflict, instead being told "here's the Deus Ex Machina to pull out when you think it's time for the next thing to happen". And that really is the core of Vegas. Go here. Talk to this person. Now it's time for the next thing to happen. Very little the players can do actually affects the outcome of anything - short of refusing a fetch quest or not playing nice with the NPCs, players have very little agency (and the book repeatedly insults players who do try and break out of the railroad). For any other adventure, this would be a glaring flaw. But for Vegas, with its rotating GMs, it becomes a necessity. Nothing the players do matters, because it can't matter if the session needs to end at a predictable place for the next GM to pick up. It's a linear, railroady mess, but it has to be for the rotating-GM gimmick to have any hope of working.

    It probably sounds like I'm being a little harsh on Alas Vegas. To its credit, I did enjoy running it a lot! The way Flashbacks work is a fun piece of collaborative storytelling with your players, and it's woven into the game and the story both in a way that's very satisfying (what people who like long words would call ludonarrative assonance, I suppose). Vegas' setting is very fun, and while its twists and reveals aren't that surprising they also aren't strung out for too long. Four sessions feels like exactly the right amount of time for Vegas; my group ended up stretching it out to five, because it took two sessions to get through one act before I realised I needed to start cutting a lot of stuff out to get through the sessions in the 3-4hr time span we had each week. (Luckily, as described above, there's a lot of useless bloat that you can throw out of any given session to streamline it. Unfortunately, if you're doing the rotating-GM thing you can't skip stuff as easily because you don't have the foresight to know what scenes will actually turn out to be important and which are just dead ends.) Four sessions is enough that the final scene (which is extremely good, easily the highlight of the campaign) has satisfying buildup, and also mercifully terminates the campaign before the mystery starts to become too drawn-out and the lightweight system starts running too thin.

    If you want to play Vegas exactly as it's laid out in the book, I can't really recommend that. The adventure as written is kind of broken, and rotating GMs is a gimmick that seems fun on paper but, I would imagine, is a chaotic disaster in practice. However, if you're willing to slice the adventure open, pore through its innards, and reconstitute the best bits into something new, there's definitely some moments of brilliance in among the slurry of poor adventure design. I've seen it described as "like playing through an HBO miniseries", and honestly, that (and everything it implies) kind of sums it up. If you want to read more about the setting/content, there's a great write-up archived here; it's got spoilers, but is also the thing that sold me on picking up and running the adventure. Overall, if it's the kind of thing you think you might be interested in, I'd probably recommend picking it up; even if as-is it's a little wonky, there's bound to be something in there you'll get use out of. If you're looking for a more traditional adventure... probably give this one a miss.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Alas Vegas
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    Alas Vegas
    by Jonas M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/28/2020 06:43:35

    Alas Vegas is intriguing consept, but wrecked by how shoddily it is executed. First of all it is absolutely railroaded, author would have spent time by writing a novel. Writing style is edgy and gritty like straight from 90's. It is challenging, not very engaging, needs huge investment in time and several people to run it, all but one commited in in blind to something that might be awesome or not. Demands lot but gives a little and might just not be worth the trouble.



    Rating:
    [2 of 5 Stars!]
    Interactive Fantasy #1 (Inter*Action)
    by angela d. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2019 12:29:36

    thank you for turning this magazine into a digital .PDF version ! :)



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Interactive Fantasy #1 (Inter*Action)
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    Dragon Warriors: Introductory Book
    by Mark P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2018 12:28:10

    This is an excellent introduction to Dragon Warriors. It covers basic game mechanics, discusses the six professions (classes), gives full character creation details for two, gives a brief overview of the setting and has an introductory adventure all in 27 pages. I found it very useful and it prompted me to buy the full game.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Dragon Warriors: Introductory Book
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    Alas Vegas
    by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/26/2018 10:14:41

    Another KS backer who had a long wait, but yes, it was worh it.

    An inovative system with a good set of extras.

    Don't read the designer's notes if you don't want to see a huge spoiler, mind.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Alas Vegas
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    Alas Vegas
    by Douglass B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/25/2018 12:52:48

    I backed this as a Kickstarter, and it took forever to release--but seriously, it was worth every minute of that wait. The mechanics for character development during play are clever and intrinscally thematic while the story is both compelling and mysterious. Honestly, even if you don't intend to play it, the book is worth it as a read.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Alas Vegas
    by Peter H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/25/2018 12:27:30

    I was a kickstarter backer on AV, and though it was a long ride to get here it's absolutely been worth wait, even just to see the process of building it. I'm not hugely creatie myself, and seeing the joys and frustrations of it first hand is always intriguing.

    The game... well, it's as unusual as you might expect from the brain behind Baron Munchausen. The idea of a tightly scripted RPG like a DVD box set - an RPG with spoilers! - was what first intrigued me, but we've ended up with a ton of fresh new ideas rolled into this: a cycling GM, a unique resolution mechanic, even a chapter written by a bloody magician. A MAGICIAN. What more could you want?

    I'm having to dance around a lot here, mind, as the less you know about this game going in the better. Just... trust that if you can get a handful friends together for a handful of sessions, the kind of friends who would be tickled by having you read the blurb to them, you're not going to regret picking this up.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    AFTERLIVES: or All Good Characters Go To Heaven
    by Katrina B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2018 10:58:56

    Afterlives is a diceless system that can seamlessly stack atop pretty much any game where PCs worship deities or god-like beings.

    It's designed for when PCs die and you want something more dramatic and meanignful than "make a new PC and divide up dead PC's gear" or "I cast Raise Dead". It's designed such that the normal DM opperates as the Persecutor and a guest player acts as the Judge.

    It doesn't offer any true game mechanics but does give a pretty solid, easy-to-follow outline for how to build a case for a PC's eternal soul. Overall, a great read and def something I'll consider using when I next find myself with a deceased PC.

    Full review here.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    AFTERLIVES: or All Good Characters Go To Heaven
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    Alas Vegas
    by Jason M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/28/2017 08:55:46

    Non-spoiler review: I was a kickstarter backer and rode the long wait for this game to see the light of day, and it was absolutely worth it. This is one of the best story-driven RPGs I've ever ran. The book recommends swapping GMs for the 4 parts, but I ended up running the whole thing for my group based on how we play (long 10-hour sessions once every three months), and it worked out really well - we're a seasoned group of CoC players and had a blast with this game.

    The less the players know about this game going in, the better. There's a big reveal at the end of Act 2 that's best not spoiled, so if you plan on playing in this game, I recommend you don't read the entire book (or any spoilery reviews).

    The story / narrative is the game's strongest point. It works perfectly with the fugue system, where you build your characters by having "flashbacks" to remember them doing things - for example, someone might approach you with a knife, and you have a flashback to being a knife fighter - so now "knife fighting" is a skill you have. The flashbacks also serve to help build your character's backstory, and eventually the backstory of the entire group, for a fresh take on the whole idea of bonds and connections.

    The conflict resolution system is a modified version of blackjack played with a tarot deck. It works pretty well, especially once you're used to it - the game recommends using the imagery on the cards to help narrate what you're doing, but we ended up just kind of making our own stuff up as we went, and it worked out just fine. The first combat is designed to get everyone up to speed on how it works, but I highly recommend the GM run some mock combats before the first session to famliarize themselves with how it works.

    All in all, Alas Vegas is a stunning self-contained game with a heck of a narrative punch. My group ran it in two 10-hour sessions. I highly recommend this game for a unique, one-or-two-or-four-off game that will leave your group talking about it for weeks afterward.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Alas Vegas
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    Alas Vegas
    by Howard S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/23/2016 15:21:38

    This was a wait, boy was it a wait... BUT SOOO WORTH IT! :D

    Beautiful artwork, a fantastic premise and the gameplay seems good (even if I am stuck out in the sticks & have not been able to give it a good run).

    Thank you so much for a great addition to my games collection.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Game Night
    by Curt K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/16/2012 12:10:50

    Must agree with the others. This is absolutely great representations of soooo many games. I have been this ref, and much to my chagrin, I have probably been the Warrior or the Jester as well.

    This is must read for any referee, potential ref or gamer with aspirations. Most gamers will find it painfully accurate...and I'm sure some will take umbrage about how "Their Character" is treated.

    Already buying a copy of this for my oldest son!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Game Night
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    The Flying Serpent, or Strange News Out Of Essex
    by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/08/2012 21:09:07

    An excellent prop for a horror or urban fantasy RPG, this is a 12 page document on the appearance of a flying serpent. The pages are yellowed and creased with age, and the entire document looks very authentic. I'd love to see more ready-made props like this one.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    The Flying Serpent, or Strange News Out Of Essex
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    Dragon Warriors: Introductory Book
    by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/07/2012 21:00:39

    Dragon Warriors was one of the first RPG's I ever played, and I remember it fondly. This introductory book concisely covers character generation, combat and the setting, and is filled with all the stuff I remember and love. Mind you, it is a much neater, slicker and updated version and looks really good, too! Dragon Warriors is a very straightforward system that lets you get straight into the action, and well worth a look. Check it out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Dragon Warriors: Introductory Book
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    Dragon Warriors RPG
    by Ardon L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2011 21:54:12

    An excellent book. I've the original Dragonwarriors RPG books which was published in the 80's in paperback. This new edition is a faithful reproduction of the original with some new abilities added for most of the character classes. It has also been reorganized and is now more consistent. My only disapointment is that the timeline (as presented in this new edition) is still fixed at the same time as the original version. 30 years is not a long time in a medieval context but it is still enough time for a new generation to arise. There should have been some (minor) changes in the game world of Legend. Other than that, this is an excellent introduction to the Dragonwarriors RPG.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Dragon Warriors RPG
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