12:51 PM

(4) Comments

Munchausen via Web and Virtual Worlds.

Munchausen by Wiki.. and maybe in Second Life, too

Peter Cobcroft (aka Curufea), that talented Ozzite that wrote a variant of my own Le Grand Cirque back a few years ago, is another talented lad with delightful lack of focus... delightful, in that he has many design projects going at once. ONE of them that caught my eye was a link off of his main page, called MUNCHAUSEN BY WIKI. Basically Peter has created an electronic, wiki-based method of playing the fantastic but sadly out of print Board/RPG storytelling game by Hogshead Publishing, THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN. The advantages of his approach over PBeM are clear: no waiting for emails, an immediate response, and hyperlinking in various places to keep the source material (and preceding paragraphs) all sorted out.

Quite the best game of competitive boasting that has ever been written, based on the exploits of a real-life German aristocrat, soldier and adventurer in the eighteenth century, whose after-dinner tales of his extraordinary exploits were immortalised in a book by Rudolph Raspe, and turned into several films.

An extradordinary game that takes an hour to play and there’s an actual winner. You can start playing three minutes after starting to read it, it’s so easy to learn. Instead of dice or cards, its system of mechanics uses money and fine wines. And you don’t need a GM.

The players all play eighteenth-century noblemen, and challenge each other to tell stories of their amazing adventures. For example, if it was my go, I might turn to you and say, "My dear Baron, do tell us the story of how you defeated the entire Turkish army with only the aid of two rabbits and a piece of cheese."

I can add my enthusiastic endorsement to this wonderful game-- alas, very difficult to run without the right crowd in tow. I have only played it at conventions (so far) and I own a copy of the original. I have so far been thwarted in my attempts to run it locally, but I stil have hopes. On the good news front, I recently received an email from the author, James Wallis, that reports:

(Mr. Nizz)

I've no idea how long your mail's been sitting in my inbox -- apologies if it's been a while -- but the book is now out and in fact I received my author's copy today. The title is Second Person, the editors are Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin, and contributors include Greg Costikyan, Jonathan Tweet, John Tynes, Bruno Faidutti, Kim Newman and George R. R. Martin. I recommend it highly.


So we can look forward to this great game being back in print (after a fashion) pretty much as of now. The book is not cheap at 40 simoleons but I think it will be worth it.

I like Peter's approach but I can see that it would take a long time to get through a game via email or even via his Wikified approach. I have decided I will try to distill the essence of this game and see if we can't possibly run this in SECOND LIFE, the virtual world I have been shamefully addicted to of late. The immediate response (and ability to create 18th century style AVIs in an 18th century setting) strikes me as really being evocative of the source material. More on this as my evil plan develops; I am right now working on a way of bringing WEREWOLF to Second Life (specifically in Caledon) in a format called "RIPPER".