6/19/2015

Frugal GM Review: KOBOLDS ATE MY BABY!

Frugal GM Review: KOBOLDS ATE MY BABY!
After a good couple years of trying (albeit probably not that hard), I finally got in a game of KOBOLDS ATE MY BABY! (KAMB) at Origins. For a while now I've been looking around for a light-weight RPG that could serve as my go-to Beer & Pretzels game.

Only fitting I should look at KAMB since they bill themselves as the "original" beer & pretzels game. Heck, the PC's 4 main stats spell out "BEER"! I do have to say that I can really see playing this at a bar or some loud venue where you can have a few and let this game rip. Ideally you want to play this game where you can be loud and a bit obnoxious...at a convention with other games & gamers playing something else a scant few feet away....not so much.

KAMB is a light-hearted game where you play a bit fast and loose as a potentially lovable, always hungry, seldom smart Kobold. You serve a God that doesn't like you and a king who bullies you around. King Torg...ALL HAIL KING TORG! seems a bit insufferable, and you will too, because whenever you hear the name King Torg...ALL HAIL KING TORG...you have to shout out ALL HAIL KING TORG! or risk losing your little furball to all manners of nasty & unpleasant deaths. There are a few other potentially obnoxious behaviors you might need to act out at the table to either gain and advantage or keep from getting screwed over in-game. While this can be good fun for those in the game....not so much outside of the game.

While the PC sheet and game mechanics seem pretty simple, there is a small flip-side that gets a bit confusing. The normal mechanic is to roll a number of d6 and attempt to get under your stat, with more difficult tasks generally requiring more dice and easier tasks fewer dice.  There are 4 main stats and those stats have secondary characteristics and it is those secondary characteristics that get a bit confusing because they indicate how many dice an opponent gets to use against you....by rolling the number of dice off of your PC sheet to get under or equal to on their PC sheet. It isn't that hard to understand, but I can see it being an issue if you didn't at least start the game sober.

Frugal GM 4 Star Review: KOBOLDS ATE MY BABY!
Add in all the little things, like edges & bogies, being able to force the Mayor (Judge/DM/GM) to re-roll (but only once by having all player with living PCs singing an appropriate drinking song), and let's not forget the seemingly random and capricious Kobold Horrible Death Record.....well it can really add up to a bit much for a beer & pretzels game.

I will say it is a fun game and the general silliness might easily be too much, but it might also end up being just what you needed. I could see KAMB being a welcome relief to a serious RPG when you need a bit of a break.

You will listen to my PC story!Speaking of breaks, I put one here so if you read this straight off the main page you'd be saved from the story of my game at Origins. If you came right into this entry I get you are SOL.

The mission for my game was to gather some ingredients for something the Humans called Chicken Soup because King Torg...ALL HAIL KING TORG...had a cold. The Mayor read us off a group of ingredients: Chicken, Pasta, Carrots, Leeks, Blah Blah Blah (he actually said "blah blah blah"), Rosemary, Water, Kettle, and "Mother's Heart". We had four places we could look and the group split up to the nearby chicken farmer, a mushroom home, and the graveyard. I went to the graveyard with another Kobold and there we found a human talking to a skull. The Mayor said that because neither of us understood Human it all sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher.....Blah Blah Blah. I wail on the human while the other kobold gets his ass handed to him, but he lands the killing blow and "steals" my Victory Point. I cut out the heart and let the other munch away on the tasty human so he can get some health back. I do however, take the human's poisoned dagger because it is better than my kitchen knife, which is just as likely to hurt me in combat.

Meanwhile two kobolds are getting crucified by the chickens and another is doing well with the humans at the mushroom home. Evidently he knows just enough Human that they are nice to him and he nabs some ingredients.

I head back to the graveyard while my previous companion goes to a garden home. I scoop up the skull the human was talking to and whisk back to the cave to turn in this mystery ingredient. King Torg's cook.....ALL HAIL KING TORG...doesn't undertsand why I brought back this skull and I respond that was listed as an ingredient. He said he wanted "Blah Blah Blah" and the human was holding and talking to this as "Blah Blah Blah", so that must be what he needed. Meanwhile my companion at the garden is trying to not get caught by the witch who lives there. I then over to the mushroom house. While I'm using the dagger to slice off some house he finds some ingredients but gets turned into a frog by a witch. I head over to the witch's house with the mushroom, but she has a tasty frog and I manage to trade her the shroom for the frog. The Mayor points out that I don't have a free hand since the dagger (with mushroom) is in my "wrong paw" and some rope is in my "right paw". I guess she wasn't going to take the shroom and dagger....bonus for me, so I just indicate she can place the tasty frog in my mouth....and then I'm up to 4 Victory Points because I just ate another Kobold....tasted like "chicken" to me!

Another Kobold saunters into the garden and while the witch is dealing with that I manage to luck out and roll to identify another ingredient and "steal" it when she isn't looking. I think a good 25' length of rope is a good trade for some carrots.....

Anyway I managed to end up with 4 Victory Points to win the game....I don't know if there was supposed to be a prize. If so I didn't get it, but I had a blast so it was a well worthwhile game.