Kobolds Ate My Baby!
|Designer(s)||Chris O'Neill and Dan Landis; illustrations by John Kovalic|
|Publisher(s)||Dork Storm Press
9th Level Games
|Publication date||2005 (Super Deluxx Edition)
2001 (3rd edition)
1999 (1st printing)
Kobolds Ate My Baby! (also known as KAMB) is an independently published role-playing game from 9th Level Games, a small-press publisher and designer of humorous role-playing games (RPGs) based in Pennsylvania. The name is a derivative reference to the Azaria Chamberlain disappearance and the famous misquote, "A dingo ate my baby!" The Super Deluxx Edition was still designed by 9th Level Games, but is published by Dork Storm Press.
The players assume the roles of kobolds, creatures who are often used as weak but numerous "cannon fodder" characters in fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. KAMB supposedly refutes this role, while at the same time playing up this and other stereotypes of fantasy role-playing. The game takes a generally humorous look at the genre and encourages joking and ludicrous, boisterous behavior among the players, the chief of which is the rule that whenever the name of the kobolds' king, Torg, is mentioned, all present are required to loudly proclaim, "ALL HAIL KING TORG!"
KAMB is played using the dice rolling mechanism called the Beer Engine. It is called Beer after the four stats that make each character: Brawn, Ego, Extraneous, and Reflexes. Essentially, players are given a difficulty in numbers of dice, and they must roll under the appropriate value on their sheet. Kobolds being poorly suited to adventuring have low numbers, which keeps the humour alive in the game.
KAMB is part of an annual event at the Origins Game Fair called the Midnight Massacre, in which large numbers of people customarily play multiple simultaneous games of KAMB and make significant amounts of noise. In 2005, the Midnight Massacre was staged as a LARP.
The BEER Engine! is a role-playing game system created by 9th Level Games for Kobolds Ate My Baby! and other games. This is the basic engine used to determine if a character succeeds at an action they have attempted in the game. In BEER Engine games, all characters have statistics that represent their physical and mental aptitudes. (i.e. strength, reflexes, or smarts) These statistics are determined by rolling a number of dice when the character is created with higher results representing a greater proficiency in a particular area. While playing the game characters will attempt certain feats (like climbing a wall). To determine whether the action is successful or not the player rolls a number of six-sided dice. The number of dice that are rolled increases with the difficulty of the action; if the total of the dice rolled by the player is less than or equal to their character's statistic the action succeeds.
Other RPGs using the BEER Engine! are Ninja Burger, Warhamster.
9th Level Games
The company was founded by Dan Landis and Chris O'Neill while in high school together. As of 2001, the company had four employees, including the founders. 9LG's first games were Adventure! The W¸rlde of Kroson and In the Company of Rats, introduced at Origins 1999; these was followed by KAMB, developed in one month for Gen Con 1999.
Currently, 9th Level Games is transitioning out publishing to focus primarily on design. In December 2005, Dork Storm Press (DSP) released Kobolds Ate My Baby! Super Deluxx Edition, a game that was designed by 9LG and published by DSP. This edition features illustrations by John Kovalic, the creator of Dork Tower.
On March 4, 2013, 9th Level initiated a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new printing of KAMB. Aiming for a pledge target of $11,000, the fundraiser earned $65,817 in total, meeting and exceeding all "stretch goals" for the fundraiser, including a related printing of a Munchkin booster pack based on the game.
Reviews and Awards
KAMB has received many industry and independent accolades. The publication “Games Quarterly” listed KAMB as one of the top 10 funniest games (non-electronic) released in the last few years. Similarly KAMB was chosen as one of “the 50 Funniest Games of All Time” and the “Weirdest RPG Ever” by Inquest Magazine.
Reviewer Matthew Pook said that "the game itself is amusingly written, and of course, it includes opportunities aplenty for the Mayor [the Gamemaster] to be rotten to his Kobold players. Just as they will be rotten to each other in the scramble to gain Victory Points. In this, it shares some similarity with Paranoia."
- Funk, Kevin (2006). "Kobolds Ate My Baby! DeLuxx edition (Review)". RevolutionSF. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- Pook, Matthew (2006-03-31). "Pyramid Review Kobolds Ate My Baby! The Beer and Pretzels Roleplaying Game - Super Deluxx Edition". Pyramid (online). Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- "Chris O'Neill of 9th Level Games". UberCon XI - New Jersey. UberCon LLC. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- 9th Level Games (not a single individual) (2001-05-07). Interview With a 9th Level Kobold. Transcript with Aeon. gamegrene.com. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- Kickstarter for 2013 Reprint of KAMB
- Selinker, Mike (2005). "Mike Selinker's 10 Funniest Games". Games Quarterly (Matthews Simmons Martketing (MSM)) (6). GMQ6.
- "Kenneth Hite’s Out of the Box". Review. GamingReport.com. 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
- "REVIEW OF KOBOLDS ATE MY BABY! SUPER DELUXX EDITION". Review. RPGNet. 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2009-01-21.