The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming
My players are the enemy. I try to write adventures with moving scenes of heroism, epic (or at least interesting) plots, and interesting NPCs. What I get . . . well, as an example, let me tell you about my Deadlands game. Or the Aberrant game or the AD&D games, or the Changeling games or, well, any game, really. There are too many stories to tell just one. In short, I get pumped-up combat monsters of dubious heroic qualities stomping all over the scenery and the NPCs.
Desborough and Mortimer have been there. They also recognize that we've all got a bit of munchkin in us. I took their munchkin quiz and ranked as "having promise" for munchkinhood. My players scored a little higher.
I went deeper into the book. There's dodges for how to cheat on dice rolls, and tips and tricks for munchkins playing in any role-playing genre. Which race is best in a fantasy game? What's the proper way to seige a castle, or to break a seige? Why is your gun skill the only skill you need in a modern game? Even if you've never felt a touch of angst or the faintest desire to dress in black, there are helpful hints for Vampire LARPing to win.
The munchkin mindset is gone into in depth, my own favorite exploration being the description of the perfect crime. A real-life perfect bank job would be one where you got in and out without anyone noticing. The munchkin's perfect bank job is described minute by minute as an orgy of torture, bloodletting, heavy weapons fire, and inexplicable sex that stretches from the bank all the way to Mexico.
The humor in the book isn't gentle by any means, but it lacks the savage bite of Violence or the tone of Power Kill that left people asking "is this serious?" Most of the potshots are at power players, but there's also shots at other types of players, gamemasters, pop culture, Americans, and a heck of a lot of time is spent making fun of the Spice Girls. I'm a little tired of people making fun of the Spice Girls by this point--the comedy mine has pretty much played out--but Desborough and Mortimer are Brits and therefore maybe more sensitive about a lame girl band being their country's major export.* And the create your own Elder Thing table is a riot. That wasn't a non-sequitur, but you have to read it to understand.
There's just enough bloodletting to keep my interest without crossing over into questionable taste. Questionable taste can be a good thing in a satire, but you wouldn't want your mom to read your copy of Violence. The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming should be safe for all parents and religious figures.
At the very end, there's an advice section for poor beleaguered GMs like myself on how to deal with munchkin players. The advice is sound, although not all of it will work against every munchkin (believe me, I've tried). The whole book is really advice for the GM masquerading as advice for fledgling munchkins, and it's highly recommended.
* And, just so you know, I don't really think the Spice Girls are England's major export. Everyone knows England's major export is pictures of Prince William's colossal teeth.
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)