While the characters in the comic Knights of the Dinner Table usually role play in the sword and sorcery world (HackMaster), they sometimes branch out into new genres.  Knights of the Dinner Table: Men That Hack has the characters branching out into the James Bond-esque world of espionage, with two full-length, disaster-filled adventures.

The first story begins with Pete persuading the burned-out B.A. to pick up Hacknoia: The Role-Playing Game of Conspiracy, the Unknown, and Espionage.  B.A. is convinced his adventure will be "the best adventure I've ever run."  He has Bob, Dave, Sara, and Brian playing NSB agents sent, unarmed, to investigate mysterious crop circles in Canada (which Dave never stops believing is a Communist country).

Unfortunately, Bob and Dave trying to find out what's in the secret envelopes they pass to B.A. leads to to a "it never happened" reset.  Then the players arm themselves at Ahkmed's Guns, Booze, Chew, and Ammo (plus Bob stealing a stapler from R&D), get in a massive gun battle at customs, run into the descendant of an enemy from HackMaster, and turn on each other.

The next story happens two years later, as B.A. returns to Hacknoia.  ("But you hate that game!"  "I never said that."  "Dude, you drop kicked your books off the Jackson Blvd. bridge.")  This time around the players are trying to find a nuclear bomb being delivered to Canada.  This time the players are bristling about the fact that there are two NPCs with them -- and one is assigned the lead in the mission.  Chaos (and another trip to Ahkmed's) ensues.

I've had the first story in Men That Hack as part of my KODT live readings for years, and the additional material by Jolly Blackburn suits the strips quite well.  The second story, put together from webstrips and new material, is also quite funny, from Bob and Dave paying to roll up decent characters (and suffering from the dreaded Appendix Q table) to the overarmed and under-intelligent players messing everything up.  There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments through both stories, and Men That Hack shows that the Knights can be as amusingly incompetent in the spy world as in the medieval fantasy world.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

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