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Go to the Legendary Encounters: An ALIEN Deckbuilding Game page
inmarg {Avid Gamer} Mar 6th, 2015
“Deck building Alienated”


Legendary Encounters: An Alien deck building game is a follow up to the same game set in the Marvel universe. In LE:A you have the chance to play through all 4 Alien movies.
The difference here is that this is full coop. Although there are rules for an alien player I suspect most will play it this way.


Let me start with the biggest issue of the game. Setup (and cleanup). As mentioned above you can play through all 4 movies or you can mix and match as you may want. However, each movie has 3 different Alien decks as well as 4 different character decks which needs to be prepared. Keeping it to one movie at a time will at least help you save some time. Thankfully the mat you get in the box is great and makes it very easy to keep decks separated.

The Alien deck is prepared by selecting three objectives named 1, 2 and 3 containing 9, 11 and 13 cards. In addition a number of drone cards equal to the number of players are shuffled into each. The objective 3 deck is placed on the bottom, objective 2 above that and finally objective 1 so you’ll have an alien deck made up of 33 + (#players * 3) cards.

The hero deck is simply 4 of the 16 character decks shuffled together and then the top 5 are added to the HQ field on the player mat ready for hiring. Each player then receives a deck of 7 specialists and 5 grunts plus their character role card which is shuffled to form a startdeck while an avatar card is placed in front of you to keep track of your life points.

A strike deck is shuffled and placed on a designated spot. You’ll draw from this deck whenever you’re attacked (not if, when!). Also there are spots for location and the active objective. Now you’re ready to start.


A turn is built up on the following 4 steps:

– Add 1 facedown alien card to the complex
– Play cards and perform actions
– Aliens in the combat zone attack you
– Discard all cards and draw 6 new cards

On your turn you’ll start by drawing a facedown card from the alien deck adding it to the rightmost spot of the complex, pushing cards one spot to the left if there are any. If the complex is full the card in the leftmost area is flipped up and added to the combat zone if an enemy, or resolved if it is an event or hazard.

After resolving the alien card you may play cards from your hand for actions, recruiting points and/or combat points. Recruitment points are used to hire cards from HQ to your deck and combat is of course used to battle aliens. However, you may not fight an enemy while facedown. Each location has a sombat value needed to scan the card (between 2 and 4) which needs to be done before you can fight it. Scanning an area allows you to flip up the card. Any events or hazards are resolved immediately as well as reveal effects on aliens.

After you’re done and if there are still aliens in the combat zone they attack you and you’ll draw 1 strike card for each alien attacking you with each strike card ranging from 1 to 5 hit points. If the total amount of hit points taken reaches the the number on your avatar you will be killed and eliminated from the game.

Finally if you’re still alive you discard all cards, both used and unused, and draw 6 new ones.

Coordinate and Vigilant:

Two keywords that need an extra mention are these two. Coordinate is probably the most important feature of the game. A character with coordinate allows you to play the card on another player’s turn and letting them use it. In addition you will draw a replacement card for this. Using coordinate is often the difference between winning and losing as it allows you to defeat the most difficult monsters and recruit the most expensive cards.

Vigilant isn’t half bad either as cards played with vigilant can be kept on the table from turn to turn until the ability is used. This also gives you the opportunity to save up for a big recruit / fight.


I’ve always enjoyed the deck building genre but Legendary Encounters: Alien takes it one step further implementing a clear theme which works like a charm. The deft little touch about adding cards facedown makes this a tense experience from the go:

– Do I dare scan a room?
– What is the event?
– What is the hazard?
– Worst of all, could it be a facehugger?
– Can you help if it is a hugger?

It all comes together to form a great adventure and puts you directly in the claustrophobic setting of the movies.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
1 out of 1 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Smash Up Fan
Go to the Smash Up: Monster Smash page
8 of 8 gamers thought this was helpful
burgerchief {Casual Gamer} Mar 5th, 2015
“It's Alive! (Lightning Crashes) And it's breaking bases!”

A Note on the Smash-Up Expansions as a whole…
So far I own the base set, Awesome 9000, and the Science Fiction Double Feature sets. I really enjoy playing Smash Up, so picking up Monster Smash was a no-brainer. I really like how each one of the expansions effectively use the theme of the faction to create unique decks and add new bases. I find each expansion continues the theme of “discovery” with finding new combinations (it’s a temporary thrill, but still is fun). The expansions also change strategy because you will change how you play depending on your opponent’s strategy, the number of opponents, the house rules, the bases, and the factions that are battling. Let’s look to see if this new expansion does the same…

Monster Smash! Power UP!
If you enjoy the other expansions, then you will probably enjoy this expansion as well. While the Awesome 9000 and Sci Fi expansions were a mix of power, defense, and support factions, this one is all about power! Specifically, moving power, being powerful at certain times, and adding more power.

Monster Smash adds the “+1 power counter” which are just the victory point tokens that you use to show added power in specific situations.

The Factions!
Like the other factions, these are unique, use the theme for inspiration, and play differently from other factions.

-Mad Scientists: Mad scientists are a faction that manufactures power and turns power into different actions. They have cards that add power each turn, and minions that add power to other minions when destroyed. They do other things with power tokens, including destroying them to play extra minions, scrapping cards to play tokens, or destroying power tokens to destroy other minions. They can generate power, then use that power for sneaky purposes.

-Werewolves: These guys don’t use power tokens as much as the other factions, but this doesn’t mean they lack power. They gain power at specific times. They have the ability to add power the first time they are played, as a talent temporarily, or as a base breaks. This makes them easier to bring out and good with breaking bases, but some minions are weaker on other player’s turns. Their actions focus on playing temporary power and some attack cards.

– Giant Ants: Get those power tokens ready. Giant Ants have a very low printed power compared with other factions, probably the lowest. They have 4 “workers” who have a printed power of 0, but start with 2 power tokens. These gigantic insects bring out the power tokens quickly, and the lowly worker ant can quickly become a powerhouse. Most of the actions and abilities of the minions are about putting down power tokens, moving power tokens from one minion to another, and increasing the power of those power tokens temporarily.

-Vampires: Possibly the trickiest to play out of the bunch. They gain power from other players minions being destroyed, but most of their attack cards focus on minions of power 2 or less. They have cards that play weaker minions from the discard pile, minions that get stronger if you destroy your own cards, minions that gain power from being weaker than your opponent, and some other ways to add power tokens. They seem to be best with destroying their own minions which, depending on bases and pairings (destroying your own gremlins at the cave of shinies?), could make them powerful and annoying.

All in All
This expansion does what a lot of the other Smash Up expansions did:
1.Adds variety with bases and factions.
2.Adds element of “discovery” to old factions as you find new combos.
3.Creates new, powerful faction combinations and counters to other factions.
This one also…
4.Adds a fun new mechanic (power tokens) that allows for more strategy, or changes old strategies.

I think the Mad Scientists and Giant Ants are 2 of the most fun factions to play out of any set (they’re not the best necessarily, I just enjoy playing them). I like the power tokens, they add new mechanics and strategies to the game without changing game play or game time too much.

I wouldn’t get this as your first expansion. I think Awesome 9000 is more of a natural extension of the base set and a better first expansion. If you have one or two other expansions and like them, then you should get this expansion as well. If you tried Smash Up with expansions and still don’t like it, this expansion probably won’t change your opinion.

Is this my favorite set? No, I like Science Fiction Double Feature more as a whole. However, if you own other expansions, I highly recommend this set.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
8 out of 8 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Old Bones
Go to the One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Daybreak page
11 of 15 gamers thought this was helpful
Paladin {Avid Gamer} Mar 4th, 2015
“Chaotic, Confusing, and Just Plain Messy.”

It’s Saturday Night at the Paladin’s Love Shack and we’ve got guests over for a party. The Lady went and invited one-too-many people, or two-too-many or even three-too-many, and now we can’t play any six-player board games. What’s a gamer with a gaming itch to do?

Oh, wait! Good thing I love hidden role games!

There’s no question that The Resistance has become the favorite Mafia-style game of accusing and murdering your friends, thanks to its no player elimination mechanics and short play time. But more and more hidden role games keep popping up lately, from Bang! to Moriarty’s Machinations to Mascarade.

True party games, these can sometimes accommodate ten or twelve players, ensuring that nobody has to sit it out or watch from the sidelines — unless the game’s mechanics include the dreaded elimination.

But despite all the really cool themes and innovations out there, something just feels visceral and perfect and classic about playing a good game of Werewolf, despite the fact that, about five minutes into the game, someone is immediately lynched and eliminated.

But wait — I can play Werewolf in a single round, with no eliminations?

Yes, you can. We all can. The game is called One Night Ultimate Werewolf and it has a sister game slash expansion, called Daybreak.

In One Night, players go through one round of actions to gain clues about each others’ roles, and then there is a single “Who’s the Werewolf?” discussion followed by an execution. If a werewolf is killed, the villagers win. If a villager is killed, the werewolves win. It takes about ten minutes — longer if you’re silly and set the app to allow each player 30 seconds for their action. No, seriously. Don’t do this. 15 seconds is plenty.

Much like the seer or hunter or child in classic werewolf, nearly a dozen different characters with special abilities are tucked into this portable box. Each is beautifully illustrated in a cartoon style that really pops, and printed on heavy, sturdy card stock for easy and silent manipulation of character cards when other players have their eyes closed.

Included are a few other tokens, like a shield to designate who the sentinel defends or artifacts that the curator randomly drops on a card, for no reason other than laughs and “because it’s funny”.

Werewolves get to recognize each other, as usual. The Alpha Wolf, if there is one, can turn another player into a werewolf — to his detriment mechanically, so I have no idea why.

Other roles allow you to look at cards, trade cards, protect or sabotage cards, and a variety of actions that, ultimately, give you very little information about your opponents or the location of the werewolves except by an incredible stroke of luck.

Oh, and you’re playing with the village idiot role? He goes last, and shifts everyone’s card except his own one place to the left or right. So any investigating you did could very well be for naught.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Daybreak gave us a lot of laughs for the two short rounds we played. Half the laughter was at the ridiculous background “music” selected for round two, which was howling, snarling, angry wolves that drowned out the narrator in the app. Oops, guess I should have tested it first!

But other than the laughs, it delivered only confusion and chaos for my group. When the time came to argue over who to execute, the most normally-vocal players were silent and dumbstruck.

So, should you try or buy this game?

When you consider that there’s no information gathering at all in the classic Werewolf party game, I will cheerfully agree that this is a step forward. It shakes up the roles and even werewolves won’t know if they’re actually a werewolf, when it comes time to string someone up.

But with so many other options out there these days offering a hidden role experience that allows for deduction and coercion, a game where you roll the dice, cross your fingers, and hope you’ve just ganked a werewolf has no place.

Much like Cards Against Humanity or the upcoming, obnoxious Exploding Kittens, I’ll classify this as more of a novelty than a game. Break it out when you want some laughs, and put it away after a round or two of mind-boggling random finger pointing.

Light hidden role & “deduction”, classic party game. Not recommended — skip it and grab Bang! Dice instead.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
11 out of 15 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Gamer - Level 2
Go to the Cosmic Encounter page
14 of 14 gamers thought this was helpful
Dogtorted {Avid Gamer} Mar 4th, 2015
“I have a new favourite game!”

I love this game. Like loooove it! Like want to marry it and have its little Cosmic Babies kind of love. Why you ask? Here’s some of my favourite things about this sexy beast of a game.

It’s easy to learn!
I’m definitely the most hardcore gamer in my group of friends. I do exhaustive amounts of research, buy the games, teach the games and host the games nights. Other than my partner and one good friend, the rest of my gang aren’t regular gamers, so I have to be careful what I present them with. CE seems pretty complex when you first bring it out, but people catch on so quickly that it only takes 1/2 a game for everyone to “get” it. I always leave out the flare cards for the first run through and add them in for Game #2. There is ALWAYS a game #2 after the learning game.

No down time!
This is a rarity in games. You are always engaged, whether it’s your turn or not. Even if you aren’t a main player, you might get asked to help with the defense or the offense. Or you may just decide to play a card to shaft people just because.

Infinite replay value!
OK, it’s not infinite. That would require a box full of aliens that would be so massive it would create a black hole on my gaming shelf. Math was never my strong suit. But with 50 aliens in the base game alone there is a remarkable amount of replay value. The way the different alien powers interact with each other changes depending on which ones are included. I keep thinking I have a “favourite” alien until I play again and have a new favourite.

It doesn’t overstay its welcome!
I love a meaty, epic, hours long game as much as the next guy….unfortunately the “next guy” isn’t in my gaming circle. This is not an epic game by any means, and sometimes is over really quickly, which just means we get to play more than one run through every time it hits the table.

It embraces silliness and chaos!
If you are a heavy strategy gamer who likes to plan out their entire game and then just apply your decisions, this is NOT the game for you. If you’re in the mood to be silly, to laugh and backstab and generally have a ridiculous time, this is MUST buy. There’s plenty of “serious” games out there…this is not one of them.

No ganging up on one player!
This is why all the chaos is so much fun…who you attack on your turn is determined by a deck of cards. It’s not personal (OK, so maybe it’s a little personal, and there are wild cards so you can seek revenge) which makes everyone loosen up a bit. It really helps get into the fun when the newb you’re playing with doesn’t feel like everyone is taking advantage of them.

If you like fun, screaming, laughter, “how could you DO that?!” and a hefty amount of silliness in your gaming, I highly recommend that you give it a try. I’m truly obsessed with this gem, and I haven’t even gone down the expansion rabbit hole yet!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
14 out of 14 gamers thought this review was helpful
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I play blue
Spread the Word
Go to the Star Fluxx page
10 of 10 gamers thought this was helpful
gamerdad {Avid Gamer} Mar 4th, 2015
“ Space!”

For those of you who don’t know what Calvinball is, it is a game Calvin – from the comic strip ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ – made up. And if you don’t know Calvin and Hobbes, you should definitely check it out! There is only one rule to Calvinball, and the one rule is that it cannot be played the same way twice. I haven’t played other Fluxx games, but I know that the basis of the game remains the same and the themes change.

Star Fluxx is a card based game where the players change the rules and objectives required to win. Every game starts out the same – draw one card and play one card. But with cards changing rules and objectives, the game takes different twists and turns. The deck of cards contains rule cards, which change rules, goal cards, which tell you what needs to happen in order for someone to win, action cards, which let you do something, keeper/creeper cards, which you need in order to complete the/a goal, and surprise cards, which can ruin an opponent’s (or your own) plan.

To win the game, you need to have the appropriate keepers (or creepers) in your possession that match the current goal card.

You may already be visualizing how crazy this game can become. Never have I played a game where you can be so close to winning, and in a split second, you’re not even close. A positive about this is that everyone playing has a chance to win, and everyone also has a chance to foil someone else’s plans!

On top of that, add a sci-fi theme to it, and you’re going to get a lot of nerdy jokes mashing up all sorts of well known sci-fi tales, including Star Wars and Star Trek. The more you know sci-fi, the more enjoyable this game will be.

And if you aren’t a sci-fi buff, that’s ok because this game plays well and will make sense to you even if you don’t get some of the references (but if you’ve seen Star Wars, you’ll get a lot of the references).

While I enjoy this game, it is certainly not a ‘go-to’ game for me. It’s easy to teach and learn, but the unpredictability of the game can be frustrating to new players. And the unpredictability leads to erratic game lengths. The game can last 10 minutes, or 45 minutes, depending on what cards are played. On the positive side, the unpredictability increases its replay value.

Component-wise, the cards are ok. The artwork is fun and the cards do a good job of explaining how they work, but the card quality itself is just ok. If you play it a lot, they’ll get dog eared pretty easily. The instruction manual is marginally helpful. If you haven’t played the game before, the manual won’t make much sense. But the instructions DO say that the best way to learn it is to play it, and I totally agree with that. The cards tell you how to play.

Overall, if you are into sci-fi and randomness with a little bit of strategy and a good amount of luck, this is a good game. For the price, it packs a lot of fun. It’s a lighthearted game which creates a friendly atmosphere, so family, casual, social, and even avid gamers would like it. Strategy and power gamers, *uses Jedi mind powers* “this is not the game you’re looking for…now move along.”

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
10 out of 10 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Military Service
Go to the Cutthroat Caverns page
5 of 24 gamers thought this was helpful
masongamer {Avid Gamer} Mar 4th, 2015
“Kill Friends and Take All the Loot”

Cutthroat Caverns is the aptly titled take that card game that takes Munchkin and turns the volume up to 11. In the game you are all adventurers trying to get out of a dungeon with a powerful artifact. To escape you must face no less than 9 monsters and survive direct and indirect attacks from fellow party members because no one wants to share. The final objective is to be the last man standing, but you don’t want to kill off your friends too soon.

I would play this with an established group that doesn’t mind take that game play.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
5 out of 24 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Military Service
Go to the Star Realms page
28 of 43 gamers thought this was helpful
masongamer {Avid Gamer} Mar 4th, 2015
“Gateway Deckbuilder”

Star Realms is a great introduction to deckbuilding games. It is fast and very portable and I always find after one play we always tend to play another round, and another, and another, ect. There is some strategy involved but the the cards that come up for purchase make it pretty random, so you have to change strategies on the fly.

There are expansion packs that can be added to the game so the game play can be customized a bit. Overall it is a great filler game.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
28 out of 43 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Gamer - Level 2
Go to the Deus page
12 of 13 gamers thought this was helpful
Dogtorted {Avid Gamer} Mar 3rd, 2015
“It's NOT a civilization game...but what it does it does well”

For those of you who don’t want to read my entire review I’ll give you a summary: I LOVE this game!

Ignore all the people calling this a “civilization” or “civ-lite” game…it’s not. It’s a fun Euro game trying to be deceptive. If you go in expecting a world building epic you’ll be sorely disappointed.

In a nutshell, you’re trying to play cards from your hands for points. The cards correspond to one of the Roman gods and you can play them in one of two ways. Either place the card down in the corresponding space on your tableau (paying the cost in resources and/or money to do so) then place a building out on the game board and then get the bonus listed on the card OR you “sacrifice” the card (and any other cards you don’t want) to the corresponding god and get the bonus associated with the god. You’ll either get money, resources, extra cards, victory points, or extra buildings to place.

The twist is that when you place another card down you not only get the bonus for the card you just laid, but the bonuses for every other card in that column, starting at the bottom with the first card and ending with the card you just played.

It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but after a play through you’ll start to get the ebb and flow of the game. Do I have a good set of cards to work with? Yes? Super! Erm, except I don’t have the resources to play them! Do I have any cards to get the resources I need? Uh…OK, time to sacrifice to the gods!

The great thing about the mechanic is you aren’t constrained by your cards, because if you hate them you can just toss them for a benefit and draw some new cards. I’ve played games where I had an incredibly good opening hand full of cards that had good synergy and games where I was sacrificing left right and centre in order to get something I needed.

Like most Euro’s, there’s not a huge amount of player interaction. You can definitely block people on the board from building in a certain area and a few cards let you steal victory points but it’s mostly a solitary experience. has a nice free version so you can “try before you buy”!

(Oh, and to whoever did the main write up…the reason you start with some victory points in hand is to prevent you from being penned in. You can pay victory points to break the rule that says you have to build adjacent to one of your own buildings)

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
12 out of 13 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Intermediate Reviewer
Old Bones
Go to the King of New York page
11 of 11 gamers thought this was helpful
Paladin {Avid Gamer} Mar 3rd, 2015
“Vandalize a City! Eat a Tank! Clobber Your Monster Friends! And More!”

First, let’s quickly do a nutshell recap the well-loved fan favorite, King of Tokyo.

You’ve got four options in the original: beat up another monster, heal yourself, collect points, or save up energy for cool powers that relate to those three things. Toughed it out in Tokyo for a whole round? Here’s a minuscule amount of points — why aren’t you beating up monsters?

But that’s the appealing part of King of Tokyo. It’s easy to learn, plays fast, and is accessible whether you’re a hardcore gamer just looking for silly, cartoon-monster fun, or a novice that until recently thought Uno and Scattergories constitute modern tabletop gaming.

Arguments and outright brawls over who gets to play Cyber Bunny aside, there’s a lot of bang in that box for your 6-person dinner parties or break room gatherings. Non-gamer friends will stop by more often and drop hints that in exchange for the delicious chips and dip they brought over, maybe you can break out that monster game with the fancy black and green dice.

And then came King of New York.

King of New York is the gamer’s version of it’s younger sibling. It’s full of semi-thoughtful decisions, careful-ish planning, and “Oh no, I didn’t mean to do that!” moments.

What’s so different about IELLO’s redux of this dice-tosser?

First of all, the board is separated into five boroughs, with Manhattan playing the role that Tokyo once served as the central “mountain” each king wants to stand upon and beat his or her monstrous, scaly or furry chest.

That’s right, folks: all monsters get to hang out on a board through the entire game now, and not lounge at the fringes on your dining room table until it’s their turn to take the throne.

Also, the dice! Gone are the 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s that would pop up on your dice and elicit a mighty yawn from your lips as, instinctively, you’d reach out to re-roll them. Was that triple 3’s?! Who cares — rolling numbers is lame!

Welcome to the party your new friends: Celebrity, Destruction, and Ouch!

Celebrity is the new stand-in for those victory point numbers, taking the form of a star. Alone, a star is worthless, but roll three and you score a single point — but also the ability to get a victory point for EACH star rolled on future turns. If someone else happens to roll three stars on their turn, though? Too bad for you, pass that ”Superstar” card over!

Destruction looks like a broken building, and that’s exactly what it’s used for. Stacks of tokens occupy each borough with a value of 1 to 3, and using the indicated number of Destruction results obliterates a building, allowing you to reap the rewards of Victory Points, Health, or Energy — but also summons the military! Each tile flips into jeeps, jets, or tanks in response to your flagrant disrespect for public property. The good news? You can use your Destruction results to smash them for victory points, too!

Just don’t roll an “Ouch!” Just one of these will cause all of the military in your borough to open fire on you, causing one point of damage each. Two “Ouch!” skulls? You and a monster sharing your borough get an Air Strike Back Massage. You rolled three skulls?! Every military token in the city looses its volley of carnage on every single monster. It’s going to get messy.

This is a solid sequel. If you don’t like the new characters — which frankly I don’t, because they’re a huge stretch from the classics like The King, Gigazaur, and The Kraken — you can very easily substitute in your favorite characters from the original. Characters are still purely aesthetic, with boards that include a spinner with 12 Health and 20 VP.

Should you try or buy this game?

If you loved King of Tokyo enough to have played it even a handful of times, then yes! New York adds evolving and dynamic elements to the playing field, as monsters now have more ways to score Victory Points and more ways to take damage — Manhattan isn’t so appealing when there are two jets, a jeep, and a tank firing at anyone who rolls a skull!

If you played the original and found the formula of wounds, heals, and points a little to repetitive, head to a friend’s house or board game cafe and give this one a try — it’s especially entertaining with a group of 5 or 6.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
11 out of 11 gamers thought this review was helpful
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Amateur Advisor
Amateur Reviewer
Go to the Munchkin page
9 of 10 gamers thought this was helpful
Eragar {Avid Gamer} Mar 3rd, 2015
“Munchkin--A Mathematician's Review to 11”

One of the first games I found to be really enjoyable–and one that I could play at an early age–Munchkin holds a special place in my childhood memories. Killing monsters, getting treasure, killing bigger monsters, getting more treasure. Learning the secrets of wizardry and martial prowess…
Good times.

I don’t enjoy the game as much as I used to, but I will happily pull it out every now and then. It’s still fun.

When playing Munchkin, your turn consists of a few phases. Your ultimate goal is to get to level 10.

Kick Down the Door
You flip over the top card of the Door deck. If it’s a monster, you fight it. If it’s a curse, you are cursed and do what the card says. If the card is anything else, you put it into your hand and either Loot the Room or go Looking for Trouble (more on that in a bit)

If you drew a monster (or went looking for trouble) you now get to fight it. The monster will have a level. You will add up all of your bonuses (your level, all your equipment, any other things you might have), and if your total value is higher than the level of the monster you kill it, go up a level, and draw as many treasure cards as the monster told you to.
Running Away
If the monster’s level is equal to or higher than your combat value, you have to run away. To do this, you roll a die (d6). On a roll of 5 or 6 you run away, on 1-4 the monster catches you and the Bad Stuff on the card happens. This can range from losing your headgear to losing multiple levels and dying.

Looking for Trouble/Looting the Room
If you didn’t draw a monster when you kicked down the door you have two options–You can Look for Trouble by playing a monster out of your hand and fighting it. Or you can Loot the Room by drawing the next card on the Door deck and putting it into your hand.

Throughout your turn you can also play cards (some cards you can’t play during combat, others you can play at any time). You continue playing until someone reaches level 10, at which point the game immediately ends and that person wins. It’s all pretty simple.

Now The Stats

Complexity: 5/11
Munchkin, like most games, is a little bit overwhelming at first. It’s actually quite simple–Fight monsters, do some addition to see if you win, keep fighting monsters until you get to level 10.

Components: 6.375/11
Box: 5.75/11
Picture. Words. Short saying on what the game is about.
Cards: 6.25/11
Not too stiff, not too flimsy. Artwork isn’t the best, but it fits the theme very well.
Artwork: 8/11
Like I just said, the artwork is kind of meh–but it fits incredibly well, and so I have to give it an above average rating.
Rulebook: 6.5/11
Made of slightly thicker material than most rulebooks. Nicely colored like everything else.

Cost Value: 7/11
I bought the game for between $20 and $25. It comes out every now and then, especially with my younger siblings. I like it.

Replayability: 6.5/11
There are lots of cards (especially if you are playing with expansions). This means that not the same people will get the same cards. You don’t always have the chance to be an Elf Warrior. Sometimes you are a Dwarf Cleric or just a Classless Human throughout the game.

Strategic Elements: 7/11
Classes and Races: 7/11
You can choose to drop or change your class and race at any time. This allows some strategy. Do you keep being a Wizard while you fight the monster that has +5 against wizards? Do you become a Thief so you can steal that bow? Choices come up sometimes, and you have to decide.
Curses: 8/11
Curses throw a great wrench into people’s plans. They can be played at any time–even during combat. This means that dropping a really nasty one on someone can completely screw them up while they’re fighting and result in some terrible Bad Stuff happening to them.
Monster Enhancers: 7.5/11
This is the other thing that can be dropped on monsters during combat to make them stronger (or weaker), but it is more anticipated and more easily countered. It also has the problem of giving your opponent more treasure if they win the combat (although you can play Monster Enhancers on your own combats to get more treasures yourself, and that isn’t a problem).
Miscellaneous: 5.5/11
Besides the above, there isn’t much else with strategy. Just simple tactics on what is the best thing to do at the moment.

Social Value: 8.083/11
Ease of Teaching: 9/11
The game is simple, and simple is easy to teach and to learn. Kick Down the Door, do some addition, resolve combat. Get to level 10 to win.
Discussion During Play: 8.5/11
Player 1: “Hey, will you help me kill this monster? I’ll give you 2 treasures of your choice.”
Player 2: “Okay, I’ll help you.”
Player 3: “No! Don’t help him. If you help him, I’ll curse you.”
P 1: “Don’t worry about the curse. If you help me, I’ll use my Wishing Ring to get rid of it.”
Player helps and gets cursed.
P 1: “I’m going to save my Wishing Ring for later.”
P 2: “But you said–”
P 1: “Yes, I did. And you believed me.”
P 3: “I told you not to help him…”
Discussion After Play: 6.75/11
There isn’t much to talk about with Munchkin, just like most games, but there can be some funny stories–the first time there was a shared victory because my 9th level elf offered to help another level 9 player. The times someone is level 9 and has a combat value of 30+ and they’re about to win, but then the monster becomes Ancient and Enraged and Humongous… And has a Mate! And so that person loses and the Bad Stuff sends them back to level 1 (and then they end up winning the game anyway).

Thematic Value: 9/11
Pseudo RPG-ness: 9/11
While playing Munchkin, you feel like you are pretending to play D&D. The class and race cards match what you would expect in a role-playing game. You get excited when you go up a level or when you get a really cool weapon.
Artwork: 9/11
The art fits the tongue-in-cheek this-isn’t-really-D&D-but-we-pretend-it-is. Oversized armor, weapons with absurd names, and random references you won’t get if you haven’t played some Dungeons and Dragons.

Rules Clarity: 8.917/11
Clarity of Writing: 8/11
Everything is written down in the rulebook somewhere. Death, trading, curses; it’s all there. There is also no flavor text, which hurts the theme slightly (or would, if the theme were serious), but also means that there isn’t much room at all for confusion. Everything is short and to the point.
Pictures/Diagrams: –/11
There aren’t any. Interestingly, this doesn’t detract from the clarity of the rules, so I won’t give it a low score.
Text on Cards: 9/11
Again, everything is there, and it is self-explanatory.
Miscellaneous: 9.75/11
There are some minor things that aren’t spelled out, but they are very easy to work out yourself. In the case of a disagreement, the rules tell you to argue about it until it’s worked out (or until someone gives up arguing and just does what they’re trying to do).

Balance: 7/11
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! This is Munchkin! There is no balance!

Actually, seriously, there is balance. But the game loves to pretend there isn’t.
Classes: 8/11
Unlike the races, these are fairly well balanced. Each is different, but they all work. All of them require you to discard cards.
Races: 4/11
Dwarves can hold an extra card and use multiple big items. Meh. Halflings can sell one item at double. Slightly better. Elves bet +1 to run away and also gain a level when they help someone. That’s pretty good.
Equipment: 9/11
The items and cards you draw are actually quite balanced–with a few exceptions (read: Knee Pads of Allure).

Fun Level: 7.5/11
This last element is a little bit arbitrary. It is my true rating of the game, regardless of averages (I tend to enjoy most of the games I have played). This is just a simple scale to 10 11, with no averages or equations or careful logic. Just about how much I like playing the game.
I honestly like this game. It isn’t my favorite, but I like it, and I would recommend it to most anyone. I’m glad I have it.


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