Munchkin - Board Game Box Shot

Munchkin

Munchkin title

Go down in the dungeon. Kill everything you meet. Backstab your friends and steal their stuff. Grab the treasure and run.

Admit it. You love it.

Munchkin is the mega-hit card game about dungeon adventure . . . with none of that stupid roleplaying stuff. You and your friends compete to kill monsters and grab magic items. And what magic items! Don the Horny Helmet and the Boots of Butt-Kicking. Wield the Staff of Napalm . . . or maybe the Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment. Start by slaughtering the Potted Plant and the Drooling Slime, and work your way up to the Plutonium Dragon . . .

And it's illustrated (now in full color!) by John Kovalic!

Fast-playing and silly, Munchkin can reduce any roleplaying group to hysteria. And, while they're laughing, you can steal their stuff.

Munchkin box and contents
image © Steve Jackson Games

User Reviews (97)

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6
The Silver Heart
Video Game Fan
Australia
5
84 of 92 gamers found this helpful
“Funny at first”

Gameplay
You start with a character at level 1 with the aim of being the first to reach level 10, I will give a brief overview of the gameplay. The game has two decks, door cards and treasure cards. On your turn you pick up a door card, if it is a monster you can fight it – winning results in levelling up and receiving treasure, losing results in the ‘bad stuff’ on the card e.g. lose your head gear. If you don’t pick up a monster then you can fight a monster in your hand or get some treasure by looting the room. Other cards you pick up consist of races (e.g. elf) and classes (e.g. thief) for your hero, each with their own special ability; curses; equipable items such as armor and weapons; items that can be thrown into battle to help you or the monster – i.e. to help you win a fight and to make others loose fights and other random cards that mix things up. Players can help each other along the way but allegiances do not last…

Generally everybody is nice to each other until people reach about level 8 and then everything changes and instead everybody will be boosting up the monster you are fighting to make you lose.

Who is it for?
This game is far from serious, I would put it in the category for casual and social gamer but the theme is very much geared towards people who are familiar with the rpg world.

Pros
– The cards are funny and if you like dungeons and dragons then you will have a great time playing this game
– A good social game where you can just have a laugh with friends

Cons
– The rulebook is very confusing, it is best to learn from someone who has played the game before
– Very random and luck driven
– Replayability is low, once you’ve seen the cards then the jokes tend to get old. There are many many expansion packs however.
– Not for people who don’t like confrontation. This game can cause arguments

Should you own this game?
This game is fun to take out every now and again for a light gameplay experience or when drinking with friends but it lacks replayability. This game is not for people who like a deeper strategic game.

 
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7
I play blue
Book Lover
Intermediate Reviewer
Smash Up: Ninja Faction Fan
9
79 of 88 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Munchkin:”

MUNCH – KIN
[noun]
1. a child or small person (origin: the “Munchkins,” depicted as a race of small childlike creatures, in L. Frank Baum’s 1900 work,The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
2. a classification of role-playing gamer who prioritizes game objectives such as loot and experience points over character development and narrative quality
3. a light card game designed by Steve Jackson that mimics and parodies classic role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons in a simplified dungeon crawl, where players – i.e. “Munchkins,” impish adventurers out for their own advantage at the expense of their fellow party members – draw “door” cards, resolve what they encounter, and win “loot” cards, until one “Munchkin” advances to level 10 and wins the game
4. a family of card games expanding the original game into several genres and themes, e.g. Super Munchkin

[adjective]
5. describing a number of board and card games transposing the artwork and characters of the original card game into new iterations of other existing games, e.g. Munchkin Loot Letter

How I Discovered Munchkin and Fell in Love with It
I was introduced to the Munchkin card games through the Munchkin Booty variant by some friends, and had a great first game. The card artwork was cheeky, and the puns and allusions on the cards hooked me. It was exactly my sense of humor, and at first blush, this game quickly joined my newly-formed Top 5 list. I bought the Munchkin Deluxe box for my birthday, hoping that the original game would scratch my growing itch for D&D. I love the little “Munchkin” miniatures and the dungeon map board that replaced an improvised level counter system: they made the game feel more like the large-scale RPG experience I craved. I loved looking through the cards and laughing at the artwork and concepts.

My Growing Dissatisfaction
But once I played it once or twice, I quickly became disenchanted:
– The game excels with larger numbers, so 2-player games with my wife were lackluster at best.
– The game demands a “take-that,” backstabbing, kind of play that is only really possible with certain combinations of cards, making the group experience frustratingly limited.
– The game promises a high replay-ability because of its wide variety of combinations for randomized character creation: races, classes, weapons, armor, etc; but as funny as the equipment cards are, they rarely add to the experience of play unless players really exercise their imagination, and much of the equipment is sold for levels without ever factoring into play.
– The game’s familiar dungeon crawl theme suggests a large-scale party dynamic, but actual play is usually very short and individual – one player flips over a monster from the “door” deck, resolves their combat, draws that monster’s amount of “loot” cards, and the next player goes.

Why I’m Only Now Writing a Review
I love this game’s theme, and its wit, and its art. I want to love this game’s easy-to-teach mechanics and RPG concept.
But this game has been collecting dust for a number of reasons:
– The theme is very nerdy up front, and when I try to explain it to non-nerd/non-gamer friends and family, they usually opt for something more accessible and concrete (usually either disease- or train-related…).
– Hoping to add variety and rejuvenate the game, I bought a number of expansions, paying probably twice the cost of the original game. There are now so many cards that players rarely draw even a fraction of them, and the work involved in sorting and selecting an appropriate number of cards that offer an enjoyable play experience far outweighs the actual play time.
– The rulebook is terrible. It over-complicates what should be a simple game by trying to address all the potential hiccups and squabbles without actually resolving any of them.
– Most of all, the stuttering pace of the game is very distracting. The game usually starts very slow, as players develop an understanding for play and try to work out how they’re supposed to relate to the other players in their “party.” Play continues slowly for four or five rounds, reading the cards out loud and laughing, exploring how much a person can do with what they have. By the time those dynamics are familiar, one player has reached level seven or eight, and becomes a target for the other players’ interference. The pace ramps up suddenly, leaving some people way behind and advancing one person to level nine: that last encounter before level 10 drags on and on as everyone throws their last possible wrench into the game, and all of those wrenches – wandering monsters, curses, and other disadvantages – take forever to resolve, and still that person usually comes out the winner.

My Conclusion (TL;DR)
Munchkin frustrates: I want to love this game, because it promises so much to a nerd who is far, far away from his college D&D group a long time ago. That’s why I rated it so high after first playing! But “Munchkin” is as “Munchkin” does. Just like my friends who ruined the quality, story, and characters of our D&D encounters by trying to go out alone or screw everyone over for XP, Munchkin delivers exactly what it promises: purposeless backstabbing, truncated and overly simplistic play experience, and mounting tension between players only out for themselves. I would now rate this game at only a 5. I want to love this game, but I cannot any longer. I give up.

 
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7
Master Grader
Novice Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
I'm Completely Obsessed
8
48 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“A game of chaos, betrayal and silly cartoon pictures”

Hilarious at times and infuriating at others, this game is well known to produce a crazy good experience. The cards are funny, the combos are overpowered and everyone cheats. Just a few of the reasons I love this game.

The basis of the game is this. You are a Munchkin. You and your fellow Munchkins go down into the dungeon and fight monsters, get loot and go home. Pretty straightforward. The interesting part comes when your so called Munchkin “friends” end up being more detrimental to your health than the monsters. See, it’s not about just winning and getting the loot, it’s about being the ONLY ONE winning and getting the loot.

As you progress through the game every player ends up with various cards they can use to hinder their friends/opponents. These can be used during battle to help the monster or just because you didn’t want them to have that particular weapon they seem to value so much. Oh, don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be that much of a jerk. You can help your fellow Munchkins in a fight…but then you have to share that sweet sweet precious loot, and that just doesn’t seem fair considering it is your loot. Besides, they are cheating anyway.

Holding a small weapon in one hand and a small shield in the other makes perfect sense. But what if you wanted to also carry a chainsaw and possibly a giant two handed ax as well. It may be cumbersome and look quite awkward but with a Cheat chard (or two in this case) you are completely allowed to do this no matter how little sense it would make. A single Cheat card allows you to use any weapon you would otherwise not be allowed to use. Already wearing a helmet? Play a cheat card and now you have two helmets on. It may look cool or stupid, but you now get the benefits from both so who cares what you look like.

Keep a light hearted approach to the game and all the backstabbing will become hilarious instead of infuriating. The exact details of things might become a little difficult to keep track of throughout the game but embrace the anarchy and go with the flow and even when someone does something wrong it’s quite entertaining.

Pros:
-Humorous art and flavor text. Good quality.
-Chaotic fun.
-Easy to get going and tons of expansions to add to the mix later.
-The silliness of the games makes even losing amusing.

Cons:
-The chaotic nature of the game can turn some people off.
-Some rules can become a little confusing at times with certain card combos.
-Not everyone finds backstabbing or getting backstabbed enjoyable.
-The strategy is not very deep. Lots of random chance.

Conclusion:
If you are looking for an affordable game that will appeal to a large group of people, even people new to board games/card games, Munchkin is an easy choice. The humor is obvious and the rules are easy to understand most of the time. Munchkin is a game that is usually a hit when I introduce it to someone even if it’s not the most in depth game. It probably won’t be a game you play with your group every time you get together, but when it does come out, expect it to be fun.

 
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2
I play black
7
46 of 52 gamers found this helpful
“Enjoyable, so long as you have good, interested friends. And beer.”

Munchkin isn’t for everyone. While it takes a lighthearted approach to roleplaying games in general, it is easy to get quite heated and upset about the mechanics of the game.

That being said, I have gotten a few of my friends more interested in other more hardcore games due to Munchkin. It has a multitude of expansions that keep it fresh to some extent, although it is usually just more of the same.

There is good humor in the game, IMHO, and if you can keep from actually wanting to literally stab your friend in the back for playing all of his best cards to prevent you from winning, only to see the guy next to you win on the very next turn, then I believe Munchkin will find a nice home in your game collection.

Hardcore gamers beware, though. This ain’t D&D.

Replay Value (****) is completely dependent upon those you play with. Luckily, I have a great core group of gamer friends.

The Components (***) that come with the game (I have the deluxe edition that comes with character pieces and a board) aren’t much to scream and shout about, but they aren’t terrible either.

Munchkin’s Learning Curve (***) is made a whole lot simpler if you are playing with at least another experienced Munchkin player or you yourself are familiar with basic roleplaying games. Otherwise, the rules can be confusing as they are intentionally vague to encourage the backstabbing and conflict.

 
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3
Stratagem fan
9
45 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Look for Trouble... find a hilarious game”

Munchkin is to D&D what Scary Movie is to Horror flicks. The game plays like a D&D type game where you build a character, explore a dungeon, collect treasure and fight monsters. Only it does all this in a very comedic way. For example, a footgear item card is “Boots of Running Really Fast: Gives you +2 to run away.”

Munchkin is a 3-6 player game, though I’ve played with more, it just takes longer. A player who’s character reaches level 10 wins. In a nutshell, players start their turn by “opening a door” (picking up a dungeon card). If it’s a monster they fight it. Other players can choose to help either you or the monster. Players usually try and negotiate a deal to either help you or to not help the monster such as “I want half the treasure if I help you win.” If there is no monster to fight the player can decide to “Look for Trouble” by fighting a monster they have in their hand. After the monster has been killed the player can “Loot the Room” for any treasure. The rules are slightly more complicated than that so you will refer to the instructions often when you’re just starting out.

The game comes with rules, 1D6 and 168 cards. The art of John Kovalic is simple but works very well for the game. At first I misjudged the game because I thought the art was lame. But after playing the game a few times the art grew on me and now I think it’s perfect for the game. The game is light and funny so realistic detailed drawings or paintings just wouldn’t work for this game. I mean how do you paint a warrior holding a duck in a dungeon? The comic strip like characters are just a perfect fit. I also like how the artwork is consistent across expansions too.

Speaking of expansions, there are many to this game. Each expansion is another deck of cards that could be played stand-alone or shuffled right in to Munchkin. Blending different genres is funny and works well.

 
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4
Mantis Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Tinkerer
Went to Gen Con 2012
6
45 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Remembered as being far more fun than it actually is.”

If you, like me, were a kid in the mid-90s, you probably remember the Nintendo 64 game “Mario Party”. You’d be hanging out with your friends or your family, and want to play a game together, and someone would say “Oh, why don’t we play Mario Party? That’s always fun!”

Half an hour later, all of you are ****** off at each other, shouting that this game is unfair and stupid, punching each other in the arm, unplugging each other’s controllers, swearing openly when your stars got stolen yet again and Tyler got like eight without even TRYING. By the end, everyone is either angry, or just wants the game to be over with.

Then a week or so later, you’re hanging out again, and someone will say “Oh, why don’t we play Mario Party? That’s always fun!” The cycle repeats.

Munchkin is the Mario Party of tabletop games.

A comedy card game about adventurers out for treasure and XP, Munchkin’s high degree of randomness and “screw your buddy” factor have given it a reputation as a great party or “filler” game for avid gamers to unwind with in between RPG sessions or when they just don’t have time for a longer, more involved game. This despite the fact that while people are actually PLAYING the game, past the first few rounds, everyone is either angry or bored just wanting the game to end, and games can drag out to take up the whole night.

Gameplay is simple and easy to learn: every player is an RPG character who starts at level 1, with some treasure adding bonus levels, who fights monsters in the dungeon by flipping cards over from the dungeon deck. If the player’s total level is higher than the monster’s, they defeat it, gaining at least one level and some amount of treasure, depending on how strong the monster was. First player to level 10 wins. In addition to monster cards, the dungeon deck can have useful items for players to have, or to screw other players with, such as new races or classes, traps, or abilities to make other monsters stronger or weaker.

Monsters and treasures are lighthearted and wacky, and the premise certainly sounds fun, but it never really comes together. You need high levels to beat monsters, and beating monsters is the only way to get more levels (and treasure, which adds to levels), and when you kick in the door in the dungeon you’re just as likely to face a potted plant as you are a medusa, so players who get unlucky early on can get shut out pretty easily. In fact, most everything that happens until the very endgame is decided by luck, and there’s few ways to have or reward a good strategy. Nearly every game ends the same way, as well: one or more players are at level 9 and need to kill one more monster to win, every time they fight one, all the other players play their interfering cards on it to make the fight harder, and the one who wins is the guy who was lucky enough to come later in the turn order after everyone’s run out of cards, or the one who is lucky enough to fight a level 1 monster that the other players can’t buff up enough to beat him.

People remember Munchkin as fun because they really, really like the premise of it. A wacky comedy dungeon crawl card game just sounds like it should be a good time, right? But Munchkin just can’t live up to the promise of its premise. Some groups may find it enjoyable when they are actually playing it, but for most it simply isn’t worth the time or effort.

 
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1
6
38 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Mixed Feelings”

Munchkin holds a special place in my gaming collection. It was the first game I bought and really helped introduce me to the hobby. Our group played again and again, bought numerous expansions and had a great time. After a bit though the game started loosing its appeal. As we were exposed to more games the random nature and lack of depth put Munchkin at the bottom of our collection. It is hard to review a game in which you have so much fun with but yet you never have the urge to play again.

So, starting with the basics, Munchkin is a card game that pokes fun at Dungeons & Dragons and the role playing experience. Each player plays theirself and throughout the game they will equip weapons and armor and battle monsters. Everything is luck of the draw so your equipment and the monsters you face will vary greatly between person to person. Here is where the real problem lies. If someone is about to win and draws a low level monster the game could end with no climax and this happens more than I would like.

Things are not all bad though, taken for what it is, Munchkin can be really fun. With the right group of people and the right mindset, screwing over a friend can be some of the best fun had at a table. All in all, I actually do like Munchkin. It has provided hours of entertainment and I got a little burnt out on it. Maybe one day we will pick it back up and have some fun.

 
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5
United Kingdom
Gamer - Level 5
8
51 of 58 gamers found this helpful
“Very silly dungeon themed game; needs expansions to keep it fresh”

Summary and conclusion

Munchkin is something of a modern cult classic. It takes a dungeons and dragons type theme which appeals to many hardcore gamers, adds in great artwork and humour for the more casual gamer, and packages it into an easily transportable card game.

But…

It has a couple of drawbacks. Most games are roughly the same, and once you have become familiar with the cards you will be looking for an expansion to keep replay-ability. You win through a combination of luck and the choices of who your fellow players pick on, both of which can be very frustrating (and don’t play this with a sore loser).

Set up and learning the rules

Set up is straightforward and quick. Shuffle cards, deal cards, done.

Learning the rules is less straightforward. The first time play through is a little frustrating, and the first couple of times my group played this we misunderstood some of the rules. Even knowing how the game plays you will find yourself scouring the rulebook and debating particular effects of cards. I believe that this is meant to be part of the character of the game, a nod to D&D etc., but for casual gamers this is a turn off.

Gameplay

You start off as a level 1 human of your gender with no class (heh). This matters, as it is a character based role playing game, and the aim of the game is to get to level 10.

You have a hand of cards which you can play, and which get refreshed / bolstered throughout the game, to get you to level 10. Importantly, you will also have plenty of cards which will stop other players getting there.

On any turn you turn over the top card of the “Door” deck. This might be a monster to fight, a curse to curse you, or helpful stuff which you can add to your hand.

If you didn’t draw a monster from the “Door” deck you can either play a monster to fight from your hand or draw another card to bolster your hand.

As you might be able to tell, fighting monsters is key. It’s the main way that you level up your character, and you have to do it to win. Different monsters have different strengths, and generally give better stuff if they are stronger. You need to be stronger than the monster to beat it. Your strength is equal to your level + bonuses from items + the strength of anybody else who helps you. If you beat it you level up and draw as many “Treasure” cards as the monster told you to (if anybody helped you they will have normally have done so in return for them, not you, drawing these “Treasure” cards). If you don’t beat it you get to try and run away (a dice roll). If you escape, fine, if not the monster does bad stuff to you. Bad stuff could be anything from loss of an item, losing a level, or death.

When you are fighting, as well as helping you, other players can play cards to hurt you. The wandering monster might give you two monsters to fight, they might curse you, bolster the stats of the monster, or weaken you. Choosing who to use your player interaction cards on is key to winning this game, but it can get really nasty.

Fun element

Munchkin is fun. The cards are very funny, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it assumes that you will all be mean to each other in the spirit of the game. Don’t take the game too seriously, and don’t worry if you don’t win. This isn’t a grand strategy game; it’s very very silly and it knows it.

 
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3
I'm a Real Person
9
44 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“Feel the wrath of my Eleven-Foot Pole !!”

A- What is Munchkin ?
Munchkin is a card game simulating an RPG campaign … with players missing totally what ‘RP’ stands for.
Forget about Roleplay, scenario, relations between characters and NPC … naw, for a munckin, the only purpose of an RPG is to be the strongest most powerful than Gods of all the players. If it requires a little cheating, a little (discreet) change on the character sheet during the game, it’s not a problem.
So each player will begin as a level 1 basic character whose purpose is to become the first to gain the mythic level 10.

B- The components
Each Munchkin base games contains the same items : One D6 and two decks of cards.
One of the deck is the ‘Door Deck’ : It’s where all the monsters and traps are. But it contains too friendlier cards for players, such as Class and/or Race (Hey, what do you prefer, to be a lame basic human, or to be a mighty Dwarf Warrior ?) that improves player’s capacity and even ‘Cheat’ cards that legally allow you to cheat ! Some other cards are here either to help you, or hinder other player on their turn.
The other deck is the ‘Treasure Deck’ : Basically it represents the equipments your character can gain (Such as armor, sword, magic ring, potion …). With this you get some ‘Level Up’ card (like its name said : You get a free level) and some event to mess with other players.
The dice is used for some cards effect and to flee before monsters (more on that on the next section).
All in all, cards are good in quality … A little too small for my taste but nothing terrible.

C- The rules
You don’t need an IQ for 150 to play the game. The (very summarized) rules are :
– You open a door (Draw a Door card face-up) : If it’s a trap, you suffer the bad effect. If it’s a monster you have to fight it, otherwise the card goes in your hand.
– If you didn’t fight a monster, you can either loot the room (draw a Door card face down) or choose a monster card from your hand and fight it.
– After this if you have too much cards in hand, you give some of them to the player with the lowest level or discard them if you have the lowest level.
– Repeat with the next player.

The game end when you get the level 10 after killing a monster.

Combats are really simple :
Each monster has a level, a number of treasure and a bad stuff.
To win, your level and all you bonus must exceed the level and bonus of the monster. You can play almost every card of your hand to do this.
For example you are a level 1 Cleric and you fight a level 7 monster with ‘-2 against warrior’ written on it.
If you have a ‘Warrior’ class in your hand, you can change your class, so you become a level 1 Warrior fighting a level 3 monster.
You got a +2 Armor and a +3 sword in hand, you put it into play and now your Warrior has a fight value of (1+2+3) 6 against a level 5 monster … you win ! Except of course if another player backstabs you and give some bonus to the monster or even add a new one.
If the player wins, he gets 1 level and draws a number of Treasure cards as indicated on the monster card. If he loses he must flee and roll 1D6 : on 5 or 6 he flees, otherwise the monster catch him and the player suffers the ‘Bad stuff’ written on the card (Such as lose an item, a level … or die).
Sometimes, the monster will be really too tough for a single player. In that case he can ask another player help. Of course the other won’t help him like that but can bargain to get his share of the treasures given by the monster or even ask for some piece of his temporary ally’s gear. Once both players has settled an accord, the second join the fight and add his level and bonus too … Of course, if the monster is still winning, both players has to flee.

Well it’s not ALL the rules, but with this you get 85% of it.

D- Why people don’t like this game ?
For a lot of good reasons.
Yes, Munchkin is one of my favorite games, but I know it lacks some stuff.

First, strategies involved are really basic : To get the highest score to be able to kill alone any monster, and the luck factor is very important.
Simple strategies is linked with simple rules … Munchkin isn’t ‘chutes and ladders’ but it’s far away from Descent, Small World and Co. You get the rules in five minutes, you get the strategies in ten and the cards in thirty … and that’s all …
More than that it’s the kind of game where you must not win. If a player is unlucky enough to put himself in good position, every other player will try to screw him. The winner isn’t the best skilled. The winner is the one who put himself in position to win only when opponents had wasted their cards on them to prevent each other to win.
But the opposite isn’t impossible too : with some good draw a player can take so much advance that other can absolutely do nothing to stop him.
And worse, despite its simple rules, Munchkin game can be very lengthy … way to much lengthy … especially with 5 or more players.

E- Ewwww ! This game sucks. Why do your group like it ?

At first glance, it seems horribly random with luck mattering more than skill, but at second glance it isn’t so.
The cards are very fun and strategies are not that shallow.
The fact that you could ask for help add a lot to the game : Interactions between players isn’t only with cards, but with fast talk, treachery and lies … What can I say : For us, each munchkin game is a very cartoonish diplomacy game …
The cards are very unbalanced, but since everyone draw from the same deck we got a funny thing : ‘Cards are so unbalanced that the game is balanced !’. It’s very rare when someone is under lvl 7 when another player wins.
Serious player always seems to think the best way to win is to help nobody and keep his cards to screw someone who will win, which of course lead to a boring game (cf above), but once you learn that helping will give you very good cards (if you bargained well) and that screwing other players almost kill the ‘runaway player’, you get a dynamic fun game for an average time of an hour/an hour and half …
Cards are only half of the game, the other is brought by players … it’s their ability to deceive others.

I know I’ll probably the only one to like it but … The game is SO random, the numbers of cards are SO large (with some expansions) that every game you just don’t know what you will get and how the game will be played.

F- Is Munchkin a good game ?
With the right group of players, yes.
I will make a parallel with AD&D alignment.
You can be a lawful player, a chaotic player.

The lawful player hates random. Games like Chess and Agricola are for him.
The chaotic player love random. Drawing a card, flipping a coin, roll a dice …
Disclaimer : I know there isn’t only ‘I hate random’ or ‘I want only random’ type of players. If fact, this are extrems : and most players only tend towards of this types and can like games from the other types.
I think my group is a very ‘chaotic player’ one, and Munchkin is extremely random, so it has a very fertile ground to grow.
We discovered it about two years ago, and we haven’t done playing with it yet.

We love to lie, betray, tease, manipulate each other s(in game only), and Munchkin is the perfect tool to do this : A very simple mechanics that give lots of options.

 
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5
6
44 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“Fun for backstabbing fantasy fans”

You probably know that a Munchkin is a creature of diminutive stature that likes their roads yellow and constructed from a sturdy brick, you may know that a munchkin is a breed of small cat, and if you play role playing games you may have come across the term munchkin as a player who plays to win rather than for the roleplaying experience.

The latter term is what the Munchkin is referring to in this comedy card game for 3 to 6 players. Munchkin is a humorous pastiche (or **** take for those without A-levels) on common Dungeons and Dragons tropes. The aim of the game is for players to be the first to level 10 by amassing as much equipment as possible and killing monsters. Players take turns to enter the next room in the dungeon by turning over a dungeon door card and fight what is inside. Combat is simple; if your level and all your bonuses add up to greater than the level of the monster you win, claim the treasure and go up a level. If the total is the same or lower you have to run away by rolling a dice. Fail the roll and ‘bad stuff’ happens according to the monster’s card. Once the monster is beaten you get to take the treasure cards. These give you equipment which add bonuses or one-off abilities.

Not all of the door cards are monsters however. Some are curses that have an immediate negative effect. Some are random events that you can take into your hand and play later as either a bonus to yourself or a hindrance to the other players. Some again are classes and races that add bonuses to your character and allow the use of restricted equipment.

Often you are going to come across a monster that you can’t defeat, especially early in the game, so you can make a deal with another player to come to your aid. You then have to convince or bribe them to help you. What you offer in return can be absolutely anything. You could be offering up the treasure at stake, your current prized equipment or even having to mow the lawn or wash the dishes for a week. On the opposite hand you can try and hinder other players by playing events from your hand. This feature helps to level the playing field as players tend to pick on whoever is in the lead or the players falling behind tend to group together. This wheeling and dealing is what makes the game interesting; refusing to help a player that’s in the lead or having to give up your prised equipment for a player’s help.

The rules as written here seem really simple but unfortunately the rule book doesn’t like to put across these rules in a simple concise manner. The basic rule mechanics are fine, opening doors, fighting monsters are well explained but what isn’t clearly defined is what should happen when a class, race or effect is picked up from the door pile. This lack of rules clarity appears to be done on purpose, suggesting the game is supposed to cause arguments amongst players.

Humour comes in the form of cards and the players’ mischievous nature as you gang up on the leader or help out the runt of the group and change your allegiance at the drop of a hat. The cards themselves are funny providing you are aware of the fantasy RPG tropes, those people not au fait with vorpal swords and gelatinous cubes won’t get the joke. And the joke can run out quite quickly; in a 3 player game you will work your way through most of the deck, in a 6 player game you will easily go through the deck of cards a number of time. You can always add to your deck from one of the huge range of expansions and basic sets covering many other themes such as sci-fi, westerns and even Cthulhu.

One big drawback to Munchkin is its price. For a typical retail price of £20 you get one dice and two decks of cards. The cards are colour and are well illustrated by Dork Tower artist John Kovalic but the box seems very sparse and you never feel you are getting value for money. In addition you need something to keep track of everyone’s level. The rules suggest pen and paper or poker chips but when you’ve forked out that much you’d expect some tokens or counters in the box. You could argue that this is and expensive hobby and that seems a typical price but it comparing it to other boxed card games and you definitely don’t get as much for your money.

Munchkin is a fun game but its mechanics seem to be missing something. Its quick to set up and the game flows quickly but there is a lack of depth. The humorous cards and the blackmailing and backstabbing of your friends are what bring the game together but the jokes can wear thin quickly and it never feels like good value for money.

 
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4
Gamer - Level 3
Rated 25 Games
7
37 of 42 gamers found this helpful
“Great "take-that" type of game”

After having introduced my daughter to the world of “Take That!” games like Fluxx and Gubs, we were looking for something a little bit more, but not TOO overly complex. We wanted something that was still a manageable amount of time, but not over in 15 minutes and seeming like nothing we had done had any bearing on the win/loss.

In the case of Fluxx, we just wanted something reigned in a bit more. Fluxx was too messy/chaotic and was all over the place regarding length of play (60 minutes or even longer is way too long for the type of game I feel Fluxx is).

We had Munchkin sitting here for a while, never opening it until a few days ago. Wow, were we surprised! My daughter was laughing at all of the silly items, curses, and monsters encountered. At first, we felt that the game was going to be too simple. “Oh, so we just flip a card over, and do what it says, go to next player?”.

But the game turned out to be a bit more than that, making you plan whether or not you want certain items equipped or carried, in your hand, when to play curses, when to help other players and when it is the right time to turn on them and backstab away.

I worried that my daughter might not get that aspect of it (she’s 7). I Told her I Would help her on a fight she was going to lose, if she gave me her flaming armor she was carrying (not equipped). She gave it to me. We won the fight. Then she cursed me, taking the armor away (discard). I laughed so hard, but was very proud. She wanted to make sure I Wasn’t left with the +2 armor to help in my next battle, as she had the lead and wasn’t about to give it up.

Things like that, make this game what it is. If you try to over-analyze or can’t handle the random nature of most card games (This is NOT a deckbuilder, it’s a random dungeon crawl of sorts), this won’t be the game for you.

But if you embrace what it is, and just enjoy it, it’s quite a fun experience. For those who don’t think the random nature fits the dungeon crawl aspect, I respectfully disagree. If you were to enter a dark cave out in the woods, jumping right in, would you find a rat first? Or might you stumble into a huge Grizzly bear?

Kicking the door down in Munchkin follows that logic/randomness. Sure, it sucks that you kicked the door down at the start of the game and out pops a level 20 Plutonium dragon. But hey, that’s life! Suck it up, princess, and get on with it! :)

BTW – for those that don’t want to backstab as much, I found the Fairy Dust (and Dice) add-on to be good for groups that want to play in a more “helpful” manner.

We have also added a bag o’ munchkin babes (for their little extra rule, and because my daughter likes them…lol), and the Demented Dungeons expanion.

We’ve also now added all 3 of the christmas expansions, because my daughter just LOVES the idea of kicking the snot out of Santa and stealing his presents…lol. Maybe it’s because he brought her a barbie last christmas, and she wanted a dragon…

 
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5
I play green
6
43 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“A Clever game that turned me onto board games”

Munchkin is the game that got me into the board game hobby as a whole, so I will always be fond of it. It’s not my favorite game and not something I play often, but I found it really entertaining and it was the first non-Risk/non-Monopoly game I played in years.

Munchkin is a really light and highly random RPG that parodies/streamlines the classic Dungeons and Dragons experience. On your turn you must go adventuring, which typically results in a really bad monster appearing. You must use your gear, but more importantly, you must bargain and barter with your opponents to assist you. This is where the game’s real appeal lies.

Munchkin is fun because, for me at least, it’s about us banding together or my girlfriend coming out of left field to see to it that I’m destroyed for some bad comment I made earlier. Munchkin brings out hilarious backstabbing and social situations that really make it rich.

The best part is that it makes everyone laugh.

Munchkin is very random and it’s not terribly deep. Some of its rules can be somewhat fiddly and at times the game takes a really long time. BUT. Munchkin has great player interaction and great emergent, social gameplay. I really recommend you give it a look if only for that reason.

 
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4
Comic Book Fan
Novice Reviewer
9
43 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“A hilarious poke at Dungeon Crawlers that makes you rethink your friendships.”

When you think of munchkins you may think of yellow brick roads, lollipops, and the land of Oz, but when I think of munchkins I think of dark dungeons, breaking down doors to fight monsters, and backstabbing my friends all in the name of victory. Allow to me to introduce you to a game created by Steve Jackson Games. A game that is easily one of the most hilarious, tongue-in-cheek dungeon crawlers ever created. One of my all time favorite games; Munchkin.

Munchkin is a game that pits you against your friends in a race to reach level 10. Along the way you will “Kill The Monsters, Steal The Treasure, and Backstab Your Friends”. You gain levels by defeating monsters, playing “Go Up A Level” cards, and trading in items that add up to 1000 gold pieces. What’s great about Munchkin is even though it has a Dungeons & Dragons-like theme, it pokes fun at itself and some of the cliches included in that genre. For the sake of keeping this recommendation short I am only going to talk about the original Munchkin set.

During a normal game of Munchkin, players go around the table drawing from the door pile, also known as “breaking down the door”, and fighting monsters. On your turn you will flip a door card face-up. If you draw a monster card you must immediately fight it. Your level, as well as the bonuses you get from items and other helper cards, must be higher than the monster’s in order to defeat it. If that is the case then you count out the combat; I count it “1,2,3.5″, but it is completely up to you as far as how you count it out. Counting gives other players a chance to play cards either for or against you. Other players might add levels to the monster with a “+10 to level of monster” card, curse you to make you lose an item, or they may play a special card that kills the monster automatically, taking away all of your loot. If you successfully win the battle you get a level and draw treasure cards corresponding to the number on the monster card itself. If your level is not higher than the monster’s and you have no chance of defeating it you have two options. You can ask for help or run away.

When you ask for help your opponents can offer to join forces in combat with you. If they accept, your level is then combined with theirs giving you a better chance of defeating the monster. Other players can offer help for free or can demand something, such as receiving a share of the treasures. As the game starts off, other players will help each other because it is tough getting those first few levels when you are a weak human, but as the game progresses don’t expect other players to continue to bail you out. If nobody offers to help you, or you don’t feel like sharing the treasures, you can run away. To run away you take the dice and hope to roll a 5 or a 6. If you roll a 4 or lower you suffer from the “Bad Stuff”, listed on the bottom of the monster card. This can range from losing items, making you lose levels, or even death.

As I mentioned before, you will have items and other cards that will increase your overall level when you fight monsters. Items include things like the “Sword of Slaying Everything Except Squid”, the “Pointy Hat of Power”, a “Stepladder”, or even the “Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment”. It’s these kinds of ridiculous cards that make the game even more enjoyable. In addition to these items, players can also place “Race” and “Class” cards which give them different bonuses. You can be an Elf Thief, a Dwarf Wizard, a Cleric Halfling, or any combination of races and classes. There are even cards in the game that allow you to be multiple races or classes at once!

Munchkin is definitely a random game and whenever I have people over, it is always one of the first games I pull out to play. The art on each card is unique and helps illustrate your adventure, breaking down a door only to discover a Plutonium Dragon, a Gazebo, or even a puny Goldfish. The rules on each card add subtle twists in every turn and can make or break a character. Many people have cried “fowl” as they are cursed with a chicken on their head.

Munchkin is perfect for three to six players and is a game that can take anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour. On top of the original rules you can also play “Epic” Munchkin which has you playing up to level 20 instead, thereby making the game even longer! This game is easily in my top 5 favorite games and I could talk for days about how much I love it. Steve Jackson Games hit a grand slam when they made this game and the constant updates and expansions to the core set keep me coming back for more. To date there are over eight expansions for the original game and a dozen standalone Munchkin games like Star Munchkin, Munchkin Booty, Munchkin Fu, Super Munchkin, The Good, The Bad, and the Munchkin, and Munchkin Zombies. So if you’re sick of lugging around dozens of characters sheets, bored of the same old dungeon crawlers, or just looking for a fun card game to play with your nerdy friends, I urge you to pick up Munchkin; and then proceed to stab those friends in the back. Game on!

 
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5
Novice Reviewer
I Love Playin' Games
8
36 of 41 gamers found this helpful
“Backstab them!”

This was actually the first game of it’s kind that I played a few years back, and I still find it as funny now as I did then even though I now own a few expansions.

What the game is about is creating and strengthening your own character, killing monsters, taking their treasures and most importantly, make sure that no one else is in the vicinity of winning by backstabbing them.

During gameplay you will have many opportunities to become (among others) elves, thieves, wizards and even gnomes, each one with special powers that will help you (or possibly make it worse) fight all those evil monsters that are out to get you!
Your aim is to collect weapons and other items that will make you stronger compared to the ghastly monsters. If win the fight, you get to steal the monsters treasures, making you even stronger. If you loose on the other hand, baaad stuff will happen to you.

In a game where almost anything is possible there will no doubt be arguments, shouting and bargaining with the other players, and I can promise you a night of great fun!

It can be a bit slow when there are munchkin-newbies playing, but as soon as they learn the game will pick up pace. I prefer playing four players!

Enjoy!

 
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4
PC Game Fan
Miniature Painter
8
41 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“Kick in doors, kill monsters and steal treasure from your friends while laughing!”

My 1st review so be gentle… LoL

What you get for $20.00
Single 6 sided die, average quality off-white color
168 cards, average quality with “cartoonish graphics” see box art
Rules sheet, easy to read large sheet folded in half.
Endless hours of tormenting your friends for laughs :)

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Set up time and preparation
(2 to 5 minutes)
You will need to take 168 cards and sort them into 2 stacks, treasure & door. Easy enough as the back of the cards either have a picture of a door or a picture of a treasure pile. I recommend just using a rubber band to keep each stack together when putting the game away.

1) Sort the cards into a face down treasure stack, shuffle cards
2) Sort the cards into a face down door stack, shuffle cards
3) Roll the die to see who goes first, I use highest number goes first then turns go around the table in a clock wise direction.
4) Each player draws 2 door cards and 2 treasure cards
5) Each player can play any or all of the 4 cards you start with.

As you can see, super easy and quick to set up the game!

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How to play the game
1) Play any cards from your hand that you can/want
*Race card, class card, item card, level up, steal your friends item and etc…

2) KICK IN A DOOR!
(Draw a card from the door stack and place it on the table face up)
*If it’s a monster you must fight or run
*If it’s a curse card, you get cursed (do as card says)
*If it’s something else, put it in your hand
*If you dont draw a monster, you can play a monster from your hand

3) Trade items with other players and or play cards from your hand

4) Charity, if you have more then 5 cards (dwarf can have 6) in your hand you need to either give the extras to the lowest level player or discard them.

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Combat
For example, You have to fight a level 8 monster…
*You need to have a total of 9 or higher to win combat
*You are level 5, you have two items in play which are +1 armor and +3 sword. 5 + 1 + 3 = 9 so you win the fight!
*If your number is lower then the monster you can either…
a) ask for help, bribe your friends into helping you
(add thier numbers to yours)
b) run away, roll 5 or 6 on the 6-sided die
c) play a card from your hand

Now for the fun stuff…
Now lets say your friend is fighting a level 5 monster and his/her number is a 7. You could play a card on the monster that gives it a +5 and now the monster is level 10 and your friend losses the combat. Sometimes you get stuff for another player losing and sometimes you get stuff for helping your friends.

If you lose combat, the monster card on the bottom will have “bad stuff” like lose level, lose item and etc…

If you win combat, you go up a level and you get to draw treasure cards. The monster card will tell you how many levels and how many treasure cards.

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How to win
First player to get to level 10
*Get levels from killing monsters
*Get levels from selling items (discard)
(each item has a gold value and 1000 gold or more gets you a level)
*Elf gets a level for helping someone else
*some cards give or take levels

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Misc info
I have the normal edition, the deluxe edition comes with a mat and minis that makes it much easy to keep score.

Game will last between 30 to 90 minutes.

Very high reply value, never the same game twice.

Sense of humor is required!

Tongue N Cheek humor based from Dungeons & Dragons.

Classes are warrior, thief, wizard and cleric.

Races are Elf, Human, Halfling, Dwarf or half.

3 to 6 players / 2 people can play just longer and not as fun or random

Can play it almost anywhere, been known to play this at work on my lunch hour

TONS of expansions and add-ons

Luck and randomness plays a big part of the game

Age range, I would say 10 and up

Who would like the game best? Old school D&D players that have a sense of humor and have friends that like to tease each other.

Who would not like the game? someone who hates the box art. someone with no sense of humor, someone who can never take a joke and someone who hates the idea of one of thier friends teasing them in a joking manor.

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Score:
Learn to play 8/10 (easy to learn & teach but some questions not answered)
Replay value 9/10 (never the same game twice)
Game play 8/10 (fun and addictive game)
Game components 6/10 (no way of keeping score, I just use dice. Card graphics could be better)
Fun Factor 8/10
Over all score 8/10 with a high recommendation of getting this game!

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Lastly… go over to youtube and search for Munchkin. You will find a video of Steve Jackson himself playing with 3 other people. It’s a great video that will teach you how to play the game and explain everything much better.

 

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