Saturday, April 18, 2015

Munchkin


Munchkin: 3 - 6 players - Ages 10 plus - 1 hr. plus
Game Play: In the base version of the game, each player is dealt 4 of the two types of cards; door cards and treasure cards. Each player begins the game as a "level 1 classless human".
On your turn you "kick open the door" by drawing a "door card" for everyone to see. If it's a monster you fight it or run away. If it's a curse, it immediately affects you. If it's something else, you keep it in your hand. If you defeat the monster by having your level plus any effects from other cards be greater than the monster's level, you get a number of treasure cards indicated on the monster card. Curses are variably bad or silly and other cards include changing your class, race, sex or getting your very own monster. Treasure cards have gear like weapons, armor, and potions you can use to beat monsters.
The wrench in the game is that players can help you defeat monsters, or they can help the monsters defeat you. If you die, the other players get to "loot" your body and you start over at level 1 with new gear. The ultimate goal is to be the first to reach level 10.
The rules to the game state that all cards trump any rules in the rule book. And there are exceptions to almost every rule. There's even a "cheat" card that lets you break any rule. The game has over 20 expansion sets ranging from zombies to super heroes to western. All expansions are interchangeable.





Review: I have played this game many times over the last few years and have fun every time. At the time of this review I have 5 of the original game expansions and 2 set expansions, meaning I cannot play all cards at the same time. I had to go out and purchase a way to hold all my cards which the game company conveniently provides several "box of holdings" for door and treasure cards. I have played with people ranging in ages from 16 - 55 and all seemed to have fun. There are several extras you can buy like a board with character pieces that tracks your progress from levels 1 - 10. I do not find this necessary as I keep 6 ten-sided dice in my game for my players.
People most familiar with role playing games, either pen and paper or computer got the hang of this the fastest. Equipping weapons and armor and using potions and spells seems to be easy to pick up when you have played these kinds of games before. Those that were unfamiliar were able to get it with a little coaching.
Set aside at least an hour to play, especially the first few times you play. Explaining the rules to new players is fairly easy and I have found that the best way to introduce the game is to play a practice round first, and then start the game with the experienced players so the new players can watch a few rounds before it is their turn. You can play with more than six so there isn't really a reason the max number of players is 6 other than for the sake of time.
The strategy that seems to work the best is to not be the first player to level 9. Once you begin the fight to win the game, everyone will throw all of their cards at you to get you to lose. If you can sneak up and be about the third person to try and win, everyone will be out of bonuses for the monsters and you can win.
The game has many inside jokes for people who have played other RPG games as it is basically a card version of Dungeons and Dragons and makes fun of that game quite well. The cards are full of puns and humor and they use innuendos as well. Some cards have cartoon women in bikinis and you get your sex changed with a curse so keep that in mind when playing with younger kids.
Overall: This game is good for beginner table top players that are willing to sit down for over an hour and play. There are times of boredom when waiting for other players, especially if playing with six players. The hardest part of this game is storage once you start collecting the expansions. Keeping track of the rules can become tedious, but the great part about the game is that the rules are flexible.
Who will like this game? Role Playing Game fans, All ages, fans of fantasy
Who will not: Those short on time, those that get bored easily