Wednesday, 7 March 2012

REVIEW: Munchkin

Raksha is Crash To Desktop’s very own Malkavian, occasionally released from his sanctuary to inflict upon us his mumblings about the end being neigh, or just being out of tea bags. This time it is Munchkin that receives his most deranged visions. So sit back and hold on to your seat, this will be a bumpy ride. - Silverfuge

Munchkin is a card game based on the dungeons and dragons style games, with a sense of humour. Produced by Steve Jackson games, the game borrows heavily from dungeons and dragons, and has a heavy comical influence, making the game much more fun. The art work is done by the same gentle man who brought us the web comic dork tower, giving us art work that fits very well with the humour within the game. The object of the game is to win by reaching level 10 before anyone else in the party, via any way Munchkinable (Raksha sure does like to make these words up so bear with him- Silverfuge).

The game itself comes with one die which is used to determine the turn order, and two decks of cards (the treasure cards and the dungeon cards). The Treasure cards are usually potions or equipment that you can use, trade or sell to level up, and in some cases level up cards. The dungeon cards are monsters and curses, which are the primary tool for the game.

The rules to Munchkin are rather simple. The game starts with each player receiving two room cards, two treasure cards, and a character card (your character is the usually same sex as yourself, unless you happen to be a hermaphrodite, then you get to choose). At first you start off as a Human with no class, but as the game progresses you can change your race/class, although the benefits these give you may also hinder you. Cheating is only considered so if you are caught in the act, otherwise you’re playing by the rules. In fact the rules state that whenever in doubt, whoever can shout either the loudest/everyone else into submission, wins the argument. The players are expected to use everything at their disposal to win; your allies are only allies until they get in the way, then they're road kill.

Your turn consists of kicking in a dungeon door, where if there is a monster - you have the unlucky obligation to fight it. Combat plays out by adding your level (and any equipment that grants bonuses) to your attack, for example if you have the singing sword of CTD (just a made up weapon), it will add +2 to your level so if you are facing a level 2 monster, you will beat it by 1. The other players have a limited amount of time to decide if they are going to make it hard for you (with my Munchkin group we generally ask if anybody is going to fuck us this turn, generally the ladies in the group have a snippy comeback to that!). Your opponents may choose to do this if they have any cards in their hand that either: add a second monster to the game (such as the wandering monster card) or boost the monsters attack level (such as a potion - this usually adds between 1 and 10). In doing so your opponent increases the monsters level, making them harder for you to kill (although if you're successful it usually grants you extra treasure/levels). If the player beats the monster then the player gains a level, and the amount of treasure that’s stated on the monster card.

If the player cannot beat the monster, then they can ask for help from another player to beat it, but they may only ask one player to help. The other player may agree to help you for something in return like treasure (As you can probably tell women have an advantage over us mere males - Silverfuge.). If a player has lost to the monster, and cannot get any help from anyone else, then they may attempt to run away from the monster, you can do this by rolling a six sided die with a 4 or higher to be successful. If you fail to run away the monster will get you, with the bad stuff that happens being described by the cards, this can include you being laughed at, losing equipment or dying. Dying is a particularly harsh as you restart with no equipment, and no way of levelling up no matter what cards you have, or what monster you kill.

Overall this game is fun and quick to play. Its riotous humour and simple gameplay makes it easy for anyone to have a go at, regardless of their past experience. The game achieves its aim of being a simple fun loving game, leaving room for loads of enjoyment from the standard set, and its various expansion packs. These packs are usually themed and are found in foil blister packs/boxes and add extra races, classes, monsters, items, potions and even rules that can impact the game making it more fun and unpredictable. Examples of these expansions are Conan the Barbarian, Fairy Dust and of course the Christmas expansion Waiting For Santa.

I have played this game with various people ranging from families, to serious role players, to friends with a couple of bottles, and have always found that they come away with a smile on their face, stating the amount of fun they have had. So I strongly advise anyone out there who has not had the pleasure of sitting down to a game of Munchkin, to go buy it!
Thus with his ramblings concluded, Raksha slowly returns to his abode until next time. If you want to catch up on his other reviews, or want to keep upto date with the latest gaming/roleplaying news, then make sure you check out the CTD Facebook or Twitter pages.


I've played this game.  It was fun AND hilarious.

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