Theme and What is it?
This is Munchkin — you kill stuff and take their things. Well in this version of Munchkin, it’s just kill stuff, pick your hero, build a deck of monsters, weapons, and locations and then take out your opponent.
The goal of this game is to out Munchkin your opponent by reducing his hero to 0 HP, force your opponent to deplete their draw deck, or force him to concede.
As with any competitive CCG, you build a deck from your available cards. When setting up for a game, remove the hero card from your deck and shuffle the deck. Using the rule-book, arrange space that allows for the different areas for placing cards. Place counter tokens and level counter dial in the space indicated. Determine who will be the first player and give him 1 gold and the second player starts with 2 gold.
Here are the decks that we played with:
Centaur Warrior Dwarf Cleric
Barbarian the Librarian x2 Barbarian the Librarian x2
BOD-E Guard x2 BOD-E Guard x2
Hunting Guide Dr. Meow Practice
Inhumane Society Land x2
Lodge of Complaints
Angry Catana Book of Axe
Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment x2
Discount Cudgel Eleven-Foot Pole x2
Eleven-Foot Pole Hammer Time x2
Hammer Time Holier Symbol
Shiny Manipulator x2
Stomp, Stomp, Stomp Alms for the Poor
Thwack! Healing Salvo
3,872 Orcs 3,872 Orcs
Blandy McBlanderson Blandy McBlanderson x2
Budget Sasquatch Budget Sasquatch
Card Shark Building Inspectre
Crusty Disgusty Card Shark
Dragomancer Crusty Disgusty
Drop Bear Drop Bear
Explodia’s Ring Finger False Prophet
Ferrous Oxide Monster Ferrous Oxide Monster
Field Armorer Gazebo
Gazebo Gold Finch
Honey Badger Hairy Tick
Inflatable Dragon Lame Goblin
Lame Goblin Pied Piper
Potato Bug Pygmy Suckophant
Punchy McFacey RNGesus
RNGesus The 1 Percent
Walking Dreads x2 Walking Dreads
There are three major phases per turn for a player: Warm-up, Munchkining, and Cool-down.
The Warm-up Phase resets the cards and tokens and preparing a Munchkin to do his thing.
The Munchkining Phase is where a Munchkin plays Loot, Weapons, Locations, and other cards to facilitate kicking butt and taking names.
The Cool-down Phase is when a Munchkin is rewarded for his efforts, increasing his level and acquiring gold as necessary.
There are abilities, Mischief cards, and other effects that allow for a player to interrupt another to cause, well, mischief. These effects are resolved immediately before normal operations continue. And yes, interrupt effects can be interrupted themselves.
I’ve played Munchkin quite a bit over the years, both the card game and Munchkin Quest board game. Transitioning to a CCG version of the Munchkin concept was certainly different as your perspective as a player changes. Instead of the known but random nature of the other games, you purposefully craft a deck to do all those dastardly deeds while having to try to counteract other decks.
Game Build Quality
The game components include deck of cards, point tokens, Run Away/Limp Away tokens, Level Counter, and a 6-sided die. The cards are standard card stock used for these types of games. The Run Away/Limp Away tokens and Level Counter are made of thick cardboard, very sturdy. The point tokens aren’t as thick as the other cardboard components but will last with multiple plays. The die is the usual d6 with rounded corners.
This is Munchkin, so we know it’s full of John Kovalic goodness. Bonus for us though, Steve Jackson Games sought out more talent in the form of Katie Cook, Lar DeSouza, Mike Luckas, Ian McGinty, Tom Siddell, and Shane White. Part of the collectible nature of the game is you can collect different versions of art for a variety of cards so you get to see all these artists in action.
Though this is another CCG, this is M-U-N-C-H-K-I-N. You know what you’re getting into. You’re a hero totally buffed up and overloaded with loot to destroy monsters and take out your opponent. ‘Nuff said.
Age Range & Weight
Age range listed is 10+. Given that this is a CCG and Munchkin is known for its tongue-in-cheek humor, this sounds right. As for weight, again it’s a CCG — the rules are fairly straightforward but constant referencing of the phase descriptions was necessary. Rules and strategy will become more complex over time as expansions are generated and especially if it becomes competitive with tournaments like other games. To be competitive, one also has to be familiar with all the cards and how they interact with each other and the heroes.
I thought this was a decent representation of Munchkin in a CCG format. The introductory set comes with a standard set of cards plus four booster packs to help get you started. A lot of CCGs can create themes within them but are usually hidden until the player drafts and plays cards. In the case of Munchkin CCG, pick your hero and then select cards that complement it and its strengths, covering for its weaknesses.
What I found as the gotcha for me (surprise, surprise), was the rules. They are very detailed, which can be good, but there is still a LOT going on in each phase that we had to constantly reference back to the phase outline description to make sure we were doing all the bits. I think the game would benefit from a quick reference player aid card. The rules sheet identifies as “Quick-Start” and references back to the game’s website for the full set of rules… why wouldn’t you just print them all in a booklet and provide in the box? The box is certainly big enough to hold it and from what I’ve seen of the rules, they aren’t more lengthy than other CCGs I played in the past, which came in the starter boxes the size of an average deck of cards.
What is good is that the game already has a support website and expansions ready to go with the first set (one of the booster packs is from the Desolation of Blarg expansion) so the publisher has confidence in the longevity of the game.
Even though the style of card game has been transitioning more to deckbuilding with optional expansion format, it’s nice to see that there are still CCGs/TCGs being added to the market.