Back when Jeff and I were first married we got together with a bunch of other young married couples without kids and played games. Everyone would show up with their giant stacks of board games and we would all play. One of the games we discovered at that time was Munchkin. We had many a game night playing games around a kitchen table and laughing as we played the cards.
(Amazon links are affiliate links)
Fast forward a few years and everyone had kids, and it became much harder to get together to play games. Then something amazing happened, my kids started playing games I liked. No longer was I cursed with playing Candyland or something else equally miserable. A few years ago I thought to introduce my kids to Munchkin. I discovered some things in the process:
- It’s not a style of game I like as much as I used to.
- It’s an insanely great game for young boys.
- There are a lot of Munchkin expansions.
To that first point, Munchkin game expansions
Munchkin is the cornerstone game of Steve Jackson Games. The original Munchkin has spawned about 5 sequels, and then they went on to add on different genres. So in our personal collection we have: Star Munchkin (a spoof of Sci-Fi), Super Munchkin, Munchkin Blender, and Munchkin Fairy that came with pink sparkly dice (and it’s out of print, so I linked to a simliar product). In the last five or so years the Munchkin empire has exploded with all varieties of Munchkin games that we will probably never own, but have made great presents to other 10-12 year old boys.
How is the Munchkin game played?
Well, it’s ridiculously simple. You start your hand with a couple of treasure cards and a couple of door cards. Before your first turn you can play any applicable cards to make your character better. So any armor, special weapons, cards that change your race or your class, any of that.
Then on your turn you knock down the door (flip over a card), and you do what the card says. If it’s a monster you fight it. If it’s something that has immediate effect, like a curse or something else, that effect takes place. Anything else you put in your hand, so a new race card, or a new class would go in your hand.
If it’s a monster card you fight the monster, if your total bonuses (level, armor, random cards you have) are higher than the monster’s level you win! Yea you! Grab the treasure, and your turn is over. If your bonuses are lower, you lose and bad things happen depending on the monster. Complications can happen if other people decide to play stuff on the monster making him stronger or on you making you weaker. You c an also ask for help, but that’s basically it.
If it’s not a monster you have two choices, you can play a monster from your hand, in which case read the paragraph above on what happens. OR you can loot the room, which is draw a card and immediately put it into your hand.
Play goes around like that until someone reaches level 10 at which point the game ends.
Why I’ve discovered I don’t like Munchkin as much now
Remember the paragraph about fighting monsters where I said you can play cards on someone else’s monster to make them stronger or make your friend weaker? That’s an integral part of how the game works, you mess with other players and “stab them in the back” (it literally says that on the game box).
I’ve figured out I’m not a big fan of that style of game because it can feel personal, or you can have people who team up with each other. I have a friend who picks favorites, and will never hurt the game play of her current favorite, but is more than willing to hurt another person’s play. My boys do this too, favoring each other. I’ve actually had to warn them I won’t play if that’s how they’re going to play.
But my boys LOVE to play Munchkin
They pull it out and will play it quite often when they have friends over. The cards are hilarious, and I still like to read the flavor text of the cards for the puns. They’ve got a new expansion coming out called Munchkin Shakespeare, and I’m tempted to get it. Not because I love playing it, but because I want to read the puns and see the illustrations.
What I like now more than Munchkin
I have come to like My Dwarves Fly more than Munchkin. It still has the competitive feel without it feeling quite so personal. But, it’s all a matter of personal taste.