Review: “Munchkin”

“Kick in the door, wavin’ the four-four…” – Notorious B.I.G.

There is a LOT of door-kickin’, back-stabbin’, and even some lolly-gaggin’ in the ridiculously fun board/card game, “Munchkin”. This was a new edition to our weekly Game Night, and my first time playing it (I’ve watched others play before)

munch1The object of the game is to reach Level 10 with your character. You gain levels by defeating monsters or by drawing the correct Door Card.


There are 2 main decks of cards: Door Cards and Treasure dragon-lance-munchkin-treasure-cardCards.

Treasure Cards are just what they seem: treasure! Everything from gold to weapons (mundane ones, like a Club, to ‘unique’ ones, like a Rat On A Stick) to armor can be found
in this deck.

munch3Door Cards progress the game: new Classes, Races, Curses (and there a re some amazing ones), Monsters (like that ridiculous Mimic pictured), and other treats are in the Door Card decks. You have been warned.

Basic Rules

Each character starts at Level 1 – the bottom of the board (top picture). You are a Human with no Class (*snicker*); your sex is determined by you, unless a card changes it (it’s totally possible). You also start with 4 Treasure cards and 4 Door Cards.

You can’t really stay down there at Level 1 – where’s the fun in that?? – so you have to try and enter the next room. That’s where you “kick down the door” and do one of these things:

  1. Draw a Door Card, face-up. If it is a Monster Card, you fight it. If it’s a Curse, you suffer from it. If it is any other card, you can store it in your hand or play it.
  2. Look For: you DON’T draw a Door Card (which can be a good thing); instead, you look for:
    a) Trouble –  you play a Monster Card from your hand and fight it, usually with other player interference.
    b) Treasure (“Loot The Room”) – why fight, when you can search for loot? You draw another Door Card, face-down, and put it in your hand.
  3. Give Away: you can only have 5 cards at the end of your turn; you can play or discard down to 5, or you can give the player(s) with the lowest level(s) enough cards to get down to 5.

Player Interference

To gain levels, you must defeat Monsters. To defeat Monsters, your total combat strength must be greater than the Monster’s: combat strength is your Level + modifiers from your Items (positive and negative) + modifiers that are played on you. If it’s tied, you Run Away. But oh noooo, you won’t usually escape a Monster fight without… interference. Players can play Potions, Curses, even other Monsters on you, the Monster(s) you’re fighting, or both, to hinder you. Other players can join in to possibly help you and screw someone else. If your total is higher than the Monster, you defeat it and gain a level, plus some kind of reward (level and/or treasure). To get to Level 10, you have to kill a Monster; card modifiers or events cannot push you there. We had that scenario come up; one guy could have went to 10 with a card stipulation but it was denied; he didn’t kill anything to get there.

BTW, arguing (in good fun) is encouraged.

Here is a link to the complete set of rules, including Running From Fights and some variations on the Basic Rules:

Munchkin Rules

This game goes by pretty quickly: maybe 60-75 minutes, 2 hours tops. It is extremely fun, especially when you get friends trying to out-cutthroat each other. I’m not on nearly the same level of treachery as the other 4 that played last Thursday were, but I did enjoy throwing in a cheap shot here and there.

The descriptions of the Weapons, Armor, and Curses are pretty cool; the Monsters aren’t far behind. Have you ever taken a Gentleman’s Club into battle against the Wight Brothers?

It is for 3-6 players, ages 10+, so be mindful of that fact. There are dozens of expansions and spin-offs to this game. If you want something as a quick “ice breaker” for a party, or something for a Game Night, where there’s very little setup and not many complicated rules, then Munchkin should be near the top of your lists.

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