Welcome to the Game Night Blog Carnival for July! You can get more information about the carnival at the main Game Night site.
Kill the monsters. Steal the treasure. Stab your buddy. Those words on the front of the box do a perfect job summing up Munchkin. The game, made by Steve Jackson Games, is a non-collectible card game that parodies dungeon crawls and other tropes of fantasy roleplaying games.
While playing the game, you and your friends take on the role of adventurers exploring a dungeon. Your goal is to reach 10th level before any other players. You generally gain levels by defeating the monsters that you encounter in the dungeon, but there are also some treasure cards that let you go up a level.
Each turn, you kick in a door by drawing a dungeon card. That card will likely be a monster that you’ll have to fight or a curse that causes you to lose levels or equipment, but it might also be a beneficial card that you can add to your hand. If you don’t draw a monster to fight, you can go looking for trouble by playing a monster card from your hand.
Fights against monsters are pretty simple. You simply compare your level plus bonuses from treasure against the monsters level. If your total is higher than the monster’s level, you defeat it and get its treasure. Otherwise, you either have to ask (bribe) your fellow players into helping or attempt to run away. Don’t worry, if you die, you’re still in the game, but you do have to start over with a new character after your fellow players loot the old one’s body.
What really makes the game fun is playing cards to interfere with the fights of your fellow players. If you try to play Munchkin without backstabbing your friends, it won’t be nearly as much fun as it should be. You also should not try to play the game too seriously – some cards have vague rules and if you’re too serious they can derail a game or leave players upset. If that middle ground of laughing with your buddy as you use an electric radioactive acid potion to make the psycho squirrel he’s fighting unbeatable sounds fun, than you should consider picking up Munchkin the next time you’re at your FLGS.
The rules suggest 3-6 players, but in my experience, you really want at least 4 people. A game takes about an hour, but that can vary a lot depending on whether people get the right cards and how many people are playing. The main game includes 168 cards, and there are several expansions that add more cards and optional rules.
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