Toy Corner

Munchkin Review

Apr 19, 2024

munchkin board game

Released in 2001, Munchkin has been around for some time now and it is still a great game for someone looking to entertain their friends or family. A classic created by Steve Jackson, Munchkin is a game that can switch the strongest alliances at a moment's notice. With the popularity of the game ever-growing, you have a wide range of editions and themes to choose from.

Overview of Munchkin

Let's start with the premise. In Munchkin, you and your mates start at level 1 and vie with each other to cross the threshold to level 10. Sounds simple right? But oh, what a pandemonium ensues in the journey! The thrill of levelling up coupled with the tension of each draw provides the entertainment you'd expect from a top-notch card game.

What sets Munchkin apart from its peers? It's the dynamic nature of gameplay, shrouded in hilarity. It's a game that promotes help and betrayal in equal measure. One moment, you're rooting for your friend to fend off a terrifying monster; the next, you could be the one hampering their progress, all with the power of the cards in your hand.

Munchkin offers various editions and themes, one of them being Munchkin Rick and Morty. This massive TV show tie-in brings the joy and madness of this iconic series to the tabletop. Yet, it retains the core mechanics and spirit of the original. Despite being a feast for fans of both Rick and Morty and Munchkin, I've found this version tends to stay on the shelf when newcomers are present. After all, without knowledge of the show's wacky universe, some of the experience might get lost.

But let's get back to the base game and why it's captivated me all these years. There's an undeniable charm to Munchkin that keeps me eager for one more round, even after a series of defeats. As someone who loves a good board game, this bottomless pit of laughter and dramatic twists hits the sweet spot.

How to Play

Get ready! I'm about to show you the ins and outs of the enchanting Munchkin board game. Now falls the cloak of obscurity, for indeed, knowledge is power - and every Munchkin player needs a hefty slice of that for sure.

Firstly, let's delve into some mechanics that set this Steve Jackson game apart. The goal of the game is to reach level 10, sounds simple right? But be careful as your opponents will do anything in their power to stop you from getting there!

Every player starts on level 1 with 4 door cards and 4 treasure cards. In every turn you will start by flipping a card from the doors deck, in here you can find yourself fighting a monster, be cursed or if luck is on your side, have a new ability to help you in your future battles.

munchkin cards

When you are faced with a monster behind the door, you have to beat it to progress on to the next level. Having trouble with the monster outmuscling you? Then you can negotiate with the other players to see if they will help you out. Here you will have to bring out your best bartering skills for it to not cost you too much to get through to the next round. When you beat the monster you are rewarded with moving up to the next level and you treasure, this could come in handy in future battles. 

Reached level 9? Now things get spicy, as your opponents will do anything in their power to stop you, including helping the monster by powering it up to defeat you. You need to be careful out there.

Despite seeming daunting to some, mark my words, a few hands in and you'll be drawn in by the immersive gameplay. The combination of tension, strategy, and laugh-out-loud absurdities found in Munchkin ensures it remains a favourite among board game enthusiasts, irrespective of its luck-reliant antics. There's nothing quite like it and that’s exactly what makes it memorable.

Are There Other Themes?

Each Munchkin set brings a fresh concept to your board game sessions. Yes, there are indeed other themes!

I recall playing a Munchkin version dedicated to the off-colour, hilariously funny TV show, South Park. As an avid fan, the references and inside jokes on the cards brought back a string of good memories. If you're a fan, you'll definitely chuckle at the witty humour that's so characteristic of the show. So, the 26-season long South Park isn't just a TV show, it's also a fantastic Munchkin version!

Raise your eyebrows at the strangeness of Munchkin Temporary Tattoos. These inventive game elements aren't part of your everyday board game, that's for sure. Who knew getting inked could score bonus effects in a game? However, remember to use these sparingly – you don't want to invite too much chaos into the game.

munchkin board game themes

Some gamers out there might cast a sceptical gaze over at Munchkin. Sure, it can be luck-based and, God forbid, backstabby! Despite this, it's stayed popular with many. Why is that, you may wonder? Well, since its debut in 2001, Munchkin has been a crowd favourite and it's been consistently in print, piling up a series of expansions in its name.

So, what's the beauty of this board game saga? It's the flexibility it offers. Imagine packing your favourite pizza with an infinite choice of toppings. Some others to name are Munchkin Warhammer, Star Munchkin, Munchkin Fu, Munchkin Cthulhu and there are many many more. The options are endless!

Final Thoughts

After giving you an in depth look into the Munchkin brand it is easy to understand how it is still talked about after being released over twenty years ago, well done Steve Jackson! It is a game that most regular of gamers will not be interested in but it is a great game that has successfully been able to mix role-playing and luck into one game. Given the amount of expansions and themes out there I would say that it is excellent for a family with young kids to introduce them into the world of role-playing and card games who could then later on go on to enjoy other role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. So if you are a hardcore RPG fan I would give this game a pass but if you are looking for a light, fun game then Munchkin is a great game to look into.