Tabletopping It – Munchkin

Yesterday (or, rather, the day this will claim this was posted) was a Thanksgiving dinner before Thanksgiving dinner for me. It’s actually the largest Thanksgiving dinner I’ve ever been to, with 28 people in attendance. Two turkeys and a metric crapton of sides, including eight cans of cranberry sauce that were not as voraciously devoured as I had originally expected considering my family’s cranberry sauce-eating habits. After the dinner, some of us stayed to play Cards Against Humanity. I didn’t get home until 2 a.m. So that explains that.

I’ve finally played a real game of Munchkin. In the $170-plus worth of board games I recently bought, four were purchased to double as Christmas gifts for my family, gifts which I believe I will be giving to them early so we have things to play over Thanksgiving this week. By the way, I won’t have internet when I visit my grandmother on Thursday, Friday and probably Saturday, so I’ll have to come up with at least two posts to auto-post ahead of time. It’ll be interesting to see what they say. (One will likely be random factoids about the original Thanksgiving. Sue me.)

Anyway, one of the games I bought in that big spending spree was Munchkin. That one I bought for my own pleasure, and so I could finally play the darn thing correctly. Before, I had played the Axe Cop expansion – and since the rules weren’t included and I was trying to remember the rules from my reading a different expansion pack/watching “Tabletop,” we played it very wrong – and the Cthulhu expansion, which had extra rules and stuff probably not intensely suitable for new people. Also, there were only three of us playing then. But, finally, a group of friends and I got together to play actual original Munchkin. It’s pretty fun (and completely impossible to be strategically good at in a way where you guarantee a strong showing every game).

Basically, Munchkin is a card game parody of Dungeons and Dragons, a game wherein cheating and screwing over the other players is actively encouraged. Everyone starts off as a Level 1 human with no class. The goal is to reach level 10, with the tenth level requiring you to kill a monster to reach that level. There are two piles of cards: The Door cards and the Treasure cards. Each player is dealt four of each pile of cards before the game starts. Possible cards to appear include equipment/item cards (which have gold values I’ll explain later), class cards, race cards, curse cards, monster cards and I’ll call them action cards for lack of a better term. A player, on their turn, can play whatever equipment, class and race cards they want. Unless they have the Super Munchkin, Half-Breed or Cheat cards, a player can only be one race and one class at a time. There are different benefits for each. A player can also, unless cards specify otherwise, only use two hands total for equipment, have one big item, and have one piece of headgear, one piece of armor and one piece of footgear. You can carry stuff you don’t want to use at the moment in your backpack by putting them on the table, but sideways to indicate non-use. That only works for item and equipment cards. Players can also play action cards (such as Level Up cards) whenever they want unless the cards specify otherwise. They can also trade cards with other players or sell items. If you sell 1000 gold-worth of items, you go up a level.

Then a player must Kick Down the Door. That’s when you flip a door card face-up for everyone to see. If it’s a monster, you try to fight it. If it’s a curse, you’re hit by it. If it’s some other card, it goes into your hand. If you don’t flip over a monster card, you can either Look for Trouble by playing a monster for you to fight from your hand or Loot the Room by taking the next Door card and putting it directly in your hand. If you fight a monster, the monster has a certain level at the top. Your fighting level, which is your actual level (1 at the beginning) and your equipment and item bonuses (they’ll say at the top), must be greater than the fighting level of the monster in order to win. If you win, you get the treasure the monster says you get from the treasure pile, as well as go up a level unless otherwise indicated by the monster (some are tough enough to give two levels).

And here’s where the backstabby stuff comes in. Other players can interfere in your fight by, say, making the monster a higher level or throwing in a wandering monster. You can also ask players to assist you in the fight. Usually, they’ll demand some of the treasure for assisting you. If they assist you, their levels are added to yours, and they can play helpful cards to make the battle easier. If you and anyone else assisting are unable to defeat the monster/monsters on the table, then you have to run away. You roll a d6 die and, unless there are other cards that indicate otherwise, try to roll a 5 or 6 to escape. If you don’t roll a 5 or 6, then whatever Bad Stuff is indicated on the monster card affects you, which can include death. Fun times.

At the end of your turn, if you have more than five cards in your hand, you’re supposed to donate them via charity to the player with the lowest level (or discard them if you’re the player with the lowest level).

Really, that’s about it. The game is pretty self explanatory, as instructions are laid out on the cards. There are a few things, like death, that you’ll want the instructions for. It can be frustrating and make you hate the people you’re playing with, but I think it’s just a fun game, backstabbing and screwing friends over or not. You can mix up any and all of the Munchkin expansion packs together to make the game different every time. Just give yourself about and hour to play the game with a few friends and have fun with it.

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One thought on “Tabletopping It – Munchkin

  1. […] on Christmas Day. So I managed to convince them in various groups to play two games with me: Munchkin and […]

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