This is my 47th review for Board Game Geek but my first looking at any of the Munchkin variants.
But then again, what is there I could say about this behemoth of gaming that somebody hasn't said before? Not a lot.
Would one review from me really be the difference between someone getting this Munchkin set or not? Probably not.
Is there really any point in my writing this review – particularly for a Munchkin set now almost 10 years old? Not really.
But what the hell, let's go for it anyway! After all, that is the driving force of any Munchkin game: “what I'm about to do is completely pointless, possibly stupid, but I'm going to do it anyway”.
If you really don't know the Munchkin games but that attitude appeals to you, well then it's about time you got hold of one!
At the start of your turn you open a door and see what's behind it. First to level 10, wins.
Congratulations, you now know how to play Munchkin. More or less, anyway …
“Opening a door” in this game involves revealing the top card of the Door Deck and then resolving it. If it's a Monster or a Curse card, it immediately applies to you. If it's anything else you may play it or take it in to hand for later.
If it's a Monster and you beat it up, you gain one level and some Treasure. This Treasure should, in theory, help you beat up more Monsters.
And that really is pretty much it. More or less, anyway ...
But of course, the “more or less” is where any game lives or dies. And the game text of the Door and Treasure cards is where any set of Munchkin lives or dies.
And for a game like Munchkin, it's not just about the playability of the cards but also the humour. If the game took itself seriously, it would be a simplified version of a dungeon crawl card game where each player was treated equally and you would employ skill and tactics to engineer a clever win.
This is not that game.
Instead, this game has a card called “Fake Tentacle” which shows a human waving a tentacle on stick in an effort to fool a monster. This is a game where you can go in to combat equipped with Bagpipes and have the monster attempt to mate with them rather than fight you. This is a game where one of the Curse cards is called “Solestealer” and makes you discard your footwear. No, really, it does.
There is even a monster called “Sheep Ones” which, if you lose a fight to them, do nothing to you. After all, as the card itself says: “They may be servants for the Dark Gods from Beyond Time, but they're still sheep”.
If all this daft silliness sounds like your cup of tea and you do not mind it when a game is hideously unfair, you should get this game. It is a game of bad puns, daft combat, ridiculous items and of gross hideous unfairness. There's little to no skill or tactics to employ in this game, it's a game for friends to laugh at each other and mock them when they lose a fight to a hamster. No, really, one of the Level 1 monsters is honestly a hamster.
But why get this set over any other Munchkin set? Well that's largely up to your own personal tastes about the theme of each set. Obviously, this one draws heavily on the Cthulhu Mythos with nearly all the cards in some way relating to an element from H.P. Lovecraft's Universe. But if you don't get the pun in the aforementioned “Sheep Ones” nor in the “Arkhamster”, then you won't get a lot of the jokes in this set. But with other Munchkin sets ranging from science fiction to spy movies to kung fu movies to horror, there probably is a set out there for you.
Sure, “Sheep Ones” and “Arkhamster” are bad puns, that's the point! So if you do get the jokes but don't find them funny – or don't think they'd be amusing at 21:00 on a Friday night after you've all had a hard week at work and several beers each – then this set (and maybe Munchkin in general) is probably not for you.
And for those of you who already have several Munchkin sets and are trying to decide whether to get this one, too? Well, how much does more of the same appeal to you? Because that's what this is – gameplay-wise, anyway! Sure, there are some new cards which do the odd thing you haven't seen before – for example the game ends if everyone becomes a Cultist – but nothing revolutionary or that sets it far apart from other Munchkin sets.
For me, it's the best base set merely because I love the Cthulhu Mythos but my friend who prefers Westerns disagrees; fortunately, for him, there is a Munchkin set out there which caters to his particular interests. Maybe, if I was him, I'd think that that was the best Munchkin set. But I'm not, I'm me, so I say this is.
The rules and cards are of the same quality as for every Munchkin set. If you are not sure what that means, it means the rules are easy to understand and the cards all have a small amount of easy-to-read text and a cartoon-style picture to animate the concept. All works fine.
If you're not a fan of other Munchkins, there is nothing there to covert you in to a believer.
If you are not a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos, treat this set as equivalent of all other base sets whose themes don't especially appeal.
If you are a fan of both, you really should own a copy of this already. If you don't, get it.
7 out of 10.
Note 1: I have learned from bitter experience with this site that I need to stress that all reviews – including this one – are entirely matters of opinion. I am not claiming that anything I have said in this review is fact, it is all entirely my opinion and I am sure that many others have different opinions. If you wish to reply with yours, I welcome it. I enjoy discussion but will not respond kindly to aggressive replies.
Note 2: I am fully aware the expansion sets could change things a great deal. However this review looks only at the base game as it plays using the initial release. To do otherwise in this review is unfair to the readers and the game itself.
Aggressive Reply!!!!!! (Just kidding)
Now...Mix it in with Munchkin Conan (which is why I bought it...)