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Subject: It's still Munchkin, but then you knew that. rss

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Harvey O'Brien
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Munchkin: Rick and Morty has the distinction of being a mere blip in the gameography associated with this licence. There are entire games based on single episodes (Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game and Rick and Morty: Anatomy Park – The Game for example, as well as standard licensed Monopoly and Cluedo games.

Actually, though, Munchkin is kind of an apt system for an adventure with the dimension-hopping anti-social crew who populate this show. The Munchkin ethos of 'kick down a door' and have random, comical encounters with a mixture of funny and deadly enemies is totally in keeping with Rick and Morty, and I would imagine that if you're even reading this review, you like at least one of these things enough to consider it worth your while.

Though the game is marketed as stand-alone (and it is) it can be combined with Munchkin as normal. The rules and rulebook are pretty much standard Munchkin with a few thematic wrinkles. In a sense this is slightly a pity in that the rules can't go far enough into theme to abandon the Munchkin nomenclature, but you can work around it. For example, though the primary action of going through portals is familiar from the show, and the card art depicts exactly that, the rules do instruct you to 'kick down a door'. It's a small thing. You can always just call it 'open a portal' if you like. But you are reminded that the game is Munchkin first, Rick and Morty second.

However, it is, as noted, an excellent marriage of theme and mechanics for the most part. You get character cards which act as level counters, and so you play a role (Rick, Morty, Summer, Gerry, Beth, and Mr. Poopybutthole (if you don't find that hilarious, you really don't want to be paying this game), and you outfit them with goofy gear from the show and encounter monsters and creatures from the show, along with thematic trap cards that throw some of the insane random things from the show at you as, well, traps. The other thematic mechanic on offer is the 'parasite' effect (again derived from 'Total Rickall'), which requires the dice that comes with the game to determine if the monster that has appeared with the parasite symbol multiples into more parasites (drawn from the discard pile) if you roll 1-3 (I ended up with a four-parasite pile on to fight in my first game). It's a small detail, but one that is, again, in keeping with the show.

So yes, quite obviously, we are dealing with a media licence here, and as such you get what you'd want from that if you would be inclined to buy it - lots of art and in-jokes from the show and an appropriately chaotic tone that comes from Munchkin itself, but there are those little touches that make it feel very much like it could be a standalone if you knew nothing of Munchkin, so maybe it's not a bad gateway (a million voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced).

The production is up to standard, the art is good, the game plays well, and you'll have exactly the kind of experience you might expect from it, but all of this relies on whether or not Munchkin is, to you, the epitome of bad game design in this day and age. Some of us don't think so, and though personally my Munchkin collecting has been very much curbed from what it was ten years or so ago when I started buying it, I was tempted back in by this and don't regret it at all.
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