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Subject: The Three 'T's rss

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Niclas Matikainen
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With probably well over a hundred reviews of Munchkin, can I add anything that hasn’t already been said? Probably not. But it’s my first review, and I thought I’d start with something simple. So here goes.

Munchkin is a card game designed to make fun of the fantasy genre, the role-playing game industry in general, and Dungeons & Dragons in particular. It does this brilliantly. I’ve at times laughed so hard that I cried when I played Munchkin.
In short, this game is all about the three ‘T’s: Theme, Theme and Theme.
However, the gameplay that is used to deliver all this humour can also make you cry, but unfortunately not from laughing.

Each player starts as a level 1 Human with no class (pun intended and stolen from game in question). Cards can change your race and give you new classes that give you various abilities. Various weapons and equipment gives you different bonuses.
By killing encountered monsters, you go up (at least) 1 level. The first player to reach level 10 wins. You defeat a monster if your level plus bonuses exceeds that of the monster. Sounds simple? It is.

Here comes the crying part. At level 1, with few or no weapons, you can’t kill any monsters. Instead you’ll just spend your time throwing away cards you can’t use. And you’ll keep doing this until you draw the Wizard class card that allows you to charm monsters into giving you their Treasure.
What happens if you don’t get to be a Wizard? Nothing! For the reminder of the session. This will unfortunately happen quite often when you play Munchkin...

As a side note, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the other classes are useless. It just means that that they are very slow at getting you started.

Once/if you get past this obstacle, the actual game of killing monsters, stealing their treasure and occasionally backstabbing the other players will take place.
There is however little to no actual gameplay going on. You just draw random cards and if you’re lucky it will benefit you some way. No strategy or tactics are ever involved.
Eventually one or more players will end up around level 8-9, at which point the backstabbing will increase to levels previously unheard of. This will make Munchkin appear to actually be a game, but it is in fact just an illusion. In reality, it’s just a case of waiting until one of the players encounter a monster he can easily kill, while at the same time the other players are out of cards that stop the leader from killing the monster.

But as mentioned, this game isn’t about the gameplay. It’s about theme. And if you, like me, have a passion for fantasy and role-playing games and is at least knowledgeable about D&D, you’ll find plenty of theme here. And then laugh at it.

If I where to rate Munchkin solely on its gameplay, I’d have to give it a meagre 4 points. The brilliant theme on the other hand is worth a whopping 8 points.
So the average of that is a decent 6. Does that mean that I give Munchkin 6 points?
Yes it does! While actually being just a few steps above unplayable, Munchkins parody of fantasy rpg:s still makes it fun to play for a few (or a lot of, actually) laughs. As long as you get to be a wizard early on, that is.

And to finish things of, a short mention of various expansions.
There’s a ton of them around by now. Apart from various monsters and treasure, you usually get one new race and class in each expansion. Added to this is some sort of feature, like steeds to ride, or hirelings to carry your treasure.
This still doesn’t add any gameplay, but it does make the game funnier. Most of the treasures in the expansions are a bit more over the top with lots and lots of bad puns.
Oh, there are also more weak monsters thrown in, to lessen the chance of the above mentioned slow start.
The best reason to get at least one expansion is however to get more cards. The ones you get in the base game aren’t enough to last an entire session most of the time.
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Gijs Bouwman
Netherlands
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Nice review, although i don't like the game.
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David Gibbs
Canada
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Ontario
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My problem is that I find that the theme runs out way before the game play does, and I end up sitting there for way too long wishing the bloody thing would just end.
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Niclas Matikainen
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dagibbs wrote:
My problem is that I find that the theme runs out way before the game play does, and I end up sitting there for way too long wishing the bloody thing would just end.

I have this problem with Star Munchkin. I suppose it depends on how much you like the theme. Or how much you like to make fun of it.
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Justin Moore
United States
Louisville
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I thought the three 'T's were going to be: Terrible, Terrible, Terrible.
 
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