I have always wanted to get myself a copy of Munchkin for I am always a sucker for cute and humourous games. I finally bought myself a copy at a store having a sale.
Firstly the box - Pretty attractive and with the caption of "Kill the Monsters, Steal the Treasure, Stab Your Buddies" what can go wrong? Kudos to people at Steve Jackson Games for making such an, in my opinion, eye catching box.
Contents wise, I must say that the most outstanding thing would be the Trade News ala catalogue. Sad ain't it? This item is one of the more attractive things in the box other than the colourful red dotted green six-sided dice. The 168 cards and rules make up the remaining content.
For a game that goes for US$24.95, it ain't too bad I guess (I bought mine for AUS$30 +)
Hmmm ... so far so good I guess.
Rules are fairly simple and this game is designed for 3-6 people (The more the merrier). The cards are divided into two decks - The Station Deck and Treasure Deck. Each player starts off as a level 1 human with two cards from each deck, with these cards in hand, the player then upgrades his character as much as possible. The objective of the game is to be the first to hit level 10 and this can only be done via killing a monster.
The turn phases goes like this:
1) Opening a door - players draw a station card and if its a monster a fight ensues else put the card in hand or play it immediately.
2) Look for trouble - If a station card drawn is not a monster, the player has the option of playing a monster card in hand.
3) Loot the room if you have killed the monster.
4) Charity - If player has more than five cards in hand, they must give the excess to the living player with the lowest level.
Combat is decided by a dice roll plus your current level plus any items/cards that boost your level. If total is equal or greater than monster's level, you kill it. However if there are more than one monster around, they will both attack you at their COMBINED level. If a player could not beat the monster(s), they have an option of either asking for help or running away.
If your character dies, other players get to loot the corpse (morbid!) and while they keep the class and race, everything else is lost.
Okay, now that you got a jist of how the game is played, I will now write my thoughts on the game itself.
True the game is somewhat *cute* with all the cards having looney looking pics and text. During the game itself, if you're lucky, you start off with pretty decent equipment have easy monsters in hand so as to boost your levels early. However this seldom seems to happen but no worries as the monsters in hand can be used to "disturb" other players (AKA killing them off). What cheeses me off in this game is the constant possibility of fighting monsters that are way above your level hence always asking for help in which NO one ever seems to want to and in the end I would run away from combat in which half the time I get eaten, mauled, reduced in level or lose precious items. Ultimately it gets frustrating as it goes in a cycle and in the end this game did not work out for me.
I say get the game if you would like something humourous and affordable but don't expect this game to be the ultimate card game ever (even though Munchkin did win an award). It serves great as a filler or as an introduction game to people who don't play board games.
Like many multi-player games I think one's experience depends a lot on the nature of the group you play with. If no one would ever help you fight the monsters it seems like the group didn't understand the objective of the game. There's lots of times when it can be advantageous to help someone defeat a monster, especalaly if it's one of the big ones witha lot of treasures. ("If I help you I get half -- or all-- the loot, after all, you get a level out of it.)
I question whether you played this game correctly (or at all) based on a number of glaring inaccuracies in your review. Here are some of them:
Each player starts off [with]...two cards from each deck
It's actually 4 cards from each deck.
players draw a station card and if its a monster a fight ensues else put the card in hand
No mention of traps? That's a large part of the game mechanic.
Loot the room if you have killed the monster.
You can only "loot the room" if you have NOT killed a monster.
Combat is decided by a dice roll
Combat is never decided by a dice roll. Only running away is.
If total is equal or greater than monster's level, you kill it.
You only kill it if your total is greater. If equal, you lose.
monsters in hand can be used to "disturb" other players (AKA killing them off)
Firstly, you can't play a monster from your hand against another player unless you have another fairly rare card called "Wandering Monster." Also, how is this akin to killing them off? Rarely does losing a fight with a monster ever result in the character's death.
What cheeses me off in this game is the constant possibility of fighting monsters that are way above your level hence always asking for help.
That is the entire point of the game after all, the mechanic around which it is built.
With so many errors in your review I wonder if you didn't just watch someone play it and base your review off of that. Or perhaps you were just playing it wrong. Either way, that's a poor method to base a review on.