The Dreaded Munchkin

Munchkin from Steve Jackson Games and it is a game that has somewhat of a reputation amongst board gamers and particularly the people I play with on a tuesday night at NoBoG. 2016 kicked off with Cauldron and I thought I would continue the year by playing yet another new game but not only was it a new one on me but we were also playing with some new people who were making their very first appearance at the Mash Tun.

This week I was playing games with Lewis and Ben who I had played Cauldron with last week so it was good to play with them again and it was nice to play with Matt and Martin who were two new players to the group. It was nice to be able to play yet another new game and playing board games with new people is always a good thing but as I have said this game has a reputation for causing a lot of upset and I knew that whatever happened it would be an interesting evening.

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Munchkin is a game that sees players take command of a character who wants to advance up a track to the 10th level in order to claim victory. This can be done in three different ways, first a player can sell items with each 1000 meaning progression up the track, second they can use special cards to go up a level and third they defeat monsters. Defeating monsters earns you a level and some treasure but some monsters may require you to seek help from other players, this usually manifests itself in the form of sharing the resulting treasure.

However while another player could help, they could also hinder you by adding to the monsters strength and while you can attempt to run away, there is the possibility that you will fail it and have to face the consequences. This could be anything from losing an equipped item to having to go down a level and anything in between but thats not all, you also have to watch out for curses which can really make the game interesting as you really do have no idea what is about to come up next.

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Being new to the game I only put out one of my items at the start which was just as well because Lewis immediately hit me with a curse that saw me loose the very item that I had just placed which was down to the fact that it was the only thing he could do. Before long I was hit with yet another curse that meant that monsters would always attack me, even if they normally wouldn’t but luckily that didn’t really affect me to much.

However when it came to defeating monsters no one seemed to want to cause other players to much trouble and so the first few rounds went off relatively nicely which I think was more down to not wanting to create enemies to early more than anything. These alliances didn’t last long and soon I was helping a monster defeat Lewis and Martin who had turned up to help. Martin did very well and managed to run away from both monsters but Lewis was not so lucky.

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Not long after we encountered a situation where both myself and ben died after failing to run away from a monster which was annoying but as I was only a couple of seats away from him I didn’t have to wait to long to come back. The reason that we failed was down to poor dice rolls but also to the fact that Martin added another monster to the fight and annoying as that situation was I have to give props to him for killing two both me and Ben in one go.

After that I managed to get my act together and with the aid of a few other players I managed to make some good progress towards the tenth level. Begrudgingly I had to accept help form a certain player who promised to destroy my character if I didn’t accept his help but I did manage to get an ally from that, well for a short while anyways. There was a lot going on during this time with players changing items, classes and even their characters genders.

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We were making some good progress towards the 10th level that would see victory for the first player there but by the time I managed to get up to the 9th level it was getting a bit late. At this point I was attempting to defeat a monster but the other players didn’t want to happen so Ben took it upon himself to add strength to the monster. Naturally none of the other players wanted to help me win and I lost to it by a single point.

Losing by that much was annoying but when I failed to run away from it, I was even more frustrated as it meant that I couldn’t defeat a monster and claim victory for the next fifteen minuets which seemed a little harsh. Not being able to do the one thing that would help me win was incredibly frustrating, especially as every other player had a drastic reduction in the time it took for them to take their goes.

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What I liked about this game was the fact that you had to constantly weigh the options between helping and hindering other players and knocking down the door to see what you might face adds an interesting aspect to the game. The treasures in the game meant that the characters were constantly evolving and being able to negotiate help in return for treasure gives players motivation to help instead of only hindering and adds a bit more strategy to the game.

What I didn’t like about Munchkin was the way the game creates grudges between the players and while the negative effects for failing to run away were not great I could understand them, well for the most part anyways. My reaction to not being able to do anything for fifteen minuets was unsporting and my apologies go out to the other players for such behaviour, I just don’t like that it caused that sort of reaction in me and I really don’t like games that punish you that harshly.

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Munchkin is a decent game and I am glad that I have finally been able to give it a go but honestly I don’t think I will be playing it again anytime soon. Not because I didn’t win but because of the way it forces you to play and the way it ended left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe there will come a day when I am willing to give it another try but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Lastly I wanted to say that it was nice being able to play with a good group of people and I hope that the new players come back to NoBoG where I am sure they will enjoy many more games. I also want to congratulate Matt who won the game by defeating a level one monster, you played a good game and I hope that you enjoyed the game a lot more than I did. See you all soon and hope that you enjoy your games.

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5 thoughts on “The Dreaded Munchkin

  1. I used to love Munchkin–used to think it was the funniest game in the world. Unfortunately, after so many plays, the joke wears off, and then you just end up with games of *interminable* length as people continue to knock the current leader off his pedestal and repeat a vicious rubber-band leadership cycle. You can always buy the different skins for fresh jokes, but eventually you’ll end up with 5,000 versions of Munchkin, non of which is funny anymore. ;(

    1. Yeah I can see how easy it would be for the joke to wear off with that game, I did have a good time for the most part but it went on all evening and I wasn’t having a good time anymore. but yeah I don’t have to worry about it to much as I don’t think i will be playing it again anytime soon.

  2. I used to be a huge fan of Munchkin as well- my friends and I played it almost every time we got together. The cards are so clever and witty that it’s almost as much fun to just read them as it is to play, especially if you play D&D and get a lot of the jokes based on that. My friends and I all tended to save our curses and power-ups to the very end of the game, where someone was at 9th level. Usually it would end up with all of us at 9th level just hoping that everyone else would run out of ways to curse us or help the monster. I still play the game every once in a while, but the effect has definitely worn off after multiple play-through’s.

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