A stark room with a single light over the table. Four people sit around the table, clutching cards in their hands and warily watching each other. There are a number of cards and a single d10 in front of each person. The room has a palitable sense of tension.
I choose to fight the Large Angry Chicken.
Now it's a Humongous Large Angry Chicken!
Ha! Now it's an Ancient Humongous Large Angry Chicken! Take that!
*sighs* I hate you all.
Have you ever played Munchkin? I think it's one of the most well known geeky card games out there. The text on the box neatly sums up the goal of the game: Kill The Mosters - Steal The Treasure - Stab Your Buddy.
In the basic game (there are a number of other sets that I will discuss in future articles) you and your buddies are Dungeon Explorers and you're competing with each other to kill monsters and grab magic items. The first player to Level 10 wins the game - so do your best to screw your buddies and stop them from gaining levels!
Munchkin really is a ton of fun. Reading through the rules the first time can be confusing, I think it is best to just sit down with some friends and start playing a few games.
There are two decks of cards in the game - Door cards and Treasure cards.
Door cards are:
- Monsters (eg. Gelatinous Octahedron or *shudder* Lawyers)
- Monster modifiers (eg. Ancient or Baby)
- Character classes (eg. Cleric, Thief )
- Character races (eg. Dwarf, Elf)
- Curses (eg. Chicken on Your Head, Duck of Doom)
Treasure Cards are:
- Items (eg. Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment, Pantyhose of Giant Strength)
- Potions (eg. Potion of Halitosis, Flaming Poison Potion)
- other treasures (eg. Go Up a Level)
Each turn goes through a sequence of actions. First you Kick Down The Door (drawing a door card). If it's a monster, then you can choose to fight it or try and run away. If it's a curse then it takes effect immediatiely. If you didn't fight a monster, then you can choose to Look For Trouble by playing and fighting a monster from your hand. If you didn't meet a monster at all that turn you can then Loot The Room and draw a Door card into your hand. Defeating a monster will net you level(s) and treasure.
Combat is the best part of this game. Each monster has a level, and to see if you can defeat the monster you add up your level and any bonuses from items in play. If your total is greater than the monster's level then you win! But wait, there's more! Once you decide to fight a monster your buddies get 2.6 seconds to decide if they will try and screw you over. They can play Monster Enhancers (making the monster stronger), items, curses, anything they can to make it so you loose the fight. This can get pretty nasty. :-)
If you can't beat the monster, you're allowed to ask for help - one other player can choose to assist you (adding their level and item bonuses to yours). But why would they help you? They are trying to win! You often have to sweeten the deal by offering some or all of the treasure cards to get them to help you.
There's a great Munchkin Flowchart available to guide you through the game.
Take the time to read each card as it comes into play, the cards are pretty damn funny and the artwork just adds to it all! In the case of a conflict between the rules and what the card says, the card always wins.
Remember - cheating is not only allowed, it's expected!