Munchkin: The Card Game

I just had an awesome time playing Munchkin, a card game that humorously pokes fun at Dungeons and Dragons. There are cards for races, classes, gear, buffs, curses, and, of course, monsters. Players race to be the first to get to level 10 by defeating monsters with your cards or selling gear to buy levels. Players can gang up to fight monsters they wouldn’t normally be able to defeat, which can lead to much shrewd negotiation. The flip side is that since the first player(s) to hit 10 win – thus ending the game – there is a lot of incentive to gang up on the strongest players to keep them from winning. Alliances are made and broken from turn to turn. In this respect, I hear it’s great for those who love Survivor.

We had 5 players and the game lasted about 4 hours; this included learning the rules. It starts out deceptively slow (partly due to so many new players), but as the game progresses you get more cards in play, accelerating your leveling. As a counter balance, the playing field is leveled whenever someone gets ahead, as everyone teams up to knock him down a few pegs. I have to say this is one of the most balanced games out there. I got to level 9 twice and was knocked down each time. Another player was wiped out a few times, but at the end was one of a few players tied at 9.

I highly recommend it, even if you’re not a regular player of D&D.1 A lot of the humor is based on generic fantasy settings,2 so if you liked Lord of the Rings – or better yet, Monty Python and the Holy Grail – you’ll have fun. If you don’t like the setting at all, there are pirate, gothic horror, space opera/sci-fi, espionage/007/MI, spaghetti western, martial arts, superhero, and even Cthulu themes! The themes can be combined for you genre-benders out there. Remember those westerns where, for some ridiculous reason, a samurai shows up? You can do that!

One caveat: some of the humor is adult-oriented. It sounds perfect for spirited family competition until you need to explain the jokes about altar boys and knee pads and hey kids! let’s see what the excitement is about those German board games!

The game and expansion packs (I think we used 1-4) at Amazon:

Munchkin 2: Unnatural Axe
Munchkin 3: Clerical Errors
Munchkin 4: The Need for Steed
Munchkin 5: De-Ranged
Munchkin 6: Demented Dungeons
Munchkin 1-6 Value Pack
Munchkin 7: More Good Cards






  1. If you do play D&D, there is a d20 RPG setting for it, although it seems overpriced. []
  2. D&D is pretty much taken directly from Lord of the Rings. []

2 thoughts on “Munchkin: The Card Game”

  1. This sounds great. I wish they had it back when we were in school. when I wasn’t so busy and had free time. I would definately jump on this. Maybe it will get enough of a following to put out a single player – PDA version or something.
    How many players are required to have a decent game? Is it possible with just two, or is it kind of like trying to play Hearts with less than 4 people. (You can do it… but… lame.)

  2. The box stipulates that it’s meant for 2-6 players, but from my experience a 2 player game is somewhat dull. One of the best aspects of the game is the constant alliance changes, and the ability to “gang up” on someone who pulls ahead, and you miss that with a 2 (and possibly also 3) player game.

    As was mentioned in the post, our 5 player game took about 4 hours, so you could assume a 6 player game would be somewhat longer, and a 4 player game somewhat shorter. But yeah, 4-6 would probably be best.

    You *could* possibly play with more than 6, but I wouldn’t attempt it unless you have some of the expansion packs (we had Munchkin with 3 expansions going on Sunday).

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