Quick Guide to the Munchkin SeriesMunchkin is Steve Jackson’s popular card game of monster killing, loot and back-stabbing. Known for its outrageous puns, amusing drawings and sly winks at roleplaying conventions, it’s a game that will elicit a smile from even the most dour faced dwarf (or its player).
Not surprisingly, Munchkin’s incredible success has led to a bewildering range of expansions and line extensions. The Quick Guide will focus only on the main games. Expansions to the games will be covered briefly in notes, but will not be discussed as the expansions, while adding more cards and humorous quips, rarely alter the game to any great degree.
Of note is the fact that Munchkin games can be combined with any other Munchkin game (and a special expansion – Munchkin Blender was introduced to make this even easier) to create a truly insane crossover experience.
Munchkin is the classic game of the series and is based on the Dungeons and Dragons / Fantasy theme. Players take on the role of a hero, without class (yes, that pun is made too) or race and must journey through the dungeons looking for monsters to fight to gain levels and loot to steal to make sure they live through the battles. During any fight, players may ask for help from other players (for a negotiated price) and must win the fight to level up. However, other players may also help the monster in the fight, making this a potentially challenging proposition. The first player to level 10 wins.
Munchkin has 6 expansions released, adding more races, classes and monsters in each expansion without altering the basic game-play.
Star Munchkin is the space themed version of Munchkin. Players can now have different species (which include the cat people, cyborgs and mutants) and occupations. The other major change from Munchkin is the inclusion of the ‘Lasers’ which may be added to other ‘laser’ cards of the same kind, providing an on-going ‘power-up’ to a single piece of equipment.
Star Munchkin has a single expansion set.
Munchkin Bites is Steve Jackson’s take on the World of Darkness. Taking pokes at the too serious WoD players, in Munchkin Bites you’ll have a chance to be all the popular WoD characters – werewolves, vampires, changeling and human. A new addition is the ‘Power Class’ system that has a rating of 1 – 3 that provides new abilities. These Power Class cards take the space of previous occupations or classes.
Munchkin Bites has a single expansion set.
Munchkin Fu is the world of Kung Fu fighting as seen by Steve Jackson. Its silly with monks, ninja and yakuza (the games equivalent of ‘race’) running around with different special fighting styles (that replace the ‘classes’ cards) battling different kinds of monsters. It’s all hokey fun, with the major change being the much wider variety of Kung Fu styles available.
Munchkin Fu has a single expansion set.
Super hero Munchkins. That’s all there is to needed to explain the theme of this variant. The rules are very familiar including the use of ‘Powers’ that may be combined to the limit of your level (just like in Munchkin Bites) while the addition of sidekicks (uncommon in most games without an expansion) and Origin cards that modify the rules. Overall, while a good game for those really into superheroes or comics, not a large draw.
Super Munchkin has a single expansion set.
Munchkin Impossible takes on the spy genre in its satirical sights. The least successful of the Munchkin games, the Impossible series adds only the ‘Faction’ cards to the game which define what countries the characters hail from.
Munchkin Impossible has no expansions.
A much more enterprising and humorous look at the popular HP Lovecraft derived horror games, Munchkin Cthulhu now adds a Monster version of the Laser (i.e. you can add any ‘Goth’ monster without a wandering monster card to the monsters battling the players) and a special case ‘Hero’ the Cultist.
Munchkin Cthulhu has 2 expansion sets.
The Good, the Bad and the Munchkin
The latest addition to the Munchkin line of games, this is Munchkin in the West. Sometimes considered just a ‘stretch’ of the Munchkin genre. In the GBtM, there are no races, just classes and the variant rule here is the ‘Steeds rule’ that were first introduced in the Munchkin 4: Need for a Steed expansion.
No expansions for the Good, the Bad and the Munchkin have been announced as yet.
Munchkin on the high seas. Released in late 2008, the Munchkin Booty games brings the Munchkin's to the sea, with swashbuckling, pirates and loot all rolled into one.