Review: Munchkin Dungeon – big axe for big problems!
You all know that. Something is moving behind the closed door. You burst in, draw your sword, and come across an inconspicuous-looking little mouse. But a big cat comes from somewhere and peeles her. You won’t even have time to see it and only one hair is floating in the air. And a little dragon hovers over it all. He looks at you defiantly, the sword falls out of his hand and you slam the door again.
So let’s hope that it won’t be the same in our games when we unpack the new Munchkin Dungeon, created by Andrea Chiarvesio and Eric M. Lang, on the table. It is a novelty based on the classic card game Munchkin and is published by the corporate association of the original home, Steve Jackson Games, and CMON figure game specialists. Together they completed a successful campaign on Kickstarter.
The big brown box shows a scene on the lid, which seems to have almost fallen out of the eye of our story. And there are a lot of components hidden inside, but our journey begins with the game plan. It is foldable and its place in each game should be in the middle of the table. The map of the underground will be filled with randomly drawn cards of empty rooms and wandering monsters, each of which has a prescribed level (depth) to which it belongs. Of course, they will also add the corresponding figure to them. They also reveal four loot cards on the right, while the remaining pile remains as a supply. Additional cards (monster and event) will create a pile of threats.
Players start their preparation by choosing a hero and getting his board and piece. He marks this with a colored base and places a token of the same color on the scale of the indicator of fame. The basic equipment consists of one potion and one gold, which the heroes have in their pockets when they enter the underground from the starting position. Finally, the players‘ attention in preparation is returned to the monsters, because it is necessary to determine the main boss. One of the three on offer places the player in his lair at the deepest underground level.
Players take turns, each starting their quest by kicking the door in a new room. No cowards are welcome in this game, so the hero must move at least one location in each round. He can stay at his current level and move to the side, or look for a bigger challenge and dive deeper underground. It is possible to run several locations at once, but with each of them, players will be added one threat token. He can end his move at any time, but he can no longer move if he encounters an enemy hero or a wandering monster.
The accumulated threat tokens can then be used immediately by the opponents and, after agreement, spent on the cards, which they will try to do as much damage to the opponents as possible. It is therefore possible to play from the hand one card of an event (which is immediately evaluated) or a monster for each opponent. Such monsters will immediately materialize in the room with the hero and will demand blood.
If a hero is waiting for a hero in the form of monsters, he must now compete with them. The player rolls his set of dice, the number of which is determined by statistics and equipment. One of the other participants in the game will use dice for monsters, which will also attack, but will also try to prevent the hit. However, the monster can only be defeated by the player taking all its hearts at once. He will heal at the end of the round.
However, the hero’s hearts can just as well lose if the unlocked intervention on his body goes through. In addition, it can also be affected by possible monster abilities, which can be activated by thrown lightning symbols. If he loses all the hearts, his owner can put his warrior back into the cave entrance. But as a sign of one failure, he receives a token of shame.
Defeated monsters players also bring gold coins that can be used to advance the hero to the next level, and thus gain some advantage for the next fight. The killed monster disappears from the plan, but in the case of wandering monsters, this only happens for a while. For each victory, however, the hero receives a reward, which is printed at the room where the fight took place. Another level of appreciation is the glory for cleaning a room where nothing terrible lives anymore.
All the heroes move on and on into the interior of the underground until they hit the boss. He must try three times to defeat his ever stronger and stronger incarnation. If it succeeds for the third time, the game ends. However, this can happen sooner if one of the players can collect twenty or more fame points. But that is not the end of the measurement of forces, because no victory is certain yet. To the points on the scale, individual opponents will also add points for loot and deduct the penalty for tokens of shame. The player who has the most points in the sum becomes the most successful survivor and the winner of the game.
Munchkin Dungeon is an example of how, with a little courage, even a stupid Honza can become that famous hero. And an equally fantastic story accompanies the game Munchkin, which has evolved from a popular card game thanks to its large format and turned from a funny prank into a full-fledged fun.
So we have already revealed the final evaluation a bit, but let’s talk about it nicely from the beginning and that is a bit of an expected visual processing. This is absolutely precise, from the great graphics of John Kovalice, through the quality of the components to the famous miniatures, which will perfectly enliven the whole adventure.
The central motive of the whole game, of course, remains the conflict between the players. This is again the case here, although the players themselves are each responsible for one of their own pieces. But after a few small steps, the anger of all the opponents and their played cards falls on him.
However, the player himself is often to blame, because threat tokens are paid for playing these attack cards and they are the result of the player’s greed. This effect is especially noticeable in the later stages, when the player (for example, due to defeating the initial level of the boss) moves back to the entrance to the underground. and tries to come back down again so he can stand up to him again. So it’s always about balancing risk and potential profit. Others are constantly waiting for the opportunity to underline your legs. And that’s exactly what the whole Munchkin is about.
But it’s also an adventure and a fight with monsters. This, too, is an important content and a necessary path to glory points. Everything is controlled by dice here, but one defeat can’t ruin anything yet. It is expected that not everything will work out, and that is why there are tokens of shame. There is no elimination of players in the process, which is good.
The game is very simple and the rules have nothing to surprise you with. You will learn them very quickly, and then you will just have fun. The games tend to be a little longer, but not more than an hour is a problem, because the content is still fun. At five there are already too many pauses between moves, so ideally plan it for duels in three and four. But it is surprisingly good in two.
The main complaint in terms of the smoothness of the game and game time is the number of dice. There are only six of them in the box, which makes every fight unnecessarily lengthy. Sometimes you even have to pick up a pencil and paper, write down the results and then add them up. And this should definitely not happen with a game that has such a well-tuned side of execution.
Munchkin Dungeon is pure fun and an unexpectedly successful evolution of the card game. It elevates it a lot higher and the excellent game with well-chosen changes has become a really great game. There are, of course, a number of elements that can be criticized, but these are characteristic of this fun. You have to reckon with them if you go to such crazy fun as Munchkin Dungeon.
Review: Munchkin Dungeon – big axe for big problems!
Munchkin Dungeons is not a game for any weaklings. Every step forward is closely watched by other opponents, who hold in their hands a lot of ways to thwart all that effort. Conflict is the basis of everything and players must not mind a little malice from others. But overall, the whole course is mainly an adventure in which players feel like heroes. They fight, they win, but they are also defeated. All in one game and with humor. Munchkin Dungeons is by a steamer better than the original card game, and thanks to that it will gain a proper fan base!