By Stephan Bazzocchi
There is a chill in the pumpkin spice-scented air. Thoughts as well as bodies are looking indoors – not that I am an outdoor person to begin with. The chip bowls are full, and the fridge is stocked with Half Pints craft beers.
You’ve shaken down your guests and confiscated their stash of Monopoly money they had tucked away in sleeves, the board is set up, and your guests are fighting over the race car token. Slyly you pull out your token of a little horn-helmed guy brandishing a rather intimidating-looking chainsaw. “I get an extra 200 dollars and get to roll three dice instead of two for every turn,” you triumphantly exclaim. You are met with blank expressions of disbelief.
After a few moments of awkward silence, someone demands to know exactly what it is you are talking about. “It’s right here in the rules,” you state as you pull out the rule book for Munchkin Quest and point to the section that explains using your munchkin in other games and the bonuses it brings. More silence – perhaps some anger – and now definitely some chips and popcorn are being thrown at you.
Once the barrage has abated, someone asks you to explain what this Munchkin Quest is. You happily pull out the box, explain that the premise is running around a build-as-you-play dungeon, helping and hindering the other players in a mad race to gain the most loot, get your munchkin to Level 10, and beat the boss monster.
Shortly thereafter, the Monopoly board is put away, you’ve handed out the starting cards and tokens, people have picked their munchkin token, and the first room tile is on the table. You start as a Level 1 munchkin with no class, and believe me, class goes out the window when this game comes out.
Munchkin Quest takes the role-playing game genre and adds some fun and lunacy to it. Every turn you pick a room tile, and place it where you like, connecting to another room in the dungeon like a giant puzzle.
Monsters ranging from giant goldfish to floating noses appear. You fight them. Search the room for loot. Collect weapons, armour and potions. Gain levels, and so on and so forth. Sounds pretty basic.
The real fun/friendship-breaking/divorce-inducing portion comes in during the monster fights. You can ask your fellow munchkins for help in return for a share of the loot. They may choose to help you or do nothing. They may also decide to help out the monster.
That little Venus flytrap that seemed so harmless a moment ago is now a rampaging horror that makes the mind gibber at its sheer obscene repulsiveness – and it makes short work of defeating you in one round of combat.
You sit there dismayed and start drafting up written proclamations of vendetta as your spouse/BFF-turned-nemesis sits across from you giggling maniacally as they proceed to take all that sweet loot you could have had.
Munchkin Quest is fun, plain and simple. It’s refreshing to play a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously – or seriously at all for that matter.
The pieces (and there are lots of them) are sturdy so they withstand the heated excitement that comes with such a competitive game. The artwork is comical, making fun of all the standard fantasy game tropes.
There really isn’t any other way to create frenemies with such whimsy. You can pick the game up at your favourite board game store. Also, check out the regular Munchkin game. Same premise, no room tiles – all the same mayhem and lunacy.