Munchkin: South Park
- Designer – uncredited
- Developed by USAOpoly
- Publisher: TheOp
- Players: 3-6
- Age: 17+ (seriously)
- Time: 1-2 hours
- Played with review copy provided by TheOp
- Amazon affiliate link – https://amzn.to/43VBdSZ
So, it’s been a really long time since I’ve played Munchkin. But, I don’t necessarily mean that in a pejorative way… I mean, it’s been a really long time since I’ve played Torres, Catan or El Grande too – and all of those games (yes, including Munchkin) were games that led me into this wonderful hobby. If you haven’t noticed, the gaming industry puts out a LOT of new games each year, and our group is pretty obsessed with playing the new games.
That being said, when this new version of Munchkin came out, I got a few sour looks from the gamers around here as Munchkin has gotten kind of a bad rap amongst gamers “in the know”. Sure, it’s pretty luck based, and it can be a bit mean and back-stabby, and well… it usually outstays its welcome – at least for the seasoned Eurogamer. But, for a lot of people, this game is exactly what their group wants to play.
From what I can tell, it has to be one of the best selling hobby games. Since its original version in 2001, it has been constantly in print, with a myriad of expansions printed providing cards of varying themes to attract just about any sort of gamer. And, the beauty of the system is that you can combine any Munchkin expansions together for a larger game!
Steve Jackson Games has seemingly survived on this game – in one of their recent reports to their stakeholders, here was the list of their top selling games for the year:
Lucky for me, I found a group of college kids who were looking for a game, and I was able to relive my childhood playing Munchkin (well, really my post-college years… but who’s really counting?!)
As far as the game goes, it’s pretty much what I remember – be the first to Level 10 to win. You have a character which can be equipped with cards (hat, armor, shoes, hand-held items), etc. On a turn, you flip over a door card, and if it’s a monster, you fight it. If you defeat the monster, you gain a level. Of course, your opponents are allowed to jump in the fight – on either side – and there is a lot of negotiation and/or back-stabbing involved. It’s a bit chaotic, but everyone in the game definitely remains involved at all times.
The theme here is the wonderfully funny, and often off-color, TV show called South Park. The show is amazingly in its 26th season currently, and all of the cards have people, places and other inside jokes from the show. As with most Munchkin sets that I have played with, I never fail to be amused by reading the cards as I see them for the first time. As a previous connoisseur of bathroom humor, there is a lot of good memories on these cards.
The game still lasts a bit longer than I would want it to run; but given the rampant success of the game, this feels more like a me-problem than a Munchkin-problem. Also, I suppose if I wanted to help the game along, I could always try to help out anyone that I thought was winning to push them to Level 10 faster… But in the end, the game is still as random as ever. Draw the right cards at the right time, and things will work out well. Sandbagging is still the main strategy – where you hoard good cards until the very end, hoping to combine a hand full of the best cards with that timely lucky draw. Munchkin remains a lot of fun for the ride, but be warned that it could be a long ride.
So who is this game for? For certain, any fan of South Park will enjoy the game. Second, any fan of Munchkin will like this – even if they’ve never seen South Park – because it’s simply more cards and a new way to play this popular game. If you’re a Eurogamer who has previously turned up their nose at the game, there really isn’t anything new here to change your mind on that. And… if you’re the rare person who hasn’t ever played Munchkin – this would definitely be worth a try just to see what all the fuss is about. Again, whether you are familiar with South Park or not, the game plays the same; but you’ll definitely find it funnier if you already get some of the humor in the jokes.
It’s a great introductory game – you can really get started playing in about 5 minutes. And, for much of the target audience, the snarky humor – whether South Park style in this box or the fantasy-ish theme of the original – will hit the target. The game can be found in many stores, and it certainly is good for gift giving for someone looking for a game or for a South Park devotee. For me, this was a pleasant enough re-visit to an old friend, but honestly, one that I could go another ten years or so before the next one. I’ll stick to my Euros over here in the slow lane, and leave this boisterous and raucous game to those that it suits better.
- Amazon affiliate link – https://amzn.to/43VBdSZ
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor