Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tabletop Tuesday! A dungeon full of zombies!

Hello and welcome back to another Tabletop Tuesday!

Formerly a weekly post about tabletop gaming, Tabletop Tuesday has been resurrected as a biweekly series. New posts are published every other week. Older posts can be found under the Tabletop Tuesday tag, also linked at the top of the page.

If you didn't read last week's post, we're changing things up a bit - from now through Halloween, we'll be sharing weekly posts showcasing a variety of zombie-themed games! Last week's game was Zombie Fluxx, a card game where the rules change as you play.

Today's game is Munchkin Zombies, by Steve Jackson Games. Like Fluxx, this game is a variation of a popular card game with a brain eating twist.

Hit the jump to read more!

Game: Munchkin Zombies
Manufacturer: Steve Jackson Games
Ages: 10+
Players: 3-6

Like the original Munchkin card game, players are a group of adventurers exploring a dungeon, kicking down doors and collecting treasure... but here's the twist: the players are the zombies! This theming is carried through to the class, equipment, and adversary cards, resulting in another hilarious version of Munchkin.

How to Play:
I already featured Munchkin in a Tabletop Tuesday post back in September of 2015, so I'm not going to get too focused on specific rules in this post. If you would like to read more about the original version of Munchkin, you can find that post HERE.

Munchkin Zombies is very similar to the original Munchkin card game. There are two decks of cards - Door cards and Treasure cards.

Munchkin Zombies: Door Cards
Munchkin Zombies: Treasure Cards

Every player starts with three cards from each deck. Player turns also follow the structure of the original Munchkin game: players can kick down the door, fight the monster they find, loot the room if they don't fight a monster, and equip new treasures. The game is over when a player reaches level 10 by defeating a monster.

There are some minor differences from the original game, however. Some card types have new names and rules/limitations.

Mojo is a variation on player Class (eg. Ranger, Cleric) in this version of the game. A player can apply two different Mojo cards to their Zombie if they have an additional card allowing it. Mojo can grant player Zombies additional abilities, such as the use of specific Treasure items or card types.

Power is similar to Race (eg. Elf, Dwarf) in the original game. But unlike player Race, Munchkin Zombies limits who can access these Powers by making their use dependent on player level. Players can equip multiple Power cards, but their combined Power Rank cannot exceed that player's level. This also means that low level players must wait to apply Power cards to the characters.

Equipment or items are drawn from the Treasure deck and can be equipped by a player Zombie to add to their Combat Power. Combat Power is calculated from the player level + all item bonuses + any one-time bonuses that might be applied in a single combat. If this number is higher than the Monster's Combat Power, the player wins that fight and gains at least one level and some Treasure cards.

Some items from the Treasure deck are specific to Zombies with specific Mojo and Power cards. There are items only Voodoo Zombies can use, for example. Special Cheat! cards can let players equip items without having the right Mojo or Power type.

The monster cards in this deck are hilarious because most of them are just regular people. Like the Sheriff. Or a cheerleader. Some enemies are more or less powerful against certain Mojos or Power types, and the card text will inform you of this, along with the Monster's Combat Power. The Monster card text will also tell players how many levels and Treasure cards the Monster awards if defeated. This information can be very valuable if a player is too weak to fight the Monster and wants another player's help in exchange for Treasure.

Other cards
In each deck, there are additional cards that impact gameplay. In the Door deck there are Curse! cards, and in both decks there are special cards that allow a player to add a one time combat bonus to themself, another player... or a monster (because you don't want another player to win, gain a level, and beat you, right?)  There are also Treasure cards that grant free levels.

This game was just as much fun to play as the original Munchkin card game! Veteran players will enjoy the zombie themed twists on the original rules, and new players should not find this themed deck to be any more difficult to learn than the basic game.

Like other decks of Munchkin cards, this version of the game retails for around $25. I find this to be a fair price, especially in regard to its replayability. The original version of the game can be found at Target, and a variety of themed decks can be found on Amazon, if you want to look for a lower price.

Though this game is recommended for 3+ players, it is easy to modify the rules for a two player game... it just isn't as much fun, since offering assistance to underpowered players and negotiating for treasure is part of the game.

Like the original version of the game, I really enjoy and recommend Munchkin Zombies. My only criticism is that the rule book is too wordy, which makes it difficult to quickly check on variations of original rules. But that's just part of the flavor of this particular game series - wordy, tongue in cheek, taking the piss out of traditional tabletop RPGs!

The Tabletop Tuesday series is my own personal hobby - I do not receive any compensation for these reviews. 
Thank you for reading!

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