Munchkin Critical Role Review

Munchkin Critical Role is a game based on Steve Jackson’s Munchkin, published by the Op. It is for 3-6 players. In this game, players take on the role of their favorite character from the Mighty Nein in the world of Wildemount as they battle Munchkin style to reach level 10 first. Along the way they will be battling monsters and meeting up with Guest Stars while they try to avoid curses as well as their opponents. The first player to reach level 10 by battling a monster will be declared the winner.

To begin, the cards are divided into Door and Treasure decks. Each deck is shuffled. Each player is dealt 4 cards from each deck. The decks are then placed face down on the table in the middle of the play area. The 20 sided and 6 sided dice are placed in the middle of the play area along with the decks. Players are each dealt one random character card which is placed face up in front of them. However, we like to let each player choose their character as long as there are no conflicts of interest. Each character card is double sided so players may choose whichever side they wish to use. Players will also receive a plastic tracker to keep track of their character’s level. This tracker is placed on level 1 on the character card. Play now begins.

The game is played over a series of turns, with each player taking turns. Before taking their first turn, each player may create their character by looking over their starting hand of cards. If they have any Role or Drive cards, they may play one of each of these face up in front of themself. They may also place any useable items or Guest Stars in front of themself as well. However a player may only have 1 Guest Star at a time and items must follow the rules outlined in the rulebook, more on this in a minute. Once finished, the player performs 3 phases. The first phase is to Kick Open the Door. To do this, the player flips the top card of the Door deck over. If it is a monster, the player must fight it. Combat it done through comparing combat strength. The player’s combat strength is determined from their level along with any bonus obtained through other cards like Role abilities, Drives, items, Guest Stars and curses. The monster’s combat strength is equal to it’s level plus or minus any modifiers from cards played on it. If the player’s level is higher, they will kill the monster and go up a level. They also receive treasure as shown on the monster card. Treasure can be items or armor. However player’s may only equip one headgear, one armor, one foot gear and either one 2 handed item or up to 2 one handed items. Of course there are cards that will allow that to change like some Guest Stars or Cheat cards. If a player is unable to beat the monster, they must attempt to run away. To do this they roll the 6 sided die. They are successful if they roll 5 or higher. If they lose the roll, the monster does whatever bad stuff that the monster card describes to the player. Sometimes the player will flip over a curse card instead of a monster. When this happens the curse affects the player that drew it in whatever way that the card describes. There are also other types of cards like Role, Drive or monster enhancers that can be flipped over and then added to the player’s hand to be used later. It should be noted that if a player’s character dies, they don’t have to run away from any remaining monsters. They are allowed to keep their Roles, Drives and level, along with any Curses on them. The player must then lay out their hand of cards, allowing the other players to loot the body. Beginning with the player with the highest level, each player may take 1 card. The remaining cards are discarded to the discard pile. At the beginning of that player’s next turn, they may draw four face down cards from each deck and take their turn normally.

The second phase is the Look for Trouble or Loot the Room phase. This is done if there was no monster in the first phase. Looking for Trouble is done by playing a monster card from the player’s hand and then continuing with combat as described above. Looting the room is done by the player drawing a second card from the Door deck and adding it to their hand to be used later. This is important as during combat players can affect the monster or player by using these cards to mess with them. Players can also help out when a player can’t beat a monster by themself by adding their combat strength to the player’s strength that is fighting the monster. Of course, some bribing may have to be done to get other players to help out.

The last phase is the charity phase. Once the above phases are complete, the player must discard down to only 5 cards. Any extras cards are given to the player with the lowest level. Play then passes to the next player.

This game continues with each player performing the three phases of their turn until one of the players reaches level 10, which is only reachable by defeating a monster or playing a card that specifically allows them to win. The first player to do this is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game comes with some really great looking cards. The artwork on each of these is absoutely beautiful. I will say however that some of the pictures are a bit dark, so it’s hard to see some of the details. Still, the cards are great quality and fit well with the game. There are 172 of these that form 2 decks of cards; the Door deck and Treasure deck. Each deck has lots of different types of cards, as noted in the overview above. The cards have a great look and feel to them and they’re very easy to hold and shuffle. The game also comes with 7 larger oversized character cards that are double sided. Each one has the same stats and abilities on both sides. The only real difference is the artwork for the character is a bit different. Players can play using either side with no real difference. There are also 2 dice; a 6 sided and a 20 sided. The 20 sided isn’t used in the regular game, but can be used with the optional rules. I’ll discuss this a bit more in the rulebook section. Both the dice are good quality and are black with white numbers or pips. There are also some plastic trackers for keeping track of each player’s level. These are sort of a greenish translucent color. They look nice on the character card. Thankfully they don’t seem to slide around too easily so there’s not too much trouble with bumping a character card and forgetting what your level was. I would like to note, that I honestly had no idea the theme for this game. I simply knew that it was some form of sword and sorcery RPG with great looking artwork. I’m sure some of the cards and characters will be familiar to players that are fans of the IP. Even with no knowledge of it, I’m impressed with the overall look of everything in the game. I really love how cool it looks. Great looking game of Munchkin.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game feels a bit long for such an easy to play game. It also looks like a rulebook, but is actually more of a multi-folded rules sheet. As a matter of fact, 2 of the pages are simply small folds of the paper. I thought that was a bit odd, but kind of interesting too. That said, I think the rulebook is well written and organized. It’s really good looking. There are plenty of pictures and examples of gameplay throughout the whole thing. Each concept and rule is explained in great detail so there should be no confusion with anything. As I noted above, the rules come with several optional rules. Each of these are highlighted in the rules with a gray box with grey bricks surrounding them. These can include the active player rolling the 20 sided die. If they roll a 1, bad stuff happens. If they roll a 20 they automatically beat the monster. If they roll anything else, this number is added to their combat strength. However, the monster gets to roll as well, usually done by the next player in turn order. This is just one of the optional rules. There are more for playing the game faster or for combining other sets of Munchkin with this one. The only thing missing would be some solo rules, but not really sure how that would work so I digress. Overall I think the rules do a great job and the whole thing looks great. The main thing is that it is easy to understand. With that in mind, I’m very pleased with the rulebook.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
I know that Muchkin is a very divisive game. Some people love it and some people love to hate it. I tend to be one of the first kind. I think Munchkin is a game that has it’s place if you’re looking for some mindless fun and it’s one that I normally enjoy. I’ve played many different versions but this one has some of the best looking artwork that I’ve seen. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not familiar with the IP but it looked like something from one of the worlds of Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons. Honestly, I still don’t know what it’s from but what I do know is the theme works well with Munchkin. It has all the staples of the original game but kicks them up a notch, much like the Adventure Time version did. I enjoy seeing all the different races and classes of sword and sorcery highlighted here. I also like the special abilities of each particular character which makes each one feel a bit different. I also liked the double sided cards, so that you can pick your favorite artwork. There might be other reasons behind the different pictures that I’m not aware of but for me, it just looked cool. I do enjoy the look and feel of this version and really found the theme to be a more flavorful version of the original game. Just like other versions, this one is fun and chaotic and lends itself to much joy and laughter. This is one that I think fans of Critical Role may very well enjoy. I know that fans of Munchkin will love this one as it just a better version of the game. This is one that I definitely recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Munchkin Critical Role is a light weight card game of chaotic fun with a sword and sorcery theme, based on the characters and settings from Critical Role. It does seem to run a bit long for this type of game. Most play sessions last around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how many players there are and how much they like to mess with the other players. The components are excellent. I really like the artwork and all the different pieces included in the box. The rulebook is well written and organized with plenty of information and variations that can make the game even more interesting. The game itself is quite fun. Not being familiar with the IP, I’m not sure how well it translated over to the game. I’m sure fans of Critical Role and especially the Mighty Nein will enjoy this one. Munchkin fans will have a lot to enjoy with this one as well. Overall It’s one that I definitely recommend.
9 out of 10

For more information about this and other great games, please check out The Op at their site.

https://theop.games/

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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