Hit tabletop card game Munchkin is being adapted into a video game, bringing the classic, if slightly derided, dungeon-delver to Steam later this year.
A tongue-in-cheek dungeon-crawler – which we just so happen to think is one of the best card games around – Munchkin puts you in the shoes of an upstart adventurer. You and your party of competitive wannabe heroes will take turns attacking satirical creatures, collecting a whole lotta loot, and discovering various magical items.
It’s all very silly. Munchkin is essentially one big spoof that takes aim at the self-indulgence of classic high fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons. You’ll be using items like the Horny Helmet and Staff of Napalm to defeat equally weird creatures with names like Plutonium Dragon and Floating Nose.
This upcoming digital adaptation, set to release this fall, looks like a faithful recreation of the original card game. As announced by developer Dire Wolf Digital, it’ll let you play online multiplayer games of Munchkin, or a series of solo challenges, across PC, Android, and iOS devices. Even its cartoonish art style looks to have been directly carried over.
Divisive dungeon crawling
Although Munchkin has been one of the more popular tabletop card games of the last twenty years, it’s gained a fairly divisive reputation. It’s often spotlighted as a fantastic gateway game for those new to the hobby. Its straightforward rules can be picked up quickly, its art is charming, and it leans into a lot of mechanics players might be familiar with from video games.
It also encourages a lot of player interaction. Between kicking down dungeon doors, you’ll be taking every opportunity to stab your friends in the back. Much of the game consists of effectively blackmailing your way to victory, as you throw monsters at your friends to coerce them into asking for aid, taking their treasure for yourself. Expect to make lots of underhand dealings, before inevitably breaking those promises to earn a bigger share of the loot-laden pie.
But then there are those who swear against Munchkin, panning it as an over-simplistic game with a long playtime. Elements are unbalanced, and the reams of spin-off expansions – adding everything from more cards, to a Warhammer 40k theme – certainly hasn’t improved the game’s image.
The novelty of its faux-fantasy world might wear off eventually, but don’t write off Munchkin as a total joke. At its heart is a quick-firing dungeon-crawler that’s as good at making you laugh as it is testing your friendships. One for those who prefer silliness over strategy.
This adaptation is certainly in good hands. Dire Wolf has developed several digital board game adaptations in the past, including asymmetric strategy game Root, charming city-builder Everdell, and the Game of Thrones board game. They’ve all been well received for comprehensively porting the original board games into a slick digital interface.