Guide to Munchkin: History and Strategy

Guide to Munchkin: History and Strategy

There is probably not a single person in the world who has not heard of Munchkin. This humorous card game was created by Steve Jackson and illustrated by John Kovalic. The game is based on the role-playing concept, where every player assumes a certain character or so-called Munchkin. These creatures won’t stop until they get what they want, no matter the consequences. The game almost immediately became successful, and lots of editions and expansions have been developed over the years.


The Munchkin board game appeared in 2001 and has become one of the most successful board games globally. Steve Jackson created an ironic parody of other games, movies, and even universes, and John Kovalic gave this idea a cute, comical, and very memorable look.

You can judge the success of the game by yourself, as the original version has more than 20 variations. There are Star Munchkin, Munchkin Apocalypse, and even Munchkin Cthulhu, and even those who are not yet familiar with the game have heard about it for sure. The game sends you into a comical, awkward, and slightly dishonest adventure, where everyone stands for themselves, strives to break a couple of rules while the neighbor turns their back, and quickly jumps up to level 10.

Basic Rules


So, you find yourself in a dungeon, which probably contains tons of treasures. Moving from room to room and opening the doors, players get into various adventures, including meeting monsters, getting into traps, and facing other obstacles.

At the beginning of the game, all players receive a set consisting of several cards. There are several types of cards that can be used in different ways, so the best advice is to read the descriptions on the cards carefully. You start as an ordinary person with level 1. Still, you also have an opportunity to change your race (for example, to an elf) and character class (who wouldn’t want to become a wizard?) as well as get new weapons, armor, and artifacts. All the changes, of course, give you various bonuses to make it easier to get to level 10, which is the main goal of the game. Levels can be obtained in several ways, but the main one is to fight monsters. There are a lot of them in the dungeon.

The player has a pretty simple range of opportunities for a move:

  1. You can play the cards that are in your hands if you want.
  2. Next, you should draw a card from the Doors deck and reveal it to everybody. Depending on what the card says, you can:
  • fight with it, alone or with the help of other munchkins, if it is a Monster;
  • get affected by a curse if that what the card says;
  • add it to your set of cards in your hands if it is any other card.
  1. If there was no fight, you have a choice:
  • either take the Doors card without revealing it;
  • or still, fight the Monster if you have one on your hand.
  1. You can also pass the move to the next player.

According to the rules, you need to get rid of extra cards after the move. However, you can leave all of them to yourself and hope that none of the players notices them.

Expansions and Variations

Basically, Munchkin comes in four sizes:

  • The base set is made of more than 160 cards.
  • The deluxe set includes all the cards from the base set plus spin-down life trackers and extra game pieces.
  • The expansion set comes in the form of the numbered sequels to any of the Munchkin games. As a rule, they comprise from 30 to 120 cards.
  • The booster pack comes in a set of 15 cards that can be used in any Munchkin game.

Some of the most popular editions and variations are the following:

  • Munchkin – The original card game.
  • Munchkin Sketch Edition – All of the art, none of the text!
  • Munchkin Deluxe – The original card game – now with a board!
  • Munchkin Guest Artist Edition – Celebrating 15 years of Munchkin with Ian McGinty.
  • Munchkin Guest Artist Edition – Celebrating 15 years of Munchkin with Edwin Huang.
  • Munchkin Christmas Lite – A 112-card stand-alone Munchkin game for the holidays!
  • Moop’s Monster Mashup – The marvelous magician Moop and his mashed-up monsters!
  • Star Munchkin – Kill the monsters, steal the treasure, and stab your buddy in space!


  • Munchkin Fu – Chop-socky monster-whacking action straight from Hong Kong’s worst films!
  • Munchkin Bites! – The Munchkins are now vampires and werewolves.
  • Super Munchkin – Not a bird, definitely not a plane.
  • Munchkin Impossible – Now the Munchkins are spies, with Double Agents, spy gadgets, and the License to Maim!
  • Munchkin Cthulhu – Munchkins vs. Cthulhu. If it has stats, you can kill it.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin – The Wild West. Munchkin style!
  • Munchkin Zombies – Kill the living! Eat their brains! Braaaaiiinns!
  • Munchkin Adventure Time – It’s Munchkin meets Adventure Time!

Winning Strategies

Even though Munchkin is a really fun and entertaining game, every player tries to win it. That is basically the goal of any game. And in the case of Munchkin, you will need to use some tricks and witty strategies to outcompete your fellow players. So, here is a list of some tricks that will turn you into a winner of any Munchkin game:

  • Breaking the rules can be the best strategy, but you need to be cautious not to get caught! For example, you may keep more than five cards in your hand.
  • Defeating monsters can lead to enrichment and help you raise the level, but this can be dangerous. Some of the Monsters can be really strong, and other players may not want to help you beat them.
  • Don’t forget to sell items for levels!
  • Haggle and trade items!
  • Ask for help from other Munchkins if you cannot defeat a Monster yourself. But remember that a real Munchkin can break such a promise!
  • Don’t fall for this trick yourself!

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