You are in a dungeon. Also present in this dungeon are monsters and treasure. You have been sent on a holy quest to kill the monsters and steal the treasure. Unfortunately, everyone else in your party is trying to do the same thing.Munchkin is a card game series by Steve Jackson Games. The fundamental rules are simple and easy to learn, but the text on the cards regularly changes the rules. If you keep a sharp eye on what the rules say at this very moment, you will uncover situations where your half-Elf half-Halfling Barbarian Cleric can wield four weapons at once, send any monster he fights over to another player instead, and get the treasure from it anyway.This is very Munchkinly. Do it.
This card game provides examples of:
Actually Four Mooks: "3,872 Orcs" (which only counts as 1 monster), and "Ghoulfiends," 3 of whom are drawn, and referred to as "them."
Also some "monsters" in Super Munchkin such as the "Wimpy Thugs" series.
All Women Love Shoes: In Star Munchkin, the Bionic Bimbo can be deterred from attacking you if you give her shoes. Indeed, she even pays you handsomely for the footwear item, with 3 Treasures. You can then fight her anyway.
Two of the cards that can be played to make combat difficult are Last of Its Race and And Its Clone. They can both be played on the same monster.
Mate and Brood, both of which would be rather illogical to play on a monster that had been made Last Of Its Race. Munchkin Cthulhu also adds "...and its Spawn." Or Last Of Its Race and Is Your Father... Or just Is Your Father, period, given some of the monsters you can throw it on. Like a comfy chair. Or the aforementioned 3,872 Orcs. All of them are your father.
"Cheat With Both Hands" (the seventh expansion for the main game) is this trope in card game form. Along with the titular card (which lets you cheat for two items), there are cards which provide extra or even unlimited Races and Classes.
"Cheat With Both Hands" also added the even more outrageous "Cheat Like There's No Tomorrow" which, until the end of the combat it is played in, allows you to wield every single item either have in your hand or are carrying! Yes, that means you can have two weapons for at least a dozen hands equipped at the same time.
The card called "Cheat" allows you to disregard all restrictions when attached to an item card. Depending on how loosely your group interprets the rules, this may lead to physically impossible things (such as wielding more weapons than you have hands).
You can make a monster "Ancient" to significantly increase its difficulty, or make it "Baby" to decrease its difficulty. Play them both, and you're fighting an Ancient Baby.
Clerics can resurrect a Level 1 Potted Plant, but another character can then immediately use a card to declare that now it was just an illusion of a potted plant, and was really the aforementioned 3,872 Orcs.
Due to how the rules in Munchkin work, it is possible to lose levels quite fast. Especially with the Dungeons expansion, as one of the dungeons rules that EVERY player has their gender swapped and must be adressed by the gender-swapped version of their real-life name! If a player fails to do so once, they lose a level. Forget to do it a few times? Wave your chance of winning goodbye, unless you can make the other players screw up too.
Bragging Rights Reward: As noted elsewhere, you normally have to kill a monster to gain the winning level except when you get the Divine Intervention card which allows you to gain a level (including the winning level) if you're a cleric. The card grants you the right to mock the other players mercilessly if you win the game this way.
Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Monsters often have bonuses like "+ 2 against Elves, + 2 against Wizards, + 4 against Elf Wizards."
Bribing Your Way to Victory: For instance, The Wicked (a Variant of the standard munchkin die) Dice, which are actually used to track your Character Level and not to generate a random number, come with instructions that say the holder of a die starts the game with a +1 Character Level bonus.
There are also level-up cards which notionally involve bribing the GM.
Notably "Bribe the GM with Food", a common sight in both this and other Role Playing Games.
Character Level: The objective of the game is to get to Level 10, or 20 if you are playing Epic Munchkin. There are no Experience Points, though; beating one monster usually gets you one level.
Go Up A Level cards are also a staple part of the game. Selling items worth 1000 gold also gives you a level, but you don't get change. Note that players CANNOT attain a winning level by selling or Go Up A Level cards. They must kill a monster or have a card that specifically says that it can grant the winning level.
If someone is killed by The Great Cthulu, all other players get to go up a level to mock them.
Divine Intervention is a particularly nice card for Clerics, as it lets them go up a level, and if that level is the winning level, they get to mercilessly mock the other players.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Half the fun of the game boils down to this. There's a reason the tagline's third part reads "Stab Your Buddy". A fair chunk of the cards serve no purpose except to screw with other players.
Cards that give one-time bonuses to combat are common. Cards that give bonuses to one specific side are rare. Help or hinder, the choice is yours.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: A player who dies keeps his Class, Race, and Level, instead only losing all of his other cards. He revives at the start of his next turn and even gets a new starting hand of eight cards.
However, depending on how the game is going, this can be a variation on Continuing Is Painful: levels can pale in comparison to item bonuses. If you have 9 levels, but +25 from items (and also an item that renders you immune to any and all curses, reflecting them on the rest of the party instead), death is severely crippling.
Made even more humorous when the outcome of the battles inevitably rely on which player has the best one-shot items.
Doomy Dooms of Doom: "Of Doom" is an Equipment Modifier, there's the Duck of Doom, and a piece of equipment in Munchkin Cthulhu is the Sushi Knife of Doom. Yes, this means that if you play both versions together you may end up with the Sushi Knife of Doom...Of Doom!
Dump Stat: Space Munchkin introduces Stat X, a mystery stat in addition to the traditional six stats. Though the joke is to treat this like a default dump stat, the Gamemaster is also encouraged to make Stat X somehow pay off if one of the players puts his best score in it anyway.
Dungeon Crawling: There's no actual dungeon map, but the game assumes that you're in one.
For a similar game with a dungeon map, there's the spinoff Munchkin Quest.
Escape Battle Technique: The game has several cards that can work this way; however, many of them can also be used to force your opponents to escape from battles they're actually capable of winning, which is often the preferable option.
Every 10000 Points: Selling items of (at least) 1000 Gold Pieces gets you a Level. You can sell for multiple levels, but you can't sell to get to level 10 (or, in Epic Munchkin, levels 19 and 20).
Evil Lawyer Joke: Lawyers won't attack Thieves because of professional courtesy. Also, they count as sharks.
Exact Words: Let's put it this way: This game had to have errata added to clarify that, yes, the bad stuff 'you are roasted and eaten' means 'you are dead'. The game's played by Munchkins, what else do you think they're going to do about rules they don't like?
In short, every card in the entire game does exactly what it says on the tin. This is even stated in the rules. And if a card would break the rules or some rules set by another card, the new card overwrites those! A lot of those cards, though, come with the added benefit of being incredibly vague, which leads to some less than intended uses for certain cards (such as forcing another player to go up a level during combat to prevent them from escaping from a powerful enemy that'll have them for breakfast).
Fate Worse than Death: since Death Is Cheap, replacing the dead's hand and items with eight random new cards, a fair few monsters have Bad Stuff even worse. King Tut forces the discard of everything without the replenishing hand, and the Wight Brothers reduce the player's level to 1.
On the other hand, some Bad Stuff has no in-game effect, but can be terrible regardless. If you lose to the level 1 Goldfish, for example, the Bad Stuff is that "all the other players get to mock you". Because you somehow lost to a fish in a bowl.
The worst perhaps in Chairman Mao, whose bad stuff not only kills the character but inflicts a Humiliation Conga on the player.
Fungus Humongous: What you get if you play the "Humongous" card on the "Fungus" monster. "Don't truffle with the Humongous Fungus!"
To elaborate, the "Humongous" card increases a monster's level by 10. The fungus is a Level 5 Monster that states that, should it become humongous, gains 25 levels instead of 10. "Do not truffle" indeed.
Gender Bender: The "Change Sex" traps. There's also a "Freudian Slipper" that lets you alternate between genders, but if you lose it and you're stuck with the wrong gender, then you're at a disadvantage.
And there are Merch T-shirts that while worn, define your character's sex (which normally starts out as your own). People have been known to layer these.
Goddamned Bats: Invoked, adding Bat type enemies into a fight already including one is a free action in Munchkin Bites. With some nasty luck, that level 2 Bat monster just became a horde of bats, combined level 29. Bat Masterson from The Good, The Bad, and The Munchkin counts, by the way. Undead in many versions, Hong Kong in Munchkin Fu, 'Goths in Munchkin Cthulhu, Santas in Munchkin Axe Cop, and Sharks in Munchkin Booty (which, naturally, includes the lawyer and similar professions ) work the same way.
House Rules: Inevitable, considering that "Argue about the rules" is actually in the rules.
It is also stated in the rules that if any player, at any time has any questions or disagrees regarding the rules, the game stops until everyone has come to an agreement. The DM, AKA the one who owns the cards, has the final word in any discussion.
Hybrid Power: This happens whenever a player uses Half-Breed with a single race card — he gets bonuses against anyone that race card gives bonuses against, but doesn't take penalties when fighting monsters who have an advantage over that race.
I Know Kung-Faux: Parodied in Munchkin Fu, with techniques like Drunken Monkey Kung Fu, Fee Fi Fo Fu, and Stomach Fu.
Incredibly Lame Pun: Most of the cards. Most notably "The Punster" from Super Munchkin, who's stated as being "just a card. Ha ha. Kill him right now."
Infant Immortality: In Munchkin Apocalypse, Kids replace "Death" result with "Lose a level".
And of course by mixing sets, the former might also become, just to name a few weapon bonuses, a "My Pappy's Old", "Blacker Than Black", "Gold-Plated" LDRMSBBL "...of Doom", "With Spiky Bits". Possibly even doubling its bonus.
The true Infinity+1 Sword is the Plot Device from Super Munchkin. When played, it says "You are now winning the combat by 1, no matter how much you were losing by before." If, in theory, you were losing by infinity, this would actually provide a literal Infinity Plus One bonus. (Of course, people can still play more cards afterwards to make you lose anyways)
Instant Roast: The monster "Giant Angry Chicken" is worth one extra level if it is defeated by flame. Yummy fried chicken!
"When the cards disagree with the rules, follow the cards. Any other disputes should be settled by loud arguments among the players, with the owner of the game having the last word."
Lost Forever: THE COOOOOOKIEEEEEE..., a special Munchkin cookie which cannot be re-purchased and must actually be eaten, for its bonus to apply.
Low-Level Advantage: Some of the more powerful monsters will not chase characters below a certain level, allowing them to automatically run away. The lowest level player will also receive everyone else's extra cards as Charity.
More Dakka: The Good, The Bad, and the Munchkin has a modifier card called Infinite Ammo, that gives +2 to a one-handed weapon that uses bullets, +3 to a two-handed weapon that uses bullets. There's also a +5 Gatling Gun. Combine the two for days of fun (and bullets)!
Nerf: The Loaded Dice card originally let players ignore one die roll of their choice and just call the number they wanted the roll to be. This being Munchkin, players quickly noticed that they could call any number, and started using Loaded Dice to make die rolls come up as ten million, or negative thirty thousand, or any number of truly ludicrous results. Combined with other cards that keyed off of dice rolls, the game was soon being broken in new and inventive ways, and a ruling was handed down that Loaded Dice card allows you to change the face of the physical die that was rolled.
Half-Breed and Super Munchkin cards deliberately invoke this trope, letting you combine races and classes respectively. Combining different themed decks increases it. Incidentally, with the right combination of sets and cards, you can be a Ninja Pirate Zombie Cyborg.
Not the Intended Use: Using "go up a level" cards on your opponents to force them to fight monsters. Among many others.
Question: Can we use "Go Up A Level" cards on other players to make them fight a monster that would otherwise ignore them? Answer: We want to say no, but that's just such a Munchkin thing to do that we have to allow it.
One Curse Limit: Very averted. The rules state that curses (or traps) may be played at any time. A player can get a pile of curses at once, but then, driving your opponents to tears is a viable strategy if it makes you win...
Our Werebeasts Are Different: Includes werepenguin, a werehamster and a weremuskrat. They are all oversized and sharp-toothed - even the penguin has fangs.
Piñata Enemy: The Pinata is a measly level 3 and gives a treasure to every party member when killed.
Prehensile Tail: Star Munchkin'sTailgun, only usable by Felines, depicts one such Feline curling up a fairly normal-looking gun in one.
In addition, the Super Munchkin deck offers a pair of Prehensile Pigtails, which give the player two extra hands.
An entire class has a punny name. In Munchkin Bites, "mummies" are a combination of the regular Mummy monster and "mummy" as in mother. One of their abilities is even called Clean Your Room.
PVP Balanced: While being a Monster Whacker will penalize you against monsters level 16+, none of the races or classes will really make you much worse at killing stuff, and no other race or class has any penalties at all, after a revision.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Many cards vary by something that applies to you in real life. Your character's sex is always your own until a card changes it, and there are cards like the Tommy Gun that give a bigger bonus based on your name. One set has some cards that give bigger advantages to members of the military.
Actually, there is one case where your character's gender will not be your own at the start - if you are wearing a Munchkin t-shirt (yes, they do make them, and they can be made into some of the most powerful swag), your character starts off as the gender of the munchkin on the shirt, not yours.
While most of Munchkin Zombie has art by John Kovalic, the card "Meals on Wheels" is done by a different artist. Kovalic refused to do the card as he had recently become a father.note If you still don't get it: The card depicts a pair of baby carriages, with a hungry zombie nearby.
Some cards vary in effect based on what day of the week you're playing. Some cards have all of the above conditions applied to them. And then there is "Morning Star" and "Night Star", which grant a slightly bigger bonus, if you're playing at a certain time of day!
Recycled INSPACE: Star Munchkin, naturally, even spoofing it in its subtitle: "Kill the monsters. Steal the treasure. Stab your buddy... IN SPACE!". Other expansions are recycled in various other settings.
Roaming Enemy: You draw monsters from a deck, and in some circumstances you can sic them on other players.
Rubber-Forehead Aliens: A racial option in Space Munchkin which acts as a catch all for the entire trope. You get to pick your one inhuman physical feature, the hat your planet wears and the one concept from human culture your race doesn't have a concept for (loyalty, dignity, hygiene, etc).
Running Gag: There's a variant on "Everyone starts as a level 1 human with no class" in the game set-up portion of every version's rules. Later editions started lampshading the hell out of this.
In later sets: "Everyone starts as a Level 1 character with no class. (We never get tired of that joke.)"
Everyone starts as a Level 1 zombie with no Mojo. (This is a zombie movie, so nobody has any class.)
Scaled Up: Munchkin Conan has the monster modifier "...That Turns Into A Giant Snake." It can actually be played on a monster that's already a giant snake, because it turns into a different giant snake.
Screw You, Elves!: Never accept help from an Elf. (They get a level when they help you kill a monster.)
Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: A Running Gag of Munchkin Cthulhu is modifier cards with long esoteric words as names, based on the Signature Style of H. P. Lovecraft. The illustrations all accurately convey what the word means; on "Mephitic" the monster has stink lines coming from it and on "Batrachian" it's a big frog.
Shaggy Dog Story: Fights can sometimes develop into this, especially if there are many players with extended card holding rights. Say you've encountered a Plutonium Dragon and its Evil Twin, facing painful death should you fail to beat them or run away. After numerous bonuses and anti-bonuses have been played on the monsters, the dragon's Baby Clone, and its Mommy, have been introduced to the fight, multiple Powers and one-shot items have been used to help or hinder you, several different methods of backstabbing have been employed, lengthy negotiations of teaming up have been had, and you're ready to reap your whopping eight levels and twenty-five treasures... Some asshat plays a few cards, leaving you without any levels or treasure, and everyone many cards poorer. Which is, of course, very munchkinly indeed.
Shout-Out: All but made of them. Some of the more obvious ones are:
The description of the monster Filthy Geats reads "Filthy Geats ain't got no rhythm" and the Bad Stuff starts "Now you're never gonna dance again."
One of the expansions to Star Munchkin contains a plasma gun. The picture shows the item in question being carried by Sergeant Schlock.
One particular encounter in Star Munchkin is an Ogre cybertank.
One of the Space Ships in the expansion booster for Star Munchkin is "Housefly" which grants specific bonuses if you're using it with the cowboy set.
Munchkin Apocalypse has The Four Horsies of the Apocalypse, who are ponies. Famine's cutie mark is an apple core, and Pestilence's cutie mark is a germ, but Death and War's cutie marks aren't visible. Famine even has Pinkie Pie's color scheme and mane.
That One Rule: Invoked in the rulebook. "Decide who goes first by rolling the dice and arguing about the results and the meaning of this sentence and whether the fact that a word seems to be missing any effect."
Too Awesome to Use: The Annihilation card permanently removes one card from the game. Try to find the perfect card to use it on.
The four blank cards that come with Cheat With Both Hands. They're intended to let you make up your own outrageous items and enemies, but there's a very big chance that whatever you come up with one day will be less awesome when it actually comes into play.
Also the improperly revealing ripped dress in Munchkin Bites expansion set Pants Macabre - it rips more, gaining an additional +1 with each sex change the character wearing it goes through.
Every time a player has their gender involuntarily changed (which happens quite a lot in some games), they take a -5 to their next combat because they're distracted. Since there's no rule saying this bonus can't stack, it can only be assumed that at least some groups allow that penalty to be stackable!
And the "Baby" nerf card showing it to be even more true.
Inverted with the Plutonium Dragon in the tabletop version of the game, whose strength is cut in half with each age category.
The Unpronounceable: "The Unspeakably Awful Indescribable Horror" from the original set, as well as the Unpronouncable from Munchkin Cthulhu monster. If the latter defeats you, you can't ask for help next turn.
"Tht Whch Hs N Vwls". Slightly more pronounceable (if you add the vowels yourself) and hanging a lampshade on how names in the Cthulhu mythos are often unpronounceable because of a shortage of vowels or weird clusters of consonants.
Weapon As Familiar: Singing Sword, which dances after you give it legs of its own, counts towards your attack damage, and sings.
Weapon of X Slaying: Inverted by the "Sword of Slaying Everything Except Squid". It gives a substantial bonus, but against squid (there are three in the decks so far - karate squid, Squidzilla, and the Laser Squid Nemesis) the fight is automatically lost. Also, the Vorpal Sword states that it gives an extra +10 against any monster starting with J, and to not ask why. Of course, the only monsters with a J are the Jabberwock and Judge Fredd.
World of Pun: In all of its incarnations. Meet monsters such as Dr. Jackal and Mr. Hide, Tequila Mockingbird and Cowthulhu... and that's only the beginning.