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Tabletop Game / Munchkin

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Munchkins are universal.note 

Kill the monsters. Steal the treasure. Stab your buddy.
Admit it. You love it.

You are in a dungeon. Also present in this dungeon are monsters and treasure. You have been sent on a holy questnote  to kill the monsters and steal the treasure. Unfortunately, everyone else in your party is trying to do the same thing. Hilarity Ensues.

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 Warrior 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.

     Games and expansions include: 
  • Munchkin: The game that started it all, parodying standard High Fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Munchkin 2 - Unnatural Axe: Adds Orcs as a playable race and a number of magic items, including the titular axe.
    • Munchkin 3 - Clerical Errors: Adds Gnomes as a race and Bards as a class.
    • Munchkin 4 - The Need for Steed: Adds Steads, a new type of mount-themed equipment.
    • Munchkin 5 - De-Ranged: Adds the Ranger class, items like the Philosopher's Stone, and debuts a number of cards from the European versions of the game, printed for the first time in English.
    • Munchkin 6 - Demented Dungeons: Adds dungeon cards that cast a buff/debuff on both friends, enemies, and frenemies.
    • Munchkin 6.5 – Terrible Tomb: Adds even more dungeon cards.
    • Munchkin 7 – Cheat With Both Hands: Combines Munchkin Blender (a set meant to help bridge the other Munchkin games together) and More Good Cards (a set of stupidly overpowered cards for the lulz).
    • Munchkin 8 – Half Horse, Will Travel: builds on from the mechanics in Cheat With Both Hands.
    • Munchkin 9 – Jurassic Snark: Add prehistorically themed cards to the game.
    • Epic Munchkin: Alternate rules that increase the level cap to twenty.
  • Star Munchkin: Parodies Science-Fiction, specifically Star Trek and Star Wars.
  • Munchkin Fu: Satirizes Martial Arts films both modern and historical.
  • Munchkin Bites: Apes angsty Urban Fantasy games, like The World of Darkness.
    • Munchkin Bites! 2 - Pants Macabre: Adds the Mummy race.
  • Super Munchkin: Super Heros and comics in general.
  • Munchkin: Impossible: Espionage and heist games.
  • Munchkin Cthulhu: Call of Cthulhu and its ilk.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin: Wild West games.
  • Munchkin Booty: Pirates.
  • Munchkin Zombies: Zombie Apocalypse games.
  • Munchkin Apocalypse: General Apocolypse games.
  • Munchkin Legends: Mythology, mostly European.
  • Munchkin Pathfinder: specifically riffing on Pathfinder
    • Munchkin Pathfinder 2 – Guns and Razzes: Adds the Gunslinger class.
    • Munchkin Starfinder: Based on Pathfinder's science-fantasy sequel game.
  • Munchkin: Warhammer 40,000: riffs on the notoriously dark Warhammer 40,000 universe.
  • Munchkins & Mazes: Dungeons & Dragons: Fifth Edition and Modern Tabletop Gaming in general.

Steve Jackson Games also published three RPG books based on the core game and one based on Star Munchkin using d20 System. A supplement based on the game was also published for Toon.

A Munchkin comic book series was published by the BOOM! Box imprint of Boom! Studios.

CMON funded a separate tabletop game called Munchkin Dungeon through Kickstarter.

Asmodee Digital released a dungeon-crawling Party Game Munchkin Quacked Quest in November of 2019.

The art in the original game and many of the numerous supplements and variants is by John Kovalic, and while other artists have been brought in on occasion, Kovalic’s style is often considered a large factor in the game’s success.


This card game provides examples of:

  • Beyond the Impossible:
    • 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 you 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 character gender-swapped and must be addressed 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.
  • Bilingual Bonus: If you can read Tengwar, check out The Other Ring.note 
  • 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.
    • And all of this is gleefully lampshaded and parodied, so much that it counts as Reconstruction.
    • There was one special release of a cookie which, upon eating it, would resurrect your character and undo a death. Everything that the studio has created has a bonus when Munchkin is played.
    • In the tabletop version, buying the Dungeonmaster's Guide for your DM earns you 10,000 xp, enough to start 10 levels higher than the rest of the party.
    • Not bribery per se, but donating to one of John Kovalic's charity bike rides will let you start a game at level 3.
  • Butter Face: The Geisha Gorgon.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: Not that the game has a hitpoint system, but several cards require the player to discard from their hand in order to be activated.
  • Cat Girl: A monster in Munchkin 2 and a playable race in Star Munchkin.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment, which is a fairly decent weapon.
  • 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 let you choose which side to give bonuses to are rare. Help or hinder, the choice is yours.
  • Combat Medic: Clerics don't seem to spend much time actually healing anything (although they can resurrect dead cards, sort of).
  • Crossover:
    • With Axe Cop. Given how the heroes act in that series, this was inevitable.
    • Munchkin Cthulhu had 3 expansions and a line of plush toys.
    • There is also a booster pack and a deck based on Conan the Barbarian, and a deck (with expansion) modeled after Pathfinder.
    • With Adventure Time, which makes sense considering the show's fantasy setting and the two main characters' love of killing monsters and collecting loot.
    • The Unspeakably Awful Indescribable Horror in the standard deck may also be a Lovecraft reference.
    • A Discworld Luggage card was available at conventions in the early tens, beginning with the North American Discworld Con 2011.
      John Kovalic: Yeah, if you think I was thrilled to draw an official, licensed version of Conan the Barbarian, you can probably quadruple that for sheer geek fanboy joy I got from drawing one of Sir Terry's characters.
    • A version based on the Marvel Universe was released in 2016.
    • A version based on Rick and Morty was released in 2017.
  • Cute Is Evil
    • It's not a fluffy kitty, it's the set's nastiest, most powerful monster. Called 'The Evil'.note 
    • Also, the My Little Cthulhu doll, which makes it impossible to avoid Joining The Cult
    • And the Perfectly Normal Bunny, which can become "That Bunny" due to a dice roll.
    • The Chibithulhu plushie subverts this, as it can be used in-game to not only get into the Cult, but free yourself from it as well.
  • Deader Than Dead:
    • Cards that remove other cards or enemies from the game entirely (often in hilarious ways) are par for the course in any expansion or version.
    • Kali kills you so hard, your next character loses a turn.
  • Dead Man's Hand: A curse card that forces you to discard your whole hand.
  • Dead Sidekick: the Red Shirt from Star Munchkin. his only use is to die protecting you. Or, if you mix decks, die because you killed him for a level.
  • 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.
  • Deus ex Machina:
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Munchkin Cthulhu, Star Munchkin, and Munchkin Apocalypse all have the trope namer as a level-20 monster.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: It's one of the Ambassador's class features, and it lets them weasel out of traps.
  • 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!
  • Duel Boss:
    • The Gazebo is treated as one (even though its only level 8). Players must face the Gazebo alone, but said other players can still play enhancers and one shots for either side.
    • The Lich in Adventure Time is a more traditional version. Not only must Players face the Lich alone, but every other player is forbidden from interfering with combat in any way. No enhancers, no one-shots, nothing.
  • 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.
    • The Adventure Time version has an expansion called "It's a Dungeon Crawl." It adds dungeon cards with a variety of effects and portal cards/effects on other cards to ensure the active dungeon changes often.
  • 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).
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies - Munchkin Zombies is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke:
    • Lawyers won't attack Thieves because of professional courtesy. Also, they count as sharks.
    • The original evil lawyer joke is parodied in a Munchkin Shakespeare Go Up a Level card: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the Rules Lawyers".
  • 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?
    • The infamous "Bad Stuff" for Squidzilla (probably as a subtle reference to the above Lawyering) reads "You are grabbed, slimed, crushed, and gobbled. You are dead, dead, dead. Any questions?" And then they had to clarify that you didn't die three times because of that text.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Cheat card. And the Level-Up card. And the Curse/Trap card. And.. well... you get the point. 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 is Chairman Mao, whose bad stuff not only kills the character but inflicts a Humiliation Conga on the player.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Three of the original four classes fit this trope- Warrior, Wizard, and Thief. Warriors can buff their attack power and win ties, Wizards can use spells to help run away or charm monsters, and Thieves can steal items and backstab other players.
  • Food as Bribe: You can Bribe The GM With Food or Pay For The Pizza to go up a level. In combat, you can also use the Rat On a Stick to bribe monsters not to fight you.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Munchkin Grimm Tidings is based on classic fairy tales, with twists.
  • Fungus Humongous: What you get if you play the "Humongous" card on the "Fungus" monster. "Don't truffle with the Humongous Fungus!" 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.
  • Gag Boobs: To the point of parody, a lot of the female Munchkins in the art sport huge bosoms. Lampshaded in game with cards like “Cleavage Stun”.
  • Gag Nose: the Floating Nose and its shadow. Many Munchkins in the art also sport some impressive schnozes.
  • 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.
    • Averted with B-Mo from Adventure Time. If you play as him, you ignore anything that is gender-related.
  • Gender-Restricted Gear: Several items are restricted to male (e.g. "Gentlemen's Club") or female (e.g. "Broad Sword") characters. There are also items that can be used by anyone but give one gender a higher bonus.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: The aptly-named "Underwear on the Outside" card depicts a hero in white boxers with red hearts.
  • Groin Attack: Implied to be how the Psycho Squirrel attacks. It won't attack females or anyone wearing the Spiked Codpiece, and the player has to speak in a squeaky voice if they fail to kill it.
  • Happy Fun Ball: The "Duck of Doom".
  • Have a Nice Death: the "Bad Stuff" on some monster cards.
  • House Rules: Inevitable, considering that "Argue about the rules" is actually in the rules. It is 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.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Most of the strategy is based around convincing people that you are the opponent who has gone the least distance across the Godzilla Threshold. Betrayals can come at any time when it would be profitable or funny, and are more or less guaranteed once you reach level 9 and will win the game in your next combat.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: In Munchkin Apocalypse, Kids replace a "Death" result with "Lose a level".
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • Most notable in Star Munchkin, where you can stack up anything with its name ending with '-aser'. This can lead to a plus-24 Laser-Dazer-Raser-Maser-Schmaser-Bobaser-Bananafanafofaser-Lasernote  if you're lucky. This is strong enough to beat everything.
    • 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 afterward to make you lose anyway.)
  • Instant Roast: The monster "Giant Angry Chicken" is worth one extra level if it is defeated by flame. Yummy fried chicken!
  • Japanese Ranguage: The "Engrish Transrate Plobrem" in Munchkin Fu.
  • Knee-capping: The Hammer of Kneecapping, usable only by dwarves.
  • Loads and Loads of Rules: More rules get added with every deck. There's even a rule lampshading this.
    "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."
  • 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.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: The Munchkin card game has several cards and extra collectibles that allow manipulating the dice.
  • Magic Knight, and any other cross-class you'd care to name, if you have a Super Munchkin card.
  • Malevolent Mutilation: The "Mutilate the Bodies!" card, which allows you to piggyback on another player's combat success and gain a level.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The best players are always these. Examples of Munchkin bastardry include: "protection rackets" in which a player prevents another player from being able to fight a monster, then offers to sell them defensive cards for a high price; lying to newbies about what their cards do/are worth; and asking a player to help you gang up on another, only to backstab them later.
  • Massive Race Selection: Munchkin has loads of races by now, due to its many expansions and editions which can all be combined:
  • Micro Monarchy: Parodied on the "Ruler of A Small European Country" card, which shows the character standing in a "country" about one foot square.
  • Mind-Control Music:
    • The Bard's Enthrall ability, which can let him force an ally to help him in combat for no reward.
    • Musicians from Adventure Time have a similar power, but it only works on players of the opposite sex of the user. Unlike the Bard, this power is guaranteed to work if you use it.
  • Meta Game: Most of the gameplay is metagaming. You could even say that the metagame is the game.
  • Monty Haul: The game is very much a parody of the Monty Haul style of tabletop RPG. Characters usually end up dripping with powerful equipment and using it to slaughter godlike foes.
  • Mooks Ate My Equipment: Many of the monsters eliminate bits of character equipment if they win their fights.
  • 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)!
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The "Four-Armed and Forewarned" power in Super Munchkin gives you two extra Hand slots for items.
  • Munchkin: *ahem*
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast. If a player fights against a monster whose name ends with -goth, other players can add their -goth monsters to the fight. This has nothing to do with the Goth culture but is derived from H.P. Lovecrafts shoggoths.
  • 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 the Loaded Dice card allows you to change the face of the physical die that was rolled.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Half the fun of the game is trying to make your character as awesomely ridiculous as possible.
    • 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.
    • Things like Accents and Nationalities (the former are from Munchkin Booty, the latter from Munchkin Impossible, and if you're playing both you can have one of each, because they're considered different categories) only add to this. Especially because there's both a British Accent and a British Nationality, they have different powers, and you can be British British. The one aversion is that "race" in Original means a species like Elf or Dwarf, while "race" in Conan means a human race like Cimmerian or Zamoran, but you cannot have both because Race is treated as one category. No Cimmerian Elves.
  • Nonhuman Humanoid Hybrid: Thanks to the "half-breed" card, you can have the abilities of two different races.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Subverted with the Cheat cards, and the Mixer set card "Cheat Like There's No Tomorrow", which lets you do just that for one turn.
    • Also an explicitly stated rule: if you can get away with cheating, cheat like crazy, as long as you're willing to deal with any consequences of getting caught. For example, you are limited to five cards in your hand at the end of your turn. But did the other players count them? Did you carefully stack your fifteen cards so that they can't really see how many you have? Excellent job, Munchkin! But be ready to throw away ten if you get called out on it (a common house rule is that you don't get to decide which extra cards get thrown away).
  • 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 Dragons Are Different: Munchkin Dragons features several. The original, of course, is the Plutonium Dragon, a parody of Dungeons & Dragons's Platinum Dragon, Bahamut.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Includes a werepenguin, a werehamster, and a weremuskrat. They are all oversized and sharp-toothed — even the penguin has fangs.
  • Our Elves Are Different: These ones get a bonus to running away from combat and can gain levels from assisting others.
  • Piñata Enemy: The Pinata is a measly level 3 and gives a treasure to every party member when killed.
  • Prehensile Hair: The Super Munchkin deck offers a pair of Prehensile Pigtails, which give the player two extra hands.
  • Prehensile Tail: Star Munchkin's Tailgun, only usable by Felines, depicts one such Feline curling up a fairly normal-looking gun in one.
  • 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."
  • Punny Name: Most cards.
    • 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.
    • Apart from the Mummy, races and classes don't usually have punny names, but their abilities might. "Britannia Waives the Rules," for example.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Many cards vary by something that applies to you in real life.
    • Your character's sex is alwaysnote  your own (unless you explicitly say otherwise) 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.
    • 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 
    • 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!
    • The Pathfinder set has a card that gives a bonus to the monster if the player has a laptop, tablet, or smartphone on the table. Considering the fact that an app was developed specifically to assist players in tracking their combat bonus vs any monster, this gets a fair amount of use.
    • Legends has a monster, Bloody Mary, that gets a bonus if there is a mirror on the table.
    • Similar to Bloody Mary, many Munchkin Marvel supervillains gain abilities based on the playing field; i.e., Mandarin gains power from actual rings the players are actually wearing, Electro gets bonuses from electronic devices, and Absorbing Man gets strength based on the material of the table.
    • Averted by the "Eldest" and "Youngest" roles in Grimm Tidings, which are actual cards you may hold, not the actual oldest and youngest player at the table. When drawing a card other than the role itself that mentions it, players almost always ask their opponents' age.
  • Recycled INSPACE: Basically all of the different variations are the same thing recycled in different settings. Star Munchkin spoofs it in its subtitle: "Kill the monsters. Steal the treasure. Stab your buddy... IN SPACE!".
  • 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.
    • "You have no class and no style."
    • 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.)
    • The same pun on class is also used as an actual ability in Munchkin Impossible. "British spies always have class. If you have this Nationality and no Class card, you count as a Playboy."
  • 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.
    • Your Feet Are Dragon turns your feet into that of a Dragon. They make it harder to run away but provide a hefty +4 bonus. You can even get rid of them to run from a Dragon.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: It is somewhat common for games to play out like this. When the player in the lead is close to winning, the other players will gang up on the leader to prevent him/her from winning. Once everyone has used all their cards and abilities to prevent the strongest player from winning, the second strongest player usually has an easier shot at victory. This can also sometimes have elements of a Kingmaker Scenario or Do Well, But Not Perfect.
  • 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. (Which also makes it Shaped Like Itself; of course a frog is frog-like.)
  • "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.
  • She Is the King: "Princess" is an available role in Grimm Tidings, which can be taken by male players, but doesn't actually change your in-game sex.
  • Shout-Out: All but made of them. Some of the more obvious ones are:
    • Star Munchkin has two of the item 'Time Warp'. Guess what the pictures are doing.
    • Munchkin Cthulhu has the Ozathoth, and the Song of Madness Waltzing Matilda.
    • "G'day, mortal!"
    • "O R'lyeh?" with an owl and "Ia R'lyeh".
    • Judge Fredd.
    • The "Vampire Hunter" in Munchkin Bites is a blond girl in a strangely familiar jacket.
    • A "Bowie Knife" has the word "Ziggy" written on it.
    • "You must fight a Rabbit! However, it's that rabbit, from that movie. And his picture is no one else than Bun-bun.
    • Most Munchkin sets are illustrated by John Kovalic. So, it's a perfectly normal thing that the PCs sighted include Matt, Carson, Ken, and Igor. Dork Tower throws in a reverse Shout-Out here.
    • Pukachu, I(Vomit Indiscretion Shot)—ew...
    • The Froggoth from Munchkin Cthulhu causes you to suffer Death of Choking On A Giant Frog.
    • 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 "Horsefly" 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, while Death has Twilight Sparkle's color scheme but her mane is covered by her cloak.
    • One of the monsters in Munchkin Bites is Mortal Kom Bat.
    • Munchkin Dragons has a few.
    • The Magic Dragon wants to be your friend. If you fight him and lose, he makes one of your levels vanish in a Puff of smoke.
    • Smog. He even lets Halflings take the top card of the treasures when he appears.
    • In Munchkin Pathfinder, among the multitude of goblins is one called the Hobbes Goblin, complete with stuffed tiger and red striped shirt.
    • One of the monsters in Munchkin Shakespeare is Sonnet the Hedgehog.
  • Superhero: Super Munchkin. That's right, munchkins trying to play superheroes. Weep.
  • Tentacled Terror: The Level 18 Squidzilla monster (outright called Cephalopodzilla in French).
  • 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."
  • Themed Stock Board Game: There are a number of licensed versions of Munchkin featuring properties such as Adventure Time, Rick and Morty, and X-Men.
  • 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.

Tropes referenced in-game

  • Amazonian Beauty: The fairy on one of the "your powers have grown" cards.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Swiss Army Polearm.
  • Bullet Dancing: The "Dance!!!" trap card, which forces a player to discard their footwear, shows a guy getting shot at his feet.
  • Cardboard Prison
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • The picture for Cleavage Stun. Actually, the whole point of Cleavage Stun.
    • And, of course, Undo Top Button.
    • 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!
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: You should know better than to pick up a duck in a dungeon.
  • Faceless Mooks: The Faceless Army.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: The Killer Jalapeño's bad stuff causes your mouth to catch fire, which destroys your headgear.
  • Jumping the Shark: the name of the supplement about pirates. invoked
  • Martial Arts Headband: The badass Bandanna.
  • Most Common Superpower: In Super Munchkin, the Cleavage Stun and the spray-on costume. (The former is only usable by females, while the latter grants a higher bonus to females than males.)
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Munchkin Zombies lets you play as an atomic, patchwork, plague, or voodoo zombie.
  • Red Shirt: A hireling in Star Munchkin.
  • Required Secondary Powers: The Orbital HQ in Super Munchkin gives you bonuses... but only if you have the Flight power. Otherwise, you can't reach it.
  • Rules Lawyer: The "Invoke Obscure Rules" card. (Also highly encouraged in the gameplay.)
  • Shoulder-Sized Dragon: The card is "Cute Shoulder Dragon," and was considered as a Trope Namer.
  • Stronger with Age:
    • The "Ancient" monster buff card.
    • 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.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: The Red Shirt's 'special ability' is to sacrifice himself even if you're winning.
  • 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.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: A monster from Star Munchkin. It doesn't mind women, who gain a level if they don't fight it.
  • Underwear of Power:
    • A card in Super Munchkin.
    • Also there's the Pantyhose of Giant Strength.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Exotic race in Super Munchkin has a "Weird Weakness" that grants you -6 in combat against a monster whose name starts with the same letter as the current day.
  • 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.
  • "Which Restroom" Dilemma: A Half-Breed card depicts an obvious Half-Elf, Half-Halfling standing frustratedly between signs that say "Elf Restrooms" and "Halfling Restrooms."
  • 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.


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