Munchkin is a popular game, so popular that other companies are licensing it from Steve Jackson Games (see Munchkin Panic!). Now USAopoly has created a Marvel comics version of the popular Munchkin brand. Is it just Munchkin with Marvel heroes thrown in? No! Well, sort of, but really no!
Munckin usually has a goofy theme with a silly atmosphere. Marvel Munchkin ditches that with a more serious take using the Munchkin game rules. Whether you think casting out the humor is a bad or a good thing depends on how integral you see it as a part of the game. Personally, I think it’s a nice change of pace. Still, I wouldn’t mix these cards in with the rest of my sets because they’re a bit too in-congruent with the overall feel of the rest of the Munchkin “universe”.
In Marvel Munchkin, you play as an Agent of SHIELD. Like in regular Munchkin you take turns “breaking down the door” then fighting “monsters”, getting treasure, and leveling to 10 to win the game. In this version when you hit ten you become director of SHIELD.
Unlike normal Munchkin where you have a set of cards laid out before you that depict your “character”, you get a nifty file card with a picture of a Shield agent. There’s also a handy tracker to keep track of your level! Even better, the agents have different bonuses associated with the type of agent they are (and there’s only one type of agent per game, everyone has to have a different type). I really liked this aspect of the game.
The monsters in this edition of the game are super villains of course. The game includes a lot of well known villains and several less known ones to keep comics and not just Marvel movie fans happy. There’s a wide variety of them starting out with characters like AIM soldiers on the low end up to Loki on the high end. And if you’re wondering, Loki is the biggest of the bad in this set at Level 20.
I couldn’t help but notice the complete lack of X-Men and Fantastic Four references in the game. It’s such a sad time we live in now where Marvel doesn’t want to include them because of movie rights. Yay, we get the Inhumans though! Marvel, the Inhumans will never replace the X-Men no matter how hard you try.
One of the most important aspects of Munchkin is the competition that goes on between the players. Why would fellow SHIELD agents screw each other over? The rules don’t really get into this. My guess would be inter office politics or something. It’s a bit odd if you think about it. The whole messing each other over works better in a fantasy monster hunting world or, in the Marvel Universe, if you were playing as the bad guys working your way to world domination by eliminating super heroes and screwing each other over. Perhaps a villain edition will come out. In fact, I kind of want to play that version more now that I think about it.
The treasures aren’t exactly treasures like in Munchkin where you get armor, weapons, and boots. It is kind of odd that a SHIELD Agent would get to wield Mjölnir.
Some of the one shot treasures are pretty cool. You can get Falcon’s bird. Love it. Any time I can get an animal pal, I’m in.
Some of the treasures involve getting allies, which are the cool superheroes of the Marvel Universe. Yeah, you don’t play as a superhero exactly, but it’s nice to get some named characters on your side.
There’s also team affiliations like The Avengers, which give different bonuses. There are three factions included in the box. And th X-Men? Uh, what are those?
The art style of the game is pretty great, though it’s very modern and not a more classic style that I go nostalgia giddy for. I can see USAopoly going back to the well here and creating an edition of Marvel Munchkin that’s more retro for us nostalgia junkies.
Overall, this isn’t the perfect Munchkins game, but it is fun regardless. I’m really interested in what expansions come out for it in the future to see if I really get hooked. Like I said, more vintage art and a villain edition would really ratchet Marvel edition Munchkins a few notches in my book. As it stands, it’s still a fun game with some neat twists in the old Munchkins formula to keep it fresh.