Review – Be The Next Director For S.H.I.E.L.D In Munchkin: Marvel Edition

June 13, 2016 by deltagamegirl22

If you have ever thought about throwing your hat in the ring as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., there’s no better time than the present as USAopoly has brought forward the Munchkin: Marvel Edition!

MM box front

In conjunction with licenses from Marvel and Steve Jackson Games, USAopoly  has managed to roll out an extremely fun version of the massively popular Munchkin game that sits in a super (see what I did there?) identifiable theme from pop culture.

MM deadpool taco truck

Before anyone shames me, I have to explain that somehow, to date, Munchkin has flown under my radar. I’d definitely heard of it, but had never played it until we were in London last month for Salute. After just one game, I was hooked! Where had this game been all this time (answer- hiding in plain sight right under my nose)?

MM villains

So when USAopoly sent over a copy for us to have a look at, I was thrilled! Marvel characters AND Munchkin? Yes, please!

The Basics

So let’s start with the basics. Munchkin is a fast and fun card game for 3-6 players. The goal is to the first player to get your agent to level 10 and become the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s every player for themselves, though there is the occasional cooperation out of necessity to accomplish goals. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of opportunity to throw a monkey wrench into even the best plan.

MM USAopoly-MunchkinMarvel-BoxBottom

Each turn players will take the same step…

  1. Kicking a door and fighting a (aka villain in this version) monster and/or…
  2. Looking for trouble or Looting the room.

To kick a door, a player flips the top card of the door deck face up. If this is a monster, the player must follow the directions on the card and try to fight the monster.

This is accomplished by adding the total of your character’s bonuses against the monster’s strength. If you have more than the monster, you go up a level and win whatever bonus is on the bottom of the card, however, if you tie or have less, you lose the fight and suffer the “Bad Stuff” listed on the card. If you lose, you can try to run away by rolling the die. A roll of five or six will allow you to escape.

MM USAopoly-MunchkinMarvel-Contents

The game comes in a great little box, themed with some of your favorite Marvel heroes. This means that it will not only store your game and its bits, but any Marvel fan will proudly display this on their shelves.

What’s In The Box?

In the box, you have everything that you need to play this version of Munchkin including: a d6, six level markers, six S.H.I.E.L.D. agent character cards, your door deck, your treasure deck, and some of the most entertaining instructions that I’ve ever read. I’m not kidding – make sure you read them!

MM characters

The character cards in this set are great as they not only offer a nice variety of agents with unique advantages, they are two-sided cards that offer the characters in male or female form. The agent classifications include: Operations Agent, Recon Agent, Tech Agent, Tactical Agent, Recruiting Agent, and Espionage Agent.

One agent is dealt to each player randomly at the start of the game and players will spend the rest of the game adding equipment, allies and bonuses to their character.

MM items

The equipment is fun and intuitive, like hand weapons- single or two handed. You can either equip your character with two one handed weapons or 1 two handed, etc. There’s also head gear, body armour, and footwear. Any equipment you add carries a bonus to add to your character to increase your chances of defeating the bad guys, but they also carry a gold value on the bottom.

At any time, except for the final level up, a player can cash in 1000 points in gold to go up a level. Now you could remove items from your character to do this, but more likely this is accomplished by non-equipped items you have off to the side or in your hand.

MM allies

I mentioned allies before, so let”s cover that. There are numerous allies in the treasure deck, each with helpful bonuses, but usually extra bonuses if your affiliation matches their need. At any time in the game, you can declare affiliation by an playing an affiliation card of Spiderfriends, Inhumans and Avengers.

You can change your alliance as a game progresses as well, for example, you draw a an ally that offers a really powerful bonus for an alliance other than the one you currently have in play. You  cannot store alliance cards though, so if you’re changing it up, you discard the one in play and place your new one.

MM affiliations

And lastly, there’s power cards. These offer all sorts of cool extra abilities in addition to their bonus number. They may allow you an unlimited hand size, or lower the number needed to roll to run away in fight, etc. The catch with powers, is that you can never play a power that’s higher than the level you are, and the total of your powers can never exceed your level.

MM loki

Now let’s talk about the “cooperative” (or not) element to the game. You can have help to defeat monsters, but if you do not fight alone, no level is earned for that fight, but you still collect the treasure on the card. For example, you may kick a door to find your level five self against someone the likes of Loki, who’s a horrendous level twenty. Even with all your bonuses, you may find yourself at level fifteen.

This means you either attempt to run away, and if unsuccessful, you fail in an epic manner suffering all the “bad stuff” that Loki can muster, or you may have to suck it up and ask for help from another player. Here’s where it get’s interesting. Another player may offer their assistance, and make demands of what this assistance will cost, or you can approach another player and attempt to dictate your terms.

MM monster

This typically equals sharing of the treasure gained by defeating the bad guy. So you may offer your friend two of the four treasures gained by defeating Loki, but you get to choose first. But your friend may say, I only want one treasure, my choice, but I want the Infinity Stone attached to your character. And somewhere in there, a deal is made. Or is it?

Backstabbing Time

Then there’s the backstabbing element of game play. You may have just worked together to defeat Loki, but on your next turn you only need to level up once more to win. When you kick the door, it’s a wimpy level eight, against your level nine character plus bonuses.

MM cards2

YES! Easy peasy, right? Not so fast. One of the other players throws a trap at you making you change the gender of your character, which costs you bonuses left and right when you built your defense on the cards that offered male bonuses. But your friends aren’t done yet.

Another player plays a Wandering Monster card and a monster from their hand, which adds that monster’s level to the total you need to fight against, and your level eight monster just became a level twenty-two. You’re left with your level ten defense after your character flip. There’s one more player that you could ask for help, but who’s going to help you now when you’re so close to a win? (crickets) Looks like some “bad stuff” is happening.

On the upside, your teammates may have just emptied their hands trying to make life difficult for you, which means, what goes around comes around and you’ll remember to repay the favor.

Will you be joining forces with the Avengers, the Inhumans or the Spiderfriends in Marvel Munchkin?

"...Marvel characters AND Munchkin? Yes, please!"

"On the upside, your teammates may have just emptied their hands trying to make life difficult for you, which means, what goes around comes around and you'll remember to repay the favor..."