GrogHeads Reviews Munchkin Marvel

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Superheroes come to the beloved Munchkin series.  Is it Super fun? ~

Avery Abernethy, 11 August 2016

MM-coverMunchkin Marvel is the 23rd core game in the Munchkin line sold by Steve Jackson Games. For those unfamiliar with Munchkin, it is a table top card game. You have an avatar. You can equip your avatar with armor, helmet, hand items, boots, and other items. You can obtain allies. However well or poorly equipped your character is you kick down the door. A trap may explode in your face. You may get free treasure. Or you may have a monster attack you. If you beat the monster you get its treasure. If you lose, you can try to run away. If you don’t run away successfully upon your loss, bad things happen. If you beat a monster you go up a level. Other things can help you go up levels. If you reach level 10 then you win. It is a pretty simple game.

What makes Munchkin such a fun game is the give and take between the players. Munchkin encourages both cooperation and back-stabbing. Many cards can be played to help your character, or can be played to strengthen a monster to defeat another player. There is a lot of wheeling, dealing, begging and whining within a munchkin game. You can split treasures, bribe, make promises, all in hopes of getting your lowly level one munchkin to level ten and victory.

Munchkin Marvel is somewhat different from the previous Munchkin games. In Munchkin Marvel you are an agent of Shield. You start out at level 1 and your agent has a special power. Some of the special powers are very useful, like +2 in any solo combat. Other special powers are seldom useful. So the random draw for your Shield Agent will have an impact on your chances for success. Unlike other starter core Munchkin Games, this one comes with cards for your character and tokens to mark your progress towards reaching level 10 and becoming Director of Shield. Including a character card and tokens to mark progress should be included in every Munchkin core game – but at least they included it with Marvel.

mm-cardsAll of the Monsters are Marvel Universe villains. Items, traps, and allies also come from the Marvel Universe. So the villains, items and other cards are not nearly as silly or have such strange powers as in other Munchkin games. Likewise, many of the real odd factors found in most Munchkin games that are both silly and fun are far less common in Munchkin Marvel. Absorbing Man is more powerful if you are playing on a surface that has multiple materials (like a wooden table with a table cloth). Somebody who is wearing 10 rings becomes deadly if they get the Mandarin’s Ring Card (+1 for every ring on hands of the person holding the card). But that is about it. In other Munchkin games the odd and silly is the rule and the ordinary is the exception. In Marvel this is reversed. Cheat cards are underpowered in Marvel only allowing you to have additional items.

Marvel Munchkin can be played by three to six players. If you have six noobs then the game can run close to two hours. If you have four experienced players, the game will run about 45 minutes. A bright eight year old could play more effectively than a drunk undergraduate.

Marvel Munchkin is a good introduction to the Munchkin game for new players. A lot of people are familiar with Marvel from the comics or the movies. The game is less silly and pun infested which could also appeal to novices. The joint cooperative and backstabbing nature of the game remains. The rules are simple and the game is short. I’ve introduced more than a half a dozen people to Munchkin using the Marvel set and it is a better gateway than most of the other sets.

Like all of the other Munchkin games, it is loads of fun. Even novices start helping and backstabbing the other players early. But Marvel is not nearly as silly and plays a bit more “serious” than other core Munchkin games. The game holds true to the Marvel Universe which limits the insanity found in other Munchkin games. I own five core Munchkin sets. Marvel is my choice to introduce new players. But the other sets spark more fun talk around the table with experienced players.


Avery Abernethy is a Professor of Marketing at Auburn University. He still loves the 1960s and 1970s Marvel comics.

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