I don’t know how it happened, but Munchkin was kept from me. It seemed like everyone else knew about this fantastic card game that combined Apples to Apples with Dungeons & Dragons, and yet I didn’t know it even existed until last year – ten years after it first debuted!
So I did my best to make up for it and bought all the expansions for the original game I could get my hands on. Then I needed a bigger box. And I picked up Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice to appease the gods of game design at Steve Jackson games. So when it was announced that a zombie version was getting made, I knew I needed it.
Kill the Living! Eat their Brains! Braaiiinns!
It’s the sickest, silliest Munchkin yet! You are zombies, kicking down doors and eating brains. The “monsters” you’re attacking are people, some helpless and some hazardous, with a few rogue zombies thrown in. The armor is whatever you’ve blundered across during your lurching search for brains. So bravely you’ll go forth, with mousetraps on your feet and a bowling trophy protecting your poor rotting head . . . to level up, or to die.
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Number of players: 3 – 6
Playing time: 1 to 2 hours
Includes: 168 cards, rule sheet, a die
Retail price: $24.99, available at Warehouse 13
Getting this game wasn’t easy and I’ve got to give big thanks to Tom for picking me up a copy. Originally released at PAX East, the main shipment was delayed and there were very few copies available for purchase. But Tom grabbed a copy for us both!
Munchkin Zombie is much like the other Munchkin games. It takes the basic game play elements and changes the theme so instead of being classic fantasy, this one goes after the standard horror trope of zombies! But instead of being a ragtag group of adventurers fighting your way out of the zombie controlled wasteland – YOU get to be a zombie hunting down humans.
The larger than it needs to be box includes 168 cards, a Munchkin die and a rule sheet. It’s pretty standard, but having been spoiled by the Boxes of Holding, it’s weird that that box isn’t segmented to keep the doors and treasure cards apart better.
For the most part, the rules are pretty much the same. There’s a pile of “doors” and a pile of “treasure” cards. Players play by taking turns “kicking down” doors to eat humans to get better armor and stats. Usually each time you defeat a monster, you go up a level and the first to level 10 wins.
Getting used to playing with my legendary Munchkin deck that includes everything from epic gear to mounts to hirelings, it was kind of nice taking a step or two back. Instead of race and class cards, Munchkin Zombie has “Mojo” and “Power” cards. Mojo cards act like races and give a variety of benefits that are new and don’t feel like the old race cards with just a new coat of paint. There are three Mojos in the game: Atomic, Plague and Voodoo.
The Power cards are much more interesting since they have a rank assigned to them. The ranks are 2, 3, and 4 so starting out level 1 zombies cannot use them. Players can’t have powers that exceed their total level, but if you’re level 7 you could have a rank 3 and two rank 2 powers. It’s an interesting twist that works well and prevents issues of player’s rapidly leveling up.
The new “monster” cards though are incredible. The level of difficulty has been ramped up a bit with opponents that attack you when they’re revealed – whether it’s losing your headgear or getting to roll their own dice to increase their level. It really shows how much extra thought and care has been put into the game.
The new equipment and gear is interesting too. Since zombies aren’t known for wearing armor, most items are just things that might end up getting stuck to a zombie like mousetraps on the feet and a pot on the head. Many more of the items are only useable by certain mojos so there is more skill in what kind of zombie you want to be.
For new player’s, this is a great way to get into the game of Munchkin. The zombie theme is flavorful, the cards are hilarious and witty as always and the fancy colored art looks great. For veterans, this works well as a standalone game that’s different and keeps things interesting. But one issue we discovered is that the game doesn’t play well with others. The additions of mojo and powers when you already have races and classes just makes things needlessly complicated. One possibility we have that still needs some work is letting player’s pick zombie or human when they start and have multiple decks (or slightly stacked decks) so they can play together better. But that makes Clerics way too good.
As a standalone game, Munchkin Zombies works great. It’s super fun and there probably isn’t a better place in the world to play it than at PAX. But after playing a few games, we noticed that with five and six people we go through the decks too quickly. That said, the only other thing I can say is: I can’t wait for the expansions.
- It’s Munchkin!
- Full of charm and wit
- Get to play as zombies
- Steve Jackson signed my copy!
- Slightly too few cards
- Box doesn’t stay organized
- Doesn’t play as well with others