Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

Games Workshop does not make all their profits by selling miniatures, a solid part of the revenue is generated by licensed products. Those are not just video games, but board games as well. I showed you the Monopoly variant of Warhammer 40,000 already on this blog, and today I'd like to share the new Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 card game by Steve Jackson Games / Pegasus Spiele.

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

Munchkin began as a fun card game, with classic fantasy elements that you will know from Dungeon Crawlers and Role Playing games. Multiple supplements were released, adding more items, treasures and monters to the game. But multiple spin-offs, sometimes using licenses or specific themes like Pathfinder, Sci-Fi, Cthulhu or Superheroes. So going further and do a crossover with the Warhammer universe isn't far fetched.
A couple of side notes;

  • all of them games are due to the same rule base playable with eachother (balancing will be slightly off, but the chaos is part of the Munchkin nature)
  • Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games, is not Steve Jackson (one of the founders of Games Workshop)
  • this is not the first time Warhammer is referred to in the Munchkin universe, there are multiple jokes and promo-cards, taking a hint towards the tabletop wargame (can be found in regular Munchkin as well as Star Munchkin), but more on that further below.

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

Games Workshop introduced the upcoming release of Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 in June 2019 in the April issue of the White Dwarf magazine. They included a promo bookmark in the issue as well, but more on that later. Please note, in the White Dwarf article the English variant of the game is introduced. That part of the article was not localised and still covers for example in the German issue of the White Dwarf still the English version of Munchkin and not the one locally released.

Games Workshop - White Dwarf April 2019 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

So as mentioned above, we are covering here today the German variant of the game, released by Pegasus Spiele. This means, this is a more compact box, priced at 14,95 EUR, covering the rules, the 168 cards and a dice. The US / english version costs 29,95 USD and covers a board, to keep track on your levels and 12 card board stand-ins along with bases, as you can see above from the picture in the White Dwarf. These are "exclusive" to the Steve Jackson Variant and not part of the translated version. Levels are kept track usually by using tokens or a D10. The game experience (rules, cards and so on) is the same, just the way to keep track of the player levels is done differently.

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

The rules are pretty forward, covered on 4 A4 pages, with all the explanations. But more on that further below.

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

The 168 cards are split into two decks, Door and Treasure cards. There are a couple of blanks, that are included for print production issues, that can be discarded. The game is very well transitioned in the world of Warhammer, as you can see from some random examples from both decks.

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

The main goal of Munchkin is to reach level 10 as quickly as possible. You can level up by multiple ways, but the most common one is by fighting a monster. The player who's turn it is, may enter a room by drawing a door card openly. This may uncover a monster, in that case, you're up for a fight. The card may show you a curse, that you have to deal with. If neither of those is the case, you can pick up the card and either loot the room (draw another door card, but face down this time) or look for trouble and play a monster from your hand. In a fight, your level is compared with the one of the mob you're up against, and if yours is higher you win the fight, may loot the mob and level up. But in the grim dark future of Warhammer, there is only war and the mobs are not just snotlings, but proper enemies, putting up a fight, so you will need gear and items to give you boni or team up with other players. But as they are interested in becoming level 10 before you, you have to make a deal, trade items, share loot and so on, to progress. The game itself doesn't take itself too serious, it is fast paced and the cards cover funny illustrations along with their text. If you want to take a look into the rules, Steve Jackson Games offers the rules as of the different variants PDF downloads.

Where as you start each game as a civilian, and would become a Bard or Warrior in the regular Munchkin (and appropiate classes in the other Munchkin variants), you can become one of 6 different "armies" within Munchkin Warhammer 40,000. Those are currently a Death Guard Chaos Space Marine, an Eldar, a Necron, an Ork, a Tyranid or a loyal Space Marine of the Ultramarine chapter. I am pretty sure, there will be additions to these in the upcoming supplements.

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

The cards, that cover items, gears, curses and monsters, are not just acting within the Warhammer universe, but within the Warhammer / tabletop hobby. So curses are not just simply a curse, but things like you forgot your terrain at home or you're a heretic (with the very fitting Erebus name tag). Same goes for boni and mali, it is not just a Sword +2, your miniatures are converted, you get a +5, or the enemy miniature is unpainted and gets a -5 on its level.

The mobs that you'll come across while knocking down doors or looking for trouble are from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. From a simple level 2 snotling, up to a Space Marine or even a Daemonprimarch. I didn't really understand why the Dark Angels would get +3 against Ultramarines, as their "internal enemy" are the Space Wolves, but well. Some of the gear that you may draw from the loot deck is exclusive to certain armies, like the power claw of an Ork Nob or possessed power armour of a Nurgle Space Marine.

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

The Munchkin community is a very broad one and the developers and distributors, especially Pegasus Spiele, supports the game in a very broad way. You have the chance to get promotional items on conventions and tournaments, some of them require to take additional actions to fully unfold their power. Bookmarks are beside special cards the most famous promotional item with Munchkin. Often given away on shows and are often one-use items (the bookmarks must be physically destroyed to be used in some cases - unless they for example have a signature by one of the designers). For Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 there are two promo bookmarks, one was part of the April 2019 issue of the White Dwarf, another one will be released among the (pre-)release tournaments.

As for the promotional bonus cards, as you can see in the second picture, there are a lot of different topics covered for the different Munchkins. Some of them are community / localised variants, like the Blutschwerter Bonus card for the regular Munchkin, that is further upgraded if you are a member of the Blutschwerter and can not be stolen (that is a game function) if it is signed by one of the community leaders. Other cards get +3 or +5 if they are signed for example by Kovalic. I'd expect something like this for example for the "you army is painted" card, that you would get some kind of additional upgrade if it is signed by Duncan or someone from the 'Eavy Metal team. And if you have a good eye, you'll have spotted the Werehamster 40 Kilo among the cards. A snide remark on Warhammer, were you loose 500 gold worth of equipment in exchange for "expensive, useless metal" if you loose against the level 8 mob.

As Warhammer Munchkin is distributed by Pegasus Spiele and not by Games Workshop in Germany, your best chance to get your hands on the cards is board gaming events and stores. I already asked about some promotional cards in two weeks on Warhammer Day, but there were no such plans so far (but that might change on Warhammer Fest Europe or similar events).

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

If you want to sleeve your cards, please not that the Munchkin cards are less wide that regular trading cards. Here a brief comparison with a Underworlds card, the height is the same but they are not as wide.

Pegasus Spiele - Munchkin Warhammer 40,000

Munchkin is a fun, fast paced game. It is very beginner friendly and you can play it with a casual group as well as with some veteran gamers, to give them a break from the high pressure of strategic Euro-Games. I already own the classic Munchkin along with multiple expansions, that added new gear, monsters, classes and even steeds to the game. With the announcement of the crossover of Munchkin and Warhammer, I was looking forward how they would do it. And the result is very convincing. The immersion of the brand into the game and vice-versa, went very well. The use of well-known items and creatures from the lore, along with the distinctive illustrations of Kovalic, that combine what you know from Munchkin and Warhammer both, create a entertaining product.

Steve Jackson Games stands behind the new spin-off, as for this month along with the initial release already two supplements are announced; Faith & Firepower and Savagery & Sorcery, adding 112 cards each and introducing the new armies of Space Wolves, Thousand Sons, Adeptus Sororitas and T'Au to the game. In July and August we will see a dice set and Kill-o-Meter, along with 4 new cards in each accessory. And Munchkin doesn't stay within the grim dark future of Warhammer 40,000, but will expand into Warhammer Age of Sigmar this November as well.

To sum it up, you can either get the boxed version of the game for around 30 USD / 25 EUR in english (available in spanish by Edge) or the compact, german (some people might say "efficient" 😉 ) boxed set for around 15 EUR. So very little invest for a fun, compact game that can be played during travel, as a main event or as a side on your next campaign or tournament weekend.

Munchkin is a brand by Steve Jackson Games and distributed in Germany by Pegasus Spiele.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

Posted by Dennis B.

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