Hello Variants. We recently got our hands on Munchkin: Critical Role Edition hot off the (Darrington) press and I took the opportunity to play with fellow VV Team Member, Variant Kait. Given my familiarity with the Munchkin franchise, I wanted to take an opportunity to review the Critical Role Edition since I am a fan of TTRPGs, Dungeons and Dragons, and Critical Role. I have written this review under the assumption that most people reading will be fans as well.
I have played various versions of Munchkin before, including the original Munchkin and both the Marvel and X-Men versions. For more information on how Munchkin game mechanics work please visit here
Starting with the product itself, I would like to talk about the quality of the artwork- which is amazing across every card and especially the box art. Great praise should be given to Elena Muñoz and Tyler Hostettler from Dungeon Scribe. The quips and quotes on each card are great as well. My personal favorite is “No… no…no,” which was attributed to Liam O’Brien, and is featured on the Gelatinous Cube. The cards are made of high quality card stock which shuffled smoothly without sticking and were not easily folded.
The gameplay adheres to the Munchkin formula and was very easy to pick up and play for someone who is familiar with the game mechanics or have played other versions of Munchkin previously. It only took a few seconds of reading over each card to figure out when and how it was played for seasoned players. We recommend new players take the time to read over the entire rule set before attempting to play as there are a LOT of moving parts and card shuffles for beginners.
There were several items/cards though which stood out to me as odd compared to other versions I had played before. I was at first confused at the method by which power levels were assigned to items, and specifically Guest Stars (helpers). For example, Essek Theyless is a powerful Chronomancer who has assisted the Mighty Nien several times throughout Campaign Two. Essek was given a +3 bonus for the player. The Ruby of the Sea (who is Jester’s mother) gives the same bonus. This did not quite make sense to me, since in the game, Essek is a significantly more powerful character. Variant Kait suggested that the power bonus may be based on their frequency of appearance and personal connections to the Mighty Nein characters rather than in their respective power level, which I believe would explain the chosen power structure.
I would also have reduced the total number of Drive cards that are included. Both Kait and I completed multiple turns in the game where we only drew these cards, even after shuffling the decks before game play. At the end of the game we also felt like there could have been more monsters included in the deck. We did however find that the abundance of certain cards was helpful with many of the cards having abilities that require discarding one or more cards.
The biggest issue I had with the game was the restrictions on several of the named equipment (such as the Tinkertop Boltblaster 9000), are restricted to Roles. This is especially puzzling when you are playing as the character who uses a specific item in the Critical Role campaign. i.e. On the first turn of the game, I (who was playing as Caleb Widowgast) drew Widowgast’s Web of Fire, which I could not use for the entire game because I did not come across the required Mage card. Going forward, at my table, this will be remedied with a home-brewed rule, but we will respect this ruling when playing with others who may want to stick strictly to the game mechanics as written.
None of the above critiques are game breaking by any means. We still thoroughly enjoyed this game, and highly recommend the new edition for anyone who has an interest in Critical Role and encourage you to pick up your own copy if you get the chance. The set fits into the original Munchkin aesthetic of fantasy card games well, and it is great fun to see the characters, gear, and monsters from a favorite show played in unique and interesting combinations.
Be sure to check out Kait’s review below.
GAME REVIEW: Munchkin: Critical Role Edition Part II
Guest Writer: Variant Kait
Hey Variants! Just wanted to jump in to share my two cents and point of view of the game. Munchkin is a staple game in our home, and as veteran players, we were excited to hear that The OP Games (usaopoly) and Critical Role were collaborating for this project. I would be lying if I didn’t share that I did a little happy dance when this finally arrived in our mailbox a year after it was pre-ordered.
We were very impressed with the games presentation and one aspect I loved is that the player cards feature artwork of the characters, but my favorite detail is the Nott/Veth card. Depending on what side of the card you play you get to be either Veth or Nott. This doesn’t break any mechanics in the game, but I loved that this detail was added to the character cards.
Variant Rory and I both agreed, we felt a little stunted initially after several rounds led to minimal progression, and at one point I was unlucky enough to pull 5 lose a level cards while playing as Yasha, on top of pulling the dreaded double nat 1 card. Ugh! But even in my frustration, I knew, just like in DnD, sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw or roll.
I also wanted to share a funny story from the start of our game that would actually wildly be representative of the games outcome. At the start and after drawing our cards we decided to roll for initiative. Rory grabbed the game die and I grabbed a d20 currently locked up in my dice jail to roll. Rory rolled a 7, I rolled a 13, which meant I got start the game. I jokingly said “Hey look! I rolled a 13, an unlucky number, but you rolled a 7, a lucky number. That’s funny!” …It was not funny you guys. I lost HARD, but I still had fun and going through the cards after the game was its own treat sprinkled with the dust of deliciousness.
We hope you find this review honest and refreshing and can’t wait to see your photos and hear the stories from your game of Munchkin: Critical Role Edition.
*Photo Credit: Variant Kait
Have you had a chance to try Munchkin: Critical Role Edition? What did you think?