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Munchkin: Critical Role puts a D&D spin on a classic party game

Kick down the door!

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Munchkin: Critical Role - an assortment of character cards, each representing a member of The Mighty Nein from Critical Role. Image: Critical Role/Steve Jackson Games
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

A new twist on Munchkin is on the way, and this time the frantic card game is taking on Critical Role. The game will be released on April 7, and it serves as more than just another variety pack. Instead, it’s easy to pick up for people who never played the original party card game, with tons of gorgeous art and references of The Mighty Nein’s adventures.

Munchkin is a card-based party game where players have to reach level 10 by collecting loot and killing monsters. It’s so stripped down and rules-light that it’s simple to combine it with Critical Role, the popular Dungeons & Dragons actual play series. The group, led by Matt Mercer, began together in 2015. Its second campaign, starring an eclectic group of adventurers known as The Mighty Nein, serves as the source material for Munchkin: Critical Role.

While playing Munchkin, players “kick down the door” in order to start an encounter, and take turns playing powerful cards to defeat bosses. It’s also a game of comedy. Sometimes, players find plain but useful gear like a sturdy pair of boots or a sharp sword. Other times, they get wacky spells and wild artifacts they can drop during combat to help themselves — or lock a rival into a losing fight.

Munchkin: Critical Role - an assortment of cards from the game, spread out, showing cameos from the campaign. Image: Critical Role/Steve Jackson Games

Playing classic Munchkin is relatively free-form compared to most competitive board games. Players can make alliances with each other, trade loot, and drop cards to hinder each other regularly. Players can also mix in expansion packs, so the dungeon crawl goes from a fantasy setting to a melting pot with pirate antics, sci-fi spaceships, or superheroes.

Munchkin: Critical Role keeps the general structure of the core game, with plenty of room for back-and-forth card exchanges and battles, but it is otherwise very much a Critical Role adaptation that stands alone as its own game.

Players take the role of characters from The Mighty Nein, using a character card for Fjord Stone, Yasha Nydoorin, Caduceus Clay, Caleb Widogast, Beauregard Lionett, Jester Lavorre, and Nott the Brave. The game also adds in a couple of dice, a few tokens, and a deck that makes everything feel a little less like a party game and a little more like a D&D session.

Munchkin: Critical Role is currently available to purchase from The Op Games. Critical Role fans can also grab a free adventure for Dungeons & Dragons written by DM Matt Mercer, or look at a recent book written by Mercer about the behind-the-scenes work of running Critical Role. The company has also branched out into game publishing with the launch of Darrington Press.

Munchkin: Critical Role

  • $25

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The powerhouse role-playing franchise Critical Role meets its match in the treasure-seeking hit role-playing card game of Munchkin, bringing the hugely successful Mighty Nein campaign to tabletop in the first officially licensed Critical Role card game.

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