Posted on April 1, 2004 by Flames
Produced by Steve Jackson Games
In this latest edition of “Kill the Monsters, Steal the Treasure, Bite your Buddy” Steve Jackson paints a comedic look of horror gaming, LARP, cinema, and more!
The rules are similar to other games in the Munchkin line, but with a few notable differences. Players have races and powers instead of races and classes. The race cards are vampire, werewolf and changeling. All have special abilities and all are appropriate. Vampires suck levels off of other players, werewolves have an added +4 bonus against Demons and the Undead, and Changelings can choose what deck to choose from after combat.
While many potions, such as the Potion of Torpor, give combat advantages to their user, the Powers your character acquires add balance to the game. Malediction, a level 2 power, allows your character to bring your opponent down by one for every card you discard. Some of the powers, like False Seeming, are rarely used. So when you’re playing with Powers, strategy is a must. Your Powers can only equal your base character level. Lose a level, you could lose it all.
The other bonuses in Munchkin Bites! give nods to collectors (Complete Set of Obsolete Books), Goths (Ankh of Angst), snappy dressers (Punk Hairdo) and more. A very useful bonus that requires you to play rock-paper-scissors is undoubtedly inspired by MET LARP. But LARPers beware, for if LARP eats your brain you lose a level.
Curses and monsters run amuck in Munchkin Bites! While minions (like the zombie minion) can be sacrificed to save your character, players will not want to run into monsters like Asmodeus or the ominous Thesaurus. Teaming up against players in their final round is deadly, cards like Sense of Impending Doom cause a -10 to their next combat. Wandering Monsters are in limited supply, for many of the monsters are bats. Fat Bat, Mortal Kom Bat, Wom Bat and Ding Bats are only a few of the bats that fly overhead. Bats, any number of them, can be played on each other. So if you think you have it made because you have a level two Cat bat? Beware!
The cards are in full color and John Kovalic manages to mix laughter, sarcasm, and a touch of horror. The result is some wickedly cute cards (Imp) some cards that will make you groan (Were-Hamster), and some cards that make you wonder what someone put in his cereal that morning (Frank Limejello). At times, the art was the only thing that kept my sense of humor as my character went from level nine to level one.
Playing the game with other Munchkin version in the line took a little while to get used to. When you’re blending Munchkin Bites! with two or three other games, be sure to use a very large playing space. Powers, Classes, Styles, Races, and the insane amount of loot you acquire take up a lot of space. Races is where it got a bit tricky. If you’re playing the game blended with another (Star Munchkin, Munchkin Fu, Munchkin), you can only be a Vampire Elf if you have the Half-Breed card. People who regularly play Munchkin blended with other decks may find that to be awkward.
The best part about playing Munchkin Bites! blended with another game is the great character combinations that you create. Werewolf/Yakuza , Vampire/Clerics, and Changeling/Orcs/Wizard/Monks with Powers of Invisibility and the ability to use Clown Fu are all entertaining and fun to stab/bite your buddy with. Unless of course, you’re the one being bitten.
Overall, Munchkin Bites! is an interesting twist on the original Munchkin. Steve Jackson Games deliver a modified game that either plays as a stand-alone or with Star Munchkin, Munchkin Fu, and Munchkin. Retailing for $24.95, the game is a lot of fun to play.
Reviewer: Monica Valentinelli