Posted on May 12, 2008 by Matt-M-McElroy
Munchkins have hacked their way through dungeons, kung fu temples, starships, haunted houses, and super-foes. Now they face their greatest challenge – Cthulhu! Will they survive? Will they retain their sanity? Will they . . . level up?
Munchkin Cthulhu combines the zany comedy of the previous Munchkin games with the oddities of the Cthulhu Mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft and its further developments by other authors and game designers.
While you don’t need to know anything about the Mythos to enjoy Munchkin Cthulhu, having read some Lovecraft or played a few Call of Cthulhu games certainly makes the jokes and bad puns more entertaining. The Dunwich Snorer and Aughost Derwraith are easy enough to fight in the game, but get much more of a laugh when played on someone familiar with the genre.
Munchkin Cthulhu has Class cards much like other versions of the game, including Investigator, Monster Whacker, Professor and Cultist. Each of which fits with the Mythos setting (except Monster Whacker seems like a weak attempt to create a “fighter” class). The Investigator seems to be the most useful Class with its “Sneak and Peek” and “Foolhardy” abilities. “Foolhardy” especially lets the character gain treasure quickly if used to defeat weak monsters from the player’s hand.
The Cultist Class has its own special rules, which shows how much evil cults have become one of the default elements of the Mythos in the minds of many. There is a separate discard pile for Cultist cards and this pile gets a lot of use. Once a character becomes a Cultist they cannot voluntarily discard this Class (but there are several cards that force its removal). The more Cultist characters there are in play, the more powerful they become in combat. There are also several items that are Cultist-only.
“Goth” monsters work a lot like the “Bats” in Munchkin Bites. You can add additional “Goth” monsters (Coggoth, Sluggoth, Joggoth, Foggoth, etc.) to a combat without the need for a Wandering Monster card. Most of these cards are fairly weak monsters and even more weak jokes.
There are a few funny cards that play on the Mythos in the game such as the Miskatonic University T-Shirt (which can be work with other Armor) and the
Overall the game plays much better with 3 or more players. This allows the Cultist Class to have more of an affect during play and brings the Asking for Help option up more often. Two player games are either over incredibly fast or drag on for hours. Regardless, with a few Mythos fans at the table, even the bad puns and predictable jokes are endurable. The players make the game as they say. I’m curious to check out the expansion packs for the game. Hopefully they add more monsters to the deck and spice up combat a little.
We have the first printing of the game, which has a few confusing typos on certain cards. Thankfully, Steve Jackson Games has a handy errata already posted on the Munchkin website.
Look for Munchkin and expansion packs at: