By Judith Moore
When a friend (Editors note: MEEEE!) gave me the chance to try a new variant on Munchkin, I jumped at the chance. Munchkin original flavor is already a favorite in my household; the adults have read Shakespeare; what was there to lose? I was slightly concerned that the references would be too obscure for my kids to enjoy, but that concern was soon laid to rest --buried AND praised, if you will.
This was our first Deluxe game, and having tokens and a board to manage levels makes it easier on the small fry. The character tokens and cards are whimsically illustrated, in keeping with any good Munchkin game. All good and well so far, but what of the cards? The battles!? The monsters!? The LOOT!? After my husband and I finished laughing ourselves silly, we had to explain the best jokes to the kids. While the implications of the Cuckold Horns went right over their heads, the Monolog and Dialog were instant favorites (yes, they are actual logs…) and the monsters needed very little explanation.
We were able to jump right in to gameplay! The pacing of Munchkin: Shakespeare is very different than that of the first game. There are far more opportunities for multi-level advancement, and catastrophic level-losing slapdowns, than in the first game. There are also more opportunities to meddle with other players, to the great glee of all involved. The new Bard class, in particular, leads to some great shenanigans when paired with suitable dice rolls! After only one game, we were hooked. We could not stop playing until we’d seen all the cards!
By the end of the first session, Munchkin Shakespeare had taken its place as our favorite Munchkin variant to date. It also has inspired a desire in my oldest (8) to read Shakespeare! Is this game a comedy? Is it a tragedy? The answer is yes, it is all these and more, but above all, it is FUN.
(Images from worldofmunchkin.com)