Munchkin Pathfinder

MunchkinPFcover

Crossing the streams, Ghostbusters taught us, is bad. Except, course, when it’s good. (Ghostbusters is, admittedly, kind of fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing.)

In the case of Munchkin Pathfinder — the fifteenth stand-alone version of the Steve Jackson Games classic — crossing the streams with the world of Paizo Publishing’s flagship role-playing game is good. Really good. After a soft launch last year at Gen Con, when the game was released in limited quantities and snapped up quickly, Munchkin Pathfinder saw its wide release late last fall, followed by a 15-card expansion set, Gobsmacked.

It’s a natural crossover fit for both properties, since Munchkin‘s origins are in the fantasy RPG realm, and the Pathfinder universe is rich in fantasy settings, characters, and backstories. Turning the Munchkin crew’s writing and artistic talents loose in the Pathfinder sandbox is a win all around. (Illustrations are, again, handled by GeekDad and Dork Tower artist John Kovalic.)

MunchkinPFMantis

This iteration of Munchkin introduces Pathfinder character Classes and Factions to the mix. Factions take the place of Races in this edition, although the game was designed to mesh with other sets — particularly the original —  which means you could put together a game involving all three character aspects. The game also draws its treasures and curses from the Pathfinder mythos — including a LOT of goblin-related humor (Paging Jim C. Hines!)

MunchkinPFHemo

And yet the theming is not so inside baseball as to be off-putting to players who aren’t intimately familiar with Pathfinder: Not knowing the origins of the Decemvirate Helm or the Test of the Starstone doesn’t make the game any less enjoyable. And hey, maybe it’s yet another kind of Pathfinder gateway.

At the same time, if you’ve got a group of Pathfinder players who’ve never tried Munchkin, then this presents an ideal opportunity.

MunchkinPFStarstone

Munchkin Czar and game developer Andrew Hackard also drafted a more clearly written and organized rules sheet for the Pathfinder set, which is so helpful that I printed copies to tuck into our older Munchkin boxes for reference. Coupled with the true-to-its-roots fantasy theme, this makes the Pathfinder box a good set for introducing new players to the game.

Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of Munchkin Pathfinder.

John Booth

About John Booth

Writer John Booth lives in northeast Ohio with his wife and daughter. He is the author of the book "Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek – The First 30 Years."

John Booth

About John Booth

Writer John Booth lives in northeast Ohio with his wife and daughter. He is the author of the book "Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek – The First 30 Years."

6 thoughts on “Munchkin Pathfinder

  1. As this is a parenting blog, can you speak to how kids enjoy will this game and how your experience of playing this game with kids was?

    • Playing this version of munchkin should be like any other. It is best if the children are within the age range stated on the box unless they are very good at comprehension and have a good memory for game rules. One thing i would suggest is write out the turn progression for children and new players so they do not get confused on what they can do next. Also, download the munchkin app from the itunes/google play store to keep track of levels. It makes it much easier than just using paper.

  2. We’ve been writing about Munchkin for so long, and it has a place on so many geek family gaming shelves, that it seemed redundant to go into the details of the game as a whole regarding its mechanics, suitability and playability for kids, which is why I focused on the theming and minor changes to this particular edition. But I see your point: Maybe we could use a Munchkin basics/refresher post.

    In the meantime, I hope this helps: My daughter and I both started playing Munchkin when she was 12, although I know several other GeekDad and GeekMom parents have experience introducing their kids to the game at much younger ages. (The game recommends ages 10 and up.)

    In a nutshell, Munchkin is a card game which involves leveling up by killing monsters and grabbing treasure. The core mechanic of the game is turn-based draw & play, with the added wrinkle of players being able to interfere with each others’ attempts to advance.

    Humor has always been at the heart of Munchkin, incorporating wordplay and jokes, and playing silly with various fiction genres and settings (fantasy, vampires, H.P. Lovecraft, etc.) depending on the edition.

    As noted, the rewritten rule sheet makes it much easier for new players to get into the flow of the game.

    Other GeekDads and GeekMoms, please feel free to kick in with any thoughts on playing Munchkin with your kids of different ages.

  3. I can’t imagine going younger than the recommended age level. We’ve owned the original plus several boosters for awhile now, and I’m not even close to considering playing with my 7 year old.

  4. Watch the TableTop episode where Will Wheaton invited Munchkin designer Steve Jackson to play the basic Munchkin game… great episode.

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