I am in Hamburg this weekend, and on Saturday I met my old gaming buddies. Since two of them did not have time, we didn’t play D&D this time, but opted to try out two “new” games.

First, we picked Munchkin. A card game satire of fantasy role playing games. The players explore dungeons, whack monsters, and loot treasures; goal is to reach 10th character level. Various zany items help the characters in combat; there’s some possible diplomacy as players can opt to help each other with cards and everybody may hire one other player to help in a battle; or players may actually try to hinder others by playing cards in favor of the monsters.

The random elements are low, if you except the drawing of cards. You only use a die to see if you can flee from an encounter, but not in combat.

The rules can be a little confusing if you first get them explained to you, but you will be able to pick them up quickly. Even if you do not know the cards, you can keep up with more experienced players quite well.

We played with – I think – both available expansion sets. The game was quite cool, if a little lengthy. Companies should hire my buddies and me for play-testing such games. It seems that we will always manage to drag out games. It easily took us six hours to end the game. We seem to be very cautious players – taking little risks and trying to cut anybody down who becomes a threat.

Despite the long game, it was quite fun. There’s a science fiction variant which I’d love to try, but we did not have the time for that. Star Munchkin and regular Munchkin can be combined to one big wacky game. I think Munchkin has quite a replay value either way.

After we were finally done, we moved on to Frag.

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