Two Board Games in One: Munchkin Panic Blends Popular Games for a New, Fun Experience

Munchkin Panic castle
Munchkin Panic castle | Source

Munchkin Panic, a New Twist on Cooperative Game Castle Panic

I first learned about the games Castle Panic and Munchkin through the gaming web series Tabletop. I quickly bought a copy of Castle Panic because it looked like fun and it was a cooperative game I could play solo. But while I loved the crazy, quirky aspects of Munchkin, I was reluctant to get a copy because it requires multiple players and none of my gamer friends live nearby, so it's difficult for me to find opponents.

When I saw that Fireside Games had teamed up with Steve Jackson to create a Munchkin-themed version of Castle Panic, I couldn't wait to order my copy. I like this version much better than the original and I find it more challenging as well as more fun. Read on to learn more about the game, including what makes this version different from the original.

Quick Statistics for Munchkin Panic

Number of players:
1 to 6
Player age:
Older children, teens, adults
Style of play:
Time to play:
1 hour
Suggested retail price:
$ 39.99
Munchkin Panic hit cards
Munchkin Panic hit cards | Source

What is Munchkin Panic?

Munchkin Panic is a semi-cooperative board game built around tower defense. Players work together to prevent an army of attacking monsters from breaking down the castle walls and towers. Players use hit cards and Treasure cards to injure and kill the monsters, but new monsters are drawn and placed on the board each turn, so the tension keeps building throughout the game as the monsters multiply and advance. If the six towers are destroyed, all players lose the game.

But Munchkin Panic is only semi-cooperative, because players gain points for their kills. The player with the highest number of points wins, so there's still a certain amount of competition (and incentive for negotiations and back-stabbing).

Munchkin Panic also comes with optional expansion cards and rules for a "More Munchkin" variation: in this version, it's every player for him- or herself and saving the castle is no longer required! The game ends when all towers are down or when all monsters are dead, and the player with the most points wins.

Added Bonuses With the Game:

-A special die with a Munchkin character silhouette on one side;

-A nice bag to hold the monster tokens;

-The "More Munchkin" mini-expansion.

How to Play Munchkin Panic

How is Munchkin Panic Different from Castle Panic?

If you're already familiar with Castle Panic, you're probably wondering what makes Munchkin Panic different. There are quite a few changes, including harder monsters and new game mechanics.

  • The artwork now reflects the cartoon aesthetic of Munchkin, with slightly askew walls and towers plus fun new graphics for the cards and monsters.
  • Instead of the original assortment of generic Goblins, Orcs, and Trolls, the monsters are now incredibly varied and are drawn from the creatures of Munchkin. You have to defeat Squidzilla, Pukachu, the Shrieking Geek, Flying Frogs, a Floating Nose, the Plutonium Dragon, a Lame Goblin, a Large Angry Chicken, and many others. Some of the monsters also need more hits to slay them; there are six monsters that have either four or five health points each.
  • There's an additional deck -- a combination of Treasure cards and curses -- to give you extra ammunition against both monsters and your opponents. (You earn Treasure cards when you kill monsters.) These unique cards are derived from Munchkin and include weapons like the Boots of Butt-Kicking, Swiss Army Polearm, Pointy Hat of Power, Rapier of Unfairness, and the ever-popular Rat on a Stick, among others.
  • When you kill a monster, you keep the token; at the end of the game, the player with the most kill points wins.
  • Instead of trading a card with another player at the beginning of your turn, you negotiate for help -- but it may come with a price. The other player can demand a treasure card or the points earned for slaying the monster.
  • There are no longer Brick and Mortar cards to help you rebuild lost walls. Once a wall is destroyed, it's gone for good.

Munchkin Panic treasure cards
Munchkin Panic treasure cards | Source

Your Gaming Experience

Have you played Munchkin, Castle Panic, or both?

  • I've only played Munchkin
  • I've only played Castle Panic
  • I've played both Munchkin and Castle Panic
  • I've played both games AND I've played Munchkin Panic!
See results without voting

If you like both Castle Panic and Munchkin, you're sure to love Munchkin Panic.

Munchkin Panic monsters
Munchkin Panic monsters | Source

Why is Munchkin Panic Best?

Admittedly, the question of which game is best is a matter of opinion. There are some cases where I'd recommend Castle Panic over Munchkin Panic -- for instance, if you want to play with younger children, the original game is simpler and therefore easier for kids to grasp. But if you're playing with teens or adults, I believe Munchkin Panic is the best choice.

Munchkin Panic is definitely more challenging, even playing the solo option (where you don't have other players potentially working against you). Having harder monsters is one factor: you've got six monsters with four or more health points, and even at their lowest health level, they can't be killed simply by letting them smash into a wall. I also find that the monsters stack up on the board a lot faster -- partially because some are harder to kill, and also because drawing one or more curses from the bag does NOT count toward the number of monsters you have to draw. (So if you draw a curse or a boulder, you've still got to draw another monster.) The game gets intense pretty quickly, which keeps it more interesting.

I also love the humorous twists and the variety that the Munchkin theme adds to the game. The wide array of comical monsters is much more fun than the endless army of goblin, orc and troll clones. And having the unique treasure cards brings in new opportunities for strategic thinking while adding diversity to the ways you can wipe out your attackers.

My only real complaint about Munchkin Panic is the fancy red die that comes with the game. It is not evenly balanced, and I would strongly recommend that you use another die when playing. During my first game, I noticed that I was getting "clumps" of monsters -- some sectors were overrun while others were almost empty. I decided to test the die to see if my impression that I was rolling some numbers much more often than others was true. In 30 rolls, the number one (represented by the cartoon silhouette) came up the most, with two a close second.

9 out of 30
7 out of 30
4 out of 30
1 out of 30
4 out of 30
3 out of 30

As you can see, the results were very skewed -- and since the die roll determines monster placement, having uneven results will bunch the monsters in certain segments and make the game much harder. It's definitely worth it to buy a replacement die or grab one from another game.

In summary, the changes to the game make it more complex and more challenging, plus add some visual and verbal whimsy to the play. The only downside (the uneven die) is easily remedied. I highly recommend the game to anyone who enjoys the concept of Castle Panic and the wacky aesthetics of Munchkin. This is definitely a sequel that works!

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© 2014 C A Chancellor

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