|Our Recommended Age:||6+|
|Players:||3 - 4|
Munchkin Spell Skool is another in a long list of amazing versions of Munchkin. It plays the same as all the other games and at the same time, just like all the others, it doesn’t. Confused? Yeah ok, so Munchkin has a set of rules that stay the same, open the door, slay the monsters, steal treasure, thwart plans and get to level 10 first to win. All the games have these rules but each game will always play different because of the themes and cards. You never play the same game twice.
Each game has a theme that is unique to the Munchkin world and each game can be mixed in with any other game for an amazingly fun game of Munchkin. They have done an outstanding job keeping the gameplay the same but the cards change the way the game plays each time. I LOVE that they keep changing. I never get bored and with mixing the various games the possibilities are nearly endless…I think it CAN end at some point but then they’ll make a new one so it’s all good.
We treated Munchkin Spell Skool as an intro to Munchkin for our kids. I know, I know they should have played a version by now…we failed there but are making up for it. It has references to both schools and Harry Potter which is great. Adults and kids will get a huge kick out of the various cards. Sometimes we just go through the cards to see what is there…and laugh a lot at them.
This is a great one for kids to start with. It isn’t easier or anything but due to the school and HP references they will be able to relate to it more than most of the others….well depending on the kid I guess but you get the idea. Since it has probably been awhile or forever since I covered how to play I’ll go ahead and do it this time. I will cover how to adjust for younger players as needed as well.
Believe it or not a non-reader could play Munchkin…any of them. It is recommended for ages 10+, we say kids as young as 8 can play with no problems (readers) and as young as 6 with help (help with reading). The Gentleman learned at about age 5 but didn’t get into it until later. You will want to refrain from doing mean things or thwarting younger kids too much until or unless they are good at strategy or over the age of 6…then show no mercy!
The games with boards and tokens are probably better so they have less to keep track of (dice for levels or paper) but otherwise it would be the same for any game. Door cards have pictures of doors, treasures cards have..you guessed it, treasures on them. The bonus numbers are what you want them to focus on. If they cannot add, get a piece of paper and write their “Level” on it so they know. Then all they need to know is higher or lower numbers.
Moving on to the how to’s and winning stuff!
Be the first to reach level 10…without cheating. Screwing over another player (or in kid terms thwarting) to stop them from winning (without cheating) is acceptable and encouraged but not cheating.
You should have Door cards and Treasures cards. They have pictures on the backs of them that are…doors and treasure. Shuffle each deck and pass out four from each to every player.
Remember you need 3-6 people to play. Now decide who goes first. We roll a die but nerf targets are a good way too…or ya know paper, rock, scissors, or however you want to do it.
Place the remainder of the Door and Treasure cards in the middle of the playing area so everyone can at least mostly reach them and as per usual NO peeking. Now on to the fun and complicated parts! Don’t panic…it’s easy once you get started no matter how my instructions make it sound…
There are phases to every player’s turn. Three actually but don’t assume that means your turn will be short…some turns take a long time depending on cards played and if you are fighting monsters, or if you like to read all the cards and giggle like I do.
Before Phase one you will want to look at your hand and equip any cards that will give you bonuses or use any Go Up a Level cards. The choice is yours on when to play the Go Up a Level cards but keep in mind you can’t use that to go up to level 10.
Equipping just means finding cards in your hand that are weapons or headgear or armor and placing them face up in front of you somewhere so everyone can see them and their bonuses. Treat the cards as the gear they represent and that you can only equip them for the amount of body parts you have. One head, two legs, two arms, one chest, two feet, etc. UNLESS a card says you can add more than two weapons for example you now have a third arm or something. THEN begin Phase one.
Kick Open the Door – Not literally though…simply draw the top card in the Door Deck and put it face up in front of you. If it is a Curse it applies now and if it is a Monster you have to fight it. If it is any other type of card you can choose to put it in your hand or play it right away…assuming it is a playable card like a Citizenship or Race card or something equippable.
Curse cards – If you get one of these when Kicking the Door open it happens to you. That’s it. Read the card, put the card in front of you if it is something that lasts for any period of time or discard it if it doesn’t.
If you draw one any other time it goes into your hand and can be played on any other player at any time. Yes, ANY time during the game…not afterwards
Sometimes curses aren’t bad. If it says you lose a piece of equipment but you don’t have that equipment then nothing happens. So if you are playing one on someone make sure it applies…its more fun that way! Unless of course you are the one getting the Curse…
Fighting a Monster – No matter when you are fighting a monster the rules are the same. You have to be able to beat it or the Bad Things on the card happen to you. If you win you get the level or levels and any treasure which is your goal…no one wants bad things to happen.
Say the monster is the Glider Spiders which is a level 10. If you are not getting help during this battle then you have to be able to beat this level 10 monster with your own fighting level which would need to be level 11 because you cannot win in a tie unless you are a certain class in another version of
Munchkin…yeah it does suck.
You start off at level 1 but can gain levels by defeating monsters and using level up cards. To get your fighting level take your current level plus any bonus cards you have equipped.
You can also choose to Run Away…which is a good idea if you are level 2 and the Monster is level 18…that is bad. Roll the die and get either a 5 or 6 unless you have cards that can change that, let you roll again or automatically run away. If you roll less then you do NOT run away and bad things happen.
The option to Run Away is available as soon as the Monster appears, or if it is strong and no one will help you, or if you tried to fight it and would lose…it is a good idea to attempt to run away then. No one likes the Bad Things on cards…well some are ok.
Looking for Trouble or Loot the Room – Phase two doesn’t happen if you fought a monster in Phase one and instead you would skip to Phase three. If you did NOT draw a monster card then you can choose either option in this Phase.
Looking for Trouble – This simply means you have a monster card in your hand that you can beat and choose to do so. Keep in mind other players can and often do play cards against you so you could lose the fight. Usually no one plays cards against you until around level 7 or 8 and then everyone plays cards to try to keep you from leveling.
There is always that one friend that will play cards while you are at a low level…we have one of those. If you choose to Look for Trouble you would add your level and bonuses just like in a fight against a monster and can even use cards from your hand to help.
Looting the Room – Simply take the top Door card and put it directly into your hand. No one else gets to see it. This is your loot and this phase is over.
Phase 3 is Charity – You can only have 5 cards in your hand at the end of your turn. You might end up with more at the start but when your turn is over you can only have 5. This phase let’s you get rid of any cards over 5 by giving them to the player with the lowest level. If this is you, sorry, and you have to discard them instead.
One thing that is important to mention is instead of giving cards away or being able to play them you could store them in your “pack”. Any card that has a Gold value can be placed face up in front of you but turned to the side (Horizontal). This means it is in your pack. You can play it as normal but everyone can also see it.
You can trade cards but only the Item cards and never while in combat. They have to be from the table, or in your pack, not from your hand and you can use them as a bribing tool. We like to give items to people so they DON’T help someone else in a fight..it works.
You can also sell items whose combined worth totals 1,000 in order to go up a level. 1,000 equals one level so if you can sell 3,000 you get three levels. This is great but you cannot get to level 10 that way from level 9…but you could up to level 9 that way!
Once you have gone through all three phases your turn is over and the player to your left begins their turn. When someone is fighting a monster you are allowed to play cards that make it harder for them to beat the monster or if they ask for help you can choose to do that. Negotiate for treasures though…don’t help for free or you won’t get anything.
You can choose to play cards that give +5 (or more) to Monsters or either side in order to help the player or the monster. There are cards that defeat the monster but you get no treasures or levels and then there are Wandering Monster cards.
These allow someone to play it and a monster from their hand on the person fighting a monster already. It means they have to now fight BOTH monsters!
Citizenship cards let you claim to be from Halloween Town, Christmas Town, Easter Town or Thanksgiving Town. Each one has their benefits to them but also some negatives.
Some equipment cards can only be used by certain Gender or Citizenship and some monsters deal more and sometimes less damage to specific ones too. Oh and you CAN have your Gender changed in Munchkin…just read the cards.
Basically that is the Key rule to any Munchkin game. Read the cards. If they conflict with the Rules the cards win. Cards override Rules. Remember that! Also you can adjust for House rules and such…and any time you combine Munchkins things will be even more interesting!
Death can also happen so don’t think that you can only lose levels. If you die you lose all your stuff. Gear anyway, but you keep your levels and your Citizenship cards and any Curses…boo. Your loot gets gets split up between the rest of the players until you have none or everyone ELSE gets one card. They get to choose starting with highest level…or in case of a tie for that the person who rolls the highest.
When you next turn comes around you get to draw four cards from each deck and play again like normal. Until then though no one can give you cards and you are dead to the game for that round. Don’t lose hope though…you have a small chance to win still depending on what level everyone else is at.
I will not go into all the cards but seriously read them….each card does some fun things that can help you or hurt another player…in the game only not really hurt of course…except maybe pride…Some are just funny, some have pop culture references that everyone will get and some have references only adults might get hehe. So funny, seriously read the cards.
It is meant for ages 10 + but I would say 8 is a good starting point if the material is ok for them and the “meanness” isn’t a problem. You COULD add a house rule of no “meanness” or at least not to the kids who are playing. We had this rule until the child understands the game, knows how to use the cards and when to use them…then it’s game on!
We love Munchkin because everyone can play and our family has fun, even our nephew, the moody teenager…except when he loses, he doesn’t like that hehe. No reading required but maybe a bit of help but that means your whole family can play whether you have readers or not. It makes for a great family game night!
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