What’s this?…I want it, oh, I want it Oh, I want it for my own – Munchkin The Nightmare Before Christmas!

Recommended Age:10+
Company Site:www.sjgames.com
Contents:168 cards, a unique six-sided die, and a rulesheet.
Notes:Developed by USAopoly * Based on Steve Jackson's Munchkin
Our Recommended Age:7 or 8+ (Reading and Focus are important but also parents should check to make sure content of any Munchkin game is appropriate for their child)
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Munchkin is a fun card game where you start off as a Human with no Class…that makes me laugh every time. Kick down the door, defeat monsters, take the treasures and thwart the efforts of other players to be the first to reach level 10! Doesn’t that sound like fun!

Munchkin was one of the first non traditional, or Geeky, games I played. I was pretty hesitant to try it at first but I am so glad I did. It is a hilariously fun game and we love introducing people to it. There are now tons of versions of Munchkin and the most impressive thing about them is they all work as stand alone games or you can combine them with other munchkin games to create an even more fun and hilarious game night!

Yes that’s right you can in fact combine any two or more of the Munchkin games to create one giant hilarious game. We have so far played Munchkin Booty with Munchkin Bites….to create Munchkin Booty Bites! It was hilarious having a Pirate Werewolf with a French accent! We have also played the Good, the Bad and the Munchkin with Zombies and have played all of them by themselves and combined with the original Munchkin. I think Booty Bites was my favorite combo…until now.

sjgmunckinreviewThis review will cover just Munchkin Nightmare Before Christmas but we plan on playing it with Zombies…and Bites…and well all of them really because why not! You can combine any number of versions of Munchkin and there are a LOT to choose from…a LOT and all types of fandoms and topics from Cthulu, Munchkin Fu, and even a Munchkin Oz!! (we get to review that one later!)

So as you can see you have a great many options for games…but let’s look closer at Nightmare Before Christmas…tis the season after all. (and yes I went there)

The box is pretty standard lift top type box that is fairly sturdy. Nothing special inside, just a box with a lid that holds stuff. I am not quite sure why there are four spots for things when 2 would be enough but I assume it is so you can add other versions of the game…which saves space. There is one Die that is awesome! It is one of the Die from Oogie Boogie! Well not THE Die but a replica…taht is awesome!

The cards are also pretty standard card material, however, the artwork is awesome. In this case they have everything you ever loved from the movie on cards. Sally, Jack, the Mayor and Oogie Boogie along with some of the toys are all Monsters and they couldn’t be more perfect. Since I opened this box I have been watching the movie…and singing of course! The songs, they stick with you and so does this game!

Ok enough about how it is built…which is pretty well done. Before we get into the how to and all that a few notes are important. You need at least three people to play but shouldn’t do more than 6 and about 4 to 5 is best really in my opinion. I suppose you COULD play with 8 but it would make for a really really long game…too many people to do bad things to everyone.

This is sort of an RPG Card game. You are not just a player but a character that can wear armor and hold weapons so when you get cards that are for a chest piece or feet you can only use cards equal to the number of body parts you as a person actually possess. UNLESS the cards say otherwise. You as a person only have two hands but you could get a card that says you have a third and would be able to hold three weapons…make sense? No? Good, off we go!

sjgmunckinreview (2)Objective:

Be the first to reach level 10…without cheating.


You should have Door cards and Treasures cards. In this particular version of Munchkin you will have Jack in front of a door and a bag full of Halloween toys as the Treasure Cards. Shuffle each deck and pass out four from each to every player.

Remember you need 3-6 people to play. Decide who goes first. We roll a die but the instructions suggest this method or whoever can sing the longest…Nerf targets are a good way too.

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 what my instructions make it sound like…sjgmunckinreview (3)


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. What all happens during your turn depends entirely on what cards you draw or play…usually nothing happens to me as I have the worst luck ever.

Before Phase one you will want to look at your hand equip any cards that will give you bonuses or use any Go Up a Level cards. You can’t use that to go up to level 10 though but otherwise you can.

Equipping 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. THEN begin Phase one.

Phase one is 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.

sjgmunckinreview (4)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 it 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!

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.sjgmunckinreview (5)

You start off at level 1 but can gain levels through fighting monsters and level up cards. So your current level plus and bonus cards is what your fighting level is. Say the monster is the Creature Under the Bed which is a level 2 but his card says +5 if fighting a single player.

If you are not getting help during this battle then he is a level 7 monster. If you do get help he is only a level 2.  Your level, if fighting alone, would need to be level 8 because you cannot win in a tie unless you are a certain class in another version of Munchkin…yeah it does suck.

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.

sjgmunckinreview (6)Phase two is Looking for Trouble or Loot the Room – Phase two doesn’t happen if you fought a monster in Phase one though 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.sjgmunckinreview (7)

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.

sjgmunckinreview (8)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.

sjgmunchkinreviewI 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…

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 teach them the game without having anyone do mean things to each other or at least not to kids who are playing. We have this rule until the child gets it…then it’s game on.

My 7 year old Gentleman is learning and loving this game and my 5 year old Diva wants to play. So far we are teaching her basics and someone reads her the cards or she helps them play.

The Gentleman already understands the thwarting of other players and strategy and loves it! My Diva probably would be ok with having mean or bad things happen but she doesn’t quite understand a lot of the game just yet…I am nervous for when she does though…I’ll never win another game again between the two of them!

Munchkin Nightmare Before Christmas is a hilarious version of an already loved game and I cannot wait to try it combined with Zombies! or maybe Munchkin Steampunk! No Munchkin Booty! The options will make my head explode but I cannot wait!

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Show us your Human with no Class! @MyGeeklings @sjgames

“Eureka! This year, Christmas will be – OURS!”
~ Jack Skellington

Author: sandyz

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