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Munchkin Blender: Apocalypse and Zombies!

Posted by Matthew W. on Oct 15, 2014

For those who do not know Munchkin, I will be brief; if you like fun, action-oriented and funny card-based games, get thee to a game store. The game says it all on the box; kill the monster, take its loot and stab your buddy in the back.

But in blending Apocalypse and Zombie, we had met the monster and the monster was us. [Good. I never liked that guy anyway. I'll trade you his boots for this headgear.]

You may want to refer to our previous posting about Munchkin Apocalypse, but the description goes like this: In Munchkin Apocalypse, every possible natural (and unnatural) disaster has happened . . . or will happen during the game. You are a rugged survivor in a world full of people – and things – that want to kill you and take your stuff. So do it to them first! This set introduces four new classes and a new, yet eerily familiar, card type: Disasters!. (from the Munchkin site). I will also add that an additional element is introduced to the mix: Seals. Seals are similar to Portals in the booster packs for Classic and Cthulhu, in which a special stack of cards create changes to the game that affect all players. This includes combat bonuses and penalties and the like. Additionally, Seals change the end game; if 7 seals are open, then the game ends, and the winner is the player with the most stuff, not the most levels.

Munchkin Zombie, on the other hand, is a lighthearted romp in which you play a zombie facing hordes of humans, determined to do you in.   From the site: You are zombies, kicking down doors and eating brains. The "monsters" you're attacking are people, some helpless and some hazardous, with a few rogue zombies thrown in. The armor is whatever you've blundered across during your lurching search for brains. So bravely you'll go forth, with mousetraps on your feet and a bowling trophy protecting your poor rotting head . . . to level up, or to die. Essentially a similar game to the other sets, except that everyone starts as a level 1 zombie with no class or mojo. The class cards are what type of zombie you are (Plague, Voodoo and Radioactive). The "Mojo" cards add additional skills to your character like speed, strength, etc.  

So, the challenge before the group was how best to blend the two games. Again, for those of you who are not familiar with Munchkin, the rules allow and encourage mixing the games together for additional fun and chaos. In the case of Apocalypse/Zombie we needed to add some additional changes to the rules to allow us to take advantage of elements from both sets. 

The overriding idea is simple; the world is ending and either you are a human or a zombie. Frankly, you are not all that great a human either. You are a cut-throat, hard-core survivalist. This eliminates any qualms you may have had about human-on-human violence. The world is ending, and you have to take what you can grab for yourself. 

We started the game, with everyone as human. In the first round, one player was "infected" by pulling a zombie class card, making them our first zombie player. We began gameplay as usual, fighting monsters and taking loot, with the following rule changes -

  1. Death means you are now a zombie. Period. Lose class. 
  2. Any monster is fair game. Yes, a human character can kill a level 2 Wino if you like. They have stuff. You need stuff. 
  3. The Kid class (Apocalypse) cannot be killed, but they can be turned. 
  4. Mojos (Zombie) can apply to humans.
  5. Super Munchkin cards allow classes from both Zombie and Apocalypse to be combined. You can be a Zombie Scientist if you like. 
  6. Armor/Footgear/Headgear is usable by anyone, human and zombie, unless the card says otherwise.
  7. Weapons are Zombie/Human use only, unless you can justify why a human has a +2 Gaping Mouth or a zombie has a +4 Rocket Launcher. If you can sell it to the group, you can use it. Or use a Cheat Card.
  8. Zombies help zombies. Humans can help anyone as long as there's loot in it for them.

    And here's the kicker that really brought the madness:
  9. Zombie players can help ANY Undead monster in combat with another player without a Wandering Monster card. Yes, you can help fight one of the human players as a monster, all your bonuses apply. 

Of course all the other rules applied: Madness (from Apocalypse) can infect zombies. The death of any character, including Zombie, is one way a Seal will be opened. Disasters affected anyone that would be affected including zombies. We did run across cards that in usage would make no sense, mostly Apocalypse cards being used by zombies. But we tried to stick to common-sense rulings, or in traditional Munchkin fashion, argued about it until the owner of the cards created a house rule. Unfortunately we did not keep track of all of these. It's probably more fun to work it out for yourself. Many bonus, weapon and armor cards are character-specific so that eliminated some of the issues.

The end result was a spectacular batch of Munchkin madness. By the end of our test game (which ended very suddenly with the last 3 seals opening in rapid succession), we had 3 humans and 3 zombies. As it turned out, once we disentangled the seals opening (characters getting killed, bodies looted), one of the Zombie characters had won. But it proved to be a very fun game. Ramping up the humans with Mojo cards was helpful. It was somewhat disturbing how callous we became toward our fellow humans. We really did not have a problem killing the IRS Agent, the Barista, the Ad Executive and any of a number of other human monsters. 

We discussed the idea that if zombies can help undead monsters in combat, humans should be able to help out human "monsters" against zombie characters. We didn't implement it in this game, but perhaps we might try it. Part of our reasoning was the "everyone-for-themselves" mentality of the game we were trying to build.  And we WANTED people to die in order for them to become zombies.

Where would we go from here? We wanted more madness! And more monsters! So maybe raid some cards from Cthulhu, some from Bites...we wanted an I Am Legend/Zombieland/Book of Eli kind of vibe. We all agreed that what this Blender needed was Cultist class cards...if you're not a zombie or a survivalist, why not a cultist? The combat bonus for cultist might also work well in a similar way for zombie characters. Or it might make the zombie team too powerful. But since we WANT more zombies, maybe we'll try it next time. And there's always Munchkinomicon, for that added element of insanity. 

If you try this out, please post in the comments any specific rule changes for everyone to try!