Monday, March 7, 2011

Munchkin Strategy: Wizard

Munchkin is a card game, where you play a character in battling monsters in order to get to the winning level (level 10 for regular or 20 for EPIC). The game involves some luck (drawing cards), strategies, a good amount of persuasion, trash-talking, and bantering back-and-forth with other players. That combination makes the game a lot of fun, interactive, and can be played again and again without getting boring.

For more information about Munchkin, you can read their website:

If you are familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, then Munchkin should be somewhat familiar to you - a funny version of D&D. It has races & classes, curses, combat strength, charms, potions, etc.

The rest of this post assumes that you are somewhat familiar with the game, basic rules, and its vocabularies - outlining a basic strategy to use if you are playing as a Wizard class.

A Wizard card says this:

Flight Spell: You may discard up to 3 cards while Running Away; each one gives you a +1 bonus to flee.

Charm Spell: You may discard your whole hand (min 3 cards) to charm a single Monster instead of fighting it. Discard the Monster and take its Treasure, but don't gain levels. If there are other monsters in the combat, fight them normally.
So here are some basic strategy when playing as a Wizard:
  • When you are a lower level Wizard facing a lower level Monster - then just fight it normally. 
  • Try to put down as many items as you can (carry them) even though you cannot use them all. For example: if I have an item that is "Not usable by Wizard" or "Usable by Cleric only" - I would still play/carry them (putting them down sideways in front of me) instead of keeping them in my hand. 
  • But make that you have at least 3 cards in your hand, no less. 
  • Try to keep your hand to be as bad as possible. So if you have a level 1 or level 2 Monsters that you can fight alone, try to do that if possible in Looking For Trouble phase. 
  • If you have a very high level Monster card in your hand with lots of Treasures and some Monster Enhancers, keep them in your hand. 
  • If then when you Kick Down the Door and get a Monster with 4 or 5 treasures (usually a high level monster level 14 or more), announce to the group that you can Defeat it. If you have more than 3 cards in your hand and one of them is a Monster Enhancer, play it against the Monster you are facing. For example: you are fighting a Plutonium Dragon (level 20, 2 levels up if killing, 5 Treasures) - and you play a +10 to Monster Enhancer, making the Monster a level 30, but adding 2 more Treasures totaling 7 Treasures.
  • Discard your whole hand and Charm the Monster! At that point, no other player can play a card on the Monster (since it's vanished already) - BUT they can still play a Wondering Monster if they want. If they do, you will have to fight the Wondering Monster normally. If there is no Wondering Monster, then you are home free with lots of treasures!!
  • If you can do that twice, you should be loaded with items and even though you are still a lower level player, but your combat strength gained from your items should help you tremendously.
  • If you can, just keep doing the same thing over and over again. Obviously you will need to gain some cards to your hand (either by charity from other players or from the Door) in order to Charm a Monster. 
  • So how do you gain levels? Since you pick lots of Treasures, chances are that you got Go Up A Level cards. Or since you have so many items, you can sell them to go up a level. Only then at the winning level you will have to fight a Monster normally. 
  • What race to use when you are a Wizard class? If you are not immune to Curses, then Orc will be my choice - so you can lose a level instead of getting Cursed. Another option is a Halfling - so you can sell less items to gain more levels (by using Halfling ability to double the price of the 1st item). Dwarf is helpful if you have multiple Monster Enhancers.
That is basically the gist of my strategy for using a Wizard - I have won many games with that strategy. Is it the ultimate strategy? I consider the Munchkin a pretty balance game. So other Races/Classes have good strategies too that can impede my Wizard strategy or for winning the game. Can you still lose using this strategy? Absolutely - but it is quite unlikely and it usually takes a significant effort to do that.

I will try to outline the worst threat that other players can do to you as you are using this strategy:
  • Obviously, a "Change Your Class" curse or "Lose Your Class" curse will become a major drawback, since you will be losing your Wizard class. 
  • If you are an Orc, go up to level 2 quickly so you can always ignore curses that impact your Wizard Charm ability and lose a level instead. In most cases, it is better to lose a level instead of losing your Wizard investment.
  • Other player will usually always try to curse you. So if you have a Tinfoil Hat - you are in an excellent position. The only curse that can hit you is from the Door. Unless if you have the Magnificent Hat - in which you are golden as far as curses goes. 
  • A low level thief will always try to steal your items. Of course, if you have the Helmet of Peripheral, then you are immune to their stealing and backstabbing attempts. But then you will be exposed to curses, since you cannot wear Tinfoil Hat and Magnificent Hat and Helmet of Peripheral at the same time (they are all Headgear and you can only wear 1 Headgear). Having a "CHEAT" card certainly helps ... 

Now, let's Kill the Monsters, Steal the Treasures, and Stab your Buddy - Munchkinly!

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