Custom Munchkin

NHL and I are Munchkin addicts.  We just love playing a good game of Munchkin and killing monsters while backstabbing or helping each other.  There are also a ton of expansion packs and other versions of Munchkin which can be added to the original (or, in the case of the latter, played on their own) to add variety.  While the quality on those is exceptional and I’d love to load up on all of them, there’s one problem.  We just can’t afford it.  Sadly, daily expenses eat too much of our money to go on a Munchkin buying spree.

So what’s a Munchkin-loving geek to do?

Well, early last month, a tweet from @VisionaryLight (retweeted by @SJGames) inspired me.  Her son made some cards to add to his Munchkin game.  I thought that this was genius.  Why not use the blank cards that were included with our Munchkin set to make some of our own cards?  Not only could we add in treasures or monsters of our choice, but we could custom tailor them to our geeky interests.  We could make Munchkin cards of franchises that Steve Jackson Games doesn’t have the rights to.  For example, instead of using a Staff of Napalm to destroy a Plutonium Dragon, why not use a Lightsaber to defeat a Rancor?  Or command Mjolnir to strike a Frost Giant?  And why limit yourself to one franchise when you can combine them?  Perhaps you could use a Proton Pack (ala Ghostbusters) to zap a Klingon.  The possibilities are endless.

A second inspiration struck courtesy of @DrSbaitso.  Steve Jackson Game’s website was going down for maintenance and Dr. Sbaitso joked about needing to buy “Munchkin: Procrastinator.”  Of course, there is no such set, but it struck me as a brilliant idea.  Why not build a set based on not killing the monster, but putting off killing it?

UPDATE:  After this post went live, I received a note from a representative from Steve Jackson Games.  While they were very nice, they noted that “making custom Munchkin cards is a violation of trademark (Munchkin) and copyright (design and mechanics of the game).”  I try very hard to respect the copyright and trademarks of the companies that produce the things I love.  (I try to respect copyright/trademark in general, but especially the folks who make stuff I like.)  In my excitement over my card ideas, I mistakenly stepped over the line.  The last thing I’d want to do is cause a problem for Steve Jackson Games.  To correct this error, I’ve removed the images and edited the post.

If you have custom card ideas, you have two options.  First of all, you can visit their Munchkin card idea submission page and hope they make your card.  Secondly, you can buy blank cards and write in your custom ideas.  (Sadly, they don’t have regular Munchkin cards in stock anymore, but any of the blanks should work with any Munchkin set.)

Thanks again to Steve Jackson Games for such a wonderful game and I apologize for stepping over the line.

Dragons: Rise of Berk

Dragons: Rise of Berk With the release of Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon 2, we’ve seen many Dragon-related merchandise.  Toys, video games, and even stuffed animals.  Now, there’s a game for Android and iOS as well:  Dragons: Rise of Berk.

In the game, you help to re-build Berk.  Hiccup, Stoick, Astrid, and other citizens of Berk appear to give you missions.  In the process, the story of a mysterious dragon rider and missing dragons unfolds.  (Warning: Some spoilers might be revealed by the game, but those come pretty far in.)  During the game, you send Hiccup and Toothless out to search for dragons.  As they come back with dragon eggs, you hatch, feed, and train the baby dragons.  Once the dragons are big enough, they can help you get fish and wood to build more of Berk or to support more dragons.  There are also side quests that characters from the Dragons TV show (including Mildew, Mulch and Bucket) and other dragon riders (Astrid, Snotlout, Fishlegs, Ruffnut, and Tuffnut) provide.

dragonsRunes – which act as the games’ currency – provide a means of speeding up most processes (searches, training, builds).  They can also be used to buy dragons, including some unique and familiar ones like Stormfly or Meatlug.  While it is a premium currency that can be purchased with money, some missions – or dragon searches – will also give you runes.  Also, while they can speed things up, they aren’t really needed for game play.  (A very nice feature.)

The game moves along at a nice pace and is very entertaining.  There is a certain level of "grinding" – or repetitive tasks to gather supplies.  In this case, it is the dragons gathering fish and wood.  Each dragon will only gather supplies for a certain period of time.  Once they are done, they go back to their home and sleep until you give them another task.  If you check in on the game regularly, you can keep your dragons gathering supplies, but only checking in once or twice a day will mean that it might take a long time to get supplies.  This can be bypassed if you are willing to spend runes to get the supplies, but you would quickly run out of runes and would need to buy more.

toothlessThis is a very fun game to play.  It’s always interesting watching the new dragons you get or seeing the fun side quests that you need to embark upon.  In addition, there are hints of something more coming soon.  Some rumors I’ve read hint at a "battle mode."  Perhaps you’ll be able to send your dragons into battle later on to get more resources or dragons.  No matter what comes in the future of this game, I’d highly recommend it for any fan of the Dragons movies or TV show.

Dragons: Rise of Berk is available for Android or iOS.

An Epic Battle of Bird vs. Pig

angry-birds-epic  Since we got smart phones and our kids got tablets, there have been the sounds of certain upset avians being hurled at the not-so-nice pigs who stole their eggs.  Of course, I’m referring to that mobile game: Angry Birds.  Over the years, we’ve played all of the sequels, especially – given that we are Star Wars geeks – Angry Birds Star Wars I and II.  When I first learned about Rovio’s latest Angry Birds game, via a video showing the opening battles during play tests in Australia and a couple other countries, my first reaction was pretty calm.  Ok, ok, it was more like: "WHEN CAN I HAVE THIS? TODAY? HOW ABOUT NOW? NOW? NOW??!!!!! DON’T MAKE WAIT!!!!!!"  Of course, I’m talking about Angry Birds Epic.

Angry Birds Epic starts like most Angry Birds games.  The pigs have stolen the birds’ eggs and the birds want them back.  The twist this time is that you don’t simply fling the birds at the pigs.  In fact, there is no flinging at all.  Instead, the game is more of a turn based RPG-style game.  You use your birds’ offensive and defensive skills to win battles over countless pig foes.  Along the way, you gain more bird allies, treasure, coins, and experience stars.

rage-chili-attackEach bird has a slightly different attack and might be better suited to some battles over others.  For example, pirate pigs tend to be immune to harmful effects, so Chuck the Wizard-bird’s acid rain attacks won’t cause the usual lasting damage after each turn.  However, against the undead pigs, his skills can help hurt the pigs evenly so you don’t wind up knocking out one pig just to have it revive a few turns later as you tackle a second (or third or fourth) pig.

The birds also have defensive capabilities.  They can form shields to protect against damage, heal injuries, or even cause other birds to attack (in essence, trading their turn to a stronger bird and giving that bird two turns during that round).  Each bird also has a "Rage Chili" ability.  As you battle, damage you inflict – or that is inflicted on you – fills an initially empty chili pepper on the screen.  Once the pepper is full, the rage chili is ready to be used.  Drag it onto a bird and that bird will launch a powerful which ranges from healing all of your birds to a focused mega-attack to multiple strikes on many enemies.  Using the rage chili wisely can be the difference between winning a battle and losing it.  Do you use it to knock out a powerful enemy in one blow or heal your birds so that they last longer?

battle-wonAs the battles progress, the birds will gain powerful weapons and new abilities.  A bird has three basic items: It’s headgear, weapon, and shield.  The headgear determines the bird’s class and thus what attacks/defensive moves it has.  For example, Chuck’s mage hat lets him zap all pigs with lightning or protect birds with a "shock shield" that hurts any attacking pig.  Meanwhile, his rainbird hat gives him acid rain and healing rain abilities.  The weapons increase your attack power and gives possibilities for special bonus attacks (like dispelling a pig’s beneficial spell or chaining an attack across multiple pigs).  Shields can increase a birds’ hit points and attack power.

Sometimes the game can be frustrating.  I hit into one zombie who could kill each of my birds with a single strike.   The secrets in these cases are to either go back and re-fight older battles to level up – increasing your attack power and hit points, to try a different combination of birds, or to try different bird classes.  Maybe you should use the the blue birds should be used in trickster class instead of in rogue class.  No battle is impossible.  It might just take awhile to find the right combination of birds, class, experience level, and luck.

This is quite a fun game and – having peaked at a full map of Piggy Island – I can see that there are a ton of battles ahead.  The battles between bird and pig will definitely be raging on for quite some time in this house.

Belated Father’s Day and a Munchkin Video

fathers_day Yesterday was Father’s Day.  I meant to write a post about it on Thursday night, but then I was hit with bloggy writer’s block.  I knew what topic I wanted to write about, but the words just failed to appear in my head.  In addition, Angry Birds Epic had just come out, so I wound up playing that until I went to bed.  (More on Angry Birds Epic another day.)

On Friday, I took NHL out for a dad-son day.  We ate breakfast and lunch out and saw How To Train Your Dragon 2 in 3D.  The latter was a rare treat because 1) I usually don’t pay extra for 3D movies (movie tickets are expensive enough in 2D) and 2) JSL doesn’t like 3D movies so we’re not going to pay extra for him to sit through the movie without his glasses on and seeing a distorted picture.  I’ve got to say that the 3D was nice, but it did hurt my eyes by the end and I’d be just as happy paying less and watching the movie in 2D.  For the $4 extra per ticket, I’d rather go to the 2D showing and then buy the boys a small movie-themed toy afterwards.

Saturday was a pretty normal day.  Sunday, meanwhile, was Father’s Day.  I got to sleep late/relax in bed until 10am.  Then, I made breakfast for everyone (yes, even on Father’s Day I cook).  Around noon, we headed out to lunch.  After a quick lunch – including a dessert at Menchie’s where they had Dole Whips, we planned some other activities, but sadly had to change our plans.  Instead, we went home and had a quiet, relatively uneventful rest of the day.

Except for one more thing.  Which was the one thing I really wanted to do yesterday.

Ever since I wrote my Do You Wanna Play Some Munchkin parody song, I’ve wanted to make a video of it.  With the day winding down, I set up the tripod, video camera, and got the props in place.  JSL, NHL, and I ran through it a few times before trying to video the song.  In the end, it wasn’t quite what I envisioned, but I think it came out pretty good.  Here are the lyrics in case you want to sing along:

I hope all the dads out there had a happy Father’s Day.

Do You Wanna Play Some Munchkin? (A Tabletop Parody of Disney’s Frozen)

Singing_Dancing_Sword_Winter A couple of weeks ago, inspiration hit.  I had been playing Munchkin with NHL quite a bit and heard yet another Frozen parody song.  Suddenly, words were flowing into my brain.  I quickly jotted them down knowing that, if I didn’t, they would disappear forever.  Those words were followed by more and more until an entire song was formed.  I had turned "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman" into "Do You Wanna Play Some Munchkin".

I wasn’t finished, though.  As I read through the lyrics with NHL and JSL, I could tell they loved the song.  However, there were a few weak points where I just didn’t like the flow.  NHL helped me tweak parts of it to make it even better.  I fully credit the "Snails on Speed" section to NHL.

Eventually, we were happy with the song.  I found a karaoke version of Do You Wanna Build A Snowman and let it play as I sung the words.  The boys were hooked.  Even now, NHL will break into song at random points and has memorized most of the lyrics.

I had planned on revealing this with a video showcasing NHL and I singing this, but we haven’t made it yet and I just can’t hold this back any longer.  I still plan on making a video, but for now, you can just sing along at home.

Enough introductions, though.  Let’s kick down this door and play… I mean sing some Munchkin!


Do You Wanna Play Some Munchkin?
(Sung to the tune of Do You Wanna Build A Snowman from Disney’s Frozen)

Do you wanna play some Munchkin?
I’ve got the cards. Let’s play!
Snails on Speed are behind the door
They’re a level four
Minus two to run away!

I’ve got the Slimy Armor
Wishing Ring too
And Cloak Of Obscurity!

Do you wanna play some Munchkin?
You can be the biggest Munchkin…

{Go away}

Okay, bye…

Do you wanna boil an anthill?
Or maybe bribe GM with food?
We could fight against a Pukachu
Or beat some Harpies too
That Net Troll’s pretty rude!

(Yes! Rolled a five.)

I hope that the Wight Brothers
Aren’t behind this door
‘Cause I’m just a level three…
(kick-kick kick-kick kick-Boom! ARGH!)

Please, I need your help now.
It’s a Plutonium Dragon
My Singing and Dancing Sword won’t do
Sleep Potion’s just plus two
Won’t you jump in?

Please use your Staff of Napalm
And then you can pick
Of treasures, the first two!

Do you wanna play some Munchkin?


NOTE: The "Singing Dancing Sword" card is a photo I took (and then enhanced) of a Munchkin card.  Thanks go to Steve Jackson Games and John Kovalic for such a wonderful game.  Also to Disney for the amazing movie that is Frozen.  Finally, to Wil Wheaton for his Tabletop program which helped me hook NHL on Munchkin in the first place!

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