We haven't done one of these in a while, and I thought y'all might like to know some of the things going on here at Munchkin HQ.
- If you missed the big announcement for Munchkin World NYC, you need to check the Daily Illuminator more often! We're working hard to get everything ready for our New York Munchkin fans next February. Be sure to check the DI and Munchkin News frequently for more updates as the event gets closer.
- A few weeks ago, Phil and I sat down and looked over the 2015-2016 Munchkin release schedule. "We're trying to do too much," we both said at the same time. "And we're competing with our partners at AEG, USAopoly, Fireside Games, and Atlas Games." So we cut WAY back on what we were planning -- back to what was an aggressive release schedule in 2009 or 2010 -- and have opened up more room to develop some new games. Y'all probably won't even notice that we've slowed down with all the other great things that are coming out next year!
- Visit your local game store in January to pick up our Valentine's Day booster, Munchkin Love Shark Baby. Katie Cook's art is ADORABLE!
In February, we're releasing Munchkin Kobolds Ate My Baby
, based on the RPG from 9th Level Games. John Kovalic not only illustrated this one, he designed the cards!
- Munchkin Steampunk keeps chugging along. It's out of playtest and we just got the last batch of awesome art from Phil Foglio! This is going to be a great-looking set, and we can't wait to show it to y'all.
- Munchkin Adventure Time 2 is also just about done: Steve and I have been working on our final comments for them and we expect it to go to print VERY soon. Just as with the original Munchkin Adventure Time, our pals at USAopoly hit this one out of the park! SLAMACOW!
- And we have one more announcement to make . . . but it's SO big that we're going to make it next week, rather than bury it at the bottom of this post. See you then!
We talked last week about a few common problems I see with Munchkin card submissions from you lovely fans. I promised to continue the list this week, so here they are!
- Insta-Death cards. This is a surprisingly common category of cards for some reason. I think it's because people think how funny it would be to make their best friend lose all his hard-won gear right before he thinks he's going to win the game. Those people rarely stop to think how UNfunny it would be when it happened to them. In any event, it's not funny to us, so it's not happening.
- Go Up a Level and WIN cards. This is the flip side of the point above. A lot of "go up a level" ideas we see include some way for a certain category of players to use it to win the game. This isn't entirely unfair -- Divine Intervention was in the very first Munchkin game, after all -- but too many of these and the game becomes an attempt to find the magic winning GUALs rather than killing the monsters. We find this suboptimal, because we like killing monsters.
- Super über versions of cards that already exist. We get a lot of "Ultra-Cheat" cards, for instance, once that basically let you use anything and everything you want, all the time. Nope. Not happening. There isn't a lot of resource management in Munchkin, but what's there is there for a reason and we don't want someone to bypass that entire facet of the game.
- Cards (or, more usually, sets of cards) that require a very specific set of circumstances to operate. If Treasure A is useless unless its owner is fighting Monster B, Treasure A sits there most of the game just kinda sucking. It's OK to want to see wacky card interactions, but don't make them a requirement to use the cards you write.
I think that's enough to go on for now. If you have other thoughts about bad card ideas, post 'em on our forums and maybe we'll run a Part Three of this series!
The result should have been predictable: we suddenly got a flood of new card ideas. This is awesome and we thank you for it. However, it occurs to me that it might be helpful to discuss a few things we definitely don't want so you can avoid them when you're submitting your ideas. (If you submitted something that's discussed below, rest assured that you are not the only one.) If you want to hear me blather on about this in a lot more detail, check out this YouTube video we posted last year. But here are the high points:
- No monsters over Level 20. We haven't done this in any published Munchkin games so far and we don't intend to do it unless that's the entire reason for a given expansion.
- No player vs. player. This is a mandate from Steve: you can backstab each other all you want, but the munchkins never actually take up arms against one another. (In fairness, I will mention that there is one bookmark with exactly that effect. However, we've never done it on a published card and we never intend to.)
- Keep it PG-13 at worst, PG preferred. For those of you outside the United States, just assume that we want to avoid the usual four-letter monosyllables, excretory humor, and anything overtly sexualized. (Pro sub-tip: you can get away with a lot if you never, ever, ever explain it. Case in point: the Kneepads of Allure.) We're especially uninterested in offensive stereotypes of a racial or sexual nature -- and yes, we have received some. (Please don't ask.)
- Brevity counts. Long text means small art, and that makes John sad. REALLY long text means no art at all, and that makes you sad, because we won't use your idea if we can't illustrate it. Corollary: the more convoluted a rule is, the less likely it's actually going to be fun for other people.
- If it's not funny, it's not getting in. This especially includes in-jokes from your group. If we had to be there to get it, we aren't interested.
We'll have some more tips next week!
Somehow, the news item intended for THIS week posted LAST week and no one noticed. Whoops.
Randy and I leave for PAX Australia today (not last week), and the convention is this coming weekend (not the weekend that just ended).
Everything else is true, however, especially the part about planning to have a great time. If you're going to be at the show, we'll see you there! (And if you thought you were just AT the show, quit living in my alternate timeline.)
(P.S. If you're in the Austin area this week, be sure to check out our playtesting group on Facebook -- Devin's going to be running more playtests over the next little while and we want your input!)
Randy Scheunemann and I hop on a plane today to fly to Los Angeles, where we hop on a much bigger plane for a much longer flight to Melbourne, Australia. We'll be manning the SJ Games booth at PAX Australia. It's my first time in Australia and SJ Games' first time attending PAX Australia, so we expect to learn a lot, meet a lot of new people, and generally have a great time!
Despite the lyrics to the song whose title I stole, I do know when I'll be back again -- next Monday afternoon. Devin and the rest of Team Munchkin will be holding down the fort in my absence, and probably getting a lot of work done without my interference.
This week is International Spieltage, the ginormous celebration of board games in Essen, Germany. (Also crepes, currywurst, and dark German beer, if you're into any of those things.)
I will not be going, but we're sending Andreas Stein -- who speaks the language, which is both less and more important than you think -- and Leonard Balsera to represent us . . . and, of course, our fantastic German partners at Pegasus will have their usual impressive array of games, gamers, and gaming, (Plus lots of our other partners in other countries will make the trip over. Essen is BIG, y'all.)
If you're going to be at Essen, be sure to look up Lenny and Andreas and make them feel welcome. If you aren't going, play some games anyway!
Late-breaking news, Munchkin fans! Steve Jackson and I (and probably plenty of other folks as well) will be at Wonko's Toys and Games on Saturday night, October 11, to celebrate the release of Munchkin Panic from Justin and Anne-Marie at Fireside Games. If you can't make it, you can still join in the fun by watching us on Twitter, where we'll be posting pictures all evening.