The Kickstarter for Munchkin Steampunk: Girl Genius is live today! If you love Munchkin Steampunk or you love Girl Genius, you don't want to miss this perfect marriage of comics and games! This is an expansion for Munchkin Steampunk, and if you haven't played that game yet, we have a reward level that gets you the original game as well.
The campaign runs until November 21, so back it now and help make this expansion bigger and better . . . don't make us send the Geisters after you!
Last week, we flipped the switch on your new home for everything Munchkin: munchkin.game. It's a lot easier for us to use than the current page -- Phil and I and several other people can go in to edit pages without having to bug our web team -- and that means more frequent updates and more relevant content.
Over the next few weeks, we'll be moving a lot more content over there and phasing out worldofmunchkin.com, including this very news page . . . but because we can post news whenever we want on the new site, you'll be seeing more from us, never fear!
We've been working for over a year on a new website and we're pleased to announce that we've just pushed the big button to make munchkin.game live!
And that's where you come in. For the next few weeks, we're going to leave worldofmunchkin.com up while we refine munchkin.game. You can help out by comparing pages and heading over to this forum thread and noting any discrepancies (and, sigh, actual mistakes) you find. Please read the top post in that thread for the sorts of things we are and aren't looking for and go have fun exploring!
I want to thank all of the folks who've been working behind the scenes to make this site happen. There are way too many of y'all to name, but we couldn't have done this without hard work from every one of you!
Later this month, we'll be launching a Kickstarter for the first expansion to Munchkin Steampunk. In cooperation with Studio Foglio, we're pleased to bring your favorite heroes . . . and villains . . . from the long-running Girl Genius webcomic into the Munchkin Steampunk universe. Follow us on Kickstarter to get notified automatically when it launches, or keep an eye on the Daily Illuminator and our Twitter for not-quite-automatic notices.
We just wrapped up the playtest a couple of weeks ago, so also watch for notices about Munchkin Steampunk: Girl Genius wending its way through our production process toward premortem and print!
Munchkin Steampunk: Girl Genius will be released in 2019.
Warehouse 23 has once again unsealed the Munchkin Holiday Vault! (Mostly . . . there are a few things we're holding back until the holidays are closer.) Go take a look and see if there's something you need to stash in someone else's stocking . . . or your own!
We are announcing an expansion to Munchkin Warhammer 40,000, including the T'au Empire and Adepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle) as new Armies. This 112-card expansion will be out next spring. For more information, read today's Daily Illuminator and visit the expansion's web page.
I've been posting a series of "Design Diaries," short essays about the creation and development of Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 (including peeks at some of the art and cards from the game). There are three so far, with more planned – go take a look!
We're all off work today, enjoying a day off before we all have to come back and finish our prep for a strong fourth quarter. I'm taking an extra day off this year, after wrapping up most of the work on Munchkin Warhammer 40,000, but I'll be back in the office Wednesday to start working on the next set of Munchkin games and expansions for 2019. We've got a good schedule coming up and we'll be sharing it with you in the coming months!
Speaking of 2019, you guys really responded well to Munchkin Starfinder hitting your local game stores . . . so well, in fact, that we had to rush back to the factory for a quick reprint! If your local store can't stock the game, have them check back with us early next year; it should be available then. Or you could point them at the Munchkin Starfinder I Want It All! box, containing everything we made for the Munchkin Starfinder Kickstarter. We aren't planning to reprint that one when it sells out, and we're down to our last few hundred, so don't let that deal drift away!
We've been posting a lot of Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 news over on the Daily Illuminator – if you aren't reading that, you should! – but I saved this one for you loyal Munchkin fans. Last week, I turned over raw card text to Alex Fernandez, the layout artist on the game. Except for a couple of specific things I need to write for the rules (such as the example of play, which can't be written until the cards are basically set), this means that the entire game is in production.
What does that mean for me? Well, first, it means I have an actual laid-out set of cards to check, the first time I've been able to see the art and text together and make sure it all works "in context." It also means that I can take a short minute to breathe and then contemplate the next few projects . . . which I can't talk about yet, except to say that Phil Reed had a VERY productive set of meetings at Gen Con and I'm looking forward to an extremely busy autumn.
And we aren't quite done playtesting Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 yet! We're playing it once a day at PAX West this weekend (more info about that in tomorrow's Daily Illuminator) and will be testing it around Austin as well. We sure hope those tests don't reveal major problems, but we expect minor tweaks right up until this game has to go to print, and playtesting is an important step in hammering out the last few dents.
If you want a full status report on a whole lot of things we've been talking about lately, check out my most recent "Munchkin Musings" post. And come back here next week for the latest blast of Munchkin-specific news!
We have several items available for pre-order on Warehouse 23:
- Munchkin Mat of Mayhem reprint. So many of you bought the first run of the Mat of Mayhem that we ran out way faster than we expected. We checked with the factory and they could make more at a reasonable price, so that's what we did! This is a 24" x 24" playmat with Munchkin bonuses for every player. $25.
- Munchkin Shakespeare Globe Theatre Playmat. This was the final stretch goal for the Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter, and we didn't quite get there, but so many people have asked about this since then that we decided to find a way to make it available. This Level tracker has room for your Door, Treasure, and Dungeon cards, plus an inspirational quote from Hamlet. (Inspiration not guaranteed.) 24" x 24" playmat, $25.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin Playmat. Back when the West was young, we thought about producing a Deluxe version of The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin. We decided not to do that, but we did design a gameboard for it. While clearing off computers to make room for Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 files, our production team turned up this art, and we decided to offer it as a playmat rather than let the work disappear forever. 24" x 14" playmat, $20.
All of these pre-orders close on September 4, 2018.
I also wanted to remind you that if you missed the Munchkin Unicorns and Friends Kickstarter, you have another chance; pre-orders are open on BackerKit right now and we'll be happy to add your game to our print order. These close at the end of September, but why take a chance on forgetting? Head over there now!
Munchkin Fowl Play is appearing in game stores near you or on Warehouse 23, for those of you too scared of waterfowl to venture outdoors. This 15-card set features John Kovalic's art on all sorts of bird-themed cards: ducks, turkeys, and chickens. It has original Munchkin backs but will go well with any Munchkin game you happen to own. Take a gander at Munchkin Fowl Play!
But boy, was it a good one!
We announced Munchkin Crazy Cooks, which will be heading to the shelves of your local Barnes & Noble very soon (and is available for pre-order right now!), and a little game called Munchkin Warhammer 40,000 that will debut next spring at game stores everywhere (including Warehouse 23). A few lucky fans even got to playtest it with me! Our booth was busy the entire convention with Munchkin Collectible Card Game demos and a whole bunch of regional qualifiers met in the first ever Munchkin CCG championship. I had a meeting with Eric Lang, from CMON, about their upcoming game, Munchkin Dungeon. We had another successful Munchkin Tavern -- thanks again to John Kovalic, Lar deSouza, Eric Lang, and Howard Tayler for coming by the Tavern to sign games for the fans!
And that's just the stuff I can tell you about! Closed-door meetings were had and secret plans were hatched and it all adds up to a whole lot more Munchkin goodness in the months to come.
Today, the SJ Games crew is flying back to Austin and a well-deserved couple of days off before we all jump back into making sure the rest of 2018 is awesome and leads into an equally awesome 2019. This has been a bit of a rough year for us and I know this will help us end it on a high note.
We all look forward to seeing you at Gen Con 2019!
Later this week, half of the Austin office will fly to Indianapolis to man our booth at Gen Con 51, being held Thursday through Sunday. If you haven't already picked up a badge, you've missed the cutoff for four-day badges, but single-day badges for all four days are still available (as of this writing), although Saturday is in very short supply. We'll be making some big announcements later this week, so keep your eye on our social media and on the Daily Illuminator.
Even if you don't have a Gen Con badge, if you're in Indianapolis, you're welcome to join us at the Munchkin Tavern each evening, Thursday through Saturday. We'll have special guest signings each night, a Munchkin Collectible Card Game-themed menu, and a variety of Tavern swag for you to buy and show everyone that you partied hard with the Munchkin crew. (Disclaimer: Hard partying not guaranteed. We all have to work the next morning.)
Your humble Line Editor is running a special mystery Munchkin game Thursday through Saturday in the Organized Play zone, starting each day at 2 p.m. These events have all sold out, but if you have a generic ticket, you might sneak into a seat if the ticket buyer doesn't show up. Even if you don't get in, everyone is welcome to come watch us play! It is possible that some or all of these events may relate to our special announcements . . .
We look forward to seeing many of you in just a few days! Everyone else, try not to bring down the dungeon ceiling while we're gone. You know how hard those dwarves had to work to rebuild it last time.
In looking over the Munchkin FAQ (which we recently revised – see last week's Munchkin News), I realized that a fair number of those questions dealt with weird combat corner cases that the rules don't adequately cover. To (hopefully) simplify some of the arguments around game tables worldwide, we are making two global rule changes:
- Players may not be forced to help someone else in a combat that is for the win. If a player is forced to help someone in a combat and it later becomes a combat for the win, the helper is kicked out of the fight without penalty. This rule does not apply to voluntary helpers, who should have thought harder about what they were getting into. It also does not apply in the situation where the helper could win the game (Elves, mostly, but other cards can set up this situation); be careful when you choose a helper!
- If all monsters are removed from a combat, the combat ends immediately.
Both of these rules implement changes globally that we have already made to individual cards in newer Munchkin games and expansions. Rule 1 came about because many players over the years have been frustrated by being forced to help someone else win the game. Rule 2 deals with an annoying timing edge case by removing the edge case. It does make it slightly easier to win with an instant kill effect, but most of those require exactly the right card combo. We're also issuing official errata for two cards as a result of this rule:
Death-Touch (from Munchkin Fu): At the end of this card, add "You do not get any rewards for that monster unless you defeat all remaining monsters."
Churninator (from Munchkin Cthulhu): Add "unless this would give you the winning level" at the end of the first sentence.
These changes are now reflected in the Munchkin FAQ.
Unicorns and Friends After-Action Report
Thanks to the 2,423 backers who pledged $68,589 to make Munchkin Unicorns and Friends happen! We've already sent the files for the cards, Boxes of Holding, and Kill-O-Meter to our manufacturer, which puts us squarely on target for a December fulfillment date. If you're a backer, make sure you answer the BackerKit survey as soon as you get it to avoid delays!
We'll have more information soon about the 2019 retail release for those of you who wanted the set but couldn't back the Kickstarter, or who want a second set. Or a third.
We recently updated the Munchkin FAQ and it's worth taking a look. We revised answers here and there, changed up the flow of a couple of sections, and made two BIG changes: answers no longer take Epic rules into account (except in the Epic Munchkin section) and we changed "booster" to "mini-expansion" in a lot of places to try to forestall confusion with the randomized boosters for the Munchkin Collectible Card Game.
Still to do: add sections for some newer releases, including pointers to the Collectible Card Game page for more information about that game, add information about some rule changes (discussed in detail in next week's Munchkin News!).
If you see anything that could be clearer, anything that should be covered but isn't, or -- horrors! -- a mistake, please email email@example.com and let us know.
Last Week for Unicorns and Friends!
If you haven't yet backed the Munchkin Unicorns and Friends Kickstarter project, you have until this Friday to do so. Just $18 (plus shipping) gets you everything we're creating new for this project!
We've assembled three great ideas into one cool project! Go to the Munchkin Unicorns and Friends Kickstarter today to be sure of getting your copy, including all stretch goals and promo cards!
This Kickstarter ends on July 20, so you don't have any time to spare . . . go now! Tell your friends! Tell everyone!
Munchkin Game Changers has been a bit scarce lately, and we've heard people's requests to bring it back. Good news!: we're doing that this October. Bad news!: It will have a very small print run that will probably go quickly. If you need to add this expansion to your collection, head over to your Friendly Local Game Store and place a preorder; that's by far the best way to make sure that you don't miss out. Or order it on Warehouse 23 and get some Munchkin promos for your patience.
Last week, I finished a new Munchkin game that will be out in 2019; our artist has been working on it and we're looking forward to announcing it in early August at a small regional convention called . . . Djinn Con? Something like that?
We're also working on a new Munchkin expansion that's a bit of a different idea for us. We'll have more information about that in a couple of weeks.
Speaking of Djinn Con, Phil had an interesting idea for a new accessory we could sell there, and Steve and I have been working on the details of how it would work. We'll probably debut that one at the Munchkin Tavern, although we might leak some intel beforehand.
Although Steve's been very busy working on The Fantasy Trip and Ogre content recently, we've been playtesting a nonfantasy Munchkin expansion that he wrote a couple of years ago and that we just pulled onto a front burner. We're having fun testing his new mechanic!
Hmm, this wasn't quite as informative a post as I had hoped. If you think you can fill in the gaps, head over to the forums and post your best guesses!
After some internal discussion, we have decided not to offer further support for the Epic Munchkin add-on rules. Here's a quick Q&A about it.
A: They lengthened the game (sometimes significantly), they made writing certain rules clunky (e.g., all the places where we said "the winning level" instead of just "Level 10"), and trying to keep a free download updated when also managing a full release schedule was becoming a poor use of our time.
Q: Are you deleting the existing Epic Munchkin rules?
A: Nope. If you like them, keep using them! The free PDF will remain available until the inevitable heat death of the Internet (or until we run out of 0s and 1s to support it). We just won't be adding any more Epic rules.
Q: What are you doing about all the cards that refer to the Epic Munchkin rules?
A: This was a concern of ours . . . until we actually dug into our database. It turns out that there are fewer than a dozen cards that call out the rules by name. Some of those cards will be rewritten; some, such as Epic Junior and the Dungeon of Unexpected Epicness, will have to be replaced in a future printing of those sets.
Q: Will you still be offering Epic Munchkin tournaments?
A: No. The Men In Black have already been told to stop holding Epic tournaments, and we have deleted mentions of Epic play from the latest update of the Munchkin Tournament Rules.
Late last week, we added a new collection of Munchkin expansions to Warehouse 23: Munchkin Shelf Improvement. It's a quick and cheap way to add some new Munchkin cards to your existing games – at least $60 worth of Munchkin loot for only $30. Plus, it has a new Munchkin postcard with rules on both sides and a rule printed on the box – everyone loves extra Munchkin rules, right?
Quantities are limited; when we run out of boxes, that's it. Your shelf needs some love, so bulk it up today by ordering Munchkin Shelf Improvement.
If you haven't already backed Munchkin Christmas in July on Kickstarter, you're about to miss out: the campaign ends today (June 4) at 5 p.m.! Get two new, exclusive bookmarks, five promo cards, and over $90 worth of Munchkin loot for just $60 . . . or back at the $8 level for just the bookmarks and cards, anywhere in the world!
We aren't going to run another Munchkin Christmas promotion until, well, Christmas, so get your holiday shopping done right now. Back Munchkin Christmas in July today!
What on earth were you thinking?
It's amazing how often this question crops up in relation to Munchkin games, usually when someone flips over a card with a particularly piquant pun. But we don't usually get it about entire sets. That's why, when people shook their heads at Steve and me in amazement (I think it was amazement) after reading the cards in Moop's Monster Mashup and Munchkin Magical Mess, we were pretty sure it was time for a Designer's Notes article to
get our side of the story out there talk about our process and why we wrote the sets the way we did.
And if you haven't yet experienced the manic mayhem of Moop, you're missing out! Both Moop sets are complete games and are fully compatible with the classic Munchkin game if you want to shuffle them together. That would be the best kind of magical Munchkin monster madness!
I have some sad news. This is the last post in this series previewing the Classes and Races of Munchkin Starfinder. But I saved my favorite for the end: the adorable little rat-race called the Ysoki.
These little guys are able to stuff small objects into their cheeks for later use and have a significant advantage against larger foes who underestimate their fighting prowess. In the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, many Ysoki are viral media stars, and you can see why . . . they're so CUTE! (If you want to get close up with this little furball, click the card to make him bigger.)
We don't have any more Classes and Races to preview, but don't think we're done talking about Munchkin Starfinder! We'll have plenty to say about this new game in the weeks and months to come. Make sure to bookmark Munchkin News and check in every Monday for the latest news about all our new and upcoming Munchkin games!
In case you missed the announcement last week, we have signed an exclusive deal with Ultra PRO International to make Munchkin and Munchkin Collectible Card Game accessories, including card sleeves, deck boxes, playmats, and all kinds of other cool stuff. Go read Friday's Daily Illuminator for more details.
The final class to show off from Munchkin Starfinder is the Technomancer. As the name implies, they fuse magic and technology to achieve remarkable effects, called "magic hacks" in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. They're also able to access an extradimensional cache, so that you're never quite sure what sort of technological or magical equipment (or both!) you'll be facing. We didn't try to replicate the huge variety of magic hacks in Munchkin Starfinder, but we think we got a couple of cool effects that make the Technomancer more dangerous with One-Shot attacks. (Card magnification is available with the merest click on the thumbnail image.)
This is the penultimate preview card from Munchkin Starfinder! Keep checking Munchkin News every Monday so you don't miss the last one . . . my favorite new race in this setting.
In case you missed the Kickstarter update, Munchkin Starfinder arrived early at our fulfillment facility and we've already started shipping rewards to our backers! (I know! We're excited, too! We're using our entirely monthly allotment of exclamation points!) We can't wait to hear from those of you who get your sets; hop over to the forums or tag us on Twitter with #PlayMunchkin and let us know what you think!
Greeting, carbon-based life forms! I am here to present the latest preview for your Munchkin Starfinder card game, the Android!
In the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Androids are a fully accepted part of society, with the same status as any other character race. Because of their unique physiology, they have some advantages other races don't, such as the ability to add enhanced targeting to their operating system and partial immunity from the effects of death. We've emulated both of these for the Munchkin Starfinder version, shown here. (Click the card to magnify.)
Our previews of Munchkin Starfinder are winding down . . . only two to go! Come back next Monday to see what we've got lined up for you in Munchkin News.
Want to know what was going through my demented brain as I worked on the latest Munchkin mini-expansion, Munchkin Clowns?
Are you sure?
OK, you asked for it. Go read my Munchkin Clowns Designer's Notes.
It's Shakespeare Day!
If you didn't check out today's Daily Illuminator, you should do that – it has a Munchkin rule for use today only! Plus, Warehouse 23 has a special Munchkin Shakespeare bundle at a groundling-friendly price. The curtain falls on this promotion after April 23, so act quickly!
This week is a little bit of a different update from the others we've done so far. The Starfinder Roleplaying Game includes three new classes that happen to share names with classes we've already done in other Munchkin sets. Rather than leave them out of Munchkin Starfinder, we decided to go ahead and reuse the names . . . which left the problem of whether to have the same abilities or not, even if those abilities don't 100% make sense, or to replace some or all of them with more Starfinder-y options.
In the end, we have one card that's exactly the same (Mystic), one that's entirely new (Mechanic), and one that splits the difference (Soldier). Click each one to see a larger version of these three new-but-not Munchkin Starfinder classes.
We have THREE Munchkin Starfinder updates to go! Check Munchkin News every Monday to see what we're talking about.
It's always fun to work with a race that has an unusual appearance, and bringing the Lashunta into Munchkin Starfinder was certainly no exception. (Look at the Kasatha from a few weeks ago for another example.) Lashunta in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game have versatile antennae that they can use to cause a psychic daze in their opponents. It wasn't a hard choice to model both of these on the Munchkin Starfinder version of the Lashunta, and I really like what we came up with here. (Click the card to see it bigger.)
Don't forget that Kickstarter backers will start getting rewards shipped in May. If your Friendly Local Game Store was one of our retail backers, let them know that you want the game! Make sure to check out Munchkin News next Monday . . . it might be another preview or it might be something else, but you won't know if you don't come back to check!
A little over a month ago, we published the annual Report to the Stakeholders. As usual, there's a lot of content there, but one paragraph has caused several people to contact us asking for clarification:
The shift in the market affected our "keep it in print!" approach to Munchkin games and expansions, and we're now starting to let some of the slower sellers fade into out-of-print status. We would rather keep the Munchkin games and expansions available at all times – it is frustrating when a Munchkin fan is forced to spend five, ten, or twenty times MSRP on eBay to get a game they want – but declining sales volumes do not mesh well with holding inventory. We will try to keep the top ten or so Munchkin games and expansions available at all times, but everything else will see out-of-stock times . . . or simply go away for the immediate future.
Of course, the most immediate concern expressed was, "Is Munchkin in trouble?" My answer to that is an unequivocal NO. Munchkin continues to be a large part of SJ Games' business, particularly with the impressive launch of the Collectible Card Game, and that's unlikely to change any time soon. What we are seeing, however, is a sales drop in many of our older titles in favor of the New Hotness (to quote Ken Hite). That's absolutely to be expected, but it highlights a problem that has grown worse in the last several years: the effort required to keep an ever-growing line of games and accessories constantly in print is taking resources (both time and money – especially money) away from continuing to develop new games. Not just Munchkin games, either; one of the delays in Car Wars has been an inability to give it the focused time it needs because we have had to pay so much attention to Munchkin and the CCG.
The obvious solution, of course, is to shift away from having everything available all the time. We had already decided that most of the 15- and 30-card mini-expansions (such as Munchkin Clowns and Munchkin Cheats) would not be reprinted, but we've now made that a hard policy for all of them, with very rare exceptions, if any. We've also realized that we put too much energy over the last several years into Munchkin game accessories, so we'll be backing away from those in favor of games and expansions. We won't stop doing them entirely, but we will be a lot more choosy about them moving forward, and you'll see most of them designed for general Munchkin games instead of specific genres.
Looking at the games themselves, we're going to stress our top sellers and let the rest go out of print. Without giving a complete list, I can say that of the lines published before 2010, we're planning to keep Munchkin, Star Munchkin, and Munchkin Cthulhu available, possibly one or two others. We're also going to be less afraid of games that will be printed once and once only: Munchkin Shakespeare is a recent example. With the exception of Munchkin and Munchkin Deluxe, however, even the titles that are staying in our catalog may have a delay of a few months between printings if that's what works for our schedule.
As for the tuckbox expansions, we plan to keep the numbered expansions for the original Munchkin game (such as Munchkin 6.5 – Terrible Tombs and Munchkin 9 – Jurassic Snark) in print, and that's as far as I'm able to commit right now. While sales of many of the core games have declined, the sales of their expansions, including fairly recent ones such as Munchkin Apocalypse 2 – Sheep Impact and Star Munchkin 3 – Diplomatic Impunity) has plummeted – even at our minimum order from our printer, we'd be getting a multi-year supply of almost all of them, and right now that's just not a good investment for us. We don't plan to stop making new expansions for new core games, but it's very likely that those will be "one and done." The larger-format expansions, such as Game Changers and Holiday Surprise, are almost certainly going away for good – in fact, we expect those two titles to sell out at our Atlanta warehouse well before the end of the year. If you've been holding off getting them, don't.
This may sound dire, but it really isn't. It's a deliberate shift in policy toward a more flexible catalog, without the constraint of keeping all of our Munchkin games and expansions on shelves all the time. Just like partnering with great companies such as USAopoly, IDW Games, and SlugFest Games, it's part of our plan to keep offering our fans new Munchkin games for the foreseeable future.
I wanted to take a break from Munchkin Starfinder previews to talk about three other companies who announced Munchkin games this month. It's going to be a good year!
- We've pointed at Munchkin: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from IDW Games in this space already, but I wanted to congratulate them on a very successful Kickstarter. They ended up with 3,353 backers and a total pledge of $146,647, which is fantastic for a project with no stretch goals and exactly one add-on. Alain and I have been looking over the files as they've come in and we could not be more delighted. I can't wait for y'all to see the results in a few months.
- Last week, USAopoly announced Munchkin Harry Potter, their first Deluxe-style game. We've been working closely with them on this one and it's going to be a real treat for everyone in the Potterverse. (And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that it blends very well with Munchkin Spell Skool . . .) That article talks about some other Harry Potter-themed games USAopoly will be coming out with, so definitely go read it!
- On Friday, SlugFest Games launched their Kickstarter for The Red Dragon Inn: Munchkin, bringing Spyke and Flower into the tavern for their special brand of hijinks in a two-player expansion that is also a playable game. Better yet, for an extra $10, you can also get Munchkin: The Red Dragon Inn, a 29-card Munchkin expansion that brings your favorite foes and loot (and, let's be honest, DRINKS) from The Red Dragon Inn into Munchkin itself. It even comes with a special promo Prize card for The Red Dragon Inn games. The Kickstarter ends on April 7, so don't forget to pledge, or you'll have to wait for the games to hit shelves this fall.
We're very excited to be working with three great companies this year and bringing you some games we're proud of. We certainly haven't forgotten our own Munchkin projects, including three that we just sent to print late last week. I can't talk about them yet, but as soon as I can, I'll definitely mention them here! And there are still more surprises on the horizon . . .
The Solarian is one of the most intriguing new classes in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. Solarians have captured little motes of light that let them control energy or even gravity. For Munchkin Starfinder, we emulated this with an ability that sometimes gives you a combat bonus and sometimes makes it easier to Run Away. The Solarian's second ability lets you refresh your hand if you really need to get some new cards. (As before, click the thumbnail to see a bigger version of this card.)
In the world of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, the Swarm are a fearsome alien force that nearly destroyed all the other races. However, one group, the Shirren, defected and helped change the tide of the conflict.
In Munchkin Starfinder, we've adopted the Swarm as a group of nasty monsters who can gang up on the poor munchkins. Luckily, the Shirren know how they work and get bonuses to fight them. And because of their hive-mind heritage, Shirren also get away from losing fights more easily. Click the picture to see a bigger bug!
Catch up on all the Munchkin Starfinder previews in the Munchkin News archive, and check back next Monday to see what's new for Munchkin!
With the exception of a few stray copies at a warehouse here and there, and whatever stock is currently on store shelves, The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin has gone out of print. We do not currently have plans for another printing, so if you don't have a copy and you see one somewhere, grab it.
We're still relatively stocked up on Beating a Dead Horse, but that could change at any time, so . . . maybe don't sleep on that one, either.
This week, we're looking at one of the most intriguing new races from the Starfinder Roleplaying Game: the Kasatha. With a limited precognitive ability and four arms, Kasatha make a really fun Race in Munchkin Starfinder . . . and one of my favorite ability name pairs in the entire Munchkin line. Click the picture to expand the card.
We'll be back with more Munchkin Starfinder previews soon!
Next in our series of Munchkin Starfinder previews is one of my favorite new Classes, the Envoy. Half diplomat, half troubleshooter, the Envoys of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game are the people you turn to when you need to broker a deal and you can't go through normal channels. The Munchkin Starfinder version is unpredictable and elusive: she can use discarded one-shots and can get herself out of trouble if that still isn't enough to win the fight. (Click the picture to see a larger version.)
We'll be posting more Starfinder previews in Munchkin News, so check back here every Monday for all the latest from the world of Munchkin!
In the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, the Vesk are a race of fearsome reptilian warriors reknowned for their toughness and belligerent attitude. Sounds perfect for Munchkin!
The Munchkin Starfinder Vesk is a master of armor and gets a bonus for choosing not to Run Away from a losing battle. (Click the picture to make the card bigger.)
Keep watching for more previews of Munchkin Starfinder Classes and Races!
The Munchkin Collectible Card Game is scheduled to start shipping from our primary warehouse to our distributors today. Stores should start seeing them in a couple of weeks.
We are SO excited to finally have this game heading out to you guys who made it possible. Remember to go to munchkinccg.game for news, strategy articles, and loads of other information. We're still loading things up on the site in preparation for the launch, so check back frequently!
When you want to discuss the game with other fans, check out Zapped & Squished, the unofficial fan page on Facebook, or the official Munchkin Collectible Card Game section on our forums.
Over the next few months, we're going to be showing you previews of the new Classes and Races from Munchkin Starfinder, leading up to when we send it to our Kickstarter backers in May. Our first preview is our take on a fun new class in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game: the Operative! In Munchkin Starfinder, the Operative can use his intelligence-gathering prowess to select a card from the discards rather than an unknown face-down card . . . and he even has a chance to make cards played against him work for him instead! Truly, the Operative can be a devious enemy. (Click the picture to see it larger.)
Keep watching Munchkin News for more Munchkin Starfinder previews and for lots of other great news coming up in the months to come.
As we announced a couple of weeks ago, we're sending the team out to stores across North America to give you loyal fans an early look at the Munchkin Collectible Card Game before it goes on sale in about a month. Many of these events are already filling up, so call or swing by your Friendly Local Game Store to reserve a seat . . . or just come by and watch!
And while you're there, be sure to preorder some starters and boosters – as Phil said, we're probably not going to have enough booster packs in the initial shipment to cover demand. And we were afraid we had OVERprinted! We already have two reprints in process, so the shortage shouldn't be too severe or long-lasting, but we'd hate for any loyal fans to get deprived. Preorder! Preorder!
- Rhea unboxed the Munchkin Starfinder I Want It All box on #SJGamesLive last week. (Link goes to Facebook.) Go watch the video and find out how much we've packed in there!
- We'll be holding Munchkin Collectible Card Game prerelease events all over the place at the end of January. Go read the Daily Illuminator post to find the closest event and make sure not to miss it! Andreas and I will be at Dragon's Lair in Austin on Saturday, January 27.
- Speaking of the Collectible Card Game, preorders are open now on Warehouse 23, or you can take our handy preorder form (link goes to PDF document) to your Friendly Local Game Store.
See you next week, by which time I should be over this horrible cold.
This is the last week for those of you who missed the Munchkin Starfinder Kickstarter to hop on BackerKit and preorder the game or supersize to the I Want It All! complete collection. We'll be closing preorders at the end of this week, and we're printing a lot of the components in limited quantities, so this is your best chance at getting all the Munchkin Starfinder stuff you want at reasonable prices.
It's 2018 and we are super excited to show you everything that's coming!
But not today, because we're all at home sleeping off our New Year's Eve indulgences. (For example, I spent all weekend playing board games and card games and roleplaying games with great friends. I'm tired.)
Keep watching Munchkin News and the Daily Illuminator for announcements about Munchkin and the upcoming Munchkin Collectible Card Game. (It's really happening! next month! I'm not panicking, I'm NOT PANICKING . . .)
Once that's all done, why not bust out a game of Munchkin Christmas Lite and enjoy some old-fashioned monster-thwacking and friendly backstabbing? Remember, once Santa leaves gifts under the tree, no backsies!
However you celebrate, you have our fond wishes for a happy holiday season and our thanks for your part in Munchkin's continued success. We'll see everyone in a week to kick off 2018.
This is the last week that we're open in 2017, so make sure to head to Warehouse 23 right now for your last-minute Munchkin needs. Once the doors close at the end of this week, we won't be shipping out anything else until January! To be totally safe, make sure to get all your orders in by Wednesday night.
We've sent our printer everything for the Munchkin Starfinder project, funded on Kickstarter by almost 1,300 of you loyal Munchkin fans. Our editorial and production teams worked very hard over the last couple of months to put everything together and I know you'll be pleased with the results. Special thanks to the team over at Paizo Inc. for being great to work with, as always, and double-special thanks to Howard Tayler for killing his drawing arm getting all the art done.
If everything goes well, we expect to start shipping games to Kickstarter backers in May. If you want to be in that early group, it's not too late to preorder the game and some swag – or just grab the I Want It All! box and you'll get everything, including the special Space Goblins expansion that is only in that package!
Munchkin Starfinder won't be in stores until later in 2018, and some of the extras will be in very limited supply, so preordering is really the best way to make sure your Munchkin Starfinder collection is complete. Don't wait too long; we're closing preorders very soon.
There has been a lot of buzz about the upcoming Munchkin Collectible Card Game. We're happy to offer something to everyone who is afraid they'll forget to order the game when it launches in February, for people who want to let their loved ones know what is coming, or for people who just like placing one order and getting a whole lot of cards. The Munchkin Collectible Card Game Preorder Special on Warehouse 23 includes one copy of each starter and 12 randomized boosters, and as soon as you finalize your order, we'll drop a greeting card in the mail for you or some other lucky recipient. One click and you get almost 400 cards . . . you can't beat that!
This preorder special is only available for a limited time, and once the greeting cards run out, they're gone for good, so don't wait until you hear reindeer . . . order now!
Everyone here had a relaxing Thanksgiving break and we're back in the office, working hard to send all the pieces of Munchkin Starfinder to print.
We have some other things in the works, including a major announcement later this week, so keep your eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages for up-to-the-minute information about Munchkin and Steve Jackson Games.
Depending on when you read this, the PAX team may not be home yet; they're flying back on Monday, tired and happy.
(And yes, those pronouns mean that I did not end up going to PAX Unplugged this year. I got a horrible cold the weekend before the show and missed Monday and Tuesday, and I have enough work piled up that I really couldn't justify being out of the office two MORE days. If I'm being totally honest, I wasn't feeling well enough to travel anyway. All of you who would have been sharing my germs, you're welcome.)
From what our team tells me, it was a great show, especially for the first time; we're looking forward to returning next year (and hopefully NOT having to split our staff between PAX and BGGcon). Many games were played and we got to chat with a lot of folks without having to compete with LOUD VIDEO GAME BOOTHS.
It's going to be a short week for us, since Thanksgiving is this Thursday and the office will be closed for the holiday from Wednesday afternoon until next Monday. And then we hit the home stretch, with lots of things that have to go to print before the end of December. Keep your eyes on Munchkin News and the Daily Illuminator for all the updates.
. . . I am told the real title is PAX Unplugged. I apologize for the error.
SJ Games will be there all weekend, showing off a wide range of games, including several unreleased games. Eager to try out the Munchkin Collectible Card Game? We have several events over the weekend; check in at Tabletop HQ to reserve a slot and let Randy show you how to play. Have tough hands? We'll be showing off Super Kitty Bug Slap! (It's not Munchkin, but it's cute and super fun!) We'll be getting cultured with Munchkin Shakespeare demos. And I just may have a text-only prototype of Munchkin Starfinder for a few lucky fans to try out . . .
We're pleased to partner once again with the team from The Compleat Strategist. They sell the games so we can focus on telling you about them.
Hope to see lots of y'all in just a few days!
Thank you to all the 1,299 backers who pledged a total of $84,326 on Kickstarter to help bring Munchkin Starfinder to store shelves in 2018. We've been very happy to work with our friends at Paizo again on this project and we know they are as excited as we are about what's coming.
In case you missed it, here's what the "I Want It All" backers will be receiving:
- A sturdy box (with a rule!) that doubles as a shipping carton for everything below
- Munchkin Starfinder, a 168-card standalone game bringing the Starfinder Roleplaying Game into the Munchkin fold (with Star Munchkin card backs and a new design for the faces)
- Munchkin Starfinder 2 – Far Out, a 56-card expansion
- Munchkin Starfinder Hero Pack, a 15-card expansion with one extra copy of each new Class and Race, plus an extra Super Munchkin and Half-Breed
- Munchkin Starfinder Space Goblins [title not final], a 15-card expansion focusing on everyone's favorite diminutive space explorers, exclusively in the I Want It All box
- Munchkin Starfinder The Swarm [title not final], a 15-card expansion giving you more implacable alien foes to fight
- Munchkin Starfinder Drift Dice, a pack of six dice and four new cards that use them
- Munchkin Starfinder Credsticks, a pack of six metal coins and four new cards that use them
- Munchkin Starfinder Star Field, a level-tracking board and four new cards
- Munchkin Starfinder Kill-O-Meter, a combat tracker and four new cards
- Munchkin Starfinder blank card pack (five Doors and five Treasures)
- A Munchkin Starfinder poster, two new Munchkin Starfinder bookmarks, a digital Skittermander mask, and a digital Christmas card
- And two more Munchkin Starfinder cards only in the I Want It All box!
We'll be opening up BackerKit in a couple of weeks for backers to finalize their orders and for anyone to preorder the game or add more swag to their pledges. You can even order one of the special I Want It All boxes and get everything listed above. Watch the Daily Illuminator or the Munchkin Starfinder Kickstarter itself to find out when the BackerKit is ready. If you miss this window, you'll have to wait until later in 2018 to buy the game.
On behalf of everyone at SJ Games, Paizo, Munchkin Starfinder artist Howard Tayler, and my friendly local coffee shop, let me thank you all again for the support you've shown. I know you won't be disappointed!
Sorry for the delayed post, everyone -- Vegas doesn't live on the same spacetime continuum as the rest of the planet.
The Unrivaled tournament "Grand Finale" was held this past weekend in Las Vegas. Almost 700 gamers competed in six games to win a $10,000 grand prize, and Munchkin was one of those six games. I'm pleased to report that the winner was Matt Fagan, from my own home town of Austin. Not only does Matt walk away with $10,000, his home store of Dragon's Lair also gets a $10,000 check.
The other three Munchkin finalists were:
- Fourth place: Matthew Link ($1,250)
- Third place: Charlie Bussey ($2,500)
- Second place: Brad Anderson ($5,000)
Congratulations to all these winners and to everyone who participated in the tournament!
We've got three big events coming up this week that may be of interest to Munchkin fans! (And that doesn't even include Essen Spiele: Phil and Shelli are in Germany right now meeting with dozens of people who want to work with us – or keep working with us – and by all reports they're having a good and productive time.)
The first big event is coming later today (October 23) as I write this: we are launching a Kickstarter for Munchkin Starfinder! It has lots of add-ons and cool stuff you can get . . . or you can back at the $60 or $80 pledge levels and be assured of getting all the cool stuff we unlock during the campaign, without having to think about it again.
Munchkin Starfinder is our take on the Starfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Inc. We figured that Munchkin Pathfinder has been such a hit, we should try again, and writing this one was just as much fun as I'd hoped. We can't wait for you to see all the shenanigans the poor little Skittermander gets up to . . .
Halloween Game Day
This Thursday is our annual Halloween game day, where we all sit around and play games and eat delicious food, and some of us also dress up in amusing and/or impressive costumes! (I will be wearing my usual "Guy Who Forgot It Was a Costume Party" outfit. It's a perennial favorite, according to 1 out of 1 Czars I recently polled.) I've got a bunch of new games I'm itching to try out!
Later this week, I'll be flying out to Las Vegas to help with the final rounds of the Unrivaled Munchkin tournament, including crowning a champion who will win thousands of dollars! (I asked and they said I couldn't play in the tournament. Sigh.) The Unrivaled tournament series has been a whole lot of fun – I got to see them when they brought a regional tournament to Austin, and they even put me on a mic for a few minutes! – and getting to work with them again in Vegas is going to be awesome.
If you're going to be in the tournament, or just going to Vegas for your own reasons, I hope to see you there! (FAQ, answered: I am not bringing any promo swag with me. Please, no muggings.)
Be sure to bookmark the page and check back frequently so you don't miss any updates!
Munchkin Kittens is back in Warehouse 23! This 30-card expansion sold out within months of its release, so we're pleased to offer it again. It has some fantastic art from Katie Cook and cards by noted ailurophile Devin Lewis.
If you haven't picked up its companion set, Munchkin Puppies, you're missing out on the Munchkin set that loves you just as much as you love it! And it won't chew on your slippers . . .
Of course, that's true of every month, but October is especially good because everyone's getting excited about Halloween (or at least the post-Halloween candy sales) (I admit nothing). With all manner of evil nasties in the zeitgeist, this is the perfect time to explore some of the Munchkin games and expansions that go especially well with the season. If you haven't picked any of these up, talk to your Friendly Local Game Store or come visit us at Warehouse23.com.
For pure Munchkin horror, we have Munchkin Bites! and Munchkin Zombies and their expansions. These sets mix very well, if your brain can get past the idea that you're a vampire/werewolf/etc. AND a zombie. (You're munchkins; you'll figure it out.) For more esoteric horror, we have the entire Munchkin Cthulhu series of games and accessories. If you'd rather fight the living dead than become them, check out Munchkin Undead – this mini-expansion mixes with any Munchkin game. Plus, there's Munchkin Clo– Oh, wait, we haven't announced that one yet. Forget I said anything.
If you prefer the lighter side of Halloween gaming, check out Munchkin Tricky Treats. It's getting a little hard to find, although some stores probably still have copies. It's the only Munchkin game that is guaranteed to have candy in every pack!
Whatever you end up enjoying this Halloween, we hope it's safe and fun. We want you all to hang around for a long time!
It's possible some of you don't realize that, in addition to our weekly Munchkin News (which you're reading right now), we have a blog of news about everything happening at Steve Jackson Games. It's called the Daily Illuminator and posts, well, daily.
Every month for the past year and a bit, I've had a news post called "Munchkin Musings" (link goes to the September post) that is a summary of things we've announced here and on our forums and Twitter. If you go back through the Illuminator archives, you can see previous month's posts, or you can trust to Google or your favorite other search engine.
Make sure you're getting all the Munchkin news; watch for Munchkin Musings every month!
P.S. If you're reading this on the morning of Monday, September 25, you still have time to back our Kickstarter for Munchkin Holiday Grab Boxes! They come with the 12 Bonuses of Munchkin Christmas rule and a whole lot of extra swag, no matter what your pledge level . . . but the Kickstarter ends at noon on Monday! Check it out now!
We surprised many of our fans in the United States by shipping your Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter rewards ahead of schedule. We've been seeing lots of posts on social media from happy people who have been reading through the cards and playing the games, which makes us very happy, too!
If you've received your Munchkin Shakespeare and want to talk about it, head over to our forums or post on the social media platform of your choice with the #PlayMunchkin hashtag. We'll share the best posts we find!
If you missed the Kickstarter, it's not too late: we'll start shipping to stores in October. Let your Friendly Local Game Store know now if you want a copy; preorders really do help!
I just realized that while we discussed this at Gen Con, we didn't post anything about it here. So let me rectify this now. The Munchkin Collectible Card Game has an official release schedule, seen below:
- February 2018: Munchkin Collectible Card Game core release.
- May 2018: Munchkin Collectible Card Game: The Desolation of Blarg.
- August 2018: Munchkin Collectible Card Game: Fashion Furious.
- More to come!
The February release will include three two-player starter packs, each of which contains two class decks and everything else you need to start playing the Munchkin Collectible Card Game. (The first printings of each starter pack will also include a booster.) It also includes randomized 12-card boosters. The May and August releases are boosters only.
We'll continue to talk about the Munchkin Collectible Card Game as February gets closer. Watch this space and check out munchkinccg.game for more information.
Next January, we will ship the 25th printing of Munchkin 2 – Unnatural Axe and the 20th printing of Munchkin 3 – Clerical Errors. That's way more printings than many full games get and is a testament to the continuing support we're getting from Munchkin fans. Thanks, gang!
Over Labour Day*, I'll be attending Fan Expo Canada in Toronto. Phil Reed and I went to this show a couple of years ago and had a blast, so I've been hoping for a return visit.
I'll be sitting on several panels and hope to have time to playtest some 2018 Munchkin expansions as well. Look for me in the open gaming area when I'm not behind a microphone! Here's my schedule as of today:
- Crowdfunding Your Concept: Friday, 6:15 p.m., 715B
- The D&D Panel (moderator): Saturday, 1 p.m., 717A
- Game Publisher Speed Dating: Saturday, 4 p.m., 712
- Playing in Someone Else's Sandbox: Sunday, 2:45 p.m., 705
I'm already making plans to obtain Timbits and poutine (not simultaneously), and maybe I'll bring home some wacky Canadian chip flavors, too.
* They insist that's how it's spelled, and who am I to argue with my hosts?
At Gen Con, we announced a new release for January 2018: Munchkin Magical Mess. Moop is back with a new menagerie of messed-up monsters in this standalone companion to Moop's Monster Mashup.
Munchkin Magical Mess will be a Deluxe-style game and retail for $29.95. Now you know how to spend your Christmas money!
If you'll be at Gen Con this weekend, make sure to come see us in our new location at booth 1413 for a variety of demos and show-and-tell of new and upcoming releases. And don't forget to come to the Munchkin Tavern – great food, cold drinks, awesome swag, and signings by special guests at 7:30 every night Thursday through Saturday.
We're looking forward to seeing everyone!
This past weekend, I attended Board Game Bash, a small convention that has been run the past several years here in Austin. This year, the convention was down the road from the office, which made it more convenient than ever!
In addition to the usual run of demos and handshakes, I got to playtest a couple of small Munchkin expansions scheduled for 2018, and Devin was there with the Munchkin Collectible Card Game.
Thanks to Austin MIB Seth for his hard work, and thanks as always to Jonathan Grabert for organizing a fantastic, fun weekend!
If you don't already have a badge, you're already out of luck for Saturday and Sunday: Gen Con is reporting that they've sold out of four-day badges and Saturday and Sunday one-day badges, for the first time in the history of the con. But (as of this writing, anyway) you still have a little time to pick up Thursday and Friday badges if you're slacking. [August 2 edit: Thursday has now sold out!] They will not sell badges on-site, so you have to preorder if you want to come see our booth (1413) at the show.
Of course, if you just want to join us in the evenings at the Munchkin Tavern, you don't need a badge for that . . . just an empty tummy, a full wallet, and an appetite for fun. We'll have signings every night and some cool announcements Thursday night that you won't want to miss! Be the first person in your group to find out what's coming in 2018!
And if you can't be at Gen Con – which we know is most of you – you can keep up with all our news on our various social media channels. Head over to news.sjgames.com for all our social media info and stay connected even when you can't be right there with us. (When I put it like that, it sounds a little creepy . . .)
No, I'm not just talking about the mid-July climate in Austin. We had some a bunch of stuff move forward last week!
Munchkin Collectible Card Game: The core game left production and went to Miranda Horner for prepress checks. This is a vital step in making sure we haven't made any dumb mistakes, or at least that we really meant to make them if we did. Once Miranda is satisfied that everything is perfect (spoiler: it's never perfect), it will go to a premortem meeting where a team dissects every card and every page of rules to see if we can do things even better. This is one of our most important releases in years, so we're going to be extra picky. More news about this when we have news to share!
Munchkin in 2018: We had a premortem for our first 2018 Munchkin release, and it should be going to print in the next couple of days. Woo! I would love to tell you what it is, but we're saving that announcement for the Munchkin Tavern. I playtested a couple of other 2018 Munchkin sets with some of my tolerant co-workers, and their feedback has already been very helpful in refining my ideas and getting these expansions ready to move to the next steps. Steve's been hard at work on his own 2018 Munchkin projects, which I can't tell you about in any detail except to say that they're awesome and are going to make a very big splash when we're finally ready to announce them.
Munchkin Special Delivery: You guys are wonderful. Thank you for all the support you gave our little "flash" Kickstarter! We've got the box order ready to go (it may have gone in by the time you read this!) and I've worked up revised, expanded cookbooks for the swag that will go inside. Will we have more Munchkin Kickstarter projects? Make sure to follow our social media feeds to find out!
Munchkin at Gen Con: We had our first pre-Gen Con meeting, where we learned we will be running a lot of Munchkin in our booth at Gen Con 50. Munchkin Shakespeare Deluxe will be a star of the show, of course, but our Munchkin table will host some other games over the con, possibly including some things you don't know about yet . . .
That's enough for one week, I think . . . but I have to hit the ground running this week if I want to keep up with all the new things that are coming my way. The fun never stops!
Looking for a lot of Munchkin at a reasonable price? Did you miss out on Munchkin Special Delivery when it was on Warehouse 23? You have a second chance to grab over $80 of Munchkin swag at a low price in a convenient, custom shipping box! Go back the Munchkin Special Delivery Kickstarter today, July 17, before noon . . . after that, you really are missing out!
Apologies to those in the Southern Hemisphere who are feeling left out of the above title.
I'm still on vacation and won't officially be back in the office until tomorrow, but I'm already looking at my plans for later this year.
This upcoming weekend, I'll be spending a lot of time playing games with old friends and new at a friend's "house convention." I'm looking forward to trying some new games and even some prototypes, and I might just bring a game or two of my own to show off.
Board Game Bash, Austin's premier gaming weekend, is moving to the south side very near the office (and therefore very near my new house), so I'm planning to spend some time there rolling dice and playing cards.
After that, my next convention is Gen Con 50. My plans for this year are to do a lot of chatting with people, some of whom will have microphones, and of course to be at the Munchkin Tavern making sure everyone's having a fun time. This year, instead of having the special hosted dinners, we're doing our signings at the Tavern, so bring an appetite and something for us to scribble on . . . and if you forget, the Tavern Store will be set up to fill your soul as we empty your pockets.
I'm currently planning a Labo(u)r Day trip up to Toronto for a return to Fan Expo Canada. No idea what exactly I'll be doing there, just yet, but I'm sure it will involve a combination of talking on panels and playing games. More information on this as it gets closer!
I have one more definite convention trip planned for later this year, but it's not 100% confirmed yet so I'll hold off on talking about it. Y'all might want to send me cheesesteak recommendations, just in case . . . And there's other travel that may or may not happen, but if it does, it will be awesome!
When I'm not on the road, of course, I'll be in the office working on our 2018 Munchkin plans and even starting to put together the 2019 schedule. I'll also be devoting more time to work on the Munchkin Collectible Card Game, which I can't wait to start showing off. Our team's been working hard on it while I've been busy on other projects (did I mention I'm almost done writing my 2018 sets? No? Well, that would be bragging, wouldn't it), and it's time for all of us to pool our talents and get this game off to print!
We're closed July 3 and 4 in celebration of the Independence Day holiday in the U.S. The office will reopen on Wednesday, July 5 (but I actually won't be back until July 11, as I'm taking a vacation before diving headfirst into prep for Gen Con and the Munchkin Tavern).
See you later this week!
But if you're just a fan, you can still let your Friendly Local Game Store know . . .
We have two Munchkin displays that are suitable for game store use – and they both come preloaded with a bunch of cool Munchkin games and expansions!
The Munchkin Tuckbox Display has six wells for tuckbox expansions or boosters. It's designed to sit on a shelf or a retail counter and be an easy way to show off a lot of Munchkin in a small space. Retailers should place an order for SJG 3917A with their distributor.
The Munchkin Floor Display is even larger, with room for several Deluxe and core games and expansions as well. As the name implies, it sits on the floor and works equally well as a freestanding fixture or an endcap. Plus, because many of our games use the same footprints as Munchkin boxes, it can be used to show off your entire SJ Games stock! Retailers can contact their distributors and order SJG 3922 to get the display already loaded with an assortment of games, or SJG 3920 if they just want the display itself.
We're always looking for better ways to help stores sell our games. Retailers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have some ideas – and fans, make sure your Friendly Local Game Store knows how best to reach us! We're all in this together . . .
Forbes ran an article about our newest game, Munchkin Spell Skool, and our continuing partnership with Walgreens. They even quoted our CEO, Phil Reed! Here's the link. (Warning: Forbes DOES NOT like adblockers; you may have to open that link in incognito mode.)
If you've missed the past couple of Kickstarter updates on Munchkin Shakespeare, you've missed a look at the tooling samples (the next-to-last step before we have finished games) and a behind-the-scenes look at our Chinese factory, posted by Phil Reed. Click the links to go read them.
Things are moving forward and we're still on track to make our September release to our Kickstarter backers!
I was looking at our schedule for the second half of 2017, which features a fair number of reprints, and I realized y'all might appreciate a look behind the scenes at how we decide when (and whether) to schedule a reprint.
Every month, Director of Sales Ross Jepson and the business office send me a pair of spreadsheets: one shows our year-to-date monthly sales of every title and the other shows current stock levels at Warehouse 23, PSI, and our various flooring distribution partners (what "flooring" means is a discussion for another time).
This information goes into a spreadsheet I wrote that looks at stock levels as compared with the year-to-date monthly average (or last year's monthly average, in the first quarter of the new year) and the most recent month's sales, figures out how many months of each item we'd have left at current sales rates, and turns that into a projected date that we'll run out. It isn't a sophisticated projection model by any means, but it's good enough that we can usually see an outage coming and decide when (or if) we want to reprint. This involves a certain amount of educated guesswork, but I've been doing this for several years and have gotten pretty good at it, especially with the help of old hands such as Ross, Phil, and (of course) Steve. Our powers combined do a nice job of keeping store shelves stocked with Munchkin . . . and deciding what doesn't need to come back quite yet. The hardest part sometimes is letting favorite games go . . .
Populating the spreadsheet (which doesn't just cover Munchkin) usually takes me between three and four hours, which isn't a lot of time to spend on schedule planning once a month or so. (It was a lot easier when I started doing this, back when we "only" had 20 or so Munchkin titles in our catalog!) If we ever reach the point where AI can do it faster and more reliably, I'll happily turn the task over . . . but for now, I enjoy doing it and we seem to be getting good intel out of the process. We still get unpleasant surprises from time to time, but overall I think we're doing a pretty good job staying ahead of demand.
Developing games is a funny business. Sometimes, you go long stretches where it's just you and the computer with naught but a latte for company. And lattes aren't known for being great conversationalists.
And then, all of a sudden, you realize you have a bunch of things that need to be playtested NOW so they can be put on a schedule and sold to all those friendly gamers out there.
It's one of those active playtest times right now. We have two standalone Munchkin games being playtested, both SJ designs. One is so super-secret that I can't even talk to you about it unless you've signed our new NDA form, which almost none of you have. The other has been in development for a while and we're pretty sure it works . . . but not quite certain yet, so we're going to play it a few more times.
I recently wrote a 30-card booster that just started playtest last week. It's different from anything we've done before and I'm looking forward to hearing players' reactions to it! I've got another one about two-thirds done and I'm pretty sure every true Munchkin fan is going to want to shuffle this one into their decks. If I'm wrong, the playtesters will be sure to let me know!
Steve has turned over a draft of another Munchkin project that's so far ahead, it's not even on the master schedule yet . . . and our schedule goes through the end of 2018. I know he's excited about getting this into playtest as soon as we can free up a little time.
Devin is working hard on more cards for the Collectible Card Game, and I'm hoping we'll ramp up that playtesting machine again very soon, too.
Speaking of Devin, if you want to be notified whenever we schedule a playtest, shoot him a note at email@example.com and he can add you to our list. The vast majority of our playtests happen in or near Austin, but I won't say that we never take our show on the road. Just . . . rarely.
If you're reading this on the day it's posted (Monday, May 29, 2017), be aware that our office is closed today and no one is around to answer phones or reply to email. We'll all be back tomorrow.
Andrew the Munchkin Czar
Posted a contest for
All of his fans
Writing some smile-worthy
Doggerel could win you
Loot for both hands!
The above is an example of a double dactyl. It's a form of light verse much like a limerick, but more difficult. Lines 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 form two dactyls*, with a stress pattern familiar to waltzers and polka-ers: OOM-pa-pa OOM-pa-pa. (For another example, see the title of this news item.) Lines 4 and 8 are choriambs, or dactyls with an extra stressed syllable at the end (OOM-pa-pa-OOM). These two lines must rhyme . . . or at least come close, as above.
As if the form weren't enough of a challenge, the content also has rules: Line 1 must be rhyming nonsense. Line 2 must be, in some form or other, a proper noun; usually, this is restricted to a person's name, but we're going to open it up a bit in this contest to include anything Munchkin-related. ("Thrice-damnèd Duck of Doom" would work, if I hadn't just used it myself.) Either line 6 or 7 must be a single hexasyllabic word. And, ideally, the poem as a whole is witty, if not actually amusing.
Your task is to write the ultimate Munchkin double dactyl and send it in by the deadline: Wednesday, June 15. I will pick an arbitrary number of winners in yet-to-be-determined categories and send those folks some cool Munchkin swag. Email them to me with the subject line "Double Dactyl" or just click here. I'm looking forward to seeing what y'all come up with!
* Etymological** trivia for you: "dactyl" comes from the ancient Greek work for finger, and is used because the pattern of stress mimics the knuckles of a finger: long and two shorts. It's cognate with Latin "digitus," whence we get "digits" . . . so counting by digits is literally counting on your fingers.
** There's another hexasyllable for you!
I've said in this space before that everything for the 2017 Munchkin schedule was already at print.
That was before we added some late-breaking reprints to the autumn schedule – turns out that running out of games before the holiday sales season is not a winning strategy.
Those reprints are now also at print, and once again, the 2017 Munchkin schedule is done.
Until it's not. Again. And that is the circle of product life.
I'm back from my week "off." I use the inverted commas because I spent pretty much all of that time packing boxes, moving boxes, moving furniture, and generally being way more active than a desk jockey like myself is used to. (Kudos to the folks at Two Men and a Truck for handling the bulk of my move professionally, carefully, and efficiently – the move was completed in more than an hour under the estimate, with appropriate cost reduction to match. Unsolicited endorsement.)
The day before my "vacation" started, the team gathered in our swanky conference room to go over all the remaining Munchkin Shakespeare components and make sure they were ready to go to print. I'm pleased to report that there were very few tweaks and that everyone came together to send everything last week while I was out "enjoying myself." Special praise goes to:
- John Kovalic and Lar deSouza, for turning over fantastic artwork;
- Sabrina Gonzalez, Alex Fernandez, Gabby Ruenes, and Ben Williams, for making the games look outstanding;
- Miranda Horner, for doing prepress on a frankly unreasonable schedule and saving us from some embarrassing mistakes;
- and of course Steve, for suggesting the idea of a Kickstarter in the first place.
If you read Devin's update last week, you know that we're making great progress on the Munchkin Collectible Card Game. I can't wait to see what progress they made while I was out!
Time to jump back in the saddle, with a booster for early next year that I can't discuss just yet. But I'll give a hint: the title is Munchkin S_____ D_____. [Note from the Illuminati: Full title not available at your clearance.] Steve's working on something exciting that we're about to move into active playtest. Summer time is busy time!
And when I'm not working on Munchkin, I have boxes to unpack. Oooooooooh, my old aching back . . .
We've been working on the Munchkin Collectible Card Game for a couple of years now. It's involved a lot of playtesting, a series of conversations with the designers, and more than a few
loud arguments friendly conversations behind closed doors. The goal is to have rules that are clear and concise, yet cover every possible question that might come up. This is, practically, impossible. With the first set of the Munchkin Collectible Card Game reaching 278 cards, we have had a lot of rules to go over, making sure that if something works one way on one card, it works that way on all the other similar cards. It's been a long, pedantic, and often frustrating process.
But it's worth it. I'd like to introduce you to my friend the Beagle Scout.
He's been through quite a few iterations. At his core, he's supposed to be an Ally, happy to throw himself in front of a monster that's attacking you. Unlike most of your Allies, he can also be played to fight for you. This changes his card type and his stats. As an Ally, he's only got Life. He doesn't have a gold cost or a Power value, which are important parts of a Monster. We need to explain this all as briefly as possible while still being clear, using only words we've included in the approved CCG lexicon.
The earliest version of this card read, "You may reveal Beagle Scout as a 1 cost, 1 Attack monster without cheating." This is not very clear. For one thing, it doesn't include a Life value. At this early point of development, monsters didn't actually have Life! Clearly, that changed. "Cheating" is a core concept within our game that we'll discuss in more detail later; for now, just know that we spelled out that you aren't cheating if you turn this guy over in combat because of a couple of rule problems he caused otherwise.
We updated the card a bit later: "Honest (If you are caught cheating with this card, take one additional damage.) You may reveal this card as a 0 gold, 1 power, 1 health monster."
In this version, we have introduced a keyword. If you are going to write a rule over and over again, on lots of different cards, it makes sense to attach it to a word or phrase that is explained in the reminder text inside the parentheses. This wording is better and now includes Health, which became Life when we decided that Life is just a better fit.
Even that still wasn't final. After a lot of tweaking, we wound up with what you see on the card above. That is a lot of words! But they're all necessary words. For instance, we realized we didn't need Honest in this set. It's a great ability that may come back in the future, but we didn't need it here and we're trying to eliminate as much redundancy as we can. While we very much want to keep the humor of Munchkin, first and foremost we have to deliver a great game.
We have a lot of rules written around what makes a Monster card: what they can and can't do, how they're played, and how they're handled. The simple solution here is to make this card change types! It's something we're going to do many more times, so making it a keyword makes sense. The word or phrase we choose should be shorter than the reminder text (otherwise, don't keyword it) and it should be relevant to the ability itself. This ability turns a non-Monster card into a Monster, so Monstrous was chosen. And because we wanted to have different levels of the trait, we decided it would be Monstrous X. In technical terms, it looks like this:
Monstrous X (When this is committed to a fight, it is a X [gold], X [power], X [life] monster card. Its card type changes to "Monster" and it has no other ability.)
This card is just Monstrous 1, but other cards can be Monstrous 2 or even Monstrous 3, playable as a 3 cost Monster with 3 Power and 3 Life!
And that's just one card. We've done this 277 more times!
We've been pretty quiet about this game as we complete some important, necessary work under the hood. There are still quite a few steps between completing the card text and rules to putting games on retail shelves, but most of the hard editorial and development work is done. The Munchkin CCG is picking up speed on its way to the shelves at your local game store!
-- Devin Lewis
Just a quick note to tell you the status of the various pieces.
- Kill-O-Meter, Drama Dice, Staged Demo: Completed and sent to print!
- Pawns (Shakespearean versions of Spyke and Flower), Blank Card Pack: designing packaging, should go to print very soon
- Shakespeare Deluxe, Limited Engagement: mostly done with some pieces still being laid out; we hope these will go to print by the end of this week but it may be next week
- Colouring Book: will go to print at the same time Limited Engagement does, since it's one of those components
- Bookmark of Firsties: will go to print soon but probably not immediately, since its turnaround time is much shorter
I'll be out of the office most if not all of next week, doing the bulk of the work for a crosstown move into my new house, so Devin will be offering a peek under the hood of the Collectible Card Game. See y'all in May!
Or that's the theory.
Turns out, we've let it fall a bit out of date. So we just uploaded a new version that includes content from Munchkin Grimm Tidings, Moop's Monster Mashup, Munchkin Oz, and Munchkin Steampunk . . . and we included a preview of the new Class and Faction in Munchkin Pathfinder 2! It even covers Munchkin Shakespeare Deluxe!
If you have a W23 account and previously downloaded Munchkin Thingies, the new version is already in your download library. If you don't have an account or haven't already downloaded Munchkin Thingies, now is the perfect time!
Reminder: BackerKit Closes In One Week
Speaking of Munchkin Shakespeare, if you wanted to confirm your pledge or you want to preorder Munchkin Shakespeare Deluxe and all the other goodies we're producing along with it, you have one more week to sign on to BackerKit and ensure you'll get everything you wanted. Click here to preorder!
Coming to the Tupelo Comic Con, I wasn't sure what to expect; smaller shows are often a bit of a crapshoot as to quality.
Having now attended and enjoyed the show, I have some thoughts.
First, I want to commend the con staff for bouncing back from a really bad situation. Early Saturday morning, the first day of the show, the person who had volunteered to set up the concessions backed out. Between greater-than-normal attendance and some miscommunication with the front-desk staff, this didn't actually get to anyone's attention until it was time for lunch and no lunch was to be had. Credit where it is due: the convention staff rolled with the punch and got some takeout pizza which, while not enough for everyone, at least helped to quell the growing hunger. (And with a couple of Walking Dead actors in attendance, that hunger could have been bad.) On Sunday, they made VERY sure to have plenty of concessions for attendees and set up a truly lavish spread for guests -- clearly, they took Saturday's unfortunate events to heart and were determined not to have a repeat. What happened on Saturday wasn't good for anyone, but major props to the convention for not letting it overshadow the rest of the convention.
The game area was toward the back of the venue and didn't get as much foot traffic as I'd hoped. That said, the people who did come to play games obviously had a good time, and the show had a truly impressive game library for a smallish, second-year convention. I ended up teaching plenty of Simon's Cat and Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, one hard-fought game of Bill & Ted's Excellent Boardgame, and even some Munchkin off and on. I also had a half-illustrated prototype of Munchkin Shakespeare, which was oohed and aahed at by several people who backed the recent Kickstarter. We got to play it Sunday night after the hall closed. I did not win. This is not a surprise.
I hosted a couple of panels with interested people who asked great questions. Thanks to the attendees!
Finally, I was privileged to share the bill with several great guests, including Power Ranger Walter Jones, Captain America Reb Brown, and someone I never thought I'd get to meet, much less share a shuttle bus with, Mira Furlan (Delenn on Babylon 5 and Rousseau on Lost). All the guests were lovely and I had a wonderful time.
I want to thank Jamey Nunley and his crew for inviting me to the show, with special thanks to Man In Black Witt Sullivan for being an excellent host and tour guide this weekend. I certainly hope there will be a third Tupelo Comic Con next year, and I encourage anyone in the area to attend -- it's a great time and a fun little show that deserves to become a fun big show.
I'm going to be a guest at Tupelo Comic Con this weekend, April 1-2. I'll be giving a couple of presentations about Munchkin and the game industry in general and am apparently going to be in a celebrity Munchkin game at some point. (I hope the celebrity is cool!) I'll also be hanging around the demo area showing off some games, just possibly including an early peek at Munchkin Shakespeare . . .
If you're in the neighborhood, drop on by and say howdy!
Today's the first day that I've been in the office since March 2, and after a week of vacation on the JoCo Cruise and a week of meeting our partners at USAopoly and in Las Vegas at the GAMA Trade Show, it's a relief to be standing at my own desk looking at the pile of work that has accumulated in my absence. (Even if I am recovering from the worst cold I've had in a couple of years – thanks, Bally's!)
My top priority this week is to push hard on the games and accessories that came out of the Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter. We're getting closer to having BackerKit up and ready to go and we want to be able to show you more of the art when that happens. Luckily, a lot of my development work was completed before I left, and I braved the world's worst hotel Internet to approve dozens more pieces while I was in Vegas. (Thanks, Bally's!) I fully expect that all the Shakespeare projects will go to print on time.
I'm also going to be helping Devin with the Munchkin Collectible Card Game. We got some encouraging news out of our meetings in Las Vegas and it's time to kick this whale across the finish line! (I . . . don't think that's a real metaphor. But it ought to be!)
Speaking of GAMA, several of Phil's meetings last week were very productive and point to more work coming at me like a freight train very shortly. I'd better enjoy this slight respite while I have it!
Three, count 'em, three bits of business this week!
Munchkin Shakespeare Deluxe Wrap-Up
Whew! We ended up with 5,280 backers who raised a total of $295,109. We didn't quite reach the $300,000 stretch goal that would have given us a bigger, rounder gameboard, but we aren't going to let that distract us from the huge success of our first Munchkin Kickstarter. Thanks to everyone who made this happen!
On Monday, Rhea and I will be visiting the USAopoly office north of San Diego. I've been there several times, but it's Rhea's first visit – I know she'll be impressed! With only one work day in southern California, we have to make the most of it!
GAMA Trade Show
Then, on Tuesday, we'll join the rest of the team at Bally's in Las Vegas for the GAMA Trade Show. This is always a great chance to meet the retailers who sell our games and talk about what will be coming up in the next year or so. As is becoming tradition, we will be hosting a penthouse party for our retail partners and other special invited guests. Anyone who is at GAMA and wants to attend should be sure to go to one of Phil Reed's presentations on Tuesday afternoon to get the details!
This is GAMA's last year in Vegas before shifting to Reno in 2018, so we're going to make sure to do it right!
And, to bring this update full circle, watch our social media to find out about a special Ides of March Shakespeare live video stream coming to you direct from Las Vegas on Wednesday!
Arr, I be postin' this update from the deep blue sea! (Unless I wrote it ahead of time, but where be the fun in that?)
Before I head up to the mizzenmast to soak up some bonny rays, I wanted t' remind ye that this is th' last week of our Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter! Ye be runnin' out of time to join our scurvy crew and get a new Munchkin game plus loads of other cool booty. Back it now . . . at the end of the week, this promotion joins Davy Jones at the ocean floor!
If you missed Monday's Daily Illuminator about the second printing of Moop's Monster Mashup, head over and read it! It has a lot of great information about making Moop's new outing bigger and better. The second printing is on its way to game stores now, so look for it soon!
Munchkin Shakespeare Update
Thanks to our 3,500 backers, the Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter is going strong! We're well on our way to $200,000 and beyond!
The core game is up to 160 cards plus a custom six-sided die; we expect to add even more cards at the $220,000 stretch goal. You can help out by spreading the word through Facebook shares and Twitter retweets, even if you aren't yet a backer!
With your help, we're making a Kickstarter exclusive expansion for Munchkin Shakespeare that has more cards (including Dungeons!), some new Munchkin bookmarks with game rules, a metal Shakespeare coin with a game rule, a Shakespeare Kill-O-Meter, blank cards, and other cool swag . . . and this expansion is only going to get bigger as we get closer to the end of the Kickstarter! Retailers, make sure you're on our retailer mailing list so we can let you know how you can get in on the Kickstarter fun!
We have also unlocked some Shakespeare add-ons, including Shakespeare-themed dice, packs of female and male Shakespeare pawns, and even a short demo you can use to introduce your friends to Munchkin Shakespeare. These aren't exclusive to Kickstarter, but they will probably be printed in fairly small quantities . . . becoming a backer is the best way to make sure you get all the loot you want!
The Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter ends on March 10. If you've already backed, thank you! If not, you still have time . . . just don't wait too long!
It's rare that I use this space for non-Munchkin news, but some of you may have missed it and others may not have recognized its significance.
Gaming lost one of its pioneers last week when Loren Wiseman passed away. Loren's start in the hobby came in 1974 when his first wargame design was published. He was a founder of Game Designers Workshop (later just GDW) and helped design the very first well-known SF roleplaying game, Traveller, a game still being supported with new content four decades later. We were privileged to create a GURPS version under Loren's guidance, and I had the honor of working with him on several GURPS Traveller supplements in the early 2000s.
Loren was one of the very first people I met when I started at SJ Games back in April 2000. Many others have known him for much longer, or have grown up with his work on Traveller, Twilight: 2100, D&D, and many other games over the years. He was inducted into the Origins Hall of Fame in 2003 and richly deserved that honor and more.
It makes me sad that Loren won't get to see Munchkin Shakespeare; he would have loved it.
Ave atque vale, Loren.
We recently updated the spreadsheets telling us how many Munchkin games have been printed worldwide and discovered that Pegasus Spiele has topped one million German Munchkin games and expansions published. Congratulations . . . or, I should say, ich gratuliere!
Munchkin Shakespeare on Kickstarter
If you haven't been paying attention to the Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter, please check it out. We've been knocking down stretch goals and social media goals at a furious pace, thanks to you guys. Right now, the most help you can give us is to spread the word to your friends . . . and we've provided specific Facebook and Twitter posts to do that with that also get us closer to making the game even bigger!
We're talking about Shakespeare a lot in the Daily Illuminator, which you should also be reading if you want current information about everything we do at Steve Jackson Games.
As we told y'all last week, we've been working on Munchkin Shakespeare off and on since the first brainstorming session on JoCo Cruise 2015. After a lot of discussion, we've decided to bring this game to Kickstarter to allow y'all to help bring it to stores. I wrote a Daily Illuminator discussing our reasons, and you can go read it for more details, but the biggest reason is that Munchkin Shakespeare's initial development was crowdsourced, so crowdfunding it now has a certain symmetry to it.
The Kickstarter for Munchkin Shakespeare launches tomorrow. Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages to find out the instant it goes live, and watch all our social media, the Daily Illuminator, and Munchkin News for updates over the course of the campaign. We're offering an extra bit of loot to people who back early, so keep checking!
Last week, some cool things happened:
First, we had our "premortem" meeting on a new* Munchkin game. This is the meeting where a bunch of us sit down with hard copy of a game that's about to go to print and go over everything closely to find all the places where we can fix mistakes, try something different, or just do better. We instituted this process a little over a year ago and it's been very helpful for all the people involved in making a game to sit in one room and see what the rest of us are looking at. I understand the production, art, and prepress processes a lot more since I've been going to these meetings regularly . . . and, more important, it's improving our games.
* It's new, but it's also kind of not. Which is all I can say right now.
Second, we hit a key milestone in the Munchkin Collectible Card Game: Steve has approved the final colored versions of all the art for all the cards. This was a big, bold, highlighted step on the critical path toward having this game done, and it unlocks several other components (rules, packaging, ads and other marketing) that couldn't be finalized until all the art was finished. Devin's working hard on some "quick start" rules so that, when the game hits shelves, you and a friend can sit down and start playing immediately. I expect things to start moving very fast on this game now . . . which is good, because we also have Eric and Kevin's first draft of the cards in the first wave of expansion cards. Working on the Collectible Card Game has leveled up a lot of skills across the entire company, and I can't wait for y'all to see the result.
Finally, Phil set a date for something cool that we've been working on for a while now. More about that news next week.
Toward the end of last year, I posted about how pleased I was to have most of 2017 already at print.
I should not have underestimated you, our loyal Munchkin fans. Turns out, we need to send 10 games and expansions for reprints so we don't run out just in time for Origins and Gen Con and all your summer gaming needs. Selling more than we expected is an opportunity, not a problem, and we thank you for that opportunity . . . but it does mean we're having to work hard for the next couple of weeks to get it all done.
Shout out to our production team who pushed these through in a hurry!
I know it's not Valentine's Day yet, but last week we started to ship a couple of projects to distributors to make sure you get gifts in time for your favorite Munchkin lover. (Parse that phrase however you like.)
First up is Munchkin Valentines. This pack includes five identical packs of Munchkin cards and five different Munchkin-themed valentines for all your sweeties, all illustrated by John Kovalic. Nothing says true love like backstabbing and naked greed, right? And at $5.95, if you have a lot of sweeties, you can buy more sets!
We're also shipping a new Munchkin Playmat: The Flower of Love. This playmat was illustrated by Katie Cook and shows Flower and the Love Shark in a tender moment. As with all our other Munchkin Playmats, it has room for all your cards and a special rule! It will be available to distributors through a special promotion, so make sure your local retailer knows!
Next week, we'll start shipping the Munchkin Valentine's Day Monster Box. It was also illustrated by Katie Cook and includes 12 Munchkin cards. As with all our Monster Boxes, it has room for 2,000 cards plus plenty of Munchkin swag. But if you fill it with candy and flowers for your special someone and keep the loot for yourself, we'll never tell. This will be available as a promotion on Warehouse 23 soon!
Last week, I posted some Designer's Notes for Munchkin Treasure Hunt and Munchkin Wonderland. Please read the article and comment over on Medium.com, and share the link with your friends, even (especially) the nongamers in your group.
We're hitting the ground running and looking forward to an exciting year! As always, watch this space for the latest news from Team Munchkin.
We're starting with a busy few days: Chinese New Year is exceptionally early in 2017, so our factory is closing for a month starting next week. We're trying to get some last-minute corrections and approvals in under the wire before that happens. After that, we'll spend the rest of January preparing a bunch of new games to send right after they reopen in February -- the earlier we send them, the earlier our games get placed in the manufacturing queue.
I've got a couple of months without any work travel planned before I head to San Diego for JoCo Cruise 2017 and from there to Las Vegas for the GAMA Trade Show. Time to put on my big-boy game developer pants! (Seriously. They're big. The holidays were unkind to my waistline.)
Whatever you celebrate, we hope it is enjoyable and safe. See you in 2017!
Don't forget that this is your last chance to order the Mostly Munchkin Grab Box and Game in a Box, or anything else you want to get directly from us -- Warehouse 23 stops taking orders this Thursday.
We'll be closed for the year after this week. To everyone traveling this holiday seasion, safe journeys. However you choose to celebrate, best wishes and may all your monsters be low-level.
We aren't resting at ALL!
Devin is hard at work flogging the Munchkin Collectible Card Game through its last steps before we send it to print. This game is gorgeous and I cannot wait to start playing with the real cards. Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson did a fantastic job on the design and are now hard at work on the first expansion -- thanks, guys!
I'm working with our pals at USAopoly on their 2017 releases; we've announced Munchkin: X-Men Edition, but there are a couple more things planned for later in 2017 that I am just as excited about -- and both of them are games we've had requests for, so some of y'all should be really happy.
I am already working on 2018 releases because we're so far ahead on 2017. Not everything for next year is at print -- and we do have a couple of surprises yet to announce! -- but we're farther ahead of our deadlines than I can ever remember, which is giving us a lot of breathing room on some projects that need the extra attention. (As soon as I got back from BGG, I was able to remove 2016 from my planning calendar . . . which I don't think I've ever done before so early in the year. Now 2020 has some room to breathe . . .)
Our end-of-year game day, and the last day for Warehouse 23 orders (including the Mostly Munchkin Grab Box #marketing), is December 15. We'll be closed the last two weeks of the year.
Our Mostly Munchkin Grab Box was so successful last year that we're offering it again -- for $40, you get a guaranteed minimum of $80 worth of (mostly) Munchkin loot. This year, we're also offering a new Game in a Bag promotion -- order a Munchkin Messenger Bag and we'll stuff it full of cool Munchkin games and swag for you!
Or, if you want, you can get the Surprise Me! Grab Box instead; it (probably) won't be mostly Munchkin, but it will have plenty of cool games from our warehouse and you might find a new favorite.
Heck, just order all three -- the holidays are coming and all the good boys and girls deserve to get a new game this year.
Head over to Warehouse 23 to get a box (or bag) full of fun at a holiday-friendly price.
This Thursday will be Thanksgiving in the United States, and I wanted to pause for a moment to reflect on what that means here.
First, I owe a great deal of thanks to Steve Jackson and Phil Reed for bringing me back into the fold almost eight years ago. It's been a blast and I'm really excited about where Munchkin is going next. I strive every day to live up to the trust they have placed in me.
I'm blessed with dozens of talented, dedicated colleagues, far too many to call out independently, but I want to mention a couple. Sam Mitschke is our Chief Creative Officer and a good friend. Sam keeps me sane (relatively) and productive (relatively) when the job gets to me from time to time. Devin Lewis has been my right hand for several years now, a reliable helper who runs playtests, gives me great feedback, and has gotten to do his own design work on the line occasionally. Devin is currently in charge of bringing the Munchkin Collectible Card Game to store shelves next year, and the game could not be in better hands.
Of course, Munchkin would be nothing without our talented artists. John Kovalic has been a lonely force of good for so long that it still feels a bit weird to be talking about artists, plural, but now we're working with Ian McGinty, Katie Cook, Len Peralta, and several other creative illustrators (again, too many to list here). They truly are collaborators on our games and we are grateful for all the whimsy (we'll call it that) they add to every card they touch.
I would be remiss if I did not mention our creative partners at BOOM! Studios, home of the Munchkin comic book, and USAopoly, home of great licensed Munchkin games such as Munchkin Adventure Time and Munchkin: Marvel Edition. They have taken Munchkin to places we didn't know how to reach, and they've done it brilliantly.
Our printer representatives at Grand Prix International (GPI) and our fulfillment partners at PSI in Georgia make the games and get them into stores. They are important links in the chain between "Hey, I've got a stupid Munchkin idea!" and having that idea appear on the shelves of your Friendly Local Game Store. Our distribution partners and all those local retailers are just as important; if they didn't order our games, you would never see them.
Finally, and by FAR the most important, I have to thank you, the loyal Munchkin fans. Your support, feedback, and encouragement are more valuable to us than Treasure or levels. We're in a creative industry (as much as we may forget that when deadlines loom), and we know games are a luxury purchase, not a necessity. We try never to take our customers for granted, and this week in particular, I remember that everything I do is ultimately to enrich your lives. Thanks for letting me do it for the past eight years. I can't wait to show you what's coming next.
As I posted last week, I (and a good group of my coworkers) will be heading to BoardGameGeek.Con in Dallas later this week. We'll be showing off some of our new games and trying out a bunch of games ourselves. I'm particularly looking forward to chatting with Eric Lang and Kevin Wilson about the Munchkin Collectible Card Game; the design work on the first expansion is getting started and I'm curious what new wrinkles they are going to add.
If you'll be attending, stop by and say hello! If not, we'll try to miss you . . . but, honestly, we'll probably be having too much fun to notice.
I'm in southern California this week, having road tripped over from Austin. I'll be visiting our colleagues at USAopoly to talk about Secret Plans and hopefully playtest some new Munchkin stuff. Later in the week, I'm heading up to the Los Angeles area for a friend's wedding. As soon as that's done, I sprint back toward Texas for BoardGameGeek.Con, where I'll be meeting up with Devin Lewis and Sam Mitschke to touch base with überdesigners Eric Lang and Kevin Wilson about the Munchkin Collectible Card Game and see what other mischief I can get into.
The fun never stops in Munchkin land!
It's the day when monsters, haunts, and evil nasties of all types walk the streets . . . asking for your candy.
We here at Munchkin HQ are not immune to the lure of this spookiest of holidays. The Munchkin Halloween Pack is out of print, but you may find copies at your Friendly Local Game Store just in time to hand out to the trick-or-treaters this evening. Speaking of, you can grab Munchkin Tricky Treats at Warehouse 23, if you hurry; our supply is limited and we do not expect to reprint this one. (And don't forget that you can still take advantage, today, of the Munchkin Halloween Monster Box promotion. If you're reading this in November 2016 or later, sorry . . . you missed it!)
And that's not even to mention our horror-themed Munchkin Bites!, Munchkin Zombies, and Munchkin Undead, all of which are in print. (Greg Hyland fans should check out the Munchkin Zombies Guest Artist Edition while it's still around . . .)
We're in another of those quiet times during which we're working on some longer-term projects and don't really have a lot of cool news we can talk about yet. Steve and I are both plugging away on some new Munchkin games for 2017 and beyond (yes, beyond). Devin is hard at work bringing the core set of the Munchkin Collectible Card Game closer to the finish line and helping to playtest All The Games. We just sent John a pretty big project that should keep him happily drawing for the next several months.
I've also been working with BOOM! Studios and our own capable Alain Dawson on the cool extras for the last two issues of the Munchkin comic book this year. And it's possible that I turned over the main story for Munchkin #25, coming out next January, but of course I couldn't talk about it if I did. I've also been looking over some of the work that USAopoly has been putting together for their own 2017 Munchkin schedule. For some of it, I even had to do research (if sitting on my butt in my living room staring at [REDACTED] counts as research, which it does as far as I and my timesheet are concerned).
Of course, the business of marketing and selling our games never stops, and I meet with our teams on the other side of the office regularly to go over the next steps on that front.
I've even been consulting on some non-Munchkin projects, crazy as that seems!
You know, looking at this list . . . maybe there's no such thing as a "quiet time" at SJ Games!
But we do occasionally stop to remember that we're in the business of making games, and we'll be doing that this Thursday at our annual Halloween Game Day. I'm looking forward to playing some of my own new game purchases, including The Daedalus Sentence and Kane Klenko's Covert, and seeing what all my colleagues bring in. My Pandemic Legacy group will wrap up season 1, too . . . there's hope for the world yet!
Last Tuesday, I met some of our European retail partners at the Enigma Retailer Day in Copenhagen. I showed off the Munchkin Collectible Card Game and left it with our Director of Sales, Ross Jepson, to show to our translation partners at Essen. And I got to spend some talking with Ross about the next year or so of Munchkin and what we need to be doing to make it outstanding.
(Conveniently, I had already planned a trip to Copenhagen, so I didn't even have to change plans to make this work -- and I got a vacation day back in the bargain!)
I'm back in Austin now and ready to make the last 10 weeks of the year as productive as I can. Well, except for the week next month when I'll be heading out of town for a wedding and a meeting with one of our most important partners . . . apparently I don't know what "vacation" actually means!
I'm on vacation! -- although tomorrow will be a work day. Come back next week to find out where I was and what I was doing!
Today (October 3), a bunch of us are offsite hosting several dozen retailers to thank them for their continuing support of Munchkin and SJ Games. It will be a fun event, full of game demos, food, and some peeks behind the curtain by Phil and Steve. I'll be there showing off some of our new Munchkin games.
If your friendly local retailer didn't know this was going on, they're probably not getting our monthly retailer newsletter! Tell them to get in touch with Joshua Surfus (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he'll hook them up.
And if you don't know if you even have a friendly local retailer, check our Store Finder . . . we're adding new stores all the time!
Starting today, many of our Munchkin holiday items will be available again for stores to order from their distributors and for you to order directly from Warehouse 23, if you are so inclined. Add some winter flair to your game with the Munchkin Yule Log, record your Christmas wishes in the Munchkin Journal Pack 3, or stuff your favorite new gamers' stockings with Munchkin Christmas Lite.
Edited 9/27/16: I wrote an article going into a lot more detail about the holiday vault and why we put things into it. Go check it out!
As you might expect for a 15th anniversary, 2016 has been (and continues to be) a very busy year for Munchkin. Design and production lead times being what they are, my preparation for all of the goodness this year began right after Gen Con 2015 and didn't slow down much right up through Gen Con 2016 and the month afterward.
One happy result is that I'm way ahead of the schedule for the first time in, um, ever. All Munchkin releases through July 2017 are already at print, and hopefully by the end of October we'll have everything through August 2017 at print or on its way back across the ocean. With this much lead time, it means I get to take a breath and work on some things that often get put on the back burner when we're in a production crunch: bookmarks, Designer's Notes, and some long-term planning that often feels like an indulgence when we're under the gun. Currently, I'm doing some preliminary design work on a 2018 Munchkin game and providing support for both Steve and Devin on their upcoming projects (notably the Munchkin Collectible Card Game, which is starting to see some really fine art coming in from our team). I've even had a chance to make a very tentative schedule through 2020 – it will change, of course, but even having a vague, somewhat inaccurate map is an improvement over not having one at all.
This breather won't last – they never do – but it's nice for now to be able to step back and take a wider and longer view.
(Check this space next week for a festive announcement!)
I don't often use Munchkin News to point at non-Munchkin items, but sometimes there's a good reason for it, and now is one of those times.
We are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game. If you are not a roleplayer and want an idea of where the whole idea of Munchkin came from, this boxed set is one way to get into that side of the hobby. And if you're really new and just want a quick taste of what the GURPS game is like, you can download a PDF of GURPS Lite for the very low price of FREE and check it out.
If you're interested in the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, we hope you'll consider making a pledge. We're very proud of this project that the GURPS team (especially GURPS Line Editor Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch) has put together, and we're eager to get our own copies here at Munchkin Central.
Thanks for letting us take a break from our own news. We'll be back to talking about Munchkin next week.
I'm very pleased that I can finally reveal one of my secret projects: Munchkin Grimm Tidings! This is a 114-card stand-alone game for three or four players, with the original brown fantasy card backs so you can use any other fantasy-themed expansion or booster with it, or mix this into Munchkin Oz or your favorite other fantasy-themed set.
You can read a lot more about the development process in my Grimm Tidings Designer's Notes.
Munchkin Grimm Tidings is available exclusively at Walgreens; click the link to find the store nearest you!
It's that time of year again: PAX
Prime West is upon us! I will not be in Seattle this year, unfortunately, but we are sending some staff and our usual cadre of the intrepid Pacific Northwest MIBs to help show off a lot of our great games, including the Munchkin Guest Artist Editions and plenty of other great new games.
Also, we'll have a Munchkin announcement. #buriedlede
If you're going to the show, have a great time! If not, have a great time doing whatever you're doing this Labor Day weekend. If it includes playing some Munchkin, hit us up on social media and tag #PlayMunchkin so we know about it!
-- Devin Lewis
Gen Con 2016 was a blast!
OK, I can be a little more detailed. There were lots of non-Munchkin awesome things we did, but here I'll focus on the Munchkin side.
Moop's Monster Mashup debuted at this show and we showed it off to lots of eager Munchkin fans. The crazy combinations of animals appealed to Munchkin players who have a silly side . . . which seems to be all of them. Unfortunately, we didn't really have space in the booth for full games, but I know our Men In Black were able to make up that deficiency in their area. Thanks, gang! We also showed off several Guest Artist Editions and teased some upcoming releases, such as a second wave of Monster Boxes and Munchkin Playmats coming up for the holidays. And fans got several chances to get the autographs of their favorite Munchkin creators!
Of course, the highlight of the show for us was the return of the Munchkin Tavern – our thanks again to Steve and his team at Tavern on South for hosting us! We had several special "dinners with the stars" and made a bunch of cool announcements:
- Munchkin Curses is a new fantasy booster, and Munchkin Oz 2 – Yellow Brick Raid is a 56-card expansion for Munchkin Oz. Both of these are illustrated by John Kovalic and will ship next spring. (And both of them are already at print . . . we're starting to work farther ahead to clear space on our production schedule for the Munchkin Collectible Card Game!)
- Also next spring, the Super Munchkin Guest Artist Edition illustrated by Lar deSouza will be coming out. (For you Art Baltazar fans, we haven't forgotten about his Super Munchkin Guest Artist Edition . . . We Have Plans for that one.)
- 12 Days of Munchkin Christmas Coloring Book will be out this fall. It has 12 two-page illustrations and comes with 10 new Munchkin cards, all drawn with demented holiday glee by Len Peralta.
- And for those of you with smaller players, Munchkin Wonderland is a companion to Munchkin Treasure Hunt that is also playable on its own. It will be coming to Amazon before the end of 2016.
It was a great show and we're definitely looking forward to how we can continue to improve in 2017. Thanks to everyone who made it to Indianapolis to see us this year!
We have discovered some significant errata in our new game, Moop's Monster Mashup, and while we don't usually make a news post about mistakes, we think these are important enough to warrant it. (Plus, they're easy to correct.)
- Monkey Moop and Multiple Mini-Moops should not have +4 Bonus at the top of the card. The rest of the text is correct.
- Tiger-Tooth Saber has two errors. We omitted +2 Bonus from the top of the card and it should say 1 Hand, not -1 Hand.
We apologize for these errors, which will be fixed when we reprint this game. As a reminder, we have a page showing the errata for all Munchkin games; check there if you think you've found a mistake!
Gen Con Wrap-Up Forthcoming
Want to know what I thought about Gen Con? So do I! Our team is flying home today, so we'll have some post-show thoughts in next week's Munchkin News. After I've slept.
We're especially excited for this year's Munchkin Tavern, featuring handsome, brilliant announcements and fun-filled special guests! Er, wait, reverse that. Or don't!
Last week, we shipped two games from our primary warehouse to distributors, and both of them should be on the shelves of your Friendly Local Game Store within a couple of weeks!
First is the second printing of Munchkin Princesses. This was a very popular booster and sold out more quickly than we expected, so we decided to reprint it! This printing is on a blister card, rather than in a foil pack, so look for it on the pegs with the other Munchkin expansions. (While you're there, why not grab some Munchkin Knights to go along with it?)
The other is a new Munchkin game: Moop's Monster Mashup! This very silly set, designed by Steve Jackson and illustrated by Ian McGinty, introduces the meddlesome mystic, Moop, and his crazy crammed-together creations. Use the Tiger-Tooth Saber and the Beaver Cleaver to fight the Kangarooster and the Drizzly Bear. This is a full game for three to six players. We did a shorter print run than usual, so we don't expect this game to last long on shelves!
Munchkin #13 Promotion Coming to an End
At the start of this year, Boom's Munchkin comic book transitioned from carrying exclusive cards to offering promo codes for special items available only through Warehouse 23. Month after month in 2016, readers of the Munchkin comic have laughed at the exploits of Spyke and Flower and then taken advantage of the opportunity to add new Munchkin zaniness to their game sessions. Unfortunately, these promo codes come with experation dates . . . and the code for Munchkin #13 is going to expire this week!
If you already own Munchkin #13, then please add The Munchkin Bookmark of Vermicular Violence to your Warehouse 23 order and use the code today so that you don't miss out on this limited offer. Those of you who have not yet snagged this issue can still get the bookmark as long as you order the comic immediately; we automatically add in the limited promotional items with Munchkin comic orders at Warehouse 23, but once a code expires we will stop including the items with orders of the issue.
Fair warning: the countdown starts all over again right away since the code in Munchkin #14 expires in about a month. You have been warned!
With the exception of one game added to the schedule very recently and a few bookmarks here and there, everything on the 2016 Munchkin schedule has gone to print. More impressive, a fair number of our early 2017 releases have also gone or are very, very close to heading to the printer. We aren't quite to the point of working a full year ahead, but we're closer than we've been in a long time.
As for me, I have a couple of projects to turn over to Devin for playtesting and to our talented artists for illustration and layout. Once those are done, I can start thinking about 2018 plans. And we do have plans, yes indeedy . . .
We've worked with our partners at Target to produce a Munchkin Legends Guest Artist Edition, illustrated by Mike Luckas! We've been really happy with Mike's work on the Munchkin comic book, and working with him on the Munchkin Legends Guest Artist Edition was just as much fun as we hoped!
Munchkin Legends debuted at Target, so this new version brings the game back literally to where it began.
Find out more about the Munchkin Legends Guest Artist Edition and all our new Guest Artist Editions at guestartists.sjgames.com – maybe there's a game there that you've missed!
P.S. My thanks to all the great folks at ConnectiCon who made my weekend easy and fun. Thanks to everyone who asked me for an autograph, came to one of my panels, or just stopped to say hi; you're the reason I go to conventions. Special thanks to Erica, Shane, and the whole ConnectiCon team for taking great care of me and making sure I didn't miss my plane.
SJ Games, including Warehouse 23, is closed all this week in celebration of Independence Day in the States. We'll be back open next week as usual.
If you need something to read during this holiday week, we recommend the newly revised and expanded (GREATLY expanded) Munchkin FAQ. It has a lot of new clarifications and a few rulings that we changed to make things more consistent across the line . . . it's worth taking some time to study it.
Last reminder: come see Andrew at ConnectiCon THIS WEEKEND!
We're bringing back the greatest bar at Gen Con . . . the Munchkin Tavern!
The Munchkin Tavern will be open August 4 through 6, back at the Tavern on South. We'll have a themed menu all weekend and special guests each evening. We'll also have promos, announcements, exclusive swag, and . . . well, let's keep a few secrets.
We'll announce more surprises as the event gets closer. We look forward to seeing all our fans at the Munchkin Tavern!
I've mentioned this before, but a signal boost never hurts: I'm going to be a gaming guest at ConnectiCon in Hartford, Conn., July 7-10, along with lots of other folks including Munchkin Gloom designer Keith Baker. I've never been to Connecticut, so I'm really excited about this trip. The con has several Munchkin events planned – and the tournament final is "Try to beat the Czar!" – and I'll be on a couple of panels as well. It should be a lot of fun and I hope to see a bunch of Munchkin fans there!
A good book can be hard to find, mainly because they don't have enough pictures. War and Peace? More like Snore and Peace, am I right? Well, toss all those leather bound classics out and start buying issues of the Munchkin comics, now available on Warehouse 23! Every issue, even the Deck the Dungeons holiday special, is in our store! This offer is perfect if you want to get single issues as opposed to the collected trade paperbacks Andrew told you about last week.
Not only that, every issue you buy from Warehouse 23 comes with a special promotional goodie (card or bookmark)! By comparison, my copy of the "classic" Moby-Dick only came with dense prose and a stupid essay test at the end. I think we know what the REAL classic is.
Pick up your single issues of the Munchkin comic from Warehouse 23 today!
Many of you have been enjoying the Munchkin comic from BOOM! Studios since the beginning, and thank you!
However, if you missed out on the first few issues and want to catch up, there are a couple of collected editions that will deliver a megadose of concentrated Munchkin right to your brainholes: Munchkin Volume 1 contains the stories from Munchkin #1-4 and Munchkin Volume 2 contains the stories from Munchkin #5-8.
Go back to the start and see where the story of Spyke and Flower began!
SJ Games, including Warehouse 23, is closed on Monday, May 30, in observance of Memorial Day.
We encourage everyone who is interested to find their Friendly Local Game Store and make sure to order the game . . . but if you don't have a local store, you can also preorder it directly from Warehouse 23.
We have three fantastic new releases coming up this month!
- Munchkin Knights, a great new booster set written by Devin Lewis and illustrated by Ian McGinty. We focused on dragons in Munchkin Dragons and Dragon's Trike; now it's the knights' turn!
- Munchkin 6.5 – Terrible Tombs, a companion set to Munchkin 6 – Demented Dungeons. Munchkin 6.5 stands alone -- you don't need Munchkin 6 to enjoy it! -- but you do need a Munchkin base game, ideally Munchkin itself or some other set with the original brown backs. Munchkin 6.5 was designed by the "dream team": Steve Jackson and John Kovalic!
- Speaking of John, we have the rarest of the rare: the Munchkin Fu Guest Artist Edition, illustrated by John Kovalic himself! John had to turn down Munchkin Fu when we were first working on it, so the chance to go back to it and finally make it his set must have been impossible to resist.
I was recently interviewed for another episode of the Geek Apocalypse podcast by its host, Steven Hesse. You can listen to the episode here (WARNING: the audio autoplays) (SECOND WARNING: it's a long one, because Steven and I both like to talk).
Every few months, we take a look at the Munchkin release schedule and apply the reality filter: "Is this still something we want to do? If so, is it something we want to do when it is currently scheduled? And if so, can we actually get it done by then?"
A couple of weeks ago, we had our sales team in town, so it was an ideal time to make sure our plans and our reality were in sync. We made a few tweaks to the end of 2016 and more substantial changes to the schedule for 2017 and beyond (yes, beyond!). We know there's still some work to be done, but we're a lot more confident in our plans than we were before those meetings. Fortunately, we have a great team keeping us on track, including our Operations Manager, Randy Scheunemann, and our Project Manager, Darryll Silva, who set our deadlines and make sure we stick to them.
For my part, the entire Munchkin plan for the next couple of years is on a bulletin board next to my desk with lots of colored index card squares tacked to it. That's an old-school approach, but the at-a-glance view of what we're doing has proven invaluable when it's time to have another reality-check meeting -- or just when I need to keep tabs on what my own next priority is going to be. We have plenty of online tracking tools as well, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, but this is the one I end up looking at the most, wondering where I could move something a month later here, a couple of weeks earlier there.
Looking at the bulletin board recently, I realized that with a couple of minor exceptions, my design work for this year's releases is done, and I've already turned over drafts of several releases for next year. It's a weird feeling to be this far ahead . . . but it does mean I have some leeway when something new crops up that just has to be done right this second, which happens more often than we would like, even with all this planning. And I still think I could be doing better; I'm hoping that by the end of 2016, I'll already be working on the first few games for 2018!
It's that time of year again . . . we're sending MIB Control Andreas up to Boston to meet with our Men In Black and our retail partner, The Compleat Strategist, to show off games and hand out promotional goodies! This year, we're looking forward to demonstrating Munchkin: Marvel Edition, the newest game from our pals at USAopoly, as well as early peeks at several of our 2016 releases, both Munchkin and not.
If you're going to be at the show, make sure to head by the Compleat Strategist booth to pick up a new game, and go by the SJ Games booth to say hi to Andreas and find out what secrets he's allowed to reveal!
Writing Munchkin Puppies was a lot of fun, even when I thought it would drive me barking mad! I've always been a dog person, so this was right up my tree. There are so many breeds with funny names that half of this set seemed to write itself. Humans have a long history of having dogs as companions, so we have lots of dog-related idioms and aphorisms in English that I could bring to heel for my purposes.
Some of my favorite cards from the set are Bearded Collie, Doge, and Salty Dog. As soon as I read Bearded Collie on my big list of dog breeds, the card popped into my head, fully formed, and Katie Cook drew it just as I had imagined it. Her adorable art really nailed the playfulness of this silly set.
What really made the set sit, lie down, and wag its tail was the masterful coloring work of our own Ben Williams. Dog breeds have very specific coloring to them, and Ben made sure to make every spot perfect, every mottle meticulously placed, and every piebald uh . . . piebald. It took a lot of talent to put Puppies in front of you but every nip and flea dip was worth being dog tired by the end! Woof.
-- Devin Lewis
Actually, it's not quiet at all . . . we've just sent another batch of games to print; Steve, Devin, and I are all hard at work on our next projects; John and the rest of our illustrators are drawing their arms off; and Plans Are Afoot, to misquote a certain consulting detective.
(No, that is not a spoiler. Not even a hint. But that would be an awesome Munchkin set, wouldn't it?)
We just don't have a lot of news that we can actually share right now . . . unless you count "lots of new Munchkin content coming in the next 18 months!" as news. But I doubt that would interest anyone . . .
Some of you may have missed this announcement: we've made select promotional cards and bookmarks available for purchase on Warehouse 23. Each is 50 cents (plus a shipping and handling charge for the whole order, of course), and you can order them by themselves or add them to a larger Warehouse 23 purchase. If a card or bookmark isn't listed, that means we don't have any for sale -- sorry! You can try hitting our Trading Post forum and see if anyone has spares they'd be willing to sell you or swap for.
As we announced at the GAMA Trade Show last week and in the Daily Illuminator this week, we are spacing out some of the later Munchkin Guest Artist Editions to give the sets a little more room to breathe on retailers' shelves and to give our fans' wallets a chance to regenerate. Here are the changes to our announced schedule:
- Munchkin Zombies Guest Artist Edition, illustrated by Greg Hyland: now scheduled for October 2016.
- Super Munchkin Guest Artist Edition, illustrated by Art Baltazar: now scheduled for December 2016.
- Munchkin Guest Artist Edition, illustrated by Edwin Huang: now scheduled for February 2017.
We hope this extension of our 15th anniversary celebration into our 16th anniversary doesn't cause too much cognitive dissonance.
Randy, Andreas, and I will be in Las Vegas for a couple of days this week, hosting our retailer appreciation party in a fancy penthouse suite. It's part of the GAMA Trade Show and, sadly, is not open to the general public -- but we'll think of you fondly as we look down from far, far above. Others of our team will be there for more of the week, meeting with distributors and retailers to talk about how to sell more games; this is a big show every year and it has been getting even bigger.
If you're a retailer who's going to be at the GAMA Trade Show, make sure to attend one of Phil Reed's presentations on Tuesday so you can find out how to join the fun!
We've had a couple of questions about these Warehouse 23 items and I wanted to clarify what's going on. Here's a sample of what I'm talking about.
First: DO NOT pay the $30 charge for a single bookmark! (I suppose you can, if you really want to, but it doesn't seem like a good use of your money.) We have to put a price into the system, and that seemed a large enough price to dissuade people from buying this on its own.
Starting with Munchkin #13, each issue includes a code that you can use on Warehouse 23 that knocks the price of the bookmark down to 1 cent (plus shipping and handling). We charge shipping and handling on the entire order, not individual items, so you can combine this offer with other purchases. The one thing you can't do is use more than one promotional code on a single purchase.
You can also buy the individual comic issues directly from Warehouse 23 (for instance, here's Munchkin #14) and we'll include the related bookmark for freesies, along with five random promo cards! If you haven't been reading the Munchkin comic, this is a great way to jump in and get some new Munchkin promo swag in the process.
It's that time every four years when February goes into sudden-death overtime . . . and this year, it's a fifth Monday. Woo!!
Steve, Andreas, and I are on our way home from Florida, having survived another JoCo Cruise adventure. (I'm writing this in advance, so if the ship went down with all hands, pretend I didn't say that.) No time to rest up when we get back; I have the first draft of my next Munchkin project due in mid-March and the next several games and expansions are lined up like dominoes behind it, plus tons of checking and other support for everything already in the production queue. No rest for the weary in the Munchkin card mines!
Hope your Leap Day is everything you want or need it to be. Enjoy it, since we won't have another one until 2020.
When this posts, I'll be on the second day of JoCo Cruise 2016, working with Steve and Andreas to make sure that everyone coming to the Game Room (sponsored by Steve Jackson Games) is having a great time. Steve and I have several seminars planned, including the ever-popular "What's New at SJ Games" show-and-tell, the second annual "Help Us Write a New Game" panel, and the unveiling of the first draft that came from last year's "New Game" panel, Munchkin Shakespeare. (No release date yet. It's not even on that fantastic schedule I talked about last week.)
Plus we'll all be spending a lot of time just playing games and generally having a blast. It's like a week-long floating convention, only with real food, not food-court "food."
Bookings for JoCo Cruise 2017 are already open, so if you want to spend a week exploring western Mexico on a ship full of other nerds (seriously! next year they have chartered a cruise ship), go check it out!
Hanging on the wall to the left of my desk is a bulletin board. Tacked to that board are index card squares in several different colors, representing the entire Munchkin schedule for the next couple of years. (Usually, it's three years, but 2016 is so packed with stuff to celebrate Munchkin's 15th anniversary that I had to give it two columns.)
Looking at that corkboard lets me see what's coming up in a way that our somewhat dry project database doesn't. For one thing, it lets me check to make sure that the product mix for the year is right. For another, it gives me some warning of schedule problems to come; the second half of this year is packed, y'all, and most of that stuff is still working its way through the writing/editing/production queue. And for a third, it's easy to move things around to try out different ideas until we find one that "looks" right.
Until last week, 2017 was looking a little light -- although not light by the standards of even a few years ago! -- but Phil and Steve and I sat down and put a bunch of games on the schedule next year that we've been wanting to write for a while, and all that free time I thought I had has evaporated. File this under "fantastic problems to have": now I have to spend even MORE time writing stupid jokes for a game I love. Woe, woe, woe!
Here's how crazy I am: with 2017 looking more or less sorted, I'm starting to think about what we can do in 2018. It's a sickness.
Little-known fact: there is a small month between January and February called Fnorduary. Either that, or I can't draw straight lines even with a ruler.
I'm excited to be one of the guests at ChupacabraCon III, being held this May in Round Rock, Texas . . . which happens to be where I live, so it's a convention with no travel. That's novel. There's still plenty of time to register for the show, but they're limiting the attendance, so don't wait too long or you might miss out!
What will I be doing? Giving a talk or two, playing some games, you know, the usual. Keep an eye on the con website for updates and schedules. And look at the SJ Games Conventions page for all the shows we'll be at this year!
It's hard to believe January is already over, but when months are as busy as this one has been, they move quickly.
Kira Hamilton, our talented app developer, found the map needed to navigate Apple's twisty little passages and uploaded the long-awaited update to the Munchkin Level Counter app. This should work with all current iOS devices. We haven't lost track of various suggested new features, and we're discussing which of those we might want to implement, but "Get it working!" was the most important task and it's done.
I'm busy shepherding several games that need to get finished before Steve, Monica, Andreas, and I leave for the JoCo Cruise in (ulp) less than three weeks. Andreas and I will have just enough time to recover from that trip before we jet off to Las Vegas to host our retailer party at the GAMA Trade Show in mid-March.
John Kovalic just wrapped up another wonderful Warpcon in Cork, Ireland -- hey, Warpcon folks, have I mentoned I've always wanted to go to Ireland? -- and has been drawing like a fiend to help us make a fantastic 2016 happen.
Devin Lewis and Darryll Silva are hard at work on our biggest Munchkin project of the year . . . so big that it takes both of them to wrestle it into submission! It's still a secret, for now, but we're hoping to talk about it soon.
Looking forward, I sure don't see any slack time coming up for the next few months. I guess staying busy on new Munchkin games is a great problem to have, and once I get more sleep, I'll remind myself of that . . .
The very first copies of Ian McGinty's Munchkin Guest Artist Edition should be reaching some lucky stores toward the end of this week. Don't wait to pick this up, and in fact you may want to reserve a copy: we produced a limited print run, it sold out of our Atlanta warehouse in two days, and we do not expect to be reprinting this set. Grab it before the eBay scalpers do!
We're excited for everyone to get to see this new take on a classic game, and we hope you are, too!
For more information about the Guest Artist Edition series, head over to the Guest Artist web portal. We aren't nearly done with our announcements . . . and we still have some other surprises for our 15th anniversary, too!
Our primary warehouse in Atlanta is completely out of the Duck of Doom. Warehouse 23 is nearly out (and may be out by the time this posts). We don't currently plan to reprint this, so what's in stores now are the last few Ducks of Doom there will be. Better hurry!
We still have some copies of the Duck of Gloom . . . and it comes with a card you can use in Munchkin Gloom (or any other Gloom game)!
It's weird to look back at the early days of Munchkin and realize how humble the beginnings actually were. It wasn't until a few years ago that it turned into the schedule-demolishing juggernaut that it is today.
If you'd like to take a trip back through memory lane, go read this forum post*. It's impressive how much we've been able to do lately. I need to thank Angie, Keith, Lenny, Devin, and all the folks who've helped me over the last five years. And, of course, Phil, Sam, Steve, and John, who have been nothing but awesome during all of this craziness.
Oh, by the way, the 2016 schedule? It makes 2015 look paltry.
Someday, I'll remember what a good night's sleep tastes like . . .
* There's a lot of other good content in that thread. You should read the whole thing, really.
If you're like us, you're rubbing your eyes, wondering why Monday morning seems to come so early following the holiday break. So we won't make you read a lot of news this morning. We'll just remind you that Ian McGinty's Munchkin Guest Artist Edition kicks off our 15th anniversary party, later this month. Ask your Friendly Local Game Store to save you a copy!
2015 is almost over. Like Janus, I'd like to look back in review and forward in anticipation.
This year, one of Steve's dreams came true with Boom! Studios' monthly Munchkin comic book. The adventure of Spyke, Flower, Brother Skeeper, and their friends kept comic fans in stitches. (As a note of personal pride, Munchkin #9 featured my first published comic story. I'm hoping to have more stories in the comic in 2016 . . . all I have to do is write them.)
USAopoly continued making great games, including three new additions to the Munchkin line: Munchkin Adventure Time 2 – It's a Dungeon Crawl!, Munchkin Zombies: The Walking Dead, and Munchkin The Nightmare Before Christmas. Atlas Games got into the fun with Munchkin Gloom. And AEG published Munchkin Smash Up. Thanks to all these partners!
Of course, we had plenty of fun ourselves. Munchkin Oz showed up at Target. Munchkin Steampunk Deluxe was the first Munchkin game to debut as a Deluxe set. We revisited Star Munchkin with two new expansions, Star Munchkin 3 – Diplomatic Impunity and Star Munchkin Cosmic Demo, as well as a new Star Munchkin Deluxe. Our super-successful line of Munchkin boosters continued, and we found a new way to package them that made many retailers much happier. Behind the scenes, we expanded our team: Devin Lewis has been sharpening his card design skills (Munchkin Dragon's Trike, Munchkin Undead), and we added great artists such as Katie Cook (Munchkin Love Shark Baby, Munchkin Kittens) and Phil Foglio (Munchkin Steampunk Deluxe). And we finally got John Kovalic to write a set (Munchkin Kobolds Ate My Baby)!
Let's not even talk about the office water leak that threw all our work into disarray for months. It's enough to say that the team worked like champs to keep the pipeline moving, and in some ways we may have emerged from the deluge as a better team than we were before. (One more shout-out to Shelley and the whole Orange Coworking team, who made the transition not just bearable, but fun!)
As we've mentioned once or twice, 2016 is the 15th anniversary of Munchkin's debut (at Gen Con in 2001, back when it was in Milwaukee). We have lots of plans to celebrate. Our biggest splash will be the Guest Artist Editions; we've announced seven of them, which is (spoiler alert!) not the full set. Working with all these great artists has given us a ton of new talent for the Munchkin line, and you'll get to see the results of this with some Munchkin releases later in the year.
Speaking of Gen Con, we're looking forward to celebrating 15 years with our fans there in time-honored fashion! We'll have plenty of news to share about our Indianapolis plans soon.
Of course, we also have a schedule packed with great new games, expansions, and accessories, including one of the most-requested Munchkin accessories ever and a new game announcement I don't even want to hint at! You'll just have to watch the New Releases page or the Daily Illuminator (or right here, of course!) for the latest scoops about Munchkin . . . and then go to the forums to talk about them with other Munchkin fans around the world!
We've been working hard (with lots of other people!) to prepare for 2016. I can't wait for y'all to see what we've cooked up!
You know how it is: it takes a week to recover from your Thanksgiving food coma, you have to do all your end-of-year work before the winter break, you're in such demand for holiday parties that you barely sleep, and all of a sudden it's December 21 and you still need that one last thing to fill a stocking.
Our friends at Boom! Studios are here to help out. They've released a special holiday issue of the Munchkin comic book. Run to your friendly local comic store today to grab Deck the Dungeons while there's still time!
If you've been putting off purchasing Munchkin Quest 2 – Looking for Trouble, you are running out of time. Some distributors may have a few copies on shelves, but effectively all the copies have made their way to retail stores. We aren't planning to reprint this again, so whatever copies your Friendly Local Game Store has are, most likely, what they're going to get. Don't get stuck with just a four-player game of Munchkin Quest!
(And while you're shopping, why not pick up Munchkin Quest: Portal Kombat at the same time? That mini-expansion adds dozens of magical portals to the dungeon, plus 10 cards that interact with the portals. This expansion changes how the game plays in some surprising and fun ways.)
This is our last work week of 2015. Warehouse 23 will stop taking orders this Friday, December 18, and between then and January 4, don't expect anyone to be in the office working. (I certainly won't be!) I may even take a break from the forums, and y'all know how rarely that happens.
Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope it's pleasant and safe. See y'all in 2016 . . . and happy 15th anniversary to Munchkin in advance!
Warehouse 23 can help! You can now order in-stock promo cards or bookmarks, just like all the other great games and other cool stuff at our web store. Our promos make great stocking stuffers for current Munchkin fans and are a great way to interest new people in your favorite Munchkin game.
Hey, speaking of Stocking Stuffers . . .
Munchkin fans, if you haven't yet ordered your copy of Munchkin Christmas Lite, here's a little extra incentive. One of our distributors, Southern Hobby, is running a special promotion: if your Friendly Local Game Store ordered Christmas Lite from them, one of their copies might be signed – now there's a great gift for your favorite sibling's stocking! Stores should contact Southern Hobby for more information.
Remember that this is a complete game, not just an expansion (although of course you can mix it in with your existing Munchkin sets); it's meant to turn new players into Munchkin fans. And with all the great holiday-themed art, it's a great game for family get-togethers . . . as long as your family doesn't mind a little good-natured back-stabbing! To learn more about how this set came to be, read the Designer's Notes.
Munchkin News posts every Monday without fail (as long as we have news in the queue). But sometimes, we just don't really have much to talk about on Monday . . . and sometimes, what we have to talk about doesn't happen on a Monday and can't wait until the next Monday.
And if you think this just might be a stealthy way of suggesting that y'all keep an eye on those sources later this week . . . we'll never tell. Unless we do, later this week.
More important, though, BoardGameGeek.Con is coming up next week, and as usual we'll have a bunch of people going to play games and have a good time. Look for our booth in the dealers area (but we aren't selling anything this year) and look for us out in the gaming hall, trying new things and demoing our own games.
I'll be there the whole weekend. It's the first time I've officially been at BGG in a couple of years, so I'm really looking forward to it. If you're at the show, come find me and say hi!
Of course, if you don't already have a badge, you're way too late . . . even the hotels are all booked up, so you can't even come to Dallas and hope to crash the show. Better luck next year!
On November 3, for the first time in three months, the whole team will be back together at our main office. The post-flood renovations are complete and we're getting ready to set up in our new workspaces.
I'd like to extend very special thanks to the folks at Orange Coworking, our hosts since the start of August, for going WAY beyond our expectations in making us feel welcome. If you're in Austin and looking for a place to get some work done, check them out; they're good people. Tell 'em SJ Games sent you!
And thanks to you, our fans, for your support during this difficult time. It's good to be home.
If you're running a Halloween game day (and if not, why not? We are!), we here at Team Munchkin have lots of games you can add to the festivities.
- Munchkin Bites!: Play as a vampire, werewolf, or changeling. Kill the poor cattle who infest your world . . . and take their stuff!
- Munchkin Zombies: Play as a zombie. Eat the braaaaaaiins of the unfortunate survivors of the zombie holocaust . . . and take their stuff!
- Munchkin Cthulhu: Play as a monster whacker, professor, investigator . . . or a Cthulhu cultist! Uncover brain-twisting secrets and fight the Elder Gods . . . and take their stuff!
- Munchkin Treasure Hunt: For the younger set! Wander around a dungeon, pick up loose treasures, fight the monsters living there . . . and take their stuff!
- Add Munchkin Tricky Treats to any Munchkin game . . . and put Munchkin Undead on your wish list at your Friendly Local Game Store to be one of the first people to pick it up next month! (Do not take their stuff. They're real people and there are laws about that sort of thing.)
Special rule: If you're playing any variety of Munchkin in costume on Saturday, you get +2 in any combat against an Undead monster. Even if your costume represents the undead itself. Munchkins don't concern themselves with such things.
A few weeks ago, we started shipping Munchkin Marked for Death to our distributors. The very next day, Ross told us that he had sold the entire print run. Way to go, Ross!
Marked for Death should be on the shelves at your Friendly Local Game Store. Whatever the distributors have is what they're going to get, so you might warn your store to stock up now -- and if they haven't already ordered this booster, they'll definitely want to get some copies immediately.
We've been teasing this one since Munchkin World NYC, back in February, so we're glad it's finally available!
Last week, we posted the Star Munchkin 3 Designer's Notes. This week, we're peeking behind the curtain to look at all the secrets of another new game: Munchkin Oz. Adapting these classic stories to Munchkin was one of the most fun challenges I've faced in my time as Czar, and this article gives you a look at some of them, including the reasons why several things that seemed like obvious design choices at the start ended up not working at all. It also peeks at several cards from the game and discusses several others.
(You can also read John Kovalic's thoughts about Munchkin Oz in the September 25 Daily Illuminator, and you should, because they're great.)
(For even more bonus Oz content, pick up issue #9 of the Munchkin comic from BOOM! Studios; there's a six-page Oz backup story illustrated by Mike Luckas and written by, um, me. Find out what happens when Spyke and Flower meet some real Munchkins . . .)
- How the Ambassador and Veggie were created!
- What features were (and weren't) included from previous Star Munchkin sets!
- The (nearly?) complete list of source material Andrew used when writing the new cards!
- Why we included a 113th card in the first printing . . . and which card was the last-minute addition!
Enjoy reading the article . . . and then come visit the Munchkin forum to share your thoughts! And if you don't know anything about Star Munchkin, check out the Star Munchkin Cosmic Demo, coming in November.
Our friends at Classic Board Games HQ posted an article called the Top 5 Tips To Destroy Your Friends At Munchkin. We're big fans of winning games of Munchkin, of course, so we wanted to offer a few tips that they missed.
- Embrace Death. Dying in Munchkin isn't always a bad thing. You keep your Level, Race, and Class (or whatever attributes are used in your game), followed by getting an entirely new starting hand worth of cards. Many clever Munchkin players have turned mediocre situations into a win just by getting themselves killed. After all, nothing says a Loaded Die has to be used to change the die to a winning roll . . .
- Threats are your friend! In the game, that is. "If you don't accept help from Darryll, I won't play this Curse on you!" The best part of threatening to use Curses or Monster Enhancers is that you don't actually need to have any in your hand to get away with it . . .
- Read your cards. Read your cards. Just once more for emphasis: Read your cards! Know all the abilities on your Class, Race, Items, and so on. Knowing exactly what your cards let you get away with can very often mean the difference between winning and losing. In Munchkin Steampunk, for example, the Tycoon lets you draw a Treasure once per turn when you go up a level. I can't stress enough how many times I've seen players forget this ability. If you start the game as a Tycoon, that's eight extra Treasures you can draw (more if you fluctuate up and down). Read your cards!
-- Devin Lewis
Thanks to you guys selling through the initial print run in record time, the second printing of our Munchkin Dragons booster is available now or will be, very shortly, at your Friendly Local Game Store. Hot on its heels is our second booster chock full of draconian goodness, Munchkin Dragon's Trike! It starts shipping to our distributors today, so expect to see it in your local stores in a couple of weeks.
Not only are Munchkin dragons swarming your local stores, we've stumbled over a nest of them deep inside our own warehouse. Place your orders at Warehouse 23 now to receive a dragon-themed Munchkin bookmark, while supplies last!
-- Devin Lewis
As I write this Sunday night, I'm sitting at Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport, scarfing down chili-cheese fries and thinking over the fantastic weekend I just had. Some highlights:
- I was on three panels and they all went very well. (If you weren't at Phil Reed's and my "Behind the Scenes at SJ Games" panel on Saturday, you missed some secrets being revealed!) Thanks to my co-panelists and to all the audience members who asked fantastic questions; you made the panels work at least as much as we did.
- I got to meet up with lots of friends, old and new, including Jim Zub, Greg Hyland, Katie Cook, Eric Lang, and Robin Laws. Extra thanks to Zub and Eric Lang for making sure I did not leave Toronto without experiencing some of the fantastic cuisine, including a dish of poutine that was practically a religious experience.
- The Central Canada Men In Black ran a tight demo ship. They let me take over a table for a couple of Not-So-Secret Playtests, which gave me loads of good feedback on a couple of games that aren't quite there yet. Thanks, team!
- SUPER thanks to the Fan Expo team, especially Justin Mohareb, who invited Phil and me up, and the Travel Team who made sure I made it back to the airport with enough time to spare. Justin, let's do this again really soon.
An extra-special NO THANKS to Delta Airlines, who lost a backup pilot it turned out we needed just long enough for us to get hit with another weather delay, canceling our flight from Detroit to Toronto. And when they rebooked us on another flight about 45 minutes later (note: they were not SCHEDULED that close together), apparently no one thought that half a plane full of travelers would need their luggage; Phil and I were only two of a dozen or more people who ended up not getting their bags once we finally made it to Toronto. The weather isn't Delta's fault, but not knowing where their reserve pilot was hiding was a completely avoidable screwup.
If you're in the Toronto area or can get there, I highly recommend Fan Expo; apart from the impressive gaming track and game room, there are TONS of other activities to enjoy and great celebrity guests to meet. Plus, Toronto is awesome. I hope the next time I'm there, I get to see a little more of it.
Phil and I will be attending Fan Expo Canada in Toronto, September 4-6. We're both doing several panels (including one "Behind the Scenes at SJ Games" panel that we're BOTH on) and we'd love to see you there!
I'll also be running some games, including some playtests, and I'll be happy to sign stuff, too. Hope to see you there!
Munchkin Fu Guest Artist Edition!
Quick, go look at today's Daily Illuminator for the announcement of the Munchkin Fu Guest Artist Edition . . . with a very unusual guest artist!
I'm pleased to announce that I will be joining Phil Reed as a featured gaming guest at Fan Expo Canada, September 3-6 in Toronto, Ontario. We're going to be sitting on panels (see below!), signing stuff, and I at least plan to run a bunch of games. I'm looking forward to having some time to hang out with loads of very nice game industry people, even by Canadian standards, such as Jim Zub, Eric Lang, Robin Laws, and even Ed "Elminster" Greenwood. (I also expect I will be a gibbering fanboy at some point or other, probably about the time I get to the front of Steve Blum's autograph line to have him sign the insert from my Cowboy Bebop Blu-Ray set. Bang.)
I'm hoping to get some time to tour Toronto as well; I've never been and I hear nice things. If nothing else, Zub has promised to take me to his favorite poutinerie and I cannot wait. (If anyone knows of healthy food options near the convention, I think I'm going to need some!)
Here's our preliminary panel schedule, subject to change:
- Basic Kickstarting and Crowdfunding: Friday, 3:30, Rm 713
- Publishing Your Own Tabletop Game: Friday, 5:45, Rm 705
- State of the Game Industry: Sunday, 3:45, Rm 705
- In the Game of Boards, You Win or You Roll Again*: Sunday, 11:15, Rm 715
- Getting Started With Tabletop Roleplaying Games: Sunday, 12:15, Rm 703
- Advanced Kickstarting and Crowdfunding: Sunday, 2:15, Rm 717A
- THE BIG ONE: Phil and Andrew in "Steve Jackson Games: Behind the Pyramid", Saturday, 12:30, Rm 713
* I have no idea what this panel is about. As a result, I am looking forward to this more than almost anything else at Fan Expo.
Phil has already promised to crash at least one of my panels, and I'm sure I'll return the favor. We're looking forward to seeing a lot of Munchkin fans at the show!
Here's some news I've been sitting on for months now! We're celebrating Munchkin's 15th birthday by creating Guest Artist Editions of various Munchkin Deluxe games, including several that have never been turned into Deluxe sets before! These sets are special versions, and there's a good chance most of them will never be reprinted, so don't delay!
The first two sets are:
- Munchkin, illustrated by Ian McGinty. Lots of you have seen his work in the Munchkin comic from BOOM! Studios (or you can look at the cover just to the right).
- Star Munchkin, illustrated by Len Peralta. Len, of course, illustrated Munchkin The Guild, but you should also check out his Geek a Week trading cards and his fantastic comic Ten State.
Gen Con 2015 is now part of history, and here are some assorted reflections on this year's big gamer festival.
- We had a lot of people interested in Munchkin Oz and Munchkin Steampunk Deluxe, both of which received quite a few demos during the show. I think it's fair to say the star of our booth was Mars Attacks: Ten-Minute Takedown. The table we dedicated to this new dexterity game was busy and raucous the entire show, and many of those demo games turned directly into sales. We also had a lot of interest in the new, expanded edition of Car Wars: The Card Game and Mars Attacks: The Dice Game.
The other companies producing Munchkin-themed games also reported a huge Spyke in sales (sorry, but only a little).
- USAopoly had Munchkin Adventure Time and Munchkin Adventure Time 2 – It's a Dungeon Crawl! for sale at their booth. (They'd hoped to have Munchkin Zombies: The Walking Dead, but it didn't quite make it to the show.)
- AEG had Munchkin Loot Letter and debuted Smash Up: Munchkin; that game moved steadily all four days of the show.
- Fireside Games continued to demo (and therefore sell) Munchkin Panic.
- And Atlas Games had Munchkin Gloom available for the first time, with many unhappy people killing off their adventurers in delightfully morbid ways over the course of the show.
- We were right across the aisle from our pals at Green Ronin and got to enjoy seeing their booth full and overfull with folks looking to pick up the new Fantasy AGE roleplaying game and the Titansgrave sourcebook for that game, based on the Wil Wheaton-hosted and -created series on Geek & Sundry (who had a little sub-booth in GR's space). This has nothing to do with Munchkin, but the Ronins are good people and it's a pleasure to see them doing so well.
- Our booth was privileged to host signings by John Kovalic and Len Peralta, and I may have scribbled my name on a few things as well.
- SJ Games CEO Phil Reed had his usual whirlwind of meetings, some of which I was privileged to sit in on. We have some very fun plans in the works for Munchkin's 15th anniversary next year, and some of Phil's meetings dealt with those plans, but I personally sat in on one meeting where we started talking about ideas for 2018 and 2019. Crazy.
- Speaking of the anniversary, we nailed down almost all the final details for a big announcement (the first of several) coming up shortly -- watch this space in the coming weeks for more news!
On a personal note, I got to see some pals and have fun with people I don't see nearly often enough, but during the show I also learned of the passing of one of my Gen Con regulars (a loyal Munchkin fan and a good friend). Gen Con's not going to be the same without his smiling face in our booth every year.
Thanks to everyone who came to see us -- we know the show gets more and more packed each year, and we're glad so many of you fans made the time to swing by and try a demo, buy a game, or just say howdy. Those interactions are what make these conventions so much fun for us. We look forward to seeing many familiar and new faces next year at Gen Con 2016!
Later this week, the SJ Games crew will be heading up to Indianapolis for Gen Con. (In fact, CEO Phil Reed and I fly out tomorrow so we can meet with Director of Sales Ross Jepson on Wednesday for a very special breakfast meeting. Why is it so special? Duh, breakfast . . . and lots of other things I can't talk about yet.)
We will be in our usual location, attached to the Adventure Retail booth, with tables running game demos the entire show (including demos of our new Munchkin games, Munchkin Steampunk Deluxe and Munchkin Oz). I'll be hosting one table each afternoon, so if you stop by at the right time, you might get to play Munchkin against me! We'll also have signings by John Kovalic, Len Peralta, and even me -- watch our Twitter feed or ask the booth staff to find out when all these special events take place!
Finally, we have a pretty cool announcement to help us kick off our celebration of Munchkin's 15th anniversary next year!
We aren't hosting the Munchkin Tavern this year, but that doesn't mean we won't have plenty of Munchkin festivities going on! Hope to see y'all there!
We are very pleased to announce that our newest Munchkin game, Munchkin Oz, has started appearing on shelves in Target stores across the United States. Over the next few weeks, we expect to see it roll out to the rest of the country and appear on target.com as well. You can read our press release to find out more.
Pairing up Munchkin with L. Frank Baum's classic stories -- the stories that gave us the term "munchkin," after all! -- has been a lot of fun, and we can't wait for y'all to see the result and play the new game.
If you want to hear more about this new game straight from the developer, Andrew and Rhea will be hosting #SJGamesLive this week on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Central Time -- click the hashtag or follow us on Twitter for more information!
We have an announcement that we'll be making later today. We'll post a longer news item then. For now, feel free to hit the forums and speculate.
For the third year in a row, Munchkin artist John Kovalic is participating in a charity bike ride. And for the third year in a row, he has announced he will wear various Munchkin accoutrements if his goal is reached.
I happen to know that if he reaches $15,000, he will wear the Munchkin Hoodie . . .
(P.S. Happy birthday, Dad!)
When I sat down to start working on Munchkin Dragon's Trike, I knew that it would be challenging. We'd done our best to include as many of the dragons from popular culture as we could in the first Munchkin Dragons set. Finding more dragons to slay was going to be quite the quest!
In order to find that most elusive of prey, I had to search the deepest caves; the tallest mountains; the farthest, most lightless reaches of the sea; and the darkest, most horrifying corners of the Internet. When I returned, dragging what limbs and sanity I had left behind me, I sorted through my findings and selected only the freshest, funniest, pun-filled-iest Dragons I had found. A little polishing and accessorizing later, we proudly present to you our latest booster: Dragon's Trike!
-- Devin Lewis
Steve Jackson Games is closed this week for our regular summer break. This means that no one will be on phones and Warehouse 23
Business as usual resumes next week (although not for me, as I'll be taking an extra week off).
Over on the forums, we were asked whether we considered the booster promotion a success and whether we would do it again. It's a great question that I thought deserved more of an audience, so I'm answering it here.
Was the promotion a success?
I would say it was mixed. We certainly saw a lot of interest from fans over the months that it ran, and every day's mail had a sheaf of people sending in their forms and their UPCs and their money (more about that in a moment), so from the perspective of fan engagement, absolutely it was successful.
We fell down in a couple of areas, however, and in ways that in retrospect we should have seen coming.
First, the card needed to be cooler. This is entirely on me; I underestimated the desire for unique, wonderful effects on a one-off card and failed to create a card that stood out as "Whoa!" If you see me at a show and bring me the card, I'll make it cooler, I promise. (I don't know how yet, but I've got a whole MONTH before Gen Con to figure it out.)
Second, we failed to account for the Warehouse 23 boosters in this promotion, because they don't have UPCs. We allowed fans to send in the little insert instead, and most people either figured it out on their own or asked about it.
Third, and something we would have known immediately if we had only asked our business office: it turned out that the processing fees on foreign checks were more than the money they were worth. A lot of foreign fans ended up getting cards for just the cost of postage as a result. Whoops. This is definitely something we will have to account for if we do redemption-type promotions in the future.
Overall, we're very happy with how it went . . . but we're gamers, and it's in our nature to nitpick.
Will we do another similar promotion again?
Too early to tell. We don't have anything like this planned at this time, and we would be unlikely to do something exactly the same in any event. But redemption codes and the like are mainstays of marketing for a reason, and I can easily see us finding something new to do with the concept.
Thanks to everyone who participated!
Old-time fans may remember the name Alain H. Dawson. She was our Art Director in the late 1990s and was responsible, among MANY other coups, for bringing us Chez Geek and for hiring Phil Reed to be her replacement after she was promoted to Managing Editor. Alain was also my boss when I transitioned from a brief stint in the marketing office (which was actually Steve's office closet -- really!) to the editorial division.
I am very pleased to announce that Alain is back in the fold! She has joined us, working as the Munchkin Licensing Manager. She's going to be our liaison with our third-party publishers such as Boom! Studios and USAopoly, taking a lot of the routine back-and-forth off my plate so that I can focus on the bigger picture and get some more time for design work. And our partners should see faster responses, since Alain has nothing distracting her!
It's always nice to reconnect with old friends, and it's doubly nice when we can do it in a way that is a win for everyone involved. Thanks to Alain for stepping in, and welcome back to the Steve Jackson Games family!
Unfortunately, the realities of printing and shipping mean that Munchkin Steampunk Deluxe, originally scheduled for September (with an early Launch Kit release in July) has pushed back a month into October (with the Launch Kit in August). We regret the unavoidable delay and trust that Steampunk will be well worth the wait.
As a reminder, for those of you asking "What's this Launch Kit, guv?": game stores can order the Munchkin Steampunk Deluxe Launch Kit to get the game two months early. Each Launch Kit contains three copies of Steampunk Deluxe plus FREE posters and promo cards for stores to use to promote the new game. Gadzooks! (If a store wants more than three copies, they can order more Launch Kits; it's not a limited offer, except by the number of kits we printed.) Store owners should contact their distributors for more information.
We at Munchkin Central can't wait for you all to enjoy Steve's jokes and Phil Foglio's art in the newest Munchkin game. Bully, bully!
Time for another quick recap of news in the Munchkin world!
Munchkin Treasure Hunt is coming to your FLGS! Look for it on shelves in October.
- Munchkin Adventure Time 2 -- It's a Dungeon Crawl! should be on shelves NOW (or very, very soon).
- We did a special Munchkin promo card for The Decemberists; it's on the merch table at their shows. There may be other ways to get it; watch the Daily Illuminator, our Twitter stream, and of course right here!
- Issue #5 of the Munchkin comic book came out last week from BOOM! Studios -- go grab it at your local shop now so you don't miss out on the newest promo card!
All that news in just one week! No wonder I'm making myself sick working so hard. I'm going to go relax . . . just kidding! Too many awesome things to do; can't slack off now!
We're closed today, in honor of all those who have given their lives in military service.
We've got a double dose of Dragons coming up later this year. Also check out our new packaging for Munchkin boosters -- now you can find them pegged with the larger tuckbox expansions!
Munchkin Dragons (reprint)
Here There Be Dragons!
Dragons are fearsome! Dragons are cool! Dragons have LOTS of treasure for munchkins to loot! Munchkin Dragons has 15 new cards. The treasures are wondrous indeed . . . but first, you've got some dragons to slay. Good luck.
This is an expansion for Munchkin. It is not a stand-alone game. This is NOT a collectible or randomized set. Every Munchkin Dragons pack is the same as every other.
Now You've Done It!
You stirred up the nest and now Dragons are everywhere! Big ones, tiny ones, even undead ones. Munchkin Dragon's Trike has 15 new cards. Kill enough Dragons and you might even be able to start your own treasure hoard . . .
(P.S. Happy birthday, Mom!)
We've done some research and talked to our retailer friends, and what we've learned is that the finseal packs that we usually put Munchkin boosters in aren't as easy to display on the shelf as they could be. So we went back to the drawing board on packaging for them, and now we're going to start releasing boosters in a hanging blister pack, so that retailers can hang them with our expansions. You'll see this first with our reprint of Star Munchkin: Space Ships in June. Check out the picture if you want to see a side-by-side comparison; the one on the left is the old packaging, and the new packaging is on the right.
Star Munchkin: Space Ships lets you ride in -- or on -- the Horsefly, the Starfurry, or the USS Secondprize. You can buff your ships with a Quad-Mounted Laser or a Bridge. And you can let your new Sidekick, Otto, do the flying for you.
Live long and prosper and kill monsters!
Note: This is an expansion for Star Munchkin, not a stand-alone set. Space Ships is not collectible or randomized; every pack is the same as every other.
-- Brian Engard
In addition to all the normal promos and swag you'd normally get from buying things on Warehouse 23, during the month of May we're going to give away even more stuff. Here's how it works:
When you make a purchase on Warehouse 23 that includes a Munchkin item:
. . . if you spend $30 or more, you get a free Munchkin Pillow Case!
. . . if you spend $100 or more, you get a free Munchkin Goodie Bag and a free Munchkin Pillow Case!
As with our other Warehouse 23 freebies, shipping, handling, and tax don't count toward your total, and the box size has to already be big enough to accomodate the new freebies. This has to be a physical purchase; electronic stuff doesn't count.
This deal is only through the month of May, and only while supplies last!
-- Brian Engard
The Munchkin Polo Shirt is back in stock at Warehouse 23 -- this time, the Munchkin head is electric blue! We ordered twice as many as before, but experience has shown that these don't stay on shelves long . . . don't wait to order one, or you may be too late!
A little while ago, I talked about some upcoming reprints of Munchkin booster packs. It occurs to me that I haven't
mentioned teased our new boosters for the rest of the year. By all means, let me fix that oversight right now.
We (currently) have six new boosters on the schedule for the rest of 2015. In no particular order, and without giving away too much, I can tell you that:
- One of them is Munchkin Apocalypse: Judge Dredd, which is in Steve's hands for some TLC. (Steve is the Law!) We still expect to see it this fall.
- One of them is a companion to a previous Munchkin booster.
- At least two of them are monster collections, like Munchkin Dragons and Munchkin Pathfinder: Gobsmacked.
- One of them is useful as well as fun, and just may tie into one of our booster reprints this year . . . and maybe some new releases as well.
- And a couple of them are so secret, I'm not even supposed to be talking about them! Whoops!
Got any speculation about what might be coming? Have requests for non-licensed boosters you want to see? Want to engage in random rumor-mongering about the boosters you think we might be working on for 2016? (Yes, we already have several boosters on next year's schedule!) Post your comments on the forums!
We recently made a bunch of updates to our Munchkin promo card page. Go check it out!
(To answer one question: Yes, we do plan to reprint some of the promos that are currently out of print. In fact, we've sent a few of them to print in the past few weeks, and we'll look at the list as we continue working on new sets and reprints throughout the year. We know some folks have been having a hard time getting our OOP promos, so we're hoping they can take advantage of a second chance.)
Last week was a flurry of approving reprints so we won't run out of games to sell later this year. Not a lot of NEW creative work got done, but keeping our backlist available is at least as important. (Here's how important: on the wall chart in my office, I had to split 2015 into two columns, one for new releases and one for reprints, just to have enough room to see everything.)
I did sneak in a few approvals of new stuff, however, so my week wasn't totally, um, smashed up.
This week, I get to turn back to the last couple of stragglers on our 2015 schedule plus work on some new stuff for 2016, including the first real work on our Top Secret Project* to celebrate our 15th anniversary. The fun never stops here at Munchkin Central!
* Or one of them, at least. It is possible we have multiple Top Secret Projects afoot!
A couple of people have noticed that the cover of Star Munchkin 3 – Diplomatic Impunity
Which card is the bonus card? For now, we're not telling, but once the card list goes live on the Star 3 web page, we'll be sure to indicate which card is first printing only.
Incidentally, John Kovalic came up with that extra card. It's a lot of fun working with creative people!
We made several announcements during the GAMA Trade Show last week. If you weren't paying attention to the Internet, here's what you missed:
Our pals at USAopoly have three more Munchkin games coming out this year!
- Munchkin Adventure Time 2 – It's a Dungeon Crawl! will be in stores next month. It's a 100-card expansion (including 12 new Dungeons!) retailing at US$19.95.
- Munchkin Zombies: The Walking Dead is a 56-card expansion based on Robert Kirkman's hit comic book, featuring great Charlie Adlard artwork. You will need Munchkin Zombies to play. The Walking Dead will be in stores late this summer, retailing at US$10.95.
- There will be a Munchkin The Nightmare Before Christmas core game! We aren't quite ready to announce when it will be available; price will be US$24.95.
- We will be reprinting Munchkin Dragons this August. Both it and Star Munchkin: Space Ships will be packaged in a blister attached to a backing card the same size as our tuckbox expansions, so retailers can hang these boosters right on the same peg. Price will still be US$4.95.
- Munchkin Steampunk Deluxe will be released in a launch kit this July, with three copies of the game, 72 promo cards (24 each of three different cards), and three posters for stores to hang in their shops. The game by itself will ship in September, so the launch kit is the only way to have the game when it is initially released. Steampunk Deluxe will be US$29.95 and the launch kit will be US$89.95.
- Munchkin Stocking Stuffers will be getting a full release later this year.
- Munchkin Gloom and Munchkin Smash Up are still on track for release this year. It's a bit too soon to narrow it down further than that.
- We're teaming up with Renegade Game Studios on a set of Munchkin trading cards! These are actual trading cards, just like sports cards and the like (but without the nasty chewing gum), and there will be some special or even unique chase cards scattered through the set.
Hard as this is to believe, we still haven't announced everything coming out this year! We've got some more love for Star Munchkin and some support for Munchkin Steampunk coming. We've got some new Munchkin expansions and accessories I'm really looking forward to. And a big part of what I did at the show was talk with some people about our Munchkin plans for 2016 and beyond . . . plans that I think define the term "ambitious." It's an exciting time to be a Munchkin fan!
We've gone on record as saying that we almost always treat our Munchkin boosters as "one and done." We had thought that our usual print run of 25,000 boosters (or more!) would be sufficient.
However, "almost always" is not always. Sometimes, it turns out that we're wrong about demand.
So far, eight of our out-of-print (or going-out-of-print-fast) boosters have been repackaged in two collections, Munchkin Holiday Surprise
Later this year, three more boosters will be getting new life in the form of second printings. I've already revealed on the forums that one of them is Star Munchkin: Space Ships
We're also experimenting with a new way to package boosters. Space Ships will be in the new format and at least one of the other two reprints will be as well. It's not as cheap as foil finseal packs for large quantities, so we'll definitely keep using those, but the new format makes smaller print runs cost-effective AND may make some retailers happy in the bargain.
Are you attending the GAMA Trade Show next week?
Do you want to meet Marketing Director Brian Engard, Retail Liaison Randy Scheunemann, and me, your humble Czar?
We're hosting a special retailer get-together the night of March 17 in Las Vegas. For details, attend one of Phil Reed's presentations that afternoon. We leaked a bit of information in our March retailer newsletter -- if you aren't subscribed, make sure to update your entry in our Store Finder or talk to Randy that night and he'll hook you up.
Hope to see a lot of you there!
March 2 is the day Texans celebrate their declaration of independence from Mexico, back in 1836. (Mexico didn't exactly accept it peacefully, you may recall.) This year, Warehouse 23 is celebrating by making Munchkin blank cards available again!
As for me, I'm celebrating being done (or at least very close to done) with a Very Important Munchkin Project that has eaten my brain for the past few months. Now I can refocus my attention on all the other things that have been . . . uh . . . piling . . .
Wow, that's a whole lot of stuff to work on. Better get started. After all, 2016 is a lot closer than we think.
(A personal postscript: I wrote this item a couple of weeks ago. On Saturday, my grandfather passed away. I'm taking this week off to spend time with my family. I'll be jumping on my ever-increasing to-do list next week instead. Thanks to everyone who has already expressed your condolences; they really do mean a lot. -AH)
You might find yourself wondering "Just what does a Munchkin Hireling do?" Well aside from the obvious carrying of things my co-workers can't, I also have a number of very important duties. I make a lot of jokes (some of them so bad they wind up on Munchkin cards,) I remind Andrew that there are these things called deadlines, I help shepherd art from the talented hands of John Kovalic through the approvals process and into the hands of our amazing production department, and, most importantly, I avoid anyone with a Kill the Hireling card!
-- Devin Lewis
We had a fantastic time and hope everyone who attended did as well. I want to congratulate everyone from SJ Games on their hard work pulling this together -- it was the very definition of a team effort, with everyone on staff involved at one time or another. Thanks, y'all; I'm proud to be working with you. Special thanks to MIBs Sean and Melissa Ferris, who gave up their entire weekend to work in the store with us.
I'm flying back home today (because I've done two trips back to back and I am TIRED) while the rest of the team dismantles the store and comes home tomorrow and Wednesday. It's going to be tough to go back to the dull routine after the excitement of putting our very own New York store together, but we'll manage somehow.
Thanks again to everyone who came by and visited Munchkin World NYC!
OHH, and congratulations to Brian Shanks, the winner of the Munchkin Invitational! The final round was Munchkin Steampunk Deluxe (using a handmade prototype set), and he got to keep the set as his prize . . . or he would have, had he not offered it as a bribe to another player for help in the winning combat. A munchkinly play indeed!
It's hard to believe but I just got back into town, and later this week I'll be flying (with a whole lot of my loyal co-workers!) to New York for Munchkin World NYC! It's been months in the planning and we hope everyone who shows up has a great time. Hope to see y'all there!
Remember that Munchkin t-shirt design contest from welovefine? Well, the winners have been posted, and boy are they great! Go check them out, and get ready to buy some sweet shirts! I know I will.
-- Brian Engard
I know it seems like Munchkin News has been an unending series of appearances this month . . . that's because we're so dang busy!
Steve Jackson, Monica Stephens, and I will be among the Sea Monkeys on JoCo Cruise 5, setting sail January 31. It's WAY too late to book a trip, but if you're already going to be sailing with us, make sure you swing by the Game Room (which we're sponsoring this year!); Steve and I will be spending a lot of time there showing off our new releases and probably even playtesting some games still in progress. Plus we hope to play some games from other companies! The highlight for me is likely to be a trip to see the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, which I've always wanted to do. I will try not to kill Sean Bean while I'm there. We'll also be hanging out in the Game Room that we sponsored, playing more games!
You might also get to see Steve and I design a game RIGHT THERE ON THE SHIP. Y'know, if you're into that sort of thing.
Everyone else, I guess we'll see you when we're back on dry land. Yarrr!
Steve Jackson Games will have a booth at PAX South in San Antonio this weekend! Officially, I'm not scheduled to be there, but unofficially I may drop by -- it's practically in our backyard, after all.
Steve Jackson Games will be attending New Orleans Wizard World this coming weekend. Munchkin "Hireling" Devin Lewis will be among the staff at the show; swing by and thank him for all the hard work he puts in making sure the Munchkin trains run on time!
Reminder: Today's The Day!
At 10:00 Central Time on Monday, January 12, signups for the Munchkin Invitational at Munchkin World NYC will close, and we will pick the six players and three alternates for each table shortly thereafter by a highly systematic method called "generating a bunch of random numbers." We will notify those people with all due speed as soon as we have our six lists. (If you're reading this after Monday morning, sorry; you're too late.)
We have a busy day ahead of catching up on emails, phone calls, and the forums. While we're doing that, you should go make sure you're signed up for the Munchkin Invitational at Munchkin World NYC, if you haven't already done so. We'll be selecting our players next week!
The Munchkin family lost a great friend at the end of 2014. Pat Hannum, known as morleydotes on our forums, passed away suddenly on December 29. Pat was one of the most active Men In Black in the Pacific Northwest. I had the pleasure of meeting him several times and was always impressed by his tireless energy and good humor. He was one of our longest-serving Men In Black, and he will be missed more than words can express.
Our condolences go out to Pat's family and to the larger family of gamers whose lives Pat enriched.
If you're planning to attend Munchkin World NYC (and why wouldn't you!?) and you wanted to try for a spot in the Munchkin Invitational, signups are now open and will run through the morning of January 12.
(As a reminder, SJ Games offices are closed this week and next. There will be no Munchkin News next week. See you on January 5!)
May we recommend Munchkin Treasure Hunt? Good, because we are!
Our end-of-year game day is Thursday, December 18, and the absolute LAST day of shipping from Warehouse 23 is Friday, December 19 -- so I'd advise getting any last-minute holiday orders in early this week.
We are officially closed from end of business on December 19 until January 5. Email and phone responses are very likely to be delayed during this time.
Please have a safe and fun end of year, whatever you celebrate during this time.
There's one more news item that should post next week, and it's an important one, so keep your eyes on this space.
Devin Lewis, my intrepid Hireling, has been running Munchkin playtests now for over a year. I asked him to write up some thoughts on the subject. Here's Devin! --Andrew
-- Devin Lewis
We regret to announce that we will not be creating a 2015 Munchkin Silver Piece. Our analytics have shown that page views are trending downward, and the number of monthly hits compared with the number of coins we produce each year leads us to conclude that our marketing money would be better spent elsewhere.
The existing rules and coins are still usable, of course! The Munchkin Silver Piece rule archive has all the past rules listed; just use the one matching the year on your coin and the current month.
Lots of you have asked us to revisit Star Munchkin, and so we are!
We've been playtesting this around Austin for a month or so (thanks to all the playtesters for keeping this quiet!) and John's been working hard on the art for this 112-card expansion. With luck, we'll have real card mockups to show off at our spring conventions next year.
I had a blast going back to one of our first Munchkin games and playing in that sandbox again with another decade-plus of science fiction to draw from. I can't wait to find out what y'all think of the result!
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.
We here at Munchkin HQ have been very pleased with the response to Munchkin Treasure Hunt. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to drop us a note or a tweet or a forum post to talk about Treasure Hunt! Here are a few posts you may have missed:
- John Booth over at GeekDad posts a review of Treasure Hunt and mentions how it has turned him into his nephews' favorite uncle. The power of gaming!
- Father Geek has also posted a very complimentary Treasure Hunt review. Thanks to you both!
- Finally, Treasure Hunt artist John Kovalic has posted a "behind the drawing table" look at his creative process on the art for Munchkin Treasure Hunt. Thanks, John, this is awesome!
When more reviews and blog posts come in, we'll do another news round-up. We're especially interested in hearing how the younger set enjoys the game!
Munchkin is a great game, and we're really excited about how many people like it. We noticed a while back that there was an audience that didn't have a Munchkin game all their own, though: kids! So what did we do? We made a game for kids.
Munchkin Treasure Hunt isn't just another Munchkin core set; it's a whole new board game in which kids (or grown-ups; you know y'all love this stuff too) move their characters around a board fighting monsters and taking their treasure! Monster cards make the monsters tougher, and you can use your Treasure cards to defeat the monsters and get even more treasure. But you'll want to hang on to those Treasures; each one has a Gold value, and the player with the most Gold at the end of the game is the winner!
You can find Munchkin Treasure Hunt in Toys'R'Us stores right now. There are Toys'R'Us stores everywhere, so it shouldn't be hard for kids all over the country to get their hands on a copy, but if you don't live close enough to get there, you can order from toysrus.com, too. Go get your loot!
-- Brian Engard
We're pleased to welcome Carl deSoto back to SJ Games. Carl used to work out in the warehouse (if you ordered from Warehouse 23 last year, there's a good chance Carl packed your order!) and left to pursue other opportunities.
Our trained ninjas Changing circumstances brought him back to us recently, however, and it's great to have him working alongside us once again!
And what is it that Carl is doing? We're not telling just yet . . . but when he's done, we expect that things will be a lot more organized than they have been in the past.
It's nice to have you back on the team, Carl!
I'm going to be in New York City February 13-15, 2015, for a special Munchkin event.
What is it? WHERE is it? Can't tell you that yet. But if you're in the area, we'd love to see you!
We want your opinions! Join our playtest group on Facebook and be notified whenever we're taking new sets out for a spin.
(There was a Meetup group as well, for a while; Meetup apparently nuked it, for reasons they've never clearly explained. We're working to get it back for you Facebookophobes.)
Right now, we're playtesting Munchkin Steampunk and Munchkin Adventure Time 2, but we've got more stuff in the pipeline later this year!
Writing Munchkin cards is a lot of fun . . . but, after a while, the creative juices evaporate. Luckily, we've got a page where you guys can submit your own wacky Munchkin card ideas. I've been plowing through them for inspiration, which means the well is starting to run a little dry . . . so if you've been sitting on new card ideas, there's no better time to send them our way! If we use your idea, we give you credit in the rules AND a copy of the game in which your idea appears! (If you need more incentive, one of the titles we're considering for 2016 is Munchkin Fan Service . . . and we'll need over 100 of your ideas to make that one work!)
Before you run off to start typing up ideas, though, read these important notes:
- Please don't use the form for anything BUT card ideas. We aren't looking for set suggestions, critical commentary, or rule questions -- and we don't check the reports often enough to make that last one a good idea, anyway. That's what our forums are for!
- Only one card per submission. If you're submitting cards that are linked, mention each one in the other's comments area. (Warning: unless linked cards are VERY good, we probably won't use them, at least not as such -- standalone ideas are much more versatile.)
- If you have an idea for the illustration, by all means include that in the Comments field. Sometimes a really funny picture makes an otherwise mundane card shine.
- We get too many submissions to be able to acknowledge them. Sorry about that. If we use your idea, we'll let you know; otherwise, you can assume it was almost good enough, and may show up down the road in something else.
- Related to that, please understand that we get lots of ideas from our fans, and we're pretty creative in our own right. If you see a published card that is similar to one you suggested, it's almost certainly a case of parallel inspiration. But if it's really close to your idea, it's worth asking -- we have been known to forget to give credit, and that's something we would like to fix in future printings.
- By sending in your idea, you are giving us permission to publish it, modified or not as we see fit, up to and including taking a really funny card name and writing an entirely new card to fit it.
We're looking forward to seeing your ideas! Thanks!
This coming weekend, we have teams going to PAX Prime in Seattle and DragonCon in Atlanta. The crew at PAX will be in our usual spot, the "corral" under the escalators. The DragonCon team will be working with Adventure Retail, as usual. I won't be at either one; I'm taking this Labor Day weekend off for a change. But if you're at one of those shows, come by and say howdy to the folks who are there!
As this posts, it's Monday morning and I'm probably on my way to the airport for a way-too-early flight back to Austin. Poor me, having to spend the entire time at Gen Con having fun with my friends.
Thank you to everyone who attended my panels! I hope y'all had a good time and maybe learned a few things, too.
The Munchkin Tavern was a huge success, once again, and I'd like to thank all the SJ Games staff who worked there, all the folks from Tavern on South who let us take over the joint, and of course all the fans who came in and made merry. I expect we'll be doing this again pretty soon.
Of course, the BIG news items from Gen Con were our announcements! In case you missed some of them, here's a summary:
- Katie Cook will be illustrating our first booster in 2015, Munchkin Love Shark Baby. Happy Valentine's Day!
- Next year's Munchkin core game will be Munchkin Steampunk. Steve wrote it, Devin's playtesting it, and Phil Foglio will be illustrating it for us. Expect it next summer.
- We're partnering with Atlas Games to create Munchkin Gloom. This will be a Gloom game using Munchkin monsters, designed by Gloom creator Keith Baker. Expect it next summer as well.
- Four lucky folks who had dinner with Fireside Games went home with advance copies of Munchkin Panic. I'm envious!
- Next spring, USAopoly will be following up Munchkin Adventure Time with Munchkin Adventure Time 2 -- It's a Dungeon Crawl! We're discussing next year's core set, but as of right now, we aren't quiiiiiite ready to make that announcement.
What's really scaring me is that we're already planning our big announcements for next Gen Con . . . leading into 2016 and the 15th anniversary of Munchkin. We have some epic plans in store, none of which I can tell you about right now. Ask me in a year!
We're counting on seeing many of you at Gen Con THIS WEEK! We'll have a limited number of early releases of many of our fall releases, including Revolution! Anarchy
I'm very excited about being an Industry Insider Guest of Honor, and I'm sitting on five panels with a bunch of really big names in gaming . . . let's hope I find something intelligent to say by the end of the convention! As a reminder, those panels are:
- Thursday, 1 p.m.- 2 p.m., ICC 211: Freelancing 101 (Andrew Hackard, Shane Hensley, Allen Varney)
- Friday, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., ICC 211: Editing: When, Why, and How (Lillian Cohen-Moore, Andrew Hackard)
- Saturday, 11 a.m. – 12 noon, ICC 211: Fear of the Unknown: Suspense in RPGs (Keith Baker, Andrew Hackard, Shane Hensley, Ken Hite)
- Saturday, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., ICC 211: Don't Screw It Up! (Andrew Hackard, Jay Little, Ryan Miller, Mike Selinker)
- Sunday, 11 a.m. – 12 noon, ICC 210: Remembering the Good Old Days (Andrew Hackard, Ken Hite, Jordan Wiseman)
Looking forward to seeing everyone!
It's hard to believe that it's been more than four years since we started producing small booster packs for Munchkin -- and it's hard to believe that it's only been four years, since they're such a natural, great addition to the line. Many of you have told us how much you enjoy the boosters, and commented that we're evil for giving you a reason to spend more money on impulse buys at the register in your Friendly Local Game Store. We agree with both sentiments, and we plan to keep doing boosters as long as y'all keep buying them.
(Please keep buying them.)
You can look at the booster page to see what's currently available. Some of them are on the cusp of going out of print, though, so don't delay if you see something you want!
Also, don't forget that the special booster promotional card offer expires at the end of this year. There's still time to get your card if you haven't!
Hello, loyal Munchkin fanatics! Team Munchkin is going to be at a couple of local conventions next weekend, and we'd love to see you at one of them if you're able to attend!
The REALLY local con is Board Game Bash, now in its fourth year of bringing board gaming to Austin. We've been part of BGB since it started, and we're happy to support them again this year!
We're also going to have a booth at San Antonio Comic Con, in beautiful downtown San Antonio (be sure to grab a margarita on the Riverwalk!). I'm going to be there Saturday to sign stuff and play some games -- San Antonio is my home town, so it's always nice to get back for a day or two! (And this show will be a good test for PAX South, coming up in January . . .)
Today, Phil Reed and I fly out to San Diego! Tomorrow, we'll be concocting evil plans with our collaborators at USAopoly (publishers of the imminent Munchkin Adventure Time!). Wednesday through Friday, we'll be in and around San Diego Comic-Con, meeting happy fans and having yet more evil planning sessions with People Who Cannot Be Named, before flying home Saturday. I expect to be spending some of my time at the Geek & Sundry space, of course, so come on by and say hello! (And there's a chance we might swing by Gam3rCon, too . . .)
If you carry around as much Munchkin as I do, you've certainly had the unpleasant experience of opening a backpack or cheap convention tote bag to find cards scattered all over and a half-open box sitting there. Mocking you.
Fortunately, that need never happen again!
* Sell, actually. But we really really want you to have one, so please buy!
I was lucky enough to be chosen as an Industry Insider Guest of Honor for Gen Con this year, which means that I get caviar and champagne every morning, am carried to the convention on a litter by burly manservants, and . . . Oh, wait, no.
Actually, it means that I get to be on some really cool panels with some really awesome other game industry people. In case you're going to Gen Con and really want to hear me shoot my mouth off, here's my schedule:
- Thursday, 1 p.m.- 2 p.m., ICC 211: Freelancing 101 (Andrew Hackard, Shane Hensley, Allen Varney)
- Friday, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., ICC 211: Editing: When, Why, and How (Lillian Cohen-Moore, Andrew Hackard)
- Saturday, 11 a.m. – 12 noon, ICC 211: Fear of the Unknown: Suspense in RPGs (Keith Baker, Andrew Hackard, Shane Hensley, Ken Hite)
- Saturday, 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., ICC 211: Don't Screw It Up! (Andrew Hackard, Jay Little, Ryan Miller, Mike Selinker)
- Sunday, 11 a.m. – 12 noon, ICC 210: Remembering the Good Old Days (Andrew Hackard, Ken Hite, Jordan Wiseman)
The links take you to the Gen Con events page where you can read a short description of the panels and sign up with a generic ticket if you want to be sure to get a seat (although, at present, none look in danger of filling up beforehand).
And that means we have more free time to attend RTX, the Rooster Teeth Expo, right here in Austin this weekend! I'll be there, meeting people and showing off games (some of which haven't been published yet!), and several other members of Team Munchkin will be there, too. If you're in central Texas or willing to come down here in -- ugh -- July, we'd love to see you at the show!
It occurred to us recently that it was about this time of year, back in the unusually hot Texas summer of 2001, that we were assembling the first-ever boxes of Munchkin in our un-air-conditioned, leaky warehouse at the old Metcalfe building.
We'd love to take people by the old place to show them the building, but it's not there anymore; a condo developer decided street access was more important than gaming history. (It's for the best, really; I wasn't kidding about the leaky warehouse, and even the relatively comfortable inside offices had drafts in odd places. The building had . . . character.)
Instead, we throw it open to you, the fans: how should we celebrate the upcoming 15th anniversary of Munchkin in the summer of 2016? Believe it or not, we're planning that far ahead already, so this is your best chance to tell us what you want to see. Post your best ideas to the forums!
(Early warning: SJ Games, including Warehouse 23, will be closed next week for our annual summer break.)
We had a full-scale presence at Origins Game Fair last weekend -- including the second incarnation of the Munchkin Tavern, and the first to feature a package of hotel rooms with special Munchkin swag! It was my first Origins, and it was a good first one to attend, because we made four exciting announcements over the course of the show:
- We have already announced our T-shirt deal with Mighty Fine, but some people hadn't heard about it, so we made a new bookmark to remind them!
- On Thursday, Phil and I tag-teamed the announcement of a deal with Funko to create custom vinyl Munchkin toys. We've been working on this deal for years, and Funko puts out a LOT of great stuff; we're glad we were able to put everything together!
- Friday saw the announcement of a deal with BOOM! Studios to create a monthly Munchkin comic book! This is another project that we've wanted for some time, so the squees were loud and sustained when we got the last bits of the deal worked out in time for the announcement. SQUEEEEEEEEE!
- Finally, we announced the second title in our partnership with AEG: Munchkin Smash Up! We're working with Paul Peterson and the AEG folks to make this the best game it can be. AEG were great to work with on Munchkin Loot Letter, and I'm looking forward to working with them again! (Further congratulations are due to AEG for their multiple Love Letter announcements at Origins -- they know a good game when they publish one!)
The Mighty Fine shirts are already available for purchase! We hope to see Funko toys before the end of 2014. The Munchkin comic book and Munchkin Smash Up will likely launch in 2015.
Don't think this ends our Munchkin announcements for the year -- wait until you see what we're going to be talking about at Gen Con!
It's time for the Origins Game Fair! I'll be there from Wednesday through Friday morning, and COO Phil Reed will be there from Thursday through the end of the show.
I can't believe that I've been in the game industry almost 15 years and this is my very first Origins . . . but I'm finally getting to go, and I look forward to seeing a bunch of Munchkin fans there!
Don't forget to check out the Munchkin Tavern at the Boulevard -- you might even win a dinner with Phil, John Kovalic, or, um, me. The Tavern is also where we'll be making our special announcements during the show . . . and holy cow, do we have a lot of them this year! You won't want to miss out on some of the news we've got coming up.
One of the consequences of pushing out so many new games and reprints over the last year is that each one comes with an extra card. Many of these are destined for the Exclusive Munchkin Warehouse 23 Booster 2014 (which will be our largest one yet!), and many others are new promo cards that we'll debut throughout the year. Some of our older promo cards are likely to be shelved for a while (especially the ones found in Munchkin Gets Promoted), so it's nice to have some new ones to show off! Our promo cards page has the most up-to-date list -- click on the sample cards for the full list from each type of Munchkin!
We've also been working on lots of new Munchkin bookmarks. Most of them are going to appear first at the Munchkin Tavern at Origins or Gen Con, but some others have . . . umm . . . other fates. Keep an eye on this page and the Daily Illuminator for more news as it happens!
Our friends at Crazy Bricks have launched a Kickstarter campaign for Munchkin Bricks -- your favorite Munchkin stuff in toy brick form!
It funded within 24 hours, and there are several cool stretch goals still ahead of us -- make them happen, Munchkin fans!
(Schedule note: SJ Games will be closed Monday, May 26 for Memorial Day. We'll all be back and hard at work on Tuesday.)
This week is our deadline to get everything to print for the rest of 2014, so I expect to have some long days and late nights before all is said and done. We're already well into working on the 2015 schedule -- we have several boosters and several new tuckbox expansions planned, in addition to other secret things I can't talk about yet. It's exciting to be working this far ahead, and we're going to keep trying to move further ahead of the schedule . . . both so we have time to recover in case Cthulhu eats our shipping containers and so we have time to shuffle things around the schedule when
Phil Steve Ross someone comes up with a great idea that MUST BE DONE RIGHT NOW.
Fortunately, that's rare.
Apropos of nothing whatsoever, have you picked up Munchkin Journal Pack 1 yet? If not, better hurry . . . our primary warehouse is already sold out.
We created Munchkin Game Changers as a limited exclusive for Barnes & Noble. We did not anticipate that they would sell out almost the entire print run. Shows what we know.
A few copies of Game Changers made their way to Warehouse 23, however, and they're going on sale starting today and ending when we run out.
If you miss this second chance, fear not -- we have a reprint of Game Changers planned to go into full hobby distribution this fall. Your Friendly Local Game Store should have it on their shelves in plenty of time for holiday shopping!
Our friends at Mighty Fine have just launched a line of officially licensed Munchkin T-shirts for the discerning T-shirt wearer. We have approved all these designs and you may well see some of us showing them off at future conventions!
(To answer a Frequently Asked Question, "Do these have a rule?": not yet, but we're discussing it.)
I'm taking a long-overdue vacation this week, so Devin is handling things in the Munchkin office. Yay, down time!
It's not totally a vacation, as I'm planning to spend some quality time with John Kovalic tomorrow and visit the Fantasy Flight offices and our friends at The Source on Thursday or Friday . . . but I'm spending a lot of time just hanging out with friends, too. Which, now that I think about it, also covers spending time with John, FFG, and The Source. It's great to be in a business where I like the people I work with!
I'm happy to announce that I'll be going to Origins Game Fair for the first time this year. We're setting up the Munchkin Tavern at the Crowne Plaza, and I'll be hosting one night's festivities, including dinner with some lucky (?) Munchkin fans.
This should be a fun show; I'm looking forward to it!
Munchkin Czar Andrew Hackard (that's me!) has been named an Industry Insider Guest of Honor for Gen Con 2014! I'll be on several panels over the course of the show and generally trying to be an honorable guest. When I know my panel schedule, we'll be sure to post it here.
I'm also hosting another night at the Munchkin Tavern, so I hope to see everyone there having a good time!
As usual, SJ Games will be attending PAX East this weekend in Boston! We'll be in our usual place in the tabletop gaming hall. Come by and try out Castellan, Zombie Dice 3
Our friends at USAopoly will be there as well, giving demos of Munchkin Adventure Time . . . you do NOT want to miss this!
I'll be doing a signing on Saturday afternoon, and I hope to see many of y'all there.
I spent quite a lot of last week working on several big projects that have to go to print pretty much immediately. I'm going to spend THIS week on a lot of marketing and promotional material, including some special items for the Munchkin Taverns at Origins and Gen Con, some new promo cards and bookmarks, and early design work on some 2015 releases.
(Yes, we're now working that far ahead in our schedule. In fact, I had a conversation with Phil and Ross last week that resulted in several more things getting pushed into 2016 because 2015 is already too full, and now 2016 is starting to fill up. Appropriate for Munchkin's 15th anniversary -- wait, already? We just had the 10th!)
Thanks to everyone for the kind words on Munchkin Loot Letter and Munchkin Panic. They're both going to be a lot of fun, and we are thrilled to be working with AEG and Fireside Games. And don't forget about Munchkin Adventure Time, out this summer from USAopoly!
It's a good time to be a Munchkin fan, and it's a GREAT time to be part of the Munchkin team. Thanks to all y'all for your support. Remember, you can always give us your thoughts and ask your questions on our forums or on Twitter -- we'd love to hear ffrom you!
The folks at PuzzleNation were kind enough to ask me to contribute answers to their "Five Questions" running feature. I don't think they anticipated the length I'd go to -- we ended up talking about Ogre, GURPS, and lots of other gaming topics. Read the whole piece here . . . and then comment in our forums!
Phil and Kali have gone to Las Vegas this week (rough life!) to attend the annual GAMA Trade Show meeting. We'll be making some announcements at the show, so stay tuned to our Twitter feed and forums for the news!\
Sometimes, we get questions about whether having Munchkin in the mass market (Barnes & Noble, Target, etc.) is hurting the line in the hobby stores.
The answer is easy and definite: Absolutely not.
It is true that hobby sales of the specific items being pushed in the mass market are slightly down. However, this is counterbalanced (and more!) by the dramatic upswing we have seen in sales of Munchkin expansions, the vast majority of which are sold through the traditional hobby market. In 2013, combined Munchkin/Legends/Deluxe sales were up 29.10% over 2012. Impressive -- but Munchkin 2 sales in 2013 were up 32.64% over 2012, and Munchkin 3 was up 28.00%. Munchkin has legs, and those legs are driving people to hobby stores.
Furthermore, every Munchkin game sold in the mass market (and, in fact, anywhere else) includes an ad on the side of the box AND a paragraph in the rules pointing people to our Store Finder/Gamer Finder page, to find other Munchkin fans (who are our best marketing tool!) and telling them where to look if they want to buy more Munchkin stuff.
Steve Jackson Games continues to be committed to supporting all our sales and distribution partners, and that most definitely includes hobby stores.
If you're a store owner or employee going to the GAMA Trade Show, be sure to attend Phil Reed's presentation; he'll have a lot more to say about this, as well as the overall state of the company (spoiler alert: we're doing very well).
W. Eric Martin wrote up a great post at BoardGameGeek about his conversation with Phil Reed at New York Toy Fair. It has LOTS of spoilers for our 2014 schedule, including a lot of Munchkin-specific news. Go check it out! And then come back to our forums to discuss the news with other Munchkin fans.
You know how there's that ONE box deep in a closet somewhere that's you're afraid to open because you don't remember actually packing it in the first place, and it looks like it might have contained something organic at some point in the not-distant-enough past?
Yeah, that one. We opened it.
Turns out, among the goodies inside were a bunch of copies of the Exclusive Warehouse 23 Munchkin Booster 2010 that we'd set aside for some reason and never got around to using. These things have been going for stupid prices on eBay, but don't pay that, because they're back on Warehouse 23!
A couple of quick notes:
- This booster had an unfortunate error on the Attic card contained within. We offered replacements, but we also fixed all the boosters we still had in stock -- so these should have the correct card inside. However, if your card includes the clause, "Before you turn over a new Door card," that means we missed replacing yours, and you can send in for a replacement (details are on the product page linked above).
- Don't forget about our Munchkin Booster Promo! You can use the insert from this set as one of the five UPCs needed to redeem the card . . . or order four more boosters at the same time and get the card automatically!
The only bad thing is, when we moved that ONE box, we found more boxes under and behind it, and a couple of those are oozing something . . . so we threw a tarp over them and put up a safety cone. We may get back to that corner of the warehouse . . . by 2016 or so.
New York Toy Fair, that is. I've been the past couple of years, but this year I'm staying in Austin and letting Phil, Ross, and our new Events Director, Kali Dugan, enjoy the balmy late-winter weather in Manhattan.
They have plenty of meetings scheduled, almost none of which I can talk about. Fnord. One that I can is a chat with our partners at USAopoly to go over the marketing and release plan for Munchkin Adventure Time . . . and what comes after it.
While they're up in New York having fun, the rest of us will be back in Austin working hard on the games they're in New York to try to sell. Whee!
On to happier news: if you're in the Houston area, or willing to travel there, go see Steve at Owlcon this weekend!
Pat Rothfuss runs auctions every year to support the Worldbuilders charity, a fundraising endeavor supporting Heifer International. This year, one of the auctions was for John Kovalic to draw the winner on a Munchkin card in an upcoming set. The winning bid was -- are you sitting down? -- $2,151.
Thanks to the winner and to everyone who bid on that auction!
After some internal discussions and some chatting with our friends at Grand Prix International, we have decided to reprint Munchkin Quest later this year (we're still working out the schedule). It's been increasingly hard to come by for a little while now, so we hope this makes some of y'all happy!
We are letting the Munchkin Boxes of Holding series go out of print. It's possible we will replace them with something else down the line, but for now, those are proposals, not plans, and I wouldn't expect anything along these lines for a couple of years, at least, and "never" is a possibility as well. (In other words, don't ask!) We're expecting the Munchkin Boxes of Holding Set 2 to sell through and fall out of print this summer. Supplies of the Munchkin Cthulhu Crypts of Concealment and Munchkin Zombies Meat Lockers are still pretty healthy, so you will have some options for a while yet, but once those sell through, that's it.
We're pleased to announce that Munchkin Apocalypse: Mars Attacks! is now shipping from our Atlanta warehouse to distributors; you can expect to see it on the shelves of your Friendly Local Game Store in a couple of weeks.
Mars Attacks!, the hit trading card series from Topps, is invading the world of Munchkin Apocalypse! In this 15-card booster, you'll battle Monster Bugs and the Heat Ray Saucer on your way to Level 10, with the help of new goodies like the Martian Zap Rifle and Giant Spiky Feet. But watch out for the new Seals -- you could end the world with Reality TV! (It makes total sense to us.)
-- Brian Engard
I do! We'll be running a Google Hangout this Friday, January 17, at 2:00 pm Central Time (GMT-6). The topic is "2013 recap and 2014 preview," but of course the conversation is likely to range much farther afield than that.
Make sure you add us on Google+ before the event! If you have questions you'd like to ask, you can ask us on Twitter (@SJGames) with the hashtag #MunchkinHangout, or email them to email@example.com with the subject line "Munchkin Hangout." And of course, if you're free that afternoon, you're welcome to join in!
Looking forward to chatting with y'all!
The SJ Games offices are back open and we're all catching up on over two weeks of email and accumulated work.
Steve, Phil, Devin, and I are very excited about all the stuff coming up for Munchkin in 2014 -- we hope you will be, too!
The Steve Jackson Games offices, including the Munchkin World Headquarters, will be closing this Friday for the holidays. Thursday is our end-of-year Game Day, so really Wednesday is the last day to expect anyone to get anything done. (Except that 2014 is so packed that I can't possibly afford to take a lot of time off; I plan to be working most of the break.)
Most important, Wednesday is the last day Warehouse 23 is accepting orders this year; any orders placed after noon on Wednesday run a real risk of not being shipped until January.
Munchkin News is taking a hiatus as well. We'll see you in January!
We've been remiss in not telling you about this sooner, but Warehouse 23 is running a holiday promotion. Spend $50 and get either a red or green Munchkin Jolly Jumbo d6
Last week, we released the Exclusive Warehouse 23 Munchkin Booster 2013 and Keep Calm and Kill Monsters T-shirt as Warehouse 23 exclusives, along with Munchkin Gets Promoted and Munchkin Pathfinder: Gobsmacked! earlier in the month. If you haven't yet picked up Munchkin Pathfinder, there's no better time! And of course, we have our usual assortment of Munchkin goodies, enough to stock even the most oversized stocking!
Today, we're hosting Andrew Wolf from USAopoly. Andrew's the lead designer on Munchkin Adventure Time, and he's visiting SJ Games to see how we do things, to meet our guys, and to talk about plans for the marketing and release of the game next summer. There may be barbecue involved.
As a reminder, Thanksgiving in the United States is this Thursday, and the SJ Games office will be closed Thursday and Friday. That includes Warehouse 23, so no orders will be shipped until next Monday and no one will be here to answer phones or respond to emails.
Lots of stuff behind the scenes, but not a lot we can talk about. We're working on designs for the Munchkin games, expansions, and accessories coming out in the second half of 2014 -- everything for the first half is already at print! We sent several Munchkin items, both new and reprints, off to print earlier this month, so the production team is enjoying a well-earned break from coloring Munchkin art and laying out Munchkin cards. Sam and Phil have cooked up something REALLY cool that I can't wait to show off at conventions next summer. And this week is BoardGameGeek.con in Dallas . . . Ross is flying down from Canada for the show, so we're taking the opportunity to have an all-day Munchkin summit on Wednesday to talk about schedules and plans for Munchkin for the next several years! (Plus, I'm bringing a special guest from the show back to Austin to meet the rest of the team . . . more on that next week!)
Just to be sure we're stocked up for the holiday season, we rushed through some reprints of Munchkin games and expansions a few months back. Have no fear that your Friendly Local Game Store will run out of Munchkin before Christmas!
(And we also scheduled a lot of reprints for 2014, in addition to some cool new Munchkin releases we're looking forward to talking about in the months to come.)
Fortunately, no one was injured, and the office didn't sustain any damage as far as we can tell. Besides Steve, at least two other staff members have sustained flood damage, one of whom also lives in his neighborhood, so clearly there will be some distractions around here for a while.
In the short term, this shouldn't affect Munchkin at all; just about everything through June of next year is already at print, including a massive number of reprints to make sure store shelves are stocked through the summer. We'll have to figure out how to handle the big projects on Steve's plate while he's working on finding a new place to live and getting it set up, but that's a discussion for down the road. Right now, our biggest concern is making sure his business runs smoothly so that's one thing he doesn't have to worry about.
Thanks to everyone who has already sent good thoughts.
Are you going to BoardGameGeek Con? Not if you don't already have a ticket -- it sold out almost as soon as they went on sale. But for those of you lucky enough to have snagged a ticket in advance, you'll get to see a lot of the people who make Munchkin possible, and (thanks to our friends at Funagain Games) you'll be able to buy that piece of Munchkin swag you missed, or maybe a copy of Castellan if you don't already have one. (Or two!)
Sadly, I won't be attending the show itself, although I will be going up to Dallas for a Munchkin summit with Phil, Ross, and Steve on Wednesday, November 20. Plots will be hatched! Eggs will be scrambled! Evil will be fomented! Laughs will be MUAHAHAHAed! And we'll get some work done, too.
I had a family wedding in Atlanta on Saturday, and I've extended my trip so I can spend today visiting our friends at Publisher Services Incorporated, better known as PSI.
Why is this significant? Because these are the folks who ship our Munchkin games (and everything else we print!) to distributors all over the country (countries, actually, since they also ship to Canada). Your local retailer orders the games from those distributors and puts them on their shelves, and then you buy them, and everyone wins!
I've never visited the PSI home office before, so I'm really looking forward to learning some things. And then tomorrow, it's back to Austin and the hard work of making more Munchkin . . . so PSI, and our distributors, and the Friendly Local Game Stores, and you guys all have something to do.
(P.S.: Folks who are going to Essen Spiel this week, be sure to talk to Ross Jepson, Birger Krämer, Leonard Balsera, and Brian Engard about all the exciting things going on at SJ Games!)
A little while back, I visited the USAopoly offices in Carlsbad, California. We talked about branding and marketing strategies, production and printing schedules, and all the other little details that go with launching a new game.
We also playtested the first draft of Munchkin Adventure Time.
In fact, I played it three times that week: once at USAopoly, once at Cartoon Network (!!!), and once back in Austin with Steve, Elisabeth, and Devin.
The comments from those playtest sessions, along with my own observations looking at the cards, have gone back to USAopoly. I'm expecting to see a second draft soon, and then the fun starts up again!
Late-breaking news: I will be in New York this week after all! Hoody hoo!
Unfortunately, because of my backlog, my attendance at the New York Comic Con itself will be severely limited, but I expect there may be an hour or two when I'll be at our booth. More details as they come.
Unfortunately, I've had to cancel my trip to New York Comic Con. There's just too much work to get done in the next two months for me to justify another week out of the office.
My apologies to anyone who was planning to see me there. With luck, I'll make a return appearance next year.
In the past two weeks, I've made three trips for work, culminating last weekend in a great time at WaCon -- thanks to everyone there for a wonderful convention!
Yesterday, I drove from Waco to Dallas, where I'll be most of this week for the Fall Toy Preview, where we get to show off all our secret Munchkin plans to big-time buyers well before y'all have any clue what we're up to. Next week, I head up to the New York Comic Con and, a few days later, out to Atlanta for a family trip combined with a visit to see all our Munchkin games in their natural habitat -- the PSI warehouse. (Unfortunately, this means I have to miss the Ogre launch party -- I was looking forward to seeing many of you there.)
Once I'm back from that trip, I'm home for four whole weeks until . . . well, that would be telling.
I'm going to be a guest at the inaugural WaCon game convention this weekend. It's in Waco, Texas. I'll be running Munchkin all weekend long -- including demos of Munchkin Legends and Munchkin Pathfinder and playtests of Munchkin Apocalypse 2! -- but I fully expect to get into some intense games of Revolution! and Castellan, too. And I may even play in some games from (GASP) other companies, if I have time.
Hoping to see lots of you central Texans there!
On the fence about Munchkin Pathfinder? You should go check out this review, by Paizo user cartmanbeck. This guy bought a copy of Munchkin at Target eight months ago and has been playing it non-stop ever since. The fact that he's willing to write a lengthy review about one of our games to boot is . . . well, it's pretty awesome!
-- Brian Engard
(Andrew adds: Unfortunately, we've run into shipping delays, and now we expect to see Munchkin Pathfinder in stores in October . . . just one month before Munchkin Pathfinder: Gobsmacked!
It's Labor Day and no one's in the office. Some of us are at conventions; others are just off relaxing. We'll be back in the office tomorrow, busting our humps to continue to bring you the great Munchkin games you're used to.
For a lot of people, Labor Day means a long weekend. For Team Munchkin, it means three conventions simultaneously.
Most of the SJ Games crew will be heading to PAX Prime in Seattle, once again taking over "The Corral" next to the Rock Band stage for demos of all your favorite SJ Games games. This year, we're ceding one table to our friends at USAopoly, who have some cool original games to show off and will probably be happy to talk about Munchkin Adventure Time as well!
Chief Operating Officer Phil Reed, meanwhile, will be meeting up with some of our dedicated Men In Black at Dragon Con. His trip to Atlanta is doing double duty, as he's also visiting the offices of PSI, the folks who do much of the hard work of shipping our games to distributors across North America.
And I will be attending LoneStarCon 3 in San Antonio, practically in our back yard by convention standards. LSC3 is the 2013 Worldcon, and many luminaries of SF and fantasy writing will be there. SJ and Monica will also be going -- check out the Steampunk Chaos Machine! -- and it's possible I might even try to organize a playtest of our newest Munchkin expansion while I'm there.
If you aren't attending one of these three shows, I hope that means you have a relaxing Labor Day weekend planned . . . maybe with some games of Munchkin with friends and family!
Steve Jackson Games, Cartoon Network, and USAopoly are pleased to announce Munchkin Adventure Time, slated for release next summer. More information is in our press release.
I've heard of games having theme music, but never a specific card . . . until now. We proudly present a young ukulele master, Lernon, and his ode to the Duck of Doom: "Duck in a Dungeon." Thanks for the smile, Lernon, and thanks for being a Munchkin fan! (Last reminder: if you're coming to Gen Con, make sure to check out the Munchkin Tavern, Thursday through Saturday! Friday night, Steve and I will be there with a Major Munchkin Announcement!)
In just over a week, most of us will be heading to Indianapolis for Gen Con, the annual celebration of gaming in all its forms. Team Munchkin can be found in our usual spot at the end of the Adventure Retail booth (#1301), demoing games and meeting our fans. For the first time this year, we'll also be hosting the Munchkin Tavern, a place to come hang out, have a little food and drink, and pick up some unique Munchkin swag, such as shirts, glasses, and a tote bag to carry it all. (And Munchkin Tricky Treats will only be available at the Tavern!)
Leonard, Steve, and I will also each host a special dinner at the Tavern, and we'll each have a unique Munchkin bookmark to hand out as part of the festivities. Make sure you stop by the booth each day for a chance to let us buy you dinner! (If you come by Friday night, Steve and I will be making a Special Announcement . . .)
Steve and I will also be signing Munchkin Pathfinder (and whatever else you bring -- within reason!) at the Paizo booth from 5 to 6 on Saturday, and I'll be playing Munchkin in the Geek & Sundry booth from 10 until noon on Sunday.
Of course, we'll have our usual assortment of promo cards and bookmarks and hard-to-find loot at our booth, too. The capsule machine is taking this year off, but that just means more money to spend on other Munchkin stuff, right?
We're looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new faces this year at Gen Con!
It's the height (and heat) of summer, and that means it's heavy convention season. In fact, there are TWO great conventions this weekend -- both in the Lone Star State!
Houston hosts SpaceCityCon, with lots of nifty media guests and a healthy gaming space (heh heh) as well. Closer to home -- in fact, right here in Austin! -- is Board Game Bash, now in its third year of giving central Texas gamers a 24-hour full-weekend gaming experience.
It's going to be a quiet week. I'm flying back from San Diego today, and will spend the rest of the week working with everyone else to push a LOT of reprints further along the track toward print. Plus I have writing to do for a couple of 2014 games.
Devin has been organizing a lot of playtests lately, and we're going to have more all through the rest of the summer and into the fall. If you aren't on our Facebook group for those playtests, especially if you're in the Austin area, you're missing out!
Tomorrow, July 16, I'll be hopping a plane to scenic San Diego, California, to attend the San Diego Comic-Con once again. Randy, Ben, and Alex will be doing their usual awesome job demoing games at the Adventure Retail booth, while Phil and I will mostly be taking meetings with various folks. We have a couple of meetings lined up already, and no, we won't be telling you about them -- yet . . .
The crazy, nerdy folk at Geek & Sundry will also be there, focusing their time on specific events each day in their cozy off-site space at Jolt N' Joes, 379 4th Avenue. I'm planing to be there on Thursday, ready to game with (against) all comers! (And I might be hanging out other times as well . . .) Come by the Adventure Retail booth and get your stuff signed, either Friday or Sunday from 4pm to 5pm.
After this trip, I have a whole month to prepare for Gen Con -- come see me on Saturday night at the Munchkin Tavern!
This announcement is WAY overdue, but as usual, things around here have moved too fast for us to keep up.
Leonard Balsera has leveled up in Fnorditude once again, and has taken on the dual responsibilities of Marketing Director and Chez Geek Line Editor. And following his success coding the Android version of the Ogre War Room app, Keith Blackard has moved over to our IT team to help out with more app and Web coding. We (er, I) wish them all the best in their new roles.
Taking their places are Devin Lewis and Carl DeSoto. Devin has helped us playtest many of our games over the last few years and has contributed his expertise as part of the Munchkin Brain Trust. He's also a game designer in his own right, and has already jumped in to run many of our outside playtests. Carl has been working in our warehouse for several months now, but as an avid gamer, I'm planning to steal some of his time to contribute his thoughts to Munchkin development as well. Please welcome both of them to the madhouse!
Want to hear me babble for an hour about Munchkin and SJ Games in general? Sure you do!
(As a quick reminder, SJ Games is closed this week, so email and phone calls will likely go unanswered. However, if you want to talk to me, track me down at PaizoCon this weekend; I'll be running demo games and maybe even a playtest or two!)
As we had hoped, the announcement of Munchkin Legends caused quite a lot of discussion, both on our own forums and elsewhere. Several questions came up quite a lot, so we figured it would be a good idea to address them here.
Q. Whoa, cool! When is it out?
A. It's available right now from target.com, and will be in Target stores nationwide later this summer.
Q. Target? Just Target?
A. Yes, this set is exclusively available through Target.
Q. When does this period of exclusivity end?
A. The terms of our deal with Target are between them and SJ Games, and it would be inappropriate for us to discuss them publicly. If, at some point in the future, we are able to make this available more widely, we will not be shy about announcing that fact.
Q. This doesn't seem very friendly to the hobby retailers who've supported Munchkin for over a decade. Why did you do this?
A. To continue to grow, SJ Games must expand our market as well as sell games to the people who already know about us. Selling Munchkin, and now Munchkin Legends, at Target has enabled us to do this. Every one of the sets sold at Target has advertisements for Munchkin games, expansions, and accessories that Target doesn't carry, and every set has a box panel ad and text in the rules that point to our Gamer Finder/Store Finder page, explicitly saying "here's how to find people to play with and places that sell even more Munchkin.
Q. The target.com site only ships to the United States. Will I be able to get this at Target stores in Canada or Australia?
A. We're still looking into this. We'll let you know more as soon as we learn it.
Q. I live in the United Kingdom. We don't have Target at all. How can I get this set?
A. Our agreement with Target gives them exclusive rights to sell the English-language Munchkin Legends set. Your best bet is to see if a friend in the United States would be willing to help you out.
Q. So I can't even order this from Warehouse 23?
A. Nope! "Exclusive" means exclusive.
Q. Will Target be publishing non-English versions of Legends?
A. SJ Games retains those rights, and it is possible some of our regular foreign partners will be releasing translations of Munchkin Legends. We're sure they won't be shy about letting you know!
Q. OK, so tell me about the set. If I know how to play Munchkin, how long will it take me to learn Legends?
A. No time at all! Munchkin Legends uses exactly the same Classes and Races as original Munchkin. If you can play one, you can play the other.
Q. I run a game review site, and I'd love to write a review of Munchkin Legends. Who should I talk to?
A. Drop a note to our Marketing Director. Please include links to other reviews you've written. We don't have enough review copies to satisfy every request, unfortunately, but we have enough to satisfy a lot of them!
Thanks to everyone who asked us a question about Munchkin Legends. We're very excited about this set, and we hope you are, too! If you've ordered it, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the forum -- or you can contact me directly, if you'd prefer. Also please keep an eye on our Twitter feed and Facebook page for the most current news about Munchkin. Thanks!
For once, we actually managed to keep a secret.
Now it is revealed, and we are proud to announce our newest Munchkin game.
Munchkin Legends brings the world's most famous myths and legends into the dungeon! Andrew's been wanting to do a set like this for years now, and John's a crazy history buff, so we're all pleased at how well it came together.
Available now via target.com, and in Target stores nationwide later this year.
At the 2013 Origins Award ceremony on June 15, Munchkin was one of two inductees into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame. (The other inducted game was Dominion, which is also a great game and a favorite of many people here at Munchkin HQ. Also inducted were Lisa Stevens, from Paizo, and Loren Coleman, from Catalyst.)
I'm sure Steve will have more profound words to offer later on, but for now, I'll just say that we are very grateful to all the people who have worked so hard, and played even harder, to make Munchkin one of the most successful games of the 21st century. Special thanks, of course, are due to John Kovalic, whose art has been part of Munchkin from the very beginning. I know I speak for Steve when I say that we share this honor with everyone, in every part of the game business, who has helped make Munchkin an evergreen game.
We aren't resting on our laurels -- our plans for Munchkin the rest of this year, in 2014, and even beyond are ambitious and very exciting for those of us working on the game every day. I can't wait to talk about some of what's in store for the next couple of years.
A couple of weeks ago, I hied myself off to Birmingham, UK, for the 2013 UK Games Expo. I was there before the show technically started, because our friends at Esdevium borrowed the event to run their annual retailer summit on Friday before the show started on Saturday. Director of Sales (a.k.a. "He Who Keeps Running Out Of Munchkin") Ross Jepson and I gave the assembled folks the run-down of our upcoming releases, including a couple we hadn't told anyone about yet, and handed out large window clings so the stores could let everyone know how much they love Munchkin.
On Saturday, my only remit was to run Munchkin. I had a couple of games of Apocalypse and a couple of games of Pathfinder, and everyone who played told me, in charming accents, how much fun they had. Our Men In Black held court outside the dealer room, running Castellan nonstop and swapping other games in and out as people asked. (And I finally got to meet Phil Masters, which right there made the trip worthwhile.)
Sunday was my day to run my mouth. I was interviewed by Steven Heslewood for his podcast Geek Apocalypse (it's episode 16). Steven has graciously invited me back to do a full podcast just by myself, which means either I did well or Steven is a crazy man. Possibly both.
I was also on two panels Sunday. The first was called, "Meet the Big Boys," and I took up space at a table also occupied by Larry Roznai, President of Mayfair Games; Dominic McDowall, from Cubicle 7; and Mark Wooton, who supervises (and is) the Scotland branch of AEG. It was a fun panel and you can watch it right here.
Immediately after that panel, Paco Garcia-Jaen and I stayed around and talked about Munchkin and SJ Games in general for an hour. I think I managed to terrify some people with my description of the Ogre box. That seminar isn't online yet, but we'll be sure to link to it when it is.
I want to thank everyone at UKGE for having me as part of their convention, and especially the folks at Esdevium who made the suggestion in the first place. I also owe thanks to Ross (of course), MIB Control Birger Krämer and all the UK and German MIBs who came to help out, and all the people who stopped by to say hello, who asked questions at my seminars, and who played games with us. Special thanks go to Jay Little, designer of X-Wing and Star Wars Edge of the Empire, for being a fellow American I could go to when I needed to hear a familiar accent. I regret not getting to sit and talk to some other people I had hoped to meet; schedules did not work out in my favor, some of the time. UK Games Expo had over 3,500 unique visitors this year, and I only expect it to get larger next year. If you're in the UK, or even thinking about maybe being close to there next May, I highly encourage you to attend.
We recently received our office copies of two new Munchkin translations: Finnish (from Fantasiapelit) and Ukrainian (from Third Planet). This means we now have Munchkin available in 15 languages (16 if you count Simplified and Traditional Chinese separately), with more on the way.
How Was the UK Games Expo, Andrew?
It was awesome, thanks! I'll have a full show report up soon, including links to a podcast interview and the two panels I was on.
If you haven't been to Warehouse 23 lately, you may not realize that it's chock full of really cool products that we can't make enough of to sell in stores. Just check out the Exclusives page and look at all the Munchkin awesomeness, including the new 10-sided Munchkin Level Dice!
(There's some non-Munchkin stuff, too, if you're into that sort of thing . . .)
Don't forget to check out this one-stop portal to everything Munchkin in Warehouse 23, too!
A quick reminder that we're closed Monday, May 27, in honor of all who have given their lives in the service of their country. We'll be back in the game mines on Tuesday.
Following his success coding the Android version of the Ogre War Room app, Keith Blackard has moved over to our IT team to help out with more app and Web coding. We wish him all the best in his new role.
Taking his place is Devin Lewis, who has helped us playtest many of our games over the last few years and has contributed his expertise as part of the Munchkin Brain Trust. He's also a game designer in his own right. We're thrilled to be able to add his talents to our team -- welcome, Devin!
(Don't forget: I'll be at the UK Games Expo all weekend, with Munchkin Pathfinder, Castellan, and a couple of other games to show off -- plus promo swag! –AH)
I'm going to be attending the UK Games Expo in Birmingham from May 24 through 26. I will be showing off prototypes of upcoming games, including Munchkin Pathfinder and Castellan, and may have some Secret Playtest games along for the ride. I'm also on a couple of seminars Sunday morning, so please come hear me babble about what's coming up for SJ Games and Munchkin!
It's my first time ever visiting the UK, and I'm very excited. I expect nothing but warm, sunny weather for my stay -- make it happen, England!
A quick status report: Munchkin Pathfinder is out of playtest and the cards have been laid out. Since I was out most of last week, one of the first things I have to do this week is look them all over and make suggestions for improvement. (These will be few, because our production team is extremely good at what they do. We're lucky to have them.) I can't wait to show you some of these; John clearly had a ball working on them.
The next things to come up will be finishing the layout of the rules and the box. Once we're happy with everything, it goes off to Paizo for their checks. Assuming no one finds major problems, we're planning to get this to print by Memorial Day. And then it's on to the next thing . . . or, in my case, the next half-dozen things, because why would I make it easy on myself?
We were recently asked on Twitter how many cards one would have in one's deck if one were to combine one copy of every card officially released for Munchkin to date. This turns out to be a surprisingly difficult question to answer.
For one thing, what constitutes "one copy of every card"? Do the various versions of Class, Race, etc. cards count independently, since they have different art, or does Warrior count once even though there are 17 Warrior cards across various sets (so far . . .)? Also, we've occasionally republished exactly the same card in multiple sets -- does Holiday Surprise count all the holiday boosters twice? And do we include Munchkin Quest cards in the count, or not?
Here are the rules we decided on:
- Every card in a core set or expansion counts, even if it has the same name and effects as another card (so every Warrior card counts toward the total). Even the blanks published as part of official expansions count.
- Cards that are actually duplicates don't count. So we didn't include Blender at all, even though some of the art is different, because Cheat With Both Hands has replaced it. And we didn't include the 64 previously published cards in Holiday Surprise, just the 4 new ones.
- Promo cards count, even retired promo cards, unless they've been republished later on -- so we only counted Pegasus Steed once, because it's also in the 2010 Warehouse 23 booster. Exception: we did NOT count blank promo cards. One must draw the line somewhere, and a blank card is a fine place to draw lines.
- We did not include any cards from yet-to-be-released sets, although we were sorely tempted.
- We may have made mistakes. It happens.
With all that, our off-the-cuff answer is: 4,190 cards in the Munchkin line, plus 323 cards for Munchkin Quest, for a grand total of 4,513 cards. We could certainly refine that answer (by excluding all blanks, by only counting a given card once, even if multiple versions occur in various decks, and so on), but that would require us to spend even more time on this than we already have. Please feel free to discuss our methodology and our inevitable errors in the Munchkin forum!
(Teaser: by the time the 2013 schedule is complete, we will be very close to 5,000 cards, and may even surpass it. Yeah, there's a lot you don't know about yet . . .)
Recently, we ran three polls to gather some information from our loyal Munchkin fans who visit our forums. The results have given us a number of things to mull over as we continue planning the future of the Munchkin line. Obviously, these aren't scientific or random polls -- for one thing, all the respondents are self-selected -- but since the forum-goers can be expected to be more involved and more engaged than most Munchkin fans, we're pretty sure these err on the side of enthusiasm for the more, shall we say, immersive elements of the Munchkin experience.
To answer one minor criticism that popped up a couple of times: Yes, the polls are worded pretty loosely. That was intentional. The comment threads pointed out some areas of confusion that are just as useful for our marketing team as the results themselves, because they show where what WE think about Munchkin isn't being communicated clearly enough to the folks who read and post to the Munchkin forums, which probably means it's even less clear to the Munchkin fanbase at large.
Question 1: What is your typical Munchkin game like? The answers here were surprising. For the number of questions that we get about exotic blended games, and the enthusiasm demonstrated by some posters for blending, 75% of the respondents stick to a single core set at a time, mostly with one or more expansions. We certainly aren't going to stop writing cards that work well with other sets, or putting cross-compatibility notes into our rulesheets, but we aren't going to stress quite as much if card A from core set Genre1 and card B from expansion DifferentGenre2 happen to have a weird interaction. We CERTAINLY don't plan to step up our efforts to make sure that doesn't happen -- some would argue that these little glitches are part of the game's charm, after all! (One exception: any set that is fantasy-backed, such as Conan and Pathfinder, WILL get tested with original Munchkin for balance and other issues. Those combinations do seem more popular than cross-genre blends.)
Question 2: Epic? This one was closer to what we expected. A bit over 57% of respondents either have never tried Epic or tried it and decided it wasn't for them. Fair enough. But over 30% play it occasionally, and 10% play it regularly or exclusively. We won't stop writing Epic rules for new sets (and yes, the Conan/Apocalypse update is very close to done; the last round of comments from our Brain Trust has wrapped up), but for now, further Epic support isn't a priority. (Again, consider that almost 60% of the hardcore fans on our forums aren't Epic players, and these are the folks who already know about Epic -- I imagine the fraction of Epic players in the general Munchkin fanbase is even smaller than indicated here.) My only regret here is not asking how many of the people who have never played Epic plan to down the road; that would have been an interesting number to see.
Question 3 (multiple choice): Which Munchkin sets do you play? I asked people to limit it to those games that they played "reasonably often," without going to the trouble of defining that phrase, and I said that if you primarily play blended games, include all the sets that are regular parts of those blended decks. There were a couple of surprises in these results as well; notably, a couple of sets that are historically strong sellers don't seem to be getting played quite so often. Whether this is because they're older and people are sticking with the new hotness, or because they're somehow inferior sets and thus are getting bought but not played, is a question we may explore in a future survey. Without getting too far into the weeds, I'll say that sorting the results by percentage reveals two clear tiers of games with a well-defined break between them. Considering that the Munchkin line keeps getting broader, we're going to have to consider carefully how much support we can give the lower-tier games in a release schedule limited by both time and money. A bit of statistical wonkery: The median number of sets played regularly was 4 sets. That was also the mode, the most common number of sets. The mean, however, was way up at an average of 5.87 sets. This is because the distribution was heavily skewed toward the ends, with 15 out of 203 respondents selecting all 14 choices in the poll. Also, in case you were curious, there were 26 people who only selected one set, and 22 of those one-set-only votes were for Munchkin.
Thanks to all the respondents, especially the people who took the time to add their comments -- we read them all and are thinking about many of the issues they raised. Very special thanks to forum users Brandonson112, Jaconian, and Urist, the three randomly selected recipients of Munchkin care packages. Please email me (just click on my name, below) with your forum name, the email address you use on the forums, and your shipping address, and we'll get those care packages out to you!
Y'all up for a Munchkin Q&A? Good! I'll be in a Google Hangout at 8:00 p.m. Austin time (GMT-6) on Wednesday, April 17. You can post your questions to this forum thread, Tweet them to @SJGames with the hashtag #MunchkinQ, or show up to the Hangout and ask them LIVE! (By joining the Hangout, you consent to appearing in the resulting YouTube video.)
Please, no questions about licensed properties except the ones we've already announced, and no complicated rule questions. Everything else is fair game! (Even questions about our non-Munchkin games, although those I might not be able to answer.)
Looking forward to chatting with you on Wednesday!
We haven't said enough about Munchkin Pathfinder lately, so let's rectify that!
The playtesting process is pretty much done. We've tested Pathfinder on its own and with the original Munchkin set, and it seems to work equally well both ways. The new Classes mesh nicely with the existing ones, and the combined game allows for some really fun Class-Race-Faction combos.
John's art is in and approved, and we're working on getting it all colored now. As always, I have to give John a hearty handshake of thanks (on his non-drawing hand) for turning out dozens of cool, funny illustrations on an insane schedule. I think it'll be clear how much fun he had with this art when you see it. (Check back here later this week, and we may have the cover posted . . .)
I've slightly revised the rulesheet for Pathfinder. We've heard from some new players that the rules are confusing and don't seem to be in a logical order, so I rebuilt them in what I hope is a more new-player-friendly sequence. If these work out, we'll probably revise the rules for our existing core games as those games come up for reprint. We'll upload a PDF of the rules as soon as the set goes to print, so please let us know what you think of them!
The one playtest comment I wasn't able to address adequately was, "Needs more Goblins." But we have a plan . . .
We're shooting for a Fall 2013 release, and we're still hoping to have some early copies at Gen Con in August. We'll post an update when we know for sure.
Thanks, as always, for your enthusiasm! I'm really proud of this set, and I hope that it brings plenty of Munchkin players to Pathfinder and Pathfinder players to Munchkin! Super-special thanks to Paizo for all of their help and for letting us play in their sandbox in the first place -- they've been great partners and I look forward to working with them again very soon.
I was honored to be part of the main International TableTop Day event in Los Angeles on March 30, and I wanted to share my impressions of the event.
First of all, what an AMAZING day for our hobby. The hashtag #TableTopDay was trending all day on Twitter -- for most of the day it was the #1 trend in North America. Wow!
I don't know how much of the studio we were in was evident on the live stream, but this was a genuine full-on production: multiple cameras, SERIOUS stage lighting, coordination between the main stage and the side stage . . . and this crew made it look easy. Even though I know it wasn't. Skype was obnoxious at times, but that's Skype. I even got to jump in on a couple of the store remotes, which was kind of awesome. All the other guests were very cool, including some people I did not expect to see (shout out to Pat "I'm so glad Wondercon was this weekend" Rothfuss!) and some others I was really glad to meet.
But the "main" event was just the tip of the iceberg, because what made International TableTop Day such a success was you gamers out there in the world, representing dozens of countries on all seven continents -- we even had TableTop Day at the South Pole, and how freaking cool is THAT? Getting together with friends, family, and even folks who aren't yet friends and sharing the love of gaming is what this day was all about. The worldwide enthusiasm just bowled us all over, and if I had done nothing all day but refresh my Twitter stream to see the #TableTopDay tweets, I still wouldn't have been able to keep up.
Thanks to Steve and Phil for encouraging me to get in touch with Geek & Sundry so I could come out here. Thanks to Wil, Felicia, Boyan, and the entire TableTop team for letting me come hang out with them. And thanks to all of YOU, because while we make the games, you play them, and THAT is the lifeblood of our hobby. See y'all on International TableTop Day 2014!
(And if any of you are still listening to Sax Guy, you have my apologies.)
SJ Games is pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement with YouTube to embed Munchkin rules in select YouTube videos. (Be sure you have annotations turned on, or you won't see the rules!)
The first rule is embedded somewhere in this video. The rule will only be on screen for a few seconds, so pay attention or you might miss it.
Thanks to everyone at both companies who made this exciting new venture possible!
Three quick notes for you this week:
We Want Your Opinions!
I recently posted three polls in the Munchkin forum. They're running through April 5, but no reason for you not to get your opinions heard now, right?
International TableTop Day!
Don't forget that this Saturday, March 30, is International TableTop Day! Go out and play games! If you're near a computer, check out the live video stream from the main TableTop Day event in Los Angeles.
I Talked To Powell's!
I had a great email conversation with the folks at Powell's Books, in Portland. Go read it and find out why I almost swore off ice cream forever, what I think you should study to work in the game industry, and what my last thought will probably be. (And I didn't call it out as such, but I mention a Ray Bradbury book that is absolutely my favorite book of all time, ever, and if you haven't read it, you are poorer than you know.)
Got plans for March 30?
Of course you do -- you'll be playing games in celebration of International TableTop Day! Created by our friends at Geek & Sundry, TableTop Day celebrates all the games we love to play. You can search for events in your area at the TableTop Day website, and you can also host your own event and submit it so people know about it.
That day is also a great opportunity to catch up on the TableTop episodes you may have missed, or to go back and watch some old favorites!
Be sure to check out the live stream from the main event in Los Angeles . . . you may see some familiar faces!
We're duly impressed. Also, I'd be afraid to see what Big items are like in this Munchkin universe.
Interested in Munchkin Czar Andrew Hackard's top five mistakes people make when writing a Munchkin card?
Wonder what comes first: the art, the names, or the mechanics?
What the heck happens in a playtest, anyway?
Just want to hear Andrew talk for half an hour or so about designing Munchkin? (If yes, then please seek professional help immediately.)
It's been way too long since we got to chat, so we're having a Google Hangout TOMORROW, March 5, at 8:00 pm Central Time, super-late so even the West Coast fans can watch us live! (And I guess folks in Europe who want to wake up super early can join us, too -- bring coffee!) This one isn't going to be as Q&A oriented as most of them, since this is a pretty rich topic to discuss. We'll get back to the Q&A next time. (Private note to Car and Jason: NO.)
If you can't watch it live, you can visit our YouTube page later; the Hangout will be posted there shortly after the live video concludes. Or just watch it RIGHT HERE!
This week, we start running playtests of Munchkin Pathfinder. If you're in the Austin area, keep an eye on the SJ Games Playtest group on Facebook; that's where we'll announce the local playtests. (And if you aren't in Austin, you can sign up anyway; sometimes we take our playtests on the road!)
Hope to see y'all at one of our game tables soon!
Phil and I spent most of last week in New York, meeting with representatives of many companies who buy our games . . . and some who would like to! We also met with some other business partners, and took time just to hang out with friends from time to time as well (shout out to Bryan, Molly, and John from FFG, who were very tolerant every time Phil and I walked across the aisle to ooh and aah at the new batch of X-Wing figures).
We owe very special thanks to the folks at PSI, who were once again our hosts in their booth and helped arrange many of the meetings we had in New York. We're looking forward to putting the results of those meetings into your hands very soon!
And yes, it's nice to be back home where it's warm, although every time I visit New York I find something new to enjoy. Right now, looks like I'll be back in October for Comic Con -- keep the lights on for me!
The final episode of the first season of Tabletop airs this week. If you liked the first season as much as we did and want to see a second as much as we do, then please head over to the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel and subscribe! If you are so motivated, you can also comment on and upvote the episodes you're especially fond of.
Thanks to Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, and the entire G&S team for the show and all the support you've given us over the last year! We're looking forward to working with y'all again real soon!
Because I know all of you plan your entire year around my appearance schedule [PAUSE FOR MOCKERY], I wanted to let y'all know what the plans are as they stand now.
I will, sadly, not be attending either PAX East or PAX Prime this year. I had to cut down on travel and those two shows were "fun to attend" shows, but not as important for business as some of the others.
I do still plan to be at San Diego Comic Con and Gen Con, and this year for the first time I'm planning to visit PaizoCon as well. I may also sneak over to Gam3rCon while I'm in San Diego, to say hi to those of you who'd rather play games than stand in lines.
There are some other trips that may or may not happen this year (including an overseas trip that I'm VERY excited about), so watch this space for more "Where Is Andrew?" news. Or check out the Conventions We're Attending page!
Here's another update:
- We raised our print order for the 24th printing of Munchkin, because we sold more copies of Munchkin in 2012 than we were planning to print this year. That seemed like a recipe for empty shelves, so we aren't taking any chances.
- Along those lines, Munchkin Deluxe has performed superbly, selling enough that we're planning to keep it in print when we'd originally intended to let it go after one printing, two at the most. We aren't saying it will be around forever, but for now, it's part of the line.
- Work proceeds on Munchkin Pathfinder. Golarion is a rich setting and we are taking the time to make sure we're doing it justice. It's going slower than we had expected, but Paizo has been a huge help the whole way (special shoutout to James Jacobs for patiently answering all my stupid questions). This remains my top priority until it's ready for playtest, at which point Lenny and Keith get to take it over while I move on to the next projects. (Doesn't help that I'm moving all this week . . .)
- The delay on Pathfinder means that we won't have Chez Guild out this summer as we had hoped. We're shooting for this fall.
- Lenny's getting his toes wet in the design pool; he's done the heavy lifting on two of our fall releases, and contributed ideas and bad jokes for several others (starting last year). Next up, training Keith in the Tao of Munchkin!
- We're about to start the development work on Munchkin 9 (no, we aren't saying what it is). There's an expansion for at least one non-fantasy Munchkin set scheduled for this year as well. (Plus the Mars Attacks booster for Munchkin Apocalypse being written by SJ himself!) And ideas for Munchkin 10 are already being kicked around . . .
- Those of you who like Munchkin game accessories are going to be happy this year. We have several that we expect to do very well in your Friendly Local Game Stores.
- We're hard at work on designing the 2014 schedule. Those of you who have liked the boosters we've done may find some welcome surprises in our planned 2014 boosters. And I'm sending around more emails talking about 2015 and beyond -- which is, frankly, a bit terrifying.
- And then there's all the stuff I can't talk about yet!
It's an exciting time here at Munchkin HQ, and as always, we have to thank all of you who have bought and played our games. We wouldn't get to keep doing this if y'all weren't out there supporting us the whole way.
(We haven't forgotten about Google Hangouts! There's one I want to do soon; it's just finding the right time among all the other things I have to get done.)
Some travel notes, for those who find this sort of thing interesting:
Last Friday, we were pleased to host Karsten Esser, from our German publisher Pegasus Spiele. Meetings were had, decisions were decided, and secret plans were laid bare (and then promptly covered back up). We've worked with Pegasus for 20 years, which is a VERY long time to maintain this sort of business relationship, and it was a pleasure to be able to show Karsten around the office and around Austin after the many times he and his team have done the same for us at Essen. We look forward to seeing you soon, Karsten!
This week, Munchkin überartist John Kovalic heads on his nearly annual pilgramage to Cork, Ireland, for Warpcon. We predict sunny weather, warm breezes, and the drinking of much Guinness. (Two of those predictions are less likely than the third . . .) Be kind to John*; he's been drawing his arms off for us, and he could use a little pampering.
* Translation: Buy him lots of Guinness.
Finally, I will be out of the office next week, or at least most of it, finishing the last details of my move across town**. I'll be keeping up with email but not a lot else; see y'all in February!\
** Translation: Cleaning the heck out of my old apartment.
(Yes, I know you don't set a calendar. Work with me here.)
FOX has announced the date for the premiere of the animated Axe Cop series: July 27. Axe Cop himself will be voiced by Nick Offerman, from Parks & Recreation; other actors include Megan Mullaly, Patton Oswalt, and Peter Serafinowicz. Episodes will be 15 minutes long and will be part of FOX's new Saturday animation block.
Six months is a long time to wait, we know . . . may we suggest you pass the time with some rousing games of Munchkin Axe Cop?
It happened again! Thanks to a combination of insane holiday sales and a shipping delay, our "extra buffer" supply of Munchkin will probably run out around the end of January. We now expect the next batch to hit our main warehouse in mid-February, unless there are further problems. Like that port strike that was kicked back a month but might still happen . . .
As of now, most stores still have Munchkin on their shelves, and most distributors still have copies that they can send to stores. So maaybe we won't really run out, at least not for very long. Munchkin Deluxe is available (at least for now). Munchkin Apocalypse is in good supply. And yes, Munchkin Zombies will hit the warehouse in a week or so, so it will be back in stores soon.
Now we're busy working on MORE Munchkin stuff to run out of . . .
We'll post a review of 2012 from our perspective in the next week or two; for now, the short and sweet version is: Very challenging and VERY good.
Hope everyone has a great and SAFE New Year's Eve. We'll see you in 2013.
(Special Rule! If you are playing any variety of Munchkin at midnight tonight in your area, everyone in the game levels up when 2013 starts. This CAN be the winning level. Please keep the champagne away from the cards.)
Yes, my birthday really is Christmas Eve. Yes, sometimes I got combined gifts -- although not often, and usually they were really NICE combined gifts. No, I don't have any super-special plans, just a nice lunch with my parents and my sister's family up in Dallas.
The second-best birthday gift this year is that the Mayans were wrong and we're all still around. Woo hoo! (If the Mayans were right and we're all dead, please ignore this line.)
The best birthday gift I've gotten this year is pretty much the same as the past four years: I get to keep working on a game I love, with people I like and respect, and on behalf of you guys, the best fans I could ask for. Thanks for everything!
While our office is technically closed for the rest of the year, Warehouse 23 is still happily accepting orders through Wednesday the 19th. If there's any last-minute shopping you forgot to do (like pick up some of our new Munchkin shirts!), they'll be happy to help you out.
Next week, we're REALLY closed. We'll be back on January 2.
(As for me . . . I've got a bunch of Munchkin stuff that has to be written pretty much immediately. So my "vacation" is mostly just getting to work in a quiet, empty office for a change -- which, when you're working on something as rich in detail as Munchkin Pathfinder, is a huge boon.)
In normal families, the younger generation grows up and moves out after they've learned as much as they can. But this is the Munchkin office, where "growing up" is a liability, not an asset, and moving out just makes it harder to have a meeting.
Leonard Balsera has been my loyal Hireling for almost a year now, and I'm pleased to announce that he has been elevated to the exalted (but still sub-Czar, because I'm a power-hungry bastard) rank of Munchkin Baron. He's already been taking on a lot more responsibilities for product checking and marketing of the Munchkin line, and has even designed one of the 2013 Munchkin boosters. Congratulations, Lenny, and thanks!
To help take on some of the day-to-day drudgery we're promoting Lenny away from, we've added Keith Blackard to the team as the new Munchkin Hireling. Keith will be telling you about himself a little later in the Daily Illuminator, but for now, I'll just say that I've known him for a couple of years and he's got every qualification for the job except one: he's too quiet. We'll fix that. Welcome to the team, Keith!
(An oddity: both Lenny and Keith are now using standing desks. I feel like I should be saying "At ease!" every half hour or so.)
As for me, this frees up more of my time to work on product design, which should mean you see a more consistent flow of cool Munchkin stuff in 2013 and beyond, including some projects I can't even begin to discuss but that I'm really excited about. I'm also taking some of the planning load off Phil, which ought to be good for everyone.
Thanks to everyone for your support this year! As a reminder, we'll be closed from December 14 until January, and I'm thinking we may schedule another Google hangout for early next year. If you've got some ideas for things we can talk about, hit the forums and let us know!
Director of Sales Ross Jepson told us last week that PSI, our Atlanta fulfillment warehouse and all-around great partner, is out of Munchkin, Munchkin Deluxe, and Munchkin Zombies.
A quick refresher:
- We just started shipping the fourth printing of Munchkin Zombies to our distributors . . . and it's gone. The fifth printing is planned to ship next spring.
- We just started shipping the second printing of Munchkin Deluxe . . . and it's gone. The third printing is also planned to ship next spring.
- Back in May, we started shipping the 23rd printing of Munchkin. That printing was 100,000 copies and was designed to last us through next summer. Guess what -- it's gone. The 24th printing will start shipping to distributors late next month, and appearing in stores in February. Yes, this print run is even bigger.
- Finally, even though it's not Munchkin, I feel compelled to point out that the latest printing of Zombie Dice sold out completely while it was still crossing the Pacific Ocean. Retailers, contact your distributors now if you need some, because we aren't getting more until after the holiday season.
None of this is catastrophic -- just because we're out doesn't mean that our distributors and our retail partners are out, and you should be able to find the games on the shelves to complete your Santa shopping. After that, however, Zombies and Deluxe might be thin on the ground for a couple of months.
Yeah, we know that selling games too fast isn't a horrible problem . . . it just makes us shake our heads sometimes. Thanks to all our customers, old and new, for making this our best year ever!
We have some new Munchkin shirts for sale on Warehouse 23, including the stylin' Munchkin Polo Shirt, the warm Munchkin Sweatshirt, and the suitable-for-scavenging Munchkin Apocalypse Shirt. (And there just maaaaaaay be a couple more coming before the end of the year, so keep checking back.)
Check out these shirts and all the rest of our Munchkin loot on the Warehouse 23 Munchkin portal!
(Have you picked up the Exclusive Warehouse 23 Munchkin Booster 2012 yet? Good grief, why not?)
We're pleased to announce that Munchkin Holiday Surprise is now available exclusively at Barnes & Noble stores. This set compiles our four holiday boosters (Waiting for Santa, Santa's Revenge, Reindeer Games, and Naughty & Nice), four cards previously available only as promotional cards or as part of exclusive Warehouse 23 boosters, and four new cards from an accessory planned for wide release in late 2013. There's also a new holiday-themed Kill-O-Meter that is not available anywhere else, and two six-sided Munchkin dice, one red and one green.
Holiday Surprise makes a great holiday gift for the new Munchkin fan!
A whole bunch of us, including me, will be attending BoardGameGeek Con in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, November 14-18. This show is completely sold out, so if you don't already have tickets, sorry. We'll miss you.
If you ARE going, make sure to come by and say hello -- we'll be showing off all our games and will even be selling some of them. (And we'll be playing lots of other games, too, when we aren't working.)
We'll bring plenty of Munchkin promo swag, and I'll be showing off Apocalypse to anyone who wants to play it.
We're doing something a little different: a Google Hangout this Thursday afternoon, starting at 5:00 Central Time. We're going to take a look at Munchkin Apocalypse and the +6 Bag o' Radioactive Munchkin Dice, tease some of our 2013 schedule, and then take some questions from the crowd. You have to have a Google+ account and add us to your circles (so we can add you back; otherwise, you won't see the announcement). When it's time for the chat, head to our G+ page to get the link to the hangout. Currently, this hangout is not open to everyone because public hangouts can't be saved to YouTube, as far as we can tell -- if we're wrong, please tell us!
If you have questions you'd like answered, you can post them to this thread in our forums, or ask them live during the chat! (You must have installed the Google Voice plugin to join the chat. Google will give you that chance before you try to join the hangout the first time.)
Having Halloween in the middle of the week is kinda lame, huh?
Well, not for SJ Games; our annual Halloween Game Day is this Wednesday. We'll all be in the office, but we'll be playing games and eating good food, not paying attention to phones and email. Some of us may be wearing costumes: watch our Flickr stream for pictures!
We'll be back to work on Thursday, getting ready (among other things) for BoardGameGeekCon in mid-November.
Last week, I talked about having to reprint a bunch of Munchkin stuff. In that post, I didn't mention that the foilpack boosters are ALSO selling well, and that several of them are out of print or very close, because our plan is NOT to reprint the boosters -- the quantities required to make any sort of profit on those sets pretty much mean that a second printing is a losing move. (Certainly any reprint of the boosters wouldn't be soon.)
So if you're waffling on picking up some boosters, especially older ones, you might want to forgo that large coffee at Barstucks one morning pretty soon. We're already out of Marked for Death, Fairy Dust, and Waiting for Santa, and our supplies of Munchkinomicon, Monster Enhancers, Reloaded!, and Santa's Revenge are pretty low. (Friendly Local Game Stores may well still have copies on their shelves, but they won't be getting many more . . .)
I'm not saying those cards will never come back, but reprinting boosters is not in our plans right now. We'd much rather work on the NEW boosters we have coming out in 2013 -- and planned considerably beyond that!
(By the way, if you want to see the complete list of Munchkin boosters we've done, head over to the World of Munchkin Boosters page. Maybe there's one you missed!)
A couple of weeks ago, Phil and I looked at Munchkin stock levels and sales trends and realized that some of our reprints scheduled for later in 2013 needed to be pulled up to January. And a couple of things that seemed safe suddenly got added to the schedule.
This meant that Production Manager Sam Mitschke and his tireless minions (minia?) Alex, Ben, and Gabby had to shove aside some other work to push reprints out the door by the end of September. They did -- well done, gang! -- and so you shouldn't see any significant interruptions in the supply of Munchkiny goodness on the shelves of your Friendly Local Game Store.
Having to print more games because they're selling absurdly fast is a pretty nice problem, granted, but it's still a pain to clear people's desks on short notice. Thanks to our staff for doing so!
Correction: Andrew will be at the Compleat Strategist on Tuesday, October 9. Also, they will have copies of Munchkin Apocalypse FOR SALE!
Now that we're back from PAX (thanks to everyone who dropped by to play some games!) and have had time to catch our breath, we can look forward to the rest of 2012 and see what it has in store.
Next week, Andrew will be attending New York Comic Con at the Javits Center in Manhattan. He'll be showing off Munchkin Apocalypse and working with the folks at the Compleat Strategist to sell as much Munchkin loot as we can! (In fact, if you're in Manhattan that week, come by the Strat on the evening of October 9 and ask Andrew for an early demo!)
The following week, Sam and Randy will be joining Ross in Germany for Essen Spiel, the board game megaconvention. We'll be working with our partners at Pegasus Spiele, as always. Ask Sam nicely, and he'll show off his Castellan set!
At the end of October, several folks from SJ Games will be attending the Wizard World show right here in Austin. If that's not incentive enough, several Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members will be there, celebrating the show's 25th anniversary.
And in mid-November, lots of us will be heading to Dallas for BoardGameGeek.Con -- where WE get to play games, not just run demos!
That's all the travel for the year . . . as far as you know . . .
Are you fans of the end of the world?
How about Molly Lewis and the Doubleclicks?
All these beautiful things are coming together in the Ladies of Ragnarok tour, coming to an Eastern U.S. city near you in the near future? (May not be true if you are reading this in 2013 or do not live in the eastern United States.) Attendees will get to hear lots of cool music and will also be able to pick up a brand new Munchkin Apocalypse bookmark weeks before all the unfortunate souls who can't be there . . . which ought to be reason enough for everyone!
A couple of months ago, we added a new area in our forums: Munchkin 101. This is for all our new Munchkin fans to ask questions. If you're a new fan, or just haven't checked out our web forums, why not create an account and join the conversation? And if you're an old hand, swing over and help some new players get a better handle on the game we all love to play.
We're looking for your best ideas for Munchkin Silver Piece rules! Submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org before September 17 and potentially win a valuable* prize package! Details are on the Silver Piece web page.
* Prize package may not actually be valuable by any sane definition of the word.
We've been out of stock of the +6 Bag o' Munchkins for quite some time. I'm pleased to report that a new printing is working its way toward your Friendly Local Game Store right now. Those of you who've been asking where to find them, now you know. (The +6 Bag o' Munchkin Babes is very recently out of stock at Warehouse 23, but many stores will still have copies. We don't have an estimated reprint date for the Babes.)
Munchkin Czar Andrew Hackard will be appearing on a panel called "It Only Hurts When You Laugh" on Sunday, September 2, at 4:30 p.m., in the Unicorn Theater in the Washington State Convention Center, 6th floor. The panel will be moderated by Will Hindmarch. Panelists besides Andrew are James Ernest (Cheapass Games), Keith Baker (Gloom), and Mike Selinker (too many to mention). It should be a really fun time, so y'all please show up!
We announced two new Munchkin licenses this past weekend at GenCon!
First was Munchkin Apocalypse: Mars Attacks! This 15-card booster for November's Munchkin Apocalypse game is based on the 1962 Topps trading cards and will have some of the original art from that set. Steve is designing this booster, which should be out next summer.
Also, SJ Games teamed up with Paizo Publishing to offer Munchkin Pathfinder, a new fantasy-themed Munchkin core set due out in Fall, 2013. This set will be based on the Pathfinder RPG and its associated setting, Golarian. Steve and Andrew are collaborating on the cards and John Kovalic lends his signature art style to the project.
(You may also have heard about our NON-Munchkin announcement -- get more details here!)
I'll be having two signings at GenCon: Thursday at 4:00 and Saturday at 5:00, both at Booth #1301. I will also have announcements at least one of those days!
Look forward to seeing y'all there . . .
Last year, at GenCon and PAX Prime, we had a capsule machine dispensing trinkets such as coins, dice, Munchkin pawns, free games, and the occasional tournament-legal Munchkin rule. These rules were printed on red paper so you could tell immediately what they were.
We printed expiration dates on some of them, but failed to do so on others. This serves as official notice that all rules printed on red slips without an explicit expiration date will expire on August 15, 2012, and will no longer be usable in official Munchkin tournaments at any level.
We've learned our lesson, and will make sure to put explicit expiration dates on all such rules in the future.
From Warehouse 23:
Christmas in the middle of Summer?!?! It can be. And the perfect present - Munchkin Jolly Jumbo d6 (Blue). It's a 25mm, six-sided die with classic John Kovalic Munchkin art. Quantities are limited, so get yours fast!
Do you play Munchkin? (If not, why are you here?)
A better question: Do you have good photos of yourself and/or your friends playing Munchkin?
If so, please consider sending those pictures to As Seen On Tabletop, a Tumblr run by our old friend, Wil Wheaton. It shows pictures of happy gamers enjoying the games that have been featured on Tabletop, on the Geek & Sundry channel. We'd love to see them, and so would everyone else!
From Warehouse 23: Get Munchkin Zombies 3 Early!
Munchkin Zombies 3 – Hideous Hideouts is due to come to stores later this year, but you can get your hands on one now!
We'll randomly pick one customer who places an order at Warehouse 23 between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Austin time on 8/1/12 to receive a free copy of Munchkin Zombies 3 with your order. There is no minimum purchase amount, and you do not need to order Munchkin items to be eligible.
Be the first person to seize Fort Deadly, lurk in the Creepy Isolated Cabin of the Dead, or attend ResurrectiCon with Munchkin Zombies 3 – Hideous Hideouts!
Remember when we taught you to never pick up a duck in a dungeon? Well now you can! In October, you can cuddle with not one, but two fierce ducks -- the Duck of Doom and the Duck of Gloom. We're also continuing our Munchkin booster series with the Christmas-themed Munchkin Naughty and Nice.
You should know better than to pick up a duck in a dungeon . . . but since you probably aren't in a dungeon right now, cuddle our plush Duck of Doom without fear! Includes two new Munchkin cards and a zippered pouch for storing your treasures!
6.5" tall plush figure. Stock #5546, UPC 837654321683. $19.95.
Why does the Duck of Gloom look so perky? He comes with a new Munchkin card and, by special arrangement with Atlas Games, a new Munchkin-flavored Gloom card as well! Plus a zippered pouch to hide all your hopes and dreams from an uncaring world. Or to keep your keys in. Whatever.
6.5" tall plush figure. Stock #5547, UPC 837654321690. $19.95.
It's a Munchkin Christmas tradition: a holiday-themed booster! Use the Candy Cane and Tannenbomb to fight off the Snow Angels and Holiday Spirits! Spike the Egg Nog to Go Up a Level! Be Naughty or Nice . . . or both at once!
Finseal pack containing 15 cards. Stock #4234, UPC 837654321676. $4.95.
We have said before that we will never, ever, ever reprint the Heart of the Anomaly card, made as a special promo item for Linucon 2004.
And we won't.
But we never said we wouldn't put it on a T-shirt . . .
From Warehouse 23: The Bracelet of Slapping!
Everyone loves nifty new Munchkin accessories, especially if the accessory lets you stick it to your friends! In true Munchkin fashion, we proudly introduce the Munchkin Bracelet of Slapping, available in Adult and Youth sizes. It even comes with a dandy rule that will let you slap it to your friends!
Better hurry, though. Quantities are limited.
SJ Games is sending a team to San Diego Comic-Con, starting on July 12 at the San Diego Convention Center. (Traffic advisory: don't even THINK about trying to drive in that area.) Phil, Andrew, Sam, Ben, and Randy will be taking in the nerdery and probably having a few Seekrit Meetings during the show. If you're planning to attend, swing by the Adventure Retail booth and say howdy -- that's our base of operations at the show.
The SJ Games office is closed this week for our annual mid-summer break. No one will be around to pick up the phone, and Warehouse 23 will not be shipping any orders. Some people may answer email, but don't count on it.
We'll be back next Monday, July 9.
We're always interested in your Munchkin card ideas. Head over to the card submission page and, if we use your idea, we'll give you credit in the game and send you a signed copy!
(We have a page for Munchkin Quest card and room ideas, too.)
Andrew (aka our beloved Munchkin Czar) recently took some time out of his crazy schedule to appear on the Jennisodes podcast, and the episode is now live!
They talked about a wide range of Munchkin-related topics, and Andrew dropped some juicy tidbits about Munchkin Apocalypse, as well as some of the other fun things we have in store for you in the latter part of 2012.
When I’m trolling the Internet, looking for Munchkin-related conversations, I often see people talking about what to do with their enormous, multi-expansion decks.
So I figured I ought to throw out a reminder about our Munchkin card boxes – the Munchkin Boxes of Holding, the Munchkin Zombies Meat Lockers, and the Munchkin Cthulhu Crypts of Concealment. Each has a box for Treasures and a box for Doors, and each box holds 500 cards. Having all three gives you room for 3,000 cards, which is around 75% of all Munchkin cards! (So far . . .)
Each set has a pair of cards matching the theme of the box and found only in these accessories. More cards are always good, right?
In case you missed it, our own Evil Stevie was in Friday's new episode of Wil Wheaton's YouTube show, Tabletop, playing Munchkin Deluxe with Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh from The Guild. Go check it out!
Tabletop is part of the Geek & Sundry channel. When you're done watching Tabletop, check out their other shows, too . . . they're all fantastic!
(Speaking of The Guild, if you haven't picked up Munchkin The Guild yet, what are you waiting for?)
We are looking for contact info for Lwo Lazala and Carrie Seaberg, two of our playtesters for Munchkin The Guild.
Please ping email@example.com if you can help, or if you're one of the folks we're looking for. Thanks!
What do you get when you combine Munchkin with one of the most popular geeky webcomics ever created? Munchkin Penny Arcade! This 15-card booster is designed to be combined with the original, fantasy-based Munchkin core set and will be available through your Friendly Local Game Store in September. Every card has been illustrated by Mike Krahulik. The rules (and the jokes) were written by Steve Jackson. What could be funnier?
You say you've never read the Penny Arcade comic? Now's your chance! This satirical comic dates back to 1998 and every strip is available online for you to read.
Can't wait for a preview? At PAX East, we handed out a special Munchkin promo card featuring Penny Arcade characters Twisp & Catsby, and that card will be added to Warehouse 23 orders while supplies last. Or talk to your local Man In Black! If you drop by our company Flickr account, you'll get a taste of what you can expect when you add Munchkin Penny Arcade to your game.
For more information about Munchkin Penny Arcade, read the press release or visit the Munchkin Penny Arcade Web page.
Munchkin is a light-hearted game about people going adventuring, killing their enemies, and taking their stuff.
But many soldiers face the possibility of killing or being killed every day, and it's not a game at all. In the United States, this is the day we set aside to remember those men and women who sacrificed their most precious gift on behalf of the rest of us.
We're closed today. See y'all tomorrow.
We are pleased to announce that Steve Jackson Games has been granted registrations on two trademarks: the Munchkin logo and the Super Munchkin character seen on the original Munchkin box and elsewhere. That's a fussy legal distinction; essentially, it means the U.S. government recognizes that, in the sphere of tabletop games, we own those brands. Trademarks are specific to segments of the market: There are companies in other areas also using Munchkin as a brand name, and some of them have registered the trademark as well, but as long as they don't start making games and we don't start making whatever it is they make, we're good.
What this means for you, as Munchkin fans, is that the Munchkin logo and the Super Munchkin character should include the "circle-R" designation wherever they appear, including on fan pages. There's more about our requirements in our Online Policy, as well as a very brief introduction to the distinctions among trademarks, copyright, and other forms of intellectual property. It's worth a read. It does NOT mean you have to stop talking about Munchkin (please don't!): the point of trademark law is to give people a way to talk about your products without seeming to claim ownership.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me (clicking my signature below will do it).
I haven't been talking about our recently concluded Ogre Kickstarter in this space, because, well, it's not Munchkin. However, when the elephant in the room is actually a giant cybernetic tank that has just raised more than 20% of your total revenue from 2011, it's probably worth a mention. Here are a few questions y'all might have (and if not, I still want to answer them, so there).
Why are you even talking about this? It's not Munchkin . . .
First of all, because fans of Ogre and SJ Games, including some of you reading this, pledged over $923,000 to help make Ogre bigger and better. That kind of dedication demands recognition and thanks. So -- thank you, very much, for making Ogre the most-funded tabletop game in the history of Kickstarter. Every pledge is a mark of support for Ogre, for the company, and for Steve himself, and we are absolutely NOT taking that lightly. We've made a lot of commitments and we are going to honor them.
For my part, I'm a fan of Kickstarter, so I have been consulting on the Ogre campaign for a couple of months now. While Phil was in China, I ended up spending a LOT of time working with Steve to help shape the final days of the drive. Not many things would be important enough to take me away from Munchkin development, but this was definitely one of them. (Fear not: Munchkin Apocalypse is still on schedule!) I suspect I'll be giving Ogre some of my time for a few weeks yet. And when the games actually arrive in Austin, it'll be all hands on deck -- packing over 5,000 games and sets of extras is a HUGE undertaking, and we'll all be pitching in!
(Special commendations to Sam Mitschke, who put in VERY long hours and wrecked his laptop getting all our videos put together!)
OK, so how does this affect Munchkin?
In the short term, not much at all; I'm not involved with Ogre development, and I have already taken on a larger share of Munchkin development because we knew Steve's time was going to be eaten up by this project. We'd planned for Ogre's success (although maybe not the degree of success we've seen!) so it wouldn't get in the way of Munchkin.
In the longer term, Steve's going to be focused on writing new Ogre content for a while, and we'll be hiring an Ogre Czar (title not final) to help shepherd Ogre the way I've been shepherding Munchkin. And yes, some resources that probably would have gone to Munchkin may be going to Ogre instead . .