At this rate, there will be more pop culture-branded versions of Munchkin than of Monopoly.
In February 2018, Steve Jackson Games is releasing a collectible card game based on its popular Munchkin non-collectible game card game.
Not sure how well the humorous Munchkin vibe will translate to CCG fans. Obviously the game has sold a ton of cards in its various base sets and expansions, but I’m not sure Munchkin is the sort of game that people want to play in a CCG format.
Steve Jackson Games has created a Munchkin Level Counter app for the iPod Touch and iPhone. The app not only provides a helpful level counter to keep track of your progress, but also includes a “Boon” option which the player can use once per game and awards one of 150 in-game advantages such as treasure or yet another way to stab your friends in the back.
A bit pricey at $4.99, but I’m sure they’ll sell plenty of these.
I’ve managed to pick up most of the Munchkin bookmarks at various Cons, but I seriously need this Munchkin Cthulhu Bookmark of Udder Ridiculousness for my collection. The rules for this one are hilarious,
- You may play this bookmark whenever you are in combat.
- Show everyone the bookmark so they are alerted to the ridiculousness to come.
- Hand any other player at the table a book from the Cthulhu Mythos, and close your eyes.
- The player hands the book back to you. Without opening your eyes, insert this bookmark into the book.
- Without opening the book, guess what page number the color side of the bookmark is facing. If your guess is within 25 pages of the bookmark?s actual location, you gain a one-time combat bonus equal to the page number.
- Somewhere in here, you should open your eyes again, unless you WANT to play the rest of the game with them closed.
- If you actually pulled this nonsense off, and gained the one-time combat bonus, congratulations! You are now a Cultist (if a card is available). If you were already a Cultist, you go up a level! This cannot be the winning level.
Steve Jackson games once again published its annual look back at its own successes in the previous year, which also happens to be a fascinating insight into the status of the games industry in general.
Not surprisingly, pen-and-paper RPGs continue to make up a shrinking proportion of SJ Games’ sales, replaced by its Munchkin line of card/board games,
Our 2008 gross was a bit over $2.9 million, only a small increase over 2007. However, it was considerably more profitable than 2007. . . . The Munchkin line, including the new Munchkin Quest boardgame, accounted for almost exactly 75% of our sales in 2008!
Jackson reports the company is working on some sort of iPhone app for Munchkin that is “largely coded, and being tested, as you read this.” Can’t wait for that to see what that’s about.
And those pen-and-paper RPGs? Clearly heading toward a largely all-digital sales model,
Our digital-product division, e23, is now four years old, and the second largest seller of downloadable files for the gaming community. Our e23 sales for 2008 were almost twice those of 2007. Our big goal for the year was to release at least 25 significant originals. We had 27!
However, we don’t want e23 to become a pure company store, and we do want to take advantage of the “long tail” effect, so we will continue to sell quality PDFs created by other publishers. At the moment, our third-party contract offers dramatically better royalties than does our competition, and we’ll do our best to continue that.
One the one hand, given all the doom-and-gloom among most content companies about piracy, the pen-and-paper RPG market seems to be getting by with selling non-DRMed PDFs (and it isn’t that the stuff isn’t pirated — it is easy to find all the SJ Games stuff on Torrents or Usenet). On the other hand, you have to wonder if there’s going to be any interest in RPGs much beyond the generations who played pen-and-paper RPGs before the arrival of the compelling computer versions.
Jackson writes in his summary on the state of the industry,
Writing this section was depressing . . . it was a tough year for the hobby. Traditional roleplaying continued to lose popularity, and big boardgames continued to gain, but the weakened state of the world economy is reducing many gamers’ ability to buy the really big games. On the other hand, the drop in oil prices, and that same weakened economy, has staved off further price increases from the Asian factories, so at least those really big games aren’t getting much more costly.
No new game-publishing powers made themselves known in 2008, and we lost WizKids. Late in the year, its parent company, Topps, abruptly announced that the division would be closing. I will miss WizKids; it was the best combination of creativity and strong backing that our hobby had to offer. WK had the “right stuff” to do good games, and the budget to turn them into really cool toys! Our hobby is diminished by its loss.
In fact, supporting GURPS with a couple new hardback releases comes down fifth in Jackson’s list of priorities for 2009, as compared to keeping the Munchkin train rolling and trying to come up with another board/card game hit.