Munchkin is long. Or very, very random. Maybe the latter always leads to the former, I don’t know. We played with four players, and although you should always factor in some inflation for a first game, it took in excess of two hours for someone to get their “character” from level 1 to level 10. Munchkin’s design is similar to that of Chez Geek in that there isn’t any designed-in gravity – the combined forces of randomness and players conspiring against the current leader can theoretically keep things going forever, especially if you have lots of players.
I was just down at Endgame chatting with folks, and John Wick‘s old article about reviews (now lost to the mists of paid-subscription-land) came up in conversation. Heads at Endgame agreed with Wick that opinion should be kept out of game reviews entirely, or at least cordonned off into a single paragraph at the end. I don’t think I agree, but I will say that I came away from Munchkin wanting to write a bad review, despite the fact that I never got bored during those two hours, and actually laughed a lot. So now I just have no damned clue what my opinion is worth anyway.
But if it helps you make an informed purchasing decision any, I’ll say this: two avowed fans of Chez Geek dropped out of our Munchkin game early, because the level of randomness made them feel powerless. This despite the fact that one of them had the “Chicken On Your Head” curse in his hand. Funny cards only go so far, I guess. So, this (Munchkin) is a more extreme version of that (CG). If you loved the concept when you heard it, and screw-your-neighbor games like Chez Geek don’t piss you off, I’d recommend you go ahead and pick up Munchkin – on the person-hours-of-fun-per-dollar principle, it beats most of the movies you’ve seen lately. Just don’t tell me you didn’t know what you were getting into.