27 May 2015

Munkin Munchkin Munchkin

I have been a fan of Steve Jackson Games for a long time. GURPS was my go to system for role-play back in the ‘90s and first half of the ‘00s. I loved the source books, especially for third edition, that was not only excellent role-playing material, but often was just a good way to learn about the subjects covered. I know people that bought them who never used them to role play, only as reference, and others who used them with other systems because the books were so full of playable ideas. GURPS Traveller may be the best version of Traveller made IMHO, especially the details in the supplements (you can have my copy of Traveller: Alien Races 1 when you pry it from my cold, dead vargr hands).

These days though, the supplements have slowed down for fourth edition. Fourth edition really improved the GURPS system, with Sean Punch doing a great job of fixing the broken parts of third edition, streamlining some a lot of the rules, and making the system of advantages/disadvantages into a truly, flexible system, allowing you to create and modify them to exactly how you envision them. However, SJGames decided to (with a few exceptions) not handle the supplements like previously. Most are PDF only releases of a serialized sourcebooks (Dungeon Fantasy, for example). There are very few full sourcebooks dealing with history and culture (though Crusades is a good 4th edition one), and few licensed books. The books they produce are mainly rules supplements or world-building books. They are really well done and worth the price. The world-building books (like Fantasy and Space 4e) still have that “use with any game” goodness we love. Also, Banestorm is one of the best realistic fantasy worlds in gaming, and is especially interesting today with its themes of Christianity and Islamic faiths clashing. For me, personally, I am waiting for GURPS Conspiracies, announced years ago, but now hard to even find a reference to it. Illuminati is a fave GURPS book for me, and I am excited to have even a fleeting hope of seeing an expanded version which deals with some of the many conspiracies that have come out in droves over the last twenty some years. If you are reading this and are from Steve Jackson Games: get off the browser now and work on Conspiracies, and the long awaited Car Wars Kickstarter as well!

What is causing the change? It is Munchkin. Munchkin is a fun card game of knocking down doors, killing things, getting loot, leveling up, and screwing your opponents. It comes in many different genres (dungeon, space, super-heroes, the apocalypse, and the de rigueur Cthulhu edition, and more (both available and to come). Munchkin swag is also popular (my wife has both the plush Duck of Doom and Duck of Gloom). So popular is Munchkin that it often seems that the company has basically become the core of the company. I don’t blame them: if it sells serve that market! I do not think games companies should be in the business just for fun. You got to pay the bills as well.

What will the future for Steve Jackson Games bring? Lets throw a 3d6 skill check and see what the crystal ball shows:

As of 1 January, 2016, Steve Jackson Games will be changing its name to “The Munchkin Factory” to better represent the core brand of the company. Andrew Hackard, line editor for the Munchkin series, summed up the reason for the change. “Seriously, SJGames is pretty much ninety-nine percent Munchkin. I think the name change is overdue, and not just because my line is becoming the focus of the company and I am getting a huge raise because of it.”

Also announced was the next six Munchkin sets just starting development:

  • Munchkin Car Wars - Designed to tie into the upcoming Cars Wars Kickstarter.
  • Munchkin Synnibarr: Set in the universe of “The World of Synnibarr.” Perfect for the one Synnibarr fanatic court ordered to life in Arkham Asylum.
  • Munchkin Munchkin - A Munchkin set that pokes fun at other Munchkin sets.
  • Munchkin Serial Killers - You are the killer and the “monsters” are just normal people. Features such cards as “Harvey, The Talking Dog,” and “Catcher in the Die,” a reference to J.D. Salenger’s novel “Cather in the Rye,” a favorite of many killers.
  • Munchkin Porn - A new “adults only” game set in the world of pornographic movies. Includes the fan favorite class card, “The Fluffer.”
  • Munchkin Seinfeld - The puffy shirt, the smelly jacket, and a J. Peterman Catalog are featured items; watch out for monsters led by the Soup Nazi and Newman. Like the Duck of Doom, make sure you do not pick up the Smog Strangler.

Also announced was the upcoming Fifth Edition of GURPS, Steve Jackson’s role-playing system. The new version will undergo a name change to GUMS: The Generic Universal Munchkin System. Sean Punch, line editor for GURPS, explained the change. “The focus in the past was on the adventure. Now it is on the character creation. Players will vie to squeeze the last point out of their character to create a rule-defiling monstrosity. After that is done, actually adventuring is just an option.”

Founder Steve Jackson was locked in his sensory deprivation chamber and unavailable for comment as he drifts on the astral plane.

Note: This press release IS NOT REAL. It is humor. Okay?

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