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Munchkin Shakespeare Says “Huzzah!” To Kickstarter

Munchkin Shakespeare Says “Huzzah!” To Kickstarter

It seems inevitable that Steve Jackson Games would go to one of the original sources of pop culture—William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s stories have been remade, rebooted and rewritten so many times it is easy to forget that many of his plays were also based on earlier works. The Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter offers theater geeks and tabletop nerds common ground where they can back stab, screw over and otherwise cackle madly at one another.

“The idea seemed amazing,” said John Kovalic, primary Munchkin artist, “but a bit mad, to me. I’m a huge Shakespeare nerd, but I wasn’t sure a Munchkin set based around The Bard would be that popular.”

The Kickstarter funded in less than 24 hours.

“Being wrong about things is something I’m comfortable with at this point in my life,” said Kovalic.munchbil2

Munchkin’s reach across tabletop gaming is far and wide. For those unfamiliar with the game, Munchkin takes its name from a style of tabletop gaming that pushes storytelling to the side in favor of maximizing bonuses, minimizing penalties and winning a dungeon crawl. These players can be disruptive at the RPG table, but when everyone’s doing it, the experience becomes something else.  Munchkin explores these types of games as competitive tabletop experiences where players are encouraged to play dirty and then have a laugh about it after the game is over. Millions of copies sold show just how much gamers love Munchkin. The World of Munchkin website shows dozens of different genres that have received the deliciously evil touch of its satire.

A Shakespearean adaptation has been high on fan request lists for several years. It seemed like a perfect project for Kickstarter to fund. Backers can opt for the main set as well as an expansion with more characters and situations from Shakespeare’s plays. Add-ons—because otherwise it wouldn’t be Munchkin without them—include custom dice, a demo pack to show friends how to play, and a kill-o-meter illustrated by a mystery artist. Stretch goals have already contributed to more cards and upgrading the expansion to a full sized box.

Kovalic’s Shakespearean favorites include Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V and Hamlet. In addition to his trademark style and wit, he also brings a little experience from the stage working with a famous actor in a production of Tom Stoppard’s most famous play.

“In school,” said Kovalic, “in England, we did Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and I had a small role. It was directed by a kid a year below me – one Dominic Dromgoole, who later became something of an enfant terrible of British Theater, and then the artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, in London. So I’m chuffed that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern appear as cards in this set.”

“I was once in a play that the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe was in charge of,” said Kovalic. “Who knew it was preparing me for this set?”

The Munchkin Shakespeare Kickstarter runs till March 10th. Fans of The Bard and of Munchkin should exeunt this article as if pursued by a bear and check it out.

What is your favorite Shakespearean character? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credits: Steve Jackson Games


Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves, Vulcans and sometimes all of them at the same time. His blog is here, his Twitter is here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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