Munchkin Axe Cop (Game)
Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
Release Date: October 2011
Price: $24.95
Number of Players: 3 to 6
Playing Time: Approx. 60 minutes
Format: Box with cards and 6-sided die
Age Rating: 10 and up
Product #: 4401SJG
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

A Dinosaur Warrior Baby kicks open a door, and encounters Dr. Stinky Head.  In danger of losing to this villain, he asks for help from Avocado Cop, whose levels and abilities appear to turn the tide, until Telescope Gun Cop aids Dr. Stinky Head by providing him with A Truckful of Ninjas…

No, really, that is a possible sequence of events in this Munchkin game variant.

The basic Munchkin was a card game that played off of the clichés of dungeon-bashing in a role-playing game.  Later versions have spun off into the genres of the wild west, gangsters, spies, horror movies and other variations.  This time, though, the whole game is based on the Axe Cop webcomic.  The comic is surreal and strange, since the stories are created by a child and illustrated by his much older brother. Oddly, that works well with the Munchkin rules and format.

The mechanics are simple.  You add your levels and your bonuses and compare them with those of a monster. Highest total wins.  The play of cards in support of allies or to trip up opposing players makes it a fun but cutthroat game.  Odd tricks and combinations can be used to win, or to prevent an opponent from winning, often making it difficult for the leading player to actually win.  Skill, subtlety and wackiness are all on display in a typical game.

The game box says 1-2 hours, but that's only because players will spend extra time laughing at the weird things happening, and trying to visualize the results.  Because the whole game is compatible with other Munchkin games, players can mix decks in ways that make play even more surreal, but that may make their heads explode.  Of course, that would fit right in with Munchkin Axe Cop.

--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.