It's time to go dungeon diving and kill the monsters, steal the treasures, and stab the buddies in a tabletop board and card game: Munchkin Quest. This game is largely based on the Munchkin card game and adapts it quite nicely to a board game.
As in Munchkin, players in Munchkin Quest start at level 1 and want to reach level 10, mainly by killing monsters, selling goods and gold, or playing "go up a level" cards. Each turn, players build the "board" by moving into unexplored areas, laying down a room tile (and hallways, doors, passages, or walls that affect how much movement it takes to enter or exit the room), and fighting a monster in there. Other players can play cards to interfere, and adjacent players can help (though usually only if getting something in return). Victorious players go up levels and gain treasure; defeated ones take a wound, try to run away, and may lose items or even die.
Many of the cards (and most of their art) in Munchkin Quest are taken directly from Munchkin. Munchkin Quest does expand on the card game in several ways. Players have "life tokens" (think hit points) that are lost even if a player manages to run away from a monster, making every combat riskier. Players and monsters also roll dice to affect who wins, adding a more random element to combat. Using moves to search rooms or discover multiple rooms offers more chances to level up quickly. Monsters get their own "turn," moving around at the end of each player's turn. And reaching level 10 isn't enough to win: A player has to make it back to the Entrance and defeat a boss monster (which always starts at level 20) before claiming victory.
Munchkin Quest is illustrated by John Kovalic, and it has his signature wit. The artwork is humorous, there are oddly comical card combinations -- one game I played had a player battling a Coldly Logical Itsy-Bitsy Spider -- and the rooms often have in-jokes with the art. (The room Den of Thieves includes a sign stating "Members: Please Stop Stealing the Furniture.")
If you're looking for a cutthroat "board" game with lots of competition and plenty of comedy, get Munchkin Quest. The rules will be easier to learn if you've played Munchkin (or one of its spin-offs) before, but after a few turns of Munchkin Quest you'll be seeing out powerful weapons and looking to lay down some monster smackdown!
Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch