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® Munchkin Tournament Rules by Steve Jackson • Illustrated by John Kovalic • 2012 Update
Munchkin Tournament Rules by Steve Jackson • Illustrated by John Kovalic • 2012 Update by Andrew Hackard

Chief Operating Officer: Philip Reed Munchkin Czar: Andrew Hackard Munchkin Baron: Leonard Balsera Production Manager: Sam Mitschke Production Artist: Alex Fernandez Prepress Checker: Monica Stephens Marketing Director: Ben Williams Director of Sales: Ross Jepson

Short Rules

Follow the spirit of the rules, which is: The letter of the rules is more important than the spirit. Don’t cheat unless you have a Cheat! card. The cheat only according to the rule on the card. Whatever the event organizer says, goes. Follow Wheaton’s Law. For the much longer and less amusing Long Version of the Munchkin Tournament Rules, see p. 2.

Munchkin, the all-seeing pyramid, the Super Munchkin character, and the names of all products published by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated are trademarks or registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games Incorporated, or used under license. Munchkin Tournament Rules is copyright © 2008, 2012, 2013 by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. All rights reserved.

www. wo rldo fmun ch kin . co m STEVE JACKSON GAMES


Stock #37-2013

Version 1.51 – March 2013

Munchkin Tournament Rules, Long Version

The Munchkin Tournament Rules help maintain fair and consistent worldwide tournament play for all Munchkin games. In order to maintain this tournament system, participants and officials must treat each other in

a fair and respectful manner, following both the rules

themselves and the spirit in which they were created. A Munchkin Tournament must use these rules in order to be recognized by SJ Games as “official.” (People who wish to organize other types of competi- tive Munchkin events are welcome to do so, but they cannot call them “Tournaments” and they cannot claim or imply any official sanction by SJ Games or any entity thereof, including the Men In Black.)

General Munchkin Tournament Rules

Player Eligibility

Any player is eligible to participate in an open, non- invitational Munchkintournament except for the following:

The Tournament Organizer (TO) of record;

Any other listed judges of record;

Employees of Steve Jackson Games (unless the game

is billed as a “celebrity tournament”);

Other players specifically prohibited from participa- tion by Steve Jackson Games or the hosting event (if any). A person who receives compensation from SJ Games for working on or with Munchkin in any capacity (including, but not limited to, freelance artists, contrac- tors, and Men In Black) may participate in tournaments if otherwise eligible, but must disclose this status to the other players at the start of the game. Any ineligible player participating in a Munchkin tour- nament will be subject to removal from the Tournament.

Event Knowledge Responsibilities

Competitors, judges, and organizers involved in sanctioned tournaments are responsible for knowing and following the most current version of the Munchkin Tournament Rules (you’re reading them!) and other applicable regulatory documents, including:

The current game rules for all sets and expansions being used in the tournament (;

All official errata for all sets and expansions being used in the tournament (;

All pertinent rulings from the official Munchkin FAQ ( Note that the Listening At The Door faster-play rule (see below) is mandatory in all Munchkin tournaments. The TO should read the Listening At The Door rule before each tournament match, and judges should make sure all players understand the rule before cards are dealt. The TO should print out at least two copies of all relevant information and put them in binders that will be available at the tournament site.

Listening At The Door

Tournament play adds a “phase 0” called Listen At The Door. At the start of your turn, draw a face-down Door card, which you may play or not. Then arrange cards and Kick Open The Door normally. If you Loot The Room, draw a face-down Treasure, not a Door.

Tournament Organizer Responsibilities

The TO for an event is ultimately responsible for all tournament operations, including, but not limited to, the following:

Selecting the site for the event;

Providing all materials to operate the event (rules, decks, level counters, dice, and so on);

If sleeves are to be used, ensuring that each deck is sleeved in identically colored and textured sleeves;

Printing any online rules material (FAQ, errata, and so on);

Staffing the event with appropriate personnel;

Advertising the tournament sufficiently in advance of the event date;

Remaining in the location of the Tournament during play to adjudicate disputes, interpret rules, assign penalties, and make other official decisions; and

Reporting the names and contact information of the winners to (national and interna- tional championships only).

The TO may choose to delegate some or all of these. Such delegations should be made in writing whenever pos- sible. Exception: The TO is required to remain at the tournament site from start to finish of each round, except for brief breaks of biological necessity. If the TO is unable to do this, pick another TO!

Player Responsibilities

Players must follow the rules interpretations and guidelines for play set forth by the Official Munchkin Tournament Rules, the TO, and other tournament offi- cials. Players are required to behave in a respectful and sportsmanlike manner at all times. Players may not waive penalties on behalf of their opponents. The judge must ensure that the appropriate penalty, if any, is imposed.

Judge Responsibilities

All judges shall deliver fair, impartial rulings and assist the TO and other tournament officials to ensure a smooth tournament. Judges must take action to resolve any rules infraction they notice, or that is brought to their attention, in a timely manner. If a ruling takes more than one minute, the judge may extend the game time (see Round Time Limits, below) to compensate. The extra time must be clearly communicated and recorded immediately.

Appeals to the TO

If players disagree with a judge’s decision, they may appeal the ruling to the TO, who has the right to overrule the judges’ decisions. Players may not preemptively appeal to the TO before the judge renders an initial decision. The TO’s decision is final.



Round Structure

The following rules assume a large tournament open to all who choose to participate. Single-table invitational games (such as a “celebrity game” or a “tournament of champions”) will obviously ignore the round system.

Munchkin tournaments shall consist of a minimum of three scheduled rounds. (In the event of low attendance, one of the preliminary rounds may be canceled in the in- terest of expediency, but the rounds must be scheduled.) After the preliminary two (or more) rounds, the players are ranked according to their cumulative Tournament Levels. Ties for any of the top rankings shall be resolved using any fair random method. No fewer than four and no more than six of the highest-ranked players shall ad- vance to the final round; the TO sets the actual number of advancing players once the tournament begins. (If there is

a tie for sixth place, the TO may resolve that tie by any

means agreeable to all parties, or may choose to run a seven-player final table. In this case, the final table must use at least one full tuckbox expansion or a second core set, so that there are sufficient cards in the game.)

If there are four or more rounds scheduled, the TO may choose to designate the next-to-last round as a semi- final match. Each semifinal table should have at least four players, and advancement to the semifinals will follow the same rules as for the final round. No player may receive

a “bye” into the semifinal or final rounds of a tournament. If there are 12 or fewer players registered for a tourna- ment, the TO may choose to have a single semi-final round followed by a final round. This variance must be commu- nicated to all players before the start of the tournament. The TO or a designated Judge should “seed” the start- ing tables, either by random draw before the tournament begins or by some other method that does not put people who sign up together at the same table. (For instance, if you have four tables, write 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 next to the names, moving down the page. All people with 1 are at table 1, and so on.) This avoids any temptation for one person in a losing position to “throw” a game so a friend or relative wins.

Round Time Limits

Each round in the tournament has a time limit. The minimum time limit used in Munchkin rounds is 60 minutes. The time limit must be announced before play begins. The semifinal and final rounds may last longer than the preliminary rounds, at the TO’s option. When the round is over, the TO and judges will direct all players to put their cards down. All play must cease immediately. A player who is winning a combat as time expires is entitled to the level(s) gained from that fight.

Pre-Game Procedure

The following steps must be performed, in order, before each game begins. The TO announces the version(s) of Munchkin to be used, along with any supplements, promotional cards, and/or special items allowed. (Ideally, this declaration will be made available in writing at every table.) The TO reminds players that the Listening At The Door rule is in effect. Printed rules, including the FAQ and errata, should be made available for reference. The tournament listing should indicate what, if any, player-supplied promotional items will be valid for [each round of] the tournament.

(See Promotional Items Allowed, p. 5, and Universally Allowable and Banned Supplemental Items, p. 4.)

Universally Allowable and Banned Supplemental Items

Some promotional and supplemental items are always allowed in tournament play. Others are never allowed. The rules in this box supersede any and all restrictions in individual tournaments.

The following items are ALWAYS legal in tourna- ment play:

The official smartphone Munchkin Level Counter, and all Boons contained within

A single Munchkin Sherpa or Munchkin Zombies

Sherpa, chosen by its owner at the start of the game A championship certificate signed by Steve Jackson or Andrew Hackard and embossed with the SJ Games logo

The following items are NEVER legal in tournament play:

The Official Munchkin Cthulhu Bookmark of Udder Ridiculousness

The TO declares the time limit, Starting Level, Level Goal, number of rounds, and number of players in the final round. Judges shuffle all decks. A judge may separate the decks into halves and allow the players to shuffle, as long as no player shuffles one entire deck. Players set all Level Counters to the Starting Level of the round (1, unless otherwise stated). Determine which player will go first by random roll or other thematically appropriate selection method.


(extending the time limit for that table as needed). A player who takes more than one break, or who is judged to be taking excessive time, may be deemed to have left the game early (see below).

Leaving Early

If a player must leave a round before the end, that player is disqualified from that round. He is considered Dead, and his body may be looted.

Determining a Game Winner

The player reaching Level Goal first is the Game Winner. In the case of a game halted due to the time limit, the player(s) with the highest Level is the Winner. There may be multiple Winners. Each Winner receives 2 Tournament Levels for each Level the player had at the end of the round. Each other player receives Tournament Levels equal to the number of levels that player had at the end of the round.

Tournament Game Rules

Cards Allowed

All cards in the decks must be genuine, unmodified Munchkin cards. (Exception: Blank cards filled out and signed by Steve Jackson, John Kovalic, or Andrew Hackard; Evil Stevie Changes the Rules cards filled out and signed by Steve Jackson; and John Kovalic Draws a Wandering Monster cards filled out and signed by John Kovalic may be allowed, at the discretion of the TO. Such cards must be presented and approved before the beginning of a round.) For national and international tournaments, we strongly recommend opening fresh sets at each table in the first round (and subsequent rounds, if different Munchkin varieties are used in different rounds). The ver- sion of Munchkin to be used must be announced in the Tournament listing and at the start of each round. Unless a Tournament is advertised as a “Blender Tournament,” decks should be limited to one Munchkin core set and its expansions, boosters, or other supplements, including any promotional cards for that set. Exception: Cards from

Munchkin 7 – Cheat With Both Hands and Munchkin

Reloaded! may be added to any deck.

a n d Munchkin Reloaded! may be added to any deck. Players are expected to be

Players are expected to be in their seats when each round begins. Players arriving at their seats after the round begins may be dealt into the game after all other players have taken a turn, effectively causing the tardy player to lose a turn. Players who fail to arrive at their seats within 5 minutes of the scheduled start of a round will not be allowed to play in that round.

In-Game Breaks

Players should take any necessary personal breaks be- fore rounds begin. If it is necessary for a player to take a break during the game, a judge should be called first to ensure that the proper amount of time is given to the game

Promotional Items Allowed

Tournament listings must be explicit about what promotional items may be used, either by using one of the shorthand descriptions below or by explicitly listing allowed and banned items. (However, no description may

override Universally Allowable and Banned Supplement

Items, above.) Under no circumstances do the rules below supersede rules provided with the promotional items themselves.

Standard: Players may use no more than ONE of any given type of item (promotional card, bookmark, T-shirt,

Mask of the Munchkin, Munchkin promotional coin,

etc.) unless the item rules explicitly permit more. (A Tournament listing or announcement that does not otherwise specify promotional item usage is automati- cally a Standard tournament.)

Stud: No promotional items of any sort may be used, except for those speci- fied as always allowable.

Plus-One: Players must reveal all promotional items at the start of the game. Players are limited to a total number of items equal to the least held at their table, plus one. For ex- ample, if one player has two promo- tional items, no other player may use more than three.

Unlimited: There are no restric- tions on the use of promotional items (other than items specifically banned for all tournament play) except those given in the item rules themselves. Bookmarks, shirts, and other official SJ Games items which have Munchkin game rules are al- lowed, but it is the responsibility of the player who owns an item to bring the official rules for that item if they are not printed on the item itself. Exception: Boons from the official smartphone Munchkin Level Counter are always legal and do not require documentation. However, a player who claims a Boon should either summon a Judge or show another player at the time he gets the Boon. Rules on Promotional items requiring them to be de- stroyed or given away m us t be enforced. English-language promotional items are valid in all Tournament rounds that allow promotional items at all. Promotional items in other languages are allowable if that language is a primary language of the region where the Tournament is being held. Exception: Any Tournament designated as “international” must restrict itself to English-language promotional items.

Game Rules

The Tournament must use the most recent edition of the Munchkin rules for the version in play. Local, re- gional, and national tournaments may use either the most current English rules and cards, or any rules in a language commonly recognized as a national language of that area. (The language to be used should be part of the tournament announcement.) Local language notwithstanding, all Munchkin Tournaments must use card sets and rules dated April 2010 or later, with the exception of Munchkin Fairy

Dust and Munchkin Waiting for Santa. Sets that have been updated with Munchkin Go Up a Level are not

sufficient for Tournament play. International tournaments must use the most recent English rules and cards. In all cases of conflict between the English rules and licensed translations, the English rules shall take precedence.

translations, the English rules shall take precedence. • • T o u r n a m

Tournaments using Munchkin Fairy Dust, Munchkinomicon, Munchkin 6 – Demented Dungeons, or Munchkin Cthulhu 4 – Crazed

Caverns should list these supplements in the Tournament announcement and suggest that players read the rules ahead of time, to avoid bogging down the game. Tournament Rounds which use only Munchkin Cthulhu cards – at all tables – may use the “More Scary Cultist Rules.” Rounds that combine Cthulhu with other sets, either at a single table or with different sets at different tables, should not use those rules, to avoid disparity in Tournament Levels. In ei- ther case, whether those rules are used should be announced to all players, and (if the rules are used) the rules should be explained before the games begin. The TO may choose to vary the Level Goal from the standard 10 to 20, or to vary the Starting Level from 1 up to 5. If the Level Goal is set at 20, the Tournament should be designated “Epic” and will use the most current version of the Epic Munchkin rules from the SJ Games website ( The Level Goal for the preliminary rounds may be different from the Level Goal for the Final Round. The TO is the f i n al authority regarding card and rules interpretations. Players who make an agreement about splitting treas- ure must follow the letter of that agreement after the combat, to the best of their ability to do so. Judges are encouraged to interpret vague wording to the benefit of the helper, so be specific! Neither the basic game rules nor the tournament rules enforce or regulate other deals made between players.




Cheating will not be tolerated. The TO reviews all cheating allegations, and if he determines that a player cheated, the TO will assess the appropriate penalty. All disqualifications are subject to later review, and further penalties may be assessed. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, the following intentional activities:

Receiving outside assistance or coaching

Misrepresenting rules or card texts or errata

Drawing extra cards

Intentionally drawing from the wrong deck (Judge’s call, in case of dispute)

Manipulating which cards are drawn from the deck

Misrepresenting or hiding cards in hand, cards in play, or character Level

Misrepresenting or hiding the results of any die roll, coin flip, or other randomizer

Marking cards or using a loaded or hacked randomizer

Introducing cards or other game components from outside the game, except as allowed in Promotional Items

Allowed, p. 5.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Judges, players, and officials must behave in a polite, respectable, and sportsmanlike manner. In addition, play- ers must not use profanity or similar offensive language, argue, harass, or otherwise act belligerently toward tour- nament officials, spectators, or one another. Players must answer direct questions about their abilities or equipment honestly and completely, Any card in play may be read by any player at any time. In particular, while players are not obligated to reveal that they are in a position to win the game, they may not intentionally conceal an impending victory from the other players if asked directly. A player who is judged to have done so shall be deemed to have lost that combat, pro- ceeding directly to the Run Away phase. All other play- ers may reclaim any cards played during that fight or may draw replacement cards from the same deck, as they choose. Play passes to the next player. The TO may choose not to allow players to partici- pate with electronic devices (such as cellular phones and/or portable audio units) turned on. Exception: a device which has the official Munchkin Level Counter installed must be allowed, but must be placed into “airplane mode” or otherwise cut off from outside signals.

A device that cannot have its wireless functions shut off

should be muted. Players must take their turns in a timely fashion. Tak- ing a reasonable amount of time to think through game strategy is acceptable, but playing excessively slowly or stalling for time is not. Players may not halt the game to decide which promotional item to deploy. Conversely, players may not rush their opponents – all players must be allowed a reasonable time to decide how (or whether) to respond to a situation. Judges, and ultimately the TO, are the final arbiters of what is considered “reasonable.” A player’s request to read a card or have a card read must be honored, unless a Judge deems it to be an unfair delaying tactic, but such a reading does not relieve players of the re- sponsibility of acting within a reasonable time.

Penalty Guidelines

As soon as they observe or are made aware of cheating, unsportsmanlike conduct, or other Tournament Violations

as defined above, Judges and the TO should assess appro-

priate in-game penalties, to include any or all of: loss of level, loss of cards from hand or in play, character Death, or re- moval from the Tournament. (Very minor violations, at the discretion of the Judge, may be handled with a single warn- ing. A player may not be warned about the same infraction twice.) If the event generating the penalty could be reversed by “unplaying” a combat or a whole turn (returning played cards to the proper players’ hands, discarding any acquired Treasure, and/or altering Levels as appropriate), a Judge may choose to do so. The Judge may also allow a played card to be discarded and a replacement drawn. In this case, both

decks should be reshuffled. Penalties for blatant or repeated cheating, or extremely unsportsmanlike conduct, may include being barred from future Munchkin tournaments or removal from the event

location entirely. In these cases, the player’s full name should

be reported to local and regional Men In Black, and an inci-

dent report detailing the infractions and penalties assessed should be sent to Control no later than one week after the conclusion of the Tournament.

Judge/TO Misconduct

If a player feels that a Judge or Tournament Organizer abused his authority, either by inaction or by

inappropriate action, he should make such complaints known to convention staff and to MIB Control ( in writing (e-mail shall suffice) no later than 48 hours after the conclusion of the Tournament. A Judge or TO who is found to have com- mitted willful misconduct shall be removed from the MIB program. If the offending Judge or TO is not a Man

In Black, then the convention staff will be made aware of

the substantiated allegations and asked to provide details

of any disciplinary action taken.