September 20, 2016: Interview With Munchkin Panic Designer Anne-Marie De Witt
We had a moment to sit down with co-owner of Fireside Games, and designer of Munchkin Panic, Anne-Marie De Witt, to learn a bit more about what inspired the combination of Munchkin and Castle Panic. Check out this Daily Illuminator post for a list of friendly local game stores participating in Munchkin Panic Day on September 24, as well as social-media contests happening that weekend! You can also read a story inspired by her game in Munchkin #21.
How did Munchkin Panic come to be? When did someone say, "Let's put your chocolate with my peanut butter and see what happens"?
Munchkin Panic was the brainchild of your own Phil Reed. He actually pitched the idea to us around 2011, but we didn't have the resources to fully support it then. And [Fireside Games Co-owner Justin De Witt] was concerned about how to marry those two very different worlds.
Where did the inspiration come from for the design of this game?
The opportunities for allowing that Munchkin-esque self-interest to flourish were clear to me in the Master Slayer version of Castle Panic from the beginning. It felt like that was the natural place to begin the merging of the two worlds. I explored ways of incorporating mechanics from Munchkin into the Panic system, but they just felt pasted on. The more elegant solution was to allow more of the feel to seep into the various aspects of play, to think and act like a munchkin. With Munchkin Panic, you don't care about protecting the castle. It's all about the points in monster slays you've earned. In fact, you might just decide to enhance a monster and actively take down a tower. You don't care about mutually beneficial trades. You're out to negotiate the best deal for yourself. You also take on a role with a special ability (based on the races and classes from Munchkin) and work that to your advantage. The monsters aren't just coming at you, they are carrying treasure that you can use for some punishing card combos. Some of the monsters will also respond differently to certain characters. And you may just have a curse or two in your hand to beat back an opponent!
What was your favorite part of working on Munchkin Panic?
My favorite part of working on Munchkin Panic was a day I was brainstorming some ways to apply the curses to the Panic system. We were having three dead trees cut down in our backyard, and I was pacing around the house while I thought. The sound of the chainsaw was ripping through the walls, and I was certain at any moment that a heavy branch would crash through the roof. I felt like I was tempting fate to be thinking of curses! All of that extra tension and anxiety, though, was just what I needed to dream up how to mess with players.
Find out more about Munchkin Panic Day here, and see if stores near you are running demos on September 24!
-- Rhea Friesen
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