Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Homemade Munchkin Hero-Meters

Ever wanted a nice, compact way to keep track of your level, combat strength and sex in Munchkin? Well now you can. Over the last few weeks I've been tweaking a design I've made to do just that. Print off your own and try them out!
Here's what I came up with:

It was obviously influenced by the official Munchkin Kill-O-Meter, but I think it has some nice improvements:
  • It has the same dimensions as the cards. This makes it easy to store. If you have some way to store your cards, this will fit with them well.
  • It has a separate dial for level. Now you don't need to use dice, bottle-caps, a board or whatever you were using before to track your level (although you obviously still can).
  • They are reversible. Each Hero-Meter has male on one side, and female on the other. Makes it easy to remember if you changed sexes or if you just want to use a meter with your appropriate sex.
  • They're free! Sort of. You still have to pay for the cardstock, fasteners, glue and ink/toner for your printer.

Originally, I was going to just make the base fantasy-style themed ones. Then I figured I should make ones themed for the few sets my friends and I owned. After getting into the groove, I figured I might as well just make a different set for every Munchkin! Then I had trouble finding quality scans for graphics I needed for the rest and gave up.

Star Munchkin, Munchkin Adventure Time and Munchkin Zombies

Cthulhu Monster-Meters. The bottom one used brads. Looks good from this side, but the other side doesn't look as nice as using the eyelets and washers.

How to make them:

Tools Needed:
  • scissors
  • cardstock paper
  • glue - I used Elmer's Woodmax glue, but that's probably overkill. It just happened to be what I had around. Glue sticks did not work for me though. Too imprecise.
  • sharp knife - Preferably some sort of hobby knife, but I ended up using a small pocket knife. It just needs to be able to cut through cardstock with some precision.
  • bottle cap
  • Q-Tips. The pointy precision ones work best. 
  • Kleenex/Paper Towel, etc. - You just need something to wipe glue off
There are two ways to fasten the dials so that they spin. Brads or eyelets with washers. For the economical, just use brads. I went the more polished and probably more durable way of using eyelets with washers. This requires a special tool. After doing it both ways, I kind of wish I wouldn't have spent the money on the tool, as the brads work pretty well. They do look a lot nicer using the eyelets with washers though.
  • 4mm brads
  • 1 finishing nail, or thumbtack - Just something to poke a hole through a few layers of cardstock.
Basic Steps:
  1. Find and download the set you want. Each PDF comes with 8 Hero-Meters for players (each with a different color) and 4 Monster-Meters for monsters.
  2. Print them on cardstock.
  3. Cut out all the dials.
  4. Glue all the dials together. For each of the combat strength dials, glue a left and right dial together, so one side is left, and one side is right. The level dials obviosuly just glue together. Be very careful gluing. You really just need a very thin coating. I would fill the bottom of a bottle-cap with glue, and then paint it on with a Q-Tip.
  5. Once you have a dial glued down, take a Kleenex, fold it in half and press hard on the edge of the dial, going around it and pulling towards the outer edge. This is just to make sure we get any excess glue out.
  6. Press really hard around the edge to make sure they stick well.
  7. Cut out the outer edges of the Hero-Meter. Do not cut out the parts that say cut yet! It is much easier if you cut the parts that say cut out later, and they match up better then too.
  8. Fold the Hero-Meter along the bold fold lines, with all flaps going on the inside of the Hero-Meter. To get nice crisp folds, I've found it helpful to score the lines with the back of a knife. Press just enough to make an indentation and the fold will want to follow the line.
  9. Now with the Hero-Meter folded, cut out the visible parts that say cut. This will ensure all cuts are lined up on both sides of the Hero-Meter. Use a hobby knife to cut out the centers of the dial viewing windows for the combat strength dials. All the other cuts can be made with scissors.
Adding the dials:
    If you use the brads or eyelets and washers will determine how you attach the dials to the Hero-Meter. 

  1. Punch a hole in each of the dials with your nail/thumbtack on the red dot. Do the same to the folded Hero-Meter. 
  2. Line up the holes on the level meter dial with the hole you made in the Hero-Meter for the dial and push the brad through. 
  3. On the back, separate the brad halves and push them down to lock it into place.
  4. Do the same for the combat dials, making sure that the dials are underneath all of the glue flaps, and that you have the correct side facing up.
Eyelets and Washers:
  1. The Crop-A-Dile has two hole punches on it, besides for the eyelet fastener. Use the larger of the two hole punches, and punch a hole with the red dot in the center on all the dials, and the folded hero meter. 
  2. Line up the holes on the level meter dial with the hole you made in the Hero-Meter for the dial and push the eyelet through. 
  3. Place the washer on the opposite side of the eyelet and press down with the Crop-A-Dile. Be VERY careful not to push too hard. Look at the distance between the paper and the eyelet when pressing. You want to leave like 1mm of space between them, otherwise your dials won't turn. Try this out once or twice on some scrap paper to see what I mean.
  4. Do the same for the combat dials, making sure that the dials are underneath all of the glue flaps, and that you have the correct side facing up.
  1. Simply place a very thin coating of glue on each glue flap with a Q-Tip. You want the coating very very thin and as close to the outer edge as possible, otherwise you will end up gluing your dials in place. That's no bueno. This is where it's really helpful to have those pointy precision Q-Tips. The flaps are designed to be a little larger than necessary so you can focus the glue on the outer edge to avoid gluing your dials in place.
  2. Once you have everything glued down, take a Kleenex, fold it in half and press hard on each glued edge, pulling towards the outer edge. This is just to make sure we get any excess glue out.
  3. Press really hard on each edge to make sure they stick well.
  4. If after like 30 minutes you see any edges where it raised up a bit, just spot check them with a tiny dab of glue.
That's it, you should have a fully functional Hero-Meter now!

I found it was easiest to do it assembly line style (by myself :-( ) and cut out a bunch of dials, glue them, then cut a bunch of Hero-Meters, and then assemble.

I have also included my source files used to create the Hero-Meters, in case you want to make more or tweak the ones I have. I used Gimp to make them, so you'll need that if you want to tweak them. The PDFs are what most people will want, and include 8 Hero-Meters and 4 Monster-Meters, themed to each set. If you own any of the sets I'm missing, it would be great if you could help me by sending me decent scans (or just photos taken with your phone) of any pieces I need, and I'll make meters for them.

Original - source - PDF
Star Munchkin  - source - PDF
Munchkin Fu - I need decent quality scans of a woman, the treasure back and an enemy from this set
Munchkin Bites - source - PDF
Super Munchkin - source - PDF
Munchkin Impossible - I need decent quality scans of the treasure back and an enemy from this set
Munchkin Cthulhu - source - PDF
The Good, The Bad, and the Munchkin - I need decent quality scans of the treasure back and an enemy from this set
Munchkin Booty - source - PDF
Munchkin Zombies - source - PDF
Munchkin Axe Cop - I need decent quality scans of a woman, the treasure back and an enemy from this set
Munchkin Conan - source - PDF
Munchkin Apocalypse - source - PDF 
Munchkin Legends - source - PDF
Munchkin Pathfinder - I didn't really think this is themed differently enough from the original to warrant it's own Hero-Meter. I've never played it either, so I don't really know.
Munchkin Adventure Time - source - PDF

If you found these useful, leave me a comment and let me know!

Munchkin is a trademark of Steve Jackson Games, and its rules and art are copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by Steve Jackson Games. This game aid is the original creation of John Wesorick and is released for free distribution, and not for resale, under the permissions granted in the Steve Jackson Games Online Policy.


  1. Really cool man! Definitely going to print these out!
    Again, good work!

    1. Thanks! I'm glad someone else can use them.

    2. It's 2023 and I'm using it. Nice work.

  2. These are great,thank you for posting these for everyone to use! One thing - the zombie links don't work.

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you're finding them useful. The Zombie links are back up.

  3. Oh thanks so much !! Really good design.

  4. Hello, nice sets. I have printed them in b&w just to make different counters to play with my kids & friends. One suggestion: make a version with a single item on A4/Letter, the originals are quite small, I preferred printing a "View" portion in a full size sheet (Oh that's quite a solution too :) )

    1. Thanks! I'm glad they are getting use. The reason for their size is that is the size of the cards. That way, if you have some way to store your cards, then you don't need something else to store the Hero-Meters in. I included the source images and everything that I used, feel free to edit them for your own use. I used GIMP (free image editing software), so that's what format they are in.

  5. To make brads look better, you can fasten them normally, cut off most of the metal sticks, cut all of the metal sticks off of the second brad and glue the second brad 'cap' onto the ends of the first brad!

  6. Great work, I made 12 of them. Thank you very much!

  7. Wow, thanks, these designs are really cool!

  8. Thanks for the great designs! I‘m using book screws to hold them together. You can get them in different sizes, so even a more stable version with a layer from cardboard will fit.

  9. hey thanks for the files and instructions! :)

  10. thanks for the help! you make an awesome job
    it is my new proyect to do in cuarentine

  11. These are so cool and exactly what I have been looking for! Thanks so much for taking the time to make them :) :)

  12. Thx a lot, dude! Very beautiful and usefull! great work.
    From Russia with love

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  14. Thanks for the cool counter. Except for the mistake that the levels are not mirrored, this one is really very good.

  15. Wow, thanks a lot!

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  17. Awesome. These will come in handy and make game play smoother. Thanks!!!