05 April 2022
Not quite levelled up
Level 20’s box has all of the artistic love you’d expect from a game with Pathfinder’s name on it. It’s got an amusing central premise – players take the roles of not the mighty heroes, but of kobolds attempting to stop said level 19 heroes levelling up. It’s got a banana-skin-alike premise in the use of slimy moss to send the heroes careening off somewhere they didn’t intend. It’s also suggested you’re not going to try and actually kill the heroes, just make them so embarrassed with their inability to murder you that they’ll leave. It should be very jolly.
Sadly, it’s a bit of a slog. The game asks players to move their kobolds about on the grid, laying traps, and avoiding the heroes as best they can. Players pick up cards by searching crates, or can opt for extra action tokens. The heroes have a finnicky sight and movement system that leads to a lot of discussions around the table about which kobold is actually closest, and whether they ‘spot’ kobolds after their 180 degree ‘staring at the wall’ action.
And when I say discussions, I mean, arguments. Not really with one another, but more with the game – there’s nothing smooth about the implementation of the rules, and the fact that you can be eliminated immediately when in contact with a hero (unless you have a particular card) means small miscalculations means sitting out.
It’s a fine premise for a game, but the execution left us very cold – which might be acceptable for a dungeon, but isn’t ideal for a few people getting together to wind up some Pathfinder paladins.
Christopher John Eggett
PLAY IT? No
Designer: Dylan Dirtolo
Publisher: Gale Force Nine
Time: 20-30 minutes
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