06 July 2022
We be goblins, you be advised to stand well back
In Pathfinder Goblin Firework Fight you are one of a gang of goblins raiding the long-suffering town of Sandpoint to pinch fireworks the locals had set aside for an upcoming festival. Why? Because goblins love fire and explosions. Each turn, you and your fellow goblins are going to divvy up loot and then scrap over what’s left.
You do this through a refreshingly simple process of flipping tokens and choosing one each in turn. There are different values of firework, pickles – which make you first in the picking order next round – goblin swords (they call them ‘dogslicers’, because goblins are terrified of dogs and horses) – which let you steal from the other players – shields – which give you a chance of blocking another player when they try to steal from you, bombs – which make a player lose points if they accidentally steal it from you – and pig tokens, which introduce a randomly-chosen twist on the rules.
The setting will be familiar to anyone immersed in the world of Pathfinder – in fact, if anything, there’s a ridiculously in-depth weight of lore for such a light, knockabout game. Not only does the goblin raid on Sandpoint form the opening of classic Pathfinder campaign, Rise of the Runelords, but the goblins Reta Bigbad, Poog, Mogmurch and Chuffy Lickwound – who you play as in this game, each with their own special power – feature in the immensely popular We Be Goblins sequence of free one-shot adventures released by Paizo for RPG Day. Even the pig has his own name – Squealy Nord – and backstory.
You don’t need to know any of this to understand what’s going on. There’s not much to understand – goblins are delightfully single-minded (or were – arguably people enjoyed playing these goblins so much that Paizo revised goblin lore in Pathfinder 2.0, making goblins with a range of alignments and dispositions canon).
At its heart, Pathfinder Goblin Firework Fight is a simple ‘take that’ style game of drafting loot and sometimes stealing it. You get a hand of ‘Goblin Trick’ cards which might give you bonus points at the end of the game, or let you steal twice in a row, or counter an opponent’s attempt to steal. Pig tokens work like an event deck – they might make you draft loot face down for a round, or offer some end-game bonus, like four extra points for whoever has the most blue fireworks. The game lasts 10 rounds.
And that’s it. So is it good? Well, obviously it would be ridiculous to expect a game about goblins scrambling to pinch fireworks to offer some cerebral, multi-layered experience with deep tactics. This is a quick, light game that relies heavily on luck and is mostly about laughing at your friends when they get pied in the face (or bombed, as the case may be).
But the field of silly, knockabout card and loot-grabbing games is not exactly sparse. Greedy Greedy Goblins by Magic creator Richard Garfield has a very similar theme – goblins scramble for treasure while trying not to get blown up – and also sees you flipping loot tiles and getting bonus cards with special powers, but it’s a better, sillier, more enjoyable experience on every level. Card games like Guillotine, where you manipulate the position of French nobles in line for the chop, offer randomness and ‘take that’ mechanics but somehow seem to embody their theme more.
If you really love the goblins of Pathfinder, if you’ve played through all their free adventures (available via Paizo’s website), and if you already own games like Munchkin or Greedy Greedy Goblins and love them, maybe this is right for your playgroup. For everyone else, this may be less a firecracker, more a damp squib.
PLAY IT? NO
TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED Flyin Goblin'
There are a ton of wacky bunfight games out there – the Munchkin series is perhaps the most famous, but games like the aforementioned Greedy Greedy Goblins and the more recent Flyin Goblin', which transposes goblin loot grabbing to an extremely silly dexterity game.
Designer: Slime Life Games LLC
Time: 30 minutes
What’s in the box?
- 60 Tokens
- 4 Basic goblin cards
- 6 Advanced goblin cards
- 22 Squealy Nord cards
- 20 Goblin trick cards
- Cloth bag
Looking for more?
This review came from Tabletop Gaming Magazine, which is home to all of the latest and greatest tabletop goodness. Whether you're a board gamer, card gamer, wargamer, RPG player or all of the above, find your copy here.Get your magazine here
If you want to read more about one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year, check out our interview with Cole Wehrle on ARCS! A new game from the designer of Root and Oath, and we've got all you need to know.To infinity and beyond
Join us in person
We can't wait for Tabletop Gaming Live 2022! An epic weekend in Manchester full of board games, card games, roleplaying games, wargames and more, with amazing exhibitors, great games, and an opportunity to game together in person.See you there!
Have you visited our game store? We have everything from mystery boxes, to games and accessories – including the above Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, with a great discount! Head over to find your new favourite game.Visit the Game Store
Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products