A cooperative board game inspired by Breath of the Wild and Shadow of the Colossus has returned to Kickstarter with hopes of crowdfunding a leaner and more polished version of their first title, Leviathan Wilds.
The fast-paced title is designed by a group of Fantasy Flight and Z-Man Games veterans who struck out on their own to form Moon Crab Games. As the founders told Dicebreaker in an interview, they want to explore underserved genres in the tabletop space such as board games primarily focused around climbing these grand, moving and - in this case - living structures.
Leviathan Wilds follows in the footsteps of Skulk Hollow and follow-up Maul Peak as a board game about climbing towering constructs, but the moment-to-moment action has much more in common with the stamina-based climbing in Breath of the Wild. The creators reportedly loved the feeling of scrambling up rock faces, gliding across gaps and surging over the last few inches between the player-character and a ledge at the top.
Up to four players channel that spirit as they use customisable decks of cards to move across one of 15 different Leviathans in a bid to clear away crystal protrusions and heal wounds, all while dodging the gargantuan beast’s natural and magical defences. Players choose amongst seven core characters and an equal number of classes. The two accompanying decks are shuffled together to create a pool of resources, abilities and special skills. While climbing, characters can hunt down special mushrooms that grant bonuses or risk their lives to pull off daring gliding manoeuvres that will cross great distances in a single, gut-wrenching leap.
Each leviathan is represented across two pages of a spiral-bound book, a la Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. Players must tread carefully as they search out and destroy control crystals. Climb too eagerly, and they might lose their grip, and careless placement might earn them a face full of elemental fury. It's perilous work, but planning and coordination are key to victory.
The previous iteration of Leviathan Wilds, which launched a Kickstarter campaign in June of last year, revolved around a sprawling campaign. Moon Crab ultimately cancelled that venture and took their inaugural board game back to the drawing board, trimming the campaign in order to focus on the core system’s strength to be “picked up and played anytime”, according to an email to Dicebreaker. That campaign may return as an expansion sometime in the future, but the designers did not provide any concrete details.
The Kickstarter campaign for Leviathan Wilds, which runs through June 1st, contains a few more minor tweaks to the rules and presentation, but this is still very much the agile co-op climber pitched to tabletop audiences in 2022. De-emphasising combat in favour of stunts and class-based teamwork makes for a novel design that’s well worth checking out, and the $55 price point for a standard box doesn’t hurt either.