An upcoming board game called Pathfinder: Level 20 looks to spin the classic Munchkin formula on its head, by having the players be the ones to prevent the heroes from reaching level 20.
Set to be co-published by Gale Force Nine – the studio responsible for releasing Dune (2019) and the movie board game Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps – and Pazio, the company behind the original Pathfinder: Second Edition roleplaying game, Pathfinder: Level 20 will be one of three board games set to be co-published by the two companies this year. The other two tabletop titles are another board game adaptation of Pathfinder, called Pathfinder: Tall Tales, and a game based on the sci-fi roleplaying game Starfinder, entitled Starfinder: Pirates of Skydock.
Details regarding Pathfinder: Tall Tales and Starfinder: Pirates of Skydock are scarce, with a blog on Gale Force Nine’s website outlining what players can expect from Pathfinder: Level 20. A fantasy board game for two to six players, Pathfinder: Level 20 sees the players becoming a warren of Kobolds – lizard-like creatures who are infamous for their immense cowardice – who have suddenly found themselves the prey of a party of typical Pathfinder heroes who are only five experience points away from reaching level 20.
Almost an inverse of the scenario presented by the popular Dungeons & Dragons inspired board game Munchkin – in which players compete as adventurers who want to be the first to hit level 20 – Pathfinder: Level 20 has the group running away from the heroes attempting to slay them, with the winner being whomever manages to be the last to survive or drives the pesky adventuring party away. The players will need to take advantage of the fighters’ gullibility in order to lure them into various traps, walls and even other kobolds, all to damage their precious pride enough to get them to leave crestfallen and embarrassed.
Besides their environment, agility and small size, the kobolds’ other advantage is having access to a selection of ‘treasures’ they can use against the heroes. Potential treasure cards in Pathfinder: Level 20 include stalactites – which can fall from the ceiling onto the invading fighters’ heads – slippery moss, dangerous rock tunnels and spoiled food. Players who can successfully evade the heroes the longest are more likely to survive and win the game.
Pathfinder: Level 20 was created by Dylan Birtolo, co-designer of other tabletop titles such as the D&D board game Dragonfire, Evil Dead 2: The Board Game – which sees players collecting the pages of the Necronomicon to reseal a portal to hell – and Divinity Original Sin: The Board Game.
Pathfinder 2E is a fantasy RPG that has players becoming a party of characters pursuing various quests, also known as Adventure Paths, in order to earn renown and rewards. Starfinder is the science fiction equivalent of Pathfinder, taking place in an alternative future populated by various alien species and futuristic fantasy species such as elves and dwarves.
The release date for Pathfinder: Level 20 is set for sometime in April, with the game launching at a retail price of $30 (£26). Starfinder: Pirates of Skydock will be released in Q3 2022, whilst Pathfinder: Tall Tales is set for a Q4 launch.