Paupers Ladder Board Game: The Moon Towers Expansion

Paupers Ladder Board Game: The Moon Towers Expansion

RRP: £21.99
Now £18.25(SAVE 17%)
RRP £21.99
Expected Restock Date 30/06/2024
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The Moon Towers is the first major expansion for Paupers’ Ladder. It adds a whole new adventure to the game, including 400 new cards, 14 new Birds and 8 new Paupers. They’re specific to this expansion too so there’s no need to shuffle cards in with or separate them from Paupers’ Ladder. The Moon Towers adds a whole new adventure to Paupers’ Ladder, bringing over 400 of its…
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • The amazing solo mode
  • The extra mechanisms like Talents and Curses.
  • The new adventure setting with elementals and obelisks.

Might Not Like

  • Having to keep everything separate from the base game.
  • The slightly increased complexity.
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Description

The Moon Towers is the first major expansion for Paupers’ Ladder. It adds a whole new adventure to the game, including 400 new cards, 14 new Birds and 8 new Paupers. They’re specific to this expansion too so there’s no need to shuffle cards in with or separate them from Paupers’ Ladder.

The Moon Towers adds a whole new adventure to Paupers’ Ladder, bringing over 400 of its own cards. Nearly 250 Region cards let you explore new towns, villages and ruins, find new treasures and fight even more dangerous creatures. The shops have been restocked with over 80 new pieces of equipment, tools, potions, scrolls weapons and rarities. And there’s a whole new cast of Paupers to play.

Two new decks are also added: Talents, which give your Pauper a trade from which they can benefit, and Curses, which afflict your Pauper in a variety of ways. Both these decks can be added to Paupers’ Ladder, as can the 14 new Bird companions which range from the humble pigeon to the mythical boobrie.

The Moon Towers is the first expansion to be released for Paul Stapleton’s cosy, competitive adventure game Pauper’s Ladder. It brings forth a brand-new adventure to your table; one filled to the brim with ominous monoliths made of bone, great elementals to battle and a plethora of new items and events to encounter – not to mention a brand new, very interesting solo mode for those who want a night of adventuring to themselves.

The New Mechanisms

The Moon Towers not only changes up the flavour of the original, but it also brings some shiny new mechanisms into play. This expansion brings a new, dangerous type of hazard onto the map. When encountered, you must go through a multi-step process of battling them – one particularly unique step allowing you to request help from rival players; as Moon Towers are detrimental to everyone on the map. Moon Towers can prevent regions from being explored, curse characters and more; they also have their own guardian creatures that can arrive to make the towers even more annoying. This mechanism adds an odd bit of comradery that contradicts the competitive nature of the game, which is a nice thing to encounter.

Talents and curses are also new to the game, adding a little more character variation both in play and during setup – giving each pauper more individuality straight off the bat! Each talent is fun but are kept tightly designed enough as to not vary power too much at the start of the game. Curses are the antithesis of Talents, as they prove to worsen your character in unique ways. Curses are not gained at the start of the game but rather they are obtained through encounters, and every time a result of 1 is pulled from your outcome deck. Each curse requires a quick visit to a nearby city’s Chemist’s Guild to get rid of them.

Crescents are new tokens that have many different effects, varying from virtue-related bonuses to giving your pauper single-use abilities. Crescents are obtained by demolishing the great Moon Towers, slaying the dangerous Elementals, and sometimes just via some odd encounters. Obtaining crescents is almost always a choice you can make, much like how you can decide what rewards you obtain each time you defeat a standard hazard; and they also give that nice little bag from the base game box a proper purpose.

Another small new mechanism is the Golden Charm, a new golden die that can be used in the place of the old Lucky Charm via abilities and items. The Golden Charm has a better distribution of bonus numbers than the Lucky Charm does, and it is much less scary spending a gem to roll it – the pesky 50% chance of a zero  is finally gone! Well, once you’re able to use this die in place of the old one, that is.

One Lonely Pauper

The Moon Towers brings a solo mode along with it, and it cannot be overstated how good this variant is. It’s minimal, brings very little rules overhead with it, and visualises all the changes it makes on a single sheet of card. In “One Lonely Pauper” you play as a single pauper with the goal to obtain 3 of 5 virtues before the timer runs out or before one of your characters die. A separate sheet is used to track both your pauper’s health and your bird’s health, as well as tracking the time you have left to obtain your objective. The sheet also has some handy references for any new rules that the solo mode adds that cleverly deal with issues that the game may have while lacking other players; my favourite being the ability to sneak past enemies by rolling the Lucky Charm and consulting a chart.

The solo sheet has two sides to it, one for playing Easy / Medium difficulties and the other for Hard / Extreme. Setting the difficulty is intuitive and very well visualised for aiding a quick setup, and each difficulty fits its title well. What’s particularly satisfying about One Lonely Pauper is the push and pull of the timer. The timer ticks down consistently every round, getting closer and closer to the losing condition with each passing turn, but every time you perform a feat like completing a quest, gaining a virtue, defeating a hazard, or learning a new recipe; the timer retreats, giving you more time to keep exploring and getting closer to clutching success. This one small mechanism creates a tense atmosphere, but also guides your strategies into interesting places. Sure, you could buy that item in the shop, but maybe disarming that trap first might buy you some more time to get back to the city…

THE MOON TOWERS - PAUPER

More of Everything

The Moon Towers brings not only an entirely new adventure, with completely unique decks of location cards, equipment cards and quests – but it also brings along more of what already existed in the base game. One issue I had with the original Pauper’s Ladder was the miniscule number of rarities that were included, making every game have the exact same rarities present, just in different cities. The Moon Towers adds 10 more rarities to add variance to each shop, as well as having the ability to obtain more rarities through defeating certain hazards.

Eight new paupers join the fray, and each of them brings along their own unique artwork and starting item. Perhaps more impressively, there are now fourteen more bird cards introduced into the game, making for a whopping eighteen birds in total! Adding in the additional talent and curse decks, the game is now more varied than ever right off the bat! It well and truly feels like an improvement in almost every way, which is both a blessing and a curse…

The Curse of The Moon Towers

The issue with this expansion is a strange one. It’s almost too good. This sounds like a made-up complaint, but it’s a genuine problem when you consider how it all meshes with the base game; the issue being that it doesn’t mesh with it at all. Though yes, the new talent, curse and bird cards can be introduced into the original Pauper’s Ladder game, the rest of The Moon Towers cannot. The locations and events can’t be mixed because the game is about searching through decks, and making the decks bigger would slow it to a crawl; so, this expansion opts to be a separate experience, even down to some odd choices like rarities and paupers being unique to this adventure and this adventure alone.

All in all, this means that when you get this expansion, it’s probably not all that unlikely for you to never play the original game again; there’s just not much of a point in doing so, unless you are particularly fond of dragons or the original paupers you can play as. The added variance of the new hazards, the new rarities, the new mechanisms, they all improve the game for the most part, and none of it can be included in the original adventure. Even the quality of the components has improved in this expansion, having a better reference guide and some prettier looking tokens.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • The amazing solo mode
  • The extra mechanisms like Talents and Curses.
  • The new adventure setting with elementals and obelisks.

Might not like

  • Having to keep everything separate from the base game.
  • The slightly increased complexity.