Paupers’ Ladder by Bedsit Games is their first game not to be set in Brighton, instead it’s a role playing adventure set in a fantasy world of quests, monsters, potions and obedient bird servants – a world called Brighthelm! You play as a pauper, meeting objectives to be the winner of a tournament, such as accumulating wealth, completing quests and gathering ingredients for recipes. The first to meet three of these objectives is the winner.
Instructions & Setup
Set up is nice and straightforward thanks to well written and concise instructions, albeit slightly daunting on your first game, due to the many many types of card to organise (you’ll need a fairly large playing area for the many stacks and their discard piles). Each player picks a their main character (a pauper) and an accompanying bird as their secondary. Equipment and quest cards are laid out on the four city spaces on the board, starting recipes are chosen, and you are ready to play.
Theme & Gameplay
The gameplay involves travelling around the board, exploring areas, collecting items and defeating enemies/hazards. Different players might be going for different objectives, and on their explorations may reveal items/ingredients to benefit you and vice versa. There’s a good mix of different strategies to go for, though you may find you have to adapt to the cards you draw. The game has elements similar to Munchkin, defeating enemies to gain loot, but with an added RPG layer of exploration and completing quests.
A tournament for Paupers, to take over the reign of a recently departed philanthropic ruler is a nice idea, and provides a (perhaps slightly thin) excuse for the kind of quests and monsters you’ll already be familiar with in the fantasy setting. There is backstory to each character, and there’s plenty of attention to detail with the equipment, quests and encounters.
Components & Artwork
The game comprises of a good sized playing board, many many good quality square cards (over 400!), oversized wooden meeples and bird counters for each player, a custom die, rules, player boards, and a nice quality cloth pouch (which we didn’t use in the game, but is always appreciated). Everything, from the box to the cards feels nice. We’d have liked to have had bird shaped counters instead of circles, or perhaps bird decals for the circle counters, but that’s us nit picking and the large wooden meeples are a vast improvement on unstable standees or the fiddly usual size meeple.
The artwork is of a high quality, and consistent throughout. Neither of us found it appealing initially, but that is down to personal preference. The overall style and unusual colour palette does make it stand out, and it makes a refreshing change to the dark & murky fantasy artwork we’re used to seeing.
Paupers’ Ladder is a good game. If you love the artwork, we’re sure you will love he game. If you like the artwork, and like an adventure, you will no doubt enjoy the game. If you don’t like the artwork, or adventuring isn’t your cup of tea, then steer clear! If you play with family, it’s worth noting that the game play is straightforward enough that it could be played with older children without issue. It’s certainly staying in our collection and the overall quality and well written rules leave us looking forward to future releases from Bedsit Games.
And yes, we will soon be stocking it here on Badgers Games!