Paws and Padlocks Kickstarter Preview

Having left The Wander’s Inn several days earlier, you have encounter next to no trouble. A few bandits on the road but nothing your Barbarian friend couldn’t handle. You notice the forest begin to change; there is less grass and leaves but more green stuff. This seems quite weird but your alchemist ensures you that this is normal in these parts and continues ‘ribbeting’ on but you tune him out. As the forest starts to thin out you spy the spires of a castle, and you know you must have arrived. As there is nothing for miles in this area, the time has come to enter and steal the treasure from the fabled Slim Castles!

The object of the game is to steal the treasure on your Treasure card and be the first player to escape the castle through any Castle Entrance. However, the Treasure Vaults will only unlock by using three Krystal Keys, which can be found in different ways while exploring the castle.

To set up Paws and Padlocks:

  1. Unfold and place the game board in the middle of the play area. Place all of the tokens, dice, and The Wander Inn card nearby.
  2. Place one Treasure token in each of the Treasure Vaults. Then, randomly deal out one Treasure card and one Item card to each player. These cards are kept hidden from other players. The Treasure card shows each player which treasure they have to steal.
  3. Deal each player an Adventurer card (players can also choose their own Adventurer card). Then, each player takes their matching Adventurer token and the amount of HP tokens on their card. Each player places their Adventurer token on a different Castle Entrance.
  4. Place the Room, Item, and Event decks face down on the side of the board, leaving room for each deck’s discard pile.
  5. Place any unused cards and tokens back into the box. The player who last unlocked a door goes first. The turn order continues clockwise (to the left).

A player’s turn begins by choosing the three Castle Keys they want for the turn using the Castle Key tokens. There are three types of Castle Keys: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Since there are only two tokens of each color, players cannot choose three of the same key. Once you retrieve your treasure, you can only choose two Castle Keys at the start of your turn.

Players can use Castle Keys to:

  • Unlock a new room
  • Unlock a locked room
  • Rotate a room
  • Unlock a chest
  • Visit The Wander Inn

In order to do these actions, players will need to use a key that matches the color of the room. For example, a Bronze key can unlock a Bronze room, a Silver Key can open a Silver chest, and a Gold key can rotate a Gold room.

When a player uses all their Castle Keys for the turn, they can still use items or abilities. If they choose not to, their turn ends. A player can also choose to end their turn without using all of their keys. However, unused keys cannot be saved for a later turn.

At the end of a player’s turn, Trick Rooms activate and cause certain rooms on the board to lock or vanish.

There are three types of Room cards: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

EMPTY ROOM CARDS: Empty Room cards can be placed as rooms on the board and have no special properties.

CHEST ROOM CARDS: Chest Room cards contain chests that can either be helpful or hurtful depending on what’s inside. There are four types of chests: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Slime.

TRICK ROOM CARDS: Trick Room cards are special rooms that activate at the end of a player’s turn. There are two types of Trick rooms: Locking and Vanishing.

SLIME CARDS: Slime cards cause the player who flipped them over to battle with the revealed Slime. This is known as “Slime Time”. Slime cards are discarded after the battle.

LOOT CARDS: These Room cards cause the player who flipped them over to gain gems, items, or Krystal Keys. Loot cards are discarded after the player gains what is on the card.

MYSTERY CARDS: These Room cards cause the player who flipped them over to trigger an event. Mystery cards are discarded after the event is resolved.

Once per turn, players may visit The Wander Inn by using any one of their Castle Keys. Players can spend gems at The Wander Inn to gain HP, items, and Krystal Keys. They can also trade in unwanted items and Krystal Keys for gems. When a player buys an item from The Wander Inn, they draw the top three cards of the Item deck, choose one, and shuffle the other two back into the deck.

There are different icons on Loot cards, Adventure dice, and Slime cards that represent gems, items, Krystal Keys, or HP. Players will either gain gems, items, or Krystal Keys, or lose HP depending on the icon.

  • GEMS –  Gems can be spent in The Wander Inn to buy items, Krystal Keys, and HP. Players keep track of how many gems they have using the double-sided Gem tokens. Players can only have up to ten gems at a time. If a player has ten gems, then that player cannot gain any more gems until they spend or lose gems. Return any spent or lost Gem tokens to the pile.
  • ITEMS – Players can use items to either help themselves or mess up other players. Every item card has instructions on when you can use it. When a player gains an item, they draw the top card of the Item deck.

Players can use as many items as they want during their turn. All items are one-time use and are discarded after use. Players can only have up to three items at a time. If a player has three items, that player cannot gain any more items until they use or lose an item. Players cannot use or discard an item at the same time they would gain an item to free up space for the new item.

  • KRYSTAL KEYS – In order to unlock the Treasure Vault containing their treasure, players will need to use three Krystal Keys. Players keep track of how many Krystal Keys they have using the Krystal Key tokens. Players can gain Krystal Keys by:
  • Unlocking Loot rooms
  • Unlocking chests
  • Defeating Slimes
  • Spending gems at The Wander Inn
  • The result of an event

Players can only have up to three Krystal Keys at a time. If a player has three Krystal Keys, that player cannot gain any more Krystal Keys until they spend, use, or lose them.

Each player is after one of the four treasures in Slime Castle, indicated on their Treasure card. The treasures inside the Treasure Vaults are represented by the four Treasure tokens. A player who has retrieved their treasure can only choose two Castle Keys at the start of their turn.

As soon as a player retrieves their treasure, they can exit Slime Castle by moving back to any Castle Entrance. The first player to escape Slime Castle with their treasure wins the game!

Bronze, Silver & Gold Room Cards (Front and Back)

As a lover of all things RPG, I have always loved sharing my passion for them with those around me. My last DM was amazing, and incredibly inclusive for all players, even helping the newer players get their confidence up by letting them lead some of the stories. But no matter how hard we tried his seven year old son struggled with the rules couldn’t fully understand the experience. I feel like kids would be great with RPG, as their imagination is endless but understanding and fully gasping the rules can be a bit tough. Paws and Padlocks is a game that helps introduce younger players to the world of Dungeon Crawlers and is actually quite a fun family game as well.

Paws and Padlocks is definitely marketed as a family game and if you are looking for a more intense RPG experience this is definitely not for you. But if you have young kids this is a no brainer. I actually went to my old DM’s house (who moved 50 mins further out from where he originally was, thanks mate! Ha ha) and got him, his son and one of the other players and his daughter around for an old school RPG session for the kids. The kids loved Paws and Padlocks, it had everything they enjoyed about watching or hearing about their father’s experiences, but was something they could be a part of. The whimsical animal characters which were based off classic RPG fantasy characters; along with the fighting, exploring and of course the fighting. It had all the elements you have come to know and love but in a format that was easily understandable for kids.

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As previously mentioned, the character art is quite whimsical and colorful as you can see from the above pictures. The kids really seem to love them, yet the tiles in comparison are quite simple and plain but I think this just adds to the power factor of the characters. I also like the use of slime; this seems to be really in at the moment and seems to just gel with kids, they just love it. But something I’m not sure about with the use of slime is that there doesn’t really seem to be that much in the game art. I’m glad they didn’t go overboard and throw slime all over every single piece of art but I think they could have used a little bit more of it, as this is Slime Castle and I’m guessing it got its name somehow?

Overall I do think that Paws and Padlocks is a great family game and a great way to help your children experience the world of RPGs. I know the 6 & now 8 year olds really loved it and so did the fathers (and coolest uncle ever, Yep it was said so I’m running with it) really enjoyed sharing their love for RPGs with their kids and seeing the joy that they have passed on to the next generation of games. I must say though, if you aren’t playing this as a family this game may be a bit light even for newer gamers. It feels like it is made with kids in mind and though we adults did enjoy playing it, I feel like that enjoyment came from seeing the excitement of the kids enjoying something that we have enjoyed for years.

Whether you are a fan of RPG or not, this is a fun little family game. Check out Kickstarter here on the 14th of June.

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