Games Gazette Logo

      
BESTIARY BOX 3 - PATHFINDER PAWNS
There have been many attempts to present usable and viable cardboard creatures and characters but
this has usually meant having triangular shapes or very thin card pieces that bend and crease when
used regularly. Whoever tried and whatever they tried there was no way that cardboard was going
to  replace metal - why even plastic had tried and failed (though of course it was to succeed brilliantly
many years later).

      

Now we have probably the best card figures ever seen for role-players and of course they arrive here
for what is possibly (almost certainly) the most popular role-play game (high-fantasy) currently in the
stores, Pathfinder from Paizo.

The artwork is absolutely exquisite and of course being on card and with the capabilities of todays
 printing facilities the detail is (almost - see below) second to none:- there are over 200 creatures on 300
tokens, (pawns) created by 50 artists though I wonder how you explain to people that you're a pawn artist !

       

Of course in any boxed set of figures or cardboard pawns there can never be enough of a scenario -
specific creature type, especially when the adventure/scenario calls for a horde or half a dozen of a
that creature, but the designers of this expansive collection have at least done their best on that level
of thinking and supplied 2 or 3 of various creatures - let's face it, if you are playing Pathfinder and you
are met by a half - dozen Catfolk then setting three pawns in front of the player's group of characters
does look menacing and of course the other three can be just behind them or currently out of sight.

       

There are 35 heavy duty plastic slotter bases which allow the creatures to stand and as the pawns are
printed both sides there is no need to keep turning them round to show the characters what they are
facing.  Of these bases there are 5 very large which are ideal for creatures such as Dragons, 10 large/
medium which  hold any size of pawn quite comfortably and 20 small bases that are cumversome with
the largest pawns but stable with all other sizes.

I have noticed that the bases do grip the pawns tightly, tight enough to leave compression marks (like
those left by chair legs on carpet) on the pawn where it has been held. Personally I do my best to remove
the pawns as gently as possible and if the same pawns are required later in the scenario - another Blue
Dragon or 2 more Adaro's for example - I always see if I can leave the first ones in their bases and use
different bases for other creatures. Because there are 35 bases this is usually easy to do and I have yet
to have a player complain about the size of a base. Whatever you do ensure you take the pawns out of
the bases at the end of the session to give them a chance to recouperate - surprisingly they do very well.

      

As you will have noticed from the title, this is BESTIARY BOX 3, I never saw BESTIARY BOXES 1 or 2
but if they are anywhere near as good as this one then they should be part of every PATHFINDER player's
collections.

Okay having fawned over this superb product, and I really do mean it when I say how good it is, there is one
thing about it that is irritating for me, must be annoying for the artists, and aggravating for the publishers. The
die-cutting/printing. I am going to assume that the printers were given instructions on the exact size for each
pawn and so they would have made a die for each that was spot on. The artists work is drawn/painted and
presented in whatever size the artist has created it - modern techniques can change it to any necessary size
without losing quality or detail. So someone had to decide the size of each piece of art to send to the  printers,
and they did so without, in my opinion, remembering the actual size and shape of the pawns. This is
embarrassingly obvious in so many of the pawns where the art has been allowed to bleed over the die-cut. In
some cases it is not that important, though I wouldn't be saying that if I were the artist, but in certain cases, such
as the CECAELIA the top pointy part of their spears has been cut off - effectively meaning that when the party
are attacked by Cecaelia this fearsome creature is actively using a stick as a weapon.

                                         

Another to suffer is the FOO DOG who loses almost all of his right hind quarters. I know I am being picky but
we, the player, are being asked to use these pawns instead of miniatures - remember that D&D made a great
come-back with the arrival of the boxes of painted plastic minis - and these pawns are designed to help boost
the popularity of PATHFINDER.

     

Having said my piece above, in the main these pawns are delectable, remarkable, outstanding, awesome,
phenominal and sensational.

The box that they arrive in is, as you would expect, very heavy - there is an awful lot of card in it - but it is also
quite deep so that you can use it to transport creatures on their bases if you have, for example, a pre-set scenario
and you are having to go away from home to play. You can also keep some creatures that are used a lot in their
bases but I do suggest that you DO NOT throw away the die-cut boards as they are by far the easiest and safest
way to store the pawns.

(a)              (b) 

These last two photographs show the stack of boards flat on the table straight from the box and measured against
my index finger (a) and the stack now pushed up against the base section of the box (b) showing the depth of the
box for storage.
 

 

 

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015