Leviathan Wilds: Playing and Ranking All 17 Leviathans

May 15, 2024 | Sessions | 2 comments

Work out how to destroy crystals and maneuver atop enormous giants in the clever climbing puzzles found in Leviathan Wilds.

A new game that manages to stick around on my solo table is often a special one, and that’s precisely what happened with Leviathan Wilds! My goal was to see all of the leviathans, and the higher complexity group was the last to go. The decisions continued to be interesting, even with the same climbers. Onward and upward went Kestrel and Hazard!

Game Overview

Game Name: Leviathan Wilds
Publication Year:
 2024
Designer:
 
Artist:
 Samuel R. Shimota
Publisher: 
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game (Cooperative)

Each leviathan offers up a unique challenge, often with special rules and a set of threat cards. It might seem easy enough to climb, yet blight is everywhere! Multi-purpose cards also help create tough choices with action points and unique skills. It’s not always a simple race to the top!

Planning How to Deal with a Pretty Oozy Forsaken in Leviathan Wilds
R

First Play

April 26, 2024

Complexity

3

Latest Play

May 14, 2024

Expansions

1

Setup Time

5 Minutes

Lifetime Plays

18

Play Time

1 Hour

:

High Score

N/A

1

Game Area

36" x 22"

;

Low Score

N/A

Thematic Injuries

The Forsaken was a rather interesting leviathan. Groups of tokens had to be explored to find the blighted crystals, which was a way to introduce a bit of deduction. Neat!

I started to skip over some of the lower crystals. The idea was to let go and fall down to strike them later on.

That was exactly the plan with Kestrel, about a mile away. Yet it was right near the end, where every action counted.

They were struck with the fearful injury, meaning that it wasn’t a simple free action to drop down. Hazard frantically raced over there to win at the last moment!

Readjusting the End Strategy with a Climber Who Couldn't Let Go in Leviathan Wilds

Push the Button!

Up next was the Tunneler, a gigantic mole that was clearly all about tunneling and mining! A lift could rise and fall, yet it involved activating the buttons at each level.

Kestrel’s fantastic climbing abilities allowed them to scale the left side pretty easily, yet Hazard had to move the lift around to make sure a ledge was within range for resting.

Fun note: Is it an elevator or lift? I always call open varieties lifts, thanks to a video game I played as a kid!

It seemed easy enough to destroy the crystals, but getting Kestrel over to the right side was very, very difficult.

Managing the Tunneler and a Moving Lift in Leviathan Wilds

Absolute Teamwork

As I’ve learned along the way, moving climbers close together often leads to a lot of damage during the threat phase. Spreading out has been paramount to success!

Yet time was ticking down, Hazard had a lot of blight, and the last crystal was just sitting there, all mocking-like.

Hazard had to stick around to spend a couple of turns taking it out, but Kestrel glided right on over! In close quarters, the pair worked together to win at the very end.

Actually, had Hazard handled it by herself, that would have been too much blight for her. This was a close call!

Meeting Up for the Final Crystal Strike in Leviathan Wilds

Goat Woes

I might have had the most laughs with the next leviathan, titled the Twins. In the book, there wasn’t anything special except a lot of empty spaces that were card-sized…

Oh, my! This turned out to be the home of a pair of mountain goats who moved around a lot, sort of like moving lifts. Who were difficult to stick with.

As they moved, Kestrel and Hazard either had to fall off or lose a grip. And I just couldn’t figure out the cadence!

This turned out to be my first loss. Luckily, I puzzled it out correctly again, but goodness… Mountain goats are wild!

Dealing with Perpetually In-Motion Mountain Goats in a Loss in Leviathan Wilds

What Gravity?

Things got even more interesting with the Vortex, which had a pretty great bit of flavor text on the introduction.

In a nutshell, the fun here was in a shifting sense of gravity around this tornado. That’s right: “Up” had a nebulous definition that constantly changed!

Kestrel fell through the edge once, picking up blight from all that debris. It was really cool to have to keep thinking about how to get to different areas and crystals.

Climbing wasn’t always climbing, and I had a lot of fun adjusting my strategy at the end of each round!

A Most Dizzying and Awesome Time with Unpredictable Gravity in Leviathan Wilds

Into the Stomach…

Flipping to the next page and seeing that this carnivorous plant was named the Hunger gave me a rough idea of what to expect. Indeed, there was a stomach to investigate!

Kestrel worked their way along the exterior, while the messy job of getting swallowed whole over and over again fell to Hazard. She was pretty disgusting early on. Ha!

I loved the thematic elements of the threat cards and the way the stomach was a nasty place to get stuck in.

My initial plan turned out to be a winning one, and these climbers had a pretty handy victory, followed by a bath.

Getting Swallowed Whole by the Hunger in Leviathan Wilds

Just Keep Swimming

The penultimate leviathan was the Deep, which looked pretty menacing and tricky! On this underwater map, things were partially flipped around to simulate diving.

Kestrel and Hazard began at the top on the water’s surface. They picked up air bubbles on the way as the leviathan struck out, bit, and caused all sorts of mayhem.

It was especially tricky for Kestrel since diagrams didn’t flip around. Lots of work went into the movement plan!

Hazard got stuck in the mouth many times and nearly drowned, but in the end, this was another awesome win!

A Most Enormous Find in the Sea and a Puzzle of Swimming Down in Leviathan Wilds

Out of the Mists

I should note that this was almost the only game I played for weeks. There wasn’t always time to play each day, yet it kept my attention from the very first leviathan. Cool!

The final leviathan was the Tyrant, who seemed to have more story bits related to the crystal mysteries.

This was hard! A crystal in the middle was very tricky to reach, and Kestrel had to do a lot of flying around. Hazard was stuck on the ground a lot, flailing away with injuries.

Most threat cards were always enraged, so I was surprised when I actually pulled off a victory at the last second!

The Final Leviathan from Out of the Mists in Leviathan Wilds

Ranking All 17 Leviathans Based on My Favorites

I sometimes hesitate to share overall rankings, yet in this case, I’ve seen them all! There were definite standouts along the way that made some lasting memories. Nothing like repeatedly falling off a mountain goat or flying through an actual tornado! And I’ll also note that even my lowest ranked leviathan wasn’t a bad experience by any measure.

These will likely change over time, yet the bottom line is that even when playing at a fairly easy difficulty level with the same set of climbers, I had at least a good time with most of the leviathans. Only the Hive stood out as a bit of a lull in the clever mechanics for me. That’s a pretty awesome overall experience if I want to play 13 of 17 again!

Note that the numbers correspond to the book pages, and the gears match up with the listed complexities. The Sage, Sentinel, and Storm are still awesome starting points! Just a little too straightforward for me to play again and again.

  • 14. Vortex ⚙️⚙️⚙️
  • 13. Twins ⚙️⚙️⚙️
  • 16. Deep ⚙️⚙️⚙️⚙️
  • 6. Avalanche ⚙️⚙️
  • 11. Forsaken ⚙️⚙️⚙️
  • 15. Hunger ⚙️⚙️⚙️
  • 9. Fury ⚙️⚙️
  • 10. Bloom ⚙️⚙️⚙️
  • 17. Tyrant ⚙️⚙️⚙️
  • 8. Collector ⚙️⚙️
  • 12. Tunneler ⚙️⚙️⚙️
  • 4. Watcher ⚙️⚙️
  • 5. Weaver ⚙️⚙️
  • 3. Storm ⚙️
  • 2. Sentinel ⚙️
  • 1. Sage ⚙️
  • 7. Hive ⚙️⚙️

Session Overview

Play Number: 11-18
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game (Cooperative)
Play Details: Normal Difficulty Level
Outcome: 7 Wins & 1 Loss

I was absolutely feeling good at the end, and this was the skill that helped win several times! Although this isn’t designed as a campaign, it felt like I created one with my duo of climbers. There are other characters to explore, higher difficulty levels, and the mutations expansion to add plenty of variety. Suffice to say this one kept me engaged for almost 20 plays in a row… So much fun!

Making Use of Skills at the Last Moment for the Last Victory in Leviathan Wilds

%

10 Plays

Affordability

Price & Value

10

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

10

Originality

Design & Theme

7

Quality

Components & Rules

8

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

10

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

9

+ Pros (Positives)

  • Being able to plan ahead for a lot of the threat cards is excellent and helps to constantly challenge a strategy.
  • Plotting a course up, down, left, and right across a leviathan is an interesting and engaging sort of puzzle.
  • Organizing all of the leviathans into a book minimizes components and keeps the play area fairly compact.
  • Creating a character from a combination of a climber and class is a lot of fun with all sorts of neat skills to uncover.
  • Figuring out how to play out each turn is excellent, particularly with multiple climbers to take into consideration.
  • Play time moves by quickly with practically no downtime, allowing new ideas to constantly develop during play.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • Not all of the rules are as clear as they could be for the first couple of plays, requiring some internet sleuthing.
  • Setup is a tiny bit frustrating with the extremely small dice and mushroom icons that can blend into the artwork.
  • The quality of the cardboard tokens isn’t that great, with some overhanging or peeling edges after a few plays.
  • Each leviathan loses a little bit of its novelty after the first play, although there are ways to increase the difficulty.

More Leviathan Wilds

Explore related posts about Leviathan Wilds!

Victory Conditions

Destroy the Crystals and Complete All Goals

  • Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%

Goals and Milestones

R

Win at least 1 game without losing grip for any climber.

R

Win at least 1 game without resorting to a last chance.

R

Win at least 1 game against every leviathan (17 / 17).

Continue the Conversation

Do you have a favorite leviathan from Leviathan Wilds? If you could rank them all, which ones would be near the top of your list? This was such a wonderful experience, and I still have more content to explore down the line. Kestrel and Hazard made one awesome team. Such a great experience to play through all 17 leviathans in this amazing game!

2 Comments

  1. These were delightful to read; thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • You’re very welcome, and I’m glad you enjoyed following along!

      Reply

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