Ring Side Report-Review of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

During the Labor Day weekend, my wife and I finished the first arc of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.  Let’s give it the run down and I’ll tell you what I thought.  Along the way, I’ll give you my wife’s thoughts as this is a co-op game.

Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Players: 1-4

Playtime(setup/play/clean-up): ~30 minutes

Set Ending: Yes

TL;DR-Great game that was a ton of fun to play.  I’m looking forward to the next part of the adventure path.  I am cautious about the future though-80%


How You Play: Players take the role of iconic Pathfinder characters and investigate different locations.  How this translates to a game is at start, players build decks of card with different cards in each location.  These cards range from traps, people you can met, monsters to fight, and items/weapons/arms/spells you can find.  On your turn, you flip a card from the blessing deck( a built in timer for the game), and can flip the top card of a location deck you are at.  The card may call for a roll.  Each character has the six normal Pathfinder/3.5 stats and these are represented by different dice type you roll.  Players can play cards to add more dice to the roll.  Combat works just the same as finding an item or evading a trap.  Play continues at a location until the players find a henchmen who they fight and then they can try to close a location.  Players may move between locations and have different types of encounters this way.  This continues until players find the lead main villain who, when beaten, means the game is over and the players have won.


Mechanics:  The mechanics of the game are well put together.  Nothing to hard to figure out when you know what you’re doing.  Turns go quick and play is fast.  Nothing comes out of left field that makes the game grind to a halt.  I found it pretty easy and so did my wife.  We both liked the way the game plays. 5/5


Theme:  The theme and theme/mechanics mix of the game are “interesting.”  Not bad “interesting,” but “interesting.”  The game does not use a D20.  This fact is kind of strange as the game is based on Pathfinder.  While not horrible and a deal breaker by any means, it does make the game feel a little bit less like the Pathfinder RPG and more like different third party RPGs I’ve played.  I reiterate, that’s not bad, but I doesn’t feel like the Pathfinder RPG.  Also, I and my wife and I a strange revelation.  The way you recharge powers/cards/spells made us think of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.  Some items were one time use, but a lot of cards had recharge abilities and made us think 4e DnD.  Again, not bad, but it makes us think of other RPGs.  That all said, at WORST the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game makes us think of other RPGs, NOT a card game.  It was a fun with nail biting moments when we HAD to make a roll or I would die and we would lose the quest.  Good time without a person having to DM.  4/5


Instructions: Here is where things are not as great.  The instruction book isn’t a long read, but it is kind of difficult to get the important information out of.  This is Paizo’s first real game that I have played.  The book does get the game across, but I had to check out watch-it-played youtube videos so I could figure out different questions.  A major one was the blessing deck.  My wife and I read the rules and both thought you drew cards from it.  We were both very wrong.  Now we both know it is a timer deck that you only place cards on.  The rules don’t have many pictures or breaks.  This is great for an RPG book, but for a game, I need more examples and pictures of play.  It’s not horrible, but it does need outside help. 2.5/5


Art/Components:  Paizo has never made crap, and they didn’t with this.  Hard cardboard with a well put together box.  Great stuff.  For the art, a lot comes from the Pathfinder RPG.  Not bad.  If you like the Pathfinder art style, you will like this game.  It’s as simple as that.  I’d like more new, but I got over 500 cards for $80 bucks.  I know art costs, so I’m happy with what I got. 4.5/5


Final Thoughts:  This is a great game.  You want to play an RPG and don’t have a group?  Get the game.  You want an RPG and no one want to DM?  Get this game.  Basically, this is a fantastic game that my wife and I love.  My wife and I both can’t wait till the next adventure releases. 80% 16/20


Caution in the Future:   What I am concerned with is what will happen in the future.  The game is great, but the mechanics are very similar throughout the entire game.  That is great, but if the next adventure is the same, then I will be disappointed.  The adventure game does vary some things, but I can’t help but compare the game to the Lord of the Rings Card Game.  My wife does not completely agree with the comparison, but she does think that the Lord of the Rings game has more variety.  The game instructs the players to make new piles of cards, the draw differently, to completely make new adventures and go quest alone, and more crazy things.  While some of those mechanics openly do not work so well, the game shows no fear in finding new ways to play.  I would like the makers of this card game to look at that one and see how the Pathfinder Adventure card Game can grew.  I’m cautiously optimistic that Paizo will make something new and awesome, but I also have a touch of bad feeling that something might go awry.

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