Ring Side Report- Review of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: The Skinsaw Murders Adventure Deck

Product-Pathfinder Adventure Card Game- The Skinsaw Murders

Producer– Paizo

Cost– ~$19

Set-up/play/clean-up– 1 hour per scenario

TL;DR-Good second offering, but I feel a little less engaged 68%

 

Summary– It’s the second installment of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and this time it’s a plague of undead!  Players must defend Sandpoint from the horrors of the second part of the Rise of the Runelords adventure path-The Skinsaw Murders.  First the undead attack in mass in Undead Uprising.  Next, the heroes make their way to the outskirts of town to defend the farmers in Crow Bait.  With the undead somewhat quieted, the heroes go to the source and attack the Skinsaw Man himself in Foul Misgivings in a haunted house.  With the main source put down, you then move to putting down the cult supporting him in The Cult Exposed.  The climax of the quest is Angel in the Tower!

 

Theme– This adventure has a strong undead theme, and it’s fairly well done.  I did feel that the undead were nipping at my heels.  However due to the nature of the random monster draw, not all the monsters were undead.  It takes away a bit form the theme of an undead horde when I have to put down a goblin raid.  Also, I only get minimal story from the cards; there is not much written on the cards, so I don’t get the feeling of a coherent story between the adventures.  What would make this much better would be a deeper delve into the story.  Having not played the adventure path, I kind of feel lost in the fiction behind the card game. 3.5/5

 

Mechanics– The mechanics are fairly well done, but somewhat repetitive.  The basic mechanics of the intro game are how most of the scenarios play out. Explore, find henchmen, kill guy, close place, continue till all closed and fight villain.  It’s not bad, but it does get somewhat monotonous.  The real shining star of the game is the scenario Foul Misgivings.  This one has a crazy haunt mechanic that makes fights happen and made me really enjoy this game.  However, since the game doesn’t have any included instructions, the cool new mechanic that is introduced becomes somewhat hard to implement.  This led to my wife and I scrambling to several internet forums to find how to resolve an important issue midgame.  Again, I really want a single sheet explaining the scenario a little bit.  All and all, nothing is bad. It’s just not great. 3.5/5

 

Instructions– This pack came with no instructions whatsoever except for what’s on the cards.  I don’t really like how the base instructions explain the game, so now that we are adding several decks to the game, I’m not sure I’m playing the game right.  I don’t like mid-game having to scramble to boardgamegeek or paizo.com to figure out if I’m doing things right. 2/5

 

Art/Construction– The Art is good and well done.  Some of it comes directly from Paizo’s other properties.  Since this is undead crazy, the art is the right amount of unsettling.  It even unnerved my wife sitting at our kitchen table.  The cards are of decent stock, but after a few plays you will expect some corners to tear. 4.5/5

 

Summary-Not a bad second effort.  I like the core mechanic of exploration, but I feel it gets old fast.  I really enjoyed Foul Misgivings; this scenario gives hints of just how far this card game can be stretched in both rules and theme.  I’d prefer a few tweaks to really help me feel like I’m playing the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, but I’m basically getting the experience of the table top RPG.  I think a few changed would really make this game top notch.  If you have the base game, this is a pretty good follow up. 68%

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