Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game—Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 6: From Hell’s Heart

Product-Pathfinder Adventure Card Game—Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 6: From Hell’s Heart

Producer-Paizo

Price– $ 20 here http://www.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Adventure-Card-Game-Shackles/dp/1601256949/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444228580&sr=8-1&keywords=From+hell%27s+heart

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 60 minutes per scenario (1-6 players, 5 scenarios)

Type-American

Depth-medium

PZO6016_500

TL; DR-The ships paid off! 98%

Basics-Do you have what it takes to take the crown?  From Hell’s Heart is the conclusion of the Skull and Shackles Adventure Card Game, and it’s a doozy.  Players have to contend with an invasion from the devil worshipers from the north, then fight it out to become rulers of the Shackles.  To play, you will need the base Pathfinder Adventure Card Game as well as the first five adventure decks.

Mechanics-SHIPS!  If you’ve played the first five adventure decks, you keep getting ships.  From the outside, they just look like another way your character can level up as you become increasingly awesome.  However, when you get to second scenario in this pack, you get to fight all the ships you DIDN’T take as they are invading the Shackles!  That right there makes everything completely forgiven.  This adventure pack has many of the same mechanics you’ve come to expect, but the crazy sea battle is just phenomenal.  It’s quickly done, easy to pull off, and an absolute blast.  This pack isn’t a slouch by the way.  No monsters will pull their punches here.  You have to earn the crown, and it feel glorious when you do!  5/5

Theme–  I keep complaining that this isn’t the most theme orientated American style game out there.  However, the mechanics really drive home some of the more awesome points.  Sure you don’t get a full introduction of all the people, but the varied encounters and the setup of each scenario really provide the atmosphere that will keep you in the game as a pirate.  It’s not perfect, but it’s as good as you’re going to get without a guide.  4.5/5

Instructions– The game has set itself up well, and at this point is just taking a victory lap.  All the previous adventure packs and base game set up the pieces and instructions, and this one just knocks it out of the park.  All the rules are easy to follow, and the scenarios fall into piece from there. 5/5

Execution-I like the art to this game, the cards are in good shape, and I don’t have to destroy the packaging to get at the components.  That’s all I can ask for in a card game! 5/5

Summary-Paizo had me hooked a long time ago when I bought this adventure path’s starter set.  Once you’re in for $60, unless something is completely horrible, you’re going to pay the additional $100 across five other packs to get the whole game.  Since I was $80 in before the last pack, this one could have been absolute crap and I’d most likely still have bought it to complete my set.  However, this one is the best part of the whole path.  You have ship battles, you have mass naval combat ( something I didn’t think i’d see!), secret missions into the heart of the fortress, a stalking dragon (that makes the blessing deck a terrible, mind numbing, scary ordeal!), and an epic final battle with the pirate king.  This is everything I wanted this AP to be, and I got more.  If you were not sure about playing the Pathfinder adventure card game before, this is the reason you play this game.  I promise you will enjoy it!  98%

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Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game—Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 5: The Price of Infamy

Product-Pathfinder Adventure Card Game—Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 5: The Price of Infamy

Producer-Paizo

Price– $ 20 here http://www.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Adventure-Card-Game-Shackles/dp/1601256930/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1443666157&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=Pathfinder+Adventure+Card+Game%E2%80%94Skull+%26+Shackles+Adventure+Deck+5%3A+The+Price+of+Infamy

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 60 minutes per scenario (1-6 players, 5 scenarios)

Type-American

Depth-medium

PZO6015_500

TL; DR-Fun, but a bit more of the same. 94%

Basics-It’s time to end this!  In the Price of Infamy, your constant enemy Harrigan is bringing the fight to you.  Now, you’re going to end this once and for all.  Can you gather enough friends to destroy his armada and go to his base to wipe him out in time?  This expansion uses the base rules from the pathfinder adventure card game-Skull and Shackles.

Mechanics-Much of this game will play out like the other scenarios.  You have scenarios where you have to beat bosses in an order, you have scenarios where you have fewer locations than normal, and scenarios where you have more than normal .  Overall, it’s not the most novel of the quests, but it is fun.  The major addition to this pack is the final fight where you replace every ally at any location with more monsters.  That is fun and new.  It’s good, but not much more than you’ve seen before.. 4.5/5

Theme-Theme is something the Adventure card game struggles with.  It’s hard to tell a story on less than 30 cards.  This one does add some interesting twists, but if you don’t have the cliffsnotes version of the plot, you won’t get as much as you might otherwise.  This back does have some good locations like Dagon’s Teeth.  In this location, you divide the location deck into two smaller decks-just like the islands themselves from the adventure path.  It’s the little touches that really make this a fun game. 4.25/5

Instructions– The rules for this pack are great.  I wasn’t confused at all, and I was able to assemble my  location decks quickly and easily.. 5/5

Execution-Ever since Paizo produced side opening backs, I have been in absolute love with this game.  The cards are good stock, the art is great, and the price is right. 5/5

Summary-Here is the thing with a mid-path pack-unless I tell you that this pack sets your cats on fire, you are most likely going to buy it if you’ve come this far.  If you like the Skull and Shackles path, you will like this part of it.  It’s a bit samey as the mechanics can only go so far, and I want a bit more story for the game.  But, overall it’s done well and was a blast to play.  It’s five good scenarios that play quickly and are great to run though.  It’s produced excellently, and the instruction do their job well to teach me how to play.  My only complaint is I’d like more, and of the complaints there are, that’s the best kind to have.94%

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 4 – Island of Empty Eyes

Product– Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 4 – Island of Empty Eyes

Producer-Paizo Publishing

Price– $18 here http://smile.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Adventure-Card-Game-Shackles/dp/1601256922/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436362585&sr=8-1&keywords=Pathfinder+Adventure+Card+Game%3A+Skull+%26+Shackles+Adventure+Deck+4+%E2%80%93+Island+of+Empty+Eyes

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 45 minutes per scenario (5 scenarios in the game)

Type-American

Depth-medium

TL; DR-Great theme in this one. 90%

PZO6014

Basics- You’ve joined the upper ranks of the pirates of the Shackles, and now it’s time to prove you’re the best.  You and your friends have been given an island.  Can you clear the former inheritance from the island, uncover its secrets, and throw a killer party for the other pirates of the Pirates Council?  This game uses the basic Pathfinder Adventure Card game mechanics, so I’ll focus on what’s in this box alone.

Mechanics– Things are as fun as they can be, but the mechanics are not varied as much as I like.  Several of the locations on the island are the same, with several of the same locations used repeatedly.  Now, it’s an island, so there are only so many locations to use, but it did feel a bit stale.  Also, maybe it’s just my impression.  This adventure pack gives you a new option for one scenario as you can become possessed to fight the monsters, but only a few of the characters can really use that ability.  Overall, it’s fun, but once you have a working strategy going, the island encounters tend to get a little over-repeated. 4/5

 

Theme– This is an interesting mix.  Overall I love what I’m seeing with this expansion as it does add some fresh ideas to the game.  You get to have an island clearing adventure, with some piracy, and an awesome final encounter as you throw a party, have to stop a secret bomber, and keep your guests happy.  You even can get possessed by a ghost to get extra powers in one of the scenarios.  This adventure has the most theme homerun I’ve seen yet for a ship-the Bloodmoon.  Across both this set and the previous set of the Adventure Card Game, were-creatures get a bonus when the top card of the timing/blessing deck is a blessing of the gods.  As this is a werewolf ship, when you use this ship, you too get a bonus when you use the Bloodmoon when a blessing of the gods is on top.  However, I only know that this ship is from the werewolf captain since I played the adventure path in Pathfinder.  If I didn’t have that extra information, then I wouldn’t know that and this would just be another ship.  So, I love what’s here, and it feels great to be a pirate.  But, I still think extra information beyond the cards is needed to really bring me completely into the story.  4.5/5

Instructions– The cards work well at adding new information to the game.  Almost everything was clear, except for one location-the teleportation chamber!  This room has a thread on the Paizo forums (http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2rsrq?Rules-Question-Teleportation-Chamber#1) that is way too long for a card with less than 100 words!  Since you’ll see this car a lot, it makes every time you see it a bit of a headache!  If you can get past that one card, then the rules are well done though.   4.5/5

Execution– Overall, I like what’s in this box.  Sure, you might want card sleeve for your cards if you plan on repeated use, but overall, the cards are of decent card stock.  All the art is well done and evocative.  The thing that makes me so happy though is what they did since the first expansion of this season of the Adventure Card Game-SIDE OPENING FLAPS to the boxes.  Since I don’t have to destroy the boxes to get the cards, this is hands down an improvement.  5/5

Summary– This was a fun expansion to play through.  I like what’s here, but what is here is a bit repeated.  That does cost it a bit of fun; however, it’s still got enough action to keep me in the game.  For the theme, it’s got a great story, and I do feel like a pirate.  But, I still feel like those who haven’t played the Pathfinder adventure path won’t get as much as they should.  This is still a great game, but a bit more will make this a grand slam.  90%

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 2 – Raiders of the Fever Sea

Product– Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles Adventure Deck 2 – Raiders of the Fever Sea

Producer– Paizo

Price– ~$20 here http://paizo.com/products/btpy95dj?Pathfinder-Adventure-Card-Game-Skull-Shackles-Adventure-Deck-2-Raiders-of-the-Fever-Sea

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30 to 60 minutes per scenario (1 to 6 players, five scenario)

TL; DR-BEST AD SO FAR! 98%

 

Basics-Let’s be bad guys!  In the last adventure deck, the pirates get their first ship.  Now it’s time to be real pirates.  Loot as many ships as you can, earn the favor of Tidewater Rock, and go on an adventure in the deep sea!

 

Mechanics– The game really ties the theme to the mechanics.  It still has the randomness that somewhat hurts the theme, but the new mechanics really hit the theme hard like a sledgehammer on a tack.  Pirate hunting with the chance of catching the attention of the authorities?  Awesome.  Having to find a particular villain to open up a dungeon?  Even better!  It’s a well done adventure deck! 5/5

 

Theme- This game really hits home the theme.  It has lots of piracy with the mechanics to back it up.  Also now new mechanics for the specific missions are introduced to really make a dungeon crawl come alive.  Well done!  Do this more often! 5/5

 

Instructions– The base instructions are all you get besides the stuff on the cards.  I still want a sheet with more story and instructions for the game.  What is on the cards is good, but I still want a bit more.  Also, explaining who the characters are, especially the allies, would help me get a bit more into the feel of things. 4.5/5

 

Execution– Tell you what, Paizo has heard some of what I’ve said and this proves it.  It’s a card game, so it’s got good card stock and art.  Fine, I expect that.  But you know what, SIDE OPENING FLAPS! I can open up the package while not destroying the box.  Here is your five for that. 5/5

 

Summary– This adventure deck is the best adventure deck so far for either season of the card game.  I felt like a pirate.  The mechanics are slick.  The theme is awesome.  THE BOX OPENS ON THE SIDE!  Well done!  98%

Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game-Skull and Shackles base box

Product-Pathfinder Adventure Card Game-Skull and Shackles

Producer-Paizo

Price– $60 here

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– ~25 min per player per scenario (1-6 players with expansion, 10 scenarios in the base game)

TL; DR– A fun addition to the Card Game. 89%

 

Basics-Ahoy matey!  This game is the sequel to the hit Pathfinder Adventure Card Game-Rise of the Runelords.  Players take the role of one character and progress between scenarios to move along the Skull and Shackles adventure path.  You have a character that has the six standard Pathfinder stats as a die.  Each turn you can move between different locations, and draw the top card of that deck as an encounter.  That card is either something you can equip like a spell or a weapon (a “boon”) or something that will attack you like a monster or an obstacle (a “bane”).  You can then play cards from your hand to give you extra dice or bonuses to your roll, select an ability based on the card encountered and roll the die related to that ability score.  If you beat the number on the card, you can add it to your hand if it’s a boon, while banes are defeated.  If you don’t beat the number on the card, you discard any good cards you encountered or take damage if you fought a monster.  When you take damage you discard cards from your hand.  If you can’t play cards from your hand to keep exploring, you draw up to your hand size.  If you can’t, then your character dies.  If you encounter something called henchmen while exploring, you encounter it as above, but if you defeat it, you can close the location the henchmen was at.  If you encounter and beat a villain or man bad guy for the scenario and the other locations are closed, you win!  While much hasn’t changed, what has changed is pretty different.

 

Mechanics-This game is and isn’t much different from the original.  Let’s look at each section individually.

Basic Play– The basics play described above hasn’t changed.  The rules go a little more in depth and make that section MUCH clearer, so that is very appreciated.  However, it feels like there are definitely winner and loser abilities and skills.  Maybe further in the game, some of the skills will matter.  But right now, it feels like some of the characters just don’t matter.

 

Ships-The largest new mechanic is the addition of ships.  The ships provide a constant bonus or ability for your group and the bonus to move as a group.  Also, the ships provide an awesome way to deal with not getting enough gear.  When you beat another ship or get to store plunder, you roll on a random chart, and place one of five different types of cards under the ship.  If you win, you get these cards in addition to any other bonuses for the scenario.

Display and Other Small Changes-Display is a new mechanic where you don’t just reveal a card from your hand, you set it in front of you.  The card now provides an effect and will then tell you when you can pick it up or if you have to discard it.  Some cards allow you to constantly use a displayed card.  This is just part of a handful of new terms for the game.  These new cards do an excellent job of updating the rules.  It provides new options for card design and helps the players.  I like how the rules have moved along.

Summary– The game plays like the basic adventure card game.  It’s a great game, but some of the characters don’t feel like they matter.  Maybe that will change, maybe not.  That will depend on what comes out later in this scenario.  Ships are amazing and help prevent characters just not getting enough cards.  The new terms and mechanics like display provide some new design and play space, and the new characters are fun.  It’s not perfect, but it is a blast to play. 4.75/5

 

Theme-You’re a pirate and you sail the high seas!  You get to move through the Skull and Shackles adventure path with was an amazing adventure series.  I like what I’ve seen so far as it hits the high points reasonably well.  However, if you haven’t played the adventure path, you will feel lost.  You do feel like an island hopping pirate, but the story does lack a bit since the story is still told by half card length paragraphs.  I really wish Paizo would publish a quick summary of each adventure part and an epilogue so the players would know a bit more about what is going on. 4/5

 

Instructions– Here there are some problems, but they don’t break the game.  You just might end up cheating by accident.  The rules are a giant tome!  There’s a lot going on here, but what it really needs is a one page summary to help character jump in the action.  The rules are a bit of a text book that tends to bury some important rule points under lots of other text.  The rules by themselves are ok.  They get the points across, but some concepts like who controls ships, number of cards per check, and even the blessing deck can get lost in the text.  Rules on the cards need some work too.  The first scenario of the main campaign is already errata’ed by the designers.  That’s a major problem!  That’s the scenario that should have gotten the absolute most number of plays and should be the most rock solid.  A bit more writing in some areas and much less in others would really help make the concepts and story much clearer.  4/5

 

Execution-For $60 you get a ton of cards, rules, and a nice box.  The cards are well done with great art, and they’re of decent enough quality to withstand lots of shuffling.  The design has slightly changed, but again, it’s all for the best.  As always with Paizo, the art is well done.  All and all, this is well done. 5/5

 

Summary– The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is a great co-op game.  My wife and I love to play this game.  The Skull and Shackles is a great addition to the franchise.  I loved playing through the Skull and Shackles adventure path, and this give almost the same experience.  The major problems in this game could be fixed with some clever writing.  Some of the rules and story need clarification, while some excess writing needs to be trimmed.  The characters are fun, but some just don’t seem as interesting or useful.  However, all told, I’m enjoying what’s this new base set, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.   89%