February 24, 2014
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
I needed a new card game. With the World of Warcraft trading card game officially canned- I needed something tangible- something good- to fill the void that the WOW CCG used to. Make no mistake though- Pathfinder ACG is not a collectible card game. There are no booster packs to acquire- meaning that once you buy the base set and the adventure decks, you have EVERYTHING needed to play. This makes getting friends into the game easier- play my buddy's game and I don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on boosters and starter decks? sweet! I looked on Youtube for something. Near the top of the page I found Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game.
I showed my roommate this game- and after the 30 minute demo he ordered everything that is currently available (as of this review- the base set, character upgrade, adventures 1,2,3). We got this game on Amazon.com because the prices were lower. You can pick one of (eleven?) classes to explore the Pathfinder world. In each scenario you have a location deck to explore- which may contain loot, upgrades for your deck- or enemies to defeat. If you encounter the boss you must face him. If you have open locations after the encounter- he escapes..... somewhere. It's your job to find where, and to defeat him (or her).
The game is viable and extremely fun to play. Collectively, our playgroup has around 20 games logged. You never know what you are going to get. We decided not to look at the expansion cards until well after we encountered them- to add to the element of surprise. The first two scenarios, if your RNG luck is running well- shouldn't be hard. I tried solo-playing (yes, you can play solo) the third scenario and got my rear end burnt by the boss!
At the end of the scenario you can trade cards with players. I can freely show my hand during the game too- you are working together as a team towards a common goal. You have to slim your deck back down to a certain number- and it can be difficult to decide on what you want to keep. As the instruction manual says- choices often have consequences.
The box is of high quality- and houses EVERYTHING- including the adventure decks. Some of the cards were of questionable QC- for example our character add on deck cards were cut perhaps 0.5mm shorter than the others- and the backings were slightly lighter. Sometimes the printer smudged a bit of the ink on a particular card in the base set. All forgiveable, still legible and can be shuffled, but I wanted to throw that out there.
The game is flexible and customizable. If you find a certain area impossible- feel free to replace monsters that spawn, OR add time (cards) to the blessings deck. If you want to make the game harder, take cards out or remove cards from the blessings deck. Failing against the boss has consequences- you can lose a lot of cards from the timer- and thus, turns! If you want to make custom characters- you can do so. I have already made an engineer class and I plan on building a berserker class.
At the end of the day, if you do end up buying everything it will probably cost around $180-$200. HOWEVER, given that this game has an amazing replay value- your group will be playing it for a very, very long time. Compare the cost versus a CCG- where some people spend hundreds, if not a thousand dollars plus- Pathfinder ACG is a bargain. Because my friends can take a bit longer to take their turns- an average weekend of Pathfinder lasts about 3 games- enough to complete the majority of an adventure and earn some skills and cards for our decks.
I highy recommend this game by Mike Selinker. With the base set you get adventure deck #1- so right there they give you a taste of an expansion set. This game will stay in our collection for years to come. If there is a sequel released in the future- spiritual or direct- we will be looking at future Paizo products.