Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Board game review

gaming settings

In 2009, Pathfinder became the successor of D&D. It literally took the existing rules and re-published them with a bunch of improvements as Pathfinder. It was so successful with RPG players that it's spawned a video game, a board game, and a card game. I've played several rounds of the card game on Youtube because it's really really fun, but also because it's an almost puzzlingly effective implementation of roleplay through cards.

The setup is actually pretty simple. You create a few Location decks representing towns and caves and dungeons in the game world. You send your Character card to a Location and rummage around in hopes of hunting down the villain. Usually, you don't find the villain right away, because the villain is sneaky like that, and instead you find either a Monster, a Trap, or some cool Item you can use to give yourself more power or health. Regardless of what you find, you roll dice to determine how the interaction goes.

To be fair, that's pretty much what you do in an RPG, so the game meets the brief. But what makes Pathfinder Adventure Card Game really special is how it flavours the game experience.

You get to choose a character, for instance, and each character has different special abilities and powers. These are expressed, in part, through dice. A character good at ranged attacks, for instance, uses a d12 to roll in combat, while a character bad at magic only has a d4 to roll when dealing with magical items). Other character abilities are reflected as rule-breaking exceptions. Normally a character has to be in the same Location to help another character in combat, but Harsk the dwarven ranger can help when he's not in the same location because he's a ranged fighter.

Locations get a lot of flavour, too. A holy temple, for example, tends to be loaded up with more magical and healing Items than with Monsters. A desecrated temple, or a dungeon, or the rough part of a town, is loaded up with lots of Monsters and Traps and very few benefits.

To get through a scenario, you have to strategize and decide which character is going to visit which Location, or whether the party should stay together in one Location, and you have to manage resources and health, and it's all expressed through cards.

There's a learning curve, but only as much as any tabletop game. This isn't Magic the Gathering by any stretch of the imagination. This is an RPG-like in card form.

Photo by Riho Kroll using the Unsplash License.

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