Pathfinder Adventure Card Game was recommended to me by many people over at BoardGameGeek back when I was searching around for some good fantasy games that worked well for 1 player (I had a feeling that I would end up playing most of these by myself). After watching some more videos, including RickyRoyal‘s again, I decided it was worth picking up the base set.
I have to say that I’m actually pretty impressed by the game box alone. Inside the box you will find all of the cards for the base game but there is tons of space for additional cards that you will eventually add from future adventure packs. There is even space for you to put the little boxes they come in. That kind of foresight is fascinating and makes storing and organizing the game so much easier. Juggling three different boxes for Mage Knight paraphernalia is already getting a little difficult. There’s actually an interesting similarity between the two games, PACG and Mage Knight. They both feature different card types (Weapons, Armor, Items, etc. and Units, Spells, Wounds, and so on) that all share the same background. The difference is that PACG has specific spaces set aside for each card type so that everything stays organized without a real need to modify the storage yourself. With Mage Knight you pretty much clump everything together into one card section, which makes setup and clean up take a lot longer. Perhaps this isn’t really interesting enough to ramble on about, but I really do appreciate the convenience of the PACG box.
So enough about the boxes and on to the game. Pathfinder ACG combines elements of a tabletop RPG with those of a card/board game. You pick a specific character to play, stuff like human wizards and dwarf rangers, and build a starting deck for the character. Your character’s card specifies how many of each card type they can have in their deck. You only start out with basic card types but as you adventure you are able to collect powerful new cards for your deck which you can swap for your old crap. You then carry on your character deck through each scenario, adventure path, and so on. Each character also features several different feats on their character card and do things like increase your hand size, add a modifier to a roll, add magic damage, etc. When you complete certain scenarios or adventures you might get rewarded with a feat of your choice from a specific section.
Each scenario is pretty much set up in the same way. Depending on how many characters are being used you will set up a specific amount of locations. These can be anything from parts of towns or the wilderness. Each location usually has unique effects or conditions. At each location you create a deck of cards that contains a specific number of monsters, items, armor, blessings, spells, and whatever else the location card says. Then you take the scenario villain, along with several henchman, and randomly shuffle one of each into each location.
Your main goal is to move your character(s) around and root out the villain. Along the way you encounter boons (Items, Spells, Blessings, Allies, Weapons, Armor) which you can acquire through various skill checks and die rolls along along with banes (Monsters, Barriers, Henchmen, Villains) that similarly require certain dice checks to defeat. I’m not sure if I’m explaining it very well but I’m having a blast. One of the funnest parts is trying to fill in the blanks of the story and explain what’s going on. Like why did Keen fail to acquire that ally or why is there a trap in the general store. We come up with lots of crazy stuff.
I like the game enough that I went ahead and picked up the next two adventure packs and the character add-on pack. We’re still in the base set scenarios, not even touching the additional adventure pack that comes with the base set yet. Hopefully I can get Keen interested in playing more than once a week. Worst case scenario being that I end up playing by myself. Which is easily done since I’m smart enough to buy games with solitaire rules.
This is probably the closest I’m going to get to playing a tabletop RPG like Dungeons & Dragons since I can’t seem to rally anybody around me to play. I tried back in 8th grade with Keen and my friend but there are only so many times I could hear Keen say “I cast magic missile at the darkness!” before I lost my shit and flipped the DM screen. Unfortunately he still says that every time we play anything with dice.