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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

pathfinder-card-gamePathfinder 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.

LemSo 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.

ValerosEach 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.

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Comments

  1. How long is the base campaign, a few hours or multiple sessions?

    Also if gathering people together for a virtual version of an old school pen and paper D&D game is what you desire then there are virtual tabletop applications such as http://roll20.net/. ;)

  2. I cast magic missile at the darkness!

    I had too…

    I do apologize

  3. @Gankatron: I could see it being 50+ hours easily. Many sessions.

    @Table: I know right! It’s not like you can play D&D without saying it.

    @Graev: I’d play but we can’t play with just 2 people. :(

  4. Graev as DM + http://roll20.net/ + A community of gamers = D&D campaign

    Now if only we could identify a community of gamers…

  5. That roll20 thing is pretty neat. I have been looking for one of those for a while. Thanks Gank.

  6. Gankatron says:

    Of course, and if that D&D game materializes, I’d be up for it (of course I don’t even know what edition they are up to anymore).

  7. This is a game I really enjoy as well. Mostly solo plays for me at this point but that will be changing soon.

    On a side note, If you decide to sleeve the game you will need to look into another storage solution. The game with expansions will not fit sleeved into the current insert. I ended up just making a custom insert using Foamcore.

  8. Here’s an early shot of the insert. http://i.imgur.com/4TG6dJi.jpg

  9. This is another one of the games on my shelf that I love but unfortunately doesn’t see much playtime amongst my board gaming group. I bought the first 2 adventure packs but i am yet to even finish the first one, so I guess I should make more time to play it solo. It’s a great game to play in byte size chunks as opposed to Mage Knight, but it seems difficult to get people excited about the character development without having a regular group of people to play it with.

  10. Gankatron says:

    Sorry for an unrelated, but hopefully welcome question, is there a link for donations to your site? I read that there should be a button in the right corner of your forums, but I don’t see one; it may be because I have some anti-this-and-that Chrome extension that is blocking it. Alternatively if you guys have a PO box I could mail a check.

  11. Prairie McChicken says:

    Thanks for this post. I didn’t realize you could play these adventure card games solo. I’m going to pick this up.

  12. @Gankatron: You can find the donation button on our forums right above the posts on the left: http://www.keenandgraev.com/forums/index.php/board,1.0.html

    (Paypal to: keenandgraev@gmail.com)
    We don’t have a PO box at this time. All donations are appreciated

  13. Horrorshow says:

    I love Pathfinder. I GM Pathfinder every week. Right now we are running Rise of the Runelords Campaign for months now. Just got past the half way point.
    It is a great game system built from the D20 system. It fixes a lot of what was wrong with D&D 3.5 and If there is something you do not like you can easily house rule it out and not break the game.
    I can not say enough about Pathfinder and it has a great community on the forums to ask questions and come up with ideas.

  14. Have you ever thought about running a Play-by-forum-post game? Really easy to coordinate across schedules, etc, though moves slower.

  15. @Khoram I’ve never really given it a whole lot of thought. While I have heard of people playing game via forums I have no idea how they accomplish it. The idea isn’t unappealing by any means but I’m fuzzy on the logistics.

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