Campaign adventure boardgames -- the new hotness?

Oh! I just assumed that wasn’t the case! That’s pretty awesome then. (If it works.)

One of my kids really loves the Pathfinder game. I always found it a little janky. Might invest in this new edition eventually. Is this the 2019 release?

Uhhhh, caveat pathfindor on that, I’m afraid. While it may nominally, technically be kludgable, it sounds like there are a lot of nit-picky exceptions. Considering how often players get rules wrong when the cards are printed correctly, might make sense to play these games as they were intended – as separate games.

There’s also the additional issue that the 1.0 adventure paths were intended as separate, discrete experiences, while the 2.0 was a complete rethink of the system, intended to allow the player to mix and match whatever and continue characters across multiple adventure paths. (That were never made and never will be, on account of 2.0 flopped.)

It makes sense to me why Mike Selinker might have yelled “Uh, yeah, they’re backwards compatible, that’s the ticket!!!” over his shoulder as he ran away from the warehouse full of unsold 2.0 boxes. I don’t blame him. But I think you can do better.

If you want a huge, sprawling adventure campaign boardgame, there are many other options that were designed as such and don’t require you to jam two conflicting systems together.

As separate, discrete experiences, though, the Pathfinder games are nice! And while I haven’t played 2.0, the 1.0 ones are sprawling enough even while being self-contained!

Also, I have to say, the 1.0 card design just looks better.

Considering the number of scenarios and time to play in the first four PACG Edition 1 games, each of those is pretty goddamn sprawling as an adventure game campaign all in their own right.

I would also imagine that of the three 1st edition PACG game campaigns, Wrath of the Righteous is a fairly difficult conversion, given some of the mechanics it introduces.

But Rise of the Runelords I don’t remember being particularly difficult after getting used to it for the first scenario. And I haven’t tried Skulls yet, but it should be somewhat straightforward too. And there are elements of Mummy’s Mask that are already edging right up to the Core Set rules when it comes to conditions/scourges, etc…so that might also be pretty do-able.

I remember that knowing both rulesets pretty well was a help. After playing the core box and Crimson Throne, I went back and read the rules for Runelords and then it felt pretty intuitive to convert, but YMMV.

But you could also just… play the 2.0 version, and play the Mummy’s Mask. What do you gain by mushing 'em up with a fork? I have some ideas of what I would lose! (Sanity, primarily.)

Oh absolutely! You don’t need to mush the rulesets together at all, and the first four campaign games play just fine with the old school rules! But if you’re looking to lure your unsuspecting fellow gamers towards Apocrypha, that latter game shares a lot of similar mechanics present in the 2.0 (Core box) rules.

Good advice, everyone! Thanks!

Reading this thread, and I still feel dirty at Fantasy Flight for how badly they ended out Eldritch Horror with the waste of space that was the final big box expansion, and the campaign system that was absolute shit.

I am genuinely surprised that the V2 Pathfinder ACG went so badly. I had been keeping an eye out to see if they released new content, but clearly not. The original Runelords game is one of the first games that got me into this hobby. And it still sits in my display cabinet ready to pull out when the desire strikes to try a new campaign with a new cast of characters. There’s a whole set of characters I never played after all.

Also, with respect to the original post, another game with a campaign system might be Too Many Bones, with the Age of Tyranny expansion? That’s something I’m looking forward to trying out.

The Undertow and I think the upcoming Unbreakable standalone expansions also have short campaign setups. I don’t think most people consider any of the campaigns great ways to play TMB though.

Just to echo what malk said:

I haven’t tried the Undertow content yet, but the campaign mode Chip Theory added to the base set of Too Many Bones is awful. I love Too Many Bones’ standalone games, which are sort of compressed campaigns anyway. But Chip Theory’s attempt to add persistence and progression was a real disappointment.


I haven’t messed with the Undertow campaign mode but it does seem like people think it’s better than Age of Tyranny. But part of what’s awesome about Too Many Bones is as you say, it feels like a campaign inside one session. I’m not personally seeing what taking that out to multiple sessions would do for me.

Now, Undertow itself is awesome and my preferred way to play currently. The raft encounters mix things up nicely, you get more training points on average in a shorter span of time, the baddies add variety, and Stanza and Duster are both very fun Gearlocs, although I personally own all of them so I don’t stick to those two for the Undertow encounters/bosses.

Ah ok, thank you Malkav and Tom. I only received TMB the other week, in the midst of a hectic period of time for me. It is breathinig though - no shrink wrap. It will be nice to get some gaming done soon. After tomorrow in fact.

I was one of those who got this and was also massively intrigued by just reading the rules and fiddling with the map pieces of Magic Realm, but never got to the stage where we played it.

It’s a game which still haunts me that way, and feels like it could really use a good computer adaptation to manage so many of the rules.

I do keep an eye out every once in awhile to see if there’s an update, but it’s still mostly me looking around.

Realmspeak? Though I guess it does not do much in the way of rules enforcement.

So here’s my question about Apocrypha as campaign game:

  1. There are certain scenarios in Apocrypha that are clearly meant to be played – if not “in sequence”, at least where “You should have completed X scenario before playing y scenario.”

  2. But one of the noted issues with the game (and I do NOT know this from firsthand experience, I will add, but have seen it brought up time and again on BGG) is that as a campaign, things apparently can get “too easy” if you use the same set of saints for a full cycle of scenarios. Campaign. Whatever.

And when both 1 and 2 were brought up in Apocrypha threads on BGG, I believe the response from Lone Shark was “Yep, you’re right about the first point, and probably right about the second. Play it the way you want.”

So has anyone come up with a good framework for that?

Yes! Very glad you asked! I’m not sure I understand your #1 point, as some chapters are designed to present difficult choices about the order you play the missions. Unless I’m misunderstanding you, that seems to be working as intended.

As for things getting “too easy”, I have two responses. They’re both related to a variant I’ve been working on to increase the amount of pushback over a chapter:

First, I feel Apocrypha simply isn’t viable as a game about developing characters over the long term. Unlike the Pathfinder fantasy games, it’s just not built for that kind of progression. So the starting premise for my variant is this:

Once you accept that the characters will reset to zero between chapters, this variant escalates the difficulty over the course of a single chapter, with rules for wins and losses, and a score at the end of the chapter. But because some of the chapters use wacky game-bending rules and variations, I’m not sure whether there are any snags with the unconventional chapters. Some of which are plenty difficult as is, by the way!

The basic idea is that the Omens of Hope are more quickly bled out of the stash, so as the campaign progresses, you’re faced more and more with the Doom side of each Nexus. Here’s how it works:

I’ve tested it a couple of times with the core set’s tutorial campaign, which isn’t saying much since they’re basically tutorial missions. But it created difficult choices about when to use Omens of Hope and it made the order of missions even more important because they’re going to get harder as you play. So do you start with the more challenging missions, to get them out of the way while you still have Hope? Or do you improve your decks first, but risk the balance of Hope/Doom turning against you?

I was in the middle of running it through the Skinwalker campaign earlier this year, with plans to write it up and post it on BGG as a variant. Here is a basic outline of the variant as it exists now.


This is awesome.

Although I will admit to taking it a bit on faith, since Apocrypha is packed up. But this makes it a good candidate for my first boardgame in the new digs! But also, this gives me some time to re-read the online “living” manual and watch some replays too.


BGG has the updated rules AND a tutorial!

And a brief overview, with in depth links:

Bonus points, it’s also on Tabletop Simulator…

Realmspeak actually does full rules enforcement. It’s pretty great, but possibly a bit dated now (in terms of interface).

Oh wow, you hadn’t realised all the work over the last few years on the tutorial project, rules re-writes/re-orgs, etc!

It’s never been easier to get into Magic Realm thanks to the insanely awesome work those folk have done.

If you want to go the whole hog, and your the crafty type with way too much time on your hands, don’t forget about Karim’s famous re-design!

lol, perhaps one day I’ll get to actually playing it as well!