Off to a great start with Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game

Title Off to a great start with Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Game reviews
When October 10, 2013

It's the second time I've lost someone at the approach to Thistletop Delve. This is the next to last adventure in the game. Basically, the staging area before the final boss. Two weeks ago, I lost my sorceress to an ambush here. Spellcasters are powerful but frail..

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I haven't played the game, but in reading another discussion supposedly you can download and print out character sheets instead of marking cards.

I'm not much of a fantasy guy, but this looks very cool. More decks-of-cards-as-characters games, please!

"everything you need to build you[r] own unique character deck."

Awesome catch, considering that's pasted directly from the game's website! Almost all the stuff in those description boxes is external marketing copy.

I'm also not much of a fantasy guy, but the main appeal of this is the mechanics. Come on over and you can play my friends cleric that he never uses!

I just put card sleeves on the cards. When the characters level up, I'm only defacing the sleeves!

It's a really good game. Going to play some more tonight

The character sheets also track the specific deck composition of that character, so while I still don't think it's the sort of thing you whip out during random communal game nights with an ever changing cast of players, since a big part of the appeal is the persistence, it would help with maintaining more than six concurrent character builds.

Maybe it's just the set of characters my friends and I are running but I'm not seeing any competition over loot (which is fine by me - I'm a fan of pure coop games). You can trade cards (and refill categories with any card you'd be allowed at character creation) at the end of any scenario, so my sorceress gets any worthwhile arcane spells and items and usually a fair pick of allies and blessings; my friend's druid gets the divine spells, animals and so on; and the party barbarian gets the weapons and armor. None of these things are really something any of the rest of us can use so it's a pretty easy trade, and then anything that doesn't make the cut just heads straight back into the box.

I could see competition being significantly fiercer if you run a full party of six, though, where there's room for some role overlap.

I've been playing this for a few weeks with my weekend group. So far we are having a blast with it. we are still new enough that a lot of what comes up is funny or interesting and all fresh. We have only gotten through two adventure sets, but so far the gameplay is good and can be pretty challenging. Do you try to be a bit greedy and clear the general store, or will that run out the blessings deck? I'd recommend this one without any reservations.

It really seems like tabletop RPGs are ripe for a full conversion to a card game. Not that a D&D-style game becomes a full-blown randomized deck-builder type of thing, but that cards become the basis of communication. Instead of dealing with a monster manual, you just buy decks of cards with all the relevant information on the cards themselves. Instead of keeping track of potentially complicated lists of abilities, players play action cards from a limited pool (i.e. every character gets talk and attack, but then specific classes may get spells, special abilities, etc.). All the flexibility of traditional tabletop experiences, but without having to pore through books and manually keep up with every little detail.

Is there anything like that currently on the market?

Using cards mainly as reference materials, almost like flashcards, might be interesting. But I can't imagine tabletop RPGers wanting to limit themselves to a card management format. It seems tabletop RPGs need to break out into freestyle gameplay.

That said, I'd love to see game designers riffing on the Pathfinder model in new ways. Please design the game you're talking about, Mr. Skeletons, and I'll gladly play it! :)