CONdensed LIVE from GenCon: Thoughts on Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

*Photos and article by: Dylan Terry

Pathfinder may be one of the most popular RPGs around, but that hasn’t stopped Paizo from expanding its reach in the industry by smacking the name on other products.

The Adventure Card Game attempts to replicate the feel of playing a standard Pathfinder campaign: you and up to several other heroes use spells, blessings, items, and allies to explore locations, defeat enemies, loot the room, and (hopefully) defeat the big bad guy. This is made difficult by the fact that if you beat the big bad, he runs away to another location and becomes more powerful.

PathfinderAdventureCards.jpg

To prevent this, you and your fellow party members have to fan out to cover these locations, requiring coordination, collaboration, and cooperation. Those may sound like the same thing, but in the realm of a card game they could mean very different things.

The most interesting aspect of the game is that each character has a deck (usually built from scratch, but for convention play we had preconstructed decks) which represent not only abilities and items, but health and constitution. Temporary damage is done through discarding, healing is done through placing cards on the bottom of your deck, and permanent damage is represented by placing a card back in the game box, where it stays until the game is over.

Admittedly, my experience with full-length Pathfinder campaigns is limited, but the game moved very quickly. Part of this was the demo-imposed time limit, but it still felt like the players were on a much higher footing than the usual adventuring party.

As usual with Paizo the art and production is top-notch, though some designs suffer from the Pathfinder problem of belt-mania where it seems like certain characters have turned belts into shirts, pants, straps…you get it.

Fans of Pathfinder will probably enjoy this, but those without that background may find themselves scrabbling to identify the difference between a Blessing of Ancients, Blessing of Elements, and Blessing of Kings (wait, I think that last one is from World of Warcraft…). What I played was only a single stand-alone expansion and, knowing Pathfinder, you’ll be able to mix-and-match cards from various sets to tailor the experience to your tastes.

Unfortunately, that throws this into the category of games where the amount of money you spend will more than likely influence how much fun you have, so take that into consideration before you purchase this.

 

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