Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Review

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set review - cover

Year: 2013/2019 | Players: 1-4 | Minutes: 90 | Ages: 13+

This Pathfinder Adventure Card Game review was made after playing the game six times. Updated in 2019 following the release of the new edition/core set.


What is Pathfinder Adventure Card Game?

In Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, you and your fellow adventurers will be going through a number of scenarios trying to defeat bosses and upgrade your characters’ abilities and gear. This is a highly expandable campaign game, so there are plenty of adventures to go on and a ton of different cards to add to your decks.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game was designed by Mike Selinker and is published by Paizo Publishing.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Gameplay

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set review - fighting a monster

You will probably look at all of the cards and all of the information on those cards and think that Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is a very complex game. Well, it really isn’t. It’s really just a game of flipping cards, reading those cards, and rolling dice to try to gain/defeat them.

Throughout the game, you will be making skill checks. Again, it sounds confusing if you’ve never played a D&D-style RPG, but it’s really not. All that means is that you are rolling dice and seeing if you failed or succeeded. You make skill checks throughout the game both for fighting and acquiring new cards.

Each player will have his or her own character. They will have their own sets of attributes and special abilities, and they will have a unique starting deck of cards based the types and number of cards they are allowed to have at the beginning of the game. When you’re playing the game, you will roll certain dice (d4, d6, d10, etc.) based on your abilities and the cards that you have in your hand. For example, you could use a weapon to make your attack better by rolling an extra die during combat.

So, how does the game work? Well, you will have a specific number of locations depending on the scenario that you’re playing and the number of players. You’ll search through those locations for enemies, weapons, allies, and other goodies. You’ll roll dice to try to defeat enemies or gain other cards. You can help other players by sharing cards (when you’re in the same location) and you can sometimes even help them during skill checks.

When the enemies do damage to you, you have to discard cards from your hand. That’s a bad thing because if you ever run out of cards in your deck, you die.

If you’re playing the game as a one-off, you’re simply trying to defeat the villain in the scenario that you’re playing. If you’re playing the campaign, then you will slowly go through the adventure, trying to defeat each scenario’s villains. When you beat a scenario in a campaign, you get to upgrade your cards and abilities.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set review - player area



Pros

  • To me, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is the closest you can get to playing an online role playing game in card game form. The weapons, the allies, the campaigns, the upgrades… it all adds up to a solid video game-style RPG experience.
  • It’s pretty much always exciting to draw a new card from one of the location decks. You’re usually seeking something out, but even if you don’t find that something, you could end up with a shiny new item.
  • I’m a big fan of the little bit of deck construction you get to do after each scenario. You get to choose from the cards that you brought into the scenario as well as the cards you found during that adventure. It’s really cool because it makes the story feel less random; you FOUND those items at the locations you visited and you can keep them if you want to.
  • All of the heroes feel different to play. Their abilities make you approach each scenario in different ways and you quickly learn what types of cards you should pick up to get the most out of your heroes.
  • It’s odd that some people don’t like the artwork in this game because I’m a big fan of it. Yes, the white backgrounds on the cards are plain, but it also helps to make the characters and items stand out. (Update: I like the new edition’s artwork even more).
  • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game surprisingly plays well at higher player counts. I’ve played it multiple times at four players and there wasn’t a ton of downtime. Plus, you are communicating with and rooting on your teammates throughout.
  • There’s actually quite a bit of replay value here. You can definitely play each scenario multiple times since they’ve included easy ways to ramp up the difficulty. Plus, the locations decks are always randomized so you never know what you’re going to find.
  • I also like that the rules are straightforward enough that even beginners can get into it pretty quickly. You will need 10 or so minutes to get used to the turn structure, but after that it is pretty much smooth sailing. You just need to pull out the rulebook whenever a new keyword pops up.

Cons

  • The only semi-big problem that we ran into on multiple occasions was forgetting an extra rule or two while playing certain scenarios. You can get so focused on the skill checks and making sure you’re rolling all of the correct dice that you forget some other little rule.
  • It can start to feel a little repetitive after about an hour. That’s bound to happen in any game where you’re mostly just rolling dice, but I think it’s worth pointing out since some people absolutely hate that type of repetitiveness.

Final Thoughts

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is one of the better cooperative role playing games that my group has played. This game was made for board gamers who love to play solo or have a gaming group that is willing to stick with their characters for many hours of role playing fun. I’ve enjoyed this one a lot and am looking forward to developing my main character even more and seeing how these stories play out.

Update: In 2019, an improved core set (rules tweaks, new graphic design, etc.) was released for Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. I’ve updated all of the links to point to that new version and added pictures of some of the new components.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Links

BGG | Amazon | Miniature Market


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