Exciting news from Paizo this week as more spoilers and sneak peeks for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game were shared with the world.
For those of you who don’t know, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is a cooperative strategy card game that allows 1 to 6 players to take on the role of heroes and pits them against monsters, traps, henchmen, and villains. Players will also have the opportunity to discover treasure, magical spells, divine blessings, and allies, as they struggle to complete their goals. “Each player has a unique character composed of a deck of cards and a set of stats. Roleplayers will find the stats very familiar—characters have classes such as fighter, wizard, and rogue, as well as numbers that define strength, dexterity, intelligence, etc.” Over time you’ll customize your deck and character, either by earning new rewards, or by buying Character Add-On Decks (there’s a whopping twenty-seven of these, by my count!). To begin play you need one of the Base Sets, each of which includes the first chapter of an adventure path and all the cards you need to play it. Once you’re done the Base Set you can continue with follow up Adventure Decks, which continue the story for yours characters. Base Sets currently include Rise of the Runelords (along with it’s five Adventure Deck expansions: The Skinsaw Murders, The Hook Mountain Massacre, Fortress of the Stone Giants, Sins of the Saviors Deck, and Spires of Xin-Shalast), Skull and Shackles (along with it’s five Adventure Deck expansions: Raiders of the Fever Sea, Tempest Rising, Island of Empty Eyes, The Price of Infamy, and From Hell’s Heart), Mummy’s Mask (along with it’s five Adventure Deck expansions: Empty Graves, Shifting Sands, Secrets of the Sphinx, The Slave Trenches of Hakotep, and Pyramid of The Sky Pharaoh), and Wrath of the Righteous (along with it’s five Adventure Deck expansions: Sword of Valor, Demon’s Heresy, The Midnight Isles, Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth, and City of Locusts).
But, there’s changes coming to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game! Lots of changes!
Last year it was announced that the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game was getting revamped. Not rebooted, mind you. All of your old cards will still work with new ones. But, updated.
In short, they want to make the game better, faster, and smarter. When asked what challenges the game faces, Mike Selinker explained the following issues:
- “The game is a bit too slow in all phases: how long it took to set up, how long it took to take a turn, how long it took to tear down. We looked for solutions that sped up everything, even if we gained just a few seconds here or there.”
- “For a game set in one of the most expansive fantasy worlds ever made, we gave you too little story. The opportunity we had to tell stories was mostly limited to tiny boxes on the backs of cards, and conveyed very little of the depth the orignal storytellers had given us.”
- “Though we tell many different stories, the game often gives off a feeling of sameness.”
- “Groups of players get varying experiences by group size. A solo character is less likely to run out of time and more likely to die; the reverse is true for large groups. While that’s fine, giving people the ability to toggle those variables seemed smart.”
- “Many cards have complicated text. We’ve piled template upon template, sometimes requiring three or four powers on a card before we started making it interesting. Certain card types like armors and spells got burdened in ways we never envisioned.”
- “Some sets were easy and some were hard, but regardless there was no way to control difficulty. If you wanted to make the game harder, you were on your own. We will benefit from giving players controls for this.”
- “For a cooperative card game, the game is often not interactive enough. When you want to help your friend, the game generally tells you that you can’t unless you have a card that does so. It’s a co-op game, so it should feel more cooperative.”
They’ve come up with a lot of ways to solve these problems and over the last few months they’ve shared some of the results with us. Further changes and details will continue to be released up until the release of the Core Set this summer. So what do we know so far?
The game boxes will be smaller. The Core Set will measure 9″ x 12″ with Adventure Paths measuring 7.5″ × 9″. That’s a huge improvement!
The story your players go through in each game will be focused on more, and made much more clear. Personally, I’m thrilled for this change, as it’s the rich stories and worlds which drew me to Pathfinder in the first place. Inspired by the exciting stories of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Guild, they’re getting rid of Adventure Path, Adventure, and Scenario cards, and creating a storybook instead, which will have much more story and content. Each scenario will have a two-page spread in the 5.5″ x 8.5″ storybook. For the Core Set this storybook will be 24 pages long. Curious what this would look like? Check below!
There’s also going to be a variety of ways for you to change the difficulty and length of your games — which is awesome! As a player with young kids, this is a must have for everyone to enjoy the game. Shockingly, my kids don’t like dying all the time. Haha. To aid with this you’ll have the ability to use small, medium, and large locations, and you’ll be allowed to add or remove cards from the Blessings Deck, which is now going to be called the Hourglass. They’ve also added Wild Cards, which can alter scenarios and affect difficulty.
This past week they unveiled some further changes which highlight how they’re streamlining and simplifying the game, it’s text, and its rules. This would make it easier to understand, play, and would fix up any known rules quibbles and difficulties. Simple, right? Not so! That’s a ton of work and much easier than it sounds! Haha. New key words have been added to the game which allowed them to get rid of a lot of repetitive and confusing text that appeared on the cards. Reload, Local, Distant, Hour, Hourglass, and Vault are among some of the new terms. But, you can bet there’s plenty more where that came from. Other terms, like Basic and Elite, were removed from the game. The rulebook will contain a glossary, for ease of reference, and some notes on how to use cards from generation one that feature removed terms.
Want a sneak peek at some of the new cards? Below is what Paizo has shared with the public so far.
So, how is this going to affect the actual products we’re buying? For starters, all you need to play is the new Core Set.
The core set contains 440 cards and is based on the mega-module Dragon’s Demand, an adventure that sees your players stranded in a small town called Belhaim. Shortly after arriving an old tower in town collapses, some kobold corpses turn up, and the town wizard goes missing. In time they’ll see there’s more going on here than meets the eye, and face off against a legendary dragon who was supposedly killed long ago. The Core Set allows 1-4 players to play. It contains 12 character pawns of the Iconic Classes (the eleven Core Iconics, plus Fumbus the new Iconic Alchemist), a set of dice, tokens for tracking scourges, a quick start guide, a rulebook, and the storybook for running the Dragon’s Demand Adventure Path. In addition to the cards needed for Dragon’s Demand, the Core Set also contains “a modular core for infinite scenarios that allows you to control the difficulty and speed of play.” Colour me intrigued!
In addition, they’ll continue to release Adventure Paths. To play, you mix the cards from the Adventure Path in with the Core Set, and you’re good to go. Want to play a different Adventure Path? Just mix the Core Set with a different Adventure Path. This will even work with the previous Adventure Path releases, like Rise of the Runelords. As an added bonus, this allows you to play with a fifth and sixth player (if you so choose). And the first Adventure Path they’re releasing? Curse of the Crimson Throne, which is one of my very favourite Adventure Paths. So exciting!
This one Adventure Path release contains the entirety of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path. Yup! No more multiple expansions needed. Just this one box and the Core Set. Awesome! It contains 550 cards, a 48-page storybook, and four new character pawns (Hakon the skald, Kess the brawler, Quinn the investigator, and Varian Jeggare the wizard). It’s going to be awesome!
Want to read more about the changes? Click on the following links to read the full spoilers on Paizo’s website: Designing the Next Pathfinder ACG, Injecting Story into the Pathfinder ACG, Varying Challenge in Pathfinder ACG, and Rethinking Complexity in Pathfinder ACG: Part One. More details will be released in the coming months.
Can’t wait to get your hands on the Core Set and Curse of the Crimson Throne? Neither can I! Preorders are expected in May 2019.