Friday, May 13, 2022

Mail Room: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is a game I always wanted to get into, and they say you can play this solo, so it looks fun. The game is revised, and this is the new version, and the reviews say the entire experience is polished and a lot smoother to play.

These sorts of things are why I went back to Paizo. This company delivers fun and exciting things to do on a consistent schedule. They also put a lot of excellent game design and joy into every release. Instead of a cable package, I keep a few subscriptions up and enjoy the boxes I get until the next one arrives. They are not perfect, but right now, they fit my vision of fun and keep delivering me new experiences to have.

vs. Magic: The Gathering?

Also, I am not into Magic The Gathering or all the spin-offs and one-offs, so those are outside my experience and world right now. My brother was more into that than me, and I never really saw myself getting into that game. We did buy sets and play, but they went out of print so fast and were unsupported that we never felt we could keep up or have any chance of getting cool cards.

With this game, from what I know, you get all the cards, and there is no rarity game. There is even a custom-card creator over on Drive Thru RPG that sounds cool and lets players expand the game. I love the idea of a card game that fans can support and develop.

Month after month, I see a lot more I want on Paizo's site than I do Wizards, so I gravitate to where my interests are. Also, I didn't play 5E and missed that boat when my brother passed away, that was going to be our next game together, and we never got the chance. I respect 5E and love that people have fun with the game, but I don't play it and chose to check out 6E when that comes out.

Otherwise, I have too much to do with the things I do have.

vs. B/X?

I wish there were B/X companies that did this much work as either Wizards or Paizo and could put this much effort into the main rulebook and consistent product support with roadmaps and product innovation. I want everything: expansion, new classes, adventures, worlds, new mechanics, card games, plushies, figures, pawns. Many of my B/X books are now on my storage shelves; I don't really have much to do after playing through them. I collected as many expansion books for B/X as I found. As a result, my collection feels disjointed and for several different games.

The only company that comes close to Paizo's level of support in the retro-space is Goodman Games with Dungeon Crawl Classics, and I can always count on them to keep the adventures coming. I wish they did more in terms of expansions and other product support. I think Goodman Games' philosophy aligns with my feelings on B/X, use the past to create something entirely new - but don't be too beholden to history. I feel a lot of B/X games are satisfied with history and stop there. We may get a game that has a few differences and better presentation, but nothing really new and nothing extraordinary to look forward to seeing next month.

I want them to think big!

I feel myself drifting away from B/X just a little as a result. While I love the classic rules and they will always be fun, I like to read and play with new things as a reader and avid hobbyist. Would I love an adventure card game based on B/X? Hell yeah! If I could find one...

vs. Pathfinder 2e?

This is not a card game and is not meant for solo play. This is more of a social game, and that is cool. I love the character building and tweaking. This game feels like you can lose yourself in a unique character much more than a 5E or B/X, and from what I see, it plays better than on a tabletop with battle maps.

On the downside, the complexity feels higher. While yes, I am used to Pathfinder 1e, and this is supposed to be streamlined, I have been playing D&D 3E, 3.5E, and then 3.75E since the first books came out for each. I plan to run duo groups until I get used to the system and increase complexity until I find my happy place.

The card game feels more "crack open the box and play" than a solo oracle system with a full pen-and-paper game. This is why I tend to like hex-crawls with my solo games since if I am at a total loss on what happens next, I have unexplored hexes and a few random charts to get me started. Stories and missions can then be spawned from filling out a hex, and each one can generate a new story arc.

A Pickup and Play Game

Last night, I looked over the rules PDF, and the game feels like a highly simplified version of Pathfinder 1e. You have a set of target numbers on the cards, pass and fail results, and characters have dice in different abilities they roll for combat and challenges. Damage is the difference between the check and the target number and forces you to discard cards. Discard more cards than you have, and your character dies.

Simple. We always thought health counters and countdown dice were a bit extraneous to card games, and I like the health pool as the number of cards in hand mechanic.

One thing that feels strange to me is checking off boxes on cards to level up feats and powers; um, yeah, not doing that. They recommend using a character sheet. Okay, this feels strange and makes the game more like a "card RPG," but I will give you this as your "one thing" you can do outside of a regular card game-style playstyle, which is fantastic.

I thought checks were on a d20 for some reason. Apparently, they are straight d4 to d12 style checks with modifiers and extra dice added due to powers or gear. There are also rules for continuing campaigns and improving characters.

Expanding the game on Drivethrurpg with professional print-and-play user-created cards? A genius and bold move. Thank you!

This one looks like a lot of fun, and I am happy I dove in and looking forward to cracking this open when the box comes.

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