Belhaim’s tower has just collapsed, its wizard is missing, and local kobolds are whispering the name of a long dead draconic nemesis. And that’s just your first day in town…
This week, I had the opportunity to check out one of Paizo’s latest gems: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set and Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game by Mike Selinker is a 1-4 player (1-6 with the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path box) card game where heroes “go on valiant adventures in a rich fantasy world.” This cooperative strategy game allows players to select a character class, build a deck of items and magic, and explore unique fantasy locations set in the Pathfinder multiverse.
Let’s start with what’s in the box. The Core Set includes: 440 cards, 12 2d character pawns (the sort that we have come to love from Paizo), six bases for the pawns, a set of five polyhedral dice, 63 color tokens, a pretty awesome set of 24 dividers for organizing and sorting your cards (a huge plus if you are an organization freak like me), a 14-page quick start guide book, a 132-page rulebook, and a 24-page storybook featuring three unique Adventure Paths. Curse of the Crimson Throne adds 550 new cards, four more character pawns, and a 48-page storybook that includes six chapters of the new Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path. And, notably, the Core Set box is designed with plenty of extra space to hold future added cards.
The artwork grabbed my attention right away. I didn’t even make it past the box cover. Setiawan Lee killed it with the cover art. Harsk the dwarf ranger cries out as he, Fumbus the goblin alchemist, and Kyra the human cleric face the ancient dragon Aeteperax. The level of detail – Fumbus up in the fray with a lit explosive and colorful runes forming as Kyra casts a spell – is foretelling of the type of art that you can expect to find throughout all of the cards and components within these boxes. The artwork of any card game requires extra attention, as generally, artwork makes up a large part of the production costs and entertainment value once you are playing the game. This game will not disappoint. Each card is printed with rich, vibrant colorful detail that looks great on your tabletop.
The mechanics are turn-based. Players move their pawns and explore locations resolving encounters to collect items and advance their characters. The Core Set allows you to build up to four character decks at once. Players will use their character decks to play through a number of adventure modules. Just like your traditional tabletop RPGs, as your character plays through these scenarios, her deck will advance and upgrade. Generally to “win” a scenario, the party of adventures will locate and defeat mighty villains or close locations before a game timer runs out.
If you are a fantasy RPG fan of any kind, if you like collectible card games, or if you are intrigued by the multiverse of Pathfinder, you will likely find this game to be entertaining. We are already eating our way through the Core Set adventures and anxiously await the future adventures in the Curse of the Crimson Throne. What is really great about this game is that it is a cooperative, strategy RPG card game. With no GM required, this game is inclusive to a wide audience of tabletop gamers. The mechanics are complex enough to keep RPG fans satisfied and light enough to appeal to reluctant friends. It is rare to find a cooperative game that is this entertaining.
There is already a steady stream of content available. This past weekend, on June 15, 2019, Paizo released We Be Heroes? – a goblin-centric adventure. Don’t worry, if you missed the opportunity to pick this up at your local game store last weekend, Paizo will be making this available for free download on July 1, 2019. There is also a platform for players to create their own cards and share them with the community. I am excited to see what sort of content Paizo has planned for future release.
The Core Set will cost you $59.99 and Curse of the Crimson Throne will run you $49.99 retail. Although, it is not cheap, this is the typical price tag we have come to expect with a game like this. And, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is well worth the price. It is stylized, innovative, inclusive, and refreshing in a crowded market – well worth a look.