Gabriel Conroy
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Before starting, I should say that overall I think this is an excellent game and really enjoy it. Although this review focuses on weaknesses as well as strengths, they are more to be thought of as things which could have been improved further. Perhaps they might still be in future expansions, but for now its appropriate to review the game as released.

Strengths

Pace and playing time: A typical adventure takes about 30 minutes to play, which is great. Setup is not a problem either, 5 mins or so once you have the cards organized in the box. This is a very important factor for many people – lots of great entertaining games hardly get played because of the time involved. Also, turns are generally short so the game moves quickly without extended downtime.

Character development: This is one of the strongest aspects of the game. Developing and growing your character is great fun, and acquiring skills and items and deciding which to keep is something which keeps the game interesting.

Female characters: In a game like this, having an interesting character to play and get invested with is essential. This is something male players often take for granted: many games have a good variety of male characters, and a couple of token females. This game provides, if anything, more variety amongst the females – particularly if you get the Character Add-on deck. It’s a great strength which, combined with the rules’ accessibility, means this is has a broader appeal.

Weaknesses

Locations: For me the locations are the main weakness in the game and are a missed opportunity. The main problem is the lack of differentiation: apart from the card art (which is always partially obscured), the only differentiating factors are some minor special rules and variation in what kinds of cards get drawn there. But since all the cards of a particular type are drawn from the same common pool, and can often be difficult to fit with the location theme, the locations just end up feeling like different versions of the same place.

I think it would be better if there were some location-specific encounter cards, and perhaps a bit more meat to the location cards themselves. Perhaps the locations should have been larger cards, twice the size of the regular ones, to allow for extra theme, art and special rules/events.

Another factor contributing to the lack of differentiation is that the locations are indistinguishable with regard to movement. When you leave one location, sometimes special events are triggered, but these are independent of where you go next, and there are no limitations on the order in which you can explore them. It’s as if these ‘places’ are all equidistant and equally accessible. For me, adding some structure to alter this could have provided a significant boost to the narrative element – suppose you had to find a particular item before you could enter a certain location, or suppose it took extra resources to travel between some locations.

Blessings Deck: This is not such a big deal as there is plenty of excitement in the game, but the Blessings deck seems a bit dull, and perhaps another missed opportunity. Many of the cards here seem very similar and don’t seem affect the game in interesting ways. It’s mostly just a timer.

Box: Ok this is particularly subjective, but I’m not a fan of huge boxes. If you have a big house then maybe you will like it but this thing is extravagant. I ditched it and put the cards into a shoe-box with dividers and it works very nicely, with plenty of space for dice etc.

Summary

As I said above, this is a great game, and the negatives I mentioned do not mean there isn't plenty of enjoyment to be had here. If you are interested in a fast-moving adventure game which isn't too complex then this fits the bill. I didn't find the rules difficult or complex; there are always edge cases in any ruleset - but then perhaps I am more happy than most just to house-rule something or wing it until there is time to look up the rule properly for the next game.

I would describe the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game as combining some of the fun aspects of Talisman and the Lord of the Rings LCG, and I think has the potential, with development perhaps, to be more successful than either of those games.
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Sébastien A
Canada
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achates wrote:
Box: I ditched it and put the cards into a shoe-box with dividers and it works very nicely, with plenty of space for dice etc.

You do know that the box was designed for the whole Adventure Path (7 tuckboxes in all over the next year if you count the Character Add-On), and that you will have to retire some cards permanently as you progress through the adventures?
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Gabriel Conroy
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coriolis wrote:
You do know that the box was designed for the whole Adventure Path (7 tuckboxes in all over the next year if you count the Character Add-On), and that you will have to retire some cards permanently as you progress through the adventures?


In the event that I buy all of those, I'll deal with the storage issue then. Storing games I've bought is one thing, setting aside such space (in the form of a big empty box) for possible future purchases is a luxury I can't afford!
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Mark Campo
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mines in a CCG box now, smaller easier, no curving of the sleeves, i like the last line of the review potential to be better then both talisman and Lotr lcg i highly agree

i'm guessing hoping the location aspect will come in future packs, currently the last 3 adventure have the most "different location types" to make them different and important , a few custom adventures have picked on this already
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Matt Smith
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Troy
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I completely agree with the thematic disconnect that can occur between the Location name and the contents of that Location (Bunyip in the Farmhouse?). However, I've found the variations between the Location powers/effects to be enough to make them feel different from each other. For example, in the Black Fang scenario, having my character (Merisiel) go to the Warrens versus the Shrine to Lamashtu is not a meaningless decision. At the Warrens, I can evade monsters to avoid the Location effect, and have a great chance to close it with my Acrobatics skill. I could see my Rogue sneaking through the Warrens, avoiding the attention of monsters. At the Shrine, I risk taking 2 irreducible damage about every 1 of 3 explores, and would have to banish a Blessing from my hand to close it (since I would never succeed on a Divine 6 check without spending a Blessing). It's clearly an unholy place where my Rogue would feel ill-equiped to handle the evil forces there.

I thought the designers did a nice job of giving the Locations thematic powers/effects.
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Cracky McCracken
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Ohio
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You guys who tossed your inserts are missing out on the best damn box insert ever.
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David Ainsworth
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Cracky wrote:
You guys who tossed your inserts are missing out on the best damn box insert ever.


Unless you sleeve your cards.
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Gabriel Conroy
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mvettemagred wrote:

I thought the designers did a nice job of giving the Locations thematic powers/effects.


I actually agree fully with this; just think there could be even more along these lines and involving different game mechanics.
 
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Edwin Karat
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achates wrote:
Setup is not a problem either, 5 mins or so once you have the cards organized in the box.


There is no way I could set up this game in 5 minutes. I want to shuffle each deck, then build the locations, then shuffle each location. That takes more than 5 minutes. Add to that the fact that I'm playing 3 different campaigns simultaneously, and that takes even longer. However, even without that, it would still take me more than 5 minutes.
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Paul DeStefano
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Long Island
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karat wrote:
achates wrote:
Setup is not a problem either, 5 mins or so once you have the cards organized in the box.


There is no way I could set up this game in 5 minutes. I want to shuffle each deck, then build the locations, then shuffle each location. That takes more than 5 minutes. Add to that the fact that I'm playing 3 different campaigns simultaneously, and that takes even longer. However, even without that, it would still take me more than 5 minutes.


Are you playing alone? Setup really doesn't take that long. Maybe if you set everything up solo.

Maybe.
 
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Gabriel Conroy
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I suspect you are shuffling more thoroughly than me!
 
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Gamer D

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Minor point on the locations but they also differ in how you close them and in what effects occur if any after they are permanently closed. While that doesn't address the issue of the cards for the locations all coming from the same decks it does mean that different characters will have varying degrees of success closing the locations, so strategically you do want to take into consideration which character goes to which location.

Also I think you underestimated the setup time by saying that it assumes everything is already sorted correctly in the box. Really the combined set-up and take down total time is a little long, it's just that if you spnd extra time sorting after the game it saves time setting up the next game. I don't think the prep time is TOO long, but I do think five minutes is an underestimate.
 
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rob
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Okehampton
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mvettemagred wrote:
Bunyip in the Farmhouse?


Just perhaps it's in the lake next to the Farmhouse



edit- Maybe someone should start a thread for reasoning out tenuous combinations.....
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Gabriel Conroy
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Ok maybe 5-10 mins. Point is it's not that bad - and also not too fiddly, in that it's just shuffling cards. Other games, e.g. the D&D Adventure System or Runebound are worse for setup in my experience.
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Mike Watkins
United States
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Gabriel,

Thanks for the review! Mostly agree with your take on it. I still need to give the game a few more plays before I fully weigh in but so far I'm not blown away.

Quote:
Blessings Deck: This is not such a big deal as there is plenty of excitement in the game, but the Blessings deck seems a bit dull, and perhaps another missed opportunity. Many of the cards here seem very similar and don’t seem affect the game in interesting ways. It’s mostly just a timer.


Just to clarify, the blessings deck is just a timer. It doesn't have any effect on play unless a card specifically references it such as; "replace this card's text with the text of the top card on the blessing deck" etc.

That aside I agree it is a missed opportunity as I wouldn't have minded if the game incorporated some type of turn based events to add variety but alas that's not really the purpose of the blessing deck.
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Scott Smart

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I'm surprised that no one is talking about how awful the top of the box is. I've left the lid off (the manual covers most of it and I have no kids or indoor pets to mess with it) because it takes me almost 5 minutes to get the **** thing off. The fact that they wrapped it (so the slick material is inside the top part of the box too) is the problem. Slick on slick actually makes it stick due to friction. That's my problem with the box. Oh, and absolutely never ever put the top under the box as you will have to have a 2nd person to get it out.
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Dave Riley
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The lid is truly terrible. We put a small hole in ours to create some airflow, so it could be more easily removed, and it's still a real pain in the butt.
 
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Chris Magoulis
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One of the unintended benefits of sleeving your cards, pulling out the insert, and cobbling your own solution together is that you end up with a little more play on the box sides so opening that thing up is way easier.
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The Fiend
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Avon Lake
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"Broken Token" now makes a superb insert that sorts the cards beautifully. My friend has the game and all the expansions (so far) and they all fit into the insert.

Quote:
Box: Ok this is particularly subjective, but I’m not a fan of huge boxes. If you have a big house then maybe you will like it but this thing is extravagant. I ditched it and put the cards into a shoe-box with dividers and it works very nicely, with plenty of space for dice etc.


That is so sad. I've never had any issues with big boxes because I don't lack for storage space. I do, however, like everything neatly sorted and ready for action!



 
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