Balen
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What It Does:

- Provides a themed "map" to traverse, including a starting "safe" area where players can "shop"
- Increases tactical strategy and varies difficulty
- Randomizes each scenario to a small degree, maintaining the integrity of the theme while making each play-through unique
- Completely out of the box: No new cards or pieces to deal with, unless desired (I use pawns from the Pathfinder Beginner Box to move around the board)
- Adds little time to setup, in some cases shortening it especially after the first use

Additional/Modified Rules:

- Themed Locations, Monsters and Barriers: While still mostly random, these cards are dealt from seeded theme-centric decks
- Safe/Starting Zones: 2 thematic locations are added, where the Villains and Henchmen are unable to be placed into or escape to. Players choose which Location they wish to start in
- Movement: Characters can only move to a directly adjacent location. (That they share a side with)
- Range: Most cards and powers can be played only in the same or an adjacent location (except Blessings and Longbows)


Full Description and Clarification of Additional/Modified Rules Here


The Setup:

Part A)
The Locations are organized and kept in three Sections:
- 1st for anything "Urban" or in the City/Towns
- 2nd for "Landmarks" anything outside or near civilized areas, as well as places a person would "travel through" like Woods or Farmhouse or Nettlemaze
- 3rd for "Dungeons/Destinations" like Habe's Sanitorium or the Goblin Fortress

These defined areas are not absolute. As long as the locations fit the general theme of the scenario, a number of cards can often be in either of two piles.


Part B)
The locations are picked and the layout is dealt:

- Set aside 2 to 3 locations that are integral to the Scenario (Usually they are listed in the first 3 slots of the scenario for 1 player or are mentioned in the Scenario Description)

The Starting/Safe Zones

- If the scenario starts in a town - Begin by dealing two random "Urban" Locations on the far left of the board, one above the other.
- If the scenario has no Urban Locations - Start by dealing two random "Landmark" Locations on the far left of the board, one above the other.

The Mid-Board

- If the Scenario is only or mostly town - Deal at least two more random Urban locations in the same fashion, directly to the right of the Starting locations
- If the Scenario has more Landscape or traveling involved - Deal at least two more random Landmark locations in the same fashion, directly to the right of the Starting locations


Part C)

The Destinations (The Far Right) - There are three options to finish the board setup

- Option 1 -
Depending on the number of players and difficulty desired, you can complete the board by placing the Scenario cards set aside in Part B.

- Option 2 -
Continue to add Locations to the "Mid-Board" from the appropriately themed Location group for a longer, more difficult game. Then follow up by placing the Scenario cards set aside as in "Option 1"

- Option 3 -
Pick out the rest of the unplaced listed Scenario Locations, shuffle them and add Locations to the "Mid-Board" according to the number of players. Followed by "Option 1".

The total number of Locations on the board (Including Starting locations and those set aside) should be the default number per player plus 2.


Final Arrangement:

1) Arrange the cards so they make sense
Starting with the Safe zones on the left, traveling through the landmarks in the middle on the way to your destinations on the far right.

For Example:

- If you are traveling through a town, and have a Location like the City Gate, put it to the farthest right of the Urban area.

- Make sure the "Landmark" cards are adjacent to one another and if they are described as being near the Town or City, put it adjacent to the Urban Locations. If they seem farther away, put them closer or next to the Destinations/Dungeon Locations.

2) The Board can be as interesting or as difficult as you want it to be.
For Example:

- I often make a "bottleneck" where the 2 rows join into one Location. (Forcing characters to move through a specific Location)



- If there are an odd number of Locations, I also commonly arrange the Dungeons in a column of 3 on the far right. Making it so the middle Dungeon connects to both rows of Landmarks and both Dungeons.

- Other layouts can include a Location that connects only through another Location. For example: placing "Treacherous Cave" below/above the "Woods" Location, adding a path that stems from the 2 row board.

Awesome Location Card Layout Diagrams for easy to imagine ideas


Thoughts:

I know this may seem like a lot to take in initially, but it's really quite simple with only a few guidelines.
Once you figure out what you prefer in terms of creating the board, you will find it very easy and quick to setup. After the initial play-through it is much easier to maintain and setup if you sort the cards back out into the appropriate Location piles.

This is also versatile and open enough to use in conjunction with any additional mods to the game.

[b]Please try it out, and any feedback is appreciated.

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Tony Watson
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
This is a clever idea. I do something like myself, but it's pretty much the way Franklin1742 was doing it.

I think the game's capacity to tell a story would have benefited from something like this, especially monsters and barriers keyed to certain terrain types.

In practical terms, I wonder how this would work out. After some experience with the game, I've found that it usually doesn't pay to have the characters travel as a group. And, because of the time limit and the temporary closing mechanic, it's often needful to have characters fan out or change locations frequently. So, moving through a sequence of locations as a group just doesn't pay.

Too bad, as I think the game with something along the lines of what you have come up with would be better.
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Balen
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
DoctorW wrote:
This is a clever idea. I do something like myself, but it's pretty much the way Franklin1742 was doing it.

I think the game's capacity to tell a story would have benefited from something like this, especially monsters and barriers keyed to certain terrain types.

In practical terms, I wonder how this would work out. After some experience with the game, I've found that it usually doesn't pay to have the characters travel as a group. And, because of the time limit and the temporary closing mechanic, it's often needful to have characters fan out or change locations frequently. So, moving through a sequence of locations as a group just doesn't pay.

I've had much more fun playing in this fashion, and the game definitely benefits from this variant. I don't find any problems with simply playing this way instead of the stock layout.

It makes players interact more, and make group decisions with multiple paths to victory and a sense of progression across a Scenario:

- You all start out together and can only move 1 space at a time (unless using a power)

- No longer can people assist from anywhere, which made positioning irrelevant. You also can't move to all locations freely unless the spaces between them are closed. This often leads people to close locations together before splitting up for temporary closings.

- Depending on the layout, you may have to move through a tough Location to get to a boon stash, in most cases a character will need to team up due to movement restrictions or because of the odds of coming across a monster they can't defeat.

- Players can still choose to be selfish or scout far ahead, but venture too far and they'll be beyond the range of assistance.

- Players can also choose to not explore, but if you've decided to explore your starting locations, have lost a check or simply have alot of ground to cover, movement, scouting powers and time becomes more vital.

I strongly stand behind this variant because it has added great depth in gameplay and theme to the game for me. It also seems to address and solve many of the disappointments and concerns that other players and reviewers have mentioned.
Overall there is much more strategy, risk, sacrifice and time management when playing with a Linear Board. All the while altering little to the core mechanics of the game.

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Gabriel Conroy
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
I'm going to give this a try this weekend. It sounds like a very clear step in the right direction, and similar to ideas I have been thinking about to add playable structure to the game.
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Balen
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
achates wrote:
I'm going to give this a try this weekend. It sounds like a very clear step in the right direction, and similar to ideas I have been thinking about to add playable structure to the game.

Let me know how the plays go! Interested in more feedback and ideas to add to and refine the custom rules.
 
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Brian Geringer
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
I'd like to see more people post about this. It sounds very interesting.
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Balen
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
PonSquared wrote:
I'd like to see more people post about this. It sounds very interesting.

Let me know if you have any questions or want more specific details on anything.
 
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Gabriel Conroy
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
Tried this. It's way better than the standard game in my view, adds a whole dimension which makes it much more of an adventure. In fact I'm somewhat astonished this wasn't part of the game as released, along with a few location-specific banes and boons.

The one issue, not a major one, is deciding on the setup and how it scales the difficulty. Mainly a matter of experience I suppose.
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Brian Geringer
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
Ahhh. I tried this in a three player game and I agree with Achates. Why was this not a part of the original game?!?! I REALLY like this style of playing. It adds so much and takes nothing away from the experience. In addition, the linear map also makes movement powers worth something while adding clarity to assisting people around you.

It is a lot of fun adventuring through places to get to the location you want to close over simply starting in it. For scenarios like 1-4 (To Thistletop), the linear map really crystallizes the journey part of the adventure. Even for city missions, you could make, say, a circular map; and it makes total sense!

This "map" design fixes one of only problems I had with PF:TAC - lack of theme in movement between locations. It also breaks up some of the repetitiveness of the game. *PRO TIP* Close two locations as fast as possible, spread remaining players out to other locations to close them all when villian is found. Rinse repeat. Now, with various map layouts, each adventure is different and my winning formula is void.

I can not wait for, and hope to be a part of, developing this concept further.

42/10 stars
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Lawrence Young
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited

Wife and I tried this variant, alot of fun. Was doing Skinsaw Haunt scenario, which is already hard as is. We lost but it was fun.

We used a rule where the villain if beat can't run left, has to move up/down/right. If villain wins a combat tho, how many blessings to pull from the count down deck? We were doing 1 from every locations including safe town spots. We lost two battles to skinsaw man and the loss in turns crippled us, and ran out of time.

Really like how position is everything, I want to try with a larger group where players can break into teams. Could even see one player scouting ahead a few locations. Really fun variant and will play like this going forward.

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Balen
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
I'm so glad more people are trying this out and loving it!
There also seems to be an agreement among player who have tried it (including myself) that it doesn't take anything away from the game and there's no reason not to play it this way.

I'm also happy that people have been making adjustments to the rules and layout of their own liking, using their own creative minds.
It's important to note that these aren't strict rules and is very easy to set up. Once you have a grasp on the concept, it adds fun to even the setup as well as depth to the entire game.

Please let me know if you guys come up with any of your rules or complication clarifications within the variant to improve it.

Addition(s):

Location Layout Cards by Alex Fiedler
- Great diagrams for Linear Board layout ideas

The Lost Woods Scenario
- Take on the classic "Lost Woods", using Linear Board mechanics and additional features this is a tough Journey to take.
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Balen
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
I notice there are still many difficulty threads and "shop" variants coming up.
For those who haven't tried this variant, it addresses both of these concepts.

Without disrupting the core mechanics of the game and adding little to setup, this variant adds theme, difficulty and a balanced shopping aspect.

- Applying range rules to all powers makes the game strategic and the blessings nerf increases difficulty outright.

- The "Safe" zones offer a balanced way of gaining items without the pressure of having to explore the location to complete the scenario.
There is still the risk of encountering Banes, and the amount of time you spend at each location becomes very important.

I continue to encourage people to try this out, and other theme improving variants if you feel the base game is lacking.
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
SicJake wrote:

We used a rule where the villain if beat can't run left, has to move up/down/right. If villain wins a combat tho, how many blessings to pull from the count down deck? We were doing 1 from every locations including safe town spots. We lost two battles to skinsaw man and the loss in turns crippled us, and ran out of time.

I like the villain escaping to an adjacent location rule.

Forgot to answer the question. I normally play by taking a blessing from the box for each open location, not including the safe zones. However, I can see if playing with the Villain only being able to escape to an adjacent location that adding blessings per open safe-zone may balance it out a little more. (adding more cards to the locations as opposed to having a more random placement for escape)
 
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Heath Henning
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
This play style intrigues me, but I'm wondering how well does this handle different numbers of players? I worry about having a designated starting area that would be 3 turns away from the other end of the board. In a 6 player game, you only get 5 turns.

What is the most players that someone has played this with, and should there be some type of max distance to keep in mind regarding numbers of players?
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
nightwalker450 wrote:
This play style intrigues me, but I'm wondering how well does this handle different numbers of players? I worry about having a designated starting area that would be 3 turns away from the other end of the board. In a 6 player game, you only get 5 turns.

What is the most players that someone has played this with, and should there be some type of max distance to keep in mind regarding numbers of players?

In a 5 and 6 player game, players can move up to two locations. That solves a bunch of movement issues for so many players.
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RanDomino Nickelmaster
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
Heylo,

I whipped up a similar variant and figured it was close enough to just post here rather than make a new thread.

Rather than being one scenario at a time, though, I was thinking more along the lines of being an all-in-one game where you build the whole region as you play, playing each scenario in a row on a persistent map. Obviously a much longer game (probably 3-4 hours).

The components I'm working with are the Rise of the Runelords base set with Burnt Offerings. I shuffled them together with no concern for design intentions.

Anyway, my take:

Setup:

1. Separate all decks into basic+veteran cards, elite, and neither (except blessings; they all start in use). Location decks are initially built using only basic and veteran cards. After 10 locations have been discovered, shuffle the elite cards in with the basic and veteran cards. After 10 more locations have been discovered, add the rest.
Consider these decks to be “the box”.

2. Separate the locations into town and wilderness decks and set aside the city gate
Town = Sandpoint Cathedral, Town Square, Swallowtail Festival, Glassworks, Guard Tower, The Rusty Dragon, Village House, Academy, Waterfront, Prison, General Store, Apothecary; wilderness = all others.

3. Choose characters and build basic decks (don't use non-basic blessings)

4. Create a blessings timer with 40 cards initially.

5. Build the location deck for the City Gate. Start the game with all characters on the City Gate. (There is no villain or henchman in the City Gate deck and no scenario is initially active)

At this point you should have three decks for each of the card types that go into location decks; one deck for blessings; a blessings timer deck; two decks for location cards; characters with normal setups; all characters on the City Gate; and all henchmen and villains in the box.

6. Start the game. The normal turn order and turn actions apply, with the following adjustments:

The board is now a non-abstract grid map consisting of a “town” and a “wilderness”. Town locations go to the right of the City Gate and wilderness locations go to the left. The town is four locations wide and three tall with the middle row lining up with the City Gate. The wilderness is four locations wide and five tall with the corners farthest from the City Gate absent. One wilderness location and one town location are adjacent to the City Gate. No town locations are adjacent to wilderness locations and vice versa. All locations except the City Gate start unexplored (i.e. blank spaces).

Characters may only travel to orthogonally adjacent locations. To move to an undiscovered location, take a random card of the appropriate deck, build its location deck, then place it in that spot and move the character there.

When all of the first three locations from the first scenario are found, the first villain enters the game
1. Take the villain and add henchman until the total equals the number of locations from that scenario that have been discovered, to a maximum of five locations (the first five listed); ALWAYS ignore the last three locations on the scenario card.
2. Open any of those locations which happen to be closed
3. Shuffle the villain and henchmen together and add one to each of the locations.

While a villain is at large, its scenario's “During This Scenario” rule is in effect.

Defeated villains attempt to flee to an adjacent non-closed location. Players in those locations may attempt to temporarily close them. Assuming any remain open:
1. Look through each of those location decks for henchmen and pull them.
2. Add henchmen until villain+henchmen= number of possible villain hiding spots (if there was only one open location and there was already a henchman there, discard that henchman). If there aren't enough henchmen, use blessings.

When the villain is defeated and can't flee, the scenario is won. If this is not the last scenario, do the following:
1. Characters get the listed reward.
2. Recharge all buried cards
3. Recharge 20 blessings in the timer deck
4. Check if the next scenario's first three locations are already discovered:
If so, reopen the first five (or however many there are) of that scenario's locations (but don't replenish their decks) and distribute the villain and henchmen as in step 5.
Treat henchmen from previous scenarios as regular monsters for all purposes (i.e. they don't let you close the location).
If not, continue play until three of the next scenario's locations are discovered. Note that the blessings timer continues to count down even while no scenario is active.

Other notes:
Anything that refers to “another location” applies only to adjacent locations or the present location in some cases, like ranged weapons. Judgment may be necessary. Use the same logic as all the other linear/layout variants.

For Local Heroes, you don't have to close "all" the locations- just the ones listed on the scenario setup, to a maximum of five locations. To start the scenario (when you've completed the first scenario and when the first three of Local Heroes's locations are discovered) add one ally to each of Local Heroes' locations (to a maximum of the first five locations listed on the scenario). Note that if you start the scenario with only three of the locations discovered, then explore some more and find either of the next two locations, you'll have to close them as well in order to win- even though they may not have allies in them at all because they weren't present at the scenario start. So maybe don't explore during that scenario, yah?


Okay, sorry if that got kind of long, but the TLDR version is that your turn looks like this:
1. Discard the top blessing
2. Move (or don't). If you move to an unexplored space, grab a new location and build a location deck for it (if this is location #11 or #21, add the next tier of cards first). If you're not already in a scenario see if this is the third location to start the next scenario. If it is, add the villain and henchmen to the first five locations of the scenario.
3. Encounter(s). Villain may only flee to adjacent open locations.
4. Reset hand


(idea: if the villain retreats and there are more open locations than henchmen, use blessings from the timer? Incentive to kill those early goblin raiders and close locations. 1-2 turns lost now and then doesn't seem like actually that big of a penalty.)
 
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7 of 8
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
LordBalen wrote:

- Safe/Starting Zones: 2 thematic locations are added, where the Villains and Henchmen are unable to be placed into or escape to. Players choose which Location they wish to start in

I got Wrath of the Righteous and just started playing game. Your locations set up rules really helps with some of the elements of the game that fell flat with me.

My experience with Elder Signs (a similar game with a more cohesive and deliberate storytelling theme) seems to do their starting/safe zone better so I thought I try would bring it here.

I use the safe zone but call it "Encampment" with it's own uniquely made card. When on the Encampment card you can...

1. Share Knowledge: Give a card, when with another player
2. Make camp: Advance the Blessing Deck to recharge a card.
3. If you start on this location you can move before or after you do any of the actions.

I feel the safe zone/encampment card should be unique to the game that makes it something people should want to use throughout the game and not just as a starting point.

Thank you for putting this fantastic variant together. Much like others have said, this really should be part of the game's base rules.
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Bernie Smith
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
Really cool idea. I can see the linear aspect really adding to the overall theme and feel.

As an added, what about a 'potential' encounter deck for when moving between locations?

This could give the feel of added depth when moving between locations. Maybe have different probabilities depending on the types of areas one is moving between as far as what type of encounter and probability of having an encounter at all. Similar to the themed encounter decks for the locations.

One may not encounter anything, but may encounter a wandering creature or even an ally.
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7 of 8
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
bernan wrote:
Really cool idea. I can see the linear aspect really adding to the overall theme and feel.

As an added, what about a 'potential' encounter deck for when moving between locations?

This could give the feel of added depth when moving between locations. Maybe have different probabilities depending on the types of areas one is moving between as far as what type of encounter and probability of having an encounter at all. Similar to the themed encounter decks for the locations.

One may not encounter anything, but may encounter a wandering creature or even an ally.

That's an interesting idea. Sounds like it would work well on a larger map set up.

Here is an encampment card "starting card" created with the mentioned rules printed on them.



This has been sized correctly and ready for printing.
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Balen
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
Returning to the game in 2017, after looking through all of the updates, this variant still seems to be the way to go in terms of maintaining the core mechanics while adding much more depth to the game.

Anyone else still playing this gem in 2017? Returned after seeing PACG in the app store.
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Gabriel Conroy
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
Gave up long ago after it was clear that the promises about more interesting scenarios (& obvious ideas like less random use of the location decks) were not going to come to anything.

Also to the extent that there was any setting or story coming through, it became evident that I didn't actually like that either. The whole 'Mammy Grawl' thing was the final straw.
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Michael
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
I honestly just began playing PACG a couple of weeks ago, and I am very intrigued by this linear layout already. I was trying to arrange the locations anyways in a manner that made sense, but this linear layout is just incredible. I love the idea of incorporating more strategy in terms of possibly positioning support characters in adjacent locations and having more of a "tank" charge ahead after scouting perhaps by a rogue to see what the deck looks like... I'll have to play this out a few times, but I'm really excited to see what happens.
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Diogo Reis
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Re: [Variant] Linear Board Revisited
Indeed, this variant is a great idea.

I expected PACG was like this before playing it, would have much more sense, IMO.

The whole campaign could be a non-stop gigantic map with many paths and choices, with possibilities to send smaller groups into specific side-quests to gather boons and also triggering events in the main path. Between the paths you would have safe-zones (savepoints), traders, check rolls to trigger story events.
That would be totally possible to do with the current cards.

Also, lots of replayability, where some paths would only be possible with a specific class / roll check / item.

The whole campaign could have a "number of days" counting making you hurry to reach certain zones before it expires, while having some spare days you would be free to explore the side paths/quests.

Think in all possibilities!

@Paizo arrrh
- I wouldn't mind to buy an add-on that add a few cards and rules for this variant and maybe a poster map, it would renew all Core Sets released previously.

It would be epic and with a truly RPG feeling.


Gloomhaven?
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