Nicholas Hobbs
United States
Dallas
TX
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This is my first review so please be gentle. I have two different gaming groups consisting of 3 and 5 people, with about 9 scenarios under completed in total.

RPGs, to me, can be some of the best stories out there. Some of my favorite RPG video games include Final Fantasy 7, The Dark Souls games, and World of Warcraft. The big draw is having a starting character, beginning with anything from basic items to having absolutely nothing. From there you are given the keys to do nearly whatever you wish with that avatar. Want to have a stealthy character that can annihilate a villain in seconds? The tools are there. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (PACG from now on) is a very close interpretation to RPGing. What I like the most about it is how your character evolves over the different scenarios and adventures. You start off decent, not too weak or too strong, but if you play well and maybe get a little lucky, you can create a powerhouse of a character!

COMPONENTS: 4 of 5

Included in the Rise of the Runelords Base Set are 1 set of dice of 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. The 495 base cards, and 110 cards from the Burnt Offerings Adventure Deck (which is included in the base set) have clear instructions on each of them. The art on the cards are also very nice and easy to look at. If you are the type to try and preserve the integrity of your cards, I would highly suggest buying some card sleeves as well. I've played about 8 scenarios total so far and the wear on the cards edges are starting to show a little bit. Back to the dice now. I don't like them. They are dull and feel cheap. One of the first this I did after purchasing the game was buy more dice. The base dice do the job, so don't feel like you need to go out and do the same. Dice rolling is made a little easier though, the more you have. There is a black insert that divides up all your cards nicely, and includes space for you created character decks too. If you use card sleeves, I imagine that the space will fill up much quicker, however. Without sleeves, all your cards with all the adventure decks should fit into their respective slots. Overall, I was pleased with the components.

SETTING UP: 5 of 5

Set up for PACG is extremely easy. Grab your friends, select your characters, create your decks, pick an adventure then scenario. Everything written on the scenario cards tell you what locations to grab and the location cards tell you what cards to grab to make the respective location deck. Finally you put your villains and henchmen (or other quest card requirements) into the location decks, shuffle, place your character cards at a location and start playing. It's that simple. I never actually timed a set up but if I had to make a guess, it shouldn't take any longer than 15 minutes. For your first time, the instructions for setting up are very friendly and easy to understand. I never once had to draw my own conclusion when setting up a scenario.

GAME PLAY: 5 of 5

Now to the meat! While, at its core, the game is basically rolling a bunch of dice to see if you meet a "check", if feels like much more than this. The element of teamwork is very noticeable and fun. The thought of, "Do I use my blessing here to help a buddy meet a check easier, or save it for myself in case I come across a tough henchmen or villain?" is just one of many decisions you'll have to make as the game progresses. I can remember one instance where I decided to use a potion of healing on another player rather than myself thinking that he could take on the villain better than I could. The next turn I came up against the villain and lost all but 2 cards. We lost the scenario. Losing can happen, but it doesn't make the game less fun in the end. In fact I would say that it helps the people playing figure out their mistakes, and make some up with a slight new strategy the next time. Strategy and luck mingle nicely in this game, and i really really really enjoy it. It really feels like a great balance throughout the entire play through.

A single play through shouldn't take more than 45 minutes for people familiar with every mechanic. On a player's given turn they will do a number of things. There is a blessings deck in the middle of the table that acts as a timer for the game. Turning over the top card at a given locations deck will reveal either a boon( usually good) or a bane( usually bad). From there the player will determine the difficulty of the card, power themselves up with cards or player powers, gather their dice, AND DO BATTLE! (roll the dice). After the encounter is resolved the next play has their turn. This goes on until the quest requirements are met to kill henchmen, close locations, corner villains, and more. The basic template of PACG is very simple, but the cooperative play, along with the sense of building a stronger character through new cards earned during your adventure and getting new powers from completing scenarios and adventures.

I enjoy the game play of PACG a lot! It really feels like an RPG on a table. It's fantastic. I've never had the chance to play pen and paper DnD, but I've been told if you enjoy that but want something without a DM, then PACG is a good choice. All I can say is that my itch for group RPG play is thoroughly scratched, and I'm always trying to get my buddies over to my house for more and more plays. There is also a want to progress more and more through the stories. I just can't get enough!

The only real downside was a few unclear rules that stopped the game for a few minutes. In any game this is a buzz kill, but my group discussed and made a decision pretty quickly to keep the game flowing, and agreed to get a correct ruling afterward. That's it! Every other aspect of game play, from the character deck symbolizing your HP and frantically deciding how to hold onto your last cards and still contributing to the group, to the acquisition of so many dice that you know for a fact you are going to kill a henchmen but roll anyways just to see how badly you obliterated that goblin raider.

BREAKDOWN AND CLEAN UP: 5 of 5

When you complete a scenario, you are able to rebuild your character deck and use cards you've gained during that play through. Another aspect of the game I enjoy. The feeling that you are responsible for acquiring some pretty powerful cards for either yourself or another player feels accomplishing and satisfying. After all that, you select your rewards written on any completed scenarios or adventures. I printed out character sheets because I didn't want to write on the cards. Another benefit to this is that you can write down your character cards on the sheet, and break down and sort all the cards for another play through with a different group. Breakdown and cleanup shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. Easy and breezy.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If it isn't obvious by now, I really dig this game. The elements and how they all work with each other is great. The game is very easy to understand and a single game session with one scenario could take just over an hour with familiar people. While the base game can only support a maximum of four people, the character add-on deck can add support for six. I find the characters in the add-on deck a lot of fun (Sajan fists of thunder monk!). at six players, the game can feel a little slow for each individual person, but one could argue that if you pay attention to everyone's turn you can be as involved as you want to be. Personally I think the sweet spot for players is anywhere between three and five.



PACG is great. If you have buddies looking for some time to get away from everything and just RPG away for a few hours, this is a great and light starting point. No one I have introduced this game to has not liked it so far. Anyone with and open mind and just a slight bit of imagination can get into PACG and enjoy it for the duration f the adventure decks being made for this game. I highly recommend it. What are you waiting for? Close this window and GO GET IT!

OVERALL: 5 of 5

find me on wordpress! http://iamgob.wordpress.com/
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Chris Gordy
United States
Eden Prairie
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I just purchased the base set and the character add-on set based on this, and many other reviews like it. I was looking for a solid "RPG" lite board game to be able to play solo AND to play with my two younger boys.

I find it interesting though that you rated the components at 4 of 5. Based on what you stated (cheap feeling dice and wear on cards after only 8 plays, I would have thought 3 out of 5. that said, still nothing to stop someone buying the game.

I am curious if the box would work with sleeves due to the additional width of the sleeves. Does anyone know if it will still work? If not, has anyone tried the box insert from Broken Tokens?
 
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Nicholas Hobbs
United States
Dallas
TX
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The wear on the cards was only noticeable on the edges and the integrity of each of them is still 100%. If they were bending very easily from mild shuffling or tearing easy just from normal handling i would probably have rated lower. The wear was just normal i feel for any card based game. Slow wear but can still last for quite a long time. The dice was really my only dislike with all the components.

I don't know about the sleeves myself, but i can see that a few of the inserts are already pretty full with just the first adventure deck and the character add on pack. I would imagine if you wanted to sleeve your cards you would need the broken tokens insert. Don't quote me though. Someone around here will know for sure!

EDIT: I think your boys are gonna have a blast with this!
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Robert Ahearne
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Ayer
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Others have reported that if you sleeve all your cards eventually they won't fit in the original box insert.

I bought the Broken Token insert prior to sleeving my cards, so I never tried to put sleeved cards into the original insert. I sleeved all my cards and the Broken Token insert works like a charm. I'm only on Adventure Pack 2 but it looks like there is plenty of room for growth.
 
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