Adventure Card Game Combat Goes to 11!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ultimate Combat, the first of the Ultimate Add-On Decks, is making its way into the hands of subscribers and favorite local game stores everywhere, so it's finally time to spill the beans on our design process for the Ultimate decks:

  1. Phase 1: Include every super-awesome thing we can think of
  2. Phase 2: ?
  3. Phase 3: Profit

Okay, wait, it was slightly more complicated than that.

Hayato should spend some time with Jinfu's stylist.

First, we identified a single character to include in each deck, preferably ones we'd had trouble sneaking into a class deck otherwise. Hayato was the obvious pick for Ulitmate Combat. He is a master of Iaijutsu and mounted combat, fighting under a banner that bolsters his comrades and strikes fear into his enemies. His bonded mount Jinfu is a versatile warhorse that never lets him down.

"Yojimbo" does sound way cooler than "bodyguard."

Hayato's roles are designed primarily around your fighting style in your party. Ronin is best for when Hayato who walks his own path, with a great deal of healing and bonuses to checks while alone. Yojimbo is better for when Hayato wants to protect others and make the best use of Jinfu in a group.

I'd recommend a Wakizashi to pair with the Katana, and a Do-Maru for that fine helmet.

Because Hayato is a Tian character, this was a perfect opportunity to include some appropriately themed cards. That includes the Katana, a more elegant Bastard Sword for a more civilized samurai, and the Kabuto Helmet, highly protective and good for impressing those you come across.

Dwarven innovation to break down a wall, elven innovation to shoot the army on the other side.

The deck is not limited to just that theme, however. It features a startling array of weapons, with some of the best one-handed and two-handed melee and ranged options in the game at every adventure deck number.

Bringing armor back, baby!

We've been experimenting with the design space for armor for quite some time. Our design goal (going forward, but specifically for Ultimate Combat) is that armor should be good enough that players are always tempted to spend a card feat on armor and a power feat on armor proficiency. Armor is designed to save you from emergencies, but in doing so it cannot increase your chance of failure to keep it around.

The new armors in Ultimate Combat tend to have great bonuses to make them worth keeping in your hand or displaying. Kikko Armor displays, allowing you to use it when needed with no downside. Choosing to use a one-handed weapon over a two-handed weapon allows you to use a shield, but generally reduces your Combat check. That's not an ideal formula for success, so the new shields like the Dwarven War Shield help melee combatants make up that gap.

I'm extremely interested in hearing what folks think of the new armor. I'm probably not supposed to say that you're playtesting ideas for the next base set [You are most assuredly not.—Mike] but you totally are.

We play both Ranged and Melee at this fine establishment.

While armor and weapons are the slim majority of the deck, we did not remotely skimp on other cards. Any character who really cares about combat, especially of the Melee and Ranged varieties, will other cards to keep them occupied. That includes an entire cycle of Bow Ammunition (similar to the bullets in Gunslinger), cards like the Grappler's Mask to help combat-focused characters occasionally get past those pesky non-combat challenges, and a small array of spells for Arcane and Divine mixed martial artists.

There are indeed vikings in Golarion.

There's also a solid selection of great allies. Most trend towards assisting in combat, moving to combat, and post-combat healing, but there should be something here for everyone. I'd certainly consider taking a Swiftshooter on a non-Ranged character just for the draw before I explore.

You'll count your blessings that you've got these blessings.

One of the earliest design decisions for the Ultimate decks was how much each deck should support the included characters. There may well be a parallel universe in which Ultimate Combat contains only armor and weapons, where to remotely play Hayato you need to supply other cards. That universe isn't this one, so we needed a bunch of blessings for every Ultimates deck. Mike meticulously analyzed every single blessing we've made and every deity who could still use one to make sure we solved this problem right.

Each Ultimates deck contains a new basic blessing, like Blessing of the Samurai above, that should be well-suited and even exciting for its intended audience. Each also contains a number of new deities, including deities from Tian and nonhuman races when appropriate. Finally, spread over the Ultimate decks are normal and upgraded blessings for every single one of Golarion's core deities.

Those of you playing in the Adventure Card Guild may wonder how Ultimates work for you. If you're playing a character from a non-Ultimate Deck, you can add the cards from any 1 Ultimate Deck to your deck; if you're playing a character from an Ultimate Deck, you can add the cards from any 1 Class Deck. This means that Hayato can use cards from, say, the Paladin Class Deck if he wants. It also means that you can start taking Ultimate Combat boons with any of your Organized Play characters like Crowe, Oloch, and Reta. If you've ever regretted not having an upgrade choice for a boon type, fret no more—we've got you covered. If you're prone to analysis paralysis and aren't sure what boon to take... expect to spend a lot more time paralyzed with indecision!

See you next month to talk about the dozens of spells and other magic doodads in Ultimate Magic!

Keith Richmond
Adventure Card Game Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Ultimate Decks

Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Having gone through my Ultimate Combat deck I am -very- excited to see the rest of these Ultimate decks come out. They really open up the possibilities for the types of characters you can create. There is a wide range of boons to select from in the Ultimate Combat deck that would benefit a wide range of characters.

In terms of armor-- I like what I see. I like the inclusion of more shields, and the addition of "If you have played a card that has the 2-handed or shield trait on this check, you may not play this card." I also like the design space of displaying some of the armors and being able to use them later rather than older armors where you recharged the armor to cycle your deck and you maybe didn't see another armor for a few turns. I agree that historically armor card feats and power feats haven't been very appealing to me but after seeing some of the armors in Ultimate Combat I have reconsidered that a bit. My first thought was in regards to Linxia "I need more armor card feats to use all these shields!"

Overall, great job!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Don't forget to grab your O-Yoroi from Iconic Heroes!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Oh hey! A basic blessing that doesn't have the divine trait! Mummy's Mask Ezren just got a lot more interesting for organized play.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

No matter what is going to come afterwards, this is definitely THE ultimate deck for me - the fact that you can have every character use a katana (whether that makes sense or not doesn't matter) is reason alone that this is the best deck ever created, and Hayato is such a badass on top of it.

Can't wait for my deck to arrive, and I'll be forever grateful to the PACG designers to get the option of some rad samurai action in my favourite game!

And in case you want to experience Hayato in a homebrew adventure path that is all about characters from Tian (while we wait for Jade Regent to hopefully come to PACG) - I'll get back to you in the near future when Reiko is around as well :)


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Am I the only one whose OCD is aggravated by the crossed European swords on the Blessing of the Samurai? Why not weapons/images more representative of the Samurai (either the Tian version or real world version)?

Okay, I just had to get that off my chest.

I like how Hayato and Jinfu is conceptually similar to Alain and Donahan, with the Samurai being established as an alternate to the Cavalier.

I like the variety of boons, giving sufficient boons that fit Hayato's theme while others are more generic and would be suitable on a range of combat-oriented characters (or in giving some non-combat-oriented characters a bit of combat flavor). I think there were even a few that might be suitable for a Brawler, should we ever see Kess and her kind grace the game.

The whole time I was going through the cards, I was imagining which characters/roles would make the best use of each boon. Also, I was considering how the oldest of class decks can be improved by the cards. For example, Harsk and other archery types (Imrijka?) will benefit from the different types of arrows.

This first of the Ultimate Add-On Decks is very promising, and I'm sure that another challenge many of us will face is choosing just one of these decks to augment an existing class/character deck (should I take Combat or Magic for Oloch?). These decks will certainly help us to better customize our characters as they progress.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Brother Tyler wrote:
Am I the only one whose OCD is aggravated by the crossed European swords on the Blessing of the Samurai?

No. You're most decidedly not >:


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Just wondering what means now you get a random card From the box...


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

If i recall correctly the instruction card that is included directs you to add these cards to your class deck "box" when you reach the appropriate tier. So if the rewards are instructing you to take a card from your class deck box, then cards from your class deck or ultimate deck would be fair game.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Yeah. "Your box" is potentially more than all the card that come in a class deck. After all, you can add iconic heroes cards to them. Or the loot rewards common at the end of a season. Or (if you play season of the goblins) promos. Or even another character. In this case, you are just adding a lot of cards as opposed to a few.

Basically, your "class deck box" starts out as all the cards in the one product your character comes from (or that has a character of the same class as the character you are playing). You add in your character (if they aren't in it already). Then you can add an Ultimate Deck if your "base" product wasn't an ultimate deck or you can add an non-ultimate deck if your base product was an ultimate deck. Then you can add any appropriate iconic heroes. Then you can add any rewards (loot or the goblin promos for example). And after all that you have "your box".


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Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

I've been really wish for the "display" armor mechanic as the default since RotRL. I really think it helps weapon centric characters being hand-clogged and makes them desired as a card and power feat.

I almost cancelled my subscription to the character decks but after Ultimate Combat, it was an easy choice to keep it going.

Very excited to see what's next.

Lone Shark Games

Daniel Hamrick 458 wrote:
I almost cancelled my subscription to the character decks but after Ultimate Combat, it was an easy choice to keep it going.

Just a reminder that Ultimates are part of the PACG subscription, not the Class Deck subscription.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Haven't played it, but the Kikko Armor sounds great. With fighters having limited hand size, it's hard to justify armor taking up a spot- but later adventure paths have increased the importance of armor. Armor that I can display until I need it is armor I'll actually use, and not end up recharging to make room.

Hayato looks like a good fit for Skull & Shackles, but it may be a while before I get the chance- my Pathfinder ACG group transformed into my Gloomhaven group, but these new packs may bring us back.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Scott Hall wrote:
Hayato looks like a good fit for Skull & Shackles, but it may be a while before I get the chance- my Pathfinder ACG group transformed into my Gloomhaven group, but these new packs may bring us back.

Given that he can't cope with a lot of barriers, but is really good at punishing monsters, I think that RotR and WotR are much better fits than SnS or MM. Having Survival +1 is nice but the 1d6 is much worse than just having any divine caster with a flat 1d10 wisdom and no survival.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Blogmeister Keith wrote:
if you're playing a character from an Ultimate Deck, you can add the cards from any 1 Class Deck.

Shouldn't that say "any one CHARACTER Deck"? Or can't you use the non-class character decks?

Lone Shark Games

Hmm, that phrase changed after it left my hands, due to discussion over the rule that led to a recent update to it. You can use any 1 non-Ultimates character deck and any 1 Ultimates Add-On deck in effect. So, you could use Tales, Hell's Vengeance, or Occult just as much as you can use Fighter, Paladin, or Warpriest.

There was a momentary loophole where folks thought you could potentially use two Ultimates deck - even two copies of the same Ultimates deck - with one of the Ultimates characters, and that was certainly never the intent and has been fixed - thankfully before anyone got a chance to do anything crazy.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Great! But when downloadable Character sheets will be updated? You know you hinder sales by not letting people to see if there is an interesting character to play? It's almost 14 months after last update and the amount of decks almost doubled...


Displayable armor is incredible!


I'm a huge fan of the displayable armour, which is even thematic (choosing to "put it on" as opposed to lugging it around) as well as meaningfully avoiding one of the largest downsides of the card type. Excellent design, and if it is a hint as to what's to come in the next Base Set, that only hypes me for the experience playing that set will be!


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Should then displayed armor make you slover or more easier tired?
;)
Propably Yes but it should Also be even better in protecting the Person. But that would havok the game play...

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Hannibal_pjv wrote:

Should then displayed armor make you slover or more easier tired?

;)
Propably Yes but it should Also be even better in protecting the Person. But that would havok the game play...

That'd actually be an awesome rule for the non-proficient.

Display this armor. While displayed, blah blah protection blah. If not proficient with <appropriate> armors, you may not use boon powers to explore.

Or maybe combat checks are more difficult. Or Arcane spell recharge checks. Ooh! Stealth Checks!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
James McKendrew wrote:


That'd actually be an awesome rule for the non-proficient.

Display this armor. While displayed, blah blah protection blah. If not proficient with <appropriate> armors, you may not use boon powers to explore.

Or maybe combat checks are more difficult. Or Arcane spell recharge checks. Ooh! Stealth Checks!

Great idea, actually I could see something like that for armor :

Frencois' armor template to be be created wrote:

Display this card.

While displayed the difficulty of your Strength or Dexterity checks is increased by <whatever amount e. g. 1d4> or by <whatever lower amount e. g. 1> if proficient with that kind of armor.

While displayed, <optionaly if proficient with that kind of armor> <recharge/put on top of deck/discard/bury/whatever> this card to reduce <whatever kind of damage by whatever amount>.

The last power can be repeated with different flavors if needed (see Kikko Armor).

And maybe the first power could even be :

Frencois' armor template to be be created wrote:
Display this card next to your character and recharge all other armors you displayed.

Something like that seems quite fun and thematic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Frencois wrote:

And maybe the first power could even be :

Frencois' armor template to be be created wrote:
Display this card next to your character and recharge all other armors you displayed.

Something like that seems quite fun and thematic.

King Arthur (to Sir Robin):... and go and change your armour!


A question about "Blessing of the Father of Creation":

As a Torag-Blassing you can discard it to add 2 dice to any NON-Combat Strenght check. But if you discard it for exploration you add 1 die to ALL your Strenght checks.

Is it intended that this Blessing adds a die to Strengh combat checks during exploration?

Please consider adding the answer to FAQ. Thanks for answer


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Tatak wrote:

Is it intended that this Blessing adds a die to Strengh combat checks during exploration?

Please consider adding the answer to FAQ. Thanks for answer

Well, if the answer is YES, there's no really need for a FAQ, no?

To me, it looks in line with the power-level of similar "stained-glass" blessings. Yes, 'thematically' maybe it'd be more 'correct' to only add to non-combat STR; however, when you consider the applicability of it (90%+ of its target being Weapon cards' CTA) - it becomes so situational that its near useless. So, 'theme' for 'usability' seem like decent trade-off, considering the 'staind glass' blessings are supposed to be awesome.

(True story: people at my table would mostly prefer BotG for its versatility over BoTorag, BoSarenrae or even BoIrori - as these only add to non-combat checks that are mostly used to acquire boons)

Lone Shark Games

It is intended, yes.


Longshot11 wrote:
True story: people at my table would mostly prefer BotG for its versatility over BoTorag, BoSarenrae or even BoIrori - as these only add to non-combat checks that are mostly used to acquire boons

In honor of the currently-absent Calthaer, I repudiate your group's disdain for things primarily useful for acquiring boons. Although yeah, that's totally my playstyle too.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
elcoderdude wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:
True story: people at my table would mostly prefer BotG for its versatility over BoTorag, BoSarenrae or even BoIrori - as these only add to non-combat checks that are mostly used to acquire boons
In honor of the currently-absent Calthaer, I repudiate your group's disdain for things primarily useful for acquiring boons. Although yeah, that's totally my playstyle too.

Oh, don't get me wrong - when the d4 STR Gunslinger encounters Flaming Ranseurs +3 - you better believe we'll be throwing blessings at it like it's going out of fashion. And we're all fans of MM's "double-headed snake" blessing (+2d8 to acquire boon). But we're 6-p - so we can often afford to bury a boon CTA in blessings; we just don't find the "this blessing *only* adds 2 dice to acquire Melee weapons" very appealing :)

Dark Archive

I prefer to get non-standard blessings almost purely for the recharge for matching.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
elcoderdude wrote:
In honor of the currently-absent Calthaer, I repudiate your group's disdain for things primarily useful for acquiring boons. Although yeah, that's totally my playstyle too.

I'm still around; just lurking, mostly. Had a really busy few months at work - hoping I'll get the spare time to get back on the forums soon. I'm definitely interested in that Outpost online play, as I want my convention-special Heggal to complete that Absalom thing.

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