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Get into the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Playtest!


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Paizo is pleased to report that in just a few short weeks, we're expecting to begin the playtest for next year's Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (known to some of you by the code name "Project Swallowtail"). Because playtesting a card game isn't quite as simple as letting everybody download a PDF, it's not going to be quite as open as our RPG playtests have been, but if you'd like to get involved, read on to find out how that might be possible!

First, let me tell you a bit about the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is a cooperative game for 1 to 6 players designed by Mike Selinker and his team at Lone Shark Games, which Paizo intends to release at Gen Con 2013 (if not PaizoCon 2013).

Each player has a unique character comprised of a deck of cards and a set of stats. Roleplayers will find the stats very familiar—characters have classes such as fighter, wizard, and rogue; they have numbers that define their Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, etc.; they have skills and proficiencies.

As your player adventures, you'll improve your deck by acquiring new items, allies, spells, and weapons as you explore and overcome challenges; over time, you'll be customizing your deck to suit your own individual vision of your character.

The Pathfinder Adventure Game product offerings will begin with the Rise of the Runelords Base Set, a big box containing more than 400 cards including the "Burnt Offerings" Adventure Deck. Your party will explore locations such as the Sandpoint Cathedral, the Rusty Dragon, and the Glassworks; you'll meet helpful NPCs like Ameiko Kaijitsu or friendly Aldern Foxglove; you'll visit the Swallowtail Festival, delve into the Catacombs of Wrath, and invade Thistletop. You'll fight goblins, sinspawn, Warchief Ripnugget, and maybe even face the Sandpoint devil, and eventually, become the heroes of Sandpoint! The Base Set supports 1 to 4 players; a 110-card add-on deck will expand the number of players to 5 or 6, as well as adding more character options for any number of players.

We'll follow the Base Set with bimonthly 110-card Adventure Decks presenting the subsequent five chapters of Rise of the Runelords and, if all goes well, we'll adapt other Adventure Paths after that!

The Pathfinder Adventure Game plays in an hour to an hour-and-a-half; it's easy to learn, yet offers a lot of variety in play. Mike Selinker and his team did a stunning job capturing the feel of the Pathfinder Roleplaying game, the Pathfinder campaign setting, and the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path in a fun card game.

And now, about that playtest....

We're currently expecting to launch the first (roughly) six-week playtest in just a few weeks. We are looking mainly for groups willing to commit to playtesting two chapters, which means they'll need to be able to run at least ten sessions in that first six-week phase. We are also looking for a few groups that are able to run all six chapters—30 sessions—in the same time. We'll be looking for groups of 1 to 6 players, with the majority of groups having 4 or 5 players. (Everyone's a player; there's no GM.)

The first session will involve a bunch of setup (organizing hundreds of playtest cards) in additional to familiarizing yourselves with the rules, so plan for the first session to take up to 3 hours with 5 or 6 people; 4 or fewer people might take up to 2.5 hours. (We'll be able to provide more out-of-the-box organization in the final product, so it won't take as long to set up as these playtest decks will.)

I'd expect later sessions to take up to 1.5 hours for 6 people, and maybe just a bit more than an hour for 4 people.

We want a variety of experience levels in the playtest; players don't need to be familiar with Pathfinder, but they should probably like card games at least a little bit.

We intend to distribute playtest decks by sending them to be printed at FedEx Office (formerly Fed Ex/Kinkos) locations near each individual playtest group, so somebody in the group will need to be within driving distance of a FedEx Office location to participate in the playtest. (If we can't get enough playtesters near FedEx Office locations, we'll look to expand to other places, such as Staples.)

Each playtest group will need one person designated as the group lead. The group lead will be responsible for paying for the print job when it's picked up. We can't get firm quotes until we actually have print-ready files, but we anticipate that the playtest sets will cost in the neighborhood of $50 for groups playing two chapters, and more like $100 for groups playing all six chapters. If the group lead participates on the playtest forums during the playtest period, Paizo will credit the cost of the print job to the paizo.com account of the group lead. (In short, we're asking playtesters to put up the cash for the cards, but if they actually participate in the process, they'll get their money back in paizo.com store credit.)

All players in the group (not just the group lead) will be able to participate in the playtest discussion forum, which will take place on a private messageboard.

Our Pathfinder Society Venture-Captains and Venture-Lieutenants—those are the regional coordinators for PFS are helping to organize groups for us, so now is the time to let your VC or VL know that you're interested! If you don't already know who yours is, please go here.

Let your regional coordinator know the paizo.com forum name of the group lead, the number of players in the group, whether the group is committing to 2 chapters (10+ sessions) or 6 chapters (30+ sessions), and the email address of your chosen FedEx Office location.
To find the email address for your FedEx location, visit FedEx's locator. Under "Show Me These Types of Locations", check "FedEx Kinko's is now FedEx Office". Click "View details, directions & map" for the location of your choice, and just above the map, you'll see the location's email address, which looks something like "USA5152@FEDEX.COM".

I have a certain number of groups of each size that I'm looking for, and I'll fill slots first-come, first-serve.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Would taking part in this playtest provide spoilers to players currently running in the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

It will reveal the names and themes of many characters, locations, and other such details, yes.

However, since we're looking for groups to playtest two chapters, if you're on chapter 3 or beyond, feel free to specifically request that your group playtest chapters 1 and 2.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

That's mildly annoying. I'll have to see if I can round up some additional players from the non-Pathfinder groups at our FLGS, but as we've only just begun RotRL there's no way we'll be two chapters into it by the end of the playtest period. Still, there's a lot of D&D and MTG players, so I might be able to get a fair number of participants (and there are also a fair number of local PFS players). I'll talk to my VC.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

If I understand it right, people outside the USA will not be able to pick up the playtest decks?

Cheliax

Yeah what about us Europeans?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What if my state does not have a Venture Captain and Lieutenant? Am I still able to participate in the playtest?


My name is Josh Demaree with www.theestablishedfacts.com and we would love to playtest the product on discuss it on our podcast. Please contact me at josh@theestablishedfacts.com and let's set something up. We have a FedEx Office within 20 minutes of us and would love to be a part of this cool idea.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber

This sounds fantastic! I was trying to think of a way to trick my group into playing RotRL while we're in the midst of two other campaigns, and this might be the way to do it.

Taldor

Sounds awesome! Just popped off a message to our VC and hopefully we'll get to test it out for you.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Beldun wrote:
If I understand it right, people outside the USA will not be able to pick up the playtest decks?

If we can get enough players near FedEx Office locations, we will use that route exclusively. They service the US and Canada. If we can't get enough playtesters near FedEx Office locations, we'll look to expand to other places... but we'll probably start with Staples, which also isn't worldwide.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

jtdfan wrote:
My name is Josh Demaree with www.theestablishedfacts.com and we would love to playtest the product on discuss it on our podcast. Please contact me at josh@theestablishedfacts.com and let's set something up. We have a FedEx Office within 20 minutes of us and would love to be a part of this cool idea.

Please send your playtest request through your nearest Venture-Captain.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Andru Watkins wrote:
What if my state does not have a Venture Captain and Lieutenant? Am I still able to participate in the playtest?

Just contact the nearest one.

Grand Lodge

Definitely looking to disucssing this with the local VC

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is this open to people that don't participate in PFS? Would still just contact the local VC/VL?

Andoran

I submitted my request to my VC. Looking forward to getting involved with this!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Andrew Betts wrote:
Is this open to people that don't participate in PFS? Would still just contact the local VC/VL?

Yes and yes!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Also very interested in the playtest (just contacted my VC for a possible solo playtest) and the product more generally. The option for solo play is particularly exciting as an addition to the current possible ways of gaming with Pathfinder products.

Taldor

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Vic,

I'm the Oklahoma-Tulsa area Venture Captain and will be looking forward to getting more details!

My home group (almost all college-age students with various levels of experience in CCGs) would love to volunteer their time (and my credit card) to playtest and post their results on the forum.

Our local FedEx location is USA2122@FEDEX.COM.

Please be sure to send out information to us VC/VLs, because I'm guessing you'll see a /lot/ of interest and we'll get /lots/ of questions.

Best,
Rob

Andoran

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

My group and I are interested in joining this play-test. Please add me to the list!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Too bad Germany is out of the running here, with no Kinkos and no PFS.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Well the Fedex site is timing out so can't get their email address, but shall keep trying. Have emailed the Venture-Captain though my interest.

ShaneG.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Is this game going to be similiar to: Sentinels of the Multiverse?

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
Too bad Germany is out of the running here, with no Kinkos and no PFS.

Well...you may have no Kinkos, but Mike just named two new German VC's this past month, so PFS is starting there...

As to this, it won't help since you don't have the print option close by.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At a minimum I would like to participate in a single player playtest. but most likely I will be able to gather a few other folks. I will notify a VC near my location.


I've got two weekly groups of 6 (including myself). I know one of the groups would definitely be up for giving this a try. I'm pretty sure the other group could be influenced as well.

EDIT: Oops, no way we'd be able to do 30 sessions ... bring on 2 chapters! :)

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd Like a Single player Playtest if I can get one, but I'm in Western New York, and my region doesn't seem to have a Venture Captain, what do I do?


Stratagemini wrote:
I'd Like a Single player Playtest if I can get one, but I'm in Western New York, and my region doesn't seem to have a Venture Captain, what do I do?

How close are you to Pittsburgh?

(I'm trying to figure out if I'm closer to Akron or Cleveland, myself.)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Rob Duncan wrote:

Vic,

I'm the Oklahoma-Tulsa area Venture Captain and will be looking forward to getting more details!

My home group (almost all college-age students with various levels of experience in CCGs) would love to volunteer their time (and my credit card) to playtest and post their results on the forum.

Our local FedEx location is USA2122@FEDEX.COM.

Please be sure to send out information to us VC/VLs, because I'm guessing you'll see a /lot/ of interest and we'll get /lots/ of questions.

Best,
Rob

Rob, check the PFS Coordinator forum for more info, including how you get people (including yourself!) signed up for the playtest.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

If you don't have a local VC, just pick one as nearby-ish as possible. Don't worry about exact distances; it's not relevant.

The main reason we're organizing through PFS is that VCs/VLs can go to local gaming groups and drum up support from people who—*gasp*—don't read the messageboards.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

A word on group sizes:

Character advancement in the game works a little bit like typical (non-PFS) RPG gaming, in that there's some expectation that you're playing the same characters through the entire campaign, and that everyone is going to be participating most of the time, and doing the equivalent of "leveling up" more or less together.

Just like typical RPGs, that doesn't always happen, but you'll need to work around that in similar ways—if somebody's absent for a while, you'll need to figure out how to prevent them from lagging way behind the group. You could have somebody else play the character, or have the missing player play solo through the scenarios they missed, or you can just advance their character even though they didn't participate.

And if somebody unexpected shows up, you'll need to figure out how to deal with that, too. There will be more characters in the box than you need: If a group signs up as 1, 2, 3, or 4 players, they'll be playtesting the Base Set, which is intended for up to 4 characters, and contains 6 characters to choose from; if a group signs up as 5 or 6 players, they'll also be playtesting the 5–6 Player Expansion, which contains 5 additional characters. But those extra characters are there to provide multiple starting options—if you try to run 5 simultaneous characters out of the base set (or 7 with the expansion), things will break down.

So there's some room for flux in the group, but if you intend to recast the table each session, that will present some challenges for you, and it won't help test our character advancement system in the manner that we intend. We're really looking for groups to commit to a specific composition and table size, and generally stick to that through the playtest.


Distant Scholar wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
I'd Like a Single player Playtest if I can get one, but I'm in Western New York, and my region doesn't seem to have a Venture Captain, what do I do?

How close are you to Pittsburgh?

(I'm trying to figure out if I'm closer to Akron or Cleveland, myself.)

Western NY may as well be the other side of the moon compared to Pittsburgh.


My group and I are interested. We play <something> twice weekly at work, so 10 sessions in 6 weeks should be pretty simple to pull.

Shadow Lodge

Kyle Elliott (Seattle's local Venture-Captain) called me yesterday to ask if I could hgt together with him to try out a card game. I presume it was Project Swallowtail.
I was planning on starting a Beginner Box campaign next Wednesday with 9 kids, from 10 - 12 years old. Most of them are veterans of MtG, and some of them have played Pathfinder.
Would it make sense for me to get this going for them? I can't afford the printing costs myself right now, but if I had pdf files, I could print them out in color on paper and put the cards in card sleeves.
I don't know if that would take me out of the running for the store credit. It would be nice to have, so that my little group of gaming goblins could get the new pawns sets as they come out.

What do you think?

- Rebis Ouroboros
(a.k.a. Rich Crotty)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

blope wrote:
Is this game going to be similiar to: Sentinels of the Multiverse?

I haven't played that, but I just perused the rules, and I'd say they're similar in the sense that each player has a deck, and the game involves fighting a villain in a particular location that has an effect on the battle... but that's about where the similarities end. Most Pathfinder Adventure Card Game scenarios do *end* with a fight against a villain, but that's usually the last few minutes of the session. Before that, you usually spend time exploring a bunch of different locations, acquiring gear and allies, fighting monsters and henchmen, getting around traps and other barriers... basically, typical RPG stuff. And some scenarios don't even *involve* a villain; in one, your goal is simply to make a bunch of new allies; in another, it's to rescue a bunch of townsfolk before an inevitable catastrophe occurs.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

You are looking for consistent group membership throughout all session then and not just a bunch of random people playing a session each then. I can think of a few people that would like to give this a try with me but getting them together would be tough.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Rebis Ouroboros wrote:
Kyle Elliott (Seattle's local Venture-Captain) called me yesterday to ask if I could hgt together with him to try out a card game. I presume it was Project Swallowtail.

I presume your presumption is correct. Kyle, being local, is actually working with us on a playtest *before* the main playtest.

Rebis Ouroboros wrote:
...if I had pdf files, I could print them out in color on paper and put the cards in card sleeves.

We're not going to distribute the cards in PDF form. Sorry!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just emailed the local venture captain thats all I need to do correct?

Taldor

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
The main reason we're organizing through PFS is that VCs/VLs can go to local gaming groups and drum up support from people who—*gasp*—don't read the messageboards.

...*admits to not reading messageboards either, at least the one he needed to read*

Email inbound. Thanks for getting me to look in the right spot!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Joey Virtue wrote:
I just emailed the local venture captain thats all I need to do correct?

Yep!


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Beldun wrote:
If I understand it right, people outside the USA will not be able to pick up the playtest decks?
If we can get enough players near FedEx Office locations, we will use that route exclusively. They service the US and Canada. If we can't get enough playtesters near FedEx Office locations, we'll look to expand to other places... but we'll probably start with Staples, which also isn't worldwide.

We have a FedEx in south Australia. Is that something different (like not a "complete" service, or something)?


This is one of the most demanding playtests I've seen. The up-front cost will dissuade some - is it not possible to provide pdfs the groups can print out on their own? A minimum of 10 sessions within just six weeks is very hard for many groups - even 5 in 6 weeks can be hard (which is what you get if you double up sessions). I'm sure the fan base is large enough to find people who will do that, but the demands may limit the quality of those who can make it.

I liked how 13th Age worked within its playtest to identify valuable playtesters through an easy application process (basically, state why you would do a good job). This allowed them flexibility to pick the type of playtesters they wanted. They then later provided additional playtesting opportunities for those that could playtest in a brief time-frame (and those players received updated rules in exchange).

I can't meet the playtest requirements. The only feedback I can offer is that 1.5 hours is longer than I would expect. Modern card and board games see 1 hour as the desirable maximum due to player preferences. People want a fun and fast experience... otherwise they could be playing an RPG. I'm sure the team has considered this, however.

I look forward to the release. Shame I can't be part of the playtesting, because I love contributing to new games!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Steve Geddes wrote:
We have a FedEx in south Australia. Is that something different (like not a "complete" service, or something)?

FedEx Office does printing as well as shipping. Does yours offer print service? I phoned FedEx to discuss this, and they said that they only covered the US and Canada, but it is certainly possible that I spoke to somebody who just didn't know...


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Ah, I see. I wouldn't know, to be frank (ill check) but my guess would be its just a pickup/drop off point. Disappointing.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Bugger. Something else that people outside the US miss out on. I personally would love to playtest it :(


If I sign up to do all 6 chapters, can I spread out the cost of printing as I play through them, or will I have to throw the ~$100 at FedEx all at once?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Alphastream wrote:
This is one of the most demanding playtests I've seen. The up-front cost will dissuade some - is it not possible to provide pdfs the groups can print out on their own? A minimum of 10 sessions within just six weeks is very hard for many groups - even 5 in 6 weeks can be hard (which is what you get if you double up sessions).

Given that any 6-week period starting "in a few short weeks" will include one (or more) of Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, I would think even a one-session-a-week schedule would be hard to guarantee.

I'm considering trying for three four-hour sessions (or, possibly, one introductory session, and an all-day marathon game day).

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Alphastream wrote:
This is one of the most demanding playtests I've seen. The up-front cost will dissuade some - is it not possible to provide pdfs the groups can print out on their own?

We're not interested in publicly circulating the game in PDF form.

Alphastream wrote:
A minimum of 10 sessions within just six weeks is very hard for many groups - even 5 in 6 weeks can be hard (which is what you get if you double up sessions). I'm sure the fan base is large enough to find people who will do that, but the demands may limit the quality of those who can make it.

One of the main goals of this playtest is to test character advancement, and because your deck evolves through actual play, there's really no shortcut to that—you just plain have to play through a ton of scenarios. That's another reason we're working with PFS coordinators—they know a lot of people who play a lot of game sessions in a short time.

(So far, by the way, I've had exactly as many people commit to playtesting six chapters as I have two chapters.)

Alphastream wrote:
The only feedback I can offer is that 1.5 hours is longer than I would expect. Modern card and board games see 1 hour as the desirable maximum due to player preferences. People want a fun and fast experience... otherwise they could be playing an RPG. I'm sure the team has considered this, however.

At the end of the day, I plan to have "Play Time: 1 hour or less" on the finished game box, but I'm not comfortable saying that for the playtest. Partly, this is because I'm asking people to commit their time to us; I'd rather have them set aside an hour and a half and be done early than have them set aside an hour and be upset if their session takes longer. Also, to be frank, I fully expect that we'll find a couple of scenarios that just plain take a bunch of groups longer than we expected; finding those issues is another goal of the playtest.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Johnico wrote:
If I sign up to do all 6 chapters, can I spread out the cost of printing as I play through them, or will I have to throw the ~$100 at FedEx all at once?

We need to keep the management effort for the playtest as low as we can get away with, and that means getting all of the print jobs done at once. (I suspect that dividing the print job into several smaller jobs would also raise the total cost.)


Alright, that's what I thought. Just wanted to know for sure (either way, I plan on submitting to try and do this thing).

Thanks, Vic!

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