Core Principles: Designing the Next Pathfinder ACG

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Last Friday, our team turned over to project lead Vic Wertz the first draft of the upcoming Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set. This is a new type of box set, about which I'll go into detail below and in later articles in this series, which will run for the next year. Sometimes I'll write it, and sometimes you'll see the musings of the other members of our highly talented design team.

It is not coincidental that this turnover came at the end of a highly eventful week for the Pathfinder ACG design team. As we began shipping our upcoming games The Ninth World and Thornwatch, the Lone Shark designers took the so-called "final" version (SPOILER: it wasn't) of the Core Set to PaizoCon, our favorite convention to run PACG at. At Saturday night's Preview Banquet, I revealed the not-at-all-surprising fact that we were making a new Core Set, as well the slightly bigger surprise that the next Adventure Path is based on the beloved Curse of the Crimson Throne.


Showtime.

The Core Set can be played by itself, if that's all you want—its story content is based on the Pathfinder Module The Dragon's Demand—and we're increasing the replayability even over previous sets. But when you combine it with Curse, you'll have something about the same size as previous Adventure Paths. Importantly, you need Core for Curse, because the latter needs the former as a foundation to function. That's true for every adventure we want to make going forward. So when we produce another Adventure Path, or even perhaps a smaller adventure, you'll combine it with the Core Set and get an experience similar to Rise of the Runelords or Mummy's Mask. I described at the banquet how Core was basically done in design, and Curse was well underway.

I described how both would release just before PaizoCon 2019, which made a lot of people there very happy. Me, for example.

And then I went into why we were making it now, and really what we were and weren't making. Some of it supplemented this blog, but since it's a year later, I actually knew what I was talking about this time. So now I'll tell you.


I would like to officially note that we are fully capable of making a Top 5 list that stops at five.

This graphic has been on our design team's whiteboard for several months. Its goal is to remind us what we're doing and why.

What's Staying the Same

The most important element of this project is perhaps the least obvious: We want to keep making the game we've been making. Throughout my career, I've helped lead many reboots and expansions—D&D 3rd Edition, Axis & Allies, Attack!, and Betrayal at House on the Hill, to name a few. Each time I've started by spelling out how much we wanted to move the goalposts. That has typically defined whether we're making a new set or a new edition.

As I've said for a while, we're not making this a "second edition." Our goal isn't to invalidate anything you have currently; everything you own for PACG is still good and will continue to be. What we are creating now will interlock nicely with Skull & Shackles, Wrath of the Righteous, Class Decks, and everything else that has come before. Some things are changing around the edges, including some important terminology. but as we saw in our PaizoCon playtests, people got those changes within minutes and were off playing without hesitation.

At the heart, the PACG experience involves five cornerstone principles:

  • Improving your character by acquiring better boons for your deck.
  • Increasing your character's power along a linear arc, corresponding to an increase in the difficulty of challenges.
  • Giving you a variety of ways to grow your character over time and make it your own.
  • Letting you explore the world by encountering cards and dealing with their challenges.
  • Doing so as a part of a cooperative team in an involving story.

None of this is going to change. We're not adding a PvP option, dynamiting your role cards, or flattening out the power curve. These cornerstone principles had to be observed when considering any change we wanted to make. Fortunately, a whole lot of changes still fit under that tent.

What's Changing

Over the last five years, we've heard a lot of the same complaints. (We've especially heard them from inside our office.) We figured we could use that experience to spruce up PACG to be a better, faster, smarter game. We looked hard at these challenges:

  • The game is a bit too slow in all phases: how long it took to set up, how long it took to take a turn, how long it took to tear down. We looked for solutions that sped up everything, even if we gained just a few seconds here or there.
  • For a game set in one of the most expansive fantasy worlds ever made, we gave you too little story. The opportunity we had to tell stories was mostly limited to tiny boxes on the backs of cards, and conveyed very little of the depth the orignal storytellers had given us.
  • Though we tell many different stories, the game often gives off a feeling of sameness. We did morph from only having a few different scenario types in Rise of the Runelords to having only a few "standard" scenarios in Mummy's Mask. But more can be done.
  • Groups of players get varying experiences by group size. A solo character is less likely to run out of time and more likely to die; the reverse is true for large groups. While that's fine, giving people the ability to toggle those variables seemed smart.
  • Many cards have complicated text. We've piled template upon template, sometimes requiring three or four powers on a card before we started making it interesting. Certain card types like armors and spells got burdened in ways we never envisioned.
  • Some sets were easy and some were hard, but regardless there was no way to control difficulty. If you wanted to make the game harder, you were on your own. We will benefit from giving players controls for this.
  • For a cooperative card game, the game is often not interactive enough. When you want to help your friend, the game generally tells you that you can't unless you have a card that does so. It's a co-op game, so it should feel more cooperative.

In addition to a design team that has grown and learned from all our iterations of the game, we had three other resources to use to achieve some of these goals. None of them existed when we made Rise of the Runelords, but all had been successful in its wake. The first was the Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild, which showed us new ways to tell and organize stories. The second was Obsidian's Pathfinder Adventures app, which showed us ways to make the game sleeker and faster. The third was Lone Shark's second ACG, Apocrypha, in which we addressed a lot of these concerns.

In the next installment of this design diary, I'll talk about how we used those tools to address one of those big challenges: injecting more story. Thanks for reading!

Mike Selinker
Adventure Card Game Lead Designer

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Tags: PACG Core Principles Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
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I just pretend that I sell it and buy the thing I want. There are other variations of this as well, such as I give the Ankh of Awesomeness to my monastic order (if I'm a monk) for safe keeping and they in return provide me a piece of equipment to help me on my quest. Or perhaps the Pathfinder society rewards you with "credits" at their equipment storage for bringing them such important artifacts to discover. Or you just turn in some piece of regular equipment to them and pick up another piece in exchange.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
BernieTime wrote:

As much as I really like the Class Decks, it feels like they also create a disconnect from the scenario & storyline being played. Your hero finds an Ankh of Awesome in the game, but then needs to swap it out with a Spyglass from the Class Deck.

It's like Class Deck players are involved in playing a parallel game that aligns with the other Heroes that are playing from the box.

I understand the idea that a person can show up with their Class Deck and leave the game without affecting the card stock of whomever owns the Big Scenario Box. I'm not sure that having Class Decks is worth sacrificing the connection In-Game Characters develop as part of the world they're exploring.

I doubt an 'Ankh of Awesome' would be an Adventure Deck B card; relative levels of cool should be about equal.

I see your point, but it is effectively an impossible element to avoid in Organized Play; participants will not be able to take acquired cards home with them.

Keep in mind you can buy Class Deck and simply mix them in with your boxes at home. The "boon replacement" is purely an Organized Play ruleset, not a Class Deck ruleset. I think you may be conflating two different things.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm going to go against the grain and say I'm not interested in more story unless the story becomes a meaningful part of the gameplay. As it stands, the story bits is just background info that doesn't have any effect on the game; if the story demands the villain we defeat in a scenario gets away then the villain will get away no matter how the scenario plays out. It's like being railroaded in an RPG and it makes me completely tune out.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Xexyz wrote:
I'm going to go against the grain and say I'm not interested in more story unless the story becomes a meaningful part of the gameplay. As it stands, the story bits is just background info that doesn't have any effect on the game; if the story demands the villain we defeat in a scenario gets away then the villain will get away no matter how the scenario plays out. It's like being railroaded in an RPG and it makes me completely tune out.

I empathize, but there's never going to be a way around that. The card game is simple enough that it can only reflect events by providing abstractions. If the villain is running away, then the abstraction from combat is that you fought them off, forced them to retreat or survived an encounter with them (consider an assassin sent to kill you), rather than you slaying them.

I would argue the the gameplay already reflects the story quite heavily, in some sets more than others. Mummy's Mask scenarios where you're trawling through the desert for water (searching for actual water rather than mirages and acid pools), or ones where you've been poisoned (unable to explore easily), or OP scenarios where you're turning into a vampire (cannot explore easily, similar to Curse of Daybane), or S&S scenarios where you're shanghaid into service on a ship and trying to mutiny (only two locations, representing the relative weather around the ship and that's basically all), or Rotr cenarios where you're trying to get a community on your side or literally drag people to safety (acquiring allies).


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Xexyz wrote:

I'm going to go against the grain and say I'm not interested in more story unless the story becomes a meaningful part of the gameplay. As it stands, the story bits is just background info that doesn't have any effect on the game; if the story demands the villain we defeat in a scenario gets away then the villain will get away no matter how the scenario plays out. It's like being railroaded in an RPG and it makes me completely tune out.

I would love to see a branching storyline. It doesn't have to branch very far, but a certain flavor of "you didn't save the princess (which was an optional side quest in a scenario) so the king will not help you here" or "you chose to kill the baron and replace him so now you need to defeat his brother (as an additional henchmen in a later scenario)". At the final AD, the game could branch more completely to a "light side / dark side" finale and that would be a great ending that we could feel a part of.

One bit of advice (which I believe Mike gave before) that really helped me with the story bit was: Let the cards tell the story. It doesn't help the overall story (which I still would like to be better written out) but I keep a little journal for each Adventure Path and when something kooky happens (where DID that undead Great White Shark come from?!? or when an ally EXACTLY fits a need, etc.) I write it down as a little story.

My SnS characters, for example, had to grapple with the chaotic nature of the adventure path and it wore heavily on their collective consciousness...


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IronGiant wrote:
Xexyz wrote:

I'm going to go against the grain and say I'm not interested in more story unless the story becomes a meaningful part of the gameplay. As it stands, the story bits is just background info that doesn't have any effect on the game; if the story demands the villain we defeat in a scenario gets away then the villain will get away no matter how the scenario plays out. It's like being railroaded in an RPG and it makes me completely tune out.

I would love to see a branching storyline. It doesn't have to branch very far, but a certain flavor of "you didn't save the princess (which was an optional side quest in a scenario) so the king will not help you here" or "you chose to kill the baron and replace him so now you need to defeat his brother (as an additional henchmen in a later scenario)". At the final AD, the game could branch more completely to a "light side / dark side" finale and that would be a great ending that we could feel a part of.

I think you'll like my current homebrew project; it's almost done, and I'll post it soon in the homebrew section ;)


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Yep. After playing a lot of Arkham horror lcg, the branching storyline have became definitely my favorite type in card games. There were some early versions Also in Lotr Lcg fan made scenarios where there was brnaching inside one scenario. Do you try to save elf prisoners or do you keep on pushing main task as fast as you can? Even that was Great and did bring replayability to scenario a lot. The branching in story in Arkham horror is even better so any adventure Path that has been developed so that there will be different outcomes and you choises have long term effects will get two thumbs up from me!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

These changes have my group at least willing to be interested in PACG 2.0. We found ourselves 'going through the motions' on Mummy's Mask. Everything combat-centric and no reason to ever be anything other than combat-centric with a splash of anti-barrier was just exhausting after the second set. WotR really did a number on our group. No one enjoyed that set. 6 Players at a table made the Armies and "Everyone fights a..." just an absolute grind. So by the time Mummy's Mask got around, and the mechanics just didn't change enough and the story was bland, we played it because we owned it, but it was more of a chore.

I will parrot Hannibal's love for the Arkham LCG. We're currently on that and can't put it down. LOTR LCG wasn't bad in the later sets. The earlier ones were 'okay'. Legacy board games are enjoying a good go lately and they are fun. Charterstone, Arkham Board Game is getting one, the LCGs, Pandemic...

I'll keep an eye PACG 2.0. But I'm definitely turning off my subscription until I see more. I didn't realize the random "Ultimate" boxes were in the subscription until they arrived. (I wasn't keeping up with PACG by then.)


I think that the combat centric victory conditions can seem a bit of a "rinse and repeat" experience.

I have adapted several of the other adventure paths as well as writing one of my own and it is possible to incorporate "alternative" VCs; usually they are the most challenging and fun ones to play because of it.

Council of Thieves was particularly good for this; the second installment involves getting cast to put on a play - that really tested us when playing it out. Hopefully the re-boot will see an expansion in VCs as we prefer playing our homebrews to the official APs and without evolving properly, the whole thing will probably die which would be tragic.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
gavin kerr wrote:

I think that the combat centric victory conditions can seem a bit of a "rinse and repeat" experience.

I have adapted several of the other adventure paths as well as writing one of my own and it is possible to incorporate "alternative" VCs; usually they are the most challenging and fun ones to play because of it.

Council of Thieves was particularly good for this; the second installment involves getting cast to put on a play - that really tested us when playing it out. Hopefully the re-boot will see an expansion in VCs as we prefer playing our homebrews to the official APs and without evolving properly, the whole thing will probably die which would be tragic.

And I think that was also a problem in PACG v1.0. When you hit those few adventures that weren't combat centric, you were so already over-tooled for combat, everyone suddenly needing Diplomacy or Charisma (Save the town from the flood is one iirc), just left your rolling your eyes and sighing.

That game forced you to be a SWAT team for 7 out of 8 adventures, but now they're like, surprise! Even though you had no real choice, good luck with this goose egg.


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Hello,
We are new PACG players. My hubbie and I are playing through the Rise of the Runelords Base game and all adventures.
WE LOVE THIS GAME!!!

We are so excited to see more coming out and we will be keeping a close eye on this post.

These are the things we like about this game and hope don't get removed in the new set:
1. Cooperative - Some cooperative games are horrible because you will have one dominant personality take over and play for everyone else. That doesn't happen in this game! You help each other YET you are your own character that nobody else can be!! YAYA! LOVE IT.
2. Sometimes it's hard to win. I love a challenge. I play Seoni and many times I am almost dead. That makes it so exciting and funn. My hubbie plays Valeros and has to try to figure out how to save me!! I blow through my deck too fast since I love my arcane d12 power hahaha. I love Seoni!!!!
3. You can die! DArk Souls is my favorite video game. The fact that you can die in this game and lose everything is AWESOME. It makes it scarey and exciting and wonderful!!!
4. The setup is super fun! I love shuffling the cards and drawing random cards for the locations. I always wonder where the villian went when I put those cards on the locations. I love the setup!!
5. The card box. I love going into the card box when a monster is summoned or you have to grab a random item, etc. I love the box and the way the game is organized. Super fun!
6. Character Progression - My favorite part is levling up Seoni and using her all the way through the campaign.
7. Share with friends - It's easy to have a game night and do a mini campaign with friends!!!

Keep up the great work!! You have brought us many many hours of joy and many more to come!!!!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Most of these things won't be changing. The details of some may vary a bit; for example, we intend to provide more flexibility with setting challenge level, and refinements to the dying rules. The biggest change with respect to your list will be with the box. The general principles for organizing cards will be the same, but we're looking to increase flexibility and efficiency with the actual box design. Which is to say that we hope you'll love it even more.


I'm generally a believer that anything and everything you need to know to play a card game should be printed on the cards and so I agree with concerns that the game will get mired in keywords. Legendary Marvel is my second favourite card game but every new expansion adds some key words that the players have to know. At this point, that means keeping the stack of expansion rules sheets nearby to refer to them every time somebody needs to know what Lightshow or Cheering Crowds means.

As for the extra story, I'm divided on it. While I'm big on my games being thematic, the big draw for me in PACG is that it gives me a satisfactory amount of RPG without having a pile of reference books on hand. You know how long running RPGs can get.

"I'm firing my bow."
"That's in the core rule book."
"It's a longbow of twangy death."
"Then we cross reference with the bows and slings equipment supplement."
"And I'm firing a blaze arrow +1."
"And the munitions equipment supplement."
"And I'm an elf."
"Also cross referenced with the elf race guidebook..."
"A dark elf."
"...the expanded elf race guidebook. And since you're shooting at an enraged battle orc we'll need the bestiary #6, third edition."
"Don't forget that it's a Tuesday."
"Oh right.... I think I forgot the Tuesday supplements at home!"

My point is, if the extra story comes in any form other than being printed on a card, it will be lost on me. I suspect it will be lost in general. I've been playing PACG from the beginning and not once has anyone ever asked what the backstory is. However I have frequently had this exchange:

"We have to do x because of y."
"How do you know that?"
"It's in the rulebook."
*collective groan from the entire table*


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Because some of the Class deck character would become obsolete with the new set and new rules would it be possible to get erratas to those classdeck character. Maybe to Paizo store or even inside the new core box!
So your old character that have powers that has no meaning in the new ruleset would be usefull and those who don`t have those class decks, could use those errated clas deck characters as an extra character in their Pathfinder next edition game. Win, win situation to my eye!


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TFGenesis wrote:

I'm generally a believer that anything and everything you need to know to play a card game should be printed on the cards and so I agree with concerns that the game will get mired in keywords.

You think you mean this. You don't.

What you have said means that you want the sequence of every turn printed on the cards, you want the rule about being able to help with any other player's check but not able to defeat any card on behalf of any other player, about how to handle a villain's being found and closing/blocking locations, and taking blessings from the blessings deck if you fail to defeat the villain and taking them from the box if you don't, remainders about what "a die" means on a card that adds one, the precise meanings of recharge, reveal, discard, bury, banish...

I've made cards on Drive Thru before. That paragraph, which is merely a summary of some of the rules you're talking about putting onto cards, would pretty much fill a card. You haven't left any room for a card to do what it does, in favour of talking about what every card does. That's what the rulebook is for.

TFGenesis wrote:

"We have to do x because of y."

"How do you know that?"
"It's in the rulebook."
*collective groan from the entire table*

If your players don't feel like learning the rules of the game they're playing, that's on them. The majority of the rest of us are fine, thanks.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm a serious fan of virtually every type of card game, and am well-acquainted with a great many varieties of the genre. That can potentially compromise my ability to judge what may or may not be 'too much' for a new player to learn, because a lot of elements come naturally to me that may not be representative of the target audience.

Personally, however, I completely agree with Axoq above. A common misconception with keywords - including in Card games - is that they mean you have to learn more. In truth, you often have to learn something different rather than something additional, and it often makes the game faster to learn as well as saving on card space. Magic the Gathering has very clearly-defined, simple 'evergreen' keywords that, when replaced with the full rules text, makes a relatively simple card appear complex and easy-to-misinterpret. To try to make a PACG abstraction, compare the following.

Example Item:
"Discard this card to add a die to a local check, or to evade a bane you encounter, or to reroll your check results."

Example Item:
"You may choose to discard this card whilst a character at your location is making a check to add an additional base die of a size equal to that of the skill being used for this check. No other items may be played on this check.
When you flip over a monster or a barrier, you may choose to discard this card to shuffle that card back into the deck instead of encountering it. It is neither defeated nor undefeated.
After tallying the results of a check made by your character, you may discard this card to reroll all dice rolled on that check; take the new result. No other items may be played on this check."

A discussion on that example:
Note that I have used at least one keyword from the playtest ("local") but otherwise used some shorthand elements, including universally accepted keywords/phrases like "Bane" and "add a die" in the first example. In the second example, I spelled out some of those terms, breaking them up into 'core' elements that would be less reliant on rulebook information (such as only playing one card per type onto a check - which is going to become stricter with the upcoming rules changes).

By removing any semblance of keywords, and assuming less knowledge by the player; not only have I made the card less readable I've arguably actually made it harder to learn. A new player needs to read and re-read about 120 rather than 25, and they need to untangle additional details which are normally ascribed whole paragraphs in the rulebook (like what "a die" is when its added to a check).

Obviously, the example is a poorly-conceived one for a few reasons, but I think it still helps paint a picture as to how keywords are the friends of new players as well as old, rather than the enemy. Players quickly grasp "what" a card does based on small clues rather than having to read large paragraphs and try to link them up with other paragraphs. Players pretty intuitively pick up that weapons are used in combat and what "For your combat check" means, and they pretty intuitively pick up that defeating Villains causes closes even though it doesn't say that on the card.

On the other hand, players (in my experience) often have trouble checking that "a character at your location" includes themselves, or "any check" includes characters at other locations. These can be clarified on the cards themselves, but you'd be almost doubling the card text on a given blessing, let alone something like Blessing of Maat, rendering a pretty elegant, understandable card with a replacement, post-roll add and defense functionality into a series of long paragraphs trying to define long-understood terms.

In my opinion, to sum up.
-Keywords have always existed, just not by that name. "Recharge", "Bane", "Boon" and "Evade" are obvious ones, but strictly speaking even words like "You" or "Any" or "Check" or "Defeat" or "Die" (as in, a singular dice) or "Dies" (as in, character death) or even "Discard" are all shorthand words to describe a particular condition or situation that players almost never have any issue with. With new keywords incoming to potentially shorten other common situations like "At your location" or "You may play another X on this check" the game actually becomes easier to remember and interpret in many cases, not harder.
-A major role of the rulebook, when well-designed, is to limit or eliminate misconceptions. When players are unsure; they refer to it.
-The sole role of a card, when well-designed, is to allow a player to do something or interact with the game. Spelling out the conditions and expectations in a wordy manner makes the card less readable and more confusing, even if it strictly allows for less room for misconceptions.

(As an example, since "Recharge" has been a keyword since the inception of the game, I'd be very happy to see a keyword introduced for "Place on top of your deck", which has become more and more common in design space in post-MM Class Decks.)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Oh boy! Imagine having to type out what Recharge means in every card? we would actually take 10 steps backwards and be extremely limited in what a card can do. Cards can only have so many words as it is.

Learning how to recharge a card isnt that high of a learning curve that you have to explain it in every card. Apply same concept to other mechanics.

I get that if there is a new mechanic or keyword we would need to briefly explain it until everyone is used to it much like new keywords in Magic: the Gathering. However for basic actions that we are already used to, I am sure even the slower learners can pick up keywords like Heal much like they did for Discard, Recharge, Bury, etc.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
bbKabag wrote:
Oh boy! Imagine having to type out what Recharge means in every card? we would actually take 10 steps backwards and be extremely limited in what a card can do. Cards can only have so many words as it is.

"My favourite thing about RotR Seoni is that she automatically passes checks to put-spells-on-the-bottom-of-her-character-deck-instead-of-discard!"


I'm all for keywords, but their number and intuitiveness play a big role in how helpful they are.

A common criticism of Apocrypha is that there are simply too many keywords and symbols on the cards. Each card is its own "what does this do?" puzzle (not in a good way), making it difficult for new players to learn. I'm still not 100% sure what some of the cards do, and I played through the entire 18-scenario base set of Apocrypha. (Which I quite enjoyed, by the way.)

It's been suggested that the definitions of common PACG keywords might be spelled out on certain base set cards (where there's physical space on the card), and in higher # adventures the definitions could be dropped. This is exactly what Wizards of the Coast does with MTG, and it works well - particularly for new players.


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I noticed at GenCon a lot players grabbing location cards as they are hard to read (we were using the mat and everyone was seated around the table) and remember "While at this location" effect. Maybe enlarging just the location deck so anyone at the table can read it would be nice.


WaterScorpion wrote:
Maybe enlarging just the location deck so anyone at the table can read it would be nice.

Agree 1000%. This is one of my standing recommendations in the "What would you change?" thread.

It's one of those things that solo players never notice and multi-player folks notice all the time. Honestly, if I were allowed to change only one aspect of PACG, this might be it.

A while-we're-waiting fix: Place each location card in front of the player at that location. But that only really works if there's one player per location.

A non-physical fix for the new version would be to provide a free PACG database of all locations that is easily accessible by phone.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Despite all of the advantages that are coming with the redesign of the game (and don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see these changes), I think I see one disadvantage that I don't recall being brought up in the forum discussions so far.

As it stands right now, I can pull out any of the four existing APs (or the OP seasons) and play a campaign. I can even have four (or more, depending upon the number of characters being used) campaigns being run concurrently - at least one in each AP box.

With the redesign of a core box plus an AP box required to play, though, I'll need a core box for each AP box in order to do that. Either that or I'm going to have to do some serious bookkeeping and split the core box cards from an AP in order to play a scenario in another AP, and this can be a pain when those core cards are in characters' decks.

So even though we might see an absolute price reduction overall (AP boxes will cost less than current AP boxes because the core cards are in another set), we either won't realize this overall savings (if we buy a core box for each AP box), won't be able to play concurrently in each AP (if we don't have a core box for each AP box), or will have to exercise very inefficient bookkeeping methods to split core box cards out from AP boxes in order to play in other APs.

I still think we're seeing a gain overall with the new core box methodology, but it's only fair to point out the cons when we see them.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Brother Tyler wrote:

With the redesign of a core box plus an AP box required to play, though, I'll need a core box for each AP box in order to do that. Either that or I'm going to have to do some serious bookkeeping and split the core box cards from an AP in order to play a scenario in another AP, and this can be a pain when those core cards are in characters' decks.

So even though we might see an absolute price reduction overall (AP boxes will cost less than current AP boxes because the core cards are in another set), we either won't realize this overall savings (if we buy a core box for each AP box), won't be able to play concurrently in each AP (if we don't have a core box for each AP box), or will have to exercise very inefficient bookkeeping methods to split core box cards out from AP boxes in order to play in other APs.

This has occurred to me too, although with only one new full AP using the core set for the foreseeable future, this isn't going to be a real problem for a while. And the original four will still be playable separately -- I don't believe they're requiring those four be played with the core set. I think the backwards compatibility refers to rules changes, which should easily be implemented.

Being able to play five games simultaneously is probably going to be enough for most people.


Assuming pricing is similar to what it is now, the break even point is the number of simultaneous campaigns you want to have going. Most folks only have one, so it's going to pay off very quickly. Our local Guild organizers max out at two tables running simultaneously, so even for them it's going to be cheaper eventually. (If I were them, I'd only get one Core set and run a new and an old one for the first few years.)

Overall it sounds like a win to me. :)

Grand Lodge

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We need an app like the one for Apocrypha that lets you track your decks (though it'd need to be expanded to track removed-from-game cards) online.


James McKendrew wrote:
We need an app like the one for Apocrypha that lets you track your decks (though it'd need to be expanded to track removed-from-game cards) online.

I can't believe there still isn't something like this, even fan-made. For most other games I play that require deckbuilding, I've easily found apps to keep track of multiple decks. I haven't been able to find anything for PACG. It wasn't a big deal prior to Ultimate decks, but now I have several society campaigns going on simultaneously (which as Brother Tyler mentioned will also cause a problem in the future APs), and although I like to play different character classes in each, sometimes I end up using the same Ultimate Deck.

Currently, I'm using a spreadsheet to keep track of my decks, but it would save quite a bit of time if there was an app out there. (And unfortunately I don't have any app coding skills to make one myself.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Dulcee wrote:
James McKendrew wrote:
We need an app like the one for Apocrypha that lets you track your decks (though it'd need to be expanded to track removed-from-game cards) online.
I can't believe there still isn't something like this, even fan-made.

Perhaps if Paizo (or an app developer) sees that there's a market for such...

EDIT: I've created a new topic here in General Discussion to address the question.

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