Core Principles: Rethinking Complexity in the Pathfinder ACG, Part 1

Friday, January 25, 2019

Last week, perhaps you heard a great exhaling from here in the Pacific Northwest: We shipped the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Core Set and the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path to our printer Cartamundi for production.

I've said before that each set takes on the personality of one of my talented co-designers—Chad Brown for Rise of the Runelords, Gaby Weidling for Skull & Shackles, Tanis O'Connor for the Class Decks and Organized Play, Paul Peterson for Wrath of the Righteous, and Liz Spain for Mummy's Mask. Curse of the Crimson Throne is Keith Richmond's set. He came to Lone Shark in early 2015 specifically to work on that product. Four years later, he waved it out the door. I'm sure he'll tell you lots more about it soon.

However, after many months of design from the whole team, the Core Set ended up taking on my personality in a very different way. As part of our goals for these sets—which have already included adding more story and providing more variability—we wanted to subject the game to a withering assault of streamlining and clarification. The game needed to become less complex so you just get it out of the gate.

Developer/editor Aviva Schecterson and I form the editing core of Lone Shark. When we made the decision to remold—not reboot—the game around a new base set, Aviva and I pledged that we were going to clean up everything. All the rough edges, all the open bug-tracking issues, all the holes in the timing sequence, all the terms that didn't quite mean what we wanted them to mean. All of it was going to be exactly right. For one moment in time, before we found new things to complicate it, this 10,000-card game was going to be smooth.

I don't think Vic was quite ready for how far we were willing to go. Vic and I spent a solid six months in editing and polishing the two sets, renaming and rethinking concepts as we went. When we were done, we had a very different but wholly compatible set of cards—996 of them, to be exact—that continue the legacy of this deep and evolving game line.

There's one thing we knew we wouldn't change: the name of the game. The words "Pathfinder Adventure Card Game" are on the card back, and we want you to be able to mix and match generation 1 cards with generation 2 cards, so the card back can't change, nor can the name. (Also, can you tell we play a lot of Pokémon Go in the office?)

But the card fronts... man, just look what Sarah and Sonja made you.

I now wish we'd thought to give the Riding Allosaurus Wyrmsmite to chew on.

Here are a few Loot cards from the Core Set. First off, there's that Loot word. It's in a trait box in the lower right (things moved a bit, because sometimes things move a bit). And that means Loot is a trait, not a card type. It's got a check to acquire, which means that if you decide you don't want to keep it after you earn it, you can still find and acquire it later.

We also eliminated most of the "objects" in the game. No, I don't mean items like Caltrops and Compass. I mean the grammatical objects like "this card." Instead of saying "reveal this card," Wyrmsmite just says "reveal." You're holding it in your hand as you're reading it, so it's not going to be any other card. (When we need to differentiate between the card you're reading and another card, we do so explicitly, like in "Recharge this card and another card.") The display template also went through some radical changes to make it more intuitive and less of a dense wall of text.

Sometimes we changed a long phrase to a single word. The word reload is an Apocrypha term that's new to PACG, but it's a concept that has been in the game since the beginning: it just means "put on top of your deck." One word instead of six. But also, we needed that word. That's because we really wanted to use that concept. Here's how often the concept appeared in each of the Adventure Paths we've created to date:

  • Rise of the Runelords: 7
  • Skull & Shackles: 9
  • Wrath of the Righteous: 15
  • Mummy's Mask: 9
  • Core/Curse of the Crimson Throne: 111

When you want to use a concept nearly three times as often as you've used it in all the Adventure Paths you've created so far, you need a new term for that. Enter "reload."

"At your location" and "at another location" went through a similar transition. We introduced local and distant to mean those things. All of a sudden, our vocabulary opened up. "A local character" was obviously better than "a character at your location," but also "a local check" was far better than "a check by a character at your location."

Rovagug gets TWO different blessings in Core. Pray he does not eat the rest.

The name "blessings deck" changed for a deeper gameplay reason. In Rise of the Runelords, the name made perfect sense because it only ever contained blessings. But in Skull & Shackles, we shuffled in the villain Brinebones. In Wrath of the Righteous, Khorramzadeh got the same treatment. In Mummy's Mask, all sorts of things—Sandstorms, Conflagrations, Forgotten Pharaoh Cultists, Sun Falcons, even scourges—ended up there. So we needed a name for that deck that didn't imply that everything in it was a blessing. We decided to focus on the deck's function as a timer, so we named it the hourglass. Once we had that, it became much easier to talk about the hour rather than "the top card of the blessings discard pile." And now nearly every blessing has a power that affects the turn while it's the hour.

Once we got rid of "blessings deck," the word deck itself got an overhaul. We simplified "location deck" to just location. (When we say "examine the top card of your location," we don't think you'll think of the card with the name of the location on it.) With those changes in place, that means the word "deck" now refers solely to character's decks.

The concept of the "adventure deck number" has also been rethought. It used to mean either of two very different things: "the scenario's adventure deck number" has been replaced with the symbol #, while the number in the upper right corner of a card is now the card's level. For example, the Veteran bane Traitor has a difficulty to defeat of 9+##, meaning 9 plus twice the number of the adventure you're playing. And his power increases the difficulty of his check by the level of the ally you discard. Tricky guy.

And now we can say things like "if the hour's level is 0, reload," which is so much better than "if the top card of the blessings discard pile has an adventure deck number of 0, put this card on top of your deck."

We've also borrowed some tricks from Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild and from Obsidian's Pathfinder Adventures app. We cull cards adventure-by-adventure, as we've been doing in PFS, and we do so by removing them from the vault, a Pathfinder Adventures term that describes the subset of cards in the box you're playing with right now.

And because we cull by level, we are able to make a sweeping change: removing the traits Basic and Elite. These have been on my hit list for a long time. New players would conflate Basic with "Base Set" too often for my taste, and Elite never pulled its own weight. Now when you build your starting deck, you do it with Level 0 cards. Easy.

We're aware these changes will alter a small number of past cards on more than a cosmetic level. Cards like Vestments of Authority and Named Bullet care about the Basic and Elite traits, and now need to care about something else. Adamantine weapons ignore powers that increase the difficulty of checks, but since the # concept moves the difficulty increase out of the powers box and into the check itself, those cards need a tweak to function properly. The rulebook includes brief conversion notes that cover a lot of these cases, such as explaining that level 0 is the new Basic. We are working on a short list of cards that need attention beyond that, and we'll happily accept your help ferreting out any more.

Speaking of new features in the rulebook, we've added a glossary that lists all of the important game terms (more than 100 of them, can you believe?) along with page references to tell you where to find the related rules. And when one of those game terms is introduced, we bold it—just like we've done in this blog post—to let you know it's a game term and to help you find it again later.

I've run out of pixels for this blog, but I've still got a lot more to show you on this subject. Next time I'll show you what we did with cards like characters, spells, items, banes, and locations. I think you'll like what you see.

Mike Selinker
Lead Designer, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

P.S. Though the name of the game isn't changing, there is an important change to the front of the box: In addition to "A Game by Mike Selinker," each box now features the names of the designers of that set. For Core and Curse, it's me, Chad Brown, Aviva Schecterson, Liz Spain, and of course Keith Richmond. Credit well deserved, says me.

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kimmo_makinen wrote:
This new radically different design makes it a complete nightmare when trying to teach the game to new players: "Yes, this weapon is just like that other weapon. The cards just look different and all the important data is located on different places. Other questions?". Unless of course players just treat these games as different games and be done with it.

This should only be a significant problem if you have old and new cards mixed together when teaching a new player. The only time such a practice will be completely unavoidable is in organized play, where the character decks are old and you're playing a new season. Under most conditions, you should be able to teach a new player using a pure old or new set, so there should be no confusion. Getting a new player to a basic level of proficiency generally requires playing through a complete adventure (not a complete AP, mind you), after which point you should be able to introduce them to the other (old/new) cards with only a little more confusion than the rest of us are going to face as we become familiar with the differences in the two card layouts. I think that saying that it's going to be a "nightmare" is grossly overstating things (as long as you do things prudently). And given the level of effort to maximize backwards compatibility and minimize friction when mingling cards, treating old and new as completely different games seems unfair (and you might be artificially limiting your fun without giving things a fair shot).

Complaints about placement of information on cards making it difficult to see/find things when they're held in hand are spurious - no matter how you arrange the information, something is going to be hidden. That's true for the new arrangement just as it's true for the old arrangement. It's a non-argument - noise.

That said, my initial reaction to the new card layout was negative. It's not the arrangement so much as the decorations - the swirls and background. There are some things about the new arrangement that I really like, though, such as the better visibility of card type colors. The streamlining of text/keywords allows for more economical use of space. Also, one of the complaints levied at the old layout was that it was plain, and the new layout certainly counters that complaint (perhaps more than some of us would like, but there's definitely no more room to complain about cards being "plain"). I think that a better indicator of the quality of the new card layout will come from new players - ask new players which layout is easier for them to understand and better for facilitating game play (and more attractive to them). While each of us has our subjective opinions about the new layout, there is probably a significant degree of bias because we're familiar and comfortable with the old layout and the new layout is ... gasp ... different.

And as was quite rightly said, it's a done deal. We probably just need to get over it and learn to deal with the things we don't like about the new layout (and maybe admit that there are things about the old layout that we don't like).

Ultimately, we're going to have to actually play the new PACG and see whether or not we "get it" before our complaints will have true validity. There are bound to be some bits of friction, especially when mixing old and new - this is a heavily text-based game and there have been bits of friction as each of the previous APs was introduced. Any game has to change and grow, though, if it is to remain viable. If in the aggregate the technical changes are improvements (while retaining backwards compatibility), I think that we can (or at least we should) deal with the subjective bits that we don't like. Following the path of Monopoly/Munchkin where "change and growth" simply means re-skinning can be kind of fun sometimes, but making actual technical improvements to a game, though difficult to implement and painful to accept, provides better overall growth.


With campaigns being a single box now, does that kill the thrill of receiving new cards (adventures) every few months?

What are the subscription options like going forward?

Will will be waiting six months to a year for new (non-Society) content?


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I have been removed from PACG for the better part of a year or 2 now, and this morning was the first time I saw the game is getting an updated format...a "not 2nd edition" as they are calling it.

I like the new overall concept. The base set + adventure paths being single individual purchases, rather than lots of smaller bits that grow over time is a more appealing prospect to me. With the overall cost being less for the consumer than the old format, I'd even be ok with the Adventure Paths being fewer scenarios...as the existing ones were simply too long.

I like some the the gameplay changes, such as the hours and the variable location sizes.

The story...I've read that the approach is changing, which is a good thing. The old way had so little effect that it was barely worth telling. That being said, if the new format is just a situation of telling a more in-depth story before you start playing for another 1-2 hours without any more mention of the story DURING gameplay...then this will be a missed opportunity, in my opinion. The problem with the story to me is that once you get past the introduction to the scenario, the story is easily forgotten once you get into the rhythm of gameplay. Having story that evolves during the course of play makes the story feel more important and integrated to me. Perhaps as you close x number of locations, or the hourglass progresses through y number of hours, the story progresses with some additional context about the scenario.

The card design is both good and bad. As a point of reference, the old card design wasn't bad...it was just a little bit bland at times...but it seemed quite functional. It was familiar in that it had a format similar to other popular games. For the new card design, as mentioned, there are positives and negatives.

The positives: while the separation of different text around the card is a bit jarring now because it is different, I can imagine that in time the format will actually become useful, and make it easy to find the different types of info you are looking for. I actually don't mind the blue areas being a bit more bold than the old cards, as the old cards were a bit too muted in my opinion.

The negatives: The background of the card is too busy, and distracts from the more important content on the card (and a background should rarely...if EVER...do that). It's as though the criticism that the old cards were too bland was overcompensated for with this new design, and now it's TOO much. Other than that, the border around the Blessing/Ally/Monster artwork looks very rough, as though the person who created it doesn't have much experience with the pen tool in Illustrator/InDesign, or simply rushed it (with poor results). The swirls on the inside of the art frame are even worse. They have mistakes on them that I would have been down-graded for in my first year of graphic design school. I also hope not all the Allies/Monsters are going to be focused on zooming in so much on the artwork. I personally like seeing more of the subject matter.

So, overall...the concept of the new release of PACG seems refreshing with some good gameplay changes, a change in story, and a card design that needs some fixes before going to print (which unfortunately sounds like it already has...).


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I think most of the changes being introduced with the new format are either improvements (one box to buy per adventure path, more distinct differences in the colors of different types of cards) or neutral changes at worst (some of the new terms, reorganizing the layout).

However, the art is a step backwards. Was this opened to community input the way some PFS 2.0 changes have been (like chronicle sheets)? If so, I sure missed it. Since the art is a mostly subjective aspect of the cards, this would have been a good move.

I also dislike the swirl, but I'd rather focus on the shrinking space for art. I have bought class decks I wasn't even sure I'd end up playing because, if nothing else, I enjoyed the art. This was especially true of the cards which really took advantage of the space available, like spells. Flipping through the spells of a deck is always more fun than flipping through, say, the weapons. Sure, a sword in a big open rectangle and a sword in a portrait oval are similar, but it will be a shame to lose the larger space for the cards which took advantage of the space.

The following cards were featured in blog posts this past year. Rightfully so, as some feature beautiful art! Now imagine using a portrait oval copping tool and how the result will underwhelm compared with the original art:

Go to Entice spell.

Go to Icicle Swarm spell.

Go to Leshykineticist ally.

Or these examples of a barrier and a scourge from Mummy's Mask:

Go to Dry Quicksand barrier.

Go to Curse of the Mummy scourge.

The art on locations have always been a highlight as well, but I haven't seen art for locations yet. Maybe their art hasn't been nerfed.

Calthaer wrote:
cartmanbeck wrote:
I don't think you can use objectively here when there are those of us, like me, that actually like the new designs. Just sayin'.
You might be in the minority there, Tyler. But...they have already gone to the printer, so there's not much point in commenting on it further. It will be what it will be, and the rest of the excellent improvements will surely make up for it.

True, the art for the base set and Curse won't change, but those of us who love the art can hope for some changes before the next set is produced. Everything else on the cards could remain unchanged, but the art could be improved, which would lead to a more enjoyable experience for many without making the cards difficult to use with the ones currently being produced. We can hope.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Keep in mind, we haven't seen what spell, barrier or support cards will look like. We already see that some types of cards have an oval window while some have squares. It is possible other types will have shapes and sizes for art.


Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Keep in mind, we haven't seen what spell, barrier or support cards will look like. We already see that some types of cards have an oval window while some have squares. It is possible other types will have shapes and sizes for art.

This is true. Let's hope I jumped the gun!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Just lightly reminding that the artwork is actually the same size as for normal cards; flip them 90 degrees and it fills a virtually identical space, with as much 'new' room from the outskirts of the oval to overcome the small cutoff on the 'corners' of the oval. It simply - at least for the card types seen here - covers more verticality with a portrait shot, rather than a landscape.

Lone Shark Games

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Whipstitch wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Keep in mind, we haven't seen what spell, barrier or support cards will look like. We already see that some types of cards have an oval window while some have squares. It is possible other types will have shapes and sizes for art.
This is true. Let's hope I jumped the gun!

You jumped the gun. We'll have previews of spells and barriers and such next time.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm looking forward to getting back into PACG so this is all welcome news. Now that I can finally see some of the cards and changes, the fact that it's going to be a new experience in the same universe has really hit home, too. That's how it always felt jumping from editions of my favorite tabletop or Civilization game, and the new layout/UI was something to anticipate (and complain about, right?).

I especially like the move towards condensed terminology, and I hope healing was one of them. It also remains to be seen how long it takes before we see "linguistic pretzels" trying to explain something that takes a page in a paragraph, something I always smile (and groan) at.

The other place my mind goes is customization, one of my favorite activities while waiting between releases. Oooh how soon can we figure out how to make custom cards with this new setup, and how does the new art-inna-window change the work/reward ratio if we care about authentic looking cards?

For example, it takes me a lot of time to prepare card art that isolates the subject when my source art didn't start that way. I have to lift it from backgrounds and clean it before I can use it. Whether more cards adopting this art style vs. edge to edge pictures is something I'm gonna be watching.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Make any hints on what awaits those of us hoping for more story elements to the game?

Lone Shark Games

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Malcolm Serabian wrote:
Make any hints on what awaits those of us hoping for more story elements to the game?
Blog wrote:
As part of our goals for these sets—which have already included adding more story


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I've been away form the blog for a while but back after I picked up some recent class decks. It's a pleasant surprise to see all the new news on the PACG!

I'm a fan of all the changes except for (as others have stated) the card backgrounds. The layout and communication on them is awesome, but the back ground design is very distracting and unappealing. Even though the art itself may be the same size as the past, it somehow *looks* smaller. Frankly the cards look to me like they were amateur home brewed on DTRPG/Cards.

I realize these have left the gate but I sure wish they kept the front of the cards' backgrounds as they were in the original version. I thought the colored borders for card type distinction and overall clean design were wonderful.


I'm hoping The Dragon's Demand being the adventure in Core is a hint of things to come.

The APs are no longer doled out over six products and six months but, instead, are a single "big box" expansion. This addresses the folks who lamented about having to wait month-to-month to run through the rest of the AP, but what about the subscribers who enjoyed getting Something New Every Month (Or So)?

What's smaller than an Adventure Path? Pathfinder Modules!

Imagine shipping a much smaller, standalone, 109-card Module-based adventure every month (or even every quarter), based off the 50 or so Modules that have already been released. Because these boxes would be standalone (and variable-difficulty-based for those who want to use existing higher-level characters), players wouldn't have to sit around waiting for "the next part of the adventure" because it's complete in-box. There's also a greater incentive for new players to continue their involvement at the $20 "small box" price point instead of the $50 "big box". Retailers would have more incentive to keep the standalones in stock too.

Please tell me this is the plan and has already been mentioned in a blog post I've missed.


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I hate to say it, but the new cards have serious wording problems that make the game more complex, even with the new keywords.
A couple examples:

Riding Allosaurus

"Recharge to move. You may not use this power during an encounter.
On a local combat check recharge to add 1d6.
Discard to explore. This exploration, on your first combat check add 1d6."

The problem with this card, and also others previewed, is that the action keywords are in different parts of the sentences. The second sentence is an outlier on the text. This hinders a quick understanding of the cards with multiple abilities. If you want to streamline the game with key words, you should keep those keywords at one specific part of the sentence.

Such as:

"Recharge to move. You may not use this power during an encounter.
Recharge to add 1d6 to a local combat check.
Discard to explore and add 1d6 to your first combat check that exploration."

This puts the activation cost before the on effect on each ability. Keeping sentence structure universal.

Wyrmsmite is worded as:

"For your combat check, reveal to use Strength or Melee + 1d8 + 2; against a Dragon bane add 1d10. If proficient, you may additionally reload to add another 1d4.
When a local character suffers damage, recharge it to reduce it by 4."

First of all, the word proficient by itself is meaningless to people unfamiliar with the game.
More importantly, considering the name of the card is "Wyrmsmite", I would assume the card is more powerful against dragons meaning "an additional 1d10 with the 1d8+2", but the card reads as though it might also say "1d10 instead of 1d8+2". This is especially confusing if the last ability uses the word "additionally".
Finally, the phrase, "When 'X' suffers damage..." seems unnecessary. Players will instinctually want to use this ability when damage is dealt. If the concern is that players will use the ability when no damage is available, there are ways around it.

If I'm correct, the card would read better (ignoring the Riding Allosaurus suggestion above) as:

"For your combat check, reveal this card to use Strength or Melee+1d8+2. If that card is a Dragon bane add another 1d10.
If Weapon proficient, you may additionally reload this card to add another 1d4.
Recharge to reduce up to 4 damage that was suffered by a local character."

Another idea I've always felt the game needed was to streamline the text for when you can use the cards. Phrases like "For your Combat check" seem to unnecessarily drag out the text, as it makes the player search for the times when the power can be used. Games work best when specific timing is highlighted first (preferably with another color of text"

Ideally, I would think the text for Wyrmsmite would best be read as:

"Combat: Reveal this card to use Strength or Melee + 1d8 + 2. Add an additional 1d10 against a Dragon bane.
[Weapon Proficient symbol]: Reload to add another 1d4 to this attack.
Recharge to reduce 4 damage dealt to a local character."

Outside of that, the new cards look great. The more colorful template is catchy and makes distinguishing different types of cards easier. The placement of the cards attributes next to the powers keeps the "in hand" text in one place and, therefore, not getting it mixed up with the "acquire/defeat" and "deck construction" text.


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sweetestsadist wrote:

"Combat: Reveal this card to use Strength or Melee + 1d8 + 2. Add an additional 1d10 against a Dragon bane.

[Weapon Proficient symbol]: Reload to add another 1d4 to this attack.
Recharge to reduce 4 damage dealt to a local character."

Ideally, this is what I would have liked to see the game evolve towards as well. I've lost count of the number of times I've mistakenly misplayed a card because I was reading it too quickly and missed a word towards the end of the paragraph of instructions. Magic: the Gathering also started out with rather verbose instructions, but they quickly moved to a more concise and consistent format which greatly improved card readability.

Although given that the RPG has a similar problem, I don't anticipate the game moving in this direction. It would be nice to at least keep it under consideration, though.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
sweetestsadist wrote:


First of all, the word proficient by itself is meaningless to people unfamiliar with the game.

Um... You'd think that would be explained in the rules? I would think many of the words is meaningless more or less for people unfamiliar with the game without reading the rules/learning the rules from someone familiar with the game.


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Morbus Iff wrote:

Pathfinder Modules!

Imagine shipping a much smaller, standalone, 109-card Module-based adventure every month...
Please tell me this is the plan ...

I sure hope this is the plan!


Robb the Pathfinder wrote:
Morbus Iff wrote:

Pathfinder Modules!

Imagine shipping a much smaller, standalone, 109-card Module-based adventure every month...
Please tell me this is the plan ...

I sure hope this is the plan!

I'm not expecting anything every month, as part of the problem before was having too much product. 4-6 products per year seems more likely, perhaps spread out among:


  • 1 large story (AP, ~500 cards)
  • 1 smaller story (~250 cards)
  • 1-2 Short stories (~55-110 cards)
  • 2-3 New class decks and reprints/revamps of ones that go out of print (~110 cards).

Add in the Guild scenarios and you've got a lot of things to do during a year of gaming.


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sweetestsadist wrote:

The problem with this card, and also others previewed, is that the action keywords are in different parts of the sentences. The second sentence is an outlier on the text. This hinders a quick understanding of the cards with multiple abilities. If you want to streamline the game with key words, you should keep those keywords at one specific part of the sentence.

Such as:

"Recharge to move. You may not use this power during an encounter.
Recharge to add 1d6 to a local combat check.
Discard to explore and add 1d6 to your first combat check that exploration."

This puts the activation cost before the on effect on each ability. Keeping sentence structure universal.

I disagree. Your suggested structure makes it more difficult to scan cards for relevant conditional abilities. Each time I look at the card, I have to read the whole second power to figure out if it does or doesn't apply to my situation.

By putting "local combat check" first, I can quickly scan my hand for cards that apply to local combat checks when I need to, and can safely skip reading the whole second power when it doesn't apply.


I haven't seen much talk on this...

How does everyone feel about core box + adventure?

I don't think I'm a fan.

Cards from the core box will get worn more than adventure cards [once more than one adventure is out]. But that's minor. Of higher importance is it will likely make the game less flavorful. I liked how the Adventure Path boxes had ALL cards. It made the product both easier to get into for folks, but ALSO (and more importantly), each adventure could maximize flavor. For instance, I couldn't imagine that "book" theme that Wrath did succeeding very well if you're always stuck with the same core box cards. It was nice how all boons and all monsters were carefully selected for the adventure path. This feels like a step backwards in that respect.

(I am definitely looking forward to the book-based adventures with more room, rather than having to fit those on cards.)

EDIT: Core box says 1-4 players. Curse box says 1-6 players. What's up with that?

Lone Shark Games

emky wrote:
EDIT: Core box says 1-4 players. Curse box says 1-6 players. What's up with that?

When playing with 5 or 6 players, you can run the Core box out of cards in specific circumstances. You can play with just Core and 5 or 6 players, but every now and then you'll be "Where did all my allies go?" or something like that.

We don't have a Character Add-On Deck product for Core (we put all 12 iconics in). So we tell you that if you want a large group, add a Class Deck or two, or an Adventure Path like Curse of the Crimson Throne, and you'll be fine.


Responding to the question, "What do you think of the format of a Core set plus adventure path sets?": it gets a big thumbs-up from me.

I have all four PACG sets, in entirety, but the price point was extremely high compared to other games. MSRP was about $180 for entire thing. I've lost count of the number of BGG forum threads on which I've defended the game against critics who say it doesn't give enough bang for the buck.

The new system of a single $60 box and a series of $50 box makes the game much more accessible, IMO. If the buzz is big enough about any one set, new gamers might spring for the $110 package, knowing that opens up the possibility of playing other full-path expansions for just $50.

And keep in mind:
- There's a slew of class decks from which to add boons to your core set;
- Nothing precludes revving the Core set at some point down the line, or targeting an expansion just for it.


emky wrote:
How does everyone feel about core box + adventure? ... Cards from the core box will get worn more than adventure cards [once more than one adventure is out].

The groups I've played with sleeved their cards, which mostly solves that problem. If you don't want to do that I'm sure Paizo will be happy to sell you a second Core Set if you feel your cards are too worn! (It'll also cost about the same.)

emky wrote:
Of higher importance is it will likely make the game less flavorful.

It will reduce some of the variety, but I don't think it's going to be that impactful. There's a lot of overlap between the sets; maybe not as much if you compare Mummy's Mask and Rise of the Runelords, but it's still there. The Core Set is less than half of the cards you're going to be using, which allows for plenty of theme. We won't really know until we've got experience playing with at least two Adventure Paths, though. Check back in a year and a half? :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Having played the playtest, I doubt these concerns will be problematic once it comes out.

Also, I am a huge proponent of sleeving the cards. That being said, I can understand if you view that as the ravings of a fanatic...I go all in and have sleeved everything - all base sets, all class decks.


GM OfAnything wrote:
sweetestsadist wrote:

The problem with this card, and also others previewed, is that the action keywords are in different parts of the sentences. The second sentence is an outlier on the text. This hinders a quick understanding of the cards with multiple abilities. If you want to streamline the game with key words, you should keep those keywords at one specific part of the sentence.

Such as:

"Recharge to move. You may not use this power during an encounter.
Recharge to add 1d6 to a local combat check.
Discard to explore and add 1d6 to your first combat check that exploration."

This puts the activation cost before the on effect on each ability. Keeping sentence structure universal.

I disagree. Your suggested structure makes it more difficult to scan cards for relevant conditional abilities. Each time I look at the card, I have to read the whole second power to figure out if it does or doesn't apply to my situation.

By putting "local combat check" first, I can quickly scan my hand for cards that apply to local combat checks when I need to, and can safely skip reading the whole second power when it doesn't apply.

That's why further down I suggested an additional edit to the card that suggests the word Combat in a highlighted color as an example of how to phrase timing-based abilities.


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I've never sleeved my PACG cards, and am resigned to purchasing a 2nd Core if necessary if the Core cards get too worn. But PACG cards have always been high quality, and wear and tear hasn't been a big problem in the past.

I'm more concerned about temporary storage, actually. Because I don't sleeve, I've always been able to fit all campaign cards in a single box (the entire Mummy's Mask campaign in the base MM box, for example).

Not sure if that can happen now. Can I fit all of the Core + Crimson Throne cards in the core box, for instance? If not, I'm wondering how I'll manage/store all the cards for an in-progress campaign.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
wkover wrote:

I've never sleeved my PACG cards, and am resigned to purchasing a 2nd Core if necessary if the Core cards get too worn. But PACG cards have always been high quality, and wear and tear hasn't been a big problem in the past.

I'm more concerned about temporary storage, actually. Because I don't sleeve, I've always been able to fit all campaign cards in a single box (the entire Mummy's Mask campaign in the base MM box, for example).

Not sure if that can happen now. Can I fit all of the Core + Crimson Throne cards in the core box, for instance? If not, I'm wondering how I'll manage/store all the cards for an in-progress campaign.

I just collected my Pathfinder Adventure Chest

Looks cool, and I plan to use it for carrying my core set and current expansion and dice etc


Any changes about character improvements and roles card?
I was wondering if we will get more choices or upgrade more than 7 squares per Core Set.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
alucardeck wrote:

Any changes about character improvements and roles card?

I was wondering if we will get more choices or upgrade more than 7 squares per Core Set.

As much as I'd like that, I would doubt it; given the requirement for the cards and characters to be backwards compatible with older Base Sets, and all characters have had the same number of Feats available to them since Rise of the Runelords.

Lone Shark Games

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alucardeck wrote:
Any changes about character improvements and roles card?

Details next week.


Mike Selinker wrote:
alucardeck wrote:
Any changes about character improvements and roles card?
Details next week.

Does a dance to make the details appear faster.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

You can allways try ;)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Mike Selinker wrote:
alucardeck wrote:
Any changes about character improvements and roles card?
Details next week.

Starts hitting refresh every 5 minutes in hopes the new blog post drops.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Mike Selinker wrote:
alucardeck wrote:
Any changes about character improvements and roles card?
Details next week.

I just remembered why Mike is at the same time my hero and the most malevolent evil being I know....

Lone Shark Games

Apparently we got our weeks mixed up. It'll be next week's blog. Sorry for the delay.


Mike Selinker wrote:
Apparently we got our weeks mixed up. It'll be next week's blog. Sorry for the delay.

This week, right?

Like.. today?
Like.. in a couple minutes?
*pressing F5*


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
alucardeck wrote:
Mike Selinker wrote:
Apparently we got our weeks mixed up. It'll be next week's blog. Sorry for the delay.

This week, right?

Like.. today?
Like.. in a couple minutes?
*pressing F5*

The previous post was on Friday... *Hits refresh again just to make sure.*

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mike Selinker wrote:
Apparently we got our weeks mixed up. It'll be next week's blog. Sorry for the delay.

Boy Mike; That is a week argument for not answering. :)


It's Friday again and still nothing. Saddening.

@Mike At least pop in and say hello, sorry folks not this week, been busy with conventions


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

But what time zone? ;)
But remember:”Article is newer later, it arrives precisely when it means to!”

Lone Shark Games

Just waiting for the blog's turn in the blog cycle. The Paizo folks are on it.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Getting back to the material from this post, out of curiosity, how do you pronounce #?


Octothorpe, pound sign, number sign, hash/hashtag. I usually use number sign.

In this context, though, I'd say "the Scenario's adventure deck number". Presumably we'll come up with something shorter that may or may not match the term used in the manual. ("The Veteran bonus" is tempting to me.)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Parody wrote:

Octothorpe, pound sign, number sign, hash/hashtag. I usually use number sign.

In this context, though, I'd say "the Scenario's adventure deck number". Presumably we'll come up with something shorter that may or may not match the term used in the manual. ("The Veteran bonus" is tempting to me.)

So many syllables. Those are the standard names, and none of them are snappy enough. Or specific enough except the sce na ri o's ad ven ture deck num ber.

Plus veteran? Plus A (for Adventure deck)?


Honestly, I think you'll only need it for explaining what the # means. When playing we just fill in the required number on the fly.


If I were reading the text out loud, I might say "plus AD, which is X"

Or maybe just call it 'X'


The elixir never says when to banish or discard. As I read it, if you want it is a Permanent buff.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Slacker2010 wrote:
The elixir never says when to banish or discard. As I read it, if you want it is a Permanent buff.

Referencing the card in the new blog post here.

I am guessing there is some mechanic for displayed card in general as to when they are moved to the recovery area. The armor card in this preview has no During Recovery option.

My guess perhaps is that armor remains displayed until used, though I do wonder how that will function having multiple armors displayed.


Slacker2010 wrote:
The elixir never says when to banish or discard. As I read it, if you want it is a Permanent buff.

Its second While Displayed power is "banish to reduce damage to 0", much like an Armor.


Card layout is not good.

Every card has this giant background with colored swirls and it takes up just as much space as the art.

Totally get that changing TO ‘discard’ FROM ‘discard this card, the one you’re reading now son’ frees up space.

Disagree that it’s being used wisely.

Card name on top, level and subtype underneath in italics. Card image either top half or with text box overlay. Acquire info in nested callout box. All game text in the main text box. Colored borders are fine.

Surely this feedback is useless and too late. I really - really - dislike the previewed design.

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