Hi. I'm Aviva, and I'm new here. Sort of. I was an intern at Paizo in 2012, so when I began working with Lone Shark in 2016, Pathfinder wasn't totally new to me. I've never really considered writing a PACG blog before, but now that I've contributed for a while, I have some important things to say. So I've poured a glass of cheap rosé, illuminated a 3-wick vanilla butter–scented candle, and hit play on an acoustic Spotify playlist, all to create my perfectly chill atmosphere. But you know what's not chill? The inefficiency in OG PACG.
Maybe you think the earlier products have gotten better with age, but I think new players may not have quite the experienced palette you do. This isn't making the game sweeter. (I have looked ahead, and yes, the wine puns are just going to keep coming. —Mike) The adjustments we're making to the flow of your adventure mean you'll be engaged in all the turns and will probably have more fun, which... like, why else would you play the game?
Yes, sometimes the game was too slow. Part of speeding up the new Core Set involved filling it with cards that are simpler, both mechanically and visually. This allows us to design crazier cards later without obstructing your flow more than otherwise.
Let's talk visuals first. The additional power on the Curse version of Immolate would make it an unreadable font size if templated with the previous card design; here, even with an extra power, there's still enough room for traits and the check to acquire without covering three different sides of art. (The updated wordings also help—you're welcome.) #efficiency.
A location from Rise of the Runelords (or should I say Rosé of the Runelords?); Right: one from the Core Set.
On The Leng Device, an entire character is blocked by the decklist. With the new card layout, you can see all of that skeleton in the Cell. And since there's no back, there's no flavor text. That's good because a location doesn't always have just one story. In Core, the Cell is used in Scenario 1B: The Blood Vow, in which an ally is held captive; and in Scenario 2C: Spirited Away, in which a villain lurks. So we've put the story where it belongs: in the storybook. Your stories will be much larger and contain more depth without us being so specific on these cards. #efficiency.
Let's move on to mechanics. One minor speedup comes from making checks to acquire mandatory, just as checks to defeat have always been. No more analyzing your decisions; just roll! If you want, you can take a result of 0 on any check and move on. However, you still play out the consequence of that 0.
Let's re-wine a prosec. Why is this faster, you ask? Making you do a thing every time there's a thing to do must be longer! But, my friends, you're forgetting about that time you spent 10 minutes trying to decide if a check was worth rolling for, and then another five minutes trying to figure out if the power prefixed by “if you did not succeed” would apply here. There is no more design around whether you perform the check or not, which saves you from having to work out the difference between “choosing not to make a check” and “failing a check.” Let me show you some examples that'll make you say chardon-YAY:
In Mummy's Mask, we wanted things to happen to you if you chose not to acquire or if you failed. If you simply decided to not make a check against an ally like Azaz Arafe and Zazu, what happens then? It doesn't make sense for you to come out better when you didn't try, rather than try and fail. So we added the rule “If you choose not to acquire it, it counts as failing to acquire it.” If you don't try, you still fail (just like real life, amirite?). Now, this is a global rule, which eliminates that extra step of you making a choice to make a check. Grandmother Nightmare's “hour power” cares for an entire turn, so you better give things your best shot! #efficiency
Another thing making the game faster: recovery. By having this step at the end of your turn, you don't need to interrupt your turn (i.e., the game flow) or whatever check you're making to see if you get to recharge the card and then have it matter for damage and bad stuff that might happen to your deck. Recovery happens at the end of each turn, so you can still recover your cards off-turn, but in many cases, the next player can get on with the start of their turn while you're cleaning up your own. #multitasking #efficiency
Setup of the game is also much quicker (yay, you can play sooner!). A big contributor to this is the use of proxies, making it so you don't have to search through a million duplicated henchmen to find the one you need. Mike talked about proxies in his blog Rethinking Complexity, Part 2, so I'm going to be #efficient and not re-explain here. (But I will mention something he didn't: You also use proxies in place of the old character token cards when you need to, like when your token card would get shuffled into a deck.)
Speaking of tokens (sort of), we now have markers. Mike showed you the scourge card design, but not the markers themselves. I will, so now you can imagine them together:
That pink marker could mark that I'm wounded, but then again, I like pink, so maybe I want this to mark my Brooch instead. The point is I GET TO PICK.
One of the larger visual changes will be noticeable as you start to accomplish your default goal of closing locations: locations are now removed when they're closed. Don't worry, though; everything happens for a riesling. This is going to speed up your game while increasing both tension and cooperation, thanks to the many "local" powers that exist. We know you need a chance to heal or buff yourself, and this is exactly what the closing powers on many locations will do for you—the nice ones anyway—before they're banished and you get to move (usually to a location of your choice)... and off-turn, if you weren't the active player. You will be fine. This also means the entire board is empty when you win! So, less cleanup too. #efficiency
Okay, time for me to wine this up.
Adventure Card Game Designer