Inconsistent colours on card backs in Core Set and CotCT.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game General Discussion


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Does anyone else have card backs that are noticeably different shades of red?


This came up a few weeks ago on BGG, and it's possible that all/most copies are affected. A sample image: link. (Disclaimer: My copy is affected, but it isn't nearly as bad as the linked image - which may be an artifact of the image lighting.)

I'm really enjoying the new Core, but there do seem to be some odd quality control and/or production issues. A new printing company, perhaps?

Issues include: Creased/stamped tokens, images that are occasionally too dark (to the point where the image is difficult to discern), and the color back issue. And once in a blue moon cards stick together and have to be replaced, but that was true in pre-Core products as well. In the Ultimate decks, in particular.

There's also the 60s acid freakout motif for the tokens, but that's another matter entirely. :P

I honestly don't notice the card back (or any other) issues when actually playing, and I don't sleeve my cards. But it would be better if these issues didn't exist, of course. Especially since the Core cards will be integrated into the Vaults of all future campaigns.


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wkover wrote:
This came up a few weeks ago on BGG, and it's possible that all/most copies are affected. A sample image: link. (Disclaimer: My copy is affected, but it isn't nearly as bad as the linked image - which may be an artifact of the image lighting.)

My copy of Core has similar problems, but mainly on the front side:

a) Cards of different levels and the same type often have different shade of colour - e.g. dark blue and purplish blue on spells.
b) A few cards have a tiny splotch of red on the back, my Shortbow also has a large red splotch.
c) Some cards (Armor of one level, I think) have very thin font of the powers.
Nothing of the above (with exception of Shortbow, but I can live with that) affects the gameplay in any way and so far, I've enjoyed the game a lot.

Just a funny story to close - while playing DD 1C, we had to close Chambers, which proved to be really difficult. It turns out that a Ghoul, Homunculus henchman and few other cards were there, but our party unsuccessfully chased a Racoon all over the place instead. We met it at least 7 times due to Chambers' power, sometimes three times in a row (with different players shuffling). Pesky pet with huge Survival check difficulty - and the ghoul and homunculus were probably laughing at us.


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That’s hilarious, Jenceslav!

I’ve got slightly creased markers, a few spells with colour variations, and two cards (including Ezren) with thin white ‘scratches’ where no printing is. None of it has affected my gameplay at all.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

It's the same printer we've used since the second printing of Rise of the Runelords.

The "wrinkles" on the markers are caused by their die-cutting process—they're all like that.

There's always a little variance in color, but it shouldn't generally affect gameplay. The variance in the linked photo is definitely more than I like to see, but the poster who put that image up did specifically mention that the difference appears more significant in the photo than in real life.

If you run into something that does affect gameplay, let our customer service department know!


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I'm not sure how much it affects gameplay at the moment. I know quite reliably when certain cards are on top of my deck. Though I am currently playing Valeros so most of the time the top of my deck is something I put there myself...
I'll try take a picture of the colour difference, I would say it is similar to the linked picture (if I had it under bright light). Put it this way, we normally play in a pub with "atmospheric" lighting and I noticed it then. Given time I would be able to reliably pick out certain cards when they are in locations (well know for certain they aren't other cards). Given the amount future adventure paths will rely on the core set this is likely to become a gameplay issue.


Vic, it does affect gameplay though. Yeah, the front of the cards being different shades is annoying but that doesn't affect it. What does affect it is that some backs are much lighter and it's gotten to a point where I know when a certain card is on the top of my deck. A player shouldn't have access to that knowledge. Yes, I try to play honourably and not factor that into any decisions I make, but it still affects gameplay.


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I played four scenarios before I read the BGG review. I thought "Ha, I guess I lucked out," then actually looked at my cards and realized I had some red and some brown backs. It does seem spread out over the card types, so there's not any definite "Oh, this must be a weapon."

My Crimson Throne cards do seem uniform in color.


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Scott Hall wrote:

I played four scenarios before I read the BGG review. I thought "Ha, I guess I lucked out," then actually looked at my cards and realized I had some red and some brown backs. It does seem spread out over the card types, so there's not any definite "Oh, this must be a weapon."

My Crimson Throne cards do seem uniform in color.

It's one of those things that once you've noticed it you can't unnotice it. I don't think I can predict an exact card but looking over the cards now there is enough of a difference for me to reliably say "it's not a story bane" for quite a few cards, in fact I could go so far as to say it's almost certainly a boon (which is obviously not information I should have).


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I have also noticed that some of the card art is so dark that I can't actually tell what the picture is supposed to be. I'm not at home at the moment but was wondering if others had the same experience


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That would be my one of my few complaint. Locations seem to be especially dark and hard to make out. I don't want to critique if it's an art style choice, but if it was up for a vote, I would say lighten the dark art.


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Ithaqua47 wrote:
Vic, it does affect gameplay though. Yeah, the front of the cards being different shades is annoying but that doesn't affect it. What does affect it is that some backs are much lighter and it's gotten to a point where I know when a certain card is on the top of my deck. A player shouldn't have access to that knowledge. Yes, I try to play honourably and not factor that into any decisions I make, but it still affects gameplay.

That’s why Vic asked you to contact customer service. Paizo’s CS department is amazing and I wouldn’t be surprised if they shipped you replacement cards if you provided them a list of cards that you can tell apart from the rest with your naked eye so that you no longer have that issue. Their contact info can be found at the very bottom of every page on this site (scroll all the way down into the footer)


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skizzerz wrote:
Ithaqua47 wrote:
Vic, it does affect gameplay though. Yeah, the front of the cards being different shades is annoying but that doesn't affect it. What does affect it is that some backs are much lighter and it's gotten to a point where I know when a certain card is on the top of my deck. A player shouldn't have access to that knowledge. Yes, I try to play honourably and not factor that into any decisions I make, but it still affects gameplay.
That’s why Vic asked you to contact customer service. Paizo’s CS department is amazing and I wouldn’t be surprised if they shipped you replacement cards if you provided them a list of cards that you can tell apart from the rest with your naked eye so that you no longer have that issue. Their contact info can be found at the very bottom of every page on this site (scroll all the way down into the footer)

I think the problem is when you have at least 3 different shades for card backs then you have no way to know which is the correct shade. So how do we know which ones need replacing? I can take pictures but phone cameras usually have terrible colour accuracy.


skizzerz wrote:
That’s why Vic asked you to contact customer service. Paizo’s CS department is amazing and I wouldn’t be surprised if they shipped you replacement cards if you provided them a list of cards that you can tell apart from the rest with your naked eye so that you no longer have that issue.

I agree 100% that Paizo's customer service is amazing. They've always replaced my marked and missing cards in the past.

This time the problem is a bit more dramatic, however, in that my Core cards are almost evenly split: half are light red and half are dark red, and the difference is pretty clear to the naked eye. (Disclaimer: If I'm looking, which I usually am not.) And the problem seems to be affecting most (all?) copies of the Core, not just a handful of misprints.

If I asked CS for replacements, I'm guessing that I'd end up with more light/dark cards. I wasn't going to ask, though, since I'm not terribly worried about the issue. Attentive folks who don't sleeve aren't as happy as they could be, however. It's particularly a problem with the character decks and getting to know which cards are lighter/darker. And when Core and CotCT cards are mixed, it's only Core cards that are darker - I think. Finally, all of my proxies are darker (not lighter); I have two different copies of the Core set purchased at different locations, and this is true of both.

I'm guessing that the majority of folks on this site sleeve all their PACG cards, which is why the issue didn't come up earlier.

Anyway, speaking only for myself - if Paizo can't do anything about it now - it would be reassurring to know that the issue (including the overly dark card art, if possible) will be corrected in future printings.

P.S. The issue only seems to be with the Core set, not Crimson Throne - is that right? At least my copy of CotCT looks clean.


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I have to admit I didn’t notice the issue on my own set because I sleeve all of my cards using opaque-backed sleeves. So, I thought it was limited to a handful of cards rather than something that impacted wide swaths of cards.


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Was there suposed to be promo cards in the shipment? Have not looked my cards so far... if there should be promos, what Are they? I supose that I did only get those base cards.


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The promos are:

The Tall Knife (Weapon P3)
Embiggen (Spell P2)
Corpse Plate (Armor P3)
The Unveiling (Item P2)
Asyra (Ally P5)
The Real Rabbit Prince (Blessing P1)


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Hannibal_pjv wrote:
Was there suposed to be promo cards in the shipment? Have not looked my cards so far... if there should be promos, what Are they? I supose that I did only get those base cards.

Were you on Subscription?

The free promos brother tyler listed were in a small plastic bag in with the shipping box of mine


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Matsu Kurisu wrote:
Hannibal_pjv wrote:
Was there suposed to be promo cards in the shipment? Have not looked my cards so far... if there should be promos, what Are they? I supose that I did only get those base cards.

Were you on Subscription?

The free promos brother tyler listed were in a small plastic bag in with the shipping box of mine

I am only half-finished unpacking my cards. I unpacked Core and haven't sleeved them, since I was travelling for weeks and they're all currently still at work.

I haven't unsleeved Curse yet, and I was assuming that the promo cards were in there since I hadn't seen them yet... because I didn't get any pack outside of the Core Set or Curse, and I definitely got my product as part of the subscription (points to the little line of text under my username.

That's worrying. If I confirm they're not in Curse, I'm going to have to go to Customer Support on this. (If you're certain they're not in the Curse box, then that means I never got them...)


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They were definitely in my Core Set box.

If you have to go through Customer Support, I doubt you'll have a problem (points to the little line of text under your username ;) ). I've always had very positive experiences with Paizo's Customer Support team.


Brother Tyler wrote:

They were definitely in my Core Set box.

If you have to go through Customer Support, I doubt you'll have a problem (points to the little line of text under your username ;) ). I've always had very positive experiences with Paizo's Customer Support team.

I ordered the sets directly from Paizo (I recently moved to USA - temporarily - and fortunately, Washington is just 3/4 states away :)) and received a big cardboard box with both Core and Curse boxes, and a small packet of 5 promo cards separately :)


I did not have this problem with the Core Set at all. But I've moved onto Curse of the Crimson Throne and as far as I can tell every single CoTCT card has a different colored back compared to the core set cards. I noticed when I was shuffling two CoTCT banes with two Core Set proxies, it's different enough that I can tell which ones are the story banes without doubt. I double checked now that I've noticed it and I can also pick out all of the CoTCT cards in player decks, locations, and the blessing decks, just from the back.

example photo. The two on the left are the CoTCT story banes, the ones on the right are the core proxies.

I'm not sure what to do. Replacing an entire expansion seems like a waste to me, and I'm not even sure which one of the sets is actually off color. I'm probably going to have to unsleeve the entire box and do it over with opaque sleeves, which is a huge bummer. I'm loving the gameplay of the new version but the component quality has really disappointed me.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Just to be clear, the wrapped pack of 6 promo cards would NOT be inside the actual shrink-wrapped products, but it would be in the same mailing carton as your subscription shipment.

If you didn't get it, let CS know.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

As for color variation, each of the individually wrapped packs of 110 cards comes from a single press sheet. While variance between press sheets unfortunately happens sometimes, variance within a single press sheet is a lot less likely. Which means that if you have a group of cards that are too light or too dark, that group is most likely exactly 110 cards (or a multiple of 110, if you got really unlucky).

So if you can tell CS that (for example) the cardbacks on the pack that includes all of the villains are too dark, they can replace just that pack for you.


Vic Wertz wrote:

As for color variation, each of the individually wrapped packs of 110 cards comes from a single press sheet. While variance between press sheets unfortunately happens sometimes, variance within a single press sheet is a lot less likely. Which means that if you have a group of cards that are too light or too dark, that group is most likely exactly 110 cards (or a multiple of 110, if you got really unlucky).

So if you can tell CS that (for example) the cardbacks on the pack that includes all of the villains are too dark, they can replace just that pack for you.

In my Core, there are approximately three different shades of colours, sometimes noticeable at the front (no big deal) and sometimes at the back. The colouring is pretty scattered across card types, so no big deal. The main example are Monsters - one group has orange coloured border and title, second group dark orange, third group almost red. Printing errors on Shortsword's back, a little on Lightning Touch and almost imperceptible on Levitate. From 400+ cards, that's not a bad score, but also not great.

I do not consider contacting CS and so far I've enjoyed the game.

Minor imperfections are there to remind us that nothing is perfect :)


I must have gotten unlucky then, I guess. I double checked just to be sure and all of my core set cards are the darker shade, while all of my CotCT cards are that distinctly different lighter shade. I'll contact CS, though I'm still not sure which set is actually off color

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