Fantasy role-playing games have captured the minds and hearts of gamers for more than 30 years and continue to influence computer, board and card games across the world. Paizo Publishing, a publisher of fantasy role-playing games, recently unveiled a card-based role-playing game called the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. It promises to deliver a simplified fantasy role-playing game experience with 500 cards and a set of dice. Does it deliver?
One to four players begin by selecting a fantasy character such as a ranger, sorcerer, cleric or thief. Each character possesses different skills and abilities that allow the character to overcome obstacles, find treasure and defeat monsters.
Each character has a different starting deck of cards containing weapons, armor, spells, items, allies and blessings. If the player's cards run out, the player's character dies. Each character has its own feel and strategy. Some can use weapons and armor and others spells and magic items. The game can be played solo or with up to six players by using a character add-on deck sold separately.
Working together, the heroic fantasy characters attempt to find and defeat a villain terrorizing the land. There are multiple locations where the villain may be hiding out, so players need to plan a strategy to flush the villain out and destroy his evil plot.
During their travels, players will test their skills by rolling dice to acquire new items, fight monsters, attract allies and overcome barriers. It truly feels like playing a pen and paper role-playing game without all of the hassle. If your character dies, you'll be begging to try the game just one more time.
As players complete scenarios and eventually entire adventures, their characters improve and gain new abilities and items. Many choices must be made along the way, and loyal teammates are worth their weight in gold. The base game includes three scenarios and an additional adventure deck of 110 cards containing five more scenarios. Additional adventure decks are available separately.
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is fascinating. Role-playing game enthusiasts willing to try a card game will be pleasantly surprised. The game is well designed, challenging, easy to set up and just plain fun. The hundreds of cards contain intense fantasy artwork containing action, monsters, characters, weapons and spells. Be aware, though, that a few cards show female characters with revealing clothing.
Overall the game is about a group of heroes working together to defeat an evil villain in a fun, fast and furious fantasy setting. Word to the wise, don't split the party!
Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.