Thursday, 22 January 2015

Pathfinder (Card Game)

'What was that noise? A mammoth?? DAMN IT! Not again!! 

Type: Card / RPG
Players: 1 to 4
Time to explain to others: 20 minutes
Time to play: About 1 hour to several weeks (For a full Scenario Campaign)
Difficulty: To play 4/10, Game difficulty 6/10
Portability: Variable. A gaming 'deck' would be unusually small, in fact, but the source cards to build said deck number in the hundreds. Low or High
Overall: 7/10

One of my main failings as a proud geek, is that i never played Role Playing Games, namely because in my geek troupe, we didn't know anybody else that was into it. Dungeons and Dragons, in particular,  always always held an aura of mystique that I found irresistible.

Then I moved country, leaving the geek troupe behind. And it is not only an impossibly to play D&D solo, it is always highly stupid.

Then Pathfinder came out. I really don't know how they did it, but the game is remarkable. At it's core, it's a Dungeon Crawler, with the adventure unfolding itself before you as you advance, but with cards. I could not believe it myself. D&D has dice, and Dungeon Masters and character sheets and monsters and.... I have no clue who the genius was that came up with this game dynamic, but give that person an award. The fact that there is a Pathfinder original game which IS an RPG might help.

Each adventure is set in a handful of locations (the numbers of these locations will be dictated by the number of players), and each location has a location deck, with a set number of monsters, artefacts, allies, etc. These cards are selected randomly from a pool of cards that, after a half dozen expansions, now number in the hundreds. Effectively, you're making a couple of really small decks (one for each player and one for each location), out of a huge batch, giving this game the biggest replayability of any other I can think of.

Other than the cards, it works like D&D would, you explore the location (by flipping over cards from the corresponding location deck) you find treasure, you fight monsters, all using the many-sided-dice. You character accumulates XPs (experience points), that can then be used to upgrade his or her abilities. As I play informally, I use these as I see fit, sliding and adjusting the difficulty as I go along. There is also a kind of timer, that forces you forward and to be aggressive with your explorations.

Rui's conclusion: For RPG fans, you can't do better, as it even allows for solo play. You could play it a hundred times and never repeat the same beasts and gems. And if you want to play a full-blown campaign, you actually can, and it will delight you for weeks. Perfect for dragon-slayers, wannabe sorcerers, and play-at-rogues.

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