The world of Pathfinder is immense, including a popular role playing game and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game with multiple base sets and expansions that capture the dungeon-crawler feel of an RPG but without the time and imagination commitment that a role playing game entails. The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous is a card based RPG designed by Mike Selinker by Paizo Publishing which plays 1-4 players with a scenario running about 120 minutes. Each player takes the role of a character represented by a stat card consisting of the usual stats that you see in RPGs, a character token, and a deck of cards. Each character has a favored card type upon which their deck is heavily based (i.e. a mage likes spells). The board consists of a number of locations determined by how many players are in the game, with the locations represented by decks of cards consisting of various blessings, treasures, weapons and monsters including a final boss, as defined by the particular scenario which the players are attempting to complete. Whenever the player comes across an enemy, trap, or even treasure, they usually have to make a stat roll to see if they defeat the monster or find the treasure, etc… Each character has a base set of stats which define the dice that they will roll for that check, but these can be enhanced by playing cards from their hand such as equipment, blessings, etc… In addition, the other players can play blessings to help out the player making the roll. The caveat is that your deck of cards is your life total. The more you use the closer you get to death. The players take turns using the cards in their hands to explore the locations in order find treasure, fight monsters and eventually defeat the boss to win the scenario. If you run out of cards in your deck however, then your character dies.
I tried Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous in a demo because I have been wanting to pick up an RPG-esque game that doesn’t involve having a dungeon master or generating and leveling up characters over time because, quite frankly, I just don’t have the imagination for it. I can’t get into the character enough to make it fun, so I would rather pick up a board (or in this case card) game and get the dungeon crawler experience without all of that hassle. Sadly, this game just wasn’t for me. It had the feel of exploring locations and such, but it seemed far too easy to mitigate the die rolls. We did miss a couple, but for the most part, as long as one or more of your companions has a blessing to use (and they don’t even need to be in the same location as you to use them), then you can pretty much guarantee victory. This experience was likely tainted somewhat just by the short nature of the demo game, and the character decks are likely stacked against the location decks in order to let first time players win and feel good, but it just wasn’t strategically deep enough for me. There really weren’t many choices to make. Go to a location, explore said location, decide whether to enhance your die roll to defeat the monster or pick up the spell or treasure, and roll the die… repeat. For me Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is a pass. I just have to keep looking.