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1st Impression: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

This week tablet CCG gamers were treated to a double dose of good games this week.  Ortus Regni (see our first impression here) and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game were both released.

Pathfinder is game that is also based on Paizo’s RPG game, that is an alternative for D&D 3.5 rules players.  To start, the game is obviously all played on cards, so sorry to those who thought they would get the full blown RPG experience here. But not to worry, after playing the game for a while, you will find that there is  a deep experience to have.

If you want some idea how to play, check out AppSpy’s playthrough below:


As with any game of this sort, you want to start with the tutorial which starts you off with two characters and you get to learn the basics of the game.  If possible, I would recommend taking this tutorial as slowly as possible because after playing for a few hours last night I still feel that there were a few things I missed that wasn’t talked about.  Once you finish, you are given two characters to start with and a story, after you finish the initial story, you can choose to continue or take quests.  Sadly, I fell asleep before I had a chance to see how that plays differently for the story.

As with most games, it does feature in app purchases to make but the difference is, it’s not a timer issue where you play a game for a while, wait until time passes and come back up and play.  The IAPs are reserved for more characters to purchase or to buy more scenarios. Even with what’s given, it may take some time before you finish so no need to worry about having nothing to do in an hour.  I did note that upon release, one of the scenarios was 70% off so I had no problem picking it up.  I did noticed that if you want the full game experience, $25 dollars will give you everything. Again, there is no pressure to buy.


The game plays almost like an RPG.  You gather your party and go forth on adventures.  As you complete adventures, you gain EXP and unlock other stories to play.  Usually, you are at the mercy of just dice but because this is a card game, you are also at the mercy of the cards you play.  I am not going to get into all of the minutiae of the game because I think there is a certain joy and frustration at learning all of the moving parts. Suffice to say, within your scenarios you go up against different cards that offer different things.  You can gain weapons, buffs, blessings and of course fight enemies.  That’s where the cards you have come into play.  In order to win against other cards, you must have the right dice and dice roll to win.  The cards that you have in your hand help to enhance your rolls whether it is a d4, d6, and so on. Other cards may reduce damage, enhance healing and deck shuffling as well.  So, of course good card management is a must, and you must watch your character’s abilities as some of their abilities that aren’t card based, can help out in a jam.  For instance, if you are facing off against a monster that is stronger, you may be able to activate an ability that will allow you to evade that fight or take zero damage.  Be mindful of your surroundings when you assign party members because as you play through, you characters have different areas in each scenario that they must close in order to win. Conditions are different for each area.

For instance, you may not want a low dexterity with a d4 roll into an area that requires a d8 dexterity roll to complete.  So again, you should watch where you assign your party members.   The ultimate goal however is there is a boss character card that you have to take down.  Depending on your party and the luck of the dice, you may face off with that boss more than once during a given scenario.  If you have enough members and even luckier with the dice rolls, if you face off against a boss early on you can finish it quickly.  The trick is if you face the boss early and you defeat him he has the ability to ‘run’ and hide out in another section of the scenario until you find him again.  If somehow you have enough party members to cover all section and really lucky enough to close off all avenues of escape, once he is down, you win.

A bigger part of the game is, as you play, your party members are constantly finding new cards which you get to incorporate into their decks.   You can customize those decks in whatever way you want, and as you play, your party members can level up which allows you to unlock more abilities and mods as well.  There is even an option for perma-death of your party members should you feel a bit sadistic.

Graphically speaking, that game looks very good.  The cards are well represented and it takes almost nothing to tap and see what everything does.

As far as downsides, again I think that the tutorial doesn’t fully explain everything but I think as player play through the game they will pick up some of the nuances that may have been missed especially if you get stuck in an area with the wrong character in play. The only other issue I may have is that I feel that some of the dice roll mechanics seems a bit off.  I am not sure if it’s a bug but I had one instance where I faced off against the same enemy and rolled 2 d4 dice and got the exact same 7.  Not a game breaker but something to be looked into.

The Bottom Line

This game is a game I have been looking for since it was announced last year and I am satisfied with the experience so far.  As I often don’t have time to get out and actually play these types of games with my friends, this game is a very nice representation of the experience and I really recommend this to anyone wanting a good RPG/CCG hybrid to play on tablet.  Best of all for the base game, it’s FREE although from what I have seen so far, I may not have a problem paying 25 dollars for the entire experience.

Pathfinder the Adventure Card Game is iPad only.

4.25  d4 rolls out of 5

About Armand (1270 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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