In this section, I will highlight mechanics, and some thematic aspects that may sway your opinion to either read on, or skip into a review of another game you may find interesting.
- Hand Management
- Deck Building
- Role Playing Games
- Deck Building Style
- Fantasy Theme (Heavy Demon Reference)
Pathfinder ACG is a card based game, that is similar to a deck building game, however, distinctly different. When you start your campaign (yes it is a campaign), you have a completely basic set of equipment. This includes spells, armor, weapons, and allies among other things. You also have a starting set of stats in which you will use strength, dexterity, intelligence etc. Each stat is represented by a specific dice, between a d4, and a d20. A higher ability will give you a larger sized die that you will roll to make checks when you explore locations. Locations are made up of a random set of cards that is put together before your game. They will include new equipment for you to find, as well as barriers, enemies, and monsters. You must use the abilities that you have to meet checks on each card, or risk losing the card if it is an item of sorts, or losing life if you fail to defeat negative cards. The point of the game is to defeat the villain that is hiding in one of the locations being played in each scenario. As the game progresses, you will buff your character to fight stronger monsters, and villains. A basic turn is made up of 5 stages. In the first you will advance the blessings deck, which is essentially a counter until the end of the game. In the next stage of your turn you have the option to give a card to another player who is in the same location as you. Once this is complete, you have the option of exploring the location you are in. In the fourth stage of your turn, you will either try to "close your location" or you will apply any end-of-turn effects and complete your turn.
In the Pathfinder ACG WotR base set, the main component of the game itself is the cards themselves. But before I get to those, I'd like to quickly talk about how great the insert for this game works. There are sections to separate all of the card types, as well as an area that gives you a spot to put your expansion boxes in as well. To keep everything organized this way is incredible in my eyes, except if you like your games vertical. There is a bit of room for slippage when you don't have expansions in the slots yet, which can mean sorting before the game starts. Anyway, lets get back to the components of the game itself. The cards are of nice quality, and include wonderful art that keeps the style of all the previous Pathfinder games. The art in Wrath of the Righteous is based upon battling demons, which I personally find to be some of my favorite cards in the Pathfinder ACG that I have seen so far.
Historically, Pathfinder has been my absolute favourite and go-to game. The game play is excellent and having only had a taste of RPG style gaming due to a lack of players, and a game master, the Pathfinder ACG games give a great RPG feel in a game that doesn't need a game master. If I wanted to start a campaign alone, I could play in my spare time without needing anyone to adventure with as well, which is a huge bonus for me because my multiplayer gaming is usually limited to weekends, and games with my three year old son, and to be honest, I'm not sure he can wrap his head around this one yet! My absolute favourite part of WotR is the broken down campaign. You can decide how much of the game you would like to play in each sitting. You can either play a half hour or so scenario, or you can play 5 scenarios which make up an adventure, or you can go get all of the expansions and play the entire Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path. Being able to have this option is amazing, especially for myself, as a person who in a typical weeknight will basically eat dinner, do up some chores and have an hour or less to myself to do as I please.
In Wrath of he Righteous, I had an issue that I have had in previous releases. This is that I found that there are tons of tiny details that can change the game considerably if they aren't read properly, or are passed over or forgotten. I am yet to play a game where something doesn't get missed over and we have to go back and re roll, at minimum. I would actually be interested in seeing a run through of WotR that has nothing that is passed over or corrected in a quick cut scene. So if you know of one, let me know! Anyway, moving on. Another issue I have with Wrath of the Righteous is that they have added a few new support cards called Cohorts, Mythic Paths, and Redemption cards. I would love to tell you all about how each of these new abilities work, but the only card that can be used out of the box is the Cohorts. The mythic path doesn't come into the story line until you buy the second expansion pack. The redemption card has also been unused thus far by my group. The redemption card has a list of cards which are corrupted, and once a card allows you to redeem that card, it no longer has the corrupted trait. With three new types of cards, and only one has gotten any use, this is a fairly big negative for me.
I have a huge love for the Pathfinder ACG series and came into this with high hopes. Having my initial read through of the rules, I was excited for new abilities and having a "side quest" of sorts. However, out of the box, I was a little let down. Not being able to check out these new abilities was an issue for me. What I have experienced though is a slightly more streamlined game from the previous Pathfinder ACG (Skulls and Shackles). Everything I have played so far has been everything I expected out of Pathfinder, and maybe even a little more since apparently I enjoy demons over pirates. I look forward to continuing into all of the expansions over time, and this will definitely been a go to game from night to night for me. I may actually reset all of my Pathfinder games and make one a strictly solo game, and use the other for guests. As for WotR, maybe waiting for new abilities until putting in a new expansion will give this Pathfinder a slightly easier learning curve. This could be the idea, however I would have put it into the base set expansion personally so at least if you buy only the base set, you can at least get a taste for what's new right out of the box. Either way, I know I sort of sound back and forth about liking this game, and to be honest, I am a little, but at the end of the day, the game play has me hooked and I can't get enough. I would recommend this game to absolutely everyone, though would warn that there is much reference to demons, as I am aware that this theme may not be everyone's cup of tea.