Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Physical VS Digital - Part 1 -

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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Physical VS Digital

One of our first discoveries as a team is the popular title Pathfinder, we choose to try ‘Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous’, since we’re developing a card driven adventure. We decided to include and try the digital version of ‘Patfinder adventures ‘ in parallel, in order to see and understand the main differences inbetween the physical version and the app you can find for your handhelds.

As some of the readers may know, the key feature of this game is the growth of your deck , according to your desires as you advance in power by conquering challenges.

In each adventure players have to kill a boss and certain henchmen, looking for them at various points on the map in the app, or in the locations related to a certain adventure in the boxed game.

When eliminating an enemy we can "close" an area, to avoid that the boss takes refuge inside it: the more areas we close the more likely it will be to meet the latter in the remaining ones.

Your characters' health points are equal to their deck size: cards which can be used, returned to the deck, discarded or destroyed based on the various events in the game, such as spells, traps or damage. Every time you discard a card is like losing 1 HP: when your character runs out of cards, she dies.

Returning to our analysis, the components and box of ‘Wrath of the Righteous’ are fantastic. We really appreciated the fact that every single card in the game has a detailed and hi-quality illustration that suggests attention and care towards the product; and in the digital version this quality is reflected and increased by the scenarios' art and evocative animations.

We do believe that appealing and well-made graphics are fundamental to immediately engage the player and give the right feeling; it lets everyone fully enjoy a session while entering the story with the right spirit and understanding of the environment.

The first components of the boxed game to catch our attention were the ‘ID’ cards, that you will choose in order to play a Character in the game: all of the character’s appearance happens to tell a story and it is the same feeling that we want to give to our own characters. Intriguing and very individual traits helps the fantasy of the player to expand and start to imagine how would it be to play a certain role with enthusiasm.

After choosing our characters In the boxed game, by checking their abilities and appealing artwoks, the time to prepare the table comes and, in our opinion, setting up the adventures of the boxed game took quite a lot if time.

Every boxed adventures comes with a set of cards which represents the various locations that are part of it: they're filled with varying ratios of boons to acquire, or banes to defeat. This means that you will manually shuffle all the deck of cards (weapons, allies, barriers, monsters, items, spells, blessings) and put a specific number of them in the location, a number that increases according to the number of players.

This means that, for a 2 players game we spent from 15 to 25 minutes in order to be ready to play an adventure. That said, on this side we inevitabily preferred the digital system of ‘Pathfinder the card game’, since we immediately started to play after reading the directions given by the on screen tutorial.

But, as game full of information with screen full of writings, boxes and buttons ( that are quite understandable on tablets, but become illegible and confused on smartphones) it was almost impossible to quickly read and understand the story or the tutorials.

We’re definitely taking this into account , it is importnat to remind that a simple and clear GUI is the key to a fluent and stress-free game session.

After choosing our characters In the boxed game by checking their abilities and appealing artwoks, the time to prepare the table comes and, in our opinion, setting up the adventures took quite a lot if time.We also noticed that the text on each card could be quite long, making the solving of a test, especially when defeating a bane, quite intricate due to the different and numerous exceptions and rules written on the card.Every adventures comes with a set of cards to use and place in the various locations that are part of it: Each location is represented by a deck of cards, filled with varying ratios of boons to acquire, or banes to defeat. This means that you will manually shuffle all the deck of cards (weapons, allies, barriers, monsters, items, spells, blessings) and put a specific number of them in the location, a number that increases according to the number of players.

'Pathfinder the card game' actually happens to be a complicated game; we experienced how solving a card could take more time and effort than initially expected.

It is not only about rolling dices, but also about combining the right set of cards to play, while taking in account that rules change from one scenario to another. It is difficult to rember all the exceptions and mods that you have to apply in order to play correctly ; Plus, while gaming, you have to rember that the duration of the game is set by 'blessings' deck of 30 cards, that gets smaller on every charcater's new turn.

The element of memory is fundamental to play the game correctly, making the game less enjoyable, fortunately the Pathfinder app guides you, helping you by highlighting the cards that you can use in a specific case, and by automaticly removing 'time' to the game; a feature that we will include in our game Dreamyquest, taking automaticly care of which elements needs to be removed or that can be played.

When it comes to play Pathfinder with your friends, the time took by every player to complete a turn can be longer than expected, giving you the sensation to play a ‘solo’ game instead of a cooperative experience, with very few interactions inbetween the players.

This 'solo' feeling happens to be a bigger problem in the app: the 'pass and play' option is the only 'multiplayer' experience you can get, and lets you wait the end of the other's turn in order to finally get back to your deck and play; an issue that we will avoid with Dreamyquest, since everyone will enjoy and share a real multiplayer experience: the adventure will run on the device of each player. No pauses or bored players that needs to wait patiently their turn.

There’s a lot more to say about this title and what we want to bring with Dreamyquest, especially about the atmosphere, the story and the engagement given by the 'locations, so I decided to split this article in various parts.

See you soon with the second part of the article and thank you for reading!