Before I get into our Skulls and Shackles Pathfinder Adventure Card Game allow me to share with you one of the funniest sights from today: while shopping at Meijer’s (local Big Box store for those who do not know) I watched an elderly woman grab a copy of the Unrated 50 Shades of Gray off the shelf and hightail down the aisle. As we were checking out I watched as she and four other women got carded at the self-checkouts. Red lights go off, employee goes over to check IDs…every single one of them had a copy of 50 Shades of Gray. If Meijer’s had been smart there would have been a sale of batteries at the same time. 🙂
Who doesn’t love pirates? Okay, I know a few, but here most of us enjoy pirates. And you know how much we enjoy games. Thus, a pirate themed game sounds like a great idea. An even better idea when the game is Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, something I have gushed about for a while. So what happened with our Skulls and Shackles game?
Short answer, it did not feel right.
Long answer, we tried. We played through three of the adventure decks. Rise of the Runelords felt like a campaign. The connection between one adventure path and the next was obvious, made sense, and the adventures within were exciting and had a lot of flavor related to that path. Skulls and Shackles felt disconnected to us. What did the various adventures have to do with each other let alone from one pack to another? Sometimes we could tell and others we had no clue.
There are ships, but the ships could be removed from the game and I don’t think much would change. For the most part the ships played little part in any adventure other than being an extra source of loot and from time to time a way for cards to get sucked out of our hands to prevent damage to our ship. I never once felt like I was the captain or crew of a particular ship. Part of that stemmed from when something happened to our ship the only person who could do anything was the person who’s turn it was. Other players could help, but for the most part there was little reason to do so. None of us felt like we were on a ship at any point, even when the scenario card said we were on a ship.
There is more variety of characters, locations, cards, win conditions, and difficulty. Which is a great thing, as Rise of the Runelords lacked variety in some areas. Unfortunately, for us at least, these things did not enhance the narrative of the campaign. And that seemed to be the biggest reason why we stopped playing-there was no reason to continue on, no drive to see what happened next, and no urge to play “one more adventure.” With Rise of the Runelords we eagerly waited for each new adventure pack and played through adventures with abandon. When a character of mine died, I soloed a new character just so I could have a character ready to play for the next session. We wanted to know about the story and the conclusion. Skulls and Shackles, not so much.
The next set, Wrath of the Righteous is due soon, hopefully for us the story is there and fun/easy to follow. We know the gameplay is solid, that is why we love playing Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, but the story has to be there…this is roleplaying with cards and not a deck building game after all.