Games We Play: Game Prep

Raise your hand if you like setting up or tearing down games?

If you raised your hand you are either lying or a masochist. 🙂

We love to play games. Unfortunately, we are limited to playing games during breaks from school, holidays, summer vacation, and weekends. Thus, weekends is where you get to read Games We Play. 🙂

Of all of the aspects of playing a game, game prep, or the preparation to play a game is the least favorite around here. Game prep used to be solely my least favorite thing, as I am the person who picks the games, learns the rules, teaches the rules, and until recently the person who set up and tore down games. Talk about not a lot fun.

Thankfully as the children age they are taking more interest in the games they play, which means input on games we play and for me, slightly more interest in learning how set up and tear down games. Notice the slightly.

Currently Rise of the Runelords Goblins and some version of Warhammer 40K (actual Warhammer 40k or Kill Team) are the two favorite games. Unfortunately, both games have lengthy game prep and game tear down phases…and neither child enjoys either, go figure.

Taking Rise of the Runelords Goblins, to play the following must be completed, not in any particular order:

  1. Pull the boxed set out of the game cabinet along with play mat
  2. Pull the current scenario out of the box
  3. Assemble the five location decks and blessing deck (this involves drawing cards from up to 10 different decks)
  4. Shuffle the location decks
  5. Pull out each player’s character deck and dice
  6. Establish where each player will sit
  7. Play (this is the last step of set up)

To tear down a game of Rise of the Runelord Goblins

Put any extra cards in the box

  1. Disassemble any remaining location decks (split one deck into up to 10 different decks)
  2. Yell at players to stop throwing cards they acquired during a game, but do not want onto the play mat that you are currently trying to tear down
  3. Remind players to assemble their deck for the next game
  4. Remind players to get their rewards
  5. Pick up all remaining cards other than Blessing Deck, unless the last game of the night
  6. Assemble your own deck
  7. Pick over cards acquired, but not wanted left by other players
  8. Put those cards away
  9. Deep breath

There are a lot of steps and the sad thing is that usually you do this by yourself with up to four other people at the table or in the room. At least that is how it used to be, times are a changing for the better.

Typically what happens is one person will assemble the location decks and walk away from the table, someone else will shuffle the location decks and put them where they think they should go, another person will adjust them while making sure player decks are in place along with dice.

Tear down is still mostly a one person show, but everyone is getting better about not throwing unwanted cards on the table and if not putting cards away putting them into organized piles for easier putting away.

Yep, game prep…least fun part of gaming around here and notice I did not get into Warhammer 40k. 🙂



Pulling Together As Only Goblins Can

We did it.

Black Fang, defeated. Oh sure, it took all of our resources, frogs, and right up against the time limit. What does that matter, nothing! We five goblins defeated a dragon.

For goblins they have some really kick ass abilities and some unusual ones to boot. However with five games under our belt, three taking on Black Fang, we are starting to get the gist of being a goblin. Such as, do not send or let Chuffy Lickwound do anything with Charisma. Why, because he adds a d8 to the difficulty of any Charisma check. Yes, so ugly he makes things worse.

Zabini can see the future, as long as someone at her location has gotten punched in the nose. Surely that cannot be right, but it is and her ability to the see the future is less impressive than it sounds as she is not looking at the future of the location, but the future of your character deck. Something akin to looking into someone’s pocket while they are looking for their wallet and telling them that the next thing they will pull out is a wallet.

Tup has a goat he can’t seem to get rid of and the ability to turn anything into a fire spell. Goat is a pain and fire spell out of anything is awesome until you realize only at the end of a game that unchecked you can literally burn through your life. And it makes deck building a pain in the ass to boot.

Reta can shoot anything except when Reta has an icy longspear. Why does Reta have an icy longspear? Her player, our girl, saw the icy longspear, missed getting one, and then got one via lucky end game loot draw and has loved it ever since. What else does Reta do? Unless killing is involved nothing much, but she is good at killing so that works for now.

Poog is a mixed goblin, part fighter, part divine spell caster, and when played by our friend part awesome at killing things and part “I’m casting Cure on me again.” One game sooner or later Poog will standout in a way that makes Poog make sense…we hope, but until now Poog can do it all including healing you as long as you play a blessing on a check that Poog is making; think of it as making a donation to the church (of goblins) to get healing…one card of healing.

On our own we are a very mixed bag of success, failure, and hilarity. Together there is strength. The pairing of Chuffy and Tup is powerful as they cover each other well and while one of Chuffy’s abilities is lost with Tup around, Tup’s ability to give a bonus to checks at the expense of a wound or two or three kinda balances out.

Next up, visiting Sandpoint where goblins who look suspiciously like us are attacking.

Games We Play: Rise of the Goblins, Me-Lee & Veterinarians

Welcome back to Rise of the Runelords GOBLINS! Our happy band of goblins are still stuck on the third scenario of the introductory adventure. I seem to recall a time LOOOOoooooong ago when our non-goblin characters went through something similar as we figured out how best to work out group. This feels similar, in that we are still learning what goblins can and cannot do. Interestingly enough, our group of goblins has one of everything other than someone who wears heavy armor and who needs that?

Our biggest issue is deck stall and the occasional crappy roll at a critical moment. Deck stall for those not familiar with the term is when you have a hand of cards that are not useful. Typically, in Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, this means that you have a hand of weapons or cards you want to save for later. Weapon cards tend to stay in your hand until you discard one in an emergency or as damage. Cards you want to save for later are your “cool” cards. You want to keep them because they do “cool” things, but for the moment they are not useful.

The effect of deck stall in a PACG is you make one explore a turn unless the explored card gives you a second exploration. One exploration a turn really slows a game down; a player would need 11 turns to get through a location deck, players do not get 11 turns in a game, thus multiple explorations and some luck are required.

Pair multiple deck stall with inopportune crappy die rolls, such as when Zibini faced off against a very early Ancient Skeleton and rolled 3 one’s. Five damage later and deck stall was a good thing for her. Or when Reta did kill her Ancient Skeleton, but botched (more than our share of botches appeared at the table) her To Close roll.

On the plus side we have learned to stop using Blessing of the Gobs to take blessings from the blessing deck, costing us turns. This is a huge step in the right direction. There have not been any moments of goblin math, goblin language continues to evolve…

Me Lee said in a cute girl’s voice, as our daughter has not pronounced melee correctly yet and will correct people who do, “Not melee, Me Lee!”

And don’t ask how or why, but there was a rash of veterinarians in our game. I wish I had an answer for why there were Mercenary veterinarians and undead veterinarians. Honestly, I did not think that animal doctors had so many varied backgrounds and yet there they were fighting us and saving animals along the way. Very odd indeed.

I wish I could say that Black Fang the Dragon was kicking our collective green butts and that is why we keep losing. He is not and we are losing, but we are still GOBLINS!

Games We Play: Rise of the Goblins

Pathfinder goblins are fun, in their own self-destructive way. After the horrorshow of Wrath we needed a break before delving into Mummy’s Mask. Plus the kids wanted to start playing again. Awesome. What better way to take a break and get the kids involved than goblins?

That’s right there is no better way.

The hilarity began right off the bat, with our boy playing Ranzak, the pirate goblin (complete with peg leg and parrot). Because he is a goblin pirate scavenger he had to wait until we built our decks to get build his…on the leftovers which may explain why his number one weapon was a torch…at least he had fire.

Without much preamble or preramble…we started the introductory Perils of the Lost Coast scenarios. I expected all of us to die in very horrible ways and we all almost did…and then we won in a fiery explosion.

Here is what we learned playing goblins…

the goblin fortune teller, can only tell the future when someone else has been punched in the face AND they are at the same location…hmmm…not as useful as we thought

the goblin pirate can only run away from a fight if there are other people at his location

Blessing of the Gobs is the most awesome card ever and yes we used the power to take blessings from the blessing pile all of the time, we are goblins we cannot tell time nor do we care about how much time was left and…

goblins cannot do “normal” math…goblin math example: make a ranged check…I roll a d12…your ranged is d10…yeah d10 + 2 means I roll this die…no, wait…

the pyromancer’s evil goat or ram Deliverance is useless; I didn’t find a use for it…oh well

the pyromancer’s ability to “help” other people at his location is awesome for injecting some unnecessary tension, witness…

All five goblins limped to the finish line, which was the villain as the last card. Along the way in addition to the above, we learned our goblin math wiz of a girl is a killing machine taking out most of the henchmen. However, for the final fight she was AWOL, she did offer to assist with every card in her hand, including her much beloved Potion of Fortitude.

The fight came down to the pirate who thought about running away, then decided to fight with his dogchopper and a lot of luck and assistance. Because there were four of us there, he got a ton of d4’s to roll. Not satisfied with his fist full of tiny dice and wanting to inject some unnecessary tension, I the pyromancer assisted, giving him 4 extra points while dealing 3 points of damage to everyone other than me.

He had to win otherwise everyone other than me and our girl died. Now that is tension, one roll to win or die, a fist full of d4’s (arguably the worst die ever), and a fiery +4 bonus. I maintain to this moment that my +4 and the possibility of instant death for three characters is what motivated him to roll awesome.

So while the goat was useless and we cant’ do math, we can stagger on fire past the finish line. More to come as we stagger our way through Rise of the Runelords GOBLINS.

Broken Token Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Box Organizer

Up front, I did not get this for free, I had to pay for it. That being said, if someone at Broken Token wants to send me one for free, I am all for that.

Disclaimer out of the way, what is the Broken Token Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Box Organizer and why do you need one (small caveat on need in a few)?

Let me start with a few questions:

Do you play Pathfinder Adventure Card Game more than once in a while…say like us, roughly weekend long marathon games?

20160909_143623Do you find the plastic insert provided with each base set slightly to more than slightly annoying for the following reasons:

  • rounded corners that bend card sleeves
  • not enough space for cards the further along a campaign proceeds
  • definitely not enough space for cards when you add cards from one or more Character Decks
  • no extra storage, if used as designed

Admittedly these are very minor gripes.

20160909_143651Have you found  yourself desiring a better way to store Pathfinder Adventure Card Game cards? Such as, when removing cards due to Adventure Deck progress, where do you store yours or for other reasons cards are removed?

If these things are issues for you, continue reading on. If not, good for you that you figured out a solution to those issues and please share for others.

For us card storage was an issue from day one; cards needed to be removed because they were not being used and cards needed to be added because a new Adventure Deck was in session. There never seemed to be enough room. Then after a campaign ended Adventure Decks needed to be stored, in sleeves.

Solution 1, put each Adventure Deck in a separate deck box. This meant we had 7 boxes for our PACG games: Base set + 6 Adventure Decks. This was not very efficient.

Solution 2, obtain a large card box, make dividers for each Adventure Deck and store them in there. Thus when a new deck was needed, pull from large card box and when cards, say Basics, needed to go away, put them into the large box.

Solution 2 was working until Wrath of the Righteous and two character decks. Solution 2 was not a great solution, switching decks and keeping them organized was annoying, but it worked. While setting up for Adventure Deck 2, I found myself with five spots with too many cards in them based on the space allocated for them. One of the best design elements of PACG, is once you learn where the cards in the box grabbing them or putting them away is instinctive. What could be a major slow down does not affect play at all…unless you have to rearrange the box so that cards fit, which I did. This DID NOT WORK.

20160909_143607Solution 3, search Amazon I found this listing: Broken Token PACG Box Organizer. It looks neat. Reviews are good, but the price..ick. Still, we had a problem which really did slow down our games, so I broke down and bought one.

  • Laser cut wood. Awesome.
  • Easy to follow instructions.
  • Assembles well and is solid, only tape needed on corners, which is suggested in the instructions.
  • Best part, fits in box and as you can see from the photo, EVERYTHING fits in the box now (Base Set, Add-On Deck, all 6 Adventure Decks, 3 characters in progress, promotional cards, and figures). Instead of two or more boxes for a game, we need one. When a new Adventure Deck is needed, there is spot for it right there.
  • The Box Organizer worked so well and impressed all us so much that I ordered two more for Rise of the Runelords and Skulls and Shackles. I will order a fourth for sure when Mummy’s Mask is released.

If you play Pathfinder Adventure Card Game as much as we do, I highly recommend the Broken Token Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Box Organizer. If you have other games that are need of organization hit up their website.

TPK: Total Party Kill

While TPK may become a chapter title for Puddles and Whiskers, today or last night TPK was the end of our Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Rise of the Runelords marathon. All characters killed by Karzoug the Claimer, a title that made no sense until he claimed all of us.

TPKs are rare in PACG. Very rare. I believe this was our second or third. Usually some off the wall scenario or in this case totally bad luck. I understand that last scenarios for Adventure Paths are supposed to be challenging and this was, but this also has an element of luck that…luck screwed us, plain and simple.

A single stack of fourteen cards. Karzoug the villain, three henchmen: a dragon and two giants, and ten pieces of loot. Sounds pretty simple. Our goal, defeat Karzoug. The hitch, make that two hitches, each turn we must bury a card from our hand and Karzoug is not defeated until the entire deck is gone. In other words, the only way to defeat Karzoug is if he is the last card.

If things go well, such as only drawing Karzoug once or not at all until near the end then Into the Eye (the name of the scenario) should go like this:

  1. Bury a card
  2. Draw a boon, obtain the boon to be buried following turn or
  3. Draw a henchmen, defeat and move on

The hope being that enough boons are gained to offset the bury a card a turn and any damage. Our game went like this:

Draw Karzoug who has an ability, “Succeed at Constitution or Fortitude 15 check.” If you succeed, you only take 2 damage. I was the only character who had a chance at succeeding. If you fail, take 1d4 +1 damage. And that is where the wheels fell of the adventure wagon. Karzoug and his enslaved Blue Dragon, who has a similar ability NUKED us…well more the other players than me.

It was a draw between who went out first, the alchemist or the sorceress. Regardless that left me to fight Karzoug one last time. Suffice to say the game ended like this…


So, now what?

Well, we replay the scenario and hope for better draw. Like I said, TPKs are rare.

And then what, if Into the Eye is the last scenario what will we do? Talk has turned to playing through Wrath of the Righteous, something that has not happened yet. Some of us have played through Adventure Deck 3. Having looked up the FAQ for the set, the big issue that made us quit has been addressed, thus with some trepidation, we are looking that way. After that…Mummy’s Mask or turning Wrath into Adventure Deck 7 for our Rise characters.

For those looking or hoping for more Puddles and Whiskers, they will be returning. I have another revision or two to go before I am happy with how the opening looks. Plus, I am enjoying writing about the duo and am adding to the story. I was about to say tail. 🙂


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Buyers Guide II (link fixed)

A while ago, I wrote the first Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Buyers Guide. After moving and setting up for play again, and on the eve of Mummy’s Mask I thought it would be a good time to revisit that post.

Before making a purchase, I suggest that you visit here and download a rulebook. Plus you can see the support continually offered for Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. If you can, find a local game to try before purchasing. I suggest this because Pathfinder Adventure Card Game can become an expensive hobby. Best to try before buying.

Step 1: Where to Buy

The first thing that you need to decide is where to purchase. There are two options:

  1. purchasing through Amazon where the price tends to be cheaper
  2. purchasing from your local game store (we do not have a local game store)
  3. purchasing from Paizo, where if you sign-up for a subscription you get a 20% discount, promotional cards, and earlier access

Ultimately where you make your purchases is determined by your funds. If you can, I recommend signing up for a subscription through Paizo for the promotional cards, discount, and earlier access.

Step 2: What Do You NEED

For home games you will need one of the following Base Sets to play Pathfinder Adventure Card Game:

  • Rise of the Runelords: standard fantasy adventure (best set for introducing the game)
  • Skulls and Shackles: pirates
  • Wrath of the Righteous: war against demons
  • Mummy’s Mask (October): mummies

A Base Set is a large box that comes with the following:

  • Cards that you will use throughout all six Adventure Decks
  • A starter adventure consisting of 3 to 5 scenarios.
  • Adventure Deck 1. An Adventure Deck is 110 cards for 5 scenarios composing that adventure
  • 7 characters who are suited for the Base Set
  • Dice

Step 3: What Next

After a Base Set, there are plenty of accessories and add-ons to purchase:

Red: Necessary; Blue: Optional

Character Add-on Deck: Each Base Set has a Character Add-on Deck (110 cards) consisting four new characters, and extra cards that are immediately added to the Base Set cards. Character Add-on Decks expand the number of characters available to choose from and allow for players over four.

Adventure Decks: Each Base Set has five additional Adventure Decks 2-6 (remember 1 comes with the base set). Each Adventure Deck continues the adventure with new challenges and rewards.

Class Decks: Class Decks focus on one class, such as Paladin, giving players between 3 (first releases) and 4 (newer releases) characters and cards to support characters of that class. Unless you are like us, and love the game, start with Class Decks for Classes you like or use a lot. Class Decks are necessary for Guild Play.

Play Mats: Each Base Set and Character Add-on Deck has a set of play mats. These colorful foam mats show where cards are placed, making organization a bit easier. In addition, when using a play mat a player may discard a card to draw a card once a game.

Game Mat: A large foam mat with spots for a 1 to 6 player game. The mat does not have spots for everything; such as new card positions that have been introduced since the mat was released (Skulls and Shackles ships come to mind). This mat is very helpful for keeping the game organized.

Iconic Miniatures: A box of six miniatures from the Pathfinder line. Each figure/character has a unique card that is specific to them. The miniatures replace the character tokens, making for a cleaner play area. The cards are nice, nothing game breaking. There is NOT a miniature for every character released to date. Since the original post, Iconic Miniature came to a close after 6 sets.

Digital Game: I wrote about my experiences with the iPad version of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game here.

Step 4: Re-Playability

Okay, so you read all of that and may have thought, “What good is all of that if there are three, soon to be four, base sets?” Pathfinder Adventure Card Game has huge replayability.

  • Characters from any Base Set, Character Add-on Deck, and Class Deck can be used in any Base Set. On our second play through of Rise of the Runelords was completely different because of character choice.
  • Cards from sets can be used to create your own adventures-there is a card creator for people who want to design their own cards and sites hosting fan made adventures.
  • For players with a local game store or group at home to play with, Paizo has Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild.  Official adventure Paths are made available for use in Guild play or at home. If playing in a Guild Game, a Class Deck is necessary.

Since the original post, plenty of material has been added to the game expanding the options and replayability. In October, Mummy’s Mask will be released adding another Base Set and more characters to the mix for more fun and options.