Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Core Set
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Core Set Box

We plan on doing a full review of this game in a week or so.  He is a quick Box Opening for those of you who are curious as to what’s inside the new Core Set from Paizo.

What is Pathfinder?

Pathfinder Core Rulebook Second Edition

Pathfinder is a fantasy Role-Playing Game (RPG) from Paizo Publishing.  The Pathfinder RPG was first published in 2009.  Pathfinder is somewhat based on the rules of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) version 3.5 via D&D’s Open Game License.  

Pathfinder tweaked D&D’s 3.5 rules a bit.  Pathfinder introduced new character classes, like the Alchemist class.  Spells, skills and fighting were also tweaked to the delight of many fans.  In 2011, Pathfinder started outselling Dungeons and Dragons.  In August 2019, Paizo released Pathfinder Second Edition.

What is the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game?

The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is a cooperative card game for 1 to 6 players.  The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game gives players an opportunity to play the Pathfinder RPG without a Dungeon Master.  The game is set in the exciting world of Pathfinder, and pits players against the same monsters, perils and traps they face in the standard RPG.  

Pathfinder ACG Character – Harsk, Dwarf Ranger

Each player starts with a unique character, like: Wizard, Alchemist, Ranger, Cleric, Bard, Rogue, Paladin, Fighter, , Barbarian, Sorcerer, Druid, Monk, etc. 

Players also start with a unique deck to go along with their character.  Players can make their own starting decks, or use a deck suggested by the Core Set Rulebook.

Players then explore a variety of locations and dungeons to overcome challenges.  As the adventures continue, your characters add upgraded gear, items, weapons, spells and boost their attributes.  Characters will get stronger powers, and you will need them to challenge increasingly more powerful threats.

Each time you play a session of Pathfinder, you will play one “Scenario”.  You will play scenarios in a specified linear order.  If you beat a scenario, you obtain loot.  All players can then revise their decks making them stronger for the next scenario.  You will then play the next scenario.  Several linked scenarios are called an “Adventure”.  And several linked Adventures are called an “Adventure Path”.  

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set and The Curse of The Crimson Throne Expansion
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set and The Curse of The Crimson Throne Expansion

The Core Set which we are opening today, is the 2nd Edition of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.  This 2nd Edition was released in June 2019.  The First Edition was originally released in 2013 and has had numerous expansions.  The 2019 Core Set is essentially a reboot of the Original Adventure Card Game. Paizo has cleaned up terms and smoothed things out for better gameplay. There is also a new story in this Core Set – The Dragon’s Demand.  The Core Set has enough cards for 1 to 4 players to play cooperatively.

The “Curse of the Crimson Throne” (COTCT) Adventure Path expansion adds 4 more character options, expands the maximum number of players to 6, adds 550 more cards and more than 2 dozen more scenarios.  You don’t need this expansion initially though, unless you want to play The Dragon’s Demand Adventure with 5 or 6 players.  We also have  a box opening for Curse of the Crimson Throne if you want to have a look.  For now, let’s get back to the Core Set Opening.

What’s Inside the Box?

The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Core Set includes:

• 440 cards featuring a wide array of powerful weapons, magical spells, protective armors, versatile items, helpful allies, and divine blessings to help you face a host of vicious monsters, dangerous barriers, vile scourges, and perilous wildcards
• 12 character pawns, representing Pathfinder’s iconic character classes from the classic human cleric Kyra to the new goblin alchemist Fumbus
• 6 pawn bases
• A complete set of 5 polyhedral RPG dice
• 63 colorful tokens for tracking scourges and secondary objectives
• 24 dividers for organizing your cards
• 1 4-page Quick-Start Guide
• 1 32-page rulebook
• 1 24-page storybook featuring The Dragon’s Demand

box back
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Box Back

The box itself is pretty large at 12″ x 9″ x 4.5″.  

box open
Box First Open

Everything is packed nicely inside.  Once you remove the directions, storybook and punchouts, you notice the box is actually quite empty.  The box is nicely designed to hold future expansions, with slots and foam.

All contents

In additions to the dice and pawn tokens, there are 5 packages of cards.  The “Open Me First” package has 4 premade decks for you to play a quick tutorial scenario.  The Characters & Role package is a package of dividers for the box.  The other 3 packages are all the cards you need to play through The Dragon’s Demand Storyline.  

Player Tokens and more

Above are the 12 Player Tokens that come in the Core Set.  They are standard cardboard punch outs that players will use to show which location they are visiting.  Below are the player tokens on their bases.  

Players Tokens on Bases
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set Dividers
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Core Set Dividers

The Core Set includes plenty of dividers to easily keep track of all your cards in the box.  There is also one full set of RPG dice.  This game does not use 20 sided dice.

1 set of RPG Dice

Character Cards:


Suggested Starting Characters for the Tutorial / Quick-Start Guide:

The Characters in the “Open Me First Package”
All contents open, sorted and nicely stowed in the Core Set Box

The Box Core Set Box acts as a storage box, and easily holds all the game’s contents, my extra dice, and plenty of room for future expansions.  

Likes, Dislikes and Final Thoughts

These are my thoughts on the contents of the Core Set, not the gameplay itself … yet. 


First off, I think the box acting as a storage system for future expansions is a fantastic idea.  It reminds of the “Bigger Geekier” storage box for Smash Up.  As more cards and expansions are released, you can simply remove the foam cushions and add those expansions into the Core Set Box.  

I like the fact that you get complete Adventure Path in this core set.  The Dragon’s Demand Storyline includes 3 Adventures and 10 Scenarios.  As I understand it, the 1st Edition Core Set only included the beginning of the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, not a complete campaign.  

As a total newbie to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, I appreciate the fact that Paizo included a Quick Start Guide with 4 premade decks.  The 4 page Quick Start Guide is super helpful to newbies.  

I love the fact that you don’t need a Dungeon Master to play this game.  It can be tough to find a good DM for RPG’s!

I also love the fact that there are plenty of characters, as well as other roles the character could fill.  There are 12 different characters in the starter to choose from, and each character has a role to choose.  For example Harsk is a Ranger, and he could also be a Warden or a Dragonhunter.  

The Core Set Rulebook is 32 pages long, well-written and explains everything.  But it can be a overwhelming to new players.  I wholeheartedly recommend that newbies download the free Pathfinder Adventure Card Game App to their phones or tablets and take the free tutorials built into the app.  These tutorials help tremendously in learning the game.  

Transformers Character Cards vs Pathfinder Character Cards


The font size on the cards is really small.  I wish they had used larger character cards and a larger font like Wizards of the Coast does with their Transformer Character Cards, just so the cards would be easier to read.  

The player tokens are generic cardboard tokens, but they serve their purpose. If you get attached to a particular character, you could always buy miniatures of your heroes online.  

The artwork on the cards is not really my preferred style, but it won’t bother me during gameplay to be honest.  Art is very subjective, and many players might love it.   

There is only one set of generic blue RPG dice in the Core Set.  For gameplay, it’s easier if everyone has their own set of Gaming Dice.  If you get to playing with a big group, just ask everyone to buy & bring their own set of dice.  In RPG’s, it seems like many players love to collect their own sets of appealing dice anyway. 

It might be a little tough to incorporate old 1st Edition character packs into this 2nd Edition of the Core Set.  There is a transition guide in the rulebook, but you might be better off starting from scratch with the new core set and it’s expansions.

Pathfinder Cards

Final Thoughts

The retail price of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Core Set is $59.99.  That seems reasonable for this adventure.  You get a nice storage box, 12 different playable characters, 440 cards, and a full-blown Adventure.

The game seems perfect for a small group of friends that want to get together regularly, and play through a cooperative gaming campaign.  And if you have more than 4 players you can snag the Curse of the Crimson Throne expansion and play with up to 6 players.  And you will also get 550 more cards and a second Adventure. 

The great part of this game is that no one has to Dungeon Master!  Good Dungeon Masters can be hard to find, and that’s why they make games like the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.  

I will be starting a 5-player campaign very soon.  I’ll let you know how the campaign goes in the very near future.