Pathfinder Adventure card game 2nd Edition Game Review

pathfinder adventure card game
pathfinder adventure card game

Basic Information

Number of Players: 2-5

Age: 12+

Time:  45 minutes – 60 minutes

Price: High

Introduction to Pathfinder Adventure card game 2nd Edition

Have you ever wanted to experience a condensed card game version of dungeons and dragons? Well now you can with the recently released second edition of the Pathfinder adventure card game. The base game comes with 8 classes to choose from as well as a short introductory campaign. Round up your rag-tag team of adventures and begin your quest!

How to Play Pathfinder Adventure card game 2nd Edition

Pathfinder is somewhat of a legacy style game where you progress the story and upgrade your characters as you play. In the first session each player choses a character to play for the duration of the campaign. Each character has a number of unique abilities and bonuses that are used throughout the game.

The play area is set up by grabbing out the appropriate location cards and randomly allocating the items/allies/monsters/blessings/etc that are listed on those location cards. For most games, each deck also is given a minion or villain cards which get shuffled along with the other cards in the location decks. Once the locations are all sorted, players chose which location they wish their characters to start at.

The goal of each game is (usually) to find and defeat the villain. The only way to do so is to close (or temporarily close) all the locations except for the one where the villain is located to force a confrontation. If any other location remains open, the villain is randomly put into one of the other open locations.

On a players turn, they can either move to a new location, use a pre turn action (some location cards will list these, eg the tower), or they can chose to immediately explore that location. A player will draw the top card of the deck and resolve the card. If the card if an ally for example, that player must succeed on the check listed on the card to acquire the ally. Barriers and Monsters typically have harder checks that players must attempt in order to defeat them. After they have resolved this first card, they can chose to explore again if a card in their hand allows them to do so. Players need to try and manage their time and decks as they only have a limited amount of turns to complete each game scenario.

When a scenario is won, the story progresses and the characters will all get to upgrade one of their abilities.

Notes on Pathfinder Adventure card game 2nd Edition

The base game of Pathfinder acts more as a foundation for future adventures which are sold separately. The introductory adventure takes around 15-20 hours to complete. The game expansions which come out every year are projected to add a good 40-60 hours of game play per addition. While these may seem like somewhat of a money sink, it’s actually really good value for money/hour of gameplay compared to some other big priced games. In terms of game complexity I’ll admit it’s more suited for hardcore gamers, however with a little patience and practice even a more casual gamer would be able to enjoy this game. I highly recommend this to any players who like role playing games like Gloomhaven or table top games like Dungeons and Dragons.

Top 10 Best Board Games for Couples

board games for couples

It can be very difficult to find good two player games for couples to play. A lot of games have a 3 player minimum (like Catan) or, even though they technically can be played with two players they are far better with 3 or more. Listed here are my (and my partners) top 10 favorite board games to play when it is just us. I hope this list helps you find the perfect game to play with your partner.

1 Gloomhaven

gloomhaven review

Time: 45-60 min per session

Cost: Very High

What can I say about Gloomhaven that I haven’t already? It is by far one of the best board games ever made period and the fact that it’s also a great game to play as a couple is the ultimate bonus. Some players prefer to play this with the full 4 players, but from personal experience I can say that playing through the main campaign with my partner was a blast and I would not have wanted to play it any other way. It’s cooperative nature means that you will either win together or lose together, a theme that you will see is fairly common in this board game list. Gloomhaven is my number one pick for a couple’s board game.

Read the Full Review of Gloomhaven

2 Pandemic

Pandemic Review

Time: 45 min

Cost: High

Pandemic is another cooperative board game where you and your partner assume different roles to try and save the world from a series of diseases. Pandemic is certainly not for the faint of heart as even on the easiest difficulty winning is not guaranteed. This is a great game to play with your partner as the two player experience is just as good as the 3 and 4 player one. If you and your partner like a challenge, definitely check out Pandemic as your next couple’s game.

Read the Full Review of Pandemic

3 Ticket to Ride

ticket to ride review

Time: 45 min

Cost: High

Ticket to ride is the first competitive game to make this list. You and your partner are trying to complete as many destination tickets as you can to gain the most points and win. My personal favorite map of the ticket to ride series is the Europe map as the stations come in handy, especially when playing with more than just your partner. When playing Ticket to Ride with two players you can only use a single route once, even if there are multiple tracks on that route. With this rule variant the two player version of ticket to ride can feel just as cramped (and just as fun) and the three to four player games.

Read the Full Review of Ticket to Ride

4 Takenoko

takenoko review

Time: 30 – 45 min

Cost: High

Takenoko is an adorable game set in medieval Japan in the garden of the emperor. Players are trying to be the first to complete 7 objective cards and have the most points at the end of the game. This is a great game to play as a couple as the game is just as fun with two players as it is with 4. The advantage of a two player game is that the games themselves can go a little faster. I have heard some people saying that the art style is too ‘girly’, but I personally love the bright and colorful art and those who dismiss the game based off that are truly missing out on a fantastic gaming experience.

Full Review coming soon.

5 Kingdomino

kingdomino review

Time: 15 min

Cost: Medium

Kingdomino is a fun domino placing game where the aim is to make as many large groups of colors as possible for maximum points at the end. In the two player version of this game each player goes twice in the one round using both of their king tokens. Each game of Kingdomino typically lasts around 15 minutes so it’s a great game to play to the ‘best of three’ or whomever has the most points at the end of the three games. It’s also a fairly chill game compared to others on this list and is easy to learn and play.

Read the Full Review of Kingdomino

6 Castle Panic

castle panic review

Time: 60 min

Cost: High

Castle Panic is another cooperative game to make this list. You and your partner are trying to work together to defend the castle from the invading goblins and ogres. The art style is fun and colorful and the game mechanics really force you to work together to overcome the hordes of monsters coming at you. This is a great game to pull out and play with your partner (or even by yourself!)

Read the Full Review of Castle Panic

7 Fog of Love

fog of love review

Time: 60 min

Cost: High

Fog of love is a rom-com in a board game. You and your partner have quirks that make you the ‘quirky’ protagonist of your rom com and secret goals to keep the ‘will they wont they’ tension alive. Fog of love is one of the more complicated board games to play on this list but is defiantly a great game to play with your partner. Being designed for two players certainly gives it the edge over some others on this list.

Full Review coming soon.

8 Stuffed Fables

stuffed fables review

Time: 45 – 60 min per session

Cost: High

This game also suffers from the ‘cuteness’ like Takenoko, but take it from me, it’s a fantastic game! My partner and I started playing this and could not put it away. In stuffed fables you play through a campaign as a little girl’s stuffed animals protecting her from the evil that is under her bed. You can play as one character each or (and what I strongly suggest) play as two characters each for a total for 4 stuffies. My partner and I gave each stuffie a unique voice and personality and that really added to the overall experience of playing the game. Definitely check this game out if you and your partner are really into role playing games.

Full Review coming soon.

9 Lord of Waterdeep

lords of waterdeep review

Time: 60 min

Cost: High

Lords of Waterdeep is a great resource management game where you play as a lord of Waterdeep who is trying to complete as many quests of a certain type as they can. The two player game of this is great and the board is certainly less claustrophobic than a 4-5 player game. This was one of the first big board games my partner and I played together and I can certainly attest to its fun game play and fun game mechanics.

Full review coming soon.

10 Love Letter

love letter review

Time: 30 min

Cost: Low

I personally adore Love Letter. While you can play it with two players it is admittedly better with at least three. In saying that it’s still a great little game to play with your partner at home or on trips where you want a little game to pass the time. It also comes in a cute velvet bag so it’s easy to put in your pocket and take with you.

Read the Full Review of Love Letter

How to choose the right board game?

Board Game Buying Guide

When buying a board game for yourself, it’s good to ask a few small questions.

Who will I be playing this with?

Do I want a more involved board game or one that’s easier to learn?

Do I want a cooperative board game or a competitive one?

What is my budget?

What replay value does this game have for me?

Board Game Buying Guide

These are good starting questions to narrow down what sort of game you would like to get. For instance, if you were playing with you kids, you would want a game that is easier to learn and play. If you were playing with adults, you might opt for a game with more complex rules and mechanics. There are some board and card games that can be played by yourself, but for the most part its assumed you will be playing with someone else so it’s good to keep them in mind when purchasing a new game.

There are also different game types. One being whether it is co-operative, the players versus the game, or competitive with everyone against everyone. Pandemic is a good example of a popular cooperative game, where the players fight against disease outbreaks all over the world. On the flip side, you have games like clue (cludeo) or Monopoly where only one player can win and they play against their friends for the victory. There are of course some games that tip-toe this line of cooperative and competitive play like Betrayal at house of the Hill (a personal favorite of mine).

Pandemic Review

Especially when it comes to the more expensive board games, you want to make sure you are getting value for money through replaying the game a lot. Some games will only have a limited number of replays due to certain mechanics within the game and others will have infinite replay value. It all depends on the style of game, and of course who you are playing with that will determine these factors. For people who are starting out with board games, I would recommend going with the more classic style board games which are generally a little cheaper due to their popularity.

In the end through, it all comes down to personal preference and you will like some games more than others and that’s okay! As long as you are giving it a go, you will defiantly find a few board games that are perfect for you and your situation.

If you are looking for a game to buy someone else, check out my guide to buying board games as gifts article for some ideas how to find the perfect gift.

Pandemic Review

Pandemic Review

Basic Information

Pandemic Review

Number of Players: 2-4

Age: 8+

Time: 45 min

Price: High

Introduction to Pandemic

Pandemic is a cooperative board game that pits the players against the board. You and your friends are tasked with trying to eradicate the diseases that are plaguing the earth, and through team work, and a healthy dose of luck you may just be able to save the human race! Don’t be fooled though, this game can be extremely difficult to beat even on the lower difficulties. It’s great for those to love a challenge and aren’t afraid of repeated failure.

How to Play Pandemic

The goal of Pandemic is to cure all four diseases that plague the earth. Each player choses from roster of roles that each have their own unique ability. All players start at the research station in Atlanta with a handful of cards that is dealt out to them. This starting hand will contain location cards which are used to cure diseases and move around the board, and possibly some even cards that they player can use during the game.  At the beginning of the game players draw a number of cards from the location deck and each of those cities start with 1-3 disease cubes.

pandemic Review cooperative board game

On their turn each player takes 4 actions. They can move to an adjacent city, cure diseases, treat cities, share cards, and build research facilities. Each action can be done multiple times as long as the player has the necessary cards and actions left to continue. For instance, they can move up to four times and not do any other action. At a research facility they can pay 5 of the same colour cards to cure a disease for one action. A character can treat a city they are in by removing one of the disease cubes. If that disease has been cured, they can remove all cubes from that city with a single treat action. If there are no more cubes of that colour on the board, the disease is eradicated and cube of that colour can no longer be placed. When players are in the same city they can give or take one card per action. Just remember that you can only have a maximum hand of 7 cards. You can build a research station in the city your player token is standing in by discarding that same city card. It’s good to have a few of these spread out enough to cure diseases faster.

Once a player has used up all four actions they draw city cards and spread uncured disease. If they draw an epidemic card, the reshuffle all the cards that have been drawn and place them on top of the draw pile. Any outbreaks that happen during this phase raise the epidemic levels and players will have to draw more cards when it crosses each draw threshold. If there are too many outbreaks, the players will lose the game.

Notes on Pandemic

Pandemic Legacy Review

Pandemic is a game for those of us who like to be punished. You can even increase the difficultly and really make your partner question her decisions when dating a masochist like you. I wouldn’t say this is a great game for a casual player, but anyone who enjoys a good puzzle (or is just tired of competitive board games because ‘you always win’) this is the game for you! While I know it’s not necessarily for everyone, it is one of my favorite board games in my collection.

There are a heap of different expansions and versions of Pandemic as well. In addition to the base game, I have Pandemic Cthulhu and the Pandemic Legacy Season 1 Blue Box. I definitely recommended more serious players try out a legacy style game like Pandemic Legacy. It’s a unique experience where each game effects the one played after. Other legacy style games include Gloomhaven and Stuffed Fables, both of which I also highly recommend players check out.

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Betrayal at House on the Hill Review

Betrayal at House on the Hill Review

Basic Information

betrayal at house on the hill review

Number of Players: 3-6

Age: 12+

Time: 60 minutes

Price: High

Introduction to Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a horror themed board game by Avalon Hill. It is both a cooperative game and a competitive game which pits the players against the traitor who reveals themselves half way through the game. The board changes every time you play and each scenario has a different betrayer with unique abilities and goals. This is a fantastic game for adults who like a game that is a little more complicated and has insane replay value with 52 different haunt scenarios! If you are looking for a game to play this Halloween look no further than Betrayal at House on the Hill.

How to Play Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a little more complicated to play due to variety of haunts that it offers. I highly recommend watching a lets play of the game to get a better idea of the game and its rules.

Each character has 4 traits; speed, might, sanity, and knowledge. They traits are used throughout the game to complete certain tasks. For example, you may need to do and knowledge roll of 6 to open a vault. A character with a knowledge of 4 rolls 4 of the game’s dice and if the sum of those rolled dice is 6 or greater they open the vault. They are also how to measure damage taken. Damage comes in two forms, mental and physical. If you take physical damage, you move your marker down on might or speed. Likewise if you lose mental damage, you lose sanity or knowledge. After haunt, if any of these values falls to the skull, that character is dead and out of the game.  

At the start of each game players start in the entrance hall and explore. They can move up to their speed value (so if their speed is 3 they can move 3 rooms) and keep exploring until they discover a room with an event, omen, or item symbol. They then stop and draw the related card to the symbol. If it’s an omen card, they must also make a haunt roll where they take 6 of the games dice and roll them. If the value of the dice is below the number of omens held by characters (as marked by the haunt tracker) the haunt begins. Players then consult the rule book by checking which omen was found and what room it was found in to see who the betrayer for that game is as well was what scenario they will be completing.

The betrayer must go to a separate room with their betrayers hand book and learn what their new abilities are, what monsters they controls, and what their goal is to win.  The players have the survival book which they read to learn what they need to do in order to escape or kill the betrayer (and his monsters). The betrayer and the survivors don’t know what the other party needs in order to succeed, but you can always make an educated guess.

If the betrayer is using monsters, they have separate rules which they use. For example, a monster cannot explore rooms and when moving. Instead of moving the speed value (eg 4), the betrayer rolls that number of dice and the added number of the dice result is the monsters movement for that round.

Important note: When the haunt happens and the traitor (as a monster) is trapped in the basement, the stairs to the foyer automatically reveal themselves since monsters cannot explore rooms to find the stairs themselves. I have found that this rule is often missed by new players and could lead to bad experiences for the person who is playing the traitor.

Notes on Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of the first board games that I absolutely fell in love with. Each game brings a new story, new board, and new experiences. I must have played this at minimum 30 times between the time that I bought it 6 years ago to today. I also own the expansion, the Dungeons and Dragons version, and the Legacy addition that was released in 2018. Any adult looking for a fun board game that they can play with their friends over and over, look no further than this beast of a game.

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Gloomhaven Review

gloomhaven review

Basic Information

gloomhaven review

Number of Players: 1-4

Age: 14+

Time: 30 minutes per player (varies between scenarios)

Price: Very High

Introduction to Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is the board game of this decade with its amazing gameplay and huge campaign. It’s a semi-legacy style game where each scenario impacts the overall game in small ways. You and your team need to work together the defeat monsters and loot treasure in this epic fantasy style board game. Its clearly inspired from the likes of the pathfinder board game and table top RPGs like Dungeons and dragons, but has its own unique style and story. For the avid board game enthusiast, this will be the crowing jewel of any board game collection.

How to Play Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is quite a bit more complicated than the average board game, for a deeper look at the rules I suggest checking out this YouTube video by the creator and to also check out forums for niche rules that occasionally come up.

As a basic overview, each game is typically one scenario. A scenario is set up by combining the tile pieces together and placing door tokens over the joins. You then place your characters on the board in an pre-set area. The monsters that are in the first room are also placed along with any loot, treasure tiles, traps and so on, but do not place them for any up-opened room. Players then choose their turn using two cards from their hand. They are choosing a top action of one card and a bottom from another. You then announce how early you are going (without saying the actual number!) along with what you plan to do and your team mates will do the same. You want to try and work together, linking up actions and initiative order to try and do the most damage while also staying alive. Those cards you played are then out into the discard section (unless they were a lost card which are placed in a separate pile). When you run out of cards, you can choose to take a long rest, where you lose a turn but get to choose which card to become lost and gain 2 HP, or you can take a short rest, where you lose a card from your discard at random but do not lose a turn. Play continues until the winning conditions are met for each scenario.

Notes on Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is my favorite game of all time. Its stellar gameplay, great story, and insane replay value (with over 90 scenarios) make it an easy win for me. The high cost point is quite a barrier for some people when looking to purchase the game, but when you compare it to the cost of a movie or even some video games in cost per hour of entertainment, it is great value for money. While not everyone will enjoy the sometimes brutal game play, it is by far one of the best experiences I have had playing a board game.

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Codenames Review

codenames review

Basic Information for Codenames

codenames review

Number of Players: 2-8+

Age: 10+

Time: 15 minutes

Price: Medium

Introduction to Codenames

Codenames is a team versus team game that is great to play with larger groups of people. It’s a fairly simple concept where the team leader of each team is trying to get their team members to guess the correct code words. Codenames is a great communication game which also engages your puzzle solving and interpretation abilities as you and your team try to guess all the correct codenames before the other team. I highly recommend this game for adults and especially at big family gatherings.

How to Play Codenames

Codenames is set up fairly quickly with a 5×5 grid of words on the table with the team leaders and team members sitting opposite each other. The team leaders have a card with a 5×5 grid that shows the position of words that they need their team to guess. The color around the edge of the card determines who goes first and that team leader then gives their team the first clue. A clue is comprised of two things, a number which is the amount of code words the team member wants their team to guess, and a single word that connects those cards together. There are some restrictions to what this clue word can be as read in the manual. If the team guesses correctly, the team leader places a tile of the team color on the correctly guessed word and the team continues until they have found the remaining words from the same clue. If they find them all they are allowed to guess an additional code word, usually from a previous clue to which they were not able to see at the time. If they get a bystander or their other teams code word, the turn ends and it moved to the next team. If they find the assassin, they lose the round and the other team wins.

Notes on Codenames

Codenames is a great party game that I play all the time with my family. My mum has trouble reading so we generally play the pictures version which has some amazing illustrations. I also own the original version and the duet version which I play all the time with my partner. There are also other versions such as Disney, Marvel and Harry potter, all which would be a great gift for someone who loves their respective franchises. Codenames is such a solid game and I highly recommend it for anyone who commonly is playing with larger groups of more than 6 people.

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