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Pathfinder

Unpacking the Pathfinder Playtest

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Unpacking the Pathfinder Playtest

The Pathfinder Playtest ended November 18th and according to Paizo Inc., it was huge in terms of the number of players and incredibly useful to the designers!

Jason Bulmahn updated players on the findings from the Playtest and thanked them heartily for their participation in a video missive from the Paizo Studio.. He talked about data, surprises, and even gave a few spoilers as to what the final version of Pathfinder Second Edition will be like. 

The Paizo team was very clear that Pathfinder Second Edition will not be identical to the Playtest. The Playtest made bold choices to test various options and players will absolutely experience the game differently when the Second Edition is released in August.

While still being written, Pathfinder Second Edition will add storytelling flavor and polish, provide a better introduction for new players, include more useful GM tools, do away with magical Resonance, and refine the Proficiency system. All of this moves towards making a game that is easier to learn, faster to play at all levels, providing the depth of character customization that Paizo is lauded for, and giving GMs the tools to tell the stories they want to tell. Getting the rules just right allows players to focus more on the story at gaming table.

Even though the Playtest is at an end, the Pathfinder Playtest books still create a fascinating and challenging adventure - especially for any party who might want to gain an deeper understanding of game design, compare their experience with the final version coming this year, and of course explore the vast World of Golarian. The chapters of the Doomsday Dawn adventure take place in many of the same locations as Pathfinder’s previous Adventure Paths, giving a sampling to new players and a sentimental journey to veterans. Let’s be honest, it’s just plain fun. Reach out to your FLGS to see if they still have copies available!

Paizo has plans to make the buying experience special for customers who plan to buy Pathfinder Second Edition at their favorite local gaming store which they plan to announce in March.

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Starfinder: Alien Archive 2

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Starfinder: Alien Archive 2

If you’re not playing the Starfinder RPG from Paizo Inc. then you need to start. An epic space fantasy epic is waiting for you! The Core Rule book launched a little over a year ago and since then we’ve gotten 4 adventure modules and accessories like their best in class Combat Pad, miniatures, and condition cards. The original Core Rulebook offered a variety of playable races and seven classes and their first Alien archive expanded the playable races with 20 more to choose from.

Why is this important? The Core Rulebook gave us a balance new aliens like the telepathically gifted Lashunta and fierce rat-like Ysoki as well as old Golarion classics like Elves and Dwarves. That being said, role playing in space calls for a veritable galaxy of options for both the GM and players at the table and while 20 more in the first Alien Archive was great, our imaginations can always expand to make room for more!

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Alien Archive 2 meets that challenge and does not disappoint! With 65 chapters and 100+ creatures from across the galaxy, this tome also boasts information for 16 playable races that run the gambit from humanoid, to insect, to upright sentient mammalian options. You can truly live your best cantina life. Not to be overlooked is the inclusion of Aasimar, Tieflings, and Orcs to some of the more classic high fantasy related options.

On the GM side of the table, the folks at Paizo Inc. have made it easier to customize creatures by providing grafts. These are stats that allow you to mix creatures together for infinite possibilities and killer combinations.

One of my biggest struggles is creating/finding gear to provide my players with. Story and battles come easily to me but rewards are hard - especially when I’m just looking at a long list of gear. What I love about Alien Archive 2 is that it places related gear in the chapter on various creatures giving me some great suggestions for what to reward my players with after an encounter or what to place in shops on a planet where that race is prevalent.

Starfinder Alien Archive 2 is in stores now and ready for you to discover the far reaches of space and uncover the mysteries that The Gap left behind! Look for it at your FLGS where you’ll typically find it listed for $39.99 MSRP. Tots’ worth every penny whether you’re a player or a GM.

Which Aliens will you be including in your Starfinder Campaign?

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Unboxing: Pathfinder Battles - Deadly Foes and Red Dragon Evolution from WizKids

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Unboxing: Pathfinder Battles - Deadly Foes and Red Dragon Evolution from WizKids

We're opening Pathfinder Deadly Foes blind boxes and the Red Dragon Evolution figures from WizKids! Whose army of Paizo predators will win against the Dragon Menace?

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Interview: Steve Jackson - Gaming Goliath and Munchkin Mastermind

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Interview: Steve Jackson - Gaming Goliath and Munchkin Mastermind

Legendary Game Designer, Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games

Legendary Game Designer, Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games

Munchkin has been around since 2001 and has worked with countless properties to developing its several serial versions. Back when you were creating the base game, what hole were you trying to fill?

I just wanted to do a simple parody of the dungeon-crawl genre. I had no idea where it would go. We found out, though . . . Munchkin didn’t create the genre of humorous card games, but it lent it a lot of energy.  

What has been the most rewarding thing about designing this game?

Definitely, the personal feedback. The game has touched a lot of people in ways that my other work hasn’t. Players want to make Munchkin part of their lives! We hear all the time about Munchkin-themed birthday parties, and there have been at least three Munchkin weddings and several proposals and “little Munchkin on the way!” baby announcements. 

When you are looking for partners for the various new installments, what’s your criteria?

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 The property has to be one that lends itself to the Munchkin tropes, and the licensor has to be willing to “break the fourth wall” a little bit, and let us be silly even if the property is not primarily humorous. Warhammer 40,000 is a good example; Games Workshop has given John and Andrew a lot of latitude to jump right through the fourth wall and poke gentle fun not just at their game but the players. It's respectful and always, always trying to laugh with, not at, and to me that's an important key to make Munchkin work. We're all in on the joke together, even when we're the butt of a particular giggle.

Is there a partnering property that you would love to work with on a Munchkin game that you haven’t yet?

Yes. Yes, there is  :)

Do you have a favorite card?

I might have a dozen favorites; narrowing it down to one is hard. I do really like the Potted Plant, the Net Troll, the Plutonium Dragon, and the Gazebo from the original set.

Is there a set that you’re most excited about debuting this year?

Yes, absolutely. Munchkin Warhammer 40,000! Aeldar and Death Guards and tanks, oh my. The Games Workshop crew have been very good sports and fun to work with.

Is there a favorite Munchkin game of all time and why?

Well, my very favorites to play are (1) the original set, just because; (2) Munchkin Cthulhu, because we got to do a lot of really silly cards AND put in a good alternate victory condition; (3) Munchkin Booty, because pirates!  Lots of Arrrrr! jokes, and avast wasteland of low pirate humor. And (4) whatever I am working on right now!

How did the now iconic partnership with artist John Kovalic come about?

I think his first game for us was Chez Geek, and we had been regularly working with him on the “Murphy’s Rules” feature for PYRAMID Magazine, and I thought his style would work well with the tone of the cards. Oh, my, it certainly did! He really gets the game, he’s very prolific, and sometimes we read each others’ minds when it comes to developing the look of a card. And we pay a lot of attention to every single card because we know that an important element of the game is the “look at the card and laugh” phase! 

How did the Munchkin CCG come about? Was the concept developed internally from the start, or did the designers come to you with the game and suggest Munchkin as a good fit? Or somewhere in between?

We developed the concept internally but we knew we wanted to get an experienced CCG designer to make it happen. I’m very pleased with the results. The “bluff” mechanic is, as far as I know, unique to the Munchkin CCG, and it adds a lot to play. Eric, Kevin, you done good!

There's been a variety of supplemental Munchkin accessories released, like dice, pins, character pawns, plushes, etc. Is there anything else like this in the works that you can talk about?

We’re coming out with a couple of play mats that will alter the game slightly and provide (yet another) way to keep track of levels. And the Starfinder “I Want It All" box includes a level tracker, a Kill-O-Meter, dice, and metal “credsticks" based on the currency of the Starfinder RPG. The Unicorns and Friends “big box” has Boxes of Holding and a Kill-O-Meter as well. People like Stuff and we are happy to create new Stuff for them!

Munchkin is often cited by fans as being the game that opened the door for them to modern board games. Any good stories about teaching the game to new players?

Just the observation that new players tend to win a lot. I have finally figured out why . . . I think. It’s very important in the beginning and middle game to make a lot of deals, and people tend to help, or accept help from, the new player just to show them the ropes. That advantage adds up!

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