The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is incredibly fun, bringing a deep, cooperative gameplay experience to your group, and it’s no secret that a number of us at GeekDad are big fans of the game. But with hundreds of unique cards jam-packed with rules text, it was certain to have issues. As GeekDad noted early on, Rise of the Runelords had a number of errata and has generated a sizable FAQ to cover those updates and address basic rules questions.
Some of those errata are essentially trivial, such as having the wrong expansion symbol on the card. Others have significant effects but are easily corrected with a fine-tipped marker. More troublesome are the changes that have a large gameplay impact while requiring a significant update to the text that is difficult to fit in the available space.
So what is a gamer to do? Initially I started making the changes by hand, but it was driving me a little crazy, especially with my penmanship (the above photo features two cards edited with the help of my wife). Recently though, I stumbled across a thread discussing Paizo’s partnership with DriveThruCards.com to reprint all the cards that have errata statements in the FAQ. It’s not a short list, coming in at around 90 unique cards (print-run dependent–more on that in a bit), but keep in mind that this is mostly a measure of Paizo listening to their customers and being thorough. Many of these cards fall into the “essentially trivial” category mentioned above. This isn’t a cash grab either; Paizo states at the top of that thread that they are taking no revenue from the errata decks.
There is, however, a significant convoluting factor: Rise of the Runelords went through two different print runs and had some of the errors corrected from the first to the second run. To help reduce the costs, Paizo has created different packages to help you get just the cards you need, going so far as to break out Blessings of the Gods into its own set as the change is small and should be easily remembered as it is the most encountered card in the game.
Another impact of those two print runs is that Paizo switched printers due to quality issues with their first provider. The runs are different in height by a half millimeter (first run taller) and exhibit different card back colors. Paizo worked with DriveThruCards to find a strong match, testing hundreds of card backs, and eventually found color matches unique to each of the two print runs. However, it was not financially viable to match the non-standard height of the first run. The upshot of the above is that if you own a pure second printing of the entire game then it’s pretty easy: just buy the second printing errata set. If you own a pure first edition printing then, yes, you’ll introduce card height variance, though with so many cards when you include Blessings of the Gods that it shouldn’t be a gameplay issue. But what if you have a mix from both editions?
It may sound like a negative, but I think it actually comes out as a benefit. While small, you already have a card identification problem, irrespective of errata, once you have a mix of print runs. In my case, I had two adventures from the second run, making it somewhat easier to pick out those cards visually. Scattering a mix of first-run cards backs with second-run dimensions throughout the game has made it impossible to look at a card and be certain of its origins.
So, now you know what cards you may want to buy. How do they look? Here are some photos comparing cards. Instead of using a scanner, I took photos as the card differences showed up overly pronounced on the scan in a way that didn’t mimic what I was seeing with my eyes.
First off: the card face. Cards from the second print run are on the left of each pair, with the errata printing on the right – a worst case scenario for card matching. It isn’t essential that the face side of the errata reprints are exact matches of course, but it is nice to see that they are mostly the same and still pleasing to look at.
Now the card backs. I chose to show a mix of all the cards in my possession to give an indication of how good the match is. Included are cards from both print runs, as well as errata cards mimicking the first print run.
Edit: an earlier version of this article mistakenly compared first-run errata card backs to second print run versions. This portion was removed.
They’re very close, and it is definitely a lot harder to tell the difference when you’re looking at just one card (as you do on the top of a stack). If you’re noticing any stand-outs in the picture, it’s a good chance you’ve identified my second print run cards mixed in. This isn’t an issue with the errata cards, but rather just the original difference in the print runs from Paizo. If you want to try to guess what card is from what set, go ahead; I’ll put the answer at the bottom of the article.
Overall, the quality of the cards seems good. The card stock feels the same as the original and I haven’t seen complaints on the forums (other than one post noting the second print run backs not being an exact match, which I can’t verify with my collection). I had an issue with the Blessings of the Gods printed for the Character Add-On Deck where it seems the cutting was not properly centered. Given that I haven’t seen droves of people talking about it, it may have just been an unlucky run for me.
There’s no simple recommendation that can be given for this product. The decision hinges greatly on which print runs you own, if the errata is slowing down your game, and if you can be happy with marking up your cards. If the variety in card backs bothers you greatly you could look at sleeving your collection, but it won’t be cheap, and if you’re willing to do that you could just drop printed rules corrections in the sleeves anyway. I am personally happy with the end result given my collection of mixed print runs.
One last, but very cool, point: in addition to publishing errata cards, Paizo has worked with DriveThruCards to provide a community card creator page, allowing fans to make and share their own cards that anyone can print. Paizo has approved a card design that makes it clear that the card is fan-created while leaving the PACG look intact. At just 50 cents each, you could have a lot of fun with these cards, extending the life of the game even further.
Card Back Key
Top row: Adventure 2 Errata; Base Set Errata; Character Deck First Printing; Adventure 2 Second Printing
Bottom row: Base Set First Printing; Character Deck Errata; Adventure 4 Second Printing; Adventure 4 Errata