Pathfinder Duels – CCG Turned On It’s Head

Pathfinder Duels is a card collecting game that seeks to change up the format of standard CCG games, all while including pretty graphics and themes.

In Pathfinder Duels, players battle one another using the standard game formula of the moment, card dueling. You build your deck using a medley of characters and spells from Pathfinder, then fight using the standard mana per turn system that Hearthstone and other similar games have popularized.

How Pathfinder Duels has managed to change up the genre, however, is by altering the game board. Previously, in other iterations of the CCG genre, you play your creatures or monsters (or whatever moniker you give the walking damage and health value cards in your game) on the board, their positions mostly irrelevant.

In Pathfinder Duels, however, you can only position your creatures and spells onto 6 tiles, each number linearly. The order you place your creatures determines not only their play order but also the order their effects occur, as well as whom they attack. Creatures will always attack the creature directly opposite them, only finally beating on the enemy hero once there is nothing in their path.

This gives the game a differing tactical element, as you now need to be constantly managing what you’re playing where, both to block appropriate enemies and to deliver higher amounts of damage to the right place.

Enemies don’t really seem to do any kind of consistent or actual damage, instead of proving a small challenge for you to overcome.

On your turn, you play your creatures of spells onto the 6 places on the board, hoping to outwit your enemy. Pathfinder Duels also takes a deviation from the norm by having players take their turns at the same time; this means that each turn is filled with a healthy amount of guesswork as to what the enemy is going to play. This can prove irritating at times though, as it can feel like the player has perfectly countered your moves without meaning to.

In some cases, however, this is clearly true when facing the AI, as they can definitely see what you’re doing and seemingly attempt to counter you. Nothing worse than watching an AI cheat against you and beat you because of it.

The cycle of alternating card order on the board keeps the gameplay fresh and interesting, if a little irritating and random-feeling at times, through the constant pressure of not knowing exactly what’s going to happen next turn. In other games of this type like Hearthstone, you can clearly see what the enemy plays on their turn and prepare to counter it. In Pathfinder Duels, though, it’s anyone’s guess what’s happening.

Enemies don’t really seem to do any kind of consistent or actual damage, instead of proving a small challenge for you to overcome.

The effect this has on the ultimate gameplay is that it becomes ever more important to understand the deck meta – what common decks people are playing and how best to counter them, as well as identifying them and then employ strategies to beat them.

Pathfinder Duels is a game that tries to twist the CCG genre around to its wishes – it’s going to need a healthy player base and a very active community to get going, but once it does, it has the potential to be one of the greats.

Our Rating

NoneTaking turns at the same time leaves the player feeling like they can’t counter the enemy.
Developer: 37GAMES
Price: Free+
Developer: 37GAMES
Price: Free+
Sam Eskenazi: Sam is a YouTuber, Streamer & Games Journalist. He loves to cook and listen to the sound of his own voice, ideally at the same time.