Pawns On The Board

While my preferred mode of play is “Theatre of the Mind” and seeking Otherworld-immersion, the wargamer in me loves getting the pawns on the board and running a more combat-focused dungeon adventure. Tonight, at the D&D Club I run at school, I got to do just that as we cracked open a fresh copy of the Pathfinder Beginner Box. We had a blast!

Peeling off the shrink-wrap from a new boxed game is a particular delight. Breathing in that new box smell is a rare joy that I got to experience tonight as we opened the Beginner Box. Although I have run this adventure and game before – back during the pandemic and online for adult friends – it has been a while.

I wanted to test the claim that you can open the box and get playing with no prep. Although I did have to read quickly, scanning the adventure text as I went, the reality was that I did manage to run the opening scene of the adventure in just over 45 minutes.

I had five players so four of them ran the pre-generated characters in the box while the fifth chap ran the monsters. Using the information on the character portfolios, plus the player reference card, each of the newbie gamers managed to get playing pretty easily.

Down into the Fishery cellar they went and straight into a combat. We learned how to run the combat mode of the Pathfinder game and they mashed the opposition, earning some XP and cheering as they found victory! It was a lot of fun even if it’s clear that everyone has lots of details to learn as we go forward.

Pawns on the board was something I’ve not done in ages but the tactile addition of the flip-mat and tokens made teaching the rules easier. Counting squares and actions was a little stilted at first but allowed the players to easily explore some options. For example, I was delighted when (in the first turn of combat) the Cleric, Kyra, chose to move forward, hit a creature, and then raise her shield (adding 2 to AC).

All in all, it was a great start! The guys would like to make their own characters, I think, but for now learning to play with pre-gens is working just fine. I now have a group playing and an adventure that will take weeks to work through – given that we only have an hour each week to play. Here’s hoping the players come back for more!

Game on!

One comment

  1. I’m a big fan of Pathfinder Pawns. The names and character displayed have inspired many an encounter for me. Some of my favourites have included the Cut Throat Lawyer, Sadistic Healer, Fossil Golem (this IS my go to for improv monster in a one shot pick up game), and Aldren Foxglove (there are Foxgloves appearing in most of my games now just because of this).
    Bravo for getting new folk involved in the game!

    Liked by 1 person

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