Review – Bestiary Battle Cards (Pathfinder)

If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you know I usually like to provide some real detail to go along with an opinion as to the niftiness level of the product. But there’s not a lot of depth to go into with the Pathfinder 2E Bestiary Battle Cards – they’re just all-around amazing. They’re huge (4” x 6”). They’re gorgeous. They’re supremely helpful, being much easier for the GM to use for reference at the table than even a pocket-sized Bestiary. They do exactly what you’d want them to do as well as you could want them to do it. At least until they install holoprojectors on the backs of the cards that can broadcast 3D images of the monsters onto your tactical map.

The battle cards include every single monster in the Bestiary, including the various different versions of the monsters (for example, different ages of chromatic dragons, different classes of goblin). That’s over 400 entries spread over 450 cards (some monsters have too much mechanical information for a single card). Each card has the complete stat block for the monster. For the handful of monsters that whose stat blocks rely on some other entry, there is a reference to the applicable Bestiary page. For example, the Lich’s stat block from the Bestiary (p.221) does not provide a full explanation for the Drain Phylactery or Paralyzing Touch abilities. The battle card for the lich notes that this information is on page 220 or the Bestiary.

The reverse side of each battle card is a picture of the monster for player visualization purposes. The images aren’t just against a blank background either – the red background includes an almost translucent image that’s a focus on the monster’s face. From a distance, you can’t really even see what it is – it’s more like a texture in the background. I’m not sure if that was needed to spice up the card backs, but that extra texturing effect spices it up.

Physically, the cards are are glossy laminate cardstock, of standard thickness. And, to repeat myself, they’re huge. I got the box in the mail and, just knowing that they were cards, was thinking ‘standard American card game’ size (aka, MTG card size, or around 2.5” x 3.5”). I was really excited to see how big the Battle Cards box was (and heavy too, Paizo crammed it to the gills). While not being so big as to be unmanageable, the extra size really helps. The picture for the players is much easier to see. And there’s enough room to not only include the full stat block, but also to slightly increase the font size.

The Bestiary Battle Cards are an accessory. They are, appropriately, not a requirement to GM a game of Pathfinder. But they are extremely handy – more convenient than referencing the Bestiary in-game, and more functional than hand-preparing/copying stat blocks in advance of the session. I would highly recommend the Bestiary Battle Cards to any Pathfinder GM.

Promotional consideration was provided in the form of a review copy.

 

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