Recently, after a number of production issues, Paizo Publishing released the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Strategy Guide. In case you’re not familiar with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, it’s a tabletop role-playing game that has been outselling Dungeons and Dragons for a few years now. If you’re really out of the loop, a tabletop role-playing game is a game where players get together, create characters, and navigate them through a collective storytelling experience, often with the help of dice, cards, or some other randomization method to determine if they’re characters are successful at various actions.
The genre began in the 1970s with Dungeons and Dragons, which has generally speaking been the most popular, and often highest selling, game within the genre. The 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons didn’t do so well, and that’s when Pathfinder really took off.
The thing about games like this is that many of them, and Pathfinder is no exception, are relatively complex, and while it’s actually not that hard to pick the game up if you have a good teacher, it can be pretty daunting to beginners. The Strategy Guide is designed with those beginners in mind. According to Jessica Price, Paizo project manager and one of the authors and developers for this book, the goal is to make Pathfinder more accessible to players outside of the existing community.
On her blog, Price writes that she has always been interested in making games, of any kind, more accessible to a wider variety of players. In the old days, tabletop role-playing games, and gaming in general, has been perceived as a boy’s club, dominated by white men. This has never been entirely true, as there have always been women and gamers of color, but the non-white, non-male sections of the community has become increasingly visible of late.
One of the hurdles those gamers face is getting into a hobby that can often be closed off to new players. Paizo’s business model is one of inclusivity, and publishing a book with the express goal of helping new players enjoy the game makes total sense.