That's it, we're done
We've played it every night once or twice for every night for the last 2 weeks (or there abouts along with other games but I think 12 days total board gaming) and we've defeated every old god the game has to offer, only failing once to Yig becuase he makes the later game a bastard. We were always the same 3 players and for each game we randomly selected 2 investigators each, then choosing which of those 2 to use. This made our games quite tricky as we didn't have total control but thankfully some of the investigators make the game easier to the point of heavy reliance on having one player with at least one of these. Here is what our games turned up on each investigator and our collective opinions but I'm writing this so it's biased towards mine.
Mandy Thompson - Rerolling 2 dice once per turn is great, it's like recieving 2 extra dice on every adventure and you can't beat that. Her stats are balanced at 5/5 meaning she's not too weak in any direction.
Sister Mary - Lingering effects do not affect her, great! She can ignore locked dice, also great! So basically she's a jail breaker in that when a dice becomes locked you send her in to get it back because she's the only one that can use it to help get it back. It's a seriously helpfull ability as locked dice are the only true bane of this game.
Kate Winthrop - Probably my second favourite character. Immune to terror effects is AMAZING and no monster spawns during her turn make that penalty/reward a none issue. She's completly brilliant and you'd be daft not to use her if you draw her character sheet. Also I prefer her 6/4 stats to a balanced character. I like being a little stronger in one direction or the other so it gives a sort of (flawed) shield to the side the character is more protected against. In her case, sanity.
Amanda Sharpe - Another 5/5 balanced character so you don't really have to be affraid of throwing her into any situation if you fail, why is that of concern? Well she can complete any number of tasks in a single roll, so if you get lucky you can complete 2 or 3 with your first roll. This is a character you want solving adventures constantly, especially the relatively easy ones. If she fails, well, her balanced stats make it less of a life or death moment as losing 5 of anything in a single turn is not easy to do (2 or 3 certainly). I find her stats easier to explain than the other balanced characters
Jenny Barnes - Is my favourtie and our groups favourite. Great stats, 6/4 (like Kate), and arguably the best ability. Use any common, clue or spell and get both the red and yellow dice. So right at the start of the game you are looking for an adventure with 2 or more of any combination of those items. use your starting common item or spell right away and gain those dice, then just win at least 2 rewards per turn and you're always going to have those red and yellow dice per turn. This free's her up later on when you are all really concentrating on obtaining Elder signs and less on "toys".
The bad :|
Harvey Walters and Michael McGlen - Their abilities render them slightly immune to terror effects unless you are failing and rolling more than 1 terror symbol on your dice. It's not really great but it can help avoid that chance AND they can effectively give you a 1/3 chance (instead of a 1/6 chance) of rolling a Scroll or Skull if you need more of them for a specific adventure. Both characters have strong stats but to one way or the other so…they have to be a bit picky about where to go if they possible fail an adventure, 7/3, 3/7.
Darrel Simmons - Only really usefull for 1 specific thing and that's just once per roll, change an investigation roll on a single dice to 1 number higher (up to a maximum of 4). This isn't that great but can get you out of a tight spot and can free up a dice if you were to roll a couple of 3's in a single roll for example. Otherwise he's very situational. Good stats 4/6.
Gloria Goldberg - Gets extra dice! but only in the other world adventures. This can be good if you have somebody else running around unlocking them but then the rewards/penalties in the other world are quite severe that it's often worth just leaving them the hell alone. In a larger gaming group I can see her benefits but otherwise, she's situational. Try to avoid using her if Hastur is about. Good stats though, 6/4.
Joe Diamond - Yes he has good stats 4/6 and his ability is great IF you have lot's of clues on him. If he had an extra ability to choose a clue over a single reward in an adventure I'd say he was one of the best but he doesn't so…he's just "allright". 2 re-rolls per clue token though is actually really good, you have to use the extra re-roll on the SAME roll though. Example, it'd be nice if you roll 6 green dice and get NO symbols you need but one dice has 3 investigations, use a clue, reroll 5 of the dice and get a Scroll symbol you need, reroll 4 dice and finish that challenge with a nice roll. I quite like using him for killing monsters if he has enough clues stashed up.
The ugly >_<
Dexter Drake - 5/5 stats wise, starts with 3 cards, gains an extra spell everytime he earns a spell. He's not the worst of the rest but only because he has balanced stats and so is unlikely to die easily. His ability though means you are constantly just using him on adventures where spells are gained instead of concentrating on what you all need to be doing as a team. I see him as more situational than the others, and you'd need some incredible fortune AND misfortune to make him 100% usefull. Here's how: If he had a pretty terrible time in an adventure and had the foresight to use a double spell trap or a couple of spell traps he could lock down dice with symbols that he rolled so that other investigators could use those dice on their turns. In hindsight though, anybody with spells can do this..it's just he has more spells than most (or should have).
Monteray Jack - Again, like Dexter he is going to be chasing unique items all of the time but his stats are a bit imbalanced at 3/7 so he's good as a meat shield but he's going to die easy if you are not carefull. I don't particularly like this guy because his ability is "meh" and his stats don't help either so he gets 2 thumbs down
Bob Jenkins - Has better stats imo than both of the above (4/6) but he's going to be chasing common items so he's more or less the same as the above aswell.
Any of the above 3 really depend on how you like your stats served. Balanced, favoured one way, heavily favoured one way.
"Ashcan" Pete - So this guy is the best of the worst. Instead of an investigator that really benefits from allies (which are awesome!) we get a guy that starts with Duke, who gets to take 1 for team so to speak, and an extra ally. Then can be picky about what rewards he recieves which isn't too bad really but as this game is highly random with some slot machine-esque mechanics (as in, some prediction rates) you could tailor your game to how you feel it's heading. His ability is just a minimiser on the randomness though and NOBODY can predict what's going to happen. However, if it makes you feel better having more unique items or clues or whatever, he might be your kinda guy. His stats are pretty good at 4/6.
Just in my defence about these item chasers when compared to Jenny Barnes, these guys can't hand in any of their items for the 2 best dice in the game. If their abilities would allow you to take 2 extra uniques, commons, spells, and then pick ONE of them returning the other to the deck. I'd say they were good, but they don't.
..and then the absolute worst.
Vincent Lee and Carolyn Fern - In a bigger game these are usefull but once per DAY, not turn (check the FAQ), they return a single point of Stamina or Sanity. OOOOOH BIG DEAL. It can save a usefull investigator from death, it can mean that a more usefull investigator who would spend a turn healing need not to, but that's it. You can't increase a characters Stamina and sanity past its maximum so these abilities are like a video games health pack. Use when neccassary to top up. The only redeeming quality either of these characters have are their stats at 5/5 for Vincent and 6/4 for Carolyn.
I think that's all I have to say other than, it's a really fun game and it's not too expensive also it doesn't take all night to play to have some Cthulhu fun