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Cycle VI: The Innsmouth Conspiracy

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49 minutes ago, Mimi61 said:

I’m so sorry. We haven’t had time to re-play your scenario! We will this coming week if it’s not too late.

It's absolutely not too late! But don't be sorry, I'm just thankful to have any playtesters at all. It makes them so much better for others when they first get to play. 

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On 9/18/2020 at 6:16 PM, Soakman said:
On 9/18/2020 at 5:42 PM, Daedalus said:

Eh... just because a card is in your deck, it doesn't mean you have it on you all the time.  Otherwise we'd be playing every game with all of our assets already in play from the start.  I personally see cards in the deck as assets or events that we encounter along the way and make use of temporarily.  Building our decks allows us to have influence over how our story unfolds, but it doesn't mean that I'm wandering around with a pair of flashlights, half a dozen different weapons, and several followers, all of which I decide to only use occasionally while the future of humanity is at stake.

We do this too. In one of my most recent adventures, I scored a Rotting Remains in the Jungle and then drew (and promptly played) a backpack with an emergency cache, a survival knife, and a cigarette case in it. We all assumed these were the belongings of th

Oh, I know, we absolutely do too. Your allies gave you valuable aid earlier, they didn't just shot up, etc.

But we literally had a situation where we had a lantern and two flashlights on the table (as a group), but were lacking light sources in the Forgotten Age, and it was super annoying.

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On 9/21/2020 at 10:53 AM, Eldan985 said:

Oh, I know, we absolutely do too. Your allies gave you valuable aid earlier, they didn't just shot up, etc.

But we literally had a situation where we had a lantern and two flashlights on the table (as a group), but were lacking light sources in the Forgotten Age, and it was super annoying.

I know what you mean now.  I'm playing through TFA again now, and I had completely forgotten there are situations in the middle of scenario where you need certain supplies.  I was only remembering the cases between scenarios.

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All the cards are up on CardGameDB.com

"Inspired by the events of Arkham Nights 2018."  This should be the fallout of our playthroughs of Guardians of the Abyss during AN'18.  (P.S. My group did not help the cause.  Sorry. 😉)  I believe there were 3 options for which weakness we "earned" as a result.  Day of Reckoning

Quote

From https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2018/10/12/gods-and-monsters/:

  • "The results that players obtain at Arkham Nights 2018 will affect all players of Arkham Horror: The Card Game, adding one of three possible basic weaknesses to a future scenario."

AHC52_40.jpg

ahc27_box.png

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23 minutes ago, Eldan985 said:

So what's the story there? You lost really badly? Or what exactly does the card depict, and how did you do?

Horribly.  We were able to get to the Gate of the Abyss before the last Doom was placed.  We continued (but claimed our previous defeat) until we were ultimately wiped out.  We were unable to accomplish any further advancement of the mission.

I think the players as a whole did not do terribly well.  Maybe a hundred plus investigators/characters fell into the abyss/sleep?  (Am I remembering that right?)

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30 minutes ago, CaffeineAddict said:

Just played the first scenario of innsmouth - am I misreading the rules, or can you not spend XP between scenario 1 and 2?

I believe you basically can, as you're instructed after the intro of scenario 2 to spend your unspent xp.

I think that this isn't always going to be the case though as some of the scenarios are flashbacks. I'm not really sure how they're going to implement that if that's why they're being so odd about when you spend xp.

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5 minutes ago, dpj1967 said:

How long does it usually take for FFG to post the rules and campaign log for new expansions.  I was hoping it would be posted the day of release.

It occasionally has been in the past, but they were starting to slip on it even before the pandemic.  Now...  <shrug>  Blob took around two months, and we're still waiting on Return to the Forgotten Age right at two months since release.  Which honestly isn't bad, some of the PDFs on the LOTR packs ran to well over a year.

Edited to add: If there's one silver lining here it's that when they do add them, they tend to catch up on everything.  So it may not be two more months until we see Innsmouth.  But that's more optimistic than I really feel about it, honestly.  FFG's downright pathetic when it comes to the digital side of their games, even on something as trivial as posting a PDF.

Edited by Buhallin

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13 hours ago, dpj1967 said:

How long does it usually take for FFG to post the rules and campaign log for new expansions.  I was hoping it would be posted the day of release.

The most recent example I have is the pdfs for the Marvel Champions Rise of Red Skull expansion, which went up two-and-a-half weeks after the release.

MJ Newman has said that there will be an update to the FAQ before the first mythos pack of the cycle releases. It wouldn't surprise me if the rules and campaign log went up at the same time.

Edited by Assussanni

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On 9/29/2020 at 2:19 PM, Allonym said:

Man, I love Day of Reckoning. It seems super mild, especially solo, but the art and the mechanical concept are both amazing.

Any hot takes on the new Innsmouth player cards? 
 

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6 hours ago, Mimi61 said:

Any hot takes on the new Innsmouth player cards? 
 

I'm still completely intimidated by the idea of doing hot takes for the investigator decks! But maybe Innsmouth would be a little less daunting...

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Hot takes! Get your hot takes for the Innsmouth Conspiracy deluxe! Though they're rather cold by now...I'm not going to review investigators directly, nor their signature cards – and I'm not all that enthused about the investigator selection if I'm being honest!

Since so many cards in this cycle are focused on the new Bless/Curse tokens, there's been a lot of discussion about how to refer to them. “Blurse” is awful, “BC” is nice and short, I've been trying out “PACT” (for Player-Added Chaos Tokens)...but I think I'm just going to type it out in full for now.

It's tough to review pretty much any of the Bless/Curse-based cards because they do not and cannot exist in a vacuum. Sure, you could consider them by themselves purely on the basis that adding Bless tokens to the bag is (mostly) a Good Thing as it makes the team more likely to pass tests, and the same for Curse tokens in the other direction, but until we know the full extent of all the Bless/Curse synergy in the cycle (and have played around with it a bunch), it's not going to be possible to have a complete picture. So take them with a pinch of salt and all that!

 

Book of Psalms

Having said all that about Bless/Curse tokens, the valuation of this card immediately depends on how impactful Bless tokens end up being. Ignoring the Bless part of this card for a moment, the rest of its effects are awful – up to 4 horror healing at the cost of 3 resources, 1 card, 5 actions, taking up a hand slot, is just a terrible deal. Guardian is the class with First Aid, which has one fewer uses but works on damage too, is cheaper and doesn't take up a slot.

On the other hand, if you have the actions to spare, this card has the potential to dump a lot of tokens into the bag. 8 tokens from a single card is a lot – if you are planning some kind of build based around Bless tokens, and you don't have Sister Mary on team, this could be a solid one-card solution to get you the tokens you need. That said, the huge action inefficiency is still a solid knock against it in this regard – as we'll see, other options for generating Bless tokens can be a lot less of an investment in terms of actions. This feels kind of like a Frankenstein's Monster of a card – stitching together inefficient horror healing with inefficient Bless generation, to hopefully make for an efficient card. I'm not convinced it works – for that to be a good proposition you would need both aspects of the card, and have the actions and hand slot to spare. There's quite a few cards to generate Bless tokens already so this really feels like a last-resort card if you're running a Bless-based deck and have no better options.

So who wants to take it? Ironically, Mary has basically no need for it – with her ability she's dropping plenty of Bless tokens into the bag passively, she has 9 base sanity and access to the superior First Aid (0/3), Enchanted Blade (3), Fearless (2), Kerosene, Hallowed Mirror, etc. for horror healing, and she probably can't spare the hand slot easily. It might be OK for a Carolyn Fern deck for the first scenario, before you buy Ancient Stone, but I still feel like it's too slow and expensive for her, since she can take every source of horror healing in the game (Grimm's Fairy Tales is a better pick). Honestly, I'm struggling to think of anyone who wants this. Maybe a Daisy Walker build that uses her normal front and her parallel deckbuilding, wanting to somehow make use of the Bless synergy? That's a bit of a reach but about the only thing I can think of. There's probably a deck somewhere that wants to use this card, but it's not likely to find broad appeal – it's just too slow.

The mechanical flavour is kind of “OK” - the theme of Bless = faith appears in most of the Bless-based cards seen so far so it's hard to get excited about it. The lighting and framing is nice and understated, and the grain of the wood looks nice – it's a good piece of art.

Blessed Blade

My view of this card is much the same as the Book of Psalms. If you ignore the Bless part of the card, it's terrible – fight at +1 to hit, for 1 damage, and an extra damage if you draw Bless or Elder Sign. Even under ideal circumstances, with 10 Bless tokens in the bag, that's something like a 40% chance of doing an extra damage, and while you could use bag manipulation effects like sealing, Premonition or Grotesque Statue to increase those odds, that's a lot of investment for just one extra damage. The taboo'd .35 Winchester at least does +2 damage if you get the right token (and also works if you get a “0”, “+1” or a symbol token that is equal to 0 or better), giving you a better payoff than other level 0 combat options if you work around it, and the Enchanted Blade, .45 Automatic, Machete, etc., all have more consistent, controllable extra damage. Inconsistency in a weapon is particularly bad because you really want to be able to reliably deal with enemies, including multiple enemies at once, particularly in multiplayer if you're a monster-hunter.

The Bless-adding effect doesn't have limited uses, but only adds one token, and needs an enemy to attack – and the exhaust effect means that, unless you use it on your final action, you're potentially making a risky bet if you exhaust the card for the Bless and then don't deal the extra damage you need, or miss entirely. And just like Book of Psalms, adding a relatively slow Bless-adding effect onto a sub-par combat option, with a substantial cost and slot investment, doesn't sound like a good card – I'd rather have one good effect than two bad effects in a single card.

As for who wants it...I guess Mary might like it, if she's playing a generalist – it's a bit less problematic if you're not expected to do all the monster-hunting – or as a secondary weapon for a pure monster-hunter with a spare hand slot (swing on a 3-health enemy, if you deal 1 damage, finish it off with your Enchanted Blade, if you deal 2 damage, you get to save a charge) but it's a major investment just for that. And since it only provides a +1 to the test, it's not all that great for Mary or Diana. I'm sure there's a few niche builds that will want to build around this but, especially with the buff to the .35 Winchester, I don't think this is likely to find its way into any of my decks.

The art is kind of...fine? I like the implication that it was the only blade not to rust among the other relics, but otherwise it's not hugely striking. Not really the fault of the artist or the card – it has to be a picture of a blade, after all.

Rite of Sanctification

This, on the other hand, is a Bless-based Guardian card that's really worth using. If you have the full 5 Bless tokens on hand, and you use the full 2-resource discount every time, you are essentially making Ten resources. At 0 exp. That you can share with other investigators at your location. That's huge. In addition, once you use a token for a 2-resource discount, it's released – meaning that it returns to the bag – so you don't even permanently lose the tokens.

However, it's important to be clear about the limitations. The biggest is whether you wait to have a full 5 tokens or not. Sister Mary puts Bless tokens in passively but would need to wait three full rounds before she adds the full 5 – and if anyone pulls one of the tokens in the meantime, that's gonna be more waiting. If you have access to Survivor/Bless as well as this (Mateo, Yorick, Tommy, Zoey, “Ashcan”, etc.) you could play Keep Faith immediately before Rite of Sanctification to have 4 tokens on it, which is more than worth it. For 4, 3 or even 2 tokens, this would be a card worth playing, but it does have a conflict between playing it now for a lesser effect, or waiting until later hoping for a bigger effect, which can be a problem in working out how to optimally use this. Generally, I think you want this down ASAP so you can help the team out – Guardians have resource problems in setting up, after all. The fact that it exhausts can make it tough to properly use, but an effective 2 resources every round is more than worth it – you can hardly ask for more for 0 resources and 0 exp!

It's pretty easy to work out who wants this – it will be a rare Sister Mary build that doesn't include this, and otherwise if you have access to this and you or your team are putting lots of Bless tokens in the bag, this is a very solid pick, and if you aren't putting lots of Bless tokens in, don't bother. Honestly, if you have access to Bless-adding cards (and everyone can take Tempt Fate, below), it might be worth including them just to use this, at least for the first few scenarios in a campaign. The only other issue is slot pressure (Arcane slot pressure in Guardian, 2020 truly is a weird year) – your average Guardian almost certainly doesn't care, but Diana, Mateo, Mary, Carolyn, and even Leo/Skids might have that problem. It's worth considering how the Initiation Sequence works (Appendix I of the Rules Reference) – you pay costs before the card starts being played, so you are able to use the discount from Rite of Sanctification when playing a card that will replace it when it comes into play. It also works quite well alongside the ubiquitous Ever Vigilant – play EV, play Rite of Sanctification as your first asset, then immediately use it to get a discount on the second asset.

The mechanical flavour is kind of odd (and the art, while pretty, doesn't do much to clarify), stretching the vague meaning of resources to its limit. How does sanctification make things cheaper? Makes sense for the resource costs of spells, maybe less so for a Tommy gun...

Hand of Fate

So this is a very expensive Dodge (3 resources instead of 1) that dumps a potentially large number of Bless tokens into the bag. I think this might be a bit of a sleeper hit, but it's definitely one of those cards that you have to know you want to include. There's a few considerations for this card – the first being that if you're relying on having Bless tokens to use some other effect (like the Rite of Sanctification), this might not be the best way to do so, because you're reliant on having an attack to cancel, ideally one that does lots of damage and horror. Certainly, you could deliberately provoke an attack of opportunity to be able to use Hand of Fate, but that overall reduces the power of the card, since you are cancelling an unnecessary attack and basically just getting the Bless tokens rather than an ideal use of the Dodge effect, and that's still reliant on getting the right enemy out early. However, for other effects that use Bless tokens passively (such as cards that trigger when a Bless is drawn), that's not as big a problem because steadily trickling tokens back in over the scenario is a good thing.

As for who wants it, I don't think this is worth including just for the Bless tokens – you want to both benefit from the Bless tokens, and want a Dodge effect, and be able to afford the cost. So potentially anyone with access to this card who meets those criteria could want it – it doesn't have all that much in the way of investigator-specific synergies. Diana can use it with her ability and replay it for extra Bless tokens with her signature asset, so it might be good for her. Mateo can take it, unlike Dodge, and it's probably a better deal than the similar Hypnotic Gaze for him. Zoey can more easily afford the resource cost, and her 5 off-class cards can let her make some unique Bless decks. Mary probably likes this a bit more than the other Bless-adding cards since it's less redundant with her ability, as long as you can get the situation where you both want to cancel an attack and the bag is a bit low on tokens at the same time.

The art is confusing me a little – I think that's meant to be some kind of blessed Matador corralling some tentacled beasts, or possibly a bit of a Don Quixote reference? It's quite pretty and appealing, though.

Cryptographic Cipher

This is basically two cards in one...or three (or five)? It has two modes – one is the effect of Flashlight (but generally worse, since it's more expensive and exhausts), and the other lets you investigate as a free triggered ability but at +1 shroud. For most true seekers, the second effect is mostly the only one you want – an extra investigate each round is very solid if you're rocking a intellect of 7 or more. For other investigators, the first effect is more useful, to allow them to pick up clues reliably from 2-shroud locations by reducing the shroud to zero, or at least giving an effective +2 to an investigation on a higher-shroud location, again just like Flashlight. But both types of users could make use of the other mode – a seeker at a high-shroud location might want to reduce the shroud instead to be more likely to pass, while using the free trigger at lower-shroud locations, while a lower-intellect investigator might occasionally be able to use the free trigger at low-shroud locations with skill cards, other temporary boosts or the Skeleton Key.

If you're mostly interested in the shroud reduction, there's very little reason to use this instead of Flashlight, unless you have a good reason to do so – most likely, some kind of synergy with Secrets (since it uses Secrets rather than Supplies); I'm considering it for my upcoming Roland Banks build using Eldritch Sophist, for example. For most Seekers, it's a pretty good card that has some slot pressure. If you really, really want to get all the clues you can and don't need your hands for static boosts, Cryptographic Cipher plus Fingerprint Kit can give you two extra clues on top of your normal investigations each round (obviously you can't directly use them at the same time, but they both exhaust). This card is also pretty great specifically for Amanda Sharpe, because some turns she'll have a huge intellect and extra investigation effect from the skill under her investigator card (Perception or Deduction, say), and want to make an extra investigate test to make full use of it, while other turns she'll be at a lower intellect with a different card beneath her card, and want to investigate at -2 shroud to grab a clue despite it.

This is a perfectly solid card that I quite like, but it does suffer a little from being in Seeker, which already has loads of really strong investigation cards.

The mechanical flavour is relatively nondescript, though the art is quite cool at least. I'm a little surprised it's a Tool and not a Relic, which would have given it some extra synergies, but ah well.

Cryptic Grimoire (Untranslated)

As with all the “Untranslated”/“Unidentified” cards that aren't Dream Diary, we won't really know if this is any good until we know what it upgrades into. There may be a few niche situations where you use the second ability on this card simply for the benefit of swapping Curses for Blessings but I hardly think it's consistent enough or worth the cost for that – this is more or less just a challenge to complete in order to unlock upgrades further down the line.

And it's probably the hardest (on average) by far. There'll be the occasional situation where you have Curses dumped into the bag en masse with a huge flood of the cards below, but generally it's going to be tough – especially with larger player counts – to get to the point where you can identify this. And, adding Curses into the bag just to identify this will make the game much harder for your team, unless your team is really leaning into the Curse tech – it seems a likely bet that the translated versions will also be all about the Curses so maybe that's intentional. It's also the most expensive of the unidentified cards, all of which are 0-1 resources except for Dream Diary, which can actually be beneficial unlike all the rest, so I really hope the upgrades are worth it.

It's much easier for Daisy to identify, of course, since it's a tome she can use with her ability. It's also a good way to deliberately sabotage your fellow players, if you really want to lean into roleplaying as a secret Deep One. But really, we'll have to wait and see if the upgrades are any good – and if they're worth the effort to translate.

The art is one of the most interesting pieces of art to show a book – floating and magic with a cool background and twisted nature theme.

Deep Knowledge

Two Curse tokens in exchange for 3 card draw at 0 resources is a pretty good deal. Preposterous Sketches costs 2 resources for the same benefit, and has the restriction of needing a clue on your location, while the draw from Deep Knowledge can be shared with other investigators at your location. Even if you don't get any benefit from the Curse tokens added, I think I'd consider taking this for most people who can take it just for the economy. A quick tangent about mechanics and fun: Curse tokens, unlike Bless tokens, are fun every time you draw them – if you draw a Curse you added on a test you were going to fail anyway, or a test that you pass in spite of the Curse, you get the joy of knowing that you took a gamble and won. If the Curse makes you fail when you otherwise would have passed (or otherwise messes you up, by stopping you succeeding by 2 for a Rogue effect, or making a fail worse for something like Rotting Remains), instead you get your comeuppance for the gamble you took, which is also fun.

Anyway, while I think this would be worthwhile for anyone who can use it, Deep Knowledge also works alongside various Curse-benefit effects – if you want Curses in the bag (e.g. for Armageddon/Eye of Chaos/Shroud of Shadows from In Too Deep), this is money for old rope – get the Curses you want and get a huge tempo boost from a highly efficient card. And, of course, for big-hand decks this is even better to get your synergies online. And if you're playing multiplayer and other investigators have draw problems (e.g. Zoey or a Mystic), this is particularly beneficial to let you play support – and ward off the ire of your fellow investigators when they draw a Curse token and miss the Retaliate boss enemy and you all get defeated...

The art is quite cool, I like the storytelling, and the mechanical flavour is obvious and appealing – learning Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know is a complete genre staple, after all.

Plan of Action

This is a bit worse than Unexpected Courage on your first and third (etc.) actions on your turn, substantially worse than Unexpected Courage in the Mythos phase, and a single wild+draw on your second action. Overall, that's a pretty poor deal – you're probably better off with just Unexpected Courage, and the flexibility of being able to tack a draw onto any skill test rather than just a specific skill unlike Overpower/Perception/Guts/Manual Dexterity is counteracted by needing to make that skill test as the second action during your turn.

So that said, there are some reasons to include this in a deck. It might be worth it for Amanda Sharpe – using the Agility boost for the first action to evade the enemy on your face, getting card draw on the second action, and then getting a combat boost to help finish off the evaded enemy or an intellect boost now that you've evaded the monster. It requires a specific structuring of her turn, but if you have a wide range of skills to choose from you can wait to place it under her until you know you need it, or simply commit it in the second action to draw something new if that opportunity isn't coming up. This also makes it appealing for certain Minh decks – since it reads “the first/third action of this turn”, and not “...of your turn”, you can use that same flexibility as part of her playstyle of committing cards to friendly tests, letting her cover various weaknesses in the team, which can be worth the effort of having to take the right kind of test at the right point in the turn. It also has the Practiced trait, which means this works well with Practice Makes Perfect as an extra target that works for basically any test, and that's more likely to be the main reason to include it – eventually you'll probably upgrade out of it, but it's not a bad choice for the starting deck for Practice Makes Perfect builds. But other than that, and doubtless a few other niche builds, this isn't really a card to take in most decks. Another card that you should only take if you know you want it (and there's nothing wrong with that!).

The mechanical flavour kind of works, since it requires you to plan out how your turn will look and when to use this best. The art is pretty forgettable, and it's odd that it features Trish since she doesn't really have much reason to use this (compared to Amanda etc.).

.25 Automatic

Finn Edwards has two signatures (three, counting his weakness), one of which is Finn's Trusty .38 – 2 cost, fast, 3 ammo, fight at +2, and if you hit an enemy you are not engaged with, +1 damage. It's not amazing but it's perfectly solid and lets you take out an annoying enemy or two, or contribute to the team's overall damage when it's crunch time. The .25 Automatic is a very similar but substantially worse card. Prior to the Winifred Habbamock deck, Rogues have had a rough time with weapons, since they're mostly weak, niche or both, and the .25 Automatic isn't all that different. Being Fast is good, meaning no attacks of opportunity and action efficiency, 4 ammo is nice, and the 4 resource cost is high but not insurmountable, especially for rogues (the Guardian .45 Automatic is also 4 resources for 4 shots, and takes an action to play). However, the attack does absolutely nothing on top of simply punching the enemy with the base Fight action, unless the enemy is exhausted. If the enemy is exhausted, it's +2 to hit for 2 damage, which is very solid – same as Enchanted Blade (0) – but getting there is going to be rough.

Really, I think the problem is that this card doesn't have much of a place in most decks. Tony Morgan doesn't usually want to evade enemies with his 2 Agility, and while Winifred can evade really well, she can also fight straight-up (e.g. with a Mauser C96) with her countless Skill cards. Finn might want it if he's leaning more into the killing side of enemy management, and the same applies to Skids, but attacking at +2 isn't all that good for their base 3 combat unless leaning harder in to support – at which point, Skids probably wants a proper Guardian weapon and Finn could go for something like Guardian Thompson .45 (3), the .18 Derringer or, again, the Mauser C96. I don't think the other Rogues want this at all – despite it coming out alongside Trish Scarborough, her base 2 Combat makes it really unappealing. It's not that this card doesn't have any place – I would consider it on Winifred – but it struggles to find a good niche. Sure, you can take Delilah O'Rourke for a combat boost, but then you have Delilah, who is already great at taking out enemies after you evade them. I might use this in a deck or two down the line, but I think I would do so a bit grudgingly.

The art is quite fun, having it being a gun hidden in a purse (shame it isn't all that good for Jenny), and the mechanical flavour works well enough. It's fine!

Dark Ritual

This isn't a card I see getting all that much use. In theory, it would let you use the Curse-adding cards and then skip the downside of the Curse tokens, but since it's gonna take you a card, an action, a resource and then an extra resource every round, it seems like a false economy. The arcane slot has more competition nowadays, with Rogues having several cards that use it. Most of the time, I think this is not a card worth taking – if you want to play with adding some Curses, just take them on the chin.

However, I think this could have a really solid place for a larger group of investigators all building around the same idea. The reason for this is that the game has a hard cap of ten Curses in total in the bag and sealed on cards – so if the bag contains ten Curses, and you seal all ten away with Dark Ritual, it is not possible for any more Curses to enter the bag. That means you can no longer pay the extra cost of Deep Knowledge and Faustian Bargain and makes Tempt Fate worthless, sure, but it also means that effects that add Curses that aren't part of a cost are also neutralised. So far, this isn't really worth it – a Dark Horse Jenny Barnes deck that passes out resources with Faustian Bargain, draws hard with Deep Knowledge, and dumps lots of Bless tokens into the bag with Tempt Fate, before sealing them all away for the rest of the scenario sounds fun, but there's no Curse-adding cards that don't either use Curse as part of their cost or want the Curse tokens to remain in the bag, except for a few of the new Basic Weaknesses. But since we don't know the full extent of the Curse-based effects coming up, it could end up being good (say, if there's a card that gives you +1 to everything but adds 1 Curse token every round) if such cards do appear. An idea that may or may not pan out, depending on what comes out next.

The art is really cool though! I like it a lot. It's also got a lot of Rogue flavour – adding in Curses as part of an eldritch deal, then finding a way to avoid upholding their end of the bargain.

Obfuscation

I will be honest; I don't really have much to say about this. If you see yourself wanting to take lots of attacks of opportunity, it could be a good card. Not having to care about AoO is surprisingly good in terms of the flexibility it affords you, but I can also see myself playing this card and not really having much use for it – or using it because I feel that I should rather than because it's actually beneficial to the team to do so. I don't know why I would use this when Narrow Escape exists – a card that only cancels the one AoO, sure, but is free and has a baked-in Unexpected Courage effect, as well as the all-important double matching icons. It's often the case that I end up not using Narrow Escape, and if I don't always use a one-time free event with an extra bonus, I'm even less likely to get proper use out of a repeatable asset that costs resources and takes up a valuable slot.

It seems to have obvious “intended” use cases for the Innsmouth investigators – Dexter playing it when he needs it and then trashing it to fuel his ability, and Trish using it to investigate despite having enemies on her face so she can use her ability to evade them. But I don't really think it's all that good for them – Dexter has no shortage of ways to trigger his ability, and Trish has any number of ways to trigger her ability that don't provoke anyway, and both of them can just take Narrow Escape anyway.

That's not to say it's completely useless – I can think of a few good uses for it. I can see it being a good pick alongside Ornate Bow, to avoid AoO for reloading – meaning Skids, Wendy, maybe even Finn might want it. Otherwise, it's more useful as a source of charges for other purposes – Akachi can play it fast, trash it with Spirit Speaker for net 2 resources and get a perfectly solid profit, roughly the same as Emergency Cache (1 resource fewer, no action), albeit with substantial setup. She can also use it for Torrent of Power or to counter Angered Spirits – and in all these cases you also might incidentally use the ability. Sadly it will take up a slot so it's not ideal, but it's not atrocious, either. You can also siphon off the charges with Eldritch Sophist, which might appeal to certain builds, since 2 resources, 1 card and 0 actions for 3 charges is a very good deal – notably, most of the Charge-using assets are Mystic, this is Rogue and the Sophist is Seeker, so you'd need a very specific investigator build such as Jim or Zoey (with Enchanted Blade) – and oddly enough it would conflict with Decorated Skull for the same purpose. You could expand the investigator pool with Versatile, and there's some Seeker assets that use Charges (or even Suggestion), but I don't think it's really worth it for those deck ideas. So yeah, not a great card if its biggest use is being a battery of charges for better assets, but it has builds it can be very good for.

The flavour is bland (we've got an awful lot of “magic to confuse bad guys” by now and things like Mists of R'lyeh or Ethereal Form are more fitting to the setting), and the art is terrible. Not quite the worst in the game but definitely right on the bottom end.

Faustian Bargain

At the risk of seeming lazy, my valuation of this card is more or less the same as for Deep Knowledge, with “Rogue” in place of “Seeker”, “Resources” in place of “Cards”, and “Big money decks” in place of “Big hand decks”. It's a very good economy card, adding Curses to the bag is fun gambling, it's a win-win for decks that actually want Curse tokens in the bag, so far so good.

It's interesting that this is roughly equivalent in economy gain to Hot Streak (2), with the Curses as a drawback and the ability to share the resources and no need to have 5 resources to begin with as benefits, since that mirrors Deep Knowledge in comparison to Preposterous Sketches (2) quite well.

So yeah – Curse decks want it. Anyone who wants resources should consider it (i.e. basically everyone). Big Money decks should take it, at least until they can buy higher-level resource cards. It might even work for something like an “Ashcan” Pete Dark Horse deck – play it for yourself early on for your more expensive initial setup (Dark Horse, Fire Axe, Mariner's Compass, Madame Labranche and St Hubert's Key come to 13 resources, pricey even with Labranche helping), or if you draw it later on, just hand the resources to your friends and be on your way.

The flavour and art are spot on. Such a Rogue thing to do, especially if you don't share the wealth and your friends end up having to pay the price. And hey look, it's our old friend The Red-Gloved Man! Love it.

Sword Cane

A very strong card. Since it doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity to play, and you can use it for free (no action, no exhaust) when you play it, it's almost like it's Fast (better, in fact, because it also lets you get 2 uses of it on the round it enters play, and synergises with other effects that let you put it into play without using an action). It's more useful for the Evade ability than the Fight ability, since attacking for 1 damage is generally inefficient, especially since you can only use it once per round, but the option to attack with it is a welcome addition and sometimes you have a Swarm of Rats or Acolyte to kill, or want to finish off an enemy with 1 health left after Shrivelling.

The hand slot pressure is certainly a concern, since there are lots of good hand slot cards for Mystic, but Sword Cane is basically allowing you to forego Mists of R'lyeh or whatever, so it's probably saving you a more valuable Arcane slot. The cost is very reasonable (2 cost and no action), and it has unlimited uses aside from the exhaust requirement.

More or less every Mystic should consider this – it's a rare mystic who won't be buffing up their willpower high enough to make this a substantial increase in success chances. Investigators with solid Agility/Combat might be a little more likely to find it redundant, Diana Stanley is much less likely to always have the Willpower and has Guardian cards to occupy her hands, and Luke Robinson has his gate box, more hand slot cards and a greater event focus to make it less attractive, but it's otherwise useful for any primary mystics. Norman Withers has terrible Combat and Agility so it's particularly nice for him, but uses up his precious hand slots and very limited level 0 Mystic card allowance so it's not so easy for him to slot it in. Dexter can play it for no action while still getting the free use via his ability, which is even better; the same applies to Sefina using Sleight of Hand or Joey “The Rat” Vigil (3), though she already has base 4 Agility for evading. Patrice appreciates the low cost, but she might not need to use it the turn she draws it so she's much less likely to benefit from the free Evade/Fight and has plenty of other things to use her hand slots for. Daisy lacks the Willpower, and Parallel Daisy probably wants the hand slot for another tome instead. It might be good for Sister Mary but again, she has Guardian cards for her hand slots and a base Agility of 3 so it might just be something for the first few scenarios. Zoey could even use it, for instance in The Forgotten Age, since she has 4 base willpower and is bad at evading – if she can spare the hand slot. I like the idea of Sword-Cane plus Reliable, which Sister Mary, Diana, Zoey and Gloria can all pull off.

The Relic trait is one of the better ones, allowing Ursula to take it (not that she wants it), and synergising with a few other cards – most notably Whitton Greene.

The art is a bit too much like the kind of thing I thought was cool when I was 17 – I realise it's meant to be magical, but to me a Sword-Cane is meant to be understated so you don't know it's a weapon until it's too late.

Tides of Fate

This is a potentially rather useful card but it's going to be a tough one to use properly. You want to use it when there's lots of Curses in the bag, and you're about to have a really clutch round. Ideally, you'll draw most of the Blessings in the bag during that round to empty them out of the Chaos Bag before the round ends and they turn back into Curses, or use it on the last round of the scenario. It's also good for use with Rite of Sanctification and any other cards that end up getting released that seal Bless tokens – once the end of the round has passed, any Bless tokens released from the Rite won't be turned into Curses. It's a relatively cheap card, at least.

If you're deliberately filling the bag with Curses but not getting a benefit from them, this card might be a good way to do something about that – a mystic-heavy group that goes all in on Curses could run a lot of copies of this and play them back-to-back to keep on countering the Curses. It also is a good counter to Sister Mary's weakness – turn all the Bless tokens into Curses with her weakness, then turn them back into Bless tokens with Tides of Fate and seal them up with Rite of Sanctification, though a more straightforward solution is just to take it as horror and use Deny Existence. Aside from Mary, I don't think it has any significant investigator-specific applications, and I think it's not going to find its way into many decks.

There's also quite a few other cards coming out that help mitigate Curse tokens (the Covenants, Curse of Aeons, etc.) so it might end up being replaced quickly.

The art is rather pretty and evocative, if a little obvious. What Curse/Bless tokens represent, whether the investigators are deliberately incurring them or they represent some more nebulous favour or disfavour of fortune, isn't quite clear.

Ward of Radiance

So the likelihood of this card to work is not something I can be bothered to work out mathematically, but I believe it's very likely to go off if there's a decent number of Bless tokens in the bag (especially if there's no Curses). In comparison with Ward of Protection, it's 0-cost, doesn't cause horror, and works on any investigator at your location – a decent trade-off for the fact that you need to wait until the bag has a lot of Bless tokens, and it isn't guaranteed to work at any point. Overall, I think I'd prefer the certainty of Ward of Protection, especially Ward of Protection (2), but there's no reason you couldn't run both!

This is an obviously appealing card for Sister Mary, who will keep the bag topped up with Bless tokens, and Diana Stanley if there's Bless tokens going around since it works with her ability. It might be quite good for Agnes, too, who wants to avoid taking horror except on her own terms (though there's always Peter Sylvestre) and has plenty of ways to add Bless tokens to the bag with her Survivor access; same goes for Mateo with his access to the Blessed trait. I also like it for certain Patrice builds – again, access to Bless cards with survivor, and the lack of costs makes it easier for her to use on whatever treachery she happens to get on the turn she draws this.

All in all, a solid card for the right deck, but it's not going to replace Ward of Protection for the majority of builds.

I quite like the art; is that my boy Norman Withers? The colours and lighting are quite appealing, and the mechanical flavour is quite fun.

Promise of Power

A really good skill card, and a really cool use of the Curse mechanic. +4 to any test is a huge boon. For your average Mystic, this is likely to be overkill on the majority of tests (unless you're playing on Expert), since Mystics want to do everything with Willpower and buff it up as high as they can, but it's great for the occasional clutch Evade or special test needed on a scenario card. It's also good for off-class access – a generalist like Patrice, or Daisy with her lower willpower, and so on. With the Practiced trait, it can be found and used twice with Practice Makes Perfect. Amanda is going to make great use of this – testing at a minimum of 6 on every stat for a full turn is huge.

The downside (or upside for specific decks) is that it adds a Curse token to the bag. There's a wonderful theme of passing a test now, and potentially failing a test later thanks to the Curse. This also makes it a bit of a risky proposition for Practice Makes Perfect and Amanda, adding multiple Curse tokens (four or more in a single round for Amanda, potentially). It's also the case that there's many other skill cards that give huge boosts – the Desperate suite, Last Chance, Inquiring Mind and Rise to the Occasion, each with their own requirements and downsides – and of course the old staples of Unexpected Courage and the core “cantrip” skills. In addition to the uses above, it's an obvious choice for any decks that want to add Curse tokens.

The art is...surprisingly underwhelming. The mechanical flavour speaks of desperate pacts or dark whispers leading you to success, yet the art is a person reading a slightly spooky book and being slightly spooked.

Token of Faith

In the right build/group, this is an extremely consistent way to get Bless tokens into the bag. Since it affects skill tests in any location, you can be relatively assured that any Curse tokens added to the bag will become Bless tokens. Ideally, this allows you to play with Curse tokens (or alongside someone else adding Curse tokens) and counterbalance the harsher chaos bag by adding your own Blessings back in. It's not a dead cert, of course – Curse and Bless tokens can “fizzle” by being drawn on tests where they don't affect the outcome, but since Token of Faith is repeatable it can probably end up putting enough tokens into the bag that you can make use of Bless synergies like Rite of Sanctification or some of the cards I'm about to discuss.

This card has two major limitations. The first is that it requires Curse tokens in the bag and then requires them to be drawn – meaning it only works in certain builds/team compositions, and doesn't give you an immediate injection of Bless tokens to get started on utilising synergies. The second is the accessory slot – an extremely contested slot for Survivors nowadays. There's always Relic Hunter down the line, but that changes the valuation of the card by essentially adding an exp cost to Token of Faith.

Like a lot of Bless/Curse cards, it doesn't so much synergise with specific investigators as with specific builds. That said, there's certain investigators for whom it's particularly interesting – Wendy can access the Rogue Curse cards (though it competes with Lucky Cigarette Case as well), and “Ashcan” Pete can use his off-class slots to pick up Faustian Bargain, Deep Knowledge and Promise of Power. Really I think any of the Dunwich investigators can make a Curse-and-Bless build work, with the probable exception of Zoey, but I'm most excited about a Curse/Bless-heavy Jim build I've been tinkering with, using Token of Faith, Faustian Bargain, Deep Knowledge and a whole lot of newer cards. Finally, Token of Faith, like Bless/Curse builds in general, works well with multi-token draw effects so you can more consistently find the tokens you need. Since Token of Faith works on skill tests anywhere, you could bring it when playing alongside Jacqueline Fine, say, and add Bless tokens even though you're not the one drawing multiple tokens.

The art is quite cool – I like the creepiness in the shadows and I guess it fits the theme of needing Curses to get Blessings. Again, tying Blessings to faith is already feeling stale, but at least it's more general “faith” rather than explicitly religious.

Keep Faith

What was I just saying about Bless tied to faith being stale? Ah well. This is a very simple card. 2 resources for 4 Bless tokens and no action. If you want the tokens, this is a straightforward and very reliable way to do it. Unlike Token of Faith, it dumps the tokens into the bag straight away so you can immediately use them for purposes like Rite of Sanctification. On the other hand, it doesn't do much by itself. Of course Bless tokens are inherently positive, but this isn't a card you'd use in any build.

Yorick, Tommy and even Zoey could make good use of this, with the aforementioned first turn Keep Faith/Rite of Sanctification more or less solving economy issues. I also think it could work for my girl Patrice, since it's Fast and she often draws more cards than she can effectively use in 3 actions. Like many cards, the Blessed trait opens it up for Mateo. Otherwise it's a very simple question: If you want Bless tokens in the bag and can use this card, take it. Don't bother if you aren't getting a special benefit.

The art is understated but quite pleasant, though it's weird that it depicts Sister Mary when she can't even take it.

Predestined

This, on the other hand, is a far more niche card. It's like Take Heart, in that it lets you benefit from failing a test, but the payoff is far less impressive than Take Heart – Take Heart gives you 2 resources and 2 cards and, as we saw in the last card, 2 resources and 1 card is “worth” 4 Bless tokens, but Predestined only gives you 2. If you're playing Stella and you or your teammates are using Bless/Curse tokens it seems like a solid choice for her, since she wants to fail tests as often as possible; likewise, Silas can commit it to a test if he has no other uses for his ability in a given round and pull it back if the test succeeds.

If you have this in hand alongside Take Heart, it's money for old rope since you can tack both effects onto the same test. Much like Take Heart, it synergises with Grisly Totem (3) but not Try and Try Again. And I guess if you are playing heavily into Bless and Curse, it's a 0-cost way to lean further into that. I just don't think it's all that impressive. I might be wrong, but I think this is a card you take in your starting deck as a Bless/Curse investigator and then upgrade out of sooner rather than later. Which isn't a bad place for a card to be as such.

The mechanical flavour is a bit lacking, though it's nice to lean more into the “cosmic fate” side of the Bless/Curse token flavour than the faith side of things. The art is very pretty and seems to show a syzygy, though the effect is a bit mild for something of such cosmic importance!

Beloved

At first blush, this card seemed very underwhelming. Under ideal circumstances you've got a decent chance of this working (10/~25, which is far more likely than Defiance triggering), but the thing is, drawing a Bless token means you're already likely to pass – you'd need to be in a situation where you were failing even with the Bless token for this to do something. Which is always possible with the auto-fail in there, but rare, especially on lower difficulties, and you'll never know if it actually helped because you won't see the token the Bless would have rolled into. And under less ideal circumstances it's a hail Mary as to whether this will hit a Bless at all.

However, a little more thought made me reconsider – because it has really good icons already. For Agility and Willpower (you know, the two skills most commonly tested in Mythos), it's as good as Unexpected Courage even without the effect. That makes the Bless part of the card almost like an extra bonus rather than the only thing it offers. Particularly for those using Mystic cards (Agnes, Patrice) or who concentrate on Agility (Wendy, Rita), this is worth considering since it's a solid skill card for their main skill that also lets you gamble that you'll get a Bless token on a clutch test you aren't otherwise likely to pass. It's a little better if using both Bless and Curse tokens to prevent a string of Curse tokens ruining a skill test by counteracting your Bless tokens. And it obviously works well alongside skill synergies like Silas Marsh, Try And Try Again, Grisly Totem (3), as well as multi-draw effects or cards like Premonition and Scrying Mirror. It's not the most powerful card, and it will mostly be low-impact (much like Defiance, again), but it has solid potential as one of your skill cards.

The art and mechanical flavour is lovely. Pure and simple. It's understated and heartwarming.

Tempt Fate

If you're playing with both Bless and Curse tokens, this is an obvious pick. Even if you're only playing with Curse synergy it can be solid, to add the Curses you need and some Bless tokens to sweeten the bitter pill. A few considerations: The Curse tokens will always be added, but the Bless tokens and the card draw will only be resolved if the full 3 Curse tokens were added (see RR, “Then”) - meaning that you need to be careful to only use this when there's 7 or fewer Curse tokens in the bag. If you do follow that maxim, this card is completely free – no action or resource cost and it replaces itself – which is why it can be so solid for builds of any kind playing with the new tokens. If you're looking for Bless tokens, adding the Curses can be rough, but there's plenty of ways to attenuate that – most notably some of the Covenants in In Too Deep.

Notably, I don't think you want to add this if you aren't getting a good return on at least some of the tokens added – I think the three Curse tokens are far more likely to mess you up than the Bless tokens are to help you out (after all, unless you're using Premonition or whatever, I'd never bank on the Bless tokens in the bag when working out what to commit to a test – but the Curse tokens can always mess up those calculations).

That's about it, really. There's very little in the way of investigator synergy – Patrice can use it very easily but the lack of any costs means anyone can fit this into a deck. The single wild icon at least means it has an alternative application if you don't want or can't add the tokens, but otherwise the only synergies are covered by “it's an Event”.

The mechanical flavour works well enough for what has been established for Bless/Curse. The art is probably best described as “trippy”. Not bad as such, but rather obtuse!

Accursed Follower

This weakness is very interesting – it's a bit of a pain to deal with under most circumstances, like a weaker Tony's Quarry, though there will be situations where it can be taken out very quickly. But unlike cards like Tony's Quarry, Silver Twilight Acolyte, etc., you might not want to bother. Adding Curse tokens into the bag can quickly build up to being a problem, especially on lower player counts, but if you've already sealed all ten Curses using 2x Dark Ritual you might as well just ignore this entirely (though, being a Cultist, it can also get doom added to it by effects like Mysterious Chanting and Brotherhood Acolyte) and for certain builds it's a good thing – if you're rocking Armageddon and Blasphemous Covenant, for example, or trying to identify the Cryptic Grimoire or trigger Eucatastrophe or Take Heart, you might want Curse tokens in the bag and a steady stream of them might keep your build running.

Generally, though, I think this is one of the less burdensome Enemy weaknesses. I like the interesting choice of whether you want to hunt it down or not, and I can see situations where you think it's safe to ignore it and end up regretting it, which is appealing.

The art is quite nice; the mechanical flavour is quite straightforward.

Dread Curse

This is probably less of a problem than Accursed Follower. To be clear, sometimes this will ruin your day, either with you ending up drawing two Curses back-to-back on a really important test or forcing you to overcommit on every important test until the Curses are out of the bag. But other times, it might pass without much fuss. It might be a bit annoying if you were otherwise not going to play with Curse tokens at all, just for the extra workload and mental overhead it involves. But again, if all ten Curses (or even just the majority of them) are already in the bag or sealed away, this card can be de-fanged, and just like Accursed Follower it can end up being beneficial for niche builds (I can imagine a build that would take a 0-cost Fast event that added 5 Curses).

One thing that also applies to Accursed Follower but is a bigger issue with Dread Curse given that it dumps all 5 tokens in at once, is that these cards can prevent you playing your own Curse cards. The Curse-adding parts of Deep Knowledge, Faustian Bargain, Promise of Power and Tempt Fate are all prerequisites for getting the beneficial parts (or avoiding 2 horror in the case of Promise of Power), so if the bag is suddenly filled with Curse tokens, you might not be able to play all your other Curse cards until some of them have left the bag, which can slow you down considerably. I don't think that's enough of a problem to make this a particularly punishing weakness, but it can and will end up causing problems for certain builds.

I like the art, which is very menacing and ominous, and I very much appreciate the Kafka quote.

Day of Reckoning

This seems like a mild weakness. First of all, much like other cards that attach to the Agenda (To Fight The Black Wind, etc.), it can sometimes do basically nothing – you draw it in the Upkeep phase during the Witching Hour and then it falls off immediately at the start of the Mythos phase (though conversely, there's no other way to get rid of it and in some cases that means it's sticking around for the rest of the scenario). But beyond that, losing the Elder Sign is not that big an impact on your chances of success. I'm sure someone has run the numbers, especially given Serpents of Yig and Crystalline Elder Sign, but I'm no mathematician.

It does become much harsher on higher difficulties, where you are proportionally less likely to pass tests – if almost every token in the bag is a passing token, having one fewer isn't a big impact, but if you're only passing on a minority of tokens, losing one of them shifts the odds more harshly against you. It's also substantially nastier on higher player counts, since your weakness negatively affects the entire team – much like Serpents of Yig, Crystalline Elder Sign, and to an extent cards like The 13th Vision, this scales up in power as the player count increases. Speaking of Serpents of Yig, this card can also be nullified if the Elder Sign is already sealed away. I'm very leery of playing Crystalline Elder Sign in multiplayer, but I would be much happier knowing that the Elder Sign was sealed away to give one of my allies a big boost if it meant preventing it being stolen by a Weakness – and because of the wording of Day of Reckoning, it will still be attached to the Agenda doing absolutely nothing if the Elder Sign wasn't available to take. Same applies to Mateo sealing it away with Codex of Ages.

Day of Reckoning does shut down certain builds more than others. Naturally, investigators with stronger Elder Sign effects are more likely to miss the chance to trigger them, and multi-draw builds, particularly for Mateo, are impacted quite strongly by not having an Elder Sign to dig for.

That said, I really like this card. The mechanical flavour is simple but compelling, and I like that it was based on the results of the Guardians of the Abyss events - if you don't already know, the players failed pretty badly on average, hence why the really excellent art depicts a brainwashed mob being urged on by an evil prophet as the world burns around them. I like the ways this affects how you approach the game and your build without occasionally being a game-ending “gotcha” effect, or simply taxing you two actions to get rid of it.

Edited by Allonym

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I'm not Allonym, but I'll take a gander at the new cards from Devil Reef, having picked the pack up yesterday. Outside of the Rogue cards, most of the interesting cards had already been previewed. 

I will echo Allonym's point on the Bless/Curse cards - until the full cycle is released, we can't say with 100% certainty which will be good and which will be bad. Take any opinion on them with a pinch of salt. But, anyway, here're some thoughts...

Guardian
Keen Eye - 0XP
We continue the cycle started in the solo investigator packs, with 0XP versions of cards we already have as Permanents. 

Now taking up space in your deck, and costing you 2 resources to play, we get the exact same ability we get at 3XP - we can trade resources 2:1 for skill bumps in Fight or Intellect for the rest of the phase. In terms of mirroring the 3XP versions, this is on par with Scrapper, but better than Higher Education or Streetwise, where the stat bumps are less efficient at 0XP.

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Keen Eye compared to Physical Training when Keen Eye is a Permanent - the resource-to-reward for the buffs seemed too high. Now as an Asset I have to pay for to get into play, and pay the same for the buffs? Not to mention actually see in my hand at some point? That's a no from me, especially when Guardians still generally have resource issues.

Radiant Smite - 1XP - Bless/Curse
Radiant Smite is probably one of the easier B/C cards to judge, given it doesn't rely on the tokens you draw for its effect. As long as there are three Bless tokens in the bag to be sealed on the card, you make an attack at +3 to hit, and +3 damage - that's pretty hefty for 1 resource. And depending on the deck, there may be an Ally in this pack who'll help you with your set-up.

If you're playing a deck - or with a group - that will be adding Bless tokens to the bag regularly, this is probably a good card for you to consider. 

There is the potential downside of losing the Bless tokens if you miss, but given the size of the bonus you get from the spell itself, you're probably looking at an attack where only the auto-fail misses.

Because of the choice of stats to attack from, I think there's only Carolyn from the Guardian pool where you're starting with a stat of 3 with this card, so as long as there's enough Bless token generation in your deck/group, it's probably worth consideration, at least.

Seeker
The Truth Beckons - 0XP
Seeker movement tech, you say? That's always interesting. Being able to potentially move from one end of the map to the other can be very handy, depending on the scenario, though the fact you're physically moving through locations could lead to a number of unfortunate tests - I might not want this in TFA, for example.

Because of its restrictions, it could be seen as a bit situational, but so long as you've checked your route before you use it, you should be fine - I'm not sure how many locations you have to get as a bonus to offset one action and one resource, but I'd guess moving three locations minimum is somewhat efficient.

Having the Insight keyword means people who're interested in Joe Diamond might want to give it extra consideration - if it is in the hunch deck you get additional randomness on when it shows up, but equally you don't then have to pay anything to use the action. Being able to react to an enemy spawn could be very valuable indeed.

I don't think it works, off the top of my head, but it'd be amusing if you could trigger Ursula's reaction mid-move. I'm pretty sure you can't reaction to take an action in the middle of another action, but you could still use the reaction at your destination location for the extra investigation.

Gaze of Ouraxsh - 2XP - Bless/Curse
A more typical B/C card, given drawing Curse tokens is required to get this event to kick at full potency. There are a number of elements to this I like - being able to split damage as needed is handy, as is not generating an AoO while using an Event. It's also testless damage, which is pretty handy for a Seeker - a class not lauded for its skill of arms.

On the other hand, you need to have a lot of Curse tokens in the bag for this to not be a damp squib, and that definitely has the potential to make you unpopular with the rest of your group, especially if they're not engaging with the Curse mechanic themselves.

At full power - 10 Curses in the bag - you're looking at around 1/3 tokens drawn being a Curse or auto-fail. That means that if you get that many tokens into the bag, you're looking at this doing ~3 damage - but it could spike as high as 8 if you're really lucky.

Honestly not sure what to make of this one.

Rogue
Priest of Two Faiths - 1XP - Bless/Curse
An interesting Ally, this one - cheap, for the soak he provides, and also helping you get a burst of Bless into the bag quickly. On the other hand, as time goes on his other allegiance comes into play, and a dark shadow extends over the chaos bag.

Even without the B/C antics, 2/2 for 1 resource is a handy Ally to have. He has some cross-class synergy - free for Leo, for example - as well as keyword synergy. He might be useful for Father Mateo, but I'm not sure.

Dropping 3 Bless tokens into the bag is useful, and probably worth his cost on its own - and if that's all you want him for, you can ditch him at the end of the turn without the Curse side coming into play. If you want to keep him around as soak, though, then you'll be poisoning the bag for everyone.

I suspect this guy is quite nicely designed, in all honesty.

Under Surveillance - 1XP
This is a weird one, and not a card I'm that keen on at the moment. 3 resources to attach something to your location that triggers on non-Elite enemies, evading them (without them being able to ready next upkeep) and granting you a clue if there are any at the location.

I can see some use cases for it - slowing down certain Hunter enemies, for example - but unless you know what's coming up in the Encounter deck, it seems far to easy to play this... to no effect.

At least it doesn't appear to vanish if you leave the location, or at the end of the turn, though I guess this opens the way to some interesting questions about what happens if you're elsewhere when it goes off. I think the enemy would still be evaded, but would you still get the clue (if there was one there)?

Mystic
Blood Pact - 0XP
...and to round out the Talent set, here's everyone's favorite Doom sink, now in 0XP, 2 resource cost mode. And unlike Keen Eye, the bonus you get for each Doom has been reduced by 1, so for the potential cost of a turn on the agenda, you get +2 to one check.

Obviously, for a Mystic being able to get more Will icons is always handy, though the Fight side of things is probably less useful. You can still use Moonlight Ritual to clear the Doom if you need to, and there are certain decks - hello, Marie - which will appreciate a way to get a Doom into play when they need it.

On the other hand, you now have to luck into drawing the thing, and pay to put it into play - though the Spell keyword does allow for some discount options there - as well as generating that Doom to use it. The costs have gone up, and both the reliability and benefits have gone down.

If you weren't keen on the 3XP version, I wouldn't touch the 0XP version either.

Abyssal Tome - 2XP
This is an interesting one. I'm wary of player cards which increase the amount of Doom in play, as you may have gathered from my thoughts on Blood Pact. A bit like Sword Cane, though, this is a way for Mystics to attack off Will without needing a spell, which definitely opens up options - would I risk running around with it set to one Doom, for +1/+1 on each attack? Maybe.

Being a Tome, it's also an option for Daisy, while as an XP Mystic card Norman can run it as well - and both of those might enjoy the chance to hurt people with their brains, though both have competition for their hand/Tome slots already.

I can see a few characters who might want to try this as an option, even if they never put Doom on it - about half the Mystics, or the two Seekers I mention above, will be attacking on a 5 in that case, and most of the rest will be using a 4. Hmm...

Survivor
Butterfly Effect - 1XP
This feels very Survivor-y, in the sense of doing something at the last minute to offset what the bag has done to you and potentially pull a success out of a failure - or, at least, getting to the point where you fail by just enough to trigger half your hand.

I like the flexibility it gives, too - if you pull a good symbol, you can remove a card you committed that you don't need, while if you pull a negative symbol you can commit more to force the issue. I'm not 100% certain, but I think this would allow you to commit a second card to someone else's check if you hadn't already done so, which is an interesting option - though you can't use it to let others help your check. Being a Survivor, you're on your own.

Patrice normally has the skill cards to take advantage of this, but then you need everything to line up between the hand you draw that turn and the checks people need to make, along with drawing a symbol from the bag - other characters with Survivor access would probably find this more useful, as at least you can hold onto it until it is needed.

Also, as another Blessed card, we find Father Mateo's out-of-class pool expanding a bit.

Third Time's a Charm - 2XP
Another piece of bag manipulation tech for Survivors to take advantage of. I like this one quite a bit, though I'm not sure who I'd run it in - giving a crucial skill check three chances at their draw, even if the bag effectively resets each time, feels really strong. Even on a higher difficulty, I'd imagine that gives you good odds on getting a reasonable token, even if it is still likely to be a negative. Someone may need to crunch some numbers here...

As with Butterfly Effect, TTaC gives your group quite a bit of flexibility on passing a check, though you do need to take care of your timing windows on both cards. 1 resource seems pretty cheap for this effect.

I'd hoped the keyword might open some interesting cross-class synergy beyond the usual suspects, but Calvin is apparently the only Investigator so far looking at Spirits - and he has access to it anyway.

Neutral
Manipulate Destiny - 2XP - Bless/Curse
Our final card is a new spell, that takes advantage of B/C tokens in the bag to either damage enemies or heal friendly Investigators or Ally cards. Having checked the Innsmouth campaign guide, as this isn't a skill test, you're not burning B/C tokens to power the effect, which is handy. No AoO on an Event is always useful, too.

For 1 resource, ending up being able to do 2 damage or heal 2 damage feels useful mid-game, though the random nature means you can't really rely on what result you're getting - unless the bag is getting stacked one way or another with B/C tokens. To maximise the potential you need someone to hurt and someone to heal at the same location, so at least there is no wasted potential.

If you're not using B/C mechanics, this is a coin-flip as to which outcome you get. If your deck is using either of the token types, then you can lean towards that outcome - but due to the nature of the chaos bag, don't rely on it, as you know it'll generate the other token just to mess with you...

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I think the new Blood Pact is actually more interesting than the permanent version.  Being something that can potentially be discarded while it has the doom - Dexter, Sacrifice, etc - opens up some potentially interesting play options other than just Moonlight Ritual.  Dexter especially can probably make very good use of this in combination with Haste and other Rogue action options.

That also means it interacts in more interesting ways depending on the agenda cadence.  Short, fast agendas will give you more witching hours to use it, while some of the forever-long ones will let you run it up to ludicrous amounts of doom before discarding it.

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For those of you who have plunged into Innsmouth - many of the player cards seem to be geared around the bless/curse tokens. So far I've not incorporated them into my regular decks or Arkham DB, b/c it seems like that mechanic is pretty specific to Innsmouth. Should I make them available to other campaigns? Or is it more trouble than it's worth, and just use them only in Innsmouth? (I have an otherwise pretty complete collection of released cards).

It may actually be a while before we get around to Innsmouth -still have to finish Carcosa and then TCU and TD-E to go - so don't wanna clutter up my deck-building collection if the cards aren't really good for other campaigns, or if bringing the mechanic into the others is just going to be a hassle.

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I think it depends on your group, and which side of the equation you're going to fall on - a Bless deck is more likely to be seen as favorable than a Curse build, for example. I'd say it is worth talking about before you start the campaign, and see if anyone else is interested in trying the mechanic out. There's also a case to be made for some characters from before Innsmouth that Bless or Curse is a thematic mechanic - Father Mateo, for example, or Zoey could be built as examples of Blessed characters, while Calvin seems fairly Cursed.

It's also worth noting that we're only halfway through the block, so there will undoubtedly be more ways to interact with the tokens as the remaining Mythos packs emerge from the depths. It's part of the reason why it has been tricky to come to conclusions about the cards in each set. I don't know about Allonym, but I suspect a Bless/Curse retrospective at the end of the block could be an interesting exercise.

I will say I haven't used any of the cards myself yet, but then I've been playing a Dream Eaters campaign with Akachi and Patrice, so they didn't really fit (and came out after we started, as I recall). I don't think the mechanic looks too tricky to use, though - just need to be aware of the triggers for adding or removing tokens from the bag.

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On 12/6/2020 at 5:08 PM, dysartes said:

though the fact you're physically moving through locations could lead to a number of unfortunate tests - I might not want this in TFA, for example.

The real reason you don't want this in TFA is that almost all locations in that campaign enter play already revealed, via exploration, so there are virtually no legal targets for it.

On 12/6/2020 at 5:08 PM, dysartes said:

I don't think it works, off the top of my head, but it'd be amusing if you could trigger Ursula's reaction mid-move.

I don't see why not. The rules prevent you from initiating a skill test inside of another skill test, but I'm not aware of anything that prevents initiating an action inside another action. If you commit Quick Thinking to someone else's Arcane Barrier test, and they succeed by 2, I'm pretty sure you still get your action even though their Move action hasn't fully resolved yet; the same logic would let Ursula trigger her ability at any point along her move.

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I just finished a run through of Return to the Dunwich Legacy using Leo and Ursula where I dabbled with the cursed cards.  I started off with Leo having Faustian Bargain to help accelerate with resources.  His random weakness turned out to be Dread Curse, so when they upgraded I had them pick up False Covenant and Blasphemous Covenant to deal with there being up to 7 chaos tokens in the bag.  Ursula later upgraded to get Stirring up Trouble, mainly for easy pickup of clues toward the end when it didn't matter how many chaos got added.

So how did it work out?  For the entire cycle Leo would play Faustian Bargain the first time he drew it and enjoyed cancelling them later.  About a third of the games we had to deal with Dread Curse (being Dunwich they were lucky to sometimes see the curse get discarded due to treacheries) and again, having the covenants to deal with curses being drawn was nice.  And in Lost in Time and Space Ursula got to use Stirring up Trouble to help her get back to Dunwich. 

All in all I liked having the option to push my luck by adding the curse tokens.  I'm looking forward to seeing the remaining cards that deal with curse/bless.  I certainly will continue to play around with them going forward, so I'm glad they added the mechanic. It's more worthwhile than the Tarot cards from The Circle undone, which, while thematic for that cycle, are cards I pretty much ignore now.

Edited by ricedwlit
Grammer

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I am dying to make a cursed deck for my custom gator Astrid Lee. She's downloadable in a few places, but this synergy made me very happy. Using Manipulate Destiny from Devil Reef, if she seals the elder sign and there's no bless tokens in the bag, it is a guaranteed 2 damage. So fitting for her backstory as a town gossip whose rumors become reality. The more cards that come out, the more that fit with her deck build (Insights 0-5, Rogue cards 0-3, Neutral 0-5, and 5 lvl 0 mystic and/or survivor) and theme. I cannot wait for the rest of the cycle's player cards.

So far, thematically we have gotten: Manipulate Destiny, The Truth Beckons, Stirring Up Trouble, Breaking and Entering, Skeptic, False Covenant, Faustian Bargain, in addition to things like Eavesdrop from prior sets.

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Edited by Soakman

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Some interesting cards in the preview for The Lair of Dagon - along with some "we're filling out a certain cycle" cards.

  • The 4XP equivalents to Physical Training and Arcane Studies for Rogue, Seeker and Survivor, putting the classes back in balance again. I quite like these, as they can repay the resource cost on the turn they're used, but it can be a challenge finding a spot for them in a deck.
  • Nephthys, a 4XP Guardian Ally who interacts with drawn Bless tokens
  • Favor of the Sun, a Neutral Pact Asset that also interacts with Bless tokens
  • Favor of the Moon, the dark opposite of Favor of the Moon - as you'd expect, really.
  • The Stygian Moon, which I imagine could be a key card for a Seeker Curse deck
  • Flute of the Outer Gods, an Exceptional Mystic Relic that needs Curse tokens and a Hand slot to mess with non-Elite enemies, without causing AoO.

I do see two bits of terminology on cards from this pack that I just want to double-check my interpretation of - there are references to "releasing" sealed Bless/Curse tokens, and returning such tokens to the Chaos bag. As the release wording makes no reference of the bag, am I safe to assume that such tokens go back to the pools of 10 of each you have available, rather than going back into the bag itself? Haven't made use of the B/C mechanic yet myself, so just want to get these things straight.

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