The Lost Realm

Hey everybody,

I’m not sure if I’m actually going to reinstate the whole Tuesday-game-day thing in 2021, but hopefully I can write more about my games here as the year goes on! We’re now in Lockdown #3 here in the UK, where staying home is pretty much the new way of life for us, so what’s better than playing loads of games, right?! Today, I thought I’d have a bit of a ramble about my latest endeavour, playing through more of the Lord of the Rings scenarios that I’ve never explored. Given that the game ended last year (well, went on hiatus), I’m probably a bit late to this party! But it’s among my all-time favourite games, and I want to devote more time to it.

Lord of the Rings LCG

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed a slip here – I’ve long thought of Lord of the Rings LCG as “my favourite game”, even when it was curb-stomping me, and even when I wasn’t playing it regularly. Now, however, I’m much more into Arkham Horror LCG as being a better overall game experience, though I come back to Middle Earth for the nostalgia trip!

Anyway.

Over Christmas, I decided to make the effort to play at least one full cycle from one of the five or six later ones that I’d never taken the time to explore, and settled eventually on the Angmar Awakened cycle. This one begins with The Lost Realm deluxe expansion, which brings the game into the north of Middle Earth, and explores the area to the north of the Shire, in the Lost Realm of Arnor. Hence the name!

There is a very strong Dúnedain theme developed across the player cards of the cycle, where the main focus is around engaging enemies. It was recently pointed out to me that this theme was telegraphed from way back in the core set with Son of Arnor, which I find pretty neat.

As the cycle moved on, and certainly as further cards came out in subsequent cycles, we’ve seen the Dúnedain theme become quite strong, rewarding players for engaging multiple enemies (although, I have to say, there are few defensive cards associated with the trait than I’d like!) It’s almost a high risk strategy, which sort of brings me to the next new thing in this cycle, Valour. A lot of cards have two effects, labelled Action and Valour Action. The Valour Action can only be triggered if your threat is above 40, but usually gives a much bigger effect – such cards have effects like ‘ready a character you control’ for the normal Action, and ‘ready all characters’ for the Valour Action.

But let’s talk about the quests in this box!

There are three, of course, and they’re all pretty middling difficulty, if I’m honest. I think this is due to the new Side Quest mechanic introduced in this cycle – cards that are shuffled into either your player deck, if it’s a player side quest, or into the encounter deck, and which act as an alternative to the main quest going on. Obviously, they depend upon being drawn to have an effect (although the second scenario, The Weather Hills, does instruct you to set one up in stage 2B), and having one (or more!) in play can make things extremely difficult!

Side quests are almost like extra active locations, in a sense – progress is placed there instead of the ‘main’ quest, and completing the quest does not advance the quest deck. Player quests can have some powerful effects, whereas encounter side quests can bolster enemies in play, so need to be removed!

The first scenario is Intruders in Chetwood, and serves to set the story up. The heroes are helping the Dúnedan Rangers in clearing out some Orcs that are marauding through Bree. In many ways, it’s similar to scenarios of the past – we have the objective-ally Iârion whom we need to keep alive, in a scenario full of enemies and nasty effects, some of which can trap him.

The Weather Hills is a bit more brutal, as we pursue the Orcs into, well, the Weather Hills. However, it seems that there is foul sorcery afoot! There is an objective card in play that collects tokens when enemies are defeated and, when flipped over, acts as something of a timer for the quest.

We pursue the Orcs into the old border fort of Amon Forn, where we discover the remnants of some depraved ritual having been carried out. Rescuing at least some of the prisoners from Bree, we take them to Fornost and have a chat with Aragorn, no less! But then – the sun goes down, and all hell breaks loose when Thaurdir, the spokesman for the prisoners, turns out to have been an undead wight!!

Deadman’s Dike tasks us with defeating the undead hordes roused by Thaurdir, though it is very much a ‘just survive’ type of quest. Thaurdir cannot be defeated, but if he doesn’t have damage on him equal to his hit points when the final progress token is placed on the quest, we haven’t yet won!

The story ends as Thaurdir escapes with Iârion captive, and we swear to his younger brother Amarthiúl that we will help to rescue him.

It was a bit odd for me to be playing a deck that included Amarthiúl from the start, although his hero card wasn’t released until the penultimate pack in the cycle! I’ve been playing two-handed solo, which is a completely new experience for me, and was actually a whole lot of fun – not least because I was finally able to experience both the Ranged and Sentinel keywords, so that was good! Whether it was helped by the fact I’ve been playing Arkham Horror in this manner for a while now, I found this way of playing really quite straightforward, and didn’t really get that confused by everything that was going on. The one concession I made, though, was to not pass the first player token.

The scenarios were really good, I have to say. I played the first one years ago, but don’t remember doing too well. However, aside from a miserable failure with the first Harad quest back in 2018, this box marks the first time in a long time that I have played “new” quests in this game! So that was pretty exciting to realise! There is a lot of theme in the scenarios, I think, and they don’t seem entirely impossible when playing with two decks, so that is nice! I was playing Standard mode, and still managed to make it through each one, at any rate – though I have read online that this was the first cycle that really tried to address the issue of scaling the game for 1-4 players, rather than assuming an optimum two.

At any rate, this was definitely an enjoyable experience for me, and I think it’s gone a long way to rekindling my love for the game, after the sound thrashing of the Ring-Maker cycle before it putting me off for years! As far as the Angmar Awakened cycle itself goes, I was a play-tester for that, so have played each one back in the day – albeit with cut-out bits of paper with text and no art! Not that I remember a great deal about it (it was 5 or 6 years ago, now), but I’m looking forward to going through the cycle in pursuit of Iârion, so stay tuned for more updates!

Horror in your Dreams!

Hey everyone,
It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and for today’s festive offering, I’m attempting to revive my custom of playing Eldritch Horror! There are still a couple of expansions that haven’t yet made it onto the blog, so today I’m going to investigate The Dreamlands, a big box expansion that first came out back in 2017.

Eldritch Horror: The Dreamlands

As with both of the previous big box expansions, Mountains of Madness and Under the Pyramids, The Dreamlands comes with a new side board for the main game, featuring locations from HP Lovecraft’s Dream-Cycle stories such as Ulthar and Dylath-Leen. Travel between these boards is, however, much easier than previously seen, as an investigator can either spend 1 clue or test Will -1 while performing a Rest action, and immediately move to the Enchanted Wood location. During set-up, three gates are drawn from the gate stack, ensuring each is for a location not on the Dreamlands board – these locations then receive Dream Portals which also link the boards together. It’s all quite thematic, and depending on where the locations of the Dream Portals are, can make things fairly straightforward to travel back and forth.

Eldritch Horror: The Dreamlands

The expansion is very much in the vein of more of the same, as we follow the now-established formula for these things, with two new Ancient Ones, about eight new investigators all from the Arkham Files universe, more cards for the base game locations as well as item decks, and then cards for the new board, and in this case an Expedition-style deck called the Dreamquest deck, which functions in the same way as previous iterations by giving you more complex encounters to follow. There are, of course, Prelude cards that allow you to determine how you’re going to use the new content if you like to structure things that way, and there is a small deck of Adventure cards that work with the Dreamlands board if you aren’t using a Dreamlands Ancient One.

Eldritch Horror: The Dreamlands

For my first game, I went up against Atlach-Nacha, created by Clark Ashton Smith as the spider god who spins a web between Hyperborea and the Dreamlands. I seem to recall always being fairly creeped-out when playing against this Ancient One in Arkham Horror, though that’s likely due to my arachnophobia. Here, Atlach-Nacha feels like a fairly straightforward Ancient One to overcome – it is more than likely down to the Mysteries that I drew, of course, but I didn’t feel like there was a great struggle as I went around the boards. True, only one of the three mysteries that I drew required me to have Research Encounters, so whereas normally I can be a little bit frustrated with the lack of clues spawning and so forth, here it didn’t really come to pass. I was also very lucky with Luke Robinson gaining the friendship of the cat unique asset which grants you five clues, as this happened just when I needed it!

Atlach-Nacha

The second Ancient One included in the box is Hypnos, who I’m fairly sure has been upgraded from simply a Herald (or was he a Guardian?) in Arkham Horror. Hypnos always works with the Dreamlands board, and has some fairly interesting mechanics for advancing his mysteries. He also has three separate decks of special encounters, which is really neat!

However, I feel like neither of these Ancient Ones is particularly nasty.

I don’t mean this to sound in any way disdainful when I say that this expansion gives us more variety without really breaking any of the rules of the base game, because it really isn’t a bad thing. Eldritch Horror has, in many ways, provided nothing but more of the same in each expansion. The Focus mechanic is back from Mountains of Madness, and that is pretty much the only change from the base game. Everything else is self-explanatory once you start playing, and while we get some tweaks on existing concepts (more Conditions that are actually boons, for example), there’s very little to confuse the uninitiated.

The eight investigators included are all familiar faces with new artwork, some of them are quite welcome having been staples from the core set of Arkham Horror, but only now making their appearance here.

There isn’t really a great deal more that can be said, if I’m honest – the expansion provides much of what we’re used to seeing from Eldritch Horror at this point, and continues the trend as we would expect it. The side board is interesting, with some thematic stuff going on to enjoy, and overall any fan of the base game will appreciate this for its strong ties in to the theme of the source material. I don’t think I’d say it is my favourite of the Eldritch Horror expansions, but it does its job well, and that’s all that we can ask!

Eldritch Horror: The Dreamlands

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Hope you’re all having a splendid Yuletide – and if you don’t go in for all that, hope it’s been a tremendous Friday!

I’ve had a pretty decent haul this year, mainly focusing on the recent upsurge in Arkham Horror that I’ve had! In addition to getting fully up to date with the card game, I’m quite pleased to have the new edition of the board game, which is a curious beast that I hope to find the time to explore soon!

In addition, I’ve kept a few of my recent purchases back for the festive season, as a bit of a present to myself! Looking forward to getting round to these soon!

In a pretty surprising move, GW has announced some new models coming out soon, starting with Drukhari vs Sisters of Battle, which will serve as a vehicle to show off two new plastic character models, Lelith Hesperax, and the new Lieutenant model for the Sisters, the Palatine:

I think that’s a great looking box and, depending on the price, I’m probably going to get it. I’m feeling a distinct need to get back to my beloved Dark Eldar, so it’s the perfect product! However, some of these things have been priced quite… ambitiously, and I’m not going to go too crazy for it…

We’ve also seen more for the new Slaanesh release, and I’m bowled over at the attention being lavished upon the Prince of Pleasure! New mortal archers, ranged and melee Seeker-riding mortals… and Slaangors!! My goodness, I need a lie down…

What a Christmas!!

Christmas Eve catch-up!

Hey everybody,

The festive season is well and truly upon us, although it’s a stranger one this year because of all the restrictions that are in place. I’ve got five days off work now, so I’m hoping for a bit of a break from things – mainly because there’s so little that we can do!

Of course, being a huge nerd, I feel almost like I’ve been preparing for lockdown my entire life! I’ve got an almost 15 month old baby to keep me occupied during the day, of course, and during naps and the evenings, I’ve got plenty of hobby-backlog to work through!

In an effort to get more models finished before January, today I put the finishing touches to my Necron Overlord from the Indomitus box. It’s a very nice model, even though all the Necrons from that set have got sculpted damage on them, which I’m not a fan of, but I think I’m slowly getting over that now!

I’ve been working most recently on my Delaque gangers, who are finally coming close to being finished! I’m very excited for that of course, though I do think that I’ve taken my time with them, when you think it’s been around 2 years since I first started to build them! I think they’re looking really great, anyway, and as I’m planning another game of Necromunda against myself in the near future, it’ll be nice to have that much more painted up!

Speaking of games, I’ve started to play The Lost Realm for Lord of the Rings, as well, playing the first scenario, Intruders in Chetwood, earlier this week. That was a great game, albeit really quite involved! I’m sure that I played a couple of things incorrectly, as there were a great deal of moving parts to that quest, but I really enjoyed myself – while it definitely provided a challenge, it never felt completely impossible, which was nice to see. So often in the past with this game I’ll have lost due to location lock, where the threat in the staging area is just too high for me to cope with. The encounter deck seemed to be a decent blend of cards, though, which I think is key here. Too many enemies or locations can lead to the game just beating you down hard. I was also playing with Shadow effects, as I feel I’ve been missing out on this aspect for my playing career so far! It probably helped me more than I realised, having that ability to cycle through the encounter deck and effectively discard some locations and enemies without having to deal with them, so I definitely appreciated that!

I think my decks need looking at fairly urgently, though – a lot of the time I felt as though I had too much of a mix of questers, and fighters, meaning that I probably wasn’t dealing with enemies effectively. Of course, I’m still a bit of a novice when it comes to this aspect of play, but I do feel like the decks need to have their balance addressed, so that they fall down either as ‘the questing deck’ or ‘the fighting deck’. That’s not to say that they will fulfil that role exclusively, but just have a greater emphasis, rather than trying to do both equally.

I can probably make better use of Sentinel cards, also!

Hopefully I’ll be able to get more games played over the next few days – I’m hoping to get some Arkham Horror played, as well as more Lord of the Rings!

Hope you all have a wonderful festive weekend, whatever you end up doing!

Happy Solstice

Hey everybody,
Christmas is approaching, for those of you with the inclination, but the recent announcements over lockdowns in the UK has seemingly put a damper on things. This is as much as I’ll talk about with politics, of course, as I try to make this blog more of a haven from such things, but I think I’ll probably be posting a lot over the coming days as I try to take my mind off things – and, hopefully, yours, too!

It was my birthday on Friday, and I had a decent haul of Arkham Horror LCG stuff, which was great! I mean, a couple of those bits I’d kept back from recent purchases, such as the Dexter Drake novella and Guardians of the Abyss. I think the birthday haul is pretty indicative of what is on my radar right now, though – between the card game and Necromunda! I haven’t had a proper chance to do more than flick through House of Artifice, but I’m looking forward to digesting that over the coming days! I do want to get another game of Necromunda in at some point, even if it is by myself, because I’m really hooked right now!

I have started to play Lord of the Rings again, though, thinking that I’d start off with Passage Through Mirkwood, the introductory scenario. And it absolutely brutalised me! I had a very bad series of draws from the encounter deck, and playing two-handed was obviously increasing the cards seen over the course of the game, but jeez!

There are a couple of things that I want to mention here, of course. First of all, playing two-handed is actually a real joy. I had the odd moment of “where am I up to?” of course, but those tended to be in the late game where a lot was going on, already. I think perhaps playing two investigators in Arkham Horror has prepared me well for this one, and I think in part that, in comparison, Lord of the Rings is definitely a much simpler game. It surprised me because there is a much more linear plan for the game: you do the same thing round after round, and the variety of it all comes from the different cards being revealed from the encounter deck. Having played a lot of Arkham Horror lately, which has got that element of a board game from having investigators moving around different locations, and the RPG feel of leveling-up cards etc, it gives for a much more complex game. While there are those elements in common, such as effectively playing against the encounter deck and such, it really surprised me that I had that feeling!

Of course, the decks that I was playing were not really built for this way of playing – each one was effectively a solo deck, so they could have dealt with the majority of the game by themselves. As such, I think I could tweak the decks back to dual-sphere and have each one cover the other better.

Interestingly, I went back to basics on this one as well, and read through the instruction manual, as well as watching the tutorial stuff again, and tried to get it right. Back when I first started playing this game, in 2011, I had incorporated a couple of house rules I suppose, to make it more manageable for actual solo play, and I just kept playing it that way. The ‘Basic Game’ as explained in the rulebook does suggest not revealing shadow cards while you get into it, and I’ve played that way pretty much ever since! I was also playing the game whereby if I had optionally engaged an enemy, I would attack it first rather than allowing for all enemies to attack me first, regardless of who engaged who. In my mind, it made sense that I would be able to do this, because otherwise it’s the equivalent of going up to someone for a fight, and letting them hit you first? Of course, there are player cards that allow you to dodge attacks and the like, but it always struck me as really odd that I couldn’t natively attack first when it was my choice to engage with that enemy!

Anyhow, playing the game correct, I thought, would be a lot of work, but as it happened the first game was over in 5 rounds, as I was just unable to overcome the threats in the staging area, due to bad draws from both the encounter and player decks! Any allies that I had were dying to enemy attacks as I threw them under the bus to just try to deal damage to the enemies engaged with me, but as time went on, I had to throw my heroes at them as defenders, meaning I was in a holding pattern of doom until round 5, when four of my six heroes were killed off. It was shocking!

I did later that same day play again, after briefly considering trying out the official Easy Mode of removing some of the encounter cards, but in the end went for a straightforward shuffle-up-and-reset, and I managed to prevail. The game was a lot longer than I’d expected, though I think that was in part because of the two-handed thing, but also simply because I was trying to defeat Ungoliant’s Spawn, which was the fourth card from the bottom of the deck. Still playing without shadow cards, I wasn’t drawing as many encounter cards as perhaps I could have been!

It’s interesting though, to me, that playing without shadow cards can be such a dual-edged sword; on the one hand, you’re potentially buffing enemies when they can already be a bit unwieldy, but almost in return you get to cycle through the encounter deck quicker, and can potentially avoid having so many locations or so many enemies coming into play. I suppose this is something to think about when we’re talking about implementing house rules or whatever – the game has been tested to play in a certain way, and is as balanced as possible based on its own rules. Adding to these, or changing things, can tip that balance and sometimes lead to a less-than-optimum experience. Certainly something I need to bear in mind when I’m complaining about “how tough is this game?!”

Lord of the Rings LCG

I’m still going to be playing through one of these cycles over the Christmas period – at least one, maybe more! – so look forward to hearing more of my musings as I properly get back into what I have always been calling my favourite game!

I picked up the latest White Dwarf this morning and, as I have the day off (yay!) I had a fairly leisurely breakfast while flicking through its pages. There’s a lot of Age of Sigmar stuff in there, which I kinda glossed over because I’m not big into Spiderfang Grots, but I was reading Robin Cruddace’s column on the new 40k rules, and it was quite interesting to see why they changed some of the rules from 8th to 9th edition.

I’ve talked briefly about this recently, but in some ways I think 9th edition coming out in the middle of a global pandemic, when there are so many restrictions in place that the GW stores themselves can’t even run demos of the game or have people in there for any longer than absolutely necessary, does seem to be a bit of a swing and a miss. Any sort of excitement around the new edition has been, for me, tempered by the fact that I couldn’t immediately play it, and the few games that I have managed to play since it arrived were a weird sort of hodge-podge of rules, in part because I was playing an 8th edition codex in a new game. Granted, it wasn’t massively different, though for something like Necrons, trying to play with the army when Reanimation Protocols had changed, but we didn’t have the rest of the rules yet, was such a weird experience. Now, I know plenty of other folks will have been through the pain barrier between editions where they’re using a book from an edition or two ago, but it’s difficult to get my head around!

It’s curious, although perhaps not totally unexpected, to see how I’ve almost gone off 40k in recent weeks. I think the lack of any outlet to play has a lot to do with this, as I’ve got no real motivation to paint anything up while there’s no end in sight to these lockdowns! I’ve moved into solo-able games so much that 40k has almost been left behind, but I do think it’s about time I used some of the down-time to get some projects finished, so that I can play with fully painted models when this is all over! I’m sure there’ll be more on this to come in the next couple of weeks – if only from the now-inevitable Hobby Resolutions blog! Now is not the time for a retrospective on that one, of course, but it’s definitely been a mixed bag in 2020, with some successes as well as some that have fallen by the wayside. Stay tuned for that blog, coming up sometime next week, no doubt!

Warhammer: Invasion

Hey everybody!
It’s time for a celebration here at spalanz.com, as this post marks my 1000th post on my blog! Whoever would have thought? It’s also my birthday, so it’s a double celebration, and I thought that I’d mark it in style. Today, I thought I’d talk about one of my all-time favourite games. It’s one that I have mentioned rather a lot over the years, but have never gotten round to actually featuring on the blog until now. It’s time to delve into the Old World, with Warhammer: Invasion, from Fantasy Flight Games!

Warhammer: Invasion

This was one of FFG’s original line-up of living card games, and as such features the older distribution model of having one full cycle of card packs (called ‘battle packs’ here) where they didn’t print an entire playset of each card; rather, the first cycle has 40-card packs where 10 cards have the full set of three copies, and 10 cards are one-of. The game was designed by Eric Lang, who has worked a lot with FFG over the years (and, due to his design of this game, has earned the glorious reputation of being my favourite game designer!) and was published between 2009 and 2013. This is really why I have never gotten round to featuring it on my blog, as I didn’t start writing it until the year after it had received its final expansion.

It is a competitive game for two players, where each player takes control of one of the six great factions of the Old World of Warhammer Fantasy: The Empire, Dwarves, High Elves, Chaos, Orcs or Dark Elves. This is before Age of Sigmar shook things up, remember, so we’ve got the delightful Holy Roman Empire-inspired battlegrounds replete with legends such as Karl Franz and Sigvald the Magnificent.

I’ve played this game a lot, and while I have played as every faction, I have the most experience as playing Chaos, and so all of the photos I’ve taken to show this great game are from the Ruinous Powers’ perspective.

Warhammer: Invasion

Each player has a Capital board, which has three zones: a Kingdom zone, a Battlefield zone, and a Quest zone. These zones determine how you play the game. Each has a number of axe symbols there: you gain resources equal to the number of axes in your Kingdom zone; you can attack your opponent for a number of damage equal to those in your Battlefield zone, and you draw cards equal to the number of axes in your Quest zone.

There are a number of different card types in the game: mainly Units, such as fighters and wizards, but also Support cards, Tactics cards, and Quest cards. Support cards are a bit like locations or objects that you can deploy to increase your influence in the game. Tactics cards are basically Event cards, with a one-time effect. Quest cards are only ever played into the Quest zone, and represent a longer-term investment in your strategy – they have effects that will trigger if a unit is played onto the quest, and you can gain bonuses thereafter.

Warhammer: Invasion

The object of the game is simple: you must burn two of your opponent’s zones by dealing at least 8 damage to that zone.

So, on your turn you get three resources because your Capital board has got three axes in your Kingdom zone from the off. You can use those resources to play cards into your Kingdom zone to increase the axes you have there, which will net you more resources next turn, or you can play cards into your Quest zone to draw more cards on your next turn.

Resources are a bit funny in this game, in that there are two costs for playing a card: the actual printed cost (in the top left corner) and its Loyalty cost, displayed in symbols down the left hand side of the card. Each Capital board provides one loyalty symbol, and other cards, once played, will provide a similar cost. If you only have two symbols among cards under your control and the Capital board, and the card you want to play has three loyalty symbols on it, then the difference increases the cost of that card. It’s a good way to balance cards where players might want to combine races (though that isn’t such an easy thing to do anyway, so I’m not sure you’d want to do this very often).

The Kingdom zone gives you buying power, as we’ve seen, and the Quest zone increases your card draw as well as giving you useful options through Quest cards, which can grant useful effects when units are placed there on the quest. The Battlefield zone is, normally, the only way to actually fight your opponent and deal damage to them. During the Battlefield phase, the active player can declare attackers against his opponent’s zone, totting up the combined axes between all of the cards declared as such. The defending player then declares which if his units, if any, will defend from that zone, and the damage is assigned simultaneously. Once this has been done, it is actually applied so the attacker and defender can both lose units at this point. Any excess damage dealt by the attacker is placed onto the defender’s Capital board, and as mentioned earlier, 8 points of damage is enough to burn that zone. (Importantly, if the defender has the possibility to over-assign damage in their defense, that damage is not dealt back to the attacker’s Capital.)

Warhammer: Invasion

So in the above example, I’ve got six axes in my Kingdom zone, so I’ll be getting six resources per turn, and I get to draw three cards per turn, also. The Battlefield zone is quite impressive, having a Bloodthirster out that deals a massive 5 damage, as well as forces the discard of a unit from my opponent’s Battlefield zone before I attack. The Bloodletter also doubles all damage being dealt to units, which could potentially allow me to one-shot a zone in my attack phase. Nasty!

It’s a very straightforward game when explained like this, but there is a depth that comes from different card effects as well as the strategy of where you’re going to attack. For example, a player might be tempted to place a lot of his heavy-hitting units in his Battlefield in the expectation of using them to deal a lot of damage, but if his opponent attacks his Quest or Kingdom zone, there may be much weaker units there that cannot absorb the amount of damage coming through. Similarly, it sometimes doesn’t pay to double-down on attacking your opponent’s Quest or Battlefield zone if they’re building up a vast amount of resources in their Kingdom zone, which allows them to easily bring out something like a Bloodthirster!

There are a number of moving parts to a game like this, of course, with keywords that allow for some evil shenanigans on both sides. Toughness appears on some cards and acts as damage-negation, while Counterstrike allows a defender to immediately deal its damage to the attacker, reducing the overall damage being dealt. I said earlier that each zone will burn if it is dealt 8 points of damage; one way you can protect it is by playing cards face-down into that zone as Developments. Developments add 1 hit point to the zone that they’re in, and a player may only play one Development per turn. One aspect of the game that is particularly associated with Chaos is Corruption, which turns a card 90-degrees and removes its ability to act as an attacker or defender. You only get to restore one Corrupt card per turn, so if your opponent has Corrupted a number of your cards, then you’ll be facing an uphill struggle, from the off!

Warhammer: Invasion

With a generous life-cycle, Warhammer: Invasion had a lot of expansions. In addition to the initial Assault on Ulthuan box that brought High Elves and Dark Elves into the game (the core set only included four full factions, with just a couple of cards for the Elven races), March of the Damned brought us Lizardmen and Vampire Counts. The artwork on March of the Damned, as I have mentioned many times before, is what initially drew me to this game!

There were six full cycles each of six Battle Packs for the game:
The Corruption Cycle
The Enemy Cycle
The Morrslieb Cycle
The Capital Cycle
The Bloodquest Cycle
The Eternal War Cycle
Each of these worked on developing a specific aspect of the game, such as the Bloodquest cycle giving greater emphasis to Quests in the game. The Morrslieb cycle gave greater interaction with Developments, while introducing the Wood Elves to the game as a neutral faction, similar to how the Skaven had been introduced in the Corruption cycle. Hidden Kingdoms was the final deluxe expansion that then brought the four neutral factions to the fore, making each one a fully playable faction by giving small-scale Capital cards to allow you to play, for instance, all-Lizardmen:

Warhammer: Invasion

Perhaps one of the most important expansions was the Legends deluxe box, which brought a new card type to the game: Legends (surprising, that!)

Warhammer: Invasion

These cards are played into the centre of your Capital, and grant additional axes to each of your zones. Legends can be attacked instead of attacking a particular zone, and some of the more powerful ones might need to be dealt with before they can run away with the game for your opponent, so it can sometimes be worthwhile doing this! The deluxe expansion brought ways to interact with these Legends, however, and subsequent expansions even brought out new Legends, making them as close to a fully-supported type as possible. Hidden Kingdoms, in fact, brought us neutral Legend cards for each of the four factions.

Finally, the Cataclysm expansion gave us the option for multiplayer games.

Warhammer: Invasion

Cataclysm changed up the gameplay quite a bit, by adding these Fulcrum cards – sites of incredible magical power that can be channeled by a player during his turn to gain the effect on them. Cataclysm brings 3-4 players into the mix, and there are always 1 less Fulcrum cards than the number of players in play. In a four player game, three Fulcrums are in play – a player can declare an attack against a Fulcrum card from the common play area, and gain control of it, putting it into his Battlefield zone. During the end phase of the round, a player gains Dominance equal to the number of Fulcrums under his control: if a player has 8 Dominance at the end of the round, he will win.

Warhammer: Invasion

Cataclysm also changed the rules so that all three zones of a player’s Capital board must be burning for them to be eliminated. As such, the player cards included with the expansion all held a greater significance for burning zones, although these could obviously also be used in regular games, though given the fact fewer zones need to be burning, they would have a correspondingly lower impact.


Warhammer: Invasion is just a magnificent game. Before I discovered Magic the Gathering, it was my most-played competitive card game by a long shot. Something changed for me back in 2015, though, and the fact that Magic can be played purely with a deck of cards, and no need for all the tokens and Capital boards, it sort of struck a chord for me, and Warhammer: Invasion slipped down the ranks. However, I think with the End Times and then Age of Sigmar obliterating the Old World, there is something incredibly comforting about this game – I don’t mean that from the point of view of someone who rages against AoS, of course! I just love the low fantasy setting of the Old World, and I find it akin to coming home whenever I think about playing this game.

I mentioned the depth of gameplay that Warhammer: Invasion holds earlier, and I think there is something to be said about having a game where you begin with a deck of 100 cards! Games can be brutal, for sure, but they can also be quite long, as each side builds up their forces in the manner of true warfare. Sorties are sent to test the enemy, in case of any Tactics cards that might be played, before committing to an all-out assault in the typical carnage of Warhammer!

I haven’t played it for four years, though, which I suppose speaks a lot about my gaming habits in this day and age! Solo and cooperative games are a much better bet for me now, of course, but I’m hopeful that, when the world has returned to normal and we can see friends once more, I can convince my long-time gaming buddy Tony to break out his High Elf deck and once more demolish my attempts to Corrupt the world!

Post 999!

Hey everybody!
It’s my 999th post on this blog! What an incredible milestone! I honestly didn’t give things much thought back when I started this endeavour back in 2014, but I suppose as time has gone on, I suppose it’s been quite exciting to see the blog growing – even if it is with my inane babble! As we gear up for post number 1000, which is already written and scheduled to go live tomorrow, I thought I’d have a bit of a catch-up blog with you all, and dip into some of the stuff that has been going on in recent weeks!

Curtain Call

Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Arkham Horror LCG, and enjoying myself immensely. Back when I first played the game upon release, I definitely knew that I enjoyed the game, but always seemed to struggle to get round to actually playing it. It wasn’t until last year, almost three years after the initial release, that I got round to actually trying out a full campaign.

Now, however, I’m firmly entrenched in the whole thing, having really revitalized my enjoyment of the game and throwing myself in whole-heartedly! I’ve made my way through two full campaigns now, and I’m poised to start on a third over the festive season, tackling The Circle Undone with Diana Stanley and Joe Diamond. Having sleeved the cards for this cycle, it’s been exciting to see that this one focuses more on the classic trope of regular cultists trying to bring about the end of the world, rather than fantastical creatures and the like. I’ve been recording my games here on the blog, and I’ve set up a page specifically to collect these posts together. I’m sure I’ll be trying out some campaigns multiple times, too, but I want to try out all the game has to offer me, and make up for lost time!

Interestingly, all of this Arkham Horror LCG has got me thinking about trying my other great card-game love, Lord of the Rings LCG. It’s been a long time since I have last played this game, I think I tried my hand in one of the early scenarios in the summer-time, but playing this game has really dropped off my radar in recent years. It’s interesting, of course, because I still really love it, and I still call it my all-time favourite card game. I suppose part of the reason for me having stepped back a bit from it resides in the fact there is just so much of it now. The game wound up a few months ago, after the last cycle took an absolute age to actually see all six packs released – in total, we have nine full cycles, eight deluxe Saga expansions, and about a dozen standalone scenarios. It’s quite mind-boggling, really, and the player cards have become quite the beast to wrangle!

Earlier this week, as it happens, I spent a sleepless night looking through my collection once more, and reliving some past memories as well as tinkering a little with my favourite Rohan deck. The whole thing was brought about because I wanted to re-sleeve some of the cards, requiring the transparent sleeves for Arkham Horror as it happens, but it really took me on that journey down memory lane, to the time when I would excitedly play each pack in the Mirkwood cycle as it was released – spending yet another sleepless night back in, what, 2011, playing The Dead Marshes. Ah, memories!

I’ve currently got four decks built up and ready for the game – the Rohan deck, a Dwarf deck, an Elf deck, and more of a generic/mix that uses a number of Dúnedain and Outlands cards. Going over these (and re-sleeving them), and sorting out a lot of the later packs from Harad, Rhovanion and Mordor, has got me thinking how I’ve never really ventured very far into this game, always returning to Mirkwood and the Dwarrowdelf, without really exploring any of the cycles from Ringmaker onwards, really! Looking back, I got as far as The Dunland Trap from that cycle (the game’s fourth, just fyi!) while playing what I would call regularly, back in 2015, and have pretty much given up, since! Sporadic plays of a scenario from Angmar and Harad notwithstanding, I’ve pretty much let the bulk of this game pass me by, whilst still compulsively collecting it!

Well, hopefully that will change soon!

Lord of the Rings LCG

I’ve got my eye on playing some of the newer quests, potentially with that Dúnedain deck, or else with the re-tuned Rohan deck, over the festive period (although probably more like the new year weekend). I’ve even been considering building up an entirely new deck, using the newer player cards to build around the Dale theme. I’ve got my eye on trying maybe The Lost Realm, or else Vengeance of Mordor as that has struck me as a very intriguing cycle. I’ve heard so many good things about the Ered Mithrin cycle, though, so that is also a strong contender. Of course, I playtested on the Angmar Awakened cycle, but I think I came into the game after the playtesting for the deluxe expansion had finished. I have lots of bad memories of never being able to escape from the dungeons, but it’ll be nice to actually play the game in its finished form, with artwork and not the badly-formatted black-and-white printouts that were sleeved on top of other cards!

So that’ll be something good to look forward to!

What else has been going on?

Well, I’m quite excited to say that I’ve pretty much finished my first major terrain piece! I mean, I’ve painted up some ammo crates before, but I’m quite excited for this one! The Sector Mechanicus stuff is really nice, and I have rather a lot of it after all, but I think after the game of Necromunda the other week has got me thinking more about terrain and whatnot, so I think it’ll be nice to have some done. I’ve been working on a Galvanic Magnavent lately, building it up to reflect the back of the box rather than the “standard” build from the front (I’m pretty sure I did that with another piece, too…) so I think when I have these big pieces painted up they’ll look really good out on the table!

Let’s talk about Necromunda though, as it’s something I’m hoping to try out again over the festive break (first Lord of the Rings, more Arkham Horror, and now this?! Where will I find the time…) I’ve been reading up the rules for scenery from the Book of Peril, and I’m quite excited by just how interactive the battlefield can get! So it should be really interesting to see how all of that works (although it might not be something that I get to straight away, as there are a lot of moving parts in this game, after all!)

It’s not all about the scenery though, as I’ve also been building up some more Van Saar folks as the excitement around House of Artifice increases! My current leader comes in at a whopping 310 credits – I know Van Saar are expensive, but that’s a third of the starting gang, so I needed to slim them down a bit. This chap, above, is a much more respectable 245, which means I can actually fit in another body, between trimming down the leader and champion options. I think that game I linked to earlier definitely showed just how much the advantage of numbers can go in your favour – and expensive gangers are of no use to anybody if they’re Prone and Pinned!

Finally…

We need to talk about this. I don’t think I’ve properly recovered yet, of course! But 10 new Star Wars series’ is just phenomenal! The Mandalorian is showing that Star Wars can absolutely have a future on the small screen, and I am so excited to see what they’re going to do with it all. I probably need to confine my thoughts on this to a separate piece, but suffice it to say, I’m really happy with what’s going on there right now!

So, folks, that’s almost a thousand posts finished! Come back tomorrow to celebrate my birthday with Post 1000 itself – I think it’ll be a good one!

Searching for Carcosa… and finding it!

Hey everybody,
It’s been a whirlwind of a ride, but I’ve made it through to the end of the Path to Carcosa campaign! What a glorious campaign it was, too. I’m going to talk about the final two packs first – with spoilers, no doubt – and then give you all some of my thoughts on the whole thing. But let’s start with Black Stars Rise.

This one has got to be the most complicated setup that I have seen from any of the scenarios to date! It’s unique in that it doesn’t have an Act deck, but instead uses parallel Agenda decks. When we place doom during the mythos phase, we get to choose on which Agenda it is placed – however, doom in play does count towards both Agendas, so it is possible (and indeed happened to me!) for both of them to advance at the same time! The crux of the matter is that we’re trying to prevent the cultists of Hastur from enacting the ritual to bring him back into reality. We’ve come to Mont Saint-Michel to prevent this ritual, and I do feel like the designers are messing with me when it looked quite clearly like there was a good and a bad Agenda, but these obviously proved to both be terrible events! Why did I think one might be better?!

I really enjoyed how this scenario seems to be holding out on us. There is just so much that we don’t know, or at least that I don’t know – we’re almost just hoping for the best each time. And the fact that the setup is so randomised, subsequent play-throughs of this scenario will still be the same, I don’t think it’s likely I’ll have any benefit of experience that is sometimes seen when you play through a scenario again.

The way becomes clear when we investigate the Abbey Church, and a whole other suite of location cards opens up – that was quite a revelation, really! Investigating through the church, however, leads us on to the path we have been pursuing since we woke up in the theatre – for me, I plunged into the water in pursuit of Lost Carcosa!

Campaign Log
Well, I opened the path below, and have gained an extra point of conviction. In addition, I’ve gained 2 experience points, so immediately spent that to upgrade Ashcan Pete’s Lantern, and swapped out the Archaic Glyphs from Daisy’s deck in favour of an Otherworldly Compass. I know it’s late in the game to be doing this, but I’m mindful of my experience in Dunwich, and want to be sure that I’m maximising that experience!

The finale of the piece, Dim Carcosa follows a similar theme to the Dunwich Legacy, where we jump through the gate and into the Other World. while some people may find it a bit repetitive, I personally like it as a call-back to the board game, and having those adventures in other realms adds to the cosmic horror that I’m here for.

This one is again a little different, as each location is double-sided with a Story card (similar to the VIPs back in The Last King), and so they all start out in play and complete with all of their clues. The stories on the back of these cards are revealed by gathering the clues from them at the right point – they don’t auto-flip as soon as they have been investigated. This is because a lot of them will allow you to deal direct damage to the Unspeakable One himself, Hastur!

There are three different variants of this particular Great Old One, and the variant you face very much depends on the way the campaign has been going up to this point. For me, I had much more conviction than doubt – and so I found myself going up against the toughest of all three! This is a wonderful mechanic, as it represents the fact that you’ve not kept that healthy scepticism – you haven’t stayed rooted in the real world. Consequently, you’re so convinced that what you’re experiencing is real, you bring into being a much more powerful Elder God. It’s really well done, and shows how the choices you make throughout the campaign really have an effect.

Something that I really enjoyed about this one, too, is how the Act/Agenda cards incorporate call-backs to the earlier scenarios, such as the party and the asylum, before requiring you to take an attribute test to see if you remember these things happening before. It’s really representative of the truly shattered state of your psyche at this point, and I got a real thrill from seeing these when they came up!

And speaking of shattered psyches, I thought this was quite funny in that, during setup, each investigator takes a sanity hit equal to half of their total sanity, and taking madness throughout the game doesn’t eliminate you – you’re basically beyond the edge of reason at this point, after all! However, there are a lot of cards in the encounter deck that get nastier if you have no sanity left. It’s really thematic for being in this particular Other World, and I really enjoyed it.

Did I win? Well, I think so! Daisy managed to do a lot of damage to Hastur through investigating locations and turning over those cards to deal 1 or 2 points of damage per investigator to him. I had a couple of very lucky draws from Ashcan Pete that allowed him to do 4 points of damage per hit, though in his toughest incarnation, a -1, 0 or +1 Chaos token counts as an auto-fail, so I had to really over-commit to make sure I pulled out the -2 or worse, which would allow me to actually get the damage on him! For the win, I then threw my Lantern at him to deal the final 2 points of damage. Felt really weird, but I guess that tattered yellow robe is really flammable!

Campaign Log
Well folks, the investigators prevented Hastur from escaping his prison, although it was at the cost of 2 physical trauma each. I had 0 victory points on the board, but did gain an additional 5 points for all of my experiences. Most importantly, however, the investigators won the campaign!

I still don’t know why the end of a campaign gives experience points, although I suppose it can be used if you want to try out a standalone scenario. I’ve seen some theories that it’s future-proofing against adding special scenarios to the end of campaigns, but who knows.


Anyway, it’s time to give my thoughts on The Path to Carcosa as a campaign. Unless it’s not immediately obvious from having read through this series of blogs over the last few days – I really enjoyed this one! I think the fact that it was completely new to me really helped here, because at several points during The Dunwich Legacy campaign, I did have that sense of having been here before, etc, and while it didn’t ruin things for me, it still felt a little like re-treading old ground. But I think that could also have been due to knowing I had lots of new stuff waiting for me to get to, so I wanted to get through it!

I first read The King in Yellow – well, I read the first four stories of that book – back in 2016. Some of the story beats I may have missed, for sure, but I was blown away by how close A Phantom of Truth came to the source material, and really enjoyed that aspect of the game. In the main, though, I think this campaign tries to be its own thing – it takes as the starting point the idea of the macabre play, which has been developed so much within the confines of the Cthulhu mythos, and really runs with it, incorporating along the way stuff from In the Court of the Dragon, and I think the onyx clasp comes from The Yellow Sign, but we don’t have such a reliance on the source material as in the last campaign. Which I think is a definite plus, because it blows the possibilities right open.

I’ve read a review of this campaign that describes it as a full flowering of the campaign possibilities of this game, having shown how the principle works during the Dunwich Legacy. I think that’s pretty on the nose, although I have no idea how future campaigns play (we’re currently in the middle of the sixth full cycle, remember!) Seeing how the story unfolds from scenario to scenario, and the changes that are made along the way, it was really informative of what could be done. Even down to the stuff with changing tokens added to the Chaos bag between scenarios, there was so much going on! I was very impressed each time.

The new Story cards in particular were very impressive, and add that extra point of narrative to what is already a very story-driven game. I don’t think I ever really felt like the game was forcing me to play a specific way, or trying to lead me to a specific conclusion. The doubt/conviction mechanic, something that I’ve read quite negative opinions for, does seem to lead to very different set-ups as we go. Playing one scenario often depends on how you did in the last one, and less on whether a specific thing happened. I think it helps that the narrative often has the scenarios spaced out with days or weeks between them, but here it felt so much more like a choose your own adventure, rather than being guided through a pre-set game as was the case to some degree with Dunwich.

I’ve talked about this before, but throughout the campaign, I was really not sure about any of the choices I was making, from the start I felt really torn over whether there was a “right” or “wrong” choice to make. It was difficult at times, and I had that sense of paranoia, maybe I’m doing things wrong, you know? I think it was during or after the third scenario where I decided to just go for it, and see how things went. I think I tried to play it in character, and go with that feel of believing the events around me, with the sense of trying to investigate the mythos, as opposed to trying to stay cynical and doubtful of things.

It’s a mark of the design of this campaign, though, that these choices are taking me down such divergent paths that I know I could play this again and have a really different experience. That said, I feel so exhausted by the whole experience that I’m not sure I’ll be playing it again anytime soon…!

Searching for Carcosa… in Paris

Hey everybody,
I’m trying to find the Path to Carcosa with furious abandon, and my search has now crossed the Atlantic and taken me to Paris! Following on from a pair of scenarios that explore classic locations from the Arkham Horror board game, we’re in uncharted territory next, as we move closer to the theme of The King in Yellow for the next scenario, A Phantom of Truth!

I said last time that Echoes of the Past was possibly my favourite scenario to date, but we have a strong contender here for that title, because of the sheer theme that comes through from chasing the Organist across Paris. Very strongly linked to In the Court of the Dragon from RW Chambers’ stories, it also has the interesting theme whereby doom in play subtracts from doom on the agenda. I haven’t come across that before, but of course I’m getting to see hundreds of different ways in which the designers have been playing with the now-traditional make-up of the game.

We also see the doubt and conviction theme come strongly to the fore, with game choices hinging on how much of each we have logged. However, I have to commend the designers again for the introductory blurb in the rules insert, which follows a dream sequence that determines our setup. It’s quite fun, in its way, and somehow fits perfectly with the source material. The amount of work that goes into these sorts of games must be phenomenal, though, when you think that each and every choice needs to have a logical path and conclusion!

Campaign Log
Not a lot to say about this one, really! I found Nigel’s home, and managed to chase down The Stranger once again. With 5 experience points in the bank, though, I’m plunging straight into the next scenario…

Up next is The Pallid Mask, where we find ourselves in the Catacombs of Paris. This one had a lot of hype from players on the Facebook group, but when it came down to it, I don’t think I was as impressed as perhaps I could have been! The game again plays slightly differently, as we start our search for The Man in the Pallid Mask but we aren’t sure where he’s going to end up. Locations here are linked orthogonally, and when you reveal a location from a specially-constructed deck, it tells you where to place the next location(s) in the sequence. So what starts with a fairly basic setup (above) will end up with a much more developed Catacomb!

I said that it wasn’t as good as I’d been led to believe, but I still enjoyed it, of course! There is a definite sense of stumbling around in the dark here, and I thought it was very well-done in how everything links together. I had a similar feeling to The Unspeakable Oath, where we need to explore specific locations to advance the story along, and I ended up needing to retrace my steps or, in this case, I had already fortuitously explored certain areas that allowed me to continue on quickly!

The feeling of whether this is all in your head definitely comes out in the middle two scenarios from the cycle, almost as if we’ve been imagining the malevolent Organist causing problems for us (as in the story), or maybe the Man in the Pallid Mask is just a figment of our imagination. Doubt and conviction are almost key here, and it seems interesting to me where my earlier choices were giving me doubt, I now find myself with more conviction than ever – almost like I’ve convinced myself that this is all real. Is this just a fever dream? I hope I don’t get to the final pack in the cycle, only for it to have all been a dream…

Campaign Log
So, this one was interesting. I opened a secret passageway, but more importantly, I know the site of the gate! Two more notches against chasing The Stranger, so I’ve got five points there now. What’s this for? No idea. I suppose there’s going to be some final showdown coming… Daisy managed to translate the glyphs that she picked up a while ago, so that’s handy, and we have 5 more experience points.

It’s time to upgrade those decks once again!

Daisy has now gained a Permanent card in the shape of Studious, which increases her opening hand size by 1. She’s also got her own Grisly Totem, as I think it was quite useful for Pete earlier. Speaking of everybody’s favourite drifter, he’s upgraded his Rabbit’s Foot (a sentence I never thought I’d see myself typing), and has switched out a couple of cards that had previously been a bit dead for two copies of Moonstone, an attribute buff card that can only be played by discarding it – you could say it’s a card that was made for Pete’s deck, as he needs to discard to ready Duke.

Okay, let’s not beat about the proverbial bush any more – come back tomorrow for game day, where the campaign draws to a close, and I’ll share some of my thoughts on the overall experience!

Searching for Carcosa… in Arkham

Hey everybody,
Hot on the heels of starting the Path to Carcosa campaign, I’m already on to the next scenarios, starting with what is now quite possibly my favourite that I’ve played so far! I know I enjoyed Undimensioned and Unseen, but I think for the flavour and the feel, Echoes of the Past has really got me…

See, we’re exploring the Historical Society, a classic location from the Arkham Horror board game, and we’re going up against regular, humanoid cultists – what could be more Lovecraftian than that?!

Please be aware, I’m going to be talking about some spoilers here for the story…

Following that really weird cast party, we’re trying to find clues as to what is going on with The Kjng in Yellow. Sebastian’s information has taken us to the Historical Society, as there should be some clues to glean. Set up is therefore of a three-floor building, with each floor having two rooms opening off a central hallway.

A really interesting idea, I thought, was having the Agenda not gain doom tokens each round, but rather in-game effects that can move doom from the Cultist enemies in play. Cultists can steal clues from locations, and certain effects will turn the clues into doom – representing the fact that we’re not the only ones hunting the archives!

The main objective is to find the Hidden Library location, where we will learn that only the stage hand survives from the production of the play during its last tour in Arkham, and he is now in the asylum. Guess where we’re going in the next scenario, then!

It’s really well-done, and I particularly liked the fact that the encounter deck uses cards from The Midnight Masks, from the original core set campaign! For some reason, it made me very nostalgic for those first plays with the game, and I sensed a dual meaning to the scenario’s title. Very nicely done, that!

All in all, I think Echoes of the Past is one of those modest and understated scenarios that won’t be finding its way into top ten lists for many players, but I just thought the execution was so graceful and nicely done that it really is up there for me! The fact it takes place in a location from the board game is just perfect, really!

Campaign Log
The investigators have discovered that a stage hand from the original Arkham production of The King in Yellow, Daniel Chesterfield, was committed to Arkham Asylum shortly after the run. Daisy has also taken the onyx clasp, which has given us one point of conviction to help out balance out the doubt from the first scenario of the campaign.

At this point, I’ve also got 7 experience points to spend, so it’s time to upgrade some cards! Pete has upgraded some cards, and has added the Five of Pentacles and Brute Force to his deck. I do like those tarot cards! Likewise for Daisy, I’ve got the Death XIII tarot card in her deck, and a copy of Encyclopaedia, as well as upgrading a few of her cards, as well.

Onwards!

Scenario four in the campaign, The Unspeakable Oath, takes us to another classic location from the Arkham Horror board game: Arkham asylum! As before, please note that I’m gonna be discussing story spoilers here…

This one was absolutely gruelling. We start off going to the asylum, but we’re kinda locked in, and need to try to find the stage hand from the last time The King in Yellow was produced in Arkham, ten years ago. For the first few rounds, this is managed as per the standard method, investigate, gather clues, and advance the Act deck. However, once we find Daniel, things go a bit weird, and we need to do some crazy stuff in an attempt to escape!

We are required to fulfil four actions to advance the Act deck, while the Agenda is ticking away and we’re adding potentially murderous monsters into the encounter deck. The way the scenario ramps up is quite masterful, and added to this, the actions required to advance the Act deck need specific locations to be explored – all of which are far-flung from each other – it’s really quite phenomenal.

Something for which this scenario has been praised for, and rightly so, is the dual nature of the proceedings. Are we really here to interview a patient? If so, why are we having to make our escape? It really feels like we’ve actually been committed here, and the scenarios up to this point have caused a mania that has required treatment. As this scenario progresses, we’re told that the doctors and staff are almost like gaolers – but is that just all in our mind?

I was really impressed with the way the scenario almost induces panic in this way, too. There’s something a bit disturbing about being in the asylum, of course, and the scenario definitely plays on that with having us investigate ‘prisoner confinement’ cells accessed from the basement, for example. We don’t need the formless monsters of the deep hunting us in order to get across that kind of revulsion and fear!

It’s a very difficult scenario, for sure, and I’m not entirely sure that I played it 100% correctly. There is just so much going on! I might actually come back to it soon as a stand-alone thing, just in case, but as has been a theme for the campaign so far, I’m not sure I’ve got the right investigators for this job! I’m still not completely convinced that I’m playing the Survivor class effectively, but even so, I suppose they’ve made it this far!

Campaign Log
The investigators have escaped the asylum – what a sigh of relief! I think it was quite thematic that Daisy made it out of the asylum while in a straightjacket, a treachery card that forces the discard of any body assets and hand assets. The resolution text tells how the investigators used a straightjacket to soften the barbed wire that tops the wall around the building. It was a fun thematic point, anyway!

There is another Interlude that follows this scenario, which deals with the aftermath of escaping the asylum with Daniel in tow. We find ourselves in Ma’s Boarding House – another classic location! – and in his more lucid moments, Daniel tells us more about Hastur and the King in Yellow. He warns us to prevent those who wish to awaken Hastur and open the path to Carcosa. We heed Daniel’s warning, which gives us +2 conviction and a grand total of 7 experience points in total.

Time to upgrade the decks again!

Daisy has upgraded both her Scroll of Secrets and Old Book of Lore, and has swapped in some Archaic Glyphs. Now, I hadn’t realised that Duke is not an ally in Ashcan Pete’s deck, so I have now gotten myself a copy of Jessica Hyde to aid with the combat attribute, and has gained the Scrapper permanent card. As permanents don’t take up a deck slot, I’ve also used some experience to buy a Grisly Totem, which might be of some use!

So I’ve got a few more toys to try out – as we head off to Paris next!