Irregular Evils #37: Scenario rankings 2022, part I

In early 2021, about a year ago, i did a three part post where i ranked all scenarios against each other in one big list. To get there, i used a certain methodology where i first put everything into tiers, then rank everything within their tier. I think that was a fun thought experiment, so i am making it a recurring thing. When i did that last list, Innsmouth was only released partially. Edge of the Earth didn’t exist yet and neither did the Return to Circle Undone. So there’s easily enough new content to put into context here.

If you missed the 2021 rankings or want to reread them, here’s the links:
Part I – ranking NotZ, Dunwich and Carcosa
Part II – ranking TFA, TCU and TDE
Part III – full ranking

So let’s get right into it. The first step is going over each campaign, ordering their scenarios by preference and then assigning one of five tiers to each scenario:

When doing this, i didn’t look at my old rankings, i tried to go at it with a fresh mind. Obviously that is not entirely possible, but i tried to.
As you can see, this already contains some spoilers for what’s coming up. In total, 60 scenarios are being ranked. About a third make up the middle tier. Another third makes up tier 2. Half of the final third is tier 1. The rest sits at the bottom. I only put 3 scenarios into the tier 5, to get there i would need to actively dread having to play it. Luckily, that happens very rarely.
So this is clearly weighed heavily towards the positive side, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, i really like this game and enjoy it immensely. Of course more scenarios would end up in the green than in the red.

One final important thing before i start: Whenever possible, i am talking about the Return to a campaign here, because that’s what i actually play. So for anything up to Circle Undone, i am looking at the Return scenarios, for everything from Dream-Eaters on it’s the base campaign.

Let’s kick things off with Night of the Zealot. This one is rather easy, as there are only three scenarios here. The Gathering and Midnight Masks are much beloved scenarios that immediately did a lot of things right. With the Return To, The Gathering became a fully grown scenario that doesn’t have to hide from what we get in current expansions. They have both been iterated on in later campaigns, especially Masks has been effectively made obsolete by Threads of Fate. This is why they don’t go into Tier 1, but they are both super solid still and i occasionally put Return To The Gathering into other campaigns as a standalone side scenario.
Devourer Below though… is one of the worst scenarios in the game. It’s utterly frustrating and the Return To actually puts more rage inducing nonsense on top of what’s already there. This scenario would maybe make sense as the finale of a full 8 part campaign where investigators enter with 40+XP and prepared to the max… but in the Core Set this is just irredeemable.

Moving on to the first expansion for the game, we have The Dunwich Legacy. Dunwich has some early game kinks that still needed to be ironed out, but the Return To actually did some heavy lifting here. What is left is a campaign that has something on every part of the spectrum. Lost in Time and Space is in my opinion still the best campaign finale. It’s ridiculously alien with the locations coming from the encounter deck and the board just being in constant flux. It’s also tough as nails, as a finale should be. On the other end there’s Undimensioned and Unseen, a scenario that is as tedious as it is random. Hope you brought a high willpower investigator or you might as well resign turn 1. And if you did, prepare to wait for randomly moving enemies making it finally into the right positions. Ugh. Making up for this misstep there’s Blood on the Altar, an excellent version of the classic “investigate these locations while enemies are about” Arkham gameplay that also has two brilliant twists in store. There’s Essex Express, which might just be the most memorable scenario in the game. As i like to say, everyone has an Essex story. Usually a gruesome one. Essex is also the blueprint for a couple other newer scenarios, none of which quite reached the original. Again, the Return improves it a lot. Extracurricular Activity is in my opinion an even better introduction into the game than Gathering, as it not only features a big map with lots of Arham-y stuff to do, but also a choice in how you want to end and repercussions from that choice. Choosing your destiny is an integral Arkham campaign feature in my opinion and never as well implemented again as it is here. Gathering is for teaching yourself how to play, but Extracurricular Activity is for teaching others and showcase what this game has in store. I always had a soft spot for Miskatonic Museum and its “One Enemy” gimmick. Sadly the base version is a bit broken and can fall flat, but the Return fixes it into something i quite enjoy. House Always Wins is very cool when you play it the first few times, but falls off massively on replays. Where Doom Awaits has some good beats in it, but i don’t find it very enjoyable. It’s a bit too boring and linear for my tastes, i expect more from the scenario that leads into the finale.

The Path to Carcosa is when the game hit its full potential for the first time and is still considered the favorite campaign of many players. While i don’t quite share that exact sentiment(Carcosa is only #3 for me), there is no denying that Carcosa has a lot of really good scenarios in it. One third of the scenarios i assigned to Tier 1 come from this campaign. The Pallid Mask was even my favorite scenario in ’21. Is it still? We’ll see. But that combination of a wide map, randomized locations to explore and a diverse encounter deck that challenges you in lots of ways is really Arkham at it’s best for me. Unspeakable Oath is one of the most thematically dense scenarios and an absolute nail biter. I like the setting a lot and playing this scenario is just exciting again and again. The Last King takes the crown when it comes to being flavorful and eccentric. This scenario is so wildly different from everything else, it has no right to work as well as it does. Also you can approach it in different ways, from sweet-talking the guests to just carving everyone up with a chainsaw. Mmmmh. Greatness.
Curtain Call is close behind and probably the best opener for a campaign. A lot is happening here and the players are dragged into the craziness that is Carcosa from the start. It’s also quite difficult, which i like. Phantom of Truth barely makes the Tier 2, but i think it still belongs there. Chasing the Organist around is a lot more fun than being chased by him, though. Basically, one version of the scenario belongs in the green, the other in the yellows. Black Stars Rise and Dim Carcosa, the two final scenarios of the campaign are … okay. I am not really all that impressed by Dim Carcosa, especially on replays i think it’s a bit too gimmicky. Black Stars gimmick does work very well, though. I just find it a bit too easy. Speaking of easy, Echoes of the Past is just boring. A long drawn out affair where you play whack-a-mole with cultists that are popping up around the building. The lack of a hard doom clock encourages players to play ultra safe and commit no risks, and as a result it draaaaags on foooooreeeeever.

<End of part I, to be continued soon>

Agents of the Unknown

Set Size4
Number of unique Cards2
RoleWillpower, Tekeli-li
Threat LevelHigh
# of scenarios2
Appears in: Fatal Mirage, Heart of Madness #2

My take on this set: This campaign’s “Agents” set follows the same structure as the ones in the core set. 2 enemies, 2 treacheries. And pretty high impact. However, Agents of the Unknown isn’t really used all that much throughout the campaign, it certainly lacks the same sort of “signature” effect that Agents of Hastur has on Carcosa or Agents of Azathoth on Circle Undone. If you decide not to engage with Fatal Mirage, you’ll actually only shuffle these cards into the encounter deck once, during the finale. On the other hand of the spectrum, if you enter Fatal Mirage at every opportunity, this set can be responsible for the lion’s share of Tekeli cards in your deck.
What we have here are two cards that you are usually not going to be happy about when you draw them. Primordial Evil is a dangerous enemy that hits hard, is difficult to defeat and follows you around. The Madness Within is a treachery that dumps up to four Tekeli-li cards in your deck, for you to draw at the most annoying time later. I think these are both great cards, threatening and hard to deal with.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: As a rather large Hunter enemy that hits for two damage, the Primordial Evil is a significant threat. Attacking it is discouraged by the Retaliate keyword, but also by its unique Forced effect that will shuffle the top Tekeli-li card into your deck whenever the monster gets damaged. Evading it is rather easy as the Primordial Evil only has a single point of evasion.

My take: I usually lean very hard in the direction of defeating enemies over evading them, as taking care of them permanently will often be preferable in the long run. That being said, this one is a rare example where the stats and abilities push really hard towards letting this thing live. And i think in Heart of Madness that is certainly the more attractive option. Fatal Mirage however has a lot of backtracking in it, so a heavy hitting Hunter like this is a huge liability. Except for the quest enemies, there’s also not a whole lot of other monsters around in Mirage, so these can provide an outlet for your fighting abilities there.

Threat level: High. It’s not quite on the level of Elite enemies, but it’s still a big threat that can dictate your lines of play.

Dealing with it: This is obviously a rather dangerous enemy and even if you are able to take it out in two hits that will still leave you with two Tekeli cards to shuffle into your deck. The only way to avoid that is defeating it without dealing damage, for example through Waylay. Waylay is really the perfect answer here, but of course not every group will have that card available.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: After failing a Willpower test, the investigator has to shuffle the top Tekeli-li card into their deck for each point they failed by. Should the Tekeli-li deck run empty, they take a horror instead for each card they can’t shuffle in.

My take: The variance on how bad The Madness Within hurts you is huge. For one, there’s the scaling by how much you failed by, with a wide range from zero to four cards added. Also, the exact effect of the Tekeli cards themselves can of course be unpredictable. Both Fatal Mirage and Heart of Madness II do also have the Nameless Horrors set in them and Madness Within stacks up remarkably well with the cards from that set.

Threat level: Medium to High. The scaling test keeps the effect in check. Unless you completely botch your test, this should usually be fine. This can cost you a lot of draws down the line, though.

Dealing with it: The silver lining here is the delayed nature of how this card affects you. Even if you fail the willpower test, you still don’t have any immediate consequences from it right then. In case of Heart of Madness, you might just finish the scenario (and the campaign) before drawing all of these weaknesses, effectively making it a freebie. You are less lucky with Fatal Mirage, though. Even if you do not draw any of the weaknesses during Mirage, you will carry them into the next scenario without a chance to have William Dyer remove them… that always happens before Fatal Mirage, not after.

To the Forbidden Peaks

Encounter sets in this scenario: To the Forbidden Peaks, Deadly Weather, Elder Things, Hazards of Antarctica, Nameless Horrors
Available experience: 6 (locations) + 1 (Terror of the Stars) + 7 (Supplies)= 14XP

Size of the Encounter Deck23
# Enemies7
# Willpower7
# Agility8
# Doom
# Damage7
# Horror5
# Tekeli-li6

Synopsis: Following the eidolon attack from Ice and Death III, the investigators and the rest of the expedition team abandon their camp site and pack up their supplies. Their goal is the City of the Elder Things and to reach it they will have to pass the Forbidden Peaks, lugging all of their supplies with them.
Starting at the bottom of the mountain, they need to work their way to the top. The supply items they gathered during Ice and Death are now represented by asset cards that can be used, but that also need to be carried to the top (or left behind). The path up the mountain is a linear arrangement of 6 different locations, each triggering something nasty whenever someone enters them.
On their way to the summit, the group is confronted by Elder Things and of course the antarctic weather is still making things difficult. Around the midpoint of the scenario, the Terror of the Stars makes another appearance too and tries to shoo the group back down, away from their goal.

My take on this scenario: To the Forbidden Peaks follows in the footsteps of the Essex County Express, Heart of the Elders #2 and Horror in High Gear, asking the players to get through a set of locations in time. Moving on from one location to the following one requires the lower location to be cleared of clues first, so efficient clue gathering is absolutely vital here.
The doom clock is rather tight with not a whole lot of room for error and action taxes are everywhere in this scenario. Not only is there a treachery that adds more clues to the locations, but Nightmarish Vapors from the Nameless Horrors set also wants to just straight up remove actions.
Evading enemies is unlikely to work out in this scenario as the linear setup doesn’t allow much room to stay ahead of the Hunter enemies. The big boss enemy that appears mid-scenario likewise needs to be killed, at least if you plan on getting any of the supply items to the summit. Speaking of supply items, managing those is another angle where you can lose a lot of actions. Picking up any of them costs an action and there are events and treacheries that can make you lose control of them, meaning you have to waste precious time to pick them up yet again.
While this scenario is one of the few in Edge of the Earth that do not use the Ancient Evils set, it is nonetheless the one with the most pressuring doom clock. It’s a bit unfortunate then that not making it to the peak in time has very dire consequences. Not only will you lose a lot of XP that way, but you will also lose all the supply items you fought for so hard in Ice and Death. This scenario is very All Or Nothing in that way, which is actually one of my biggest gripes with the whole campaign. Do not fail Forbidden Peaks, it will leave you at a severe disadvantage that can not be made up for.

Scenario specific encounter sets: To the Forbidden Peaks uses a solid number of scenario specific cards, four treacheries and an enemy. Avalanche, Hanging on the Edge and Snowfall both try to slow down the group by wasting their actions. The Constricting Elder Thing grows more resilient the closer the group comes to the peak. Hypothermia picks up where Apeirophobia from Ice and Death left off, and threatens to add more Frost tokens to the bag.

Act/Agenda: Once more, the act only consists of one card, stating the goal of the scenario (reach the peak) and giving an ability to pick up the expedition assets. The agenda deck has two cards, with a total of 14 doom between them. Their front side has no further complications, only some rule text that makes sure that clues are removed from the game and don’t stack up forever. After the first agenda advances, the Terror of the Stars makes another appearance, forcing players to drop their expedition assets and fight it. A random crew members also dies at this point. Once the second agenda runs out, the scenario ends in defeat and any assets that have not been salvaged yet are lost forever.

Terror of the Stars: Once again, this massive monster is put into the way of the team. And while evading it and running away is a real possibility in Ice and Death, this is much less feasible here. You will very likely have to punch your way through it now. Making matters more complicated is the fact that when it appears, every investigator at its location has to drop their expedition assets. That means lost actions for picking them up again, but it also means that any of them that might have been useful in the fight (like the Dynamite or the Soapstone) are guarded by this thing now. Being aware that this happens means that you can prepare for it, at least if you aren’t playing solo. Fighting this thing is no small task, as it can dish out a lot of damage and horror and isn’t likely to go down in a turn. Evading it is possible, but that will still leave it with its other ability which pushes down anyone at its location. Which again translates to lost actions and having to go through the location triggers again. Since its fight and evade are tied to the current location level, you can lure it down to be better able to fight it. If you consider running from it instead of defeating it, you better be sure that you can manage to do so without having it catch up. Because if it does, that ability to push you down will put it right between you and your goal again. The rather limited amount of turns you have for this scenario probably doesn’t allow for such shenanigans, it’s going to be best to shoot your way past it.

Elder Things: The other enemies in this scenario besides the big one. They are all Hunters, which is a real pain considering the linear map. They also all have a rather high amount of health, which means taking them down takes multiple actions in most cases… again, sort of a pain in the context of what you are trying to do here. As with the Terror, you could evade them and try to run but i would only consider doing that if the peak is already in sight and you can be sure to make it in time. If they catch up and engage you again that’ll just mean you have to evade again and then you didn’t really gain anything over just killing them.

Tekeli-li: Unless you played Fatal Mirage already this is the first appearance of the Nameless Horrors set, which can be a huge deal if you go into this scenario with a couple Tekeli-li weaknesses already in your deck. The Elder Thing Scavenger and Guardian also play into this with their abilities trying to fast track your deck towards drawing the weaknesses. Consider bringing Danforth along to help with the impact of these cards.

Deadly Weather: Like in Ice and Death there are a lot of location based treacheries around here. However, there is a lot less room here to navigate around them, so you will be much more likely to just have to take the brunt of an Arctic Wind or Polar Vortex here. Roald Ellsworth shines in this scenario for that reason.

Locations: Except for the Summit itself, the locations all have some sort of triggered effect whenever that location is entered from below. Of course that means that being pushed down by anything (Avalanche, Terror of the Stars…) will have you go through those effects yet again. Running away from Hunter enemies is also complicated by these. All of this sort of teams up with the Tekeli-li weaknesses in this scenario to make players die a death by a thousand little cuts, by lots of small effects that are individually weak but stack up to something quite dangerous. To reveal a location, the one below has to be free from clues, making the way to progress somewhat similar to Essex Express or Heart of the Elders #2.

The Summit: The final location does actually not have to cleared from clues in order to be able to resign. Those final 3i clues only need to be discovered if you want to go for that last victory point. Also of note: On reveal, a Frost token is added to the bag. Luckily, this doesn’t repeat if you have to enter the location again, that one is truly just a one-of.

Suggested partner assets: Roald Ellsworth is an absolute all star here for his ability to ignore the Deadly Weather treacheries for a turn. While you don’t also have to handle Polar Mirage like in Ice and Death, the remaining treacheries are all so much more potent here due to the map not allowing you to dodge them.
With all of the little effects from locations and Tekeli-li weaknesses stacking up, this is another scenario where vulnerable investigators like Daisy or Roland could fall to damage or horror. If you are unsure about your survivability, consider Mala Sinha for the stamina heal or Amy/Danforth for sanity soak. Don’t bring William Dyer, he is too much of a liability here with his 1 hit point and Polar Vortex in the encounter deck.
It is possible you already did Fatal Mirage at this point. If you did, you might have someone who can use their ability as a free action. Free actions are huge in this scenario and are definitely worth taking along. This is especially true for Eliyah, who can take the pressure off of the enemies.
Danforth is a good pick if you are concerned about Tekeli-li, which feature prominently in this scenario. Claypool would only be a consideration if you already have a lot of Frost in your bag.

Reward and Failure: As mentioned before, there is a lot on the line here. 7XP from locations and the Terror, plus 1 each for the supplies. Those 7XP from the supplies have to be distributed among the team, but you’ll still make it out with 9-12XP in the end. Pretty nice haul. On top of that, you get the actual assets as well and they are all quite powerful.
However… you only get those if you reach the summit. Otherwise you will only get the XP for the locations you uncovered to that point, so around 3 to 5. Not great. Winning this scenario is absolutely crucial. Treat it like Unspeakable Oath in Path to Carcosa.

Nameless Horrors

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleTekeli-li, Willpower
Threat LevelMedium to High
# of scenarios5
Appears in: Fatal Mirage, Forbidden Peak, City of Elder Things (v1, v2), Heart of Madness #1 and #2

My take on this set: This set is nasty. The Tekeli-li weaknesses have a wide range of detrimental effects and Nameless Horrors is one of the sets that is best at making those weaknesses really hurt. This leads to basically losing draws and getting bombarded with these effects that range from a point of damage to discarding assets or losing actions. Two of the three cards in Nameless Horrors make Tekeli cards double up on their effects, turning even the weaker Tekeli-li into respectable weaknesses.
Due to impact and how often it is used, Nameless Horrors is one of the signature sets of Edge of the Earth to me.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The investigator shuffles the top Tekeli-li card into their deck, then puts Blasphemous Visions into their threat area. While affected by the treachery, the player has to resolve all Tekeli-li card they draw twice.
To discard Blasphemous Visions, any investigator at its location can spend and action and pass a willpower test.

My take: Since it does come with a complimentary Tekeli weakness itself, drawing it will never be a full freebie. Going from that floor, the impact of this card is going to vary wildly depending on how many Tekeli-li cards you already picked up. Doubling the effect of those weaknesses can be really nasty and you generally will want to spend the action to clear Blasphemous Visions from the board if you can reliably pass the Willpower test.

Threat level: Medium. There’s a good deal of variance with this one, not only depending on how many Tekeli weaknesses you have, but also which ones.

Dealing with it: So what Tekeli weaknesses do you already have in your deck? If Visions just ends up dealing an extra damage/horror or two then it wasn’t a huge deal. If it makes you discard extra assets from play or eats up additional actions, you will wish you got rid of the card beforehand. This is an impactful card and deciding on a best course of action isn’t always easy especially since there’s going to be at least one unknown Tekeli card in your deck after drawing Visions. Glimpse the Unthinkable can also be fairly awful. So can the Shoggoths in City of Elder Things, for that matter.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The player draws the top Tekeli-li card and resolves it immediately. Then, that weakness is shuffled into a player’s deck instead of moving it back to the Tekeli-li deck. That can be any player’s deck, not necessarily the one of the player that drew the treachery.
If no weakness is drawn by this treachery, it gains surge.

My take: Double dipping on a Tekeli weakness can be rather impactful and cause you to lose actions, assets or cards in hand. And even the testless horror and damage will absolutely add up over time. Since it adds a weakness to your deck it will also cost you a draw down the line. Add in the interaction with Blasphemous Visions and you end up with a card that will usually cause an above average amount of disruption to the player who drew it. There’s a little silver lining here as it allows pushing the Tekeli into any player’s deck. This is one of the rare occurrences where you gain such a weakness while knowing which one it is exactly, so you can give it to the player who is best able to handle it.

Threat level: Medium to High. This card does a lot at the same time. While it’s not all immediately pressing right when you draw it, the effects add up to something that is way above what you’d usually expect from your typical treachery.

Dealing with it: There’s not a whole lot to do about this card. There aren’t any tests on it and Peril even makes it difficult to cancel. I’d say the best way to prepare for this card is by not letting Blasphemous Visions linger in your threat area for longer than necessary. Aside from that, you’ll just have to roll with the punches here. Danforth can help with that.
The most important decision to make here is who gets to add the card to their deck. Due to Peril, the player has to make that decision on their own and they will have to gauge who suffers from it the least.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The player has to choose between either losing 2 actions immediately or shuffling the two top Tekeli-li cards into their deck. Nightmarish Vapors has Peril, so they have to make this decision on their own.

My take: Two actions is enough of a penalty that you’ll often end up seeing no other way than taking the second option. That being said, you should take the first one whenever you reasonably can do so. Drawing Tekeli-li later on will make you virtually skip your draw for that turn (~ roughly equal to an action, a bit less) and also do whatever that Tekeli-li does on top. Which might just be losing more actions or even assets.

Threat level: Mid to High. Again, losing two actions is above average for treacheries and Vapors will often end up doing more than just that.

Dealing with it: The card says “choose one” but often there’s not much of an actual choice here depending on your circumstances. Except for Fatal Mirage, the scenarios this set is used in do feature a notable amount of Hunter enemies and skipping two thirds of your turn might just not be feasible. Forbidden Peaks doesn’t look too kindly on anyone wasting their actions this way either. Especially during Peaks i would be leaning hard towards just shuffling in the weaknesses, pushing on and hopefully deal with the weaknesses in a later scenario. That being said, if you find yourself in a situation where losing two actions wouldn’t put you in immediate danger, you should probably go for the first option.

Elder Things

Set Size6
Number of unique Cards3
RoleEnemy, Deck Discard
Threat LevelLow to Mid
# of scenarios2
Appears in: Forbidden Peaks, City of Elder Things (v1, v2)

My take on this set: After Elder Things have been a mainstay in the chaos bag since the inception of the game, finally the Arkham LCG gets some of them on actual enemy cards. The two in this encounter set do somewhat mirror the enemies in Creatures in the Ice, with Scavenger being close to Manifestation and Guardian being close to the Phantasm. The main difference is that the Eidolons would put Tekeli-li cards into your deck with their abilities while the Elder Things search them up. They do so by discarding cards off the player deck and drawing all weaknesses among those cards.
To be perfectly honest with you, these enemies don’t seem particularly noteworthy to me, especially since they seem to be quite a bit weaker than the Eidolons we already handled at this point of the campaign. These aren’t bad or irrelevant at all, of course. But from such a noteworthy creature from the Mythos i expected a bit more than a pair of Hunters, one of which is just … bland?

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The Elder Thing Scavenger has a 3 in all of its stats and is also a Hunter. The 1 damage and horror on attack rounds out the somewhat generic look of this creature. What sets it apart is its ability which will discard 3 cards from the top of the player’s deck on attack. Any weakness discarded this way has to be drawn immediately.

My take: Ultimately this isn’t a terribly exciting card. Difficulty 3 for fighting or evading it puts it at the base line spot of “Not too difficult, but also not trivial” and the 3 life mean that it doesn’t go down just from any single attack. The ability is of course meant to dig through the player deck for Tekeli-li cards, but to be honest i think this ability is actually in the players favor. Discarding cards off the top of the deck doesn’t really do much on its own (or can even be beneficial) and when this finds a weakness it means that this weakness doesn’t get to replace a draw later. Similar to Mr. Rook’s “drawback”, this is just additional card draw in disguise. Unless you are packing Doomed, i guess…

Threat level: Low to Mid. The player’s will need to put a little effort towards dispatching this creature, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Dealing with it: When you first meet these, you already had to deal with the Manifestation of Madness from the Creatures in the Ice set, another enemy with exactly the same stats but with a more potent Forced ability on attack. So however you dealt with that, you can just do the same with this.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The Guardian Elder Thing works similar to the Scavenger, but trading 2 points of evasion for an extra point of stamina. This encourages evading it over attacking. The Forced ability further works towards that same line of play, making the player discard a card from their deck for each point of damage dealt to the Guardian. Any weaknesses discarded this way have to be drawn.

My take: The same thing i said about the Scavenger’s deck decay ability goes for the Guardian as well. I don’t think this ability has any teeth at all, for the most part it’s beneficial to the players.
The stats of this enemy point heavily towards evading it over defeating it and in the City of the Elder Things this would be preferred for sure. However, in Forbidden Peaks this is going to be difficult because there’s nowhere to run in that scenario. Evading the Guardian will just set you up for being attacked later on when the Elder Thing hunts into your location again. This means having to defeat it which is at least a bit of a nuisance as well – at 4 health this will usually require two or more actions, which is relevant in Peaks for sure.

Threat level: Low to Medium. Medium in Peaks. Fine if you can evade it and forget about it, but if defeating becomes a necessity, it at least puts up some resistance.

Dealing with it: This is a non-Elite with low evasion and high health, so Waylay is a card that comes to mind immediately. Such silver bullets aside, the decision on how to deal with this enemy should usually be a fairly obvious one depending on how much room you have to move around.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Rise of the Elder Things spawns the topmost Elder Thing enemy from the discard pile engaged with the player. This enemy (and all other Elder Things already engaged) gain +1 fight and evade until the end of the round. If there was no Elder Thing in the discard or spawning an enemy fails for some other reason, the card surges instead.

My take: There’s a total of five different Elder Things that can be returned by this card. Two of them, the Guardian and the Reawakened Elder Thing have only 2 evasion even when boosted by this card. The third one, Benign Elder Thing, should be handled with a willpower parley test which is not increased in difficulty by Rise of the Elder Things. That leaves the last two as potentially more dangerous than if you had drawn them from the deck naturally. Increasing fight and evasion on the Scavenger from 3 to 4 is fairly noticable and can give that enemy some extra staying power for the turn. On Constricting Elder Thing from Forbidden Peaks, the evasion goes from 2 to 3. This can also be relevant.

Threat level: Medium. Mostly acts as yet another copy of an Elder Thing enemy, contributing to how much fighting players need to do in Peaks and City.

Dealing with it: Since there are only two of these in the deck, i don’t think it’s really worth playing around by keeping enemies on the board instead of defeating them or something. Elder Things also don’t have an ability that triggers on coming into play, so for the most part, this can just be treated as an additional enemy card. The one notable exception is Benign Elder Thing, if it ended up in the discard somehow.

Irregular Evils – #36: My thoughts on Edge of the Earth

Hey everyone. We had some time now to spend with the latest campaign release for Arkham and opinions have actually been a bit divisive. From what i gathered the community response is a lot more muted than for Innsmouth. It’s still mostly positive, mind you.
In any case, i figured i’d write down my own thoughts on the expansion. Some things that i liked, others that i liked less. Note that this largely leaves aside the story telling bit. That’s just something i don’t care too much about in the long run. It’s great for the first two plays, but i am someone that replays campaigns over and over and no story will be able to withstand that. Fwiw, i liked Edge well enough in that regard. But when i play now, i basically skip most of the pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages of story text. It is what it is.

Good: Persistance

The Edge campaign has a variety of effects that follow the player from one scenario to the next. You pick up Tekeli-li weaknesses that are added to your deck, leading to a delayed effect that might not come into play until a scenario or two later. The chaos bag fills up with Frost tokens over time and in reaction to certain events, haunting players for the rest of the campaign. Both Tekeli-li and Frost also offer ways to players to counteract them, with effects on locations and offered by partners to mitigate the consequences or straight up remove the offending cards and tokens. Both Ice and Death and Fatal Mirage have sprawling maps that are not meant to be explored fully in just one scenario, but over the course of multiple plays. As a result of all these things the scenarios feel tightly connected throughout the campaign and the challenge presented to the players posed by them is an interesting one.

Bad: Punishing loss

Something that i always liked in Arkham is that it allows players to fail forward. If i fail a scenario in Gloomhaven, i have to repeat it until i win to move on. In Arkham i take the loss, some consequence and move on. This leads to great stories along the way. However, this is a bit of an issue in the first half of Edge of the Earth, as failing scenarios in Ice and Death or Forbidden Peaks can leave you way too battered and broken afterwards. Winning Forbidden Peaks will give you around 12XP and up to 5 very powerful story assets. Losing it will lose you all of those and whatever partner assets you had with you. The swing is just too much, undoing what you achieved in Ice and Death (by trashing the assets you dug out) and sending you to the City of the Elder things with little more than 10XP in total. Unspeakable Oath at least had the decency of killing you off, Peaks will ask you to still drag yourself through the rest of the campaign without much of a chance to get anywhere.

Good: Partner assets

There’s a wide variety of partners in the expedition team, all with their own abilities and story bits. Replays vary quite a bit by who was killed randomly and who is still available. This means that one playthrough you might have to live without Claypool and really need to work on keeping those Frost tokens away while in another those might be less of an issue but you find physical trauma stacking up over time from story effects after losing Mala. This gives replayability and adds some extra teeth to the campaign because it will ask players to react to what happens instead of being able to just do their thing unimpeded. Fatal Mirage allows players some limited amount of protecting their favorite team mates by turning them resolute, which is at least something. The memorial cards you can get when a partner dies add yet another facet to this. I find all of these multiple layers around the partners very interesting to think about while playing.

Bad: Uninteresting enemies

Innsmouth had some of my favorite enemy designs with the Deep Ones being a standout. Their engagement effects coupled with their stats made it often non-obvious how to deal with them. There were also plenty of interesting story enemies with wild effects around. I am a bit sad then to see how much of a step back Edge of the Earth is. Tekeli-li cards are cool, but they completely overtook the enemy design here. The eidolons are rather boring statwise and only notable because they add weaknesses. The elder things aren’t much better, they actually play almost identical to the eidolons except in how they interact with the weaknesses. At least the penguins and shoggoths are cool, i suppose.

Not Bad, Not Good either: No stinker scenarios, but also no standouts

More than other campaigns, Edge of the Earth feeds a lot off of its campaign structure. The scenarios taken for themselves aren’t all that great, at least in my opinion. To be fair, there’s no real awful scenario here either… it’s just all on the upper end of average? The high point and only possible exception to this for me is City of the Elder Things. I have a thing for big sprawling maps and this is just that. The gimmick with the keys is also great. On the low end there’s Fatal Mirage which seems to drag on fooooreeeeveeeer. And then you might feel like doing it multiple times. I was over this scenario on my first playthrough, replaying the campaign for the Xth time makes Fatal Mirage just something you have to slog through. The rest of the scenarios is okay. Ice and Death 1 is good. 2 and 3 are mediocre on their own. As a whole unit they work well enough. Peaks is an iteration on Essex, something we’ve seen a few times now. It’s a good iteration but still feels a bit derivative to me. Heart of Madness looks like the sort of thing i should like with its huge map, but somehow it didn’t really grip me much. Can’t even put my finger on it. I think it’s just too disjointed from the rest of the campaign for a finale? It’s also kinda easy and the boss isn’t really a boss. It’s just not what i expect from a campaign finale, i probably would’ve liked this one a lot more if there was more coming afterwards.
In conclusion, my feelings for EotE are basically the opposite to Innsmouth. Innsmouth has an absolutely fantastic roster of scenarios, held together by a weak linear campaign structure with unconvincing flashbacks mechanics. Edge has a well orchestrated campaign and very cool and inventive framework, but the scenarios themselves are nothing to write home about.


I have no problems with replaying Edge multiple times more. It’s not like it’s bad. But it’s also a step back from Innsmouth. It’s also in various parts very similar to TFA, a comparison that Edge also loses. If i had to rank the available campaigns right now, it’d look something like this:
1. Return to TFA
2. Innsmouth
3. Return to Carcosa
4. Edge of the Earth
5. Return to Circle Undone
6. Return to Dunwich
7. Dream-Eaters
With a rather big gap between Carcosa and Edge. The top three are really in another league when compared to the bottom four in my book. Edge is on the wrong side of the divide, but at least it is the best of the rest. That’s something?