A love letter to the best card in the game

The Edge of the Earth investigator box is the second time that one cycle’s worth of player cards got dumped on us in one swoop. Considering the amount of cards and the average attention span of the average card game enjoyer, it is no surprise then that certain cards can go by underappreciated or get buried under flawed first impressions. This article is going to rectify this issue for the best card in the Edge of the Earth box, maybe even in the entire game: Cyclopean Hammer.

Ha ha, just kidding. Who cares about some oversized squeaky mallet when there’s these good girls to talk about instead. Sled Dogs. What an amazing card. Or “cards” actually, as you won’t be playing just one of these.

Now, it’s fair to say that Sled Dogs actually did make an impression. They are just special enough that people look at it and form an opinion. It’s not a card that just exists on the fringes like let’s say Nkosi Mbati with an obvious usecase but narrow application that you forget about while you don’t play that one niche. However, many of those opinions are … let’s call them “flawed”. In the first part of this article i will adress common criticisms of Sled Dog that lead to those bad first impressions before moving on to getting into what makes them as strong as they are, then describing which decks and investigators want the dogs.

Common complaints

Complaint #1: Sled Dogs are just a bad Pathfinder!

Complaint #2: Sled Dogs are just a bad Mauser!

Both of these complaints ignore that Sled Dogs are actually both a “bad Pathfinder” (no such thing, btw) and a “bad Mauser”. And a bad Bulletproof Vest. And a bad Elder Sign Amulet. The main strength of the Sled Dogs is providing a bunch of versatility and serving several roles all at once without taking up a bunch of slots or being limited to certain card pools like Pathfinder and Mauser are. Comparing them to cards that only have a single purpose is flawed reasoning from the beginning. And so is comparing them to specialized cards from certain classes. Complaint #1 and #2 are therefore just invalid.

Complaint #3: They are a four card combo!

Now this is an important one. It’s easy to look at Sled Dogs and only think about the case where you have all four out and things are awesome, then come to the conclusion that it’s too difficult to set up. The truth is however that you really only need two dogs to get good value. When you have two dogs, you have 2/2 soak available (without losing a dog) and the choice of either a bonus move or a 2 damage attack with +2 fight. For reference, this is already similar value to Pathfinder (restrictions apply) and better than a shot from a .45 Auto. Getting two dogs out is near trivial and can be done within the first two or three turns nearly without fail. Once you get your third and fourth dog, things go ridiculous soon, but those are absolutely not required for Sled Dogs to be worth it. The option to go big with a third and fourth dog merely turns a good card into an excellent one.

Complaint #4: They cost 12 resources!

This complaint can really be defused the same way as the previous one because it also assumes you have to get out all four. Playing two dogs in the early turns requires 6 resources. While certainly not cheap, that’s not a huge deal either. People have been playing Leo de Luca and other pricy assets since the Core set days. It’s something to consider when deckbuilding, but nothing that inherently disqualifies the card. Of course it’s true that the dogs aren’t cheap and the resource factor is certainly really a limiting factor for the dogs playability. This will come in later when i talk about which investigators are well suited to run these.

Complaint #5: You need Charisma to play these!

This is true. Rod of Animalism is awful in this context and you absolutely want a copy of Charisma. Possibly two, so you can run other allies and Calling in Favor shenanigans. You can use In the Thick of It to gain the three XP at deck creation to start out with an extra ally slot. This will cost you two trauma, but the dogs soak will offset this rather easily.

Complaint #5a: Rod of Animalism is awful!

True, but that has nothing to do with Sled Dogs. You shouldn’t run Rod with the dogs, because that’s a card too many that you have to draw before getting your dogs truly going. Embrace Charisma, Permanent is one hell of a powerful keyword. Forget the Rod.

Complaint #6: They exhaust!

Again, true. However this only means that they can not be run to replace your main weapon on a fighter. They are excellent as a “sidearm” alongside a two-handed weapon or for investigators that only occasionally fight (like a Seeker that happens to draw a Brood of Yig or something like that). Their exhaustion is a limitation, but not a particularly bad one. It just counterbalances not needing any sort of ammo, charges, etc. Note that this complaint also only really impacts the use of Sled Dogs as a weapon, for all other use cases it doesn’t matter much.

Complaint #7: Deck space

This one is also true. Running the dogs and maybe a pair of enablers like Calling in Favors will be 6 cards out of your 30. That’s a significant chunk, but is partially offset by the number of roles they play. But sure, if your deck is already cramped and hurting for deck space, you will not find the room to put the dogs in there. Again, that doesn’t make the card play worse, it only limits who gets to play with them.

Reasons to play Sled Dogs

All i’ve done so far is put dampeners on the complaints about the card, i will now make some arguments as for why the Dogs are actually worth running.

Strength #1: They are multi purpose

As mentioned before, the Sled Dogs are not just soak or a weapon or a movement tool. They are all of these, whatever you need most at the time. This does help to adress the issue of them being spread across multiple cards (or even multiple ally slots) in parts, as it seems fair that you have to play two cards to get something that has three roles.

Strength #2: They are neutral

Now, this is less of an ingame strength (mostly the class of an asset doesn’t matter during gameplay) but it is something to consider when we talk about which investigators can play it and when we evaluate the card. It’s common sense that a neutral card should be weaker than a comparable one in a class. After all, limiting the amount of decks that can run the card should come with an increase of power. The thing to take away here is that their status as a neutral card allows us to consider Sled Dogs for all investigators in the game. And for Lola Hayes in particular being neutral is actually an ingame strength, as it allows them to dodge her weakness.

Strength #3: They are level 0

Similar to the previous point, this means you can throw them into every deck right away. This is relevant because you likely want to run the dogs alongside some other cards and being level 0 means you don’t get into awkward situations about which cards to buy first. As luck would have it, one of the best enablers for Sled Dogs is also neutral and level 0, so you can chuck those in at deck creation as well.

Strength #4: They don’t use charges

There’s a bunch of other assets around that offer powerful abilities for actions. Usually, those are restricted by charges or ammo, like for example Eon Chart, Shrivelling or Lightning Gun. The Sled Dogs don’t have this restriction, instead they have an implied once-per-turn clause through their exhaustion on use. While this does limit their use as a “main weapon”, it’s almost meaningless for the movement part. It also makes sure that those resources you invest into them stay relevant for the rest of the game. They don’t get used up the way a .45 Auto or a Mauser do.

Strength #5: They use the ally slot

Yes, this is actually a strength. Two dogs occupy an ally slot and offer the same amount of soak as a 3/3 ally (without having to discard anything). That is actually already a reasonable use of the ally slot, but there’s the abilities of the dogs to consider as well. Most importantly, these offer a fight ability without costing a hand slot. And extra hand slots are hard to come by. Guardian has Bandolier, but that’s largely it. Quickdraw Holster is a card that exists, i guess. So while ally slots are generally more valuable than hand slots, one has to consider that the number of hand slots is largely static while you can buy more ally slots for XP fairly easily.
This actually affords a decent amount of flexibility while deckbuilding as it takes pressure off of the limited hand slots and makes using two-handed weapons (or a pair of non-combat tools) much more reasonable.

Cards to play with Sled Dogs

Looking at certain cards and evaluating them on their own is all well and good, but usually you want your cards to work with each other. After all, that’s what differentiates a deck from just a random pile of cards. Aside from investigators, there’s a couple of cards you may want to also consider when checking if Sled Dogs are an option for you.

Calling in Favors

Calling in Favors

Favors does a lot of neat things for you. It can heal one of your dogs, but most importantly it’s a tutor that goes on to find more of them. Seekers can gain a lot of value of of this card by coupling it with Miskatonic allies, reusing their enters play effects while tutoring up dogs, for example with…

Jeremiah Kirby

Jeremiah Kirby

You think it’s coincidence there’s a pack of sled dogs in his art? Think again. Play Jeremiah for “uneven” and collect all the Dogs and Calling in Favors from the top of your deck. Play Favors on Jeremiah for yet another dog and do it again!

A Chance Encounter(2)

Sure, you could just use this card to revive a fallen dog, but the real strength of this card comes from combining it with Short Supply, effectively turning these into extra copies of Sled Dog for consistency.

Scrounge for Supplies

Scrounge for Supply

Talking about Short Supply putting dogs in your discard, Scrounge is happy to pick up those for you. It’s a bit slow and might need to leave the deck later, but early on they are perfectly fine stand-ins for Chance Encounter(2).

Flare

Flare

The final card that makes sure that Survivors are the best at picking up dogs. Once you got your dogs online, drawing one of these means you have a disgusting amount of damage at your fingertips. Before you do, it just makes sure you get your dogs.

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid Dreaming

A straight up tutor. I am not a huge fan of this card because it is so slow, but you could use this to increase the consistency of the “combo”. This can act as a slightly better Scrounge for non-Survivors if you are willing to pay 2XP per. Personally i am usually not willing to do that, as being light on XP requirements is one of the things i like about the Sled Dogs.

The Star • XVII

The Star – XVII

If you want to become immortal, try hiding behind an army of dogs, enhanced by The Star. This is a combo that few investigators can/want to use, but damn is it impressive when it works.

In addition to these examples, anything that draws more cards or gives more resources is of course very helpful in an obvious way.

The Top Dogs

Let’s talk about which investigators are best suited to use this phenomenal tool in their decks. To summarize, the first thing that we care about is having the card draw/selection to find our Sled Dogs. Then, we need to pay for them. Finally, to take full advantage of their attack ability, we want a reasonable base fight value. What’s a “reasonable fight value”? Well, some quick napkin math: The average enemy has 3 combat. We want to attack with 2 over, so with 5 combat. A key argument of mine is that having two dogs out is good enough to get value out of the combat, so we land on 3 base strength skill for the investigator. Here’s my Top 5 of Sled Dog users:

Leo Anderson

One of the first investigators everyone thought about immediately when Sled Dogs were first spoiled. He’s got the combat value, he’s got an ability that searches up allies and makes them cheaper. He’s got rogue access for even more econ. He even has a signature that can hold all of the dogs for him. As a Guardian, he can make use of The Star and get good value out of a variety of two-handed guns. Pretty great, but you might want to go double Charisma so you can play some of the other ally shenanigans he’s usually up to as well.

Amanda Sharpe

Amanda is a very flexible investigator and her access to Vicious Blow and Overpower(2) makes her great at actually being a fighting seeker. However, the number of actual weapons available to her is limited and people have been been scraping the barrel so hard they started playing Knife again as if this was 2016. Well, do i have a great alternative for you. With her innate card draw, she tears through her deck so finding the dogs is no issue at all for her. And as a skill based investigator, she doesn’t need to spend a lot on assets either. A Mag Glass and a Lexicon and she is golden. The rest of her resources can go towards Sled Dogs which will give her resilience, movement and a rather fierce weapon to put her skills towards. Sled Dog Amanda plays great and you should play a campaign with her RIGHT NOW.

Winifred Habbamock

Alright, now that you all returned from your Sledding Amanda campaign, let me tell you about Winifred because she’s the same deal as Amanda, but probably even better. She blitzes through her deck and she barely has to spend any money because she just commits skills all day. So she can use the sled dogs to go fast on the board as well and to kill road blocks. Like Amanda, she can fight and clue at the same time and Sled Dogs super charge her in many many ways. Once you have a Lucky Cigarette Case(3) on the board, you basically get to pick up a dog per turn, if you want to. Absolutely delightful to play.

William Yorrick

An excellent fighter that can make good use out of everything on offer here. He doesn’t even need to wait until he gets Chance Encounters to pick dogs out of his discard, so he doesn’t need to run Scrounge as a placeholder until then. This means that he doesn’t have as much deck space pressure, he can realistically get by with just the dogs and Short Supply. It also means he can use the full soak of the dogs, because he can just recur them… as long as he has the resources. Getting those resources is a deck building challenge, but the payoff is worth it.

Lola Hayes

Hey, Lola made a Top 5 list. Woooo. Now, i don’t think that Lola is necessarily one of the best investigators for Sled Dogs… but i do think that Sled Dogs is one of the best ways to play Lola. Makes sense, i hope? Anyways, Sled Dogs give Lola something quite amazing: A set of assets that can soak, fight and move that doesn’t get flushed away by her weakness. This is the one instance where being Neutral is a huge boon for the dogs and allows them to fill a very specific purpose for Lola as a reliable fallback that is safe to invest into. It’s also one of the few cases where Lola can actually make good use of her broad class access, using everything from Short Supply to The Star to make this happen. I genuinely believe that Sled Dogs are the best way to play Lola right now.

The rest of the investigators

Yep, I’ll actually go over every single one of the other investigators now. There’s going to be a summary at the end for the impatient. I understand. If you read this far, you already went through a lot of sled dog related self-indulgence, more than is reasonable in any way.

Guardian

Sled Dogs are attractive for Guardian because they are most interested in getting a non-handslot sidearm. They are also able to play The Star, turning the Guardian into a tank that can engage enemies without fear. On the flip side, Guardian economy is notoriously shaky and paying for the dogs is an issue.

Carolyn: Has good econ and could pay for them. The dogs would also give her a way around the “no weapons” restriction of her deck building, but her low combat value limits the usefulness of the dogs before she gets a third. She would play these primarily as a movement tool. Probably not worth it.
Lily: Like Carolyn, Lily can use Sled Dogs to get around her deckbuilding restriction, as they most certainly do not count as Firearms. She can be built in a lot of ways, so it’s probably possible to do, but the Mystic access isn’t really too helpful with the Sled Dog plan. I think i’d rather not try this.
Mark: Sled Dogs + The Star in Mark is something else, allowing for lots of card draw while the dogs soak up the damage. Meanwhile, he can use his 5 strength with whatever two-handed gun he wants.
Nathaniel: Probably not. While he’d appreciate having a free attack each turn without having to spend an event, he kinda needs his resources for these events in the first place.
Roland: His seeker access could give him the tools to draw the cards needed, but that’s usually not really what Roland is going for with his seeker cards. He’s also fairly poor, so i am leaning towards no.
Mary: I don’t really see anything here that makes me want to put dogs into a Mary deck.
Tommy: On the one hand, he’s ally focused and he is a survivor. So he can run Short Supply and the rest of the enablers around it. On the other hand, we don’t really want to have our dogs actually die on us. There’s probably a deck here, but it’d be unlike how Tommy usually plays.
Zoey: Zoey usually is one of the richer Guardians, so she got that going for her. She could even go and use her Dunwich-Five access to grab Scrounge and Short Supply. If she wants to devote herself to it, she could even go and grab Jeremiah… I think there’s a deck here for sure.

Seeker

Seekers have no problem finding cards in their deck, as they do have the best card draw and card selection available. Resources used to be an issue, but they’ve consistently been getting better tools for that as well. They do however usually not lean much towards fighting, so they mostly have low combat, making it difficult for them to use the combat mode of the dogs, while Pathfinder and Shortcut give them alternatives in the movement department. All together, not a great class for sled dogs.

Daisy: She needs her resources for her tomes, i don’t see her playing dogs.
Harvey: He’s not fighting anyone.
Joe: The other fighty seeker. He could probably be built to use the dogs in a reasonable way, but i’m not sure how useful that really is. Handslots are rarely an issue for him (due to a lack of good two-handed options) and he tends to be somewhat poor as well.
Mandy: The queen of search would be great at finding the pack, but she’s really not set up well to make use of them. I suppose she’d be good at helping other investigators find their dogs, but i don’t see that happening in her own deck.
Monterey: I could see this happen, moving two+ locations in one action is valuable for him and his ability gives him both the draw and the cash to enable the sled dogs. His strength skill is kinda weak, so he’d definitely be more interested in the movement side.
Minh: Anyone with Survivor access can make Sled Dogs happen and as a skill based investigator she isn’t as hard pressed for cash. She’s not really known for fighting stuff though, so while she could make dogs work, i don’t think they are a very attractive option for her.
Rex: Like Zoey, the Dunwich-Five access lends itself to enabling Sled Dogs, but he’s got better things to do with his time.
Ursula: Nope, she needs her money and she’s more interested in movement options that are actual free actions.

Rogue

Rogues of course have the money to do whatever they please. And if it pleases them to gather a herd of floofy followers, then so be it. Their good evade combos well with an attack ability that can be used only once per turn, in fact a couple of their weapons already work that way. That being said, their card draw is often lacking so something would have to be done about that. Personally, i am also a huge fan of Underworld Support and that one really doesn’t work with Sled Dogs…

Skids: Skids already has a way to funnel money into actions, so i don’t think that Sled Dogs are terribly useful here.
Finn: I actually could see this happen. The dogs allow him to make good use of his 3 combat and his limited Seeker access could go towards some card draw. Certainly not my first choice, but i wouldn’t immediately discard this option.
Jenny: Similar to Finn in that she’s happy to get an outlet for her otherwise mediocre combat skill. She’s rich enough to make Sled Dogs happen and as previously mentioned the Dunwich splash can enable them as well. Not bad at all!
Preston: Even with a couple of sled dogs out, Preston isn’t going to take down significant enemies anytime soon. So the only value the dogs would have for him would be in their soak and the movement. Is that enough? I am leaning towards “Probably not”, despite the deep pockets and the survivor access being excellent to make it happen if you wanted to.
Sefina: I mean, you are at least likely to start with two or more dogs right away in your opening hand. But aside from that, i can’t really see anything here that makes me want to run dogs in Sefina. And i say that as a card carrying member of the Sefina fanclub.
Tony: He’s got great econ, but he already isn’t lacking in options to spend it on. You could force this, but i don’t think Tony gains much from sled dogs.
Trish: I don’t see this either. She’s not great at fighting and the movement tools from her seeker access are enough to get her around.

Mystic

Mystic is the class that is the least suited to make use of Sled Dogs. They are poor due to a reliance on expensive spell assets and their fight value is generally deprecated because they just do everything with willpower. They also don’t fight with their hands, so that aspect of Sled Dogs is also kinda wasted on them.

Agnes: Aside from the survivor access, i do not see any synergy with Sled Dogs here.
Akachi: She has that awkward 3 combat that nobody uses, but that’s not enough to make me want to go sledding with her.
Dexter: Now this is more interesting. He’s rich. He has 3 combat. And his ability can give him a discount on the dogs and make them fast. There’s something here, but i don’t see an actual deck yet. Sledding Dexter is a concept that intrigues me, though.
Diana: She’s just so hard pressed for deck slots, otherwise i’d be all over trying to make this work. I’ve been tinkering with Fighting Diana in the past and it’s always been just quite not there.
Mateo: Nah, i don’t see anything here.
Gloria: Another generic willpower user. Next.
Jacqueline: And another one.
Jim: I’m no expert on Jim, his ability never appealed to me much. But between 3 combat and Dunwich deckbuilding, you could probably make Sledding Jim a thing.
Luke: Neither is he looking for fights, nor is he lacking for mobility. He can already move 4+ locations in one action by default.
Marie: As a willpower/intellect hybrid, she’s not interested in anything the dogs have to offer.
Norman: The same goes for Norman.

Survivor

Finally. Survivors are the best when it comes to make use of Sled Dogs. Most of the enabler cards are red, especially the Short Supply/Chance Encounter(2) interaction makes them very efficient at getting most out of them right away. Survivors are of course a diverse bunch, so you can’t really make any generic assumptions about money, fight value etc like i did for the other classes.

Pete: Thematic reasons aside, Pete’s not great for sled dogs. Only two fight and his ready ability doesn’t really do anything too useful for them either.
Bob: I don’t think so. Between his 3 combat and his money you could force it, but his deck space is better used for item assets to pass around the table.
Calvin: He’s certainly interested in having an army of dogs soak damage for him. Especially a fighting Calvin could make good use of the dogs, i think.
Daniela: If you want dogs in Daniela, use Guard Dogs.
Patrice: She finds those puppies like nobody else, but being locked into having to pay for them *right then* makes this too awkward. She’s better off leaning into her Mystic side.
Rita: I don’t like Rita much, but i do like what the dogs have to offer for her. She’s one of those investigators that have a combat 3 value that often gets unused, so the dogs are an outlet for that. They are a great solution for Hoods, for example. I think there’s something here with the dogs taking the role that usually is taken by the bow, thus freeing up her hands.
Silas: I like this as well. A flexible investigator like Silas can make great use out of all the things that Sled Dogs have to offer.
Stella: Stella can do everything well, so why not also this.
Wendy: Combat 1 is a downer here, so i’d pass on Sledding Wendy.

Neutral

Wait, didn’t i already cover Lola? Aha! But there’s another neutral investigator, who just has been spoiled by FFG a few days ago. And he’s ally focused! So let’s check him out: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Charlie: Wait what? 3 additional ally slots? So i can have four dogs and still 2 more allies before even buying Charisma. That’s hot. He’s only got skill 1 through the bank, but he can use the dogs in an interesting way, different from everyone else. Let’s say he’s got two dogs out. He can use them to attack the conventional way for 2 damage at skill 3. Or he can use his ability to exhaust them individually, attacking for 1 damage at skill 5. Or he can just exhaust two dogs to get +2 willpower or something. While the dogs don’t really have great icons and Charlie generally will want good icons in his slots, the fact that one slot can hold two dogs could be of great value to him. I don’t think it’s ultimately that great, but who knows. Another slight downer: Between his elder sign effect and his signature, he’s got some ally readying going on which isn’t going to be doing much for the dogs. He does have the ability to bend his deck building towards enabling doggy shenanigans, though. Time will tell, but i am leaning towards probably not worth trying to put the politician on a sled.

Investigator Summary

So here’s the investigator related wall of text, summarized. To add some value for those who read the previous paragraphs, i made this summary into a Top 10 list “Investigators most suited to play Sled Dogs”

  1. Winifred Habbamock
  2. Amanda Sharpe
  3. Leo Anderson
  4. William Yorrick
  5. Lola Hayes
  6. Silas
  7. Rita
  8. Monterey
  9. Jenny
  10. Dexter

Runner ups: Calvin, Mark, Jim, Stella, Tommy, Finn

That’s 10 solid choices out of 50 investigators, or 20%. The vast majority of cards wishes they were playable in 20% of investigators.

Decklists!

So you probably think that i’ve been talking completely out of my ass for the last 4500 words, but i do actually have some decklists for you. Decks that i actually played and that i went through campaigns with!

Lola’s sledding stack of synergy
Damn, it’s been half a year already? This was my first Lola deck and my first Sled Dog deck. I went with this through Carcosa. I actually have three deck lists for you here. One at 0XP. Another midway through. And one at the end of the campaign. This deck has quite a lot to unpack if you want to get into it, but the relevant take-away here is that i played Sled Dogs in a 50 card Lola deck and it still worked great! This deck was able to fish the dogs out of 50 cards in a few turns, so if you put them into a 30 card deck, this only becomes easier.

Flex Wini at the Edge of the Earth
I got two decklists for that, one at the start of the campaign and another after finishing it. Wini is one of my favorite investigators and this deck is probably the most fun i had with her. She was just blasting around the large maps thanks to the sled dogs and since enemies are few in that campaign, having an attack for 3+ damage on standby was absolutely great. This is the deck that really got me on the sled dog train, because it showed to me how good those really are when you put them into the right shell.

Amanda, 7 allies and a huge deck
I only have one decklist for this, the campaign is actually still ongoing on my table right now! The reason i posted it is because it managed (together with an Underworld Support Bob) to get all 6 paths in TFA’s Boundary Beyond, something that i consider to be quite an accomplishment even with today’s deep card pool. This is another huge chunky deck with Forced Learning, but between that and Amanda i get to see three cards per turn here so finding what i need is not a problem. The deck goes all in on allies, running both double Charisma and Archaeologic Funding, making Calling in Favors an insane card. Returning Miskatonic allies to put sled dogs into play never gets old. Pretty sweet deck. Not quite as good as the Wini one, but absolutely a blast to play.

I don’t have decklists for Leo or William, but they do play the whole Sled Dog thing pretty straight, so i am sure you can figure it out. Personally, i think i am most interested in Dexter next if i want to go for another Sled Dog deck in the future.

Closing thoughts

That’s it. That’s what i had to say. Sorry for wasting so much of your time.
If you take something away from this, let it be this: Cards don’t exist in a vacuum and it is wrong to evaluate them as such. Also, a card’s power isn’t necessarily immediately obvious. First looks can be deceiving. Sometimes you just have to go and actually play the damn thing before you discard something right away, especially if it’s not just your next version of Shrivelling or some other slightly modified staple.

Cheers o/

Best-Laid Plans: Edge of the Earth

Spoilers

This page doesn’t hold back anything. There are detailed spoilers for the Edge of the Earth campaign ahead. I highly suggest that you stop reading now if you have not played this campaign once or twice before. You should always give a campaign a few blind plays first, otherwise you might just miss out on that crucial experience of seeing a whole team of explorers being killed off one by one in a heartbreaking manner.

Introduction

Following the experiences of William Dyer and Danforth at the Mountains of Madness, the two academics get roped into another expedition to the Antarctica to confirm their tales. Part of this expedition are an array of other people from various ways of life and with different abilities. And the investigators join the team as well, of course. They set out to the Antarctica on the ice breaker to document anything unusual, but soon find more than they bargained for.

This article takes a close look at each of this campaign and its scenarios, the mechanics tied to them and the choices that the players will have to make facing all of these challenges. As in previous installments of this article series, i will also give some suggestions for investigators and player cards that are particularly well suited for making it back from the Edge of the Earth.

This article is not going to look at each encounter set and each scenario in detail, this site already has pages for those. Please refer to those for more zoomed in views on the single cards that make up the encounter sets and encounter decks.

Persistence

The main difference between the Edge of the Earth campaign and the preceding ones is how much several mechanics persist through the campaign. There’s always been minor aspects that build up over time, like Wrath of Yig in Forgotten Age or adding chaos tokens to the bag as a result of certain choices. But Edge takes this concept to new heights, with several mechanics having effects over the course of the whole campaign instead of being limited to a scenario: The expedition members don’t heal between scenarios and will gain damage/horror over time. Over time, Frost tokens are added to the chaos bag and will pile up, unless counteracted. There are temporary weaknesses that are added to player decks until they are drawn, but since they aren’t removed between scenarios this can happen in a later scenario. There are scenario layouts that can not be fully explored in one scenario and might require up to three scenarios that all use that layout but with the exploration persisting from one scenario to the next.

Let’s start by looking at the two biggest of these persisting aspects in more detail:

Frost tokens

The Edge of the Earth campaign comes with a set of eight new chaos tokens. These Frost tokens are added to the chaos bag over time, triggered by certain ingame events or just as part of scenario setup. A single Frost isn’t all that dangerous, it only counts as a -1 and forces another token pull. So it can lead to failing a test that otherwise would have just barely passed, but the real issue is drawing multiple Frosts. Two Frost tokens count as an autofail, just as if you drew the tentacle token.

As a result, tests become more and more difficult to pass as the number of Frost tokens creeps up. Here’s where you (involuntarily) gain Frost tokens:

  • Initial campaign setup: Depending on your difficulty, your chaos bag starts with 0-3 Frost tokens in it.
  • Ice and Death, #1-3: Picking up the mineral specimen adds a Frost token. There’s also a location and a treachery that can add Frost tokens.
  • Ice and Death #2, setup: Opting into this scenario adds a Frost token.
  • Ice and Death #3, setup: Opting into this scenario adds a Frost token.
  • Ice and Death #3: Advancing the first agenda adds a Frost.
  • Forbidden Peaks, setup: Up to three Frost tokens are added during setup. The first can be avoided by having Eliyah and the Wooden Sledge. The second one can be avoided by having Claypool or accepting a physical trauma per player instead. The third one can be avoided by having Takada or accepting a mental trauma per player instead.
  • Forbidden Peaks: Revealing the Summit adds a Frost. One of the treacheries can potentially add Frost tokens.
  • Fatal Mirage, setup: Opting into this scenario for the second and third time adds a token each. The first time is “free”.
  • City of Elder Things, setup: A Frost token is added to the bag during setup. This can be avoided by having Cookie alive and the Dynamite supply in your campaign log.
  • City of Elder Things: In version 2, advancing the first act adds a Frost.
  • Heart of Madness, setup: A Frost token is added before deciding whether to do Heart of Madness #1 or not. This can be avoided if the Miasmic Crystal was recovered.

In addition to this there are a few locations where you can choose to gain a Frost token for a bonus. These should pretty much never be taken, with the only exception being the Mineral Specimen pickup in Ice and Death which is generally worth it.
Considering the effect the growing amount of Frost tokens has on your skill tests, you will want to seek out any chance to remove some of these from your chaos bag. Here are your options for that:

  • Interludes: At each of the interludes, players can visit Avery Claypool to remove a Frost (up to three times in total over the course of the campaign).
  • Ice and Death #1-3: Successfully parleying at the Icebreaker Landing can remove a Frost. However, taking this option means permanently forfeiting the Small Radio asset.
  • Ice and Death #2: Two of the eight facedown story cards remove a Frost. Depending on how many crew members are missing, these of course might not all be in play.
  • City of Elder Things: Spending both “-2” keys at the appropriate location will remove 2 Frost.
  • Heart of Madness: Activating the correct seal at the Geothermal vent will remove one Frost.

As you can see, there are much fewer opportunities to remove tokens than there are to add new ones, so this is definitely an uphill battle for the players. If Claypool dies early, Frost will be a much bigger problem than otherwise, his interlude ability is that powerful. Ultimately, the best way to work around Frost is minimizing any pickups of Frost tokens in the first place, but it often can not be avoided. It should also be noted that starting with 2 or even 3 tokens already in the bag on higher difficulties means that these are a huge issue right away. Remember that Avery Claypool can also come on scenarios with you as a partner asset, where he can cancel Frost tokens for you and thus help you push through the increasingly bad odds.

Tekeli-li

The Tekeli-li deck is made out of a set of 16 cards, all of them weaknesses with a player card back. For every scenario in Edge of the Earth, the Tekeli-li deck is assembled and put into play. There are many effects that can instruct players to shuffle one (or many) of these cards into their player decks without looking at it. Once drawn, they resolve just like a regular weakness, then they are put at the bottom of the Tekeli-li deck again. What makes these remarkable is that they aren’t removed from the player deck between scenarios. So you have effects that use these Tekeli-li cards to create delayed consequences for the player, possibly even one or more scenarios later.

For the player, gaining a Tekeli-li weakness means two things: For one, they are going to suffer some sort of penalty when they draw the card in the future. For most Tekeli-li the actual effect is rather mild, but there are some heavy hitters as well. More importantly most of the time is that drawing the weakness means you didn’t draw a useful card, since the weakness replaced your draw. This can be a huge issue for investigators that have no ways of drawing extra cards, as random streaks of back to back weakness draws can leave them without anything useful in their hands.

These are the 16 cards in the Tekeli-li deck, roughly ordered from lowest impact to highest:

  • 3x “Take 1 horror”
  • 3x “Take 1 damage”
  • 2x “Lose 2 resources”
  • 2x “Discard a random card from your hand”
  • 2x “Drop one of your clues on your location”
  • 2x “Lose your next action”
  • 2x “Discard an asset from play”

Half of them aren’t that bad as you will usually be able to take a horror, damage or lose 2 resources. The other half can be more painful. Having to discard from hand means drawing the weakness basically denied you two cards. Having to drop a clue usually costs an action. So does straight up losing an action, of course. Having to discard an asset from play can potentially cause the biggest problems and ruin your setup turns while wasting resources, cards and actions that were spent on that asset.

Tekeli-li effects are able to “fizzle”, resolving without further effect if you can fulfill them. There’s no conditional surge or anything on them like there usually is on encounter cards. So if you have to lose 2 resources, but don’t have any or have to drop a clue but don’t have one, you get lucky. Well, you still lost your draw. But at least the weakness is out of your deck.

Note that Tekeli-li cards enter your deck without allowing you to look at them, so you initially don’t know what’s waiting for you. Nothing is stopping you from looking at them when searching your deck because of a card like No Stone Unturned, though. You can also freely look at your deck between scenarios and should absolutely do so.

Two crew members can help you with Tekeli-li. William Dyer allows purging up to 5 of these weaknesses from your deck if you spend one of your three visits on him during interludes. And Danforth has an ability that draws extra cards when revealing a Tekeli-li, which can offset both the lost draw and the negative effect. Aside from those two, the best defense against Tekeli-li is to have card draw. Someone like Patrice or Amanda who naturally draw lots and lots of cards can shrug off the “missed draw” part of the weaknesses. They do draw into them faster, but that shouldn’t matter in the long run, you will eventually draw them anyways.

Which leads me to my final note on Tekeli-li weaknesses. The final scenario, Heart of Madness #2 will, once the agenda advances the first time, trigger all Tekeli-li cards in all player decks. So any weakness you pick up during the campaign is almost guaranteed to resolve eventually unless you purge them with William Dyer or another scenario effect. Should you follow the path to Amy Kensler’s special resolution you will not suffer this Tekeli-li trigger.

The Crew of the Theodosia

The nine expedition members that make the trip with the investigators into the antarctic are a very central piece of this campaign. I wrote about these in their own article, long enough that i don’t want to repeat it here: The Crew of the Theodosia

Other story assets

In addition to the many cards devoted to the expedition crew and their mementos, there is a set of special assets that can be earned in the first half of the campaign. These assets are very powerful and well worth picking up.
To earn one of these, players need to recover them from one of the locations in Ice and Death and then carry them all the way up to the summit in the Forbidden Peaks. Once all of that is done, they get to add the cards to their decks (and gain an XP in the process). In total, there are seven expedition assets that can be earned this way:

Spare Parts: Can immediately be acquired on the starting location of Ice and Death by passing a skill test. Allows adding a supply or a resource up to three times, which can be excellent to give more uses to powerful cards such as Dynamite, Sinha’s Medkit or Acidic Ichor. Always worth picking up.

Small Radio: Is acquired at the Icebreaker Landing, however there’s some opportunity cost as you can choose to remove a Frost token from the bag instead. It allows using the ability of team members that were not chosen as partner assets. I mostly find this useful to use Dyer’s or Mala’s heal in an emergency, but especially in higher difficulties where you have multiple Frosts in the bag from the start the Frost removal is often more worthwhile.

Dynamite: Acquired at the Barrier Camp. Gives two uses that work exactly like the Guardian card Dynamite Blast. This item is fantastic value, two uses of a 5 cost high impact event is great and you can get even more out of this card by recharging it with Spare Parts or Emergency Cache(3). The Barrier Camp is arguably already the best shelter location, getting access to Dynamite makes it even better. Grab this and Albino Penguins become a draw to look forward to.

Mineral Specimen: Acquired at the Ice Cave. Three uses of a high Intellect investigate that also find an additional clue are excellent. Since it uses charges, it’s a bit more difficult to recharge, but it’s already quite worth it. Picking it up at the Ice Cave requires players to add a Frost to the chaos bag, which is a significant cost though. At higher difficulties you could argue for skipping this one if you don’t want to risk getting overwhelmed by Frost this early in the campaign.

Miasmatic Crystal: Acquired at the Crystalline Cavern. This is the most difficult asset to acquire, with the location being expensive to reveal and an agility(5) test being in the way. The Crystal allows cancelling the effect of up to 3 Tekeli-li cards and drawing a replacement card. Certainly a good effect, but not essential.

Green Soapstone: Acquired at the Snow Graves. An excellent item that essentially gives you 4 uses of Vicious Blow. Unlike Vicious Blow, you only decide on using the charge after doing the test, so there’s no waste here. This card helps a lot with getting regular attacks to the 3 damage threshold and you should absolutely pick this up. Doing so requires grabbing all 2i clues from the location and adding three Tekeli-li to your deck, but that’s a fair price for this valuable asset.

Wooden Sledge: Acquired at Lake’s Camp. Depending on how many Item cards your decks play, the Sledge can be very powerful as it acts like a repeatable Backpack with the additional wrinkle that any player can play the cards attached to it. This will usually be worth picking up, but some investigator combos might make it a lower priority.

Something that should be noted about these assets is that they all cost zero resources, so they aren’t a drain on your economy at all. Everyone can add these to their deck without much regret. All of them also have three icons, a pair of one skill and a wild. This makes them highly useful as commits to tests as well, giving something like the Wooden Sledge or Spare Parts value even if their activated abilities don’t seem enticing to you. In particular, investigators with recursion can gain some great value out of these assets. Commit to a skill test, then play them from the discard with Scavenging(2) or William Yorrick. Or use Scavenging(0) and commit them over and over. There’s some neat stuff you can do with them. Sadly they are very hard to get rid off from play, though. So, similar to Acidic Ichor, you won’t be able to sacrifice them to something and easily recur them. That means you have (again, like Ichor) use other player cards to recharge their uses.

Agility

Similar to Innsmouth and The Forgotten Age, the treacheries in Edge of the Earth are fairly evenly spread between testing agility and willpower. So this is definitely not a campaign where agility can be mostly ignored (like it was arguably the case in Dunwich and Carcosa). There are also a couple of points where agility can be extremely helpful. For example there’s an enemy that comes into play with a doom token. Defeating it will just spill the doom to the location, to get rid of the doom players have to evade the enemy. Many of the enemies also hit fairly hard and put up a long fight, but have low evasion values that can be exploited by investigators with good agility values.

Enemies

The enemies in Edge of the Earth are comparatively not very numerous, but the ones that exist mostly are rather impactful. With only very few exceptions, there are no “filler” enemies here like Ghouls, Rats and the like in other campaigns. Instead, the first scenario immediately sets the baseline with the Eidolon enemies that don’t go down in just one hit with any weapon.

Like in The Forgotten Age, the ability to deal three damage in one action is extremely valuable, as there are a lot of enemies with 3 or 5 stamina around.

Almost all enemies are Hunters, but thanks to the large location layouts in this campaign evading enemies can still be a viable option as there is usually enough room to keep your distance from them afterwards.

There are several boss-like Elite monsters that players encounter throughout the campaign. Most noteworthy among them is the recurring Terror from the Stars which appears at fixed points of time triggered by the act or agenda. Also, the Shoggoths encounter set adds multiple big enemies straight to the encounter deck, making the encounter deck for the relevant scenarios very scary.

The final thing worth noting about the enemies is that they often do more than just dealing damage in combat, most of them are tied to Tekeli-li cards in some way. Especially the Eidolon enemies are a major vector for acquiring more of those weaknesses.

Locations

Most of the scenarios all take place on very large maps, with 13 to 19 locations in them. Two of those maps are meant to be explored over the course of up to three scenarios, with progress persisting from one play to the next. These big maps are also very interconnected.

This has two immediate consequences. For one, having extra movement options available is very valuable. It’s no coincidence that the EotE player card box comes with many such options, cards like Hiking Boots, Scout Ahead or even Sled Dogs will pay off here. Of course your classic Pathfinder, Safeguard and Shortcut are just as great as always.

The other consequence is that you do get enough room that evasion is a much more feasible way of dealing with enemies than usual. You do need to worry about backtracking a fair bit when there’s a couple of hunters around, but you usually do have different ways to take so you can minimize your exposure to the enemies.

The exception to this is To the Forbidden Peaks which has only 6 locations. In addition to being cramped like that, the layout is also completely linear and there are limitations to when you can progress from one location to the next. In many ways, this scenario is therefore the polar opposite to the rest of the campaign. While movement abilities still do have some value here, evading enemies is a much less viable thing here.

Alternate Ending

With exception of Dunwich Legacy, the campaigns usually sport some sort of alternate or twist ending that can be unlocked by doing specific things during the campaign. This is true for Edge of the Earth as well, however it happens almost completely outside of the scenarios and is otherwise limited to the story text. The only gameplay change is that you get to skip the mandatory triggering of all Tekeli-li weaknesses in all decks during Heart of Madness #2.
Unlocking it is also very straightforward. To do so, players have to spend one of their limited visits with Amy Kensler during all three interludes. Amy Kensler also has to survive until the end. So if you decide to go for this, you should prioritize turning Amy resolute to protect her from randomly dying along the way.
There’s not much more to say about this. You give up three visits that could’ve been some other bonus and in return you get to read a different resolution and gain some more lore bits.

Experience

Here’s the experience that is on offer throughout the campaign. The amount is similar to previous campaigns, but the distribution is quite unusual. As a result of some scenarios being optional, the XP is heavily concentrated in the four non-skippable ones. This means that failing one of them will be a huge blow to your progression and leave you starved for upgrades. To the Forbidden Peaks is one you especially will want to succeed at because too much is on the line… not only XP, but also the supply items.

Ice and Death, part 1: 8 (shelter) + 1 (Terror in the Stars) = 9XP
Ice and Death, part 2: up to 8, but only if they are missing from part 1
Ice and Death, part 3: 5XP (flat value, for defeating all enemies)
To the Forbidden Peaks: 6 (locations) + 1 (Terror in the Stars) + 7 (supplies) = 14XP
City of the Elder Things: 8 (spent keys) +3 (locations) + 1 (Terror of the Stars) + 1 (Rampaging Shoggoth)= 13XP (only possible in version 1. Version 2 has 11XP, version 3 has 12XP)
Fatal Mirage: 2XP for visiting each location of a dead team member (up to 9 times) = 18XP
Heart of Madness, part 1: 5 (Seals) + 1 (Rampaging Shoggoth) = 6XP
Heart of Madness, part 2: 2 (Unsealed Phantasms) + 10 (Resolution) = 12XP

If you total up the numbers above, you get a theoretical maximum of moving into Heart of Madness #2 with 65XP. For reference, the max number for most campaigns here is around 50-55. Forgotten Age is the outlier with 77XP. Now, before you plan the wildest decks imaginable, it is important to remember that these are theoretical numbers and you will likely end up with a lot less. Chances are, you will have fewer XP than you’d have in Carcosa, Innsmouth or Circle Undone. Let’s take a closer look at the circumstances behind those numbers:

Ice and Death I is going to be a nice shot in the arm right away, as long as you end up with either 7 or 8 shelter. Defeating the Terror is going to be tough and might well be out of reach. I&D II and III are optional and there are good reasons to skip them, so maybe don’t plan with those XP too closely.
Forbidden Peaks has a high total maximum, but the 7XP from the supplies aren’t given to all players. They are distributed with the expedition assets recovered, so players will have to share the 7XP among them. Still, the location XP is all but guaranteed and the Terror will usually have to be fought as well, so there’s a good amount there. City of Elder Things is very hard to complete fully, the map is gargantuan and the clues numerous. You’ll get some good XP here but will soon have to exert a lot of effort for them.
Heart of Madness I is technically optional, but there’s very little reason not to do it. Getting all 5 seals is again tough, but more doable than getting every key in City of Elder Things.
The biggest number is the 18XP on Fatal Mirage, but it’s also the most misleading. For one, these XP are of course spread across 3 plays and chances are you are not going to do all of those. Also, you only get the 2XP for locations that belong to team members that are already dead. Usually you will want to go to locations of alive crew instead, turning them resolute. This will only earn 1XP, but the extra power on the partner asset is worth it. Instead of 18XP, it’s probably more realistic to plan with around 5-8XP. Maybe even only 2-4 if you only go into Fatal Mirage once.
In total, i’d expect to go with about 35XP into Heart of Madness #2 instead of the theoretical 65XP. That is fine for most builds, but will have you struggle for some of the extra comfort cards that are fun to put into decks besides the bare necessities.

Investigator Choices

Moving and investigating is the name of the game in Edge of the Earth. There are some chunky enemies to fight as well, but there are often moments without any combat for several turns. So while you want some good firepower, single focused combat investigators might find themselves with turns of having little to do. You are also looking for a good spread of skill values, otherwise you risk being brutalized by bad streaks of encounter cards. Allrounders are excellent here.

Carolyn Fern: Being able to heal partner allies allows using them very liberally to catch horror treacheries not only for you but also for your teammates. This swings both ways, of course: Once the partner allies have a point of trauma or two, you can use them to generate resources right from the start.
Mark Harrigan: Sophie gives him the capability to enhance his excellent statline to dance circles around treachery tests. He also has the firepower required to take down the big nasties.
Ursula Downs: If moving and investigating is the name of the game, then Ursula Downs is the … manual? A cheatcode? I am not sure where i was going with this, but Ursula is amazing here.
Minh Ti Phan: If you are interested in getting the most out of the expedition assets, commit them to skill tests with Minh for 4 icons, then get them back to hand or play with Scavenging.
Trish Scarborough: One of the more mobile rogues thanks to Seeker access and the evasion gimmick is also extremely valuable here and can defuse all sorts of situations.
Winifred Habbamock: Playing a rogue always means having to deal with the willpower, but in exchange you gain a fantastic statline for the other 3 skills. Winifred is able to take advantage of all of those other 3 skills to the fullest.
Dexter Drake: The campaign can potentially give Dexter a ridiculous amount of zero cost assets to use for sleight of hand tricks. As one of the few that can even discard them from play, he’s also set up perfectly to get a fresh copy on each go through his deck.
Luke “Penguin Hunter” Robinson: He’s the most mobile character in the game and in these wide maps he can use his special abilities to the fullest. Being able to cast Spectral Razors and the like into connecting locations is also excellent in this campaign.
Stella Clark: Look, she has three cards named “Neither Rain Nor Snow”. What more do you need for a trip to the antarctic? Seriously though, she’s the best generalist in the game and thus extremely qualified. Probably the only one who’s looking forward to more Frost tokens.
Bob Jenkins
: All of the expedition assets are Item traited. So are some of the mementos. There’s going to be no shortage of opportunities to use Bobs free action in this campaign.

I am going to stress here (as i always do) that these are merely suggestions. I don’t even claim that these are necessarily the most powerful picks for the campaign. They are the ones where i think that the campaign does play into their strengths, though. In any case, gameplay power is not a metric you should go by anyways, play whatever seems fun to you. If you want to send Preston to the ice wastes, by all means go ahead and do so. Todays card pool can make almost anything work.

Notable Player Cards

To round out the suggestions for the player decks, here are two cards from each class that are better than usual for this campaign. I won’t be mentioning Edge of the Earth cards here, more than before the pool of Edge player cards seems really tailored to the campaign in a somewhat obvious fashion.

Well Prepared: Whenever we get a lot of story assets, those tend to have a lot of icons. This is definitely also true for Edge, and Well Prepared is a fantastic card to get extra mileage out of this.
Marksmanship: Being able to attack into adjacent locations is a huge advantage against penguins and hunters. It can also immensely help with tackling certain situations in Ice and Death #3 and Forbidden Peaks especially.
Truth from Fiction: Some of the story assets use secrets for their uses and the ability to refill those can be worthwhile. Seeker has a couple of ways to do it, but Truth from Fiction is the one that requires the least setup and commitment.
Esoteric Atlas: There are a variety of movement options in Seeker, but the Atlas is special in that it allows skipping locations completely, thus bypassing hunters and persistent treacheries.
Decoy: All the evasion tech from rogue is strong here, but i’ll mention Decoy specifically because it can evade into connecting locations, which i think is a big deal.
Pilfer: There are lots of locations in this campaign that have 2i, 3i or even 4i clues and many of them have low shroud. Pilfer is the perfect card to capitalize on this and will get its full value even in low player counts.
Words of Healing/Clarity of Mind: Healing has a bit of a bad reputation, but the last two campaigns did make it a lot more valuable. As long as you can get 2 points of healing for an action, you should consider running a card like this to help you push through the assault from the encounter deck.
Dark Prophecy: So, there are some token manipulation cards in Mystic and their interaction with Frost tokens is a bit weird. On the one hand, these cards are worse than usual because of the extra bad tokens. On the other hand, these cards are at least a way to help your chances against the Frost tokens.
Waylay: This is a great campaign for Waylay, as it features many chunky enemies that take long to defeat but can be evaded reasonably well.
Alter Fate: One of the best cards in the survivor pool by default, but it does get even better in a campaign that features persistent treacheries as one of its main mechanics.
Backpack: We are getting a ton of item assets from the campaign, enough to make Backpack worth it without even looking what is already in your deck.
Emergency Cache(3): The ability to put supplies on assets comes up as a neat thing time and again with Emergency Cache, but in this campaign it can refuel things like Dynamite, turning one play of Cache into four free charges of Dynamite Blast. That’s some value!

Surge

Continue reading here:

Best-Laid Plans: The Crew of the Theodosia

Introduction

There’s nine members to the expedition team and they are a huge part of the campaign with a total of 27 cards dedicated to them, three for each person: The initial story asset card represents them in gameplay. A second asset card, the resolute version, can be earned along the way to replace the initial card, upgrading the abilities and stats. Finally, each person also has a memento card, which players can earn if the team member died.

There are two main ways to interact with these characters. For each scenario, each player is allowed to take one of the crew with them as a partner asset that is in play from the start, giving access to their abilities and soak. During interludes between the main scenarios, the players are also allowed to get help from the team which can give such bonuses as trauma removal, extra XP or additional cards on the next starting hand. Additionally, there are several points in the campaign book where having certain people around will prevent bad things from happening or aiding in other ways.

Dr. Amy Kensler

The professor of biology is the leader of the expedition. Her ability allows investigating at a high base value while also scouting the top card of a deck. She does have a good amount of sanity. The resolute version gives her an additional point of stamina and turns her ability into a free action. Her memento is Kensler’s Log, which allows investigating at high base value while picking up an extra clue.

Visiting her during interludes doesn’t give an immediately tangible benefit. Instead she shares her research with the players, which gives some unique campaign log entries, possibly unlocking a special ending to the campaign.

Going into Heart of Madness, you will pick up a physical trauma if Amy is no longer alive then.

My take: I rarely take Kensler on missions. Her investigation is nice of course, but that’s something that your investigators should be able to do anyways. And three charges ultimately don’t change a whole lot, it’s just a potential three extra clues picked up. Once resolute, getting those without having to spend an action makes it more attractive, but it’s still just value and doesn’t really solve an actual problem. Especially when upgraded, her stats are really nice, though. If you are looking to pawn off some horror to a partner, she can fill that need quite well.
She uses secrets, so her uses can be refilled with several Seeker cards. Those are usually able to refill something better, though.
Kensler’s Log however is excellent, possibly one of the best mementos actually. Its value depends a lot on if you are able to get more mileage out of it, either by feeding secrets into it to refill it or recycling it with the likes of Scavenging. In the right deck, Kensler’s Log can turn into a sort of super charged upgraded Ice Pick, providing a steady stream of two-clue investigations.

Roald Ellsworth

Roald Ellsworth is a seasoned explorer and as such helps investigators when it comes to dealing with persistent treacheries which usually represent weather or other environmental dangers. He has a high amount of supplies and his ability can be used as a free action even on the non-resolute version which means there’s a very low opportunity cost to triggering his ability. He’s got good stamina which the resolute version increases further. The resolute version also no longer requires charges to be used, the charges can instead be spent to trigger him multiple times per turn. His memento is Ellsworth’s Boots, a piece of footwear that offers free moves after clearing the last clue from locations.

Visiting him during interludes rewards unique campaign log entries that give minor bonuses during the setup for the next main scenario.

There are no explicit penalties or bonuses in the scenario setup texts for keeping Roald alive.

My take: Roald is amazing, at least for the first half of the campaign he does A LOT of work. Treacheries that stay in play are everywhere and are often quite annoying to deal with. Roald can just switch those off for a turn without losing any tempo. It really can’t be overstated how excellent this ability is and how many dangerous situations it defuses. Especially during Forbidden Peaks, his ability can make the difference between winning and losing the scenario as having to stay on a spot with a treachery while engaged with one or more enemies is a common occurrence.
His resolute version is fine, but not as much of an upgrade as many others are because he’s already at free action speed from the start. Also, as the campaign goes on, he becomes less and less important, so this devalues the resolute version as well.

He uses supplies, so he could be refilled with Emergency Cache or Contraband, but this is hardly going to be necessary as he already starts with a generous amount of uses and even gains the ability to be used without spending anything.
The memento is okay, but it’s really just a copy of the seeker card Hiking Boots, except without the agility bonus (but better icons). A bit disappointing, to be honest. But usually worth including if you had the misfortune of seeing Ellsworth die on you. Can be nice if you have someone on clue duty who is not a seeker, as it will give them some good amount of extra mobility their class (particularly survivor and mystic) might not be able to provide otherwise. Still, this is one explorer that is 100% worth more to you alive than he is dead.

James “Cookie” Fredericks

Like Roald, James is a veteran explorer who has been on expeditions before. His stats are slanted towards stamina even more, and even the resolute version never gets a second point of sanity. His ability is a fight ability, using a high base skill but without any extra damage. The enemy that is attacked by Cookie will not be able to attack for the rest of the round, unless it is Elite. The resolute version gives James another point of stamina, a point of base attack and most crucially, it turns his ability into a free action. His memento is his revolver which only has two shots in it, but is fast and can attack with a high base attack. Unlike James himself, the revolver does actually get the bonus damage.

During interludes, Cookie can be visited for an extra point of experience.

In the setup for City of Elder Things, investigators have to add a Frost token to the chaos bag, unless they have Dynamite and Cookie is still alive.

My take: Cookie is a bit of a hard sell for me. Since he doesn’t have that crucial extra damage to his fight action, it can be tough to find opportunities to uses for his ability that are worth spending an action. It gets better when Cookie is resolute, as the change to free action means that he can be used similar to the Garotte Wire, finishing off those 3 health enemies that are everywhere in this campaign.
If you are expecting to run into situations where you are getting swarmed by enemies, Cookie can be a good failsafe. Especially during Ice and Death #3 and Forbidden Peaks, the ability to turn off the attack of an enemy can take the edge of hectic combat situations. Sadly both the Seeping Nightmares and the Terror in the Stars are Elite, though…
If you are using the resolute version a lot to control combat like that, it can be worth thinking about ways to generate more ammo for Cookie, using cards like Contraband or Venturer.
The back half of the campaign heavily features the Miasma set, which is relevant because the encounter card Nebulous Miasma is able to kill Cookie in one hit. So be very aware of that.
Most enemies in Edge of the Earth do have more than 2 stamina and that makes his revolver very awkward to use. On paper, it’s a fine weapon and both rogue and guardian have ways to replenish it. But in practice the 2 damage just doesn’t cut it, killing a a basic Eidolon or Elder Thing will usually already take both shots of this weapon. If you are a low fight investigator that is looking for an emergency option, Cookie’s .32 can do the job but usually I’d hesitate to even pick this card up if Cookie dies.

Takada Hiroko

Takada Hiroko is the mechanic of the expedition and as such she is able to assist the investigators in acquiring their gadgets. This is represented by an ability to request a good amount of resources from her. Her soak is evenly divided between stamina and sanity at first, the resolute version gains an extra sanity. Also, she hands out an extra resource when resolute, effectively increasing the payout from 9 to 12 resources. Her memento is Takada’s Cache, a super charged version of Emergency Cache that is not only fast, but also draws an extra card.

When visited during an interlude, Takada will let an investigator start the next main scenario with an extra 3 resources.

During setup for Forbidden Peaks, players will have to either a Frost token to the bag or gain a mental trauma. This will be prevented if Takada is still alive at that point.

My take: Takada is a very solid pick to bring on scenarios. Her even split stats mean that she’s not particularly vulnerable to certain treacheries. And her ability is equivalent to having three Emergency Caches on tap. This is huge for decks that want to spend their first turn or two playing expensive assets. Having a guarantee that these resources are available can be very impactful. Compared with most other partner assets, her resolute version isn’t that much of an upgrade. You do get an extra resource out of activating her afterwards, but that’s not nearly as important as when you turn the ability of other crew members into a free action or gain extra charges. So turning her resolute only becomes a priority if you are playing a deck that actually relies on these resources. Once you can be sure that she sticks around, she does indeed open up some interesting deck building options, though.
Should you be unfortunate enough to have Takada die on you, you do at least get a quite powerful memento card for it. Takada’s Cache gives you a shot in the arm once during the scenario without costing you an action or a draw, just straight 3 resources into the pool. This is obviously great and well worth picking up. But of course it’s a card that is shuffled into the deck, so it’s not as reliable and enabling for the first turns as Takada herself is. It’s “just” good value.

Avery Claypool

Avery Claypool joins the expedition as their guide through the antarctic weather conditions. His ability allows cancellation of Frost tokens up to five times. Like Takada, his stats are evenly split, but when resolute he does gain an extra stamina instead of sanity. The more important part of him turning resolute is how his ability changes. Instead of having to spend supplies to cancel a Frost and reveal a new one, Claypool is then able to do this just for exhausting. If he spends a supply in addition, he can even make it so no other token has to be drawn. Claypool’s Furs is his memento, a body slot asset that offers great damage soak for a low price. Additionally, it is Fast and comes with an ability to spend some of the soak to cancel Frost tokens.

During Interludes, Avery can remove a Frost token from the chaos bag for the remainder of the campaign.

In the setup leading up to Forbidden Peaks, Avery’s presence will prevent the addition of another Frost token or physical trauma.

My take: Avery Claypool might just be the most important crew member to survive if you want the campaign to go somewhat easy on you. Even before considering that you can take him on scenarios, his interlude ability is excellent and will make sure that the Frost tokens don’t take over the bag. I would suggest using it every time you can.
His ability as a partner asset starts out strong, with 5 uses and no further costs he can tip five tests in your favor. It can become downright ridiculous once Avery turns resolute, as there is no longer a limit to how often his ability can be used (well, except for exhausting). And by spending his supplies you can even turn Frost tokens into something beneficial for you, stopping to draw further tokens and guaranteeing success similar to how Ancient Covenant works. You could even consider leaning into this strategy by providing Claypool with additional uses through Emergency Cache, Venturer or Contraband.
Claypool is a great ally and having him die on you basically means playing the campaign in Hard Mode. There’s this weird bit of tension between his interlude ability and his partner asset ability: If he’s alive then he can purge Frosts from the bag, making him less of a necessity to bring along. However, if he’s dead the Frosts start piling up and that’s when you’d really want to have him during the scenario.
Now, if disaster strikes and Claypool does indeed die, you do at least get his furs. This asset is quite good, even without the ability attached a 2 resource asset with Fast that soaks 3 damage is ahead of the curve. Note that the cancellation on the Furs works differently than on Claypool himself, the cancelled token is thrown back before redrawing. It’s still a fine ability to have, of course.

Dr. Mala Sinha

Mala is the medic and her abilities do reflect that through and through. Three times, you get to spend an action to heal damage from investigator or an ally (not Mala herself, though) at your location. Once resolute, you can even do this as a fast action. Her memento is the Medical Kit, a cheap asset that can be used at fast speed three times to heal either a damage or a horror.

Players can visit Mala during Interludes to heal a point of physical trauma on either themselves or on a crew member. She can heal herself with this ability at least, but you’ll usually want to remove a player trauma instead.

Should Mala no longer be alive by the time the group goes into the City of the Elder Things, every player will have to add a Frostbitten weakness to their decks.

My take: She’s useful, but only in specific circumstances i would actually bring her along on scenarios. Spending an action to heal two points of damage is actually a fine ratio and thus she can be a good solution if your investigator did manage to pick up a bit too much physical trauma for comfort. You could use her ability to get more out of certain allies like Grete Wagner, but for that to be worth it you’ll probably want her to be resolute so you don’t have to spend the action on it. She can also be a good solution if you are stuck with a Leg or Arm Injury as your random basic weakness.
As with many other partner allies, she uses supplies so you can use something like Emergency Cache to create more healing activations if it’s necessary.
Her memento, the medical kit, is quite good. It’s cheap and it can be used without spending an action, so there is very little opportunity cost here. Unlike Mala herself, the medkit is also able to cure horror, which is certainly useful.

Eliyah Ashevak

Eliyah is a hunter and a dog handler. His ability allows evading an enemy with a high base skill. Once resolute, this base skill is further increased and the evasion can happen without spending an action. Either version also allows a free move following a successful evasion. He has an evenly split statline and is the only one who gains both a point of sanity and stamina on turning resolute, bringing his total up to 8 instead of 7 like everyone else. His memento is the dog Anyu, a versatile ally that offers free moves or help with skill tests.

During Interludes, Eliyah can be visited to cure a point of mental trauma, either to an investigator or to a partner ally.

In the lead up to the Forgotten Peaks a Frost token is added to the bag. This can be prevented if Eliyah is still around and if the players salvaged the Wooden Sledge item.

My take: Eliyah sort of mirrors Cookie in many aspects, but at least for my money he’s almost strictly better. Cookies ability to attack only deals a single point of damage, so it’s mostly useful for disabling an attack. Eliyah does the same through evasion, though. And disengages the enemy. And switches off things like Retaliate. And it works on Elites. And you do get a bonus move on top. He also has a much more useful distribution of stamina and sanity than Cookie does. I find Eliyah quite useful, his evasion can be a real life saver. If your investigators aren’t able to evade themselves, Eliyah is also one of the best solutions to get past Frenzied Explorer from the Left Behind set who can otherwise be a huge issue. Turning him resolute is a priority, getting to evade without spending an action is a lot better than the regular version.
The one thing that is a bit awkward with Eliyah is his use of secrets instead of supplies or ammo, which makes it somewhat difficult to recharge him if you want to lean into his ability more.
If Eliyah dies, you do get to keep Anyu. She’s sort of a Pathfinder on legs, which is already a very nice thing to have. Anyu can also help passing other skill tests and does also possess Eliyah’s ability to evade at a fixed base value. That value is lower than it is on Eliyah, but can still make the difference for dealing with things like Frenzied Explorer or even the Nameless Madness in the finale.

Professor William Dyer

One of the people who returned from the original trip to the “Mountains of Madness”, William Dyer is on this expedition to make sure it doesn’t share the fate of the first one. His stats are focused fully on sanity, not even his resolute version picks up a second point of stamina. In addition to being a great source of horror soak, he is also able to cure horror from investigators and other allies. This requires an action until he turns resolute, which will make his ability become a free trigger. His memento is Dyer’s Sketches, a fast card draw event.

Investigators that visit Dyer during interludes can remove up to five Tekeli-li weaknesses from their decks.

During setup of City of Elder Things, the investigators have to add a Possessed weakness to their deck if William is no longer alive.

My take: His usefulness during scenarios is similar to Mala, providing the ability to deal with mental trauma. There are a few things that make him a bit less generally useful than Mala, though. For one, his statline can be a bit of a problem because just a single point of damage can defeat him. This is particularly an issue in scenarios with the Deadly Weather set, due to the Polar Vortex card that will just kill him. For that reason, he really shouldn’t be chosen to accompany you to the Forbidden Peaks. Unlike Mala, he uses secrets instead of supplies, so replenishing his uses is a bit more difficult as well.
Dyer’s Sketches, his memento event, is certainly good enough to pick up. Drawing three cards for 2 resources is a great deal, especially for classes that don’t have good card draw available from their own card pool.

Danforth

Dyer’s student Danforth is the second survivor of the original expedition into the Antarctic. He’s on this journey because he actually feels like being drawn to the place again. Like Dyer, his stats are skewed towards high sanity, but not quite as extreme. His ability allows drawing additional cards whenever you draw a Tekeli-li, to make up for the lost draw and the negative effects. When resolute, he draws even more extra cards and discards any further Tekeli-li, so you don’t chain into them anymore. His memento is the Collected Works of Poe, which can be used to pluck Tekeli-li weaknesses out of player decks.

During interludes, players can visit Danforth to start the next scenario with two extra cards in their starting hand.

If Danforth is no longer alive when the investigators go into Heart of Madness, they suffer a mental trauma each.

My take: Danforth is one of my favorite partner allies to bring with me. His ability takes the sting out of drawing Tekeli-li. Despite not actually cancelling the weaknesses, you do at least not have to give up your draw and even get a bonus card out of it to somewhat offset the bad effect of the Tekeli-li. Turning Danforth resolute turns this ability up to eleven, drawing even another card on top and also preventing Tekeli-li chains. With Danforth on the table, it can sometimes even be beneficial to draw those weaknesses. He has 5 secrets which is plenty. Use them all and you drew 10 extra cards. 15, if resolute. For no cost. That’s insane. Of course, if you do have tech to refuel his secrets, it can be worth it. If you do plan on using Danforth a lot, unlocking the resolute version should be a priority. The upgrade is really quite significant.
While Danforth is very useful himself, his memento is much less so. It allows digging through the top of the deck for Tekeli-li to remove, however doing so costs an action. And since the ability only searches through the top six cards, it can easily miss… which wouldn’t be so bad if the ability wouldn’t also reshuffle, so you can now have your weaknesses on top afterwards. It also only has three charges. I think his memento is possibly the weakest of the bunch, maybe tied with Cookie’s revolver. It’s just all around underwhelming and i don’t think i would even pick it up if it could be used as a free action.




The Heart of Madness, part II: Stirring in the Deep

Encounter sets in this scenario: The Heart of Madness, Stirring in the Deep, Ancient Evils, Chilling Cold, Striking Fear(parts of), Agents of the Unknown, Miasma, Nameless Horrors, Penguins
Available experience: 2 (Unsealed Phantasms) + 10 (Resolution) = 12XP

Size of the Encounter Deck37
# Enemies6
# Willpower15
# Agility3
# Doom5
# Damage3
# Horror5
# Tekeli-li10

Synopsis: Whatever nameless horror has been sealed away in the installation of the Elder Things, it’s starting to seep through and break free. The investigators have to make sure this doesn’t happen by destroying the City of the Elder Things and everything below it. Specifically, five pillars hold up the structure and destroying those will lead to everything collapsing. Of course, once that is done, the team also has to flee the place in time…

My take on this scenario: The second part of Heart of Madness concludes the Edge of the Earth campaign. We usually go into these campaign finales with a certain expectation of what expects us and i have to say, this one isn’t really one to meet all these expectations. This isn’t always bad, in the end Heart of Madness #2 is a fine scenario, but like part 1, it’s also not that impressive either.
The Ancient One here is certainly creative and different. Spread across 15 cards, it takes over the map and gradually smothers the players in its presence. That’s a cool mechanic, but it also kinda doesn’t make for a very satisfying resolution… after all you aren’t actually able to defeat it in any way.
Like the Innsmouth finale, this scenario also suffers from being a bit too easy. Now, it should be said that taken by itself, the difficulty here is good. There’s some challenging enemies and treacheries, there’s lots of ground to cover and destroying the pylons does take some effort. However, if you go into this scenario with a few of the seals from Heart of Madness #1, this difficulty shatters dramatically. Those seals are incredibly powerful and if you have three or more of them (or just the right one, really) destroying the pylons becomes almost trivial and in turn the whole balancing for the time pressure is off. Especially the seal that lets players deal extra damage with each source of damage to a pylon is kinda nuts.

Scenario specific encounter sets: As in part 1, Primeval Terror and Roots of the Earth take the part of being the Grasping Hands/Rotting Remains ersatz. Because of this, Rotting Remains actually stays in the box despite the rest of the Striking Fear set being used here. The scenario specific set, Stirring in the Deep, only adds a pair of enemies to the deck. The Unsealed Phantom guards the Mist-Pylon locations and investigators will need to get past it if they want to try and damage those pillars.

Act/Agenda: There are basically two parts to the scenario. In the first, the investigators have to destroy the five pylons. Once that is done, they have to get out in the second part. For the first part, there’s one act card and two agenda cards. The act states the terms for advancing (destroying all Myst-Pylons) and provides an ability to use clues for damaging the pylons. The first agenda has a threshold of only 3, basically offering a short setup period before the scenario goes into full swing. Once it advances, the Nameless Madness enters play and all investigators have to resolve all of the Tekeli-li in their decks (and then return them to their decks!). The second agenda card doesn’t have any doom threshold, instead a copy of Nameless Madness enters play whenever a doom would be put into play. If fifteen copies of Nameless Madness are in play, the agenda advances.
The second part begins if either the act card or the second agenda card advances and consists of only one card that is both act and agenda. It states the goal (“Run!”) for the last bit of the campaign. Interestingly, it doesn’t have a fail condition. Instead the scenario relies on The Nameless Madness being able to eventually overwhelm the players.

The Nameless Madness: This is the final boss of the campaign… sort of. The Nameless Madness consists of fifteen (!!!) copies of the same card, which come into play over time until they cover the map. This replaces the usual doom counter for the first part of the scenario. The Nameless Madness can not be defeated or even damaged, but players can exhaust multiples by oversucceeding on evasion or fight tests. The difficulty for these tests does scale with player count, making this enemy a whole lot more dangerous in big groups. At 3 and 4 players, the Alert and Retaliate keywords even become a major issue to care about here. It would pay off very well if you have someone like Winifred for this scenario who can evade a lot of Nameless Ones at once or Tony Morgan who can turn his firepower into a similarly good tool to keep these in check.
For the second part of the scenario, these gain Hunter and will thus start to stack up on each other. This can make it very difficult or even impossible for investigators to escape as they would need to evade too many of them and still be able to move (which is further complicated by the mechanics of the Titanic Ramp) or would have to take a lot of attacks of opportunity.

Enemies: Like in Heart of Madness #1, there aren’t a whole lot of enemies around, but the ones that are in the deck are quite relevant. The penguins make a return here and together with the ever expanding mass of Nameless Madnesses, a lot of locations quickly become hard to navigate. The Unsealed Phantasm are sturdy and need to be defeated (or at least exhausted) to get to the pylons they guard. At least they have Victory, so you only need to defeat them once. There’s two copies of the Phantasm in the deck. Finally, Primordial Evil is another resilient enemy that can take a couple of hits and is able to dish out a good amount of pain itself. Consider evading it, since that is easy to do and you will likely be in motion throughout the scenario anyways.

Tekeli-li: The final scenario of the campaign once more uses the seemingly omnipresent Nameless Horrors and its signature card, Blasphemous Visions. That alone is enough to make Tekeli-li worth caring about. Also be aware of the effect on the back of the first agenda: Once the first three doom are done, that agenda advances and all Tekeli-li from the player decks are resolved in random order, then shuffled back into the player decks. This can be immensely painful. If possible, consider purging Tekeli-li from your deck with William Dyer’s option during the third interlude (following City of Elder Things).

Seal locations and Mist-Pylons: Any inactive seals that the players got during Heart of Madness #1 are transferred into Heart of Madness #2 and the locations to turn those seals active are still around. Do note however that the locations where the seals are first picked up are replaced by the Myst-Pylons now, so any seal that wasn’t picked up in HoM#1 isn’t available during HoM#2 at all. Obviously that means that these locations are without a function (aside from providing clues) if you skipped HoM#1.
The Mist-Pylons are what the players are seeking to destroy in this scenario. The difficulty to attack them is determined by their shroud, while the clue value is their amount of hit points. At all of the pylons, one of the seals can be used if it is activated and will give an impactful bonus towards “defeating” these locations.

Other notable locations: The rest of the location grid is the same as in Heart of Madness #1. Please see that article for details.

The escape: For the final bit of the scenario (of the campaign, actually), the players have to flee the compound using the Titanic Ramp. The ramp consists of four locations in random order that the players have to pass through. To get from one location to the next, they need to either pass agility tests or spend clues. By itself, this isn’t terribly difficult, but you do have to ward off the growing number of Nameless Madnesses at the same time. Some of the encounter cards can also really throw a wrench into the works here, most importantly the penguin and Frozen in Fear.

Suggested partner assets: Both Cookie and Eliyah can help a lot with exhausting the Nameless Madnesses, especially when they are resolute and are able to do so as a free action. Other than that, just use whoever fits your deck/investigator the best.

Reward and Failure: The reward for completing this scenario is winning the campaign! Congrats! You gain a bunch of XP and some complimentary trauma, both of which are just for flavor, of course.
The penalty for failing is… well, failing the campaign. All investigators go insane and it was all for nothing. Oh no! Not optimal, try to avoid this!

The Heart of Madness, part I: The Great Seal

Encounter sets in this scenario: The Heart of Madness, The Great Seal, Ancient Evils, Locked Doors, Miasma, Nameless Horrors, Penguins, Shoggoths
Available experience: 5 (Active Seals) + 1 (Rampaging Shoggoth) = 6XP

Size of the Encounter Deck29
# Enemies7
# Willpower7
# Agility5
# Doom5
# Damage5
# Horror7
# Tekeli-li9

Synopsis: Reaching the final destination of their journey, the team decides to investigate the gate that locks away the ancient evil closer. They discover magical seals that can be turned active to aid them with defeating the thing behind the gate. Those seals have to be handled with care, having multiple active ones in the same place would have cataclysmic consequences.

My take on this scenario: Heart of Madness #1 is an optional scenario that allows preparing for the finale by acquiring a couple of seals that will prove quite useful in Heart of Madness #2. Considering that this is near the end of the campaign, this scenario isn’t all that difficult, so you’ll absolutely want to do this one.
Handling the seals is interesting enough to do. Especially the first half of the scenario when you are still exploring the locations, hoping to find matching pairs that allow securing a seal is good fun and rewards the sort of mobility that you needed for previous scenarios as well. Note that this scenario uses a total of 16 locations and that they are arranged in a way that will bust most kitchen tables, though 😀 This might be the Arkham scenario that requires the most table space.
This is a rock solid scenario that i don’t have any major complaints about. The encounter deck is a bit generic and the low amount of enemies can lead to a couple of turns that are somewhat uneventful. But the locations offer enough of play to make this scenario worth visiting for sure.

Scenario specific encounter sets: The first of another multi-part scenario, Heart of Madness #1 uses an encounter set that is shared between both Heart of Madness scenarios and an encounter set that is unique to it.
The shared one (aptly named “Heart of Madness”) adds two treacheries that provide yet another variant on the template provided by Rotten Remains and Grasping Hands back in the Core: Test agility or suffer damage, test willpower or suffer horror. The unique twist this time is that the difficulty scales with the distance from the central location.
The encounter set for this specific scenario adds another treachery that deals horror and damage in Electrostatic Discharge. It surges and makes it just a bit more dangerous to hold those seals for too long. Protoplasmic Mass from the same set is one of the few enemies in here and it’s actually quite dangerous, especially for anyone with an activated seal in their possession.

Act/Agenda: Both the act and agenda deck are fairly straightforward. The act deck states the goal of the scenario: Find seals, activate them and place them on the central location. The first seal placed this way gives a special bonus, depending on the seal.
The agenda offers a total threshold of 17 doom, distributed over three cards. On advancing the first agenda, yet another mid-scenario interlude tries to kill off a random team member. This time, the loss can be averted if a specific other partner is around, though. When the agenda advances again, everyone who holds a seal is being punished for it – even more so if they hold an active seal. Similar to the bonus on the act, the exact penalty depends on the specific seal. If the agenda runs out completely, everyone is defeated and has to either take a mental trauma or shuffle three Tekeli-li into their deck for the finale. So make sure to resign in time.

Enemies: There is only few enemies in this scenario, but they all have considerable impact. The scenario specific Protoplasmic Mass fits in very well with the rest of the Shoggoths from their set. Together, they are five tough enemies that can hit hard and present a challenge to the fighters in the group. The Mass does have less hit points than the other Shoggoths, but its impressive fight value of 6 makes up for that easily.
The only non-Shoggoth enemies are the penguins which do a good job of being a pest. You need to move around quite a bit in this scenario and especially if you are trying to avoid running into the hunting Shoggoths, the locations that are held by a penguin might as well be barred completely. Having a way to kill them from a connecting location is worth a lot here, for example through the Dynamite campaign asset or a player card like Marksmanship.
Be aware that all of these enemies start in the encounter deck right away, so you might want to brace for drawing Rampaging Shoggoth in your first Mythos phase…

Tekeli-li: Nameless Horrors and Shoggoths are the two sets dealing with Tekeli-li. While there certainly have been scenarios that put a bigger emphasis on these weaknesses, you will probably start playing with a few of them already in your deck, making Blasphemous Visions very relevant right from the start.

Seal locations: All of the play around seals is done through location abilities. There’s a set of five locations like Undercity Altar that bring the seals into play and allow investigators to take control of it. They then have to carry that seal to another location like the Forsaken Temple where they can activate the seal. Finally, the active seal has to be brought to the center location, the Gate of Y’quaa. Due to the size of the map and the locations all starting face down, this requires some initial exploration first to find out what the players are supposed to do and where.

Other notable locations: Aside from the central Gate, two other locations are worth mentioning. The Vaulted Corridor allows investigators to save on actions when moving around, as long as they can pass the agility test. The Subnautical Sprawl offers up a good amount of clues at a low shroud value, ideal for survivors (and investigators with a flashlight) to get some easy clues for use at the seal locations. There are three Corridor and two Sprawl locations on the map.

Suggested partner assets: At this point in the campaign, you should probably just bring whoever fits your deck most and/or who is best at covering up some glaring weaknesses of your investigator.
Both Eliyah and Cookie can be very useful for dealing with the Shoggoths. Especially in their resolute versions, being able to defuse a situation like a bad Tekeli-li (-1 action, discard critical asset) on engaging Forgotten Shoggoth can be a life saver.
Ellsworth can interact with Locked Doors and Miasma, but i wouldn’t think that either of those sets is really worth bringing a silver bullet for.
For the rest, your campaign status is going to be the deciding factor. So sure, bring Danforth or Claypool if you are swamped with weaknesses or Frost tokens.

Reward and Failure: This is another optional scenario, but there’s little reason to skip it. The only price you have to pay for going into Heart of Madness #1 is having to go through another interlude that might make you lose another partner asset. This can be an issue if you are dependent on someone but didn’t have the opportunity to turn them resolute yet. But otherwise, this scenario should definitely be played. It’s rather short and you have the option of resigning through the Gate at any point.
As a reward you can get a handful of XP to buy yourself a last minute upgrade before the finale, but most importantly you gain access to the seals in the final scenario and those are really powerful. Getting three or more active seals here downright trivializes a lot of Heart of Madness #2.

City of the Elder Things

Encounter sets:
Version 1: Locked Doors, Elder Things, Miasma, Nameless Horrors, Penguins, Shoggoths
Version 2: Chilling Cold, Creatures in the Ice, Elder Things, Nameless Horrors, Penguins, Silence and Mystery
Version 3: Chilling Cold, Locked Doors, Creatures in the Ice, Miasma, Penguins, Shoggoths
Available experience: 8 (spent keys) +3 (locations) + 1 (Terror of the Stars) + 1 (Rampaging Shoggoth)= 13XP, however note that this is only possible in version 1. Version 2 has neither the Terror nor the Shoggoth, so it’s maximum is 11XP. Version 3 doesn’t have the Terror, so it goes to 12XP.

v1v2v3
Size of the Encounter Deck344135
# Enemies121413
# Willpower71010
# Agility535
# Doom225
# Damage434
# Horror565
# Tekeli-li91310
These are the numbers after the first act advanced. At the start of the game, depending on the version of the scenario, either Shoggoths or Creatures in the Ice are set aside at first.

Synopsis: Following the arduous climb up the antarctic mountains, the expedition arrives at the City of the Elder Things and has to make its way deeper into it. There’s three distinct ways through and depending on which members of the group are still alive, a different one is chosen. All three versions of the scenario share the fact that they are played on another huge map made out of 17 locations, but the layout is different for each version. One of the locations needs to be unlocked before the players can progress and to do so, pairs of keys need to be collected from the other 16 locations. Not all of the keys are required, but finding more than the minimum is rewarded very well, so the players will want to push to get the most out of this scenario. Along the way, the investigators have to defend themselves from all sorts of enemies: Shoggoths, elder things, eidolons and the most evil of them all… penguins!

My take on this scenario: This scenario has a whole lot going on at the same time. No matter which version of the map you get, you always will have to traverse a rather large amount of locations. While you do get a ability from the agenda that will help you with moving around, the sheer number of locations and therefore clues to clear means that your seekers will have a lot to do.
The encounter decks are rather large and do contain a number of enemies well above the average. So this scenario is not only heavy on clues, but also on fighting. Tekeli-li again takes a spotlight, with Nameless Horrors, Creatures in the Ice, Miasma, Elder Things and Shoggoths each being present in two of the three scenarios (but thankfully never all of them together).
Looking at the numbers in the table at the top of the page, the breakdown is similar for the three scenarios with only few deviations. There’s a couple things worth noting, though.
Version 2 doesn’t have the Shoggoths, which removes a big headache from the encounter deck. It does at least partially make up for it by being the one with the most Tekeli-li interactions which can spiral out of control. It’s also the only version that uses Silence and Mystery and depending on your Frost token count, Dark Aurora can be a big issue. The large encounter deck also makes version 2 a bit more random and unpredictable than the other two.
Version 3 is the only one using the Benign Elder Thing, which adds some doom mechanics to the proceedings. The only other doom card in the scenario is Wuk Wuk Wuk, and interestingly the Penguin set is the only set that is used in all three versions of City of Elder Things.
I quite like this one. Lots of things to do for everyone and the variety that comes from not only having three versions, but also a lot of variety from the diverse and large encounter decks is appreciated.

Scenario specific encounter sets: Dawning of the Truth and Crumbling Ruins are added to all three version’s encounter decks. They follow the classic template of dealing horror/damage unless the player succeeds at a willpower/agility test. They both have a mechanic that interacts with keys at the players location, but in different ways. Either card is able to deal 3 points of horror/damage. Damage and horror can become threatening if Tekeli-li cards also trigger a lot of it, but especially be on the lookout for horror in version 2, which has Dark Aurora. Two different enemies are also part of the encounter set. Reawakened Elder Thing takes keys from players and can force them to clear their location from clues to recoup the key. It is used in versions 1 and 2. The Benign Elder Thing is only used in version 3. It has doom on it and defeating it will just add the doom to the agenda. So players instead need to parley with willpower to get rid of the doom (and the creature). Of note, the Benign Elder Thing doesn’t have Aloof so if you move into its location, you will have to deal with it. Finally, the Terror of the Stars is back again, at least for version 1.

Act/Agenda: The agenda is shared between all three versions of the scenario. It offers a total of 16 doom over two cards. Also, it provides players with free triggers to spend their clues for movement or for scouting facedown locations. After the first doom threshold of 6 is met, the agenda advances, leading to an interlude that once more has a random team member die.
The three versions all use their own pair of act cards. The first tasks the players with collecting two specific pairs of chaos tokens from the locations. Once those are done, the act advances. At that point, the set aside encounter set is shuffled into the encounter deck and the Hidden Tunnel is revealed opening the exit. Also, another negative effect is triggered, depending on the version the players either have to spawn the Terror of the Stars, add a Frost to the bag or draw encounter cards. The second act gives the final objective of the scenario: Reach the Hidden Tunnel and clear all clues from it. It also offers another opportunity to spend a pair of chaos tokens, for a persistent bonus. Except for version 2, where this bonus merely removes a Tekeli-li from each player deck, these are quite influential. Version 1 allows to heal a trauma per investigator which is nice, but the real jackpot is version 3, which allows purging all Elder Thing tokens from the bag for the rest of the campaign.

Terror of the Stars: This big monster didn’t change much from its previous appearances in Forbidden Peaks and Ice and Death. It’s still a Hunter with an impressive amount of health and it still attacks for 2 damage and horror each with Massive. The new wrinkle here is that it forbids interacting with keys at its location. That isn’t actually that bad and if you aren’t starved for that victory point, evading this enemy and dodging it for the rest of the scenario is a real option.

Other enemies: As mentioned, there are a lot of enemies in this one. Depending on the version, you get some combination of Elder Things, Creatures of the Ice and Shoggoths. All versions also have to deal with Penguins for the first time. This results in a lot of enemy health to chew through, Benign Elder Thing is the only enemy with fewer than 3 stamina. The vast majority of these enemies are hunters, and you will likely not be able to evade them all, so prepare for a fight. The enemies are also where most of the Tekeli-li cards come from, so your enemy handlers will be open to collecting many extra weaknesses.

Locations: The first location among the many in this scenario that is worth talking about is the Hidden Tunnel. It’s where the investigators are trying to get to. At first it’s unrevealed and can’t be entered, but after advancing the act it flips and can be investigated. Clearing it can be done with any attribute, but you aren’t allowed taking shortcuts like discovering the clues with card effects.
Stone Bridge is in the scenario three times and offers another way to move around the map in a more efficient way. Of course it needs to be revealed first to be a viable target for movement, so this is mostly useful for backtracking.
Temple of the Elder things allows switching around keys, again a good tool to save actions on finding the keys you need for advancing the act.
A couple of the locations also allow moving clues around, which is a somewhat unique ability that we’ve not seen before. You can use this for example to bypass Polar Mirage or to make convenient piles of three clues for Deduction(2) or Pilfer. Or simply to shuffle clues to locations with lower shroud value or those that you already took the key from.
Only two of the City Landscapes have victory on them. So it’s usually going to be more useful to grab more keys for XP instead of hunting after these locations.

Suggested partner assets: City of Elder Things has lots of challenges from every direction, therefore you’ll be finding uses for anyone. At this point in the campaign, your choice of partners is probably going to be dictated by who you upgraded via Fatal Mirage and/or who your investigators are and what weaknesses they might need to plug.
The one expedition member worth highlighting is Danforth (especially for enemy handlers) because there’s a lot of Tekeli-li going around here.
There’s not a whole lot of location based treacheries in any version of City of Elder Things, so Ellsworth can probably stay at home for this one.

Reward and Failure: In terms of rewards, there’s a lot to gain here due to the bonuses from collecting pairs of keys and spending them. As mentioned earlier, each version of the scenario has a unique opportunity to get a persistent effect from the second act: Either heal a trauma per player (v1), remove a Tekeli-li per player (v2) or remove all Elder Thing tokens from the bag (v3). Additionally, the Cylindrical Tower location allows removing two Frost tokens in any version. With 11-13XP, there is a nice amount of victory points to gain here as well, although it’s certainly not easy to get all of them. Still, you should walk out of the scenario with a decent amount of XP to spend for the final stretch of the campaign.
On the negative side of things, you will lose another team member here when the agenda advances. Also, you will have to add an Elder Thing token to your bag if you play version 1 or 2. Version 3 does not have this additional token (as mentioned, it even allows purging existing ones).
Failing the scenario by defeat actually doesn’t incur any penalties (except for the usual trauma for being defeated, of course). There’s a slightly different entry made into the campaign log but that doesn’t seem to have any actual effect later on. Having the agenda run out also doesn’t lead to any additional punishment except for missing out on XP and key effects.

Shoggoths

Set Size3
Number of unique Cards2
RoleEnemy, Tekeli-li
Threat LevelVery High
# of scenarios2
Variants
Appears in: City of Elder Things (v1, v3), Heart of Madness #1

My take on this set: This is a spectacular set that introduces three high power enemies to the final stretch of the campaign. Both of these Shoggoths hit very hard and killing them takes a lot of time. The decision to fight or flee from them is an interesting one and will actually depend on the board state and how far along the scenario you are. Having these around in the encounter deck is scary, as you don’t know when they will make their appearance. They remind me of the Deep One Bull in that way.
Both the Forgotten and the Rampaging Shoggoth are able to deal out Tekeli-li cards to the players, but note that this works differently than usual. These Tekeli-li aren’t added to the player’s deck, they are instead drawn and resolve immediately which will just put them under the Tekeli deck again. They basically add a semi-random effect to their attack/engagement which can throw off your combat math severely. Of course anyone currently suffering from Blasphemous Visions will want to stay as far away from Shoggoths as they can.
I like these enemies. On other encounter set pages, I have been critical about the enemies being a bit bland in this campaign, but the Shoggoths do make quite the impression. They are dangerous, they are interactive and they require some effort to take down. Good stuff.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Forgotten Shoggoth is a terrifying Hunter enemy that deals 2 horror on attack and is hard to take down. At 3 fight and 6 stamina, expect your fighter to take a turn just dealing with this thing. It can be evaded somewhat easily, however this not only brings with it the usual issue of having Hunters roaming around, but also that you might trigger its ability multiple times: Whenever the Shoggoth engages you, you have to draw the top Tekeli-li card. Note that this doesn’t shuffle the card into your deck – so it won’t cost you a draw later, however you do have to suffer the effect immediately.

My take: Thank god for that low evasion which can act as a bit of an insurance for any investigator who ends up drawing this thing and isn’t able to handle it otherwise. Of course the evasion might lead to triggering the Forced effect again at a later time, but that’s at least favorable when compared to being pummeled for 2 horror and a damage. If you are able to run away from it is going to depend a lot on where you are in the scenario. Both City of Elder Things and Heart of Madness do feature large maps, but if you are in a situation that requires backtracking (to get towards some token you need, a seal or a pillar) it’s quite possible that you need to deal with the Forgotten Shoggoth in a more permanent way. Doing so isn’t difficult per se, after all it just has 3 fight, but chewing through 6 health will usually take a full turn.
Having to draw a Tekeli for engaging can be devastating here. If it costs a turn or makes you discard a critical combat card or asset, defeating this before it gets to attack can just become a lot harder or even impossible.

Threat level: High. On the upper scale of what we are used to seeing from non-Elites.

Dealing with it: What really makes this enemy dangerous is how it is just a regular card in the encounter deck and can come out at any point. City of Elder Things will have these set aside at the start of the game and only introduce them later, but Heart of Madness could just throw these giants at you on the first mythos phase. So get your enemy handlers combat ready as soon as possible there… you are going to need the firepower for other things like the penguins as well.
When engaging it on your own terms, be aware that the Tekeli-li card might throw a wrench into your plans for your turn by immediately costing you an action or a key card.
Since this is a large non-Elite enemy with low evasion, i of course have to mention Waylay here as well, a survivor card that is generally pretty good in Edge of the Earth and that can deal with this monster in a very efficient way.

Number in the encounter deck: 1

What it does: Rampaging Shoggoth is a huge Elite enemy and a real threat to the whole group. While it does have only 3 fight, which is moderate for this sort of Elite, it does boast a large pool of 6 to 12 hitpoints, depending on player count.
Rampaging Shoggoth is both a Hunter and Massive, which enables it to attack multiple investigators at the same time for 2 damage. In addition to this, another 2 damage on top of the attacks are dealt to each investigator and non-Shoggoth enemy at its location, which can put some investigators on the brink of death just by itself in one phase. To make matters even worse, each investigator damaged by the Forced effect also has to draw and immediately resolve the top Tekeli-li card.
Defeating the Rampaging Shoggoth awards a victory point.

My take: Yikes. This thing shares its basic stat layout with the Forgotten Shoggoth: middling fight, high health and low evasion. The last part is key to enable running away from the Rampaging Shoggoth or to defeat it over the course of multiple turns. Do however note that its Forced effect of dealing damage and a Tekeli-li to everything in the enemy phase will still trigger even if the monster is exhausted.
In any player count but true solo the Shoggoth sports enough health that you will want to attack it with multiple investigators at the same time if you want to take it down in just a turn. If that’s not possible, either plan on weaving an evasion into your attacks so you don’t get slapped around in the enemy phase or weaken the enemy beforehand with attacks from connecting locations like Dynamite, Marksmanship or Fang of Tyr’thrha.
The timing for the Tekeli-li card is actually less problematic than it is for the Forgotten Shoggoth, so you can move into its location without immediately having to suffer a semi-random effect.
The rampaging effect of this enemy can hit other non-Shoggoth enemies, but i have at least not seen this being relevant myself. The one enemy where i could see this coming up is a penguin that i left behind, but the 2 damage won’t even kill that annoying bird.

Threat level: Very High. This is a big chunky enemy that will take a lot of resources to defeat.

Dealing with it: Whatever you do, don’t become a victim to this enemy’s full force of attacks in the enemy step. If you evade this and it catches up to you later, it will deal 4 damage, 1 horror and a Tekeli-li effect to you. That’s huge! And possibly this thing can even hit multiple investigators. Unless you are sure that you can stay ahead of it, keeping this menace on the board is quite dangerous and i would only do so as a last resort. At the point where this enemy appears, the 1 victory point isn’t hugely important anymore, but i found myself to be plenty motivated to kill it nonetheless.

Penguins

Set Size4
Number of unique Cards2
RoleEnemy, Doom, Action Tax
Threat LevelMid to High
# of scenarios3
Variants
Appears in: City of Elder Things (v1, v2, v3), Heart of Madness #1 and #2

My take on this set: Among a number of rather conventional enemies in Edge of the Earth, the Penguin set stands out as something that is actually a bit more situational in how you handle it. So there are some decision to be made when you encounter it which is always a good thing. I feel like Wuk! Wuk! Wuk! is missing a certain something to make it really cool, right now it’s just basically another two copies of the penguin and it usually won’t matter which card from this set you drew. But the enemy itself is a great addition to the game. It’s high impact without featuring any big numbers and has an ability that asks for player interaction in one of two different ways (defeat it or leave it) while also opening up the possibility to tech for it with certain card choices from the player pool. Good stuff.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Giant Albino Penguin is an Aloof enemy with respectable 3 health, but only 2 fight and evasion. Entering or leaving the Albino Penguins location costs an extra action. So while this enemy doesn’t pose a threat in the traditional sense, it is a huge action sink between Aloof and its main ability.

My take: I like this one. If you have to move through its location it’s a huge bother because it would cost you 2 actions extra. Fighting it makes the action tax go up even further. Luckily it spawns right on top of you, though. That means your choice is usually to fight and kill it right now (and do so through Aloof and 3 health) or just move ahead and leave it behind. That way you’ll only lose 1 action to it, but the critter will stick around and hinder you if you need to backtrack. Or hinder your teammates that might want to pass through the same location.

Threat level: Mid to High. These can drain a lot of actions from you. They become extra relevant the more players you have in your group.

Dealing with it: These penguins are just tailor-made to see the business end of a Spectral Razor, aren’t they? Anything that lets you bypass the Aloof engage action is of course very valuable here and so is anything that lets you deal 3 damage in one attack. Without at least one of those, you are looking at a whole turn just to shoo some bird away. What makes this more complicated is that it spawns on the investigator who drew the card. And that’s not necessarily the one that does the enemy handling, so they would have to move into the penguin’s location (which is taxed by another action) first. If your enemy handler is able to run cards that deal damage to connected locations, that is going to be very valuable. In fact, it’s something to spend XP on past Forbidden Peaks just so you are able to deal with these enemies more efficiently. Marksmanship is great here and so is Get Over Here!. Dynamite Blast works just fine as well and the campaign actually offers you a stack of Dynamite through one of the expedition assets.
In one or two player, seriously consider just moving on though. If they aren’t at a location that you need to move to again, you can just eat that one extra action to leave the location and be done with it. At least until…

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: The investigator has to either move the Albino Penguin that is farthest away to their location or put a doom on the enemy. If none of the penguins is in play, one is found from the encounter and discard piles and then drawn.

My take: I don’t think the option for doom is all that viable except for very few corner cases like when you are about to take out the thing with a Dynamite Blast anyways. So for the most part, Wuk! Wuk! Wuk! is just another copy of the Albino Penguin.

Threat level: Mid to High.

Dealing with it: Instead of dealing with this card, you’ll be dealing with the penguin. See above for notes on how to do that.

Fatal Mirage

Encounter sets in this scenario: Fatal Mirage, Agents of the Unknown, Left Behind, Miasma, Nameless Horrors, Silence and Mystery, Chilling Cold
Available experience: For each of the 9 team members, there’s either 1XP (if they are alive) or 2XP to gain (if they aren’t), for a theoretical total of: 18XP

Size of the Encounter Deck38
# Enemies9
# Willpower13
# Agility2
# Doom12
# Damage4
# Horror8
# Tekeli-li10

Synopsis: The investigators, exhausted from the things they had to go through, enter a dreamscape in their sleep. In this, they meet up with their team mates and relive events from their past, which they hopefully are able to face and steel their resolve for the things to come. Alternatively they meet echoes of their fallen partners and learn from them. Either way, the investigators are facing a rather big map consisting of 19(!) locations that can be put into play as the players make progress on grabbing clues and spending them for progress. It’s way too much to uncover in one go, so there are up to 3 opportunities to enter Fatal Mirage along the campaign trail. For each expedition member, there are three locations that connect it to the central one (with the first being shared among several partners). At the end of such a trail, the players either have to defeat a special elite enemy to turn their partner “resolute” or, if the partner is already dead/missing, they just gain some experience as they learn more about the person.

My take on this scenario: This scenario uses a rather large encounter deck, which leads to some increased variance in draws. There are some main themes to expect, though. For one, there’s a bunch of doom acceleration here that players will need to deal with if they want to achieve as much as they can. Then, there’s a decent amount of Tekeli-li related cards around which will likely lead to players finishing the scenario with more of those weaknesses in their deck then when they entered Fatal Mirage. Finally, the scenario very noticeably cuts back on the agility tests and damage sources that are everywhere else in Edge of the Earth. Instead, willpower and horror take the front stage, like it used to be in Carcosa times.
The strength of this scenario lies in it’s narrative, containing valuable background info on the people you have in your expedition. It’s also a way to protect your favored partner assets from random disaster later on. Mechanically and in terms of gameplay i don’t find Fatal Mirage all that enticing, though. Despite the high concept and the number of locations and special enemies, it all plays out very formulaic and repetitive. I just don’t think Fatal Mirage holds up very well on replays. This is a big deal, considering that it’s supposed to even be replayed up to three times in one playthrough. If i’m perfectly honest, i wish the massive amount of card budget that was spent on locations and enemies here would’ve been spent on enhancing the other scenarios instead or on making two more “conventional” scenarios.

Scenario specific encounter cards: The Fatal Mirage set adds three cards to the deck, each of them with three copies. Horrifying Shade is an aloof hunter enemy that punishes players for discovering clues at its location in the worst possible way: With doom tokens. You’ll certainly want to get rid of this one. Also playing into the doom theme, Anamnesis threatens to be an Ancient Evils… but you get a chance to take 2 horror instead. Considering the amount of horror sources around this could be an issue. Finally, Evanescent Mist adds extra clues to locations and slows them down by making them either spend more clues or taking damage. With how few other damage sources are around, taking that damage should often be not too much of an issue.

Act/Agenda: While there are 3 act cards and 3 agenda cards in the Fatal Mirage set, only one each is used for a play of the scenario. The three versions only differ in doom threshold and flavor text and are used depending on if this is your first, second or third visit to the dreamscape in this campaign. The act only vaguely hints at a goal and that there are limited opportunities to leave Fatal Mirage. This is true, the only opportunity to finish comes when players either defeat a Memory elite or reach the final location for a dead partner. The agenda offers the ability to warp to the central location as a free action at the cost of a horror. A fair price to pay if it saves multiple actions. Of course, it also provides the doom threshold, which is different depending on how many Fatal Mirage plays you already did. It’s 15 doom for the first time, reduced to 13 and 11 for the second and third visit.

The Memory Eidolons: At the end of each partner specific trail waits a memory to be defeated, as long as the partner in question is still alive. These are elite enemies with above average stat lines, Retaliate or Alert (or both) and some sort of alternative way of defeating them. This can be something like accepting Frost tokens to defeat them or dealing them damage on evading. There’s nine different ones of course, one for each team member. Defeating them will flip them to their story side, awarding 1XP and turning the expedition member into their resolute version with better abilities, stats and protection from randomly being chosen by murderous story events. The group then gets the choice to resign or to continue and try to get another memory done. Most of these aren’t terribly hard to defeat, but if you aren’t able to fulfill their special condition for extra damage, their stamina pool can make them take a lot of time… time that you usually don’t have, especially if you plan on going for more memories afterwards.

Other enemies: Agents of the Unknown throws Primordial Evil into the mix, a quite dangerous hunter enemy. Opposite of that, there’s the missing researchers from Left Behind, which add to the doom theme and require alternate ways of getting them from the board than just killing them. The scenario specific Horrifying Shade lies somewhere in the middle, being a milder but still respectable foe in combat than the Evil, and it’s using doom mechanics to play into what the Left Behind set is doing. The hunters can be an issue in this scenario because it’s somewhat linear and can require backtracking, but remember that if necessary you can spend a horror and warp back to the starting location.

Tekeli-li: About 1 in 4 encounter cards are relating to Tekeli-li weaknesses, which isn’t an excessive amount but the high variance of such a big deck can still leave you with draws that stack these on top of each other. The combination of Agents of the Unknown with Nameless Horrors can have a huge impact for investigators with low willpower as they are neither able to resist The Madness Within or easily capable of discarding Blasphemous Visions. Danforth is very useful in Fatal Mirage, both as a way to soften the blow from Tekeli-li and to provide an emergency soak for excessive amounts of horror. Speaking of Danforth, should you follow his line of memories, you will have to go through locations that all also relate to Tekeli-li in some way.

(open in new tab and zoom for details)

Locations: The large stack of locations and the Mirage keyword make this look a lot more complicated than it really is. You have your central location, the Prison of Memories. From there, you can discover ways into one of three hub locations. This is the red lines in the image above. From there, you can move into three further locations, indicated by the yellow lines. Finally, you follow a green line from there into one or two final locations. What this means is that you need to cross three locations to get to your first memory, but some memories share locations with others so successive ones might be easier to get to afterwards. As an example, to find William Dyer’s memory and make him resolute, you need to move from the Prison of Memories into either the Deck of the Theodosia or the University Halls, then into the Standing Stones and finally into Dyer’s Classroom. Afterwards, getting to Claypool’s memory is going to be easier because his final location The Black Stone also branches off of the Standing Stones.
In terms of shroud values, it starts rather tame near the center of the map but gets more difficult on the final locations that hold the memory. Having the right partner with you will lower the shroud value, but you should probably save any limited investigation tools (like Drawn to the Flame or Read the Signs) for those difficult ones.
The amount of clues to discover in this scenario is gigantic and having a consistent source of extra clues(Pilfer(3), Rex Murphy…) is going to be even more powerful than ever here.
As a final note on these locations, take care to read their connections correctly. They don’t all allow for moving back to the previous location, but they all connect back to the Prison of Memories.

Suggested partner assets: Unless you are using a specific expedition member to fix a central issue with your own deck (like using Eliyah to be able to evade the Frenzied Explorers from the Left Behind set or using William to keep your Tony Morgan sane), my suggestion would be to bring those that you are looking to turn resolute. This will reduce the shroud value of the final locations, making it easier for you to get through to the memory and conserve your resources and cards for other locations that might prove difficult.

Reward and Failure: In theory you could grab quite a lot of XP in this scenario, to do so you would need to go after the locations of team members that already died. If you flip a final location of a dead partner, you get 2XP immediately without even having to defeat an elite enemy. So that could be a way to finance some extra card upgrades. On the other hand, turning your crew resolute has a lot of advantages as well, especially for those that have their ability turned into a free action.
Failing the scenario by hitting the doom threshold on the agenda can happen quite easily in Fatal Mirage, as you aren’t allowed to resign except for whenever you finish up your business with one of the partner assets. Depending on if this is your first, second or third visit to Fatal Mirage, the consequences are different, becoming gradually more severe every time. At the first try, everyone gets defeated and has to shuffle a Tekeli-li into their deck. No trauma though, so unless you are running Charon’s Obol you get out with just a slap on the wrist. Second time, you either get two Tekeli-li or a mental trauma, your choice. Third time, you just straight up get a mental trauma. As far as punishment for failure goes, this is actually fairly tame, so taking some risks to hopefully get another branch of the dreamscape done in a couple turns can look attractive enough to just go for it.

Miasma

Set Size4
Number of unique Cards2
RoleDamage, Horror, Willpower, Intellect
Threat LevelLow to Mid
# of scenarios4
Variants
Appears in: Fatal Mirage, City of Elder Things (v2, v3), Heart of Madness #1 and #2

My take on this set: Miasma is a set that takes over for all the weather themed stuff from the first half of the campaign, to still provide some location based treacheries once the players are no longer exposed to the antarctic colds. Both of these cards make an effort to come after the health and sanity of your partner assets, so they do at least have some urgency to them and can’t be ignored.
Their actual impact is debatable, though. If you are willing to take some risks and don’t sweat the occasional damage/horror token on your partners, these cards shouldn’t be much of a concern to you. If you have healing available, they are downright trivial. If you want to play super safe however, you will need to make time and spend actions on discarding Torrent immediately or moving out of the way of the Miasma. That’s still not too taxing though when compared to what else usually lurks in the encounter deck.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Miasmatic Torrent attaches to a partner asset controlled by the investigator, exhausting the asset in the process. While the treachery is attached, the asset can not ready and is dealt either a damage or a horror at the end of each turn.
To discard the card, the player has to take an action and pass either a Willpower or an Intellect test.
If the player controls no parter asset when drawing this card, it gains surge.

My take: Thankfully you get to choose on whether to deal a damage or a horror when this card triggers. This card alone is usually not going to threaten to kill your partner asset, but it can absolutely contribute to making it more vulnerable to either Nebulous Miasma or Polar Vortex.
Getting rid of the card isn’t terribly difficult, but it does cost an action. I am rather paranoid when it comes to the well being of my partner assets, so i usually try to get rid of this card as soon as possible, but if you do have healing available in your deck you might even decide to have it stick around a bit while you care about more pressing matters.
It depends on the ability that gets blocked as well, of course. If you depend on Eliyah for emergency evades, you will want to clear this immediately. If you brought Tanaka to help with money, it’s probably less of a priority.

Threat level: Low to Mid. The partner assets do have a good amount of combined health and sanity to take this for a turn or three.

Dealing with it: If you do use your partner’s health and sanity to soak damage and horror for yourself aggressively, this card becomes a much bigger issue. During the scenarios where Miasma is part of the encounter deck, you might want to hold back on that a bit and make sure that your partners can survive this card (and Nebulous Miasma).

Number in the encounter deck: 2

What it does: Nebulous Miasma attaches to the location of the investigator who drew the card. It is automatically discarded at the end of the round. Anyone ending their turn at its location is dealt a direct horror to each of their cards with sanity. This includes the investigator card and story allies. .

My take: During the first half of the campaign, the Deadly Weather set is everywhere and with it, the Polar Vortex card which goes after the stamina of players and more importantly, of the partners. Once past the Forbidden Peaks, that set disappears completely and we instead have to deal with Miasma and therefore this card. Nebulous Miasma is an exact mirror of Polar Vortex, only it attacks sanity instead of stamina.
In the direct comparison between the two cards, there are two reasons why Polar Vortex is a much stronger card, though. The first reason is Forbidden Peaks, which dials up the danger on location based treacheries (like Vortex) through its linear setup. The scenarios that Miasma is involved in do not have such restricted movement, making it more easy to evade. The other reason lies in the affected partner assets. The two low stamina assets threatened by Vortex are Danforth and Dyer, both quite important and powerful. On the other hand, the two low sanity assets threatened by Miasma are Ellsworth and Cookie. Ellsworth can actually protect himself through his own ability. And Cookie… personally i would call him the most expendable member of the expedition, but of course your mileage may vary.
Basically, i don’t feel nearly as threatened by Nebulous Miasma as i do by Polar Vortex.

Threat level: Low. Can usually just be sidestepped. That can take an action from you, but that’s just par for the course for a treachery.

Dealing with it: It’s going to be very rare that you’ll run into situations where you aren’t able to move and where the loss of sanity is hugely impacting. In most cases, you can just either take it or invest an action or two to move away.