Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #3

First we saw some german cards, then some spanish ones. This week we got some polish ones. Fun! And educational, too! Now i know the word for devil in polish, I am sure this will come in handy at some point of my life.


Control Variable and Devil were spoiled at “Dzień Fanatyka”, an event organized by the polish distributor of AHLCG.


Control Variable
event, 1 cost, level 0
Insight. Science. Cursed.
Fast. Play after an investigator reveals a curse token during a test at your location.
Discover 1 clue at your location.

Honestly, nothing too famous. It’s an okay card, the trade of an card for a clue at fast speed is fairly typical Seeker stuff. Is this better than Working a Hunch? Does Working a Hunch even see play? Is this better than True Understanding? I suppose this could become relevant if you care about the traits. Insight, Science and Cursed are all relevant traits. If you get some sort of synergy going from there, that’d elevate it above being just a card for a clue and possibly become better than it looks at first glance.


asset, 1 cost, level 2, takes the Ally slot
3 health, no sanity
Ally. Creature. Cursed.
Forced – At the beginning of your turn: Move 1 damage from your investigator to “Devil”.
Forced – When “Devil” is defeated, deal 2 damage to each enemy and investigator at your location.

Oh, this is fun. Soaks for a lot and can nuke a location, pinging all enemies and investigators there. It’s going to be hard to time this well and due to the first Forced effect it’s at least going to be a challenge to overwrite this in time with another ally if you don’t want to explode the goat. (You heard me. “Explode the goat”. You heard it here first. Tell your friends.)
This has potentially a lot of upside if you can catch an enemy or two with it. It’s also a really unique effect for Survivor. The shenanigans you can do with William Yorick are also hilarious to imagine. For a more boring approach use Calling in Favors to use the goat to heal yourself and return it so you can heal yourself more later on so you can continue to live deliciously.
So clearly, this is a fun card that i am happy to see in the card pool. Is it a good card? I am tending towards yes. Might be that it’s too difficult to time it right to do its thing and might be that you become too much of a danger for your teammates, i guess. But overall i am pretty sure this guy is going to find a home.

Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #2

Here’s new info that we got this week on what’s waiting for us in 2024’s Feast of Hemlock Vale investigator expansion. There’s one source and it’s a promotional spoiler image in german. Most cards are at least partially obscured, but we do get the full text of an investigator here(!!!!) and enough to go by to reliably put together the text of two other cards. And some teasers.


Official spoiler image for the german expansion


Wolf Mask: It’s partially obscured, but it’s apparent that it’s in a cycle with the Sparrow Mask that was in last week’s spoiler roundup. Translating the german bits that are there and estimating the rest, we can come to something like this:

Wolf Mask (Master of the Moon)
cost 1, level 0
Item. Charm. Mask.
Limit 1 Mask per investigator.
Uses(2 offerings). Replenish 1 of these offerings after you engage an enemy.
free trigger, Spend 1 offering: You get +2 combat or +2 agility for this skill test (Limit once per test.)

Seems good? These masks are really strong. 1 resource for 2 fat skill bonuses is fine even before we get into the whole recharging business. With the recharging, these get silly quick. Now, the second skill on this card is covered, but the assumption that it’s combat and agility on this one is a solid one, considering the skill pips on the card.
Like… you play this and get +2 to your next two attacks? That’s already fantastic. And it reloads a charge whenever you engage something so your first attack/evade against an enemy is always boosted? That’s insanely good on a card that doesn’t take a valuable slot. Truth be told, i’d probably pay 3XP for this.


Not much we can see here. The name translates to “Control Variable”. It’s a 1 cost event with Insight, Science and Cursed traits.


This is this weeks real prize, the full front of Kōhaku Narukami:
Kōhaku Narukami (The Folklorist)
statline: 4-4-3-1
Scholar. Blessed. Cursed.
Reaction at the start of your turn: Either add 1 bless or 1 curse token to the chaos bag, depending on which one are fewer in the bag (choose when tied), or remove 2 bless and 2 curse tokens from the chaos bag to take an extra action this turn.
Elder Sign: +2. Add 1 bless and 1 curse to the chaos bag.
6 stamina, 8, sanity.

This looks quite good to me, allowing you to keep stocked up on tokens for synergies on various Mystic cards. If played with token generators and few payoffs, his extra actions could even become something to build around. Tempt Fate is pretty much one and a half bonus actions for him, even if he has no other token synergies going on. Not something conventionally strong, you do need to build around him a bit. Seeing his backside will be interesting of course, as it will determine how good his access to curse and/or bless generators ends up being. The ability to play cards like Keep Faith, Faustian Bargain or Deep Knowledge – or not – will determine a lot about how well he plays in the end.

Again, some guesswork involved, but the german parts do give a good impression of what the card does. While we don’t know the level and cost of this card, its ability should be pretty close to this:

Malicious Athame (Cursed Blade)
cost ?, level ?
Weapon. Melee. Cursed.
(uses a handslot)
action, add 1-3 curse tokens to the chaos bag: Fight. You get +2 combat for this test for each curse token added this way. If this attack defeats an enemy, replenish one of the charges on an asset you control.

That’s a lot of combat bonus. It doesn’t deal extra damage, but it can easily murder a cultist or deal the third damage to something tough following a Shrivelling charge. It’s also a really easy way to consistently pack the bag with curses if that’s what you want to do. I expect this to be level 1, cost 3. Simply to mirror the Spirit Athame.

Basic Weakness

It’s a weakness. It’s an asset with “-” cost. Its traits are Item and Relic. And its name is “The Silver Moth”. Aside from that, we can’t really gleam much from this…

Hemlock Vale Spoiler Roundup #1

Here we go again

Well then, we have our announcement. In January and February 2024 we will get the next Investigator and Campaign expansion for our silly little card game of by now truly eldritch proportions. Until then, i am sure we will get tidbits and spoilers aplenty along the way, maybe even in a coordinated fashion similar to what we got for Scarlet Keys. So i am hereby officially declaring this spoiler season open and let’s just dive in with everything we can get out of the announcement and other sources on the FFG site in terms of player cards.


Everything so far we know from FFG themselves.

Announcement article
Campaign Expansion
Investigator Expansion
Asmodee Shop page
“I’ll pay you back” was teased a good while back on their Youtube, at the end of this video

The investigators

Alright, let’s start with the investigators. Two of them were spoiled almost completely (their backside is missing) in the announcement. The other three are known with at least their name and statline from the Asmodee Store page. Let’s start with the two we have more details about, then move onto the other three.

Kate looks to be quite strong, basically able to get free “Unexpected Courage”s with each clue she collects. There’s some rule questions still unanswered, the most important one being if she’s able to spend clues (for example for advancing the act) when those clues are on her cards, but assuming that is the case, she should be quite potent. If not, there is at least some significant opportunity cost with moving the clues around. Her weakness looks really ghastly though, especially considering that she has only 2 willpower. If everything works as i expect, she would be quite powerful with the clue dropping archetype, able to move clues in circles around her, her assets and the location.
EDIT: It has been confirmed by Duke that clues on assets can be spent without restrictions. That means she is indeed quite flexible and i would put her ability somewhere near Mark’s Sophie in terms of having access to stat boosts on demand whenever it matters. That seems fantastic to me.

Samson is wild. Another member of the Survivor tank group, he joins Daniela, Calvin and Tommy in the ranks of survivors that want to get hurt for fun and profit. This all looks really strong, but the switch from his first mode where he wants to get hit and the second one where he needs to be more careful makes him probably a lot less straightforward to play than Tommy and Dany. That signature is ridiculously strong, the weakness probably fine. Ultimately the weakness is just a dude that can be killed. Fun to see them tease the Elusive keyword here, which seems to be a reverse Hunter – an enemy that runs away from you each turn. Supposedly that means it will break engagement as well… if that happens during normal monster movement, the enemy would never attack then? I wonder.

Oh no, it’s a 3/3/3/3. Not a great start. The ability looks super flexible and useful though, so that might be able to make up for it. The text is partially obscured in the image, but we can probably be rather confident he reads:
Reduce the resource cost of the first Tool asset you play each round by 1.
You get +1 skill value to skill tests on Tool assets.
Elder Sign: +0. You may swap a Tool asset in your play area with a Tool asset in your hand with equal or lower printed cost.

Now, Guardian isn’t exactly famous for its tool assets, so the card access will be very important here and likely make or break how useful Wilson ends up being. I am a bit concerned about them not giving full Tool access to Wilson because they just did that with Kymani.

Hey, it’s the long awaited Parley investigator. I’ve seen a couple of those by now in fan-made sets, it was only a matter of time before we get an official one. Trish-like stats, a conditional bonus action, the trusty 7/7 split. I like everything we get to see here.

We don’t get to see much of him, except for a statline that has decent potential to be built in multiple directions. Now, something I have seen posted elsewhere by people with way better ability to tell things from just few pixels is that Mr. Narukami here has these traits: Scholar. Blessed. Cursed. Now combine that with this fun tidbit from the investigator expansion page:

Blesses and Curses are back, baby. I can’t overstate how excited i am for this. And if Kōhaku is indeed a blurse specialist, then i am here for it!

Player cards

The announcement focused completely on Seeker and Survivor (like the TSK one focused on Guardian and Mystic), so that’s what we get here:

Chemistry Set: This is very hard to plan for, but if played early you can get a good amount of extra stuff out of it. Probably fine, not great. I hate that it exhausts on use. But playable if you like one or more of the traits.
Dr. Charles West III: Ah, that reaction ability is like the one on Alice Luxley, except more limited. And Alice’s was already too narrow to see play. Sorry, i am not too hopeful on this one, unless it turns out that a tool slot is that valuable.
Microscope: More evidence collection, very similar to the Dissection Kit from TSK in that regard. The ability to take a double action for three clues and a healthy skill bonus is pretty good. This could make a great impression of a knock-off Fingerprint Kit(4), as long as you can keep the evidence counters coming. I’d be interested in testing this out.
Ravenous Myconid+Uncanny Growth: So all we need to do to identify this one is take an action, pay a resource, take another action and succeed an investigation by 3? That seems on the easy side for Researched cards. Limit 1 per deck again, as with the Conduit. Obviously we need to see the upgrades before diving into this one, but it’s cheap and easy to get started, so this is promising. Loving the traits on this one.
Well-Funded: Nah, not impressed. You need a Tool in play just to have this be Courage. Now to be fair, one Tool is easy to get, but so is a Courage. It can go to 3 and if you are playing the Science deck that might be good enough, but the lack of any relevant traits lets me lean towards “probably not that great”.

Pitchfork: This is really, really good. Getting to deal 3 damage with one action is incredible, even if it needs a reload. This is basically a level 0 card that does a good impression of Ornate Bow.
Sparrow Mask: Reminds me a lot of the Bangle of Jinxes, which is decent. This doesn’t take a (relevant) slot, is cheaper, triggers on treacheries and doesn’t cost XP in exchange for being limited to what tests it can contribute to and not being able to stack counters forever. That seems like a very, very good tradeoff. Hey, you can run both. Make those monsters really regret attacking you. This is a very good card.
Pushed to the Limit: Have we not learned from Knowledge is Power? This is a very dangerous card and likely to find a home.
Stall for Time: I guess if Parley does something special for you (like the Rogue from this set or if you wear Fine Clothes), this can be okay. But i don’t think i would usually see much of a point to play this over an actual evasion card. I suppose using willpower instead of agility can be relevant too. Or if the enemy has Aloof. Hm, yeah i guess there are some niches this could fill, but i am not super optimistic.
Wrong Place, Right Time: Obviously tailored for Samson, but this is a powerful effect just in general. Being a Double will keep it out of most decks though, i think.
Long Shot: This one is again really good. Vicious Blow, but in Red. Trades the +1 skill for the ability to hit into connecting locations. Can also commit to evasions and fights that are done with any attribute, not just combat. It’s Practiced, too. This will see a lot of play.

And finally, this Rogue card was spoiled 4 months ago in a Fortune and Folly stream on the FFG YouTube channel. I see this as a great way to allow rogues to spread their wealth around to other players. Is that going to be worth a card in your deck? Teamwork does something similar and isn’t really played a lot either. I do like it, but this might end up being one of those cards #31-#35 for my 30 card deck.

Innsmouth Spoiler Roundup

This is a first look at the encounter cards that were spoiled for The Innsmouth Conspiracy deluxe box and its Mythos packs. The article includes only cards that were officially spoiled, so no inofficial leaks or anything like that.

Note: This post was written a week before the deluxe box released, so it contains speculation and wild guessing.


FFG: The Innsmouth Conspiracy
FFG: In Too Deep
FFG: Devil Reef
Whisperer in Darkness: Two Encounter Spoilers

Deep Ones

Let’s start right away with the main attraction of the Innsmouth setting: Fish people. Dagon’s children are a staple of the Lovecraft mythos and seeing them take center stage in the upcoming cycle is really neat.

The three Deep Ones we saw scattered around the game before didn’t have a whole lot of coherence, with nothing really tying them together mechanically. The new ones change this. Like the Young Deep One from the Core set’s Agents of Cthulhu, the new breed of Deep Ones all have some sort of Forced trigger that punishes players immediately on engaging the monster. From the examples we got so far, these effects can be very varied: What we saw so far are a bonus attack, card discard and an interaction with a scenario mechanic. As a result, players might prefer to kill these enemies outright instead of evading them, because otherwise they risk triggering this Forced effect multiple times. On the other hand, they all have a measly 1 or 2 in evade. In two of three cases they also have high health and fight values, so that will be interesting to figure out how we’ll ultimately want to deal with these buggers.
As is appropriate for enemies that are defined by triggers on engagement, the Deep Ones have abilities to go after the players. Usually, that is going to be the Hunter keyword as usual, but the Deep One Bull at least shows that other triggers are also a possibility. The Bull triggers its movement on players killing other Deep Ones, once again playing into the fight/evade divide.
The scenarios probably want us to evade and run from the enemies instead of murdering everything like usual… how well that is going to work is of course going to depend a lot on the location layout, how much backtracking there is going to be, if the Flooded mechanic is going to cut off movement routes and all these other things we don’t know much about yet. But there is certainly a whole lot of potential to how these enemies might play out.


We don’t know too much about how exactly this mechanic is going to work, but we got the rough outline: Locations can either be not flooded, partially flooded or fully flooded. This does nothing on its own, but other cards can key off of this. The ones we know so far are two of the Deep Ones and an Agenda card.

There are two main things i can think off on how to use this system. The first one is shaping the location grid dynamically by locking off locations and opening up others as tides rise and fall at them. The other one is as a soft limit on how much time the players have. We have seen such limits in various other places from Doom mechanics over Beyond the Veil to alert levels.


Among the new tokens in the deluxe expansion is a set of keys that can be earned during scenarios and that will unlock Flashbacks.

Flashbacks are story text from the campaign guides. If there is gameplay advantages attached to them or not, is unknown so far, but i would certainly assume so because otherwise they would be very unattractive on replays.


Three treacheries were revealed so far.
One of them, Innsmouth Look, is a variant of a treachery template we have seen two times before with Curse of Yig and Dreams of R’lyeh. Let’s hope that something is done with players gaining the Deep One trait this time around, i always thought that was a huge missed opportunity with Curse of Yig. If not, there are likely a whole lot of investigators who can ignore this treachery, as long as they don’t routinely use their intellect skill.
The other two treacheries are from the same encounter set of the deluxe box. Both of them force players to do a test and then be punished for failing it. The new thing with them is automatically failing on pulling the Elder Thing (for Memory of Oblivion) or Cultist (for Macabre Memento), so effectively you end up having one or two more auto-fails in the bag during those tests. Not only that, but the Elder Things and Cultists usually have their own fail-effects attached to them, making them worse than the tentacle here. If this is limited to just this encounter set or if it’s something that extends to other cards in the cycle remains to be seen. It’s certainly an interesting variation, though. Memory of Oblivion autofailing is going to knock out 4 cards out of a players hand, which sounds quite impacting.

In Too Deep

The announcement for In Too Deep focuses on showcasing the Barricade mechanic that defines this scenario. On the run from Deep Ones, we are expected to maneuver through a massive grid of 15 locations from one end to the other. Between the barricades making it difficult to pass from one location to the other and the Flooded mechanic messing with where you may want to go or not, this has the potential to be a very dynamic affair. I am very much looking forward to this scenario.

Devil Reef

For this announcement, we got a first look at vehicles. At least two scenarios in the cycle will be built around us using vehicles to get from place to place, this being the first one of them and featuring boats that get us from one Island to the next.

The Vehicle keyword is fairly simple. It just means that any player at its location can enter or leave it as a free action. When the vehicle moves, anyone in it moves with it. Nothing too exciting by itself, the rest of the scenario is going to determine how important these end up being. I assume the scenario is going to be built around them fairly massively, though.
FFG left us with final spoiler in that article: A kraken that attacks the ship and everyone in it. It hits hard, it has lots of life and is a Hunter. Taking it down will likely require someone evading it to shut down Retaliate and the Massive multi-attack, tying back into the evasion theme that we already started seeing in the Deep Ones. I think a team that has no ways to evade enemies is going to really struggle with this campaign, in a manner that is very similar to The Forgotten Age.

But what about the Agents of Cthulhu?

I want to close this first look with something that is not really a spoiler, but pure speculation on my part. You know that Agents of Chtulhu set, the one that lies sleeping on the bottom of your core set, just like Cthulhu himself sleeping until its time to awake? I don’t think it’s time to sleeve up those cards quite yet. I predict they are once more not going to be used in these scenarios, both for flavor reasons (Innsmouth Conspiracy is about Dagon, not Cthulhu) and for mechanical ones. Having both Innsmouth Look and Dreams of R’lyeh in the same encounter decks seems too redundant to me.

[Spoilers!] Return to The Forgotten Age: First Impressions

Currently, pictures of the new replacement encounter sets from the Return to TFA box are making the rounds on reddit and Discord. Here they are. I am not going to do a full review of them quite yet, i will wait with that until release and having played with the new campaign myself. They will then get added to the pages of their base sets. But i do have some initial opinions for now:

Cult of Pnakotus

Replaces: Dark Cult
Used in: Threads of Fate, Boundary Beyond, Shattered Aeons

My initial take: Instead of giving us another variant of Ancient Evils, we are getting a new Cult this time. And it’s an interesting one. I think the new Acolyte is a good amount weaker than its Core cousin. The main reason being that as long as no other Cultists are around, you are free to spawn this new one right on top of your Guardian, which will more than offset the Aloof in terms of actions. The other two cards are quite a bit more scary. Four life on the Wizard replacement is very relevant. And From Another Time can just be completely crazy and spread up to four doom around. Scary stuff. Both Acolyte and From Another Time incentivize players to keep the board free from Cultists at all time. I suppose this gets harder when playing with three and four players?

Doomed Expedition

Replaces: Expedition
Used in: Untamed Wilds, Heart of the Elders #1, Depths of Yoth

My initial take: If i am not mistaken, there can be situations where Resentful Wilds makes zero Vengeance runs impossible? Personally, i am not terribly interested in gimmick runs like that, but this seems at least relevant to mention. Tbh, i would rather draw this instead of the original Lost in the Wilds any day. Best-Laid Plans also doesn’t strike me as a particularly frightening card at first glance. You are likely going to take the two action penalty everytime, as having to draw an additional exploration card represents a missed action as well and the treachery itself usually will represent at least another one. So longterm, the straight two actions are the better deal. There’ll be exceptions and it’ll be obvious when: Either the exploration deck is used up anyways or the treachery on top is a very mild one. Low on Supplies is a much less obvious choice and has impact on everyone. Meh, I’m not too excited about this set tbh.

Temporal Hunters

Replaces: Temporal Flux
Used in: Doom of Eztli, Boundary Beyond, Shattered Aeons

My initial take: Oh, i really like that Alpha. Scary card. High combat values, Alert, Retaliate and on each attack it eats up an asset. This can get ugly really quick, especially if it spawns on some rather defenseless character. This is a card to save up a three damage attack for, like Spectral Razor or Vicious Blow. Merging Timelines has a very high ceiling and could just completely wreck a players hand. And turn. No saving throw allowed either. Damn, Temporal Flux was already a high caliber set, but Temporal Hunters dials it up further. This set is going to create a lot of bad beat stories once we all get our hands on the full campaign. My only complaint: Temporal Flux was already a very well executed set, why not replace something a bit more iffy?

Venomous Hate

Replaces: Yig’s Venom
Used in: Doom of Eztli, Boundary Beyond, Heart of the Elders #2, Depths of Yoth

My initial take: Wrath of Yig nerfs the crap out of Serpent’s Call. Not sure how i feel about that, although i will admit that Call was really frustrating to draw sometimes. Attaching a saving throw makes a huge difference here. I like the Vengeful Serpents, though. Fang of Yig had some gimmicks that were rarely ever relevant, leaving them to be little less than fancy Ravenous Ghouls. These new ones have a cool mechanic behind them that will require at least thinking about differently depending on the situation and are more than just a different combination of numbers. Excellent! Speaking of excellent designs, i like the Guardian as well. I’m almost sad it loses Aloof with vengeance though. Would’ve been cooler if it turned into the most annoying Whippoorwill ever.

Final take

All things considered, this looks like a interesting bunch of new cards. Final evaluation of course has to wait until i got to play with them and maybe stumble over some interactions that i am missing in my little drive-by reviewing that i am doing here. I am lukewarm on the Doomed Expedition set, but the others seem cool to me and like they introduce new elements to the game. Interested to see in how the Cultist thing is going to work out. I hope the mechanics on the new Acolyte don’t fall flat in two-player, that’d be a pity. but even if so, the other two cards in that set have enough punch to make some nasty stuff happen.

Looking at which scenarios are using the replacement sets, we can see that City of Archives is the only one that isn’t using any of the replacements. But that scenario wasn’t using any TFA sets to begin with…

If RtTFA is supposed to lower the notorious difficulty of TFA, i would say that this is at least not necessarily apparent from these encounter sets. The change from Serpent’s Call to Wrath of Yig stands out as something that makes our lives easier, but on the whole i would say this roughly keeps the same level, maybe ticks it up a bit.

And now… we wait.