|Number of unique Cards||3|
|Role||Doom, Horror, Discard, Willpower, Intellect|
|# of scenarios||3|
My take on this set: A whole set of 6 cards that plays around with doom mechanics. Sounds scary and in many ways it is. The thing that keeps this set from being completely oppressive is how two (well, one and a half) of the three scenarios treat doom differently than usual. During Black Stars Rise and the conviction version of Phantom of Truth adding doom to the agenda and/or the board sometimes even becomes desirable, thus softening the impact of these cards. When played straight, these cards can be a downright menace though. Spires can remove up to two full turns from the scenario, something that can hurt a lot during Curtain Call in particular where a single unanswered Spires will respawn the Royal Emissary even if it just had been dealt with the round before.
The set also plays into something that is seen on various other cards during the Carcosa campaign: Using the intellect skill to combat treacheries, replacing some of what would usually be willpower tests. Intellect is already arguably the most irreplacable stat, having a bunch of doom cards key off of it makes it only more important.
What it does: Following an intellect test with above average difficulty, the investigator failing it will have to choose between taking a horror for each point they failed by or to add one doom to the current agenda. This can cause an immediate advance of the agenda.
My take: This variation on Ancient Evils gives two opportunities to the players to prevent the extra doom from happening. They can either pass the test to completely defuse it or, failing to achieve this, take a variable amount of horror instead. In my experience, the two options are fairly even, i end up taking the horror about as often as i take the doom. This points towards the card being well balanced in that regard.
Threat level: Mid to High. Even when a test and a player choice are attached, a card modeled after Ancient Evils pulls some weight.
Dealing with it: The intellect test is easy to fail by most investigators, so completely negating the card this way is going to be rare. Most often, the decision is going to hinge upon how much the player failed by. A horror or two is easy enough to mitigate, but anything more and that doom token starts to look attractive.
What it does: Spires of Carcosa enters play attached to a location and places two doom on that location. It does offer players the opportunity to remove those doom tokens before they can cause an early advance of the agenda. To do so, a player has to investigate here spending an action. They can then remove a doom instead of discovering a clue.
My take: This is a really dangerous card that can easily cause the players to lose a full turn or even two. Even in the best case scenario, this will take two actions to clear from the clue getter of the group and thus stall the way towards finishing the scenario. Depending on the location that Spires gets attached to, it can become very difficult to clear. Not only can this randomly pop up on high shroud locations, but players will also have to deal with it using their natural intellect scores (plus static bonuses like from Milan and Mag Glasses). Cards like Fingerprint Kit, Rites of Seeking or Duke do not help here and neither do cards that find additional clues or fancy Survivor clue tech like Look What I Found.
Of course, this all depends on the players even being available to spend the actions to investigate here. If they are already bogged down from the previous turn, engaged in a fight for example or split up on a big map like the one in Phantom of Truth, then this can lead to some dire consequences indeed.
Threat level: Very High. There is a lot that can go wrong here and even the best case bogs the players down considerably.
Dealing with it: A good way to prepare yourself for this card is keeping your group together. You don’t want to have your fighter draw Spires while anyone with a reasonable intellect skill is in some other remote corner of the map.
Solo players of course lack this luxury, this is one of many things in the Carcosa campaign that require a somewhat specific answer and having all of them in one deck is going to be a challenge in any case.
Oh, and just pray you don’t draw this during the final part of Curtain Call where horror tokens on locations add some movement impending tests that can stop you from reaching Spires in time – and in turn cut short the time you have to flee from the theater.
What it does: The player has to take a willpower test and, should they fail, is forced to discard two random cards from their hand. The difficulty of the test scales with all doom in play (including doom on the agenda). Should no doom be in play, the card surges.
My take: Random discard is always a bit frightening and having to discard two cards can make a big difference. The difficulty of the test is very variable, ranking from “just don’t draw the auto-fail” to “literally impossible”.
Threat level: Medium. Discarding two random cards can hurt quite a bit and there are a good amount of situations where the test is near impossible to pass.
Dealing with it: There’s not a whole lot that can be done about this card, as the doom progression on the agenda can’t be stopped. Keeping the doom on other cards (Cultists, Spires of Carcosa) low is already something to prioritize, so the existence of Twisted to His Will doesn’t change anything for the players either. This is a “grin and bear it” type of card. Investigators that rely on specific cards (for example Segments of Onyx) may want to prioritize playing them to the board instead of holding them.