|Size of the Encounter Deck||37|
My take on this encounter deck: This is a rather large stack of encounter cards and it includes a generous number of enemies. Most of them are Hunters, too. In Too Deep is a combat heavy scenario where the investigators are constantly being followed by all sorts of Deep Ones and their worshipers. In addition to the thirteen enemies from the deck, there are another two big splashy enemies entering from the set aside cards, of course: The Innsmouth Shoggoth and the Mob. So bring some heavy calibers, you are unlikely to get much done here on pure evasion.
There’s not a whole lot of testing going on with the treacheries here. The only treacheries asking for willpower are Pulled Back and the very similar Dreams of R’lyeh and Innsmouth Look. Having four copies of these sanity draining treacheries around could be bad if they stack up on a vulnerable investigator, but luckily the size of the encounter deck makes that at least unlikely to happen. The only agility tests come from 4 of the cards from the Rising Tide set. So any investigator who is weak to those can avoid them by sticking to non-flooded locations (while that’s still possible at least), but again there’s only 4 out of almost 40, so it might not be worth worrying about.
There is however a solid amount of treacheries here that deal horror and/or damage. This synergizes well with the Hunter enemies who are also threatening to attack your sanity and stamina. The pressure on stamina and sanity is about equal. While there are more damage sources than horror sources, Dreams of R’lyeh and Innsmouth Look both reduce sanity – and that’s kinda like being dealt horror as well.
This scenario also features flooding. The Rising Tides treachery gets some help from Syzygy’s Tidal Alignment this time and they do a suitable job of creating some extra flooded spots in addition to what the agendas are doing. Still, flooding still mostly comes from the agenda, the four extra cards that are hidden in the encounter deck are rarely going to be super relevant.
This scenario is really hard if you try to get everything done. More than many other scenarios with scaling levels of success this one asks a lot of the players ability to estimate how much more they can get done before having to hurry for the exit.
Cancel these: Deep One Invasion, Inundated. It’s hard to justify holding back a Ward for just a single copy of a card in a stack of 37, but when given the chance it is worth trying to do so. Canceling multiple enemy spawns with one card is excellent. Syzygy is also definitely worth canceling, but since it has Peril, that’s even less likely to be worth holding out for than it is for Deep One Invasion. Inundated on the other hand can cost the players the ability to visit all the locations they want to, canceling that is going to be especially worth it in bigger teams where picking up the clues to remove a single barrier can cost the equivalent of five actions.
What it does: Ravager is on the more dangerous side, as far as Deep Ones go. Its statline ranges from 2/4/1 to 4/4/3, depending on the flood level of its location. It’s a Hunter and hits for 2 damage and 1 horror on attack. Like most Deep Ones, it has an engage effect. When Ravager engages a player, that player has to take a test against their combat skill. If they fail, a barricade is created to the west of the current location.
Along with the Young Deep Ones from the Agents of Cthulhu set, the Ravager only enters the encounter deck once the agenda advances for the first time.
My take: The most relevant stat here is the four health, making them a considerable time bump. Taking them out is going to be the job of your main fighter, not only because they have decent fight and evade while in flooded locations, but also because those are most likely to pass the test on engaging.
Their high damage on attack means that it is worth seeking them out and engaging them on your own terms before having them hunt into your position. When doing so, make sure that you don’t accidentally get cut off from the rest of the team by the engagement ability.
Threat level: Medium. A solid threat that will require a turn to deal with it.
Dealing with it: Four health is where enemies usually start requiring multiple actions for sure as they leave the range of cards like Spectral Razor or Dynamite Blast. So unless a player carries a Flamethrower or BAR around, moving into its location and attacking two times is going to take a full turn. Should they miss an attack, there better be another player around to finish off the Deep One or the creature is going to make an attack which in this case hurts quite a bit.
It should go without saying that engaging this enemy on dry ground is preferable, but of course that is going to be possible less and less as the agendas advance and the flooding continues.
It’s a humanoid non-Elite enemy, so (as is becoming a common point all through Innsmouth) the Guardian card Handcuffs is going to be excellent at tucking these down without having to reshuffle them ever again.
What it does: A much smaller enemy than the Ravager, the Emerging Deep One only has 2 health. While it has decent combat, it is very easy to evade. It has Hunter. While it deals “only” one damage and horror on attacks, it does get a bonus attack when engaging at a flooded location. When Emerging Deep One enters play at a location that is not fully flooded, it does so unengaged and exhausted. There are three of these in the deck and unlike the other Deep Ones, it is in the encounter deck right from the start.
My take: This little bugger is deceptively dangerous. If it hunts into you while at a flooded location, it immediately gets to attack twice. So removing it from the board should be a priority. Luckily that’s easy enough to do. Once you are standing at locations that are fully flooded, these come into play with an immediate attack, stacking up with the damage that the agenda likely dealt to you the turn before. Once this happens, it’s usually the sign to get out of this scenario or at least move on to safer locations.
Threat level: Low to Mid. Easy to dispatch, but they are somewhat of a priority.
Dealing with it: These are part of the payoff for flooding in this scenario. The agenda effect for ending the turn in fully flooded locations is less punishing than in Pit of Despair or Devil Reef, so these pick up some of the slack. By staying ahead of the rising waters, these can be defeated fairly easily. Once that is no longer the case, that’s your cue that you are supposed to hurry on your way towards the Railroad Station.
What it does: After shuffling the encounter discard back into the deck, Deep One Invasion fills all the locations to the east of the player with enemies. In order to do so, cards are discarded from the encounter deck until enough Deep One Hunters were revealed and spawned at those locations. There is only one Deep One Invasion in the encounter deck. The enemies that can be spawned by this are the Ravager, the Emerging Deep One and the Young Deep One.
My take: Depending on how deep you are into the scenario, this can spawn up to four enemies. If it comes to that, you are likely to leave already, so usually this will be worst while spawning two or three enemies that are now on your tail while you still have some locations to visit and barricades to remove. A Deep One Invasion will also make it much harder to backtrack to certain locations where you may want to collect or use keys.
Drawing this card in the first turns can be a freebie, while you are still at the eastern locations, setting yourself up and collecting your first clues. To be honest, i am surprised this card isn’t set aside and shuffled into the deck together with the Young Ones and Ravagers.
Threat level: Mid to Hard. There is some unpredictable scaling at work here, but spawning multiple enemies can certainly have a high ceiling.
Dealing with it: If you can not cancel it, dealing with the enemies is going to be required. Since there’s only one of them in the deck, there’s no real point to playing around it, except to maybe hold back a cancel for it.
What it does: Inundated places a barrier at the players location in each direction that doesn’t already have one. If no barrier was placed, the card surges.
My take: Very situational, but likely to cost the players something. Mostly, this places barriers to the east (obstructing the way back) and north/south (impeding movement in the column). This has the potential to break up the team, to be in the way when backtracking to key locations, but in most cases it will require the team to remove another barrier when they want to explore another location in that column. Removing a barrier costs clues, so that is the primary cost of this treachery. Note that this cost scales with player count, meaning that this card does so as well unless there is a special ability on the location that can be used to remove the barrier instead.
Of course, sometimes these barriers don’t matter much because they only lock off areas that you are already done with. If nothing else, the extra barriers can make the Elder Thing token in the bag a lot worse, i guess.
Threat level: Medium. A consistent drain on the player’s clues which in turn leads to many more actions spent clearing other locations if the players want to explore more of the map.
Dealing with it: Clues are plentiful if the only goal is reaching the Railroad Station. However, if the players plan on finding the keys and unlocking the flashbacks then the backtracking and the requirement to visit more of the locations will already be a massive drain on the clues and actions. An untimely Inundated or two can make this very hard. How to handle this card is going to depend a lot on where it lands, if there are other ways around the barricades and how important it is for you to go through them.
What it does: The player has to take a willpower test. If they fail, they are moved one location to the east and have to drop their keys on that location.
My take: Again, very situational. On its surface, this card only costs an action, but depending on the context it can be so much worse. If the investigator was pulled through a barricade, they need to remove that to get back to where they were. If they were pulled into the arms of enemies, they might suddenly see themselves cut off from the rest of the team with a bunch of scary fishpeople in their threat area that are queuing up to resolve their engagement effects. If the location wasn’t picked clean of clues before, that may even have to happen now to pick up the keys again. If its a previously unrevealed location, even worse things can happen.
But then again, you can also draw it early and it can either completely whiff or just cost an action.
Threat level: Medium. The range of possible consequences from this card is wide, warranting a certain respect on its potential alone, even if that is not often going to play out so badly.
Dealing with it: One of the best things you can do to keep this card from being too terrible is being proactive about dealing with the enemies in this scenario. This card punishes evasion based groups a lot, making the Hunters that were left behind immediately catch up again. If this card doesn’t move the player into a location with enemies, it’s usually not going to be too terrible.