Alright, let’s continue our scenario rankings. If you missed it, check out part I HERE.
Also, to repeat just the most important stuff, here’s the tier scale again:
Also, remember that this includes the Return to, whenever possible.
… Enough chit-chat, let’s go.
Today we got TFA and TCU, both scenarios that have been changed a lot by the Return To box, much more so than RtDunwich (which is mostly bugfixes) and RtCarcosa (which is mostly just some neat encounter sets and little else).
I am an outspoken fan of The Forgotten Age and particularly of Return to TFA. Without the Return, there’d be a lot of yellow in here (and Boundary even lower), but Return pushes everything up a tier or two. On the top sits Threads of Fate, one of the most loved scenarios in the wider community. I don’t think i need to justify this more, it’s a fantastic scenario that changes depending on your campaign state and allows you to manipulate which roads down the campaign you want to follow. Untamed Wilds has a bad reputation because it’s one of those scenarios where Ancient Evils can randomly mess you up, but i find that happens very rarely (at least at 2 players) and i do enjoy this one a lot actually. A short and sweet bout of exploration and then the final conflict with Ichtaca. I deeply appreciate having to make my story choices ingame instead of during the setup/resolution/interlude walls of text. Depths of Yoth has one thing it does well and it does it so well that the Return didn’t even see a need to fudge with it. City of Archives used to be a scenario that i despised, but again the Return saved it with more options for objectives, making it a bit easier and introducing player choice. Great! Shattered Aeons i fail more often than i win it, but since its a finale that works for me. Some story threads are resolved here, you get opportunities for last minute twists and it features a bunch of iconic locations and weird enemies that make it memorable. Boundary Beyond used to be a hellscape of failure and misery, but the updated exploration makes it much more reasonable and i quite like it now. A good amount of diversity in locations, a nice selection of encounter cards capped off by a boss (and mini-boss!) that tempt you with XP if you are willing to also take some Vengeance. All very neat. Doom of Eztli has basically been reinvented by the Return, which is a definite improvement, but compared to what the campaign has to offer otherwise it lags behind. HotE#1 gets a lot of ill will by the community that i don’t necessarily share. It’s a small map with a bunch of Hunters. That’s it. Nothing too special but it’s short enough that it doesn’t overstay its welcome… as long as you don’t have to repeat it. I never had to 😉 Finally, there’s HotE#2 which commits the same sin as Carcosa’s Echoes of the Past: It’s just boring. It doesn’t need to exist, it achieves nothing, it’s just there. Big meh.
I talked a lot about the Return changes for TFA because of how influential they are and a similar thing is true for Circle Undone, at least for a couple of the scenarios. But let me start at the bottom for this one to get it out of the way. Wages of Sin is in my opinion the worst scenario in the game and the Return doesn’t really change that. It’s a scenario that is so damn random and hard that you would usually be glad to get two Heretics, often even resigning after only one. Barely. And the Return asks you to get three Heretics and then give up the XP for them to get anything out of it. It’s … it’s just a bad joke, honestly. Anyways, moving on.
Two of the scenarios in the green saw good improvements from the Return. Greater Good now can have an additional location connection that makes moving around the mansion easier to do. It’s always been one of the better TCU scenarios and i felt like putting it on the top now. The Return to Secret Name profited massively from the exchange of many willpower cards with agility cards. It’s still a very exhausting affair, but much more interesting due to the diversity in challenges. Witching Hour i always though was good, i actually like the gimmick of splitting up the party. The Return stuff is challenging to do, but much more achievable than what’s waiting in Wages. However, if you fail to get the three Heretics in Wages, your work in Witching Hour is undone, so … it’s kinda back to ground zero with the Return stuff. Might as well ignore it in the first place. Clutches of Chaos is a scenario i like quite a lot, with its large map and running around for clues and closing rifts. Used to be my favorite TCU scenario, but it got little more than a set of locations from the Return, while Greater Good and Secret Name both got some significant improvement.
Union and Disillusion is where a lot of story threads come together and to a conclusion, so it should’ve been a grand thing that blows you away. And it tries, with the circle tests as a cool central mechanic and the final showdown with the Watcher as huge story beat. But for me, it always ends up a bit too random for my tastes with some investigators just being unable to do certain locations while others just breeze through it. In true TCU fashion, this is also a long and exhausting one sometimes so i am not always looking forward to dive into it. Before the Black Throne was massively improved by the Return. It used to be an absolute crapshoot of a scenario where you are basically just the punching bag of the doom clock and the encounter deck. Now, this is not completely gone, but the removal of Ancient Evils from here is great and so is the introduction of the Nightgaunt Steeds which act as a safety valve against bad layouts. It’s still a flawed scenario that relies on the doom clock for drama too much, but it’s much more bearable on the Return. I’d go as far and actually call it fair now. Finally, there’s Death’s Doorstep, a scenario that is built around the Haunted mechanic. I don’t like Haunted, so that makes me dislike Doorstep. I realize it’s not a bad scenario and the thing about saving the cultists is even really cool. But i find it hard to get over some of the annoyance i get from all the Haunted nonsense you get bombarded with here and i also really don’t like the Watcher all that much.