The Longest Night

Other encounter sets in this scenario: The Second Day, Transfiguration, Blight, Chilling Cold, Midnight Mask Treacheries, Striking Fear
Residents involved: Any two you are sufficiently bonded with
Available experience: 5 (no damage on The Captives) + 2 (Ursine Hybrid) = 7XP

Size of the Encounter Deck29
# Enemies
# Willpower9
# Agility4
# Intellect5
# Fight4
# Damage9
# Horror7
# Doom2
The scenario also uses the Fire! set, which doesn’t start in the encounter deck but can be added through player actions and will potentially add more agility tests to the scenario.

My take on this encounter deck: This is one of the roughest encounter decks we had to face. Since all the enemies were shifted into its own separate deck, this is 29 cards of just treachery after treachery, each one more terrifying than the one before it. The goal of the scenario is surviving 10 turns against the enemies that are coming at the farmhouse from four sides and the treacheries are mostly geared towards disrupting the player’s ability to deal with those enemies. There is a smattering of damage and horror dealing cards in there as well, but the focus is clearly on disabling assets, knocking cards out of the player’s hands and taking away the clues they need for putting down more barricades, decoys and traps.
There is a focus on willpower here, primarily because of the presence of both Chilling Cold and Striking Fear. But the other three skills are all also tested on a handful of cards and for the most part those are not cards that can be ignored either.
There’s a good amount of redundancy in this deck, with some treacheries doing a very similar thing to another one. As a result, this deck appears very coherent and like it has internal synergy despite attacking from so many different angles at once. For example, Crypt Chill gets backed up by Fungal Rot in the asset hate department while Downpour and False Lead together will knock a significant amount of clues out of your hands. Also, Desiccation does a similar thing to Dissonant Voices while Strange Mutations closely resembles Rotten Remains. I think this redundancy is the key part to why this encounter deck appears as punishing. It’s easy to roll into a treacheries that double up on each other, with basically the second one punching you while you are still down from the first one.
There are only two different scenario specific treacheries in The Longest Night, but both of them are also extremely dangerous.
The bottom line is that while the enemy deck is the flashy thing that draws your attention with creatures that appear super strong, it’s actually the regular encounter deck that needs to be feared here. There is pretty much no dud in this deck and it is deliberately tuned to hurt common player strategies by coming after their assets and/or disrupting their ability to play cards in general.

My take on the scenario as a whole: It’s one of my favorite scenarios in a while. It shifts so many things around that you really need to re-evaluate many things that the game taught you up to this point. Having the goal of the scenario to just survive (and if possible, protect the middle location) lets the scenario put some serious hurt on the players, confronting them with more each turn than they are likely able to handle on their own. It is down to creative use of investigator abilities, card triggers and the clue options the scenario offers to stall the scenario long enough to make it out before you are overrun. That makes for a suspenseful affair from start to finish. While the whole thing takes only 10 turns which is a handful less than usual, so much happens compressed into that time that it really doesn’t appear to be over that quickly.
It’s a scenario that rewards being able to adapt to shifting board states and to make the most out of your abilities. It doesn’t repeat the failures of something like Carcosa’s Echoes of the Past where you could just kill everything as it pops up or Scarlet Keys’ Alexandria scenario where a single evader allows the rest to just wait out the doom clock (that particular problem is repeated by a different scenario in Hemlock Vale though…).
What i like most about The Longest Night is that everyone gets to contribute. Fighting is important, evading is important and gathering clues is important. Whatever your job in the team usually is, you do have a way to stall the tide of enemies. Through the center location, even single-minded fighters get to participate in the clue-driven defense mechanics. It’s a scenario that lets everyone leverage their best abilities.
High marks all around from me.

The enemies: Let’s have a closer look at the enemy deck first. I’ll try to loosely rank them by how dangerous they are, starting at the top.

When the scenario starts, the Ursine Hybrid is at the west location, three steps away from the farm house. Hopefully you wounded it already in the Twisted Hollow scenario, otherwise taking it out is going to be a lot more difficult. And taking it out is something you should absolutely plan on doing so you have one less thing to worry about. You don’t want this thing stalking you for the rest of the scenario. Note that this is the only enemy that doesn’t Patrol towards the farmhouse, it has regular Hunter. That means you can lure it away from the middle and towards the edge of the map again, possibly letting it walk into traps. This is a particularly viable plan if you happen to get the Ajax asset early on. As already experienced in the Twisted Hollow, that combination of 5 fight, Retaliate and damage/horror worthy of an Old One is to be feared and respected. Use evasion as appropriate to stop it from retaliating and try to get it down as far as possible through traps or Fire! treacheries before trying to finish it off. This is something that is going to be a lot easier in low player counts because the player scaling has really significant consequences here: The health of the bear rises in high player counts, but the number of traps you can put in its way stays the same because you can only put one trap per location. Again, having it come into play with 2 damage per investigator from wounding it in Twisted Hollow is paying off big time here.

Molting Hybrid is public enemy number one. Well, after the bear, of course. Ignoring Barriers is very strong and the ability to reduce damage coupled with Aloof makes it incredibly annoying to deal with. At the same time, 4 evasion with Aloof means that you really don’t want to use evasion on it either. The best case you can hope for is that it moves into a location that you have prepared with both a trap and a decoy. That will exhaust it and deal two damage to it (one from the trap, one from the decoy). You can then move in, engage it and punch it. Still costs you two clues to put those defenses back up again and a bunch of actions, but at least it’s gone then. Molting Hybrid is also quite vulnerable to Fire! treacheries. Setting up a decoy in a fire is a good way of taking care of enemies in general and the bird is one of the enemies where that tactic pays off the most.

Slithering Hybrid is the other Aloof enemy and like the bird it ignores barriers. It actually ignores everything, even the Fire! treachery which means an investigator has to actively engage and defeat it. That isn’t terribly difficult but does of course require a couple actions to do. If you have multiple locations to chose from when spawning this one, see if you can’t make it move over the Vineyard. It allows engaging an enemy from Aloof for free, saving you an action. This thing is rather easy to underestimate because it lacks the flashy abilities that many of the other hybrids have, but just the necessity of having to deal with it yourself and not being allowed to pawn it off to defenses makes this one of the more annoying enemies in the deck.

The Capra Hybrid is one of two Elite enemies in the Enemy deck. It can be stalled with barriers, but ignoring Decoys is certainly a strong ability as well. With 5 health it can even shrug off two traps. This thing will usually spawn and take out a bunch of your defenses, then still need a personal touch to go down. Anything that can be stalled by barriers is automatically a lot more easy to handle than the bird and the slug but this will still take away a sizeable amount of actions from you.

The Equine Hybrid will always need three damage sources before it goes down, which is actually not all that different in practice than the 5 health on the goat. It ignores traps but that’s actually a good thing as we wouldn’t want to waste them on the damage reduction of this enemy. Instead we are happy to see these run into a decoy or two until they stand in front of a barricade for a while, waiting for us to finally finish them off. With their low stats, these can often be an afterthought to clean up while doing other things.

The Lupine Hybrid is an Elite, but i struggle to understand why. There isn’t a whole lot about this one that appears particularly elite to me. On the contrary, in an enemy deck that is populated with powerful enemies that have Aloof, damage reduction and/or abilities to ignore our defenses, this is just a regular dork. Sure, 4 health is not nothing, but considering that we’ll probably be able to let it run into a trap and or decoy before meeting it, that is perfectly fine. The dog should pose no problem to you as they will run into any sort of defense you put up. Love the flavor text, though!

Other notes on this scenario: So those are the enemies and they do look imposing enough and like they are a pain to defeat. However, the key to this scenario is remembering that this is not Echoes of the Past. You aren’t supposed or required to kill everything, you only need to stall them for a couple turns. It’s completely normal and expected to finish the scenario with half a dozen or more enemies still on the board, scratching away at a barrier. The bird and the slug are the two enemies that you should be prepared to kill on sight because you can not stop them from reaching the center without engaging them. Everything else can be stalled at a price of a clue per turn. Now obviously you don’t have enough clues to do that for every enemy every turn, but you do get enough to do this for a good while. Decoys are the best thing you can get for a clue. Barriers can be spammed either to barricade the center location in or to make enemies stand in a fire. Often you can combine the two. Traps are a good deal less important, but they help with the bear, the goats and the dogs.
The Fire! treachery can be a great tool to butter up enemies that pass through it, but you should only consider that option if you are prepared to pass an agility(4) test. With each Fire! you put on the board, another one goes into the encounter deck. Having one of them attach to The Farmhouse and stick around would be catastrophic, so you do need to be able to put out a Fire! if necessary. If you aren’t, then don’t risk it. The Fire! mechanic is a completely voluntary opt-in.
Don’t underestimate the amount of movement you have. The center location offers a free move for resources. Ajax lets you move twice or jump to a Fields. There’s a location that allows you to drop traps and decoys to other locations and some of the Outer Fields allow moving defenses around on the map. Between all these options you should always be able to do *something* no matter where a new threat popped up.
Remember that everything you have is a resource. Even your health and sanity. You only need to reach turn ten. If that means in the final turns to engage everything so it can’t move into the Farmhouse… that is perfectly fine as long as you don’t die from the attacks you are going to suffer.
Finally, i found the ability on the center location to just grab a clue from the bank to be incredibly useful and key to having more productive turns with investigators that aren’t able to grab a lot of clues themselves. When I played the scenario with Nathaniel and Kate, Nathaniel used that ability almost every turn and got fantastic use out of it. In a roundabout way, it’s an action to damage and exhaust an enemy as a free trigger later on, that’s really respectable.

Alright, to finish this off, let’s check out the two scenario specific treacheries.

Scenario specific encounter cards

Number in the encounter deck: 4

Threat level: High to Very High

Four of these are in the encounter deck. That’s two more than i am comfortable with… These things can really mess up your day. They are the only encounter card that tests evasion (unless you decide to put Fire! into the encounter deck, but that’s on you!) and if your group is weak in that skill this card will punish you quite harshly.
Basically, what this does is shift the enemy movement and attack to an earlier point in the turn than usual. This can ruin a lot of carefully considered plans and just the threat of this happening will mean that you might want to build some redundancies into your defenses. Drop an extra barrier here and there just in case. Because otherwise you might suddenly find three enemies attacking the farmhouse during Mythos that you were planning on handling over the course of the coming investigator phase. Or, and that is always just great, you might get mauled by a bear that you were planning to evade.
Speaking of the bear, it creates an interesting tension with regard to when you’d want to draw Incursion. If you draw it early, that bear might get an extra attack in which sucks. If you draw it late, the amount of doom might already mean that X is 3 or more which is when Incursion starts to really hurt in terms of enemy advancement and depletion of your barriers.
There is one silver lining here. Any attacking enemy attacks as if it were the enemy phase. What that means is: it exhausts. So it won’t move and attack again during the actual enemy phase later in the turn. Remember this! The card is rough enough as it is, no need to make it harder on yourself. Of course, this is only relevant if the enemy got to attack. If it merely moved and/or destroyed a barrier, then nothing is going to stop it from doing that again because those things don’t exhaust it. This card is yet another reason why decoys are so good. If an enemy walks into one because of Incursion but doesn’t attack, it will still be exhausted for the enemy phase.

Number in the encounter deck: 2

Threat level: High

Yeah, there’s no good choices here, this is awful back to front. Let’s go over them one by one.
Removing a doom from the agenda means having to sit out another turn. Another round of encounter draws. Another round of every enemy on the board trying to get to you. That is significant and should not be taken lightly. If you are in control of the board and think you have a good grip on everything, feel free to pick this. But if you are unsure, this can easily be what makes the difference between barely finishing and barely losing.
Dealing 2 damage to the captives is actually not thaaaat bad if your goal is just finishing. As long as you aren’t getting battered too hard, the 10 health on the Captives can stand to lose a little bit. This seems preferable to another round of the scenario if the goal is just finishing the scenario with a success. Here’s the rub though: The XP you gain for the scenario scales with how little damage is on The Captives. In other words, picking the second option basically adds a “Victory -1” to the resolution. If you are like me, that can be hard to swallow… I really value my XP payouts 😀
Finally, we have the third option which isn’t subtle at all. You can avoid any of the two previous outcomes and instead get chunked for 3 damage and 3 horror. Direct, no soak allowed. This can be an option on the final two turns when you know you only need to survive another one or two turns. But i would not risk it when drawing the treachery early on. The encounter deck doesn’t focus on damage and horror, but there is some around. A Rotten Remains is a lot scarier than usual if you decided to take 3 direct horror on a previous turn and so are many of the enemies if you can’t afford to take a hit or three.
As much as i groan when i draw this card, i suppose i have to acknowledge how well it manages to give you three options and still be actually a tough card to resolve. Usually just the presence of a player choice does mellow cards considerably. I don’t really feel that this is the case here.

4 Replies to “The Longest Night”

  1. Does the agenda have “Doom on cards in play subtracts from the agenda instead of adding to it?” If not, maybe this is Amina’s time to shine.

    In all seriousness, since not all the cards for the campaign are out on ArkhamDB yet, I feel like getting some more context would be useful. What does Ajax do? What do traps, decoys, and barriers do? I know that eventually the campaign will go up on ArkhamDB, but until then, I feel like elaborating on some of the cards here would be helpful.

  2. It has the “Doom on cards subtract” clause, and in addition “cards, that add doom to the agenda, add them to the Captives instead”, so even the “Silver Twilight Acolyte” or Agnes’ “Dark Memory” won’t help.

    I don’t agree on the additional context needed, as I would not read the articles before the blind run, but since you asked: Ajax is a creature ally story asset, that lets you move two spaces instead of one, or to the outer locations. Traps deals 2 damage to an enemy, decoys only 1 damage, but also evades them and they will not ready during upkeep. Barriers stop enemies from movement.

    1. Got it, thanks. The main counterpoint I would have to not reading the article before the blind run is that some people may use the article to determine whether they like the scenario enough to purchase the box, making the additional context useful information. I do take your point, though.

  3. Yeah, the site is firmly aimed at people that are doing their Xth playthrough. I wouldn’t suggest anyone to read any of this analysis before playing the scenario themselves. These aren’t preparation articles, or at least that’s not what i am intending them to be. I am a firm believer in making a playthrough or two on your own first, the blind run is something special i wouldn’t want to take away from anyone.

Leave a Reply