The Silent Heath

Other encounter sets in this scenario: Agents of the Colour, Horrors in the Rock, Refractions, Transfiguration, Blight, Striking Fear
Residents involved: Leah (day 1), Rachel (day 3). On day 2, Rosa is around.
Available experience (day 1 and 2): 2 (Brood Queen) + 2 (Crystal Parasites) + 3 (Crystal Remains) = 7XP
Available experience (day 3): As day 1, but also 1XP for parleying with Rachel = 8XP

Size of the Encounter Deck38
# Enemies10
# Willpower13
# Agility2
# Intellect2
# Fight4
# Damage12
# Horror12
# Doom2
(the enemy number includes the Crystal Parasite)

My take on this encounter deck: This is a chunky encounter deck and with that comes a lot of variance. There’s eight Insect enemies in the encounter deck (3x Larva, 3x Soldier, 2x Parasite), so about 1 in 5 encounter cards. Not actually as many as i would have expected! There are two more enemies in the deck, the Miasmatic Shadows. These don’t have a whole lot of synergy with the rest of the encounter deck though. There is some incidental discard in Transfiguration and Blight. This scenario’s Commanding Resonance also has possible discard on it. But considering the size of the encounter deck, it’s not a whole lot so you can reasonably avoid triggering the Shadow’s engage for a long time, possibly for the whole scenario.
A bigger worry is the amount of damage and horror. 1 in 3 cards deal damage, 1 in 3 cards deal horror and there is also some overlap between them of course. You can basically expect that half of the encounter cards come after your health and/or sanity. The cards that deal horror seem to be a bit more dangerous though, especially if you are struggling with passing willpower tests.
To be honest, I’m not sure this encounter deck really needed to be almost 40 cards. Seems a bit bloated and the variance you can get from it could be something to worry about. That being said, it hasn’t been a negative for me so far and i have not heard anyone else talk about it.

My take on the scenario as a whole: This is a cool scenario. You can make a decision early on to either go loud and murder your way through the swarm or try to sneak by. Either way works well, however be ready for a very tense turn when the Queen shows up if you went on a killing spree. I had a good time on my blind playthrough, figuring out how to best deal with the situation when the number of enemies spiked up from “the board is clear” to “there’s six enemies in Wilson’s threat area and another massive on on his location” in the blink of an eye. Since then i had another play of the scenario with Kate and Nate who were much better prepared to fight and evade anything that came up and finally a third one with Finn and Skids who claimed all three remains without killing a single enemy. I really appreciate when a scenario can play this differently depending on how you approach it.
There’s some interesting interactions with soak and damage/horror here. You have a lot coming your way from the encounter deck just in terms of raw numbers, but some of it is direct. Some of it can only be put on assets. There’s the treacheries that get easier when you have damage/horror on you. There’s story assets that you don’t want to see defeated. Those story assets actually deal damage and/or horror to you as well while you get them to their drop-off location. Some of the locations also deal a considerable amount for revealing them or ending your turn on them. It quickly becomes a bit of a number puzzle as you try to figure out the best way to distribute all these horror and damage tokens while keeping your options open.
This is a good one that i enjoy both the gameplay and the theme of.

Scaling/Variants: The residents that are here depending on the day aren’t terribly influential for how this scenario goes. Leah earns a clue for each investigator, Rosa draws some cards and/or peeks under locations. And Rachel hands out an XP, to make up for the circumstance that you only get the Pearl Diary asset if you do this scenario before end of day 2. It’s also one of the few opportunities to gain relationship with Rachel. Meeting Leah here on day 1 will also gain you a log entry, however this will ultimately lead to nothing.
The health of the Brood Queen scales with day number and player number multiplicatively, meaning she can gain anywhere from one (day 1, 1 investigator) to twelve (day 3, 4 investigators) bonus health. This can obviously make a big difference in how difficult she is to defeat, especially when considering that higher player counts will likely also have more Insects spawn alongside her.
If you want to do a different scenario than Twisted Hollows during night 1, this is a good choice. While it doesn’t gain anything specific from being played at night, it also doesn’t lose much. You can gain full XP for this scenario and can recover the Diary asset as well. Note that if you play Silent Heath instead of The Longest Night, you will however not be able to pick up the Diary because you missed the trigger for that to happen by a hair.

How much the arrival of the Queen on the board is going to impact you is going to depend a lot on how things went so far. That’s because for a 2VP Elite boss she’s not even all that tough. But she does arrive with every Insect you killed so far and that can be a huge deal as it will see you swarmed in a way that you are likely not going to be able to handle in full.
So, what does this mean for us? First off, you will likely not want to spend the effort to kill Crystal Parasites if you expect that the Queen will make an appearance. And as soon as a Parasite is in the victory display, it will only be a matter of time before that happens. So either defeat the Parasites after the Queen is dealt with or as close to your time of resigning if you plan on skipping her.
In a best case situation, you kill one Larva or Soldier early on and then immediately get the Queen afterwards, leading to a situation where she doesn’t get much in terms of reinforcements. You can then kill the Queen and from then on play the rest of the scenario without having to worry about the whole thing.
As long as she doesn’t show up, you constantly have to ask yourself if defeating an Insect is worth the later trouble though. Likely, it won’t be. Once you advanced the agenda, the Queen will be likely to appear rather sooner than later even with just two Insects in the victory display so I’d recommend avoiding any more than that for sure.
One final thing to note about the Queen is that she doesn’t have Hunter. If you evade her and run, you can let her be. Since she hits pretty hard and life/sanity are so valuable in this scenario, that can be a reasonable option.

# in the encounter deck: 2

Threat Level: Mid to High

The ceiling on what this can do to you is pretty high as both the second option and the third one can trigger an attack by an enemy. The first option only deals a damage, but stacks up nicely with any of the other choices in a scenario that already has a whole lot of damage and horror on its encounter cards.
So if things go really wrong and you fumble the test at the worst time possible, this will make you engage a Miasmatic Shadow and the nearest Insect, both will attack you immediately and then you get another damage on top. Pretty brutal worst case.
Now, this extreme case isn’t particularly likely, but even just at base level this is just a grab bag of unpleasant effects that will on average be worse for you than Rotting Remains.

# in the encounter deck: 2

Threat Level: Mid to High.

Honestly, the horror worries me most on this one. Taking 2 points when there’s already so many other horror sources around is bad news. As long as an Insect is in play, it will put down a doom instead and (luckily?) that is the likely outcome because you usually don’t have a reason to murder everything in your way in this scenario. Defeating the enemy will take care of the doom, but of course that will also put the Insect into your Victory display, something you might have wanted to avoid. If you are trying to get through the scenario without ever having the Brood Queen appear, you might even decide to just let the doom happen. In that case, the treachery hits you more than if killing the Insect is no big deal to you.

# in the encounter deck: 3

Threat Level: Very Low.

These are almost no threat at all, at least not directly. Their Forced effect will put them directly into the Victory display however and there is a decent amount of effects around that could cause a Larva to attack. When that happens they will make it more likely for the Brood Queen to appear (and bring them back).
They also deal a horror which is a bigger concern than damage in this scenario.
So the Larvas aren’t a complete freebie, but overall you will likely be glad to draw these in the Mythos phase instead of something more pressing.

# in the encounter deck: 3

Threat Level: Low.

Another Aloof enemy (as long as they aren’t with the Queen or at a location that makes them lose the keyword) that doesn’t pose an immediate threat. They make investigations at their location more difficult which can be a problem if multiple of them congregate. Often you will be able to effectively “park” them on a Cave location that you are finished with however, simply by keeping a clue or two on the location for them to guard while you plunder the rest of the map.
If you have to kill them, that isn’t too difficult either. Their 2 health betrays what their flavor text and artwork presents them at. I would have expected more from a 3 meter long creature made of chitin! In any case, this is another enemy that isn’t terribly dangerous on its own and that i would be happy to draw during my Mythos phase instead of almost any of the treacheries.

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