|Size of the Encounter Deck||28|
My take on this encounter deck: Now, the big gimmick of the scenario is of course the huge rotating god spider in the middle of the table. But let’s ignore that big set piece for a bit and look at the actual encounter deck. It consists of basically three things: Spiders, doom and things that stop you from moving. The scenario itself is not particularly difficult, but the final phase of the boss fight has some high variance in how much doom is generated from Atlach-Nacha’s moving around the locations. To focus on that, it is imperative to prevent any unnecessary doom until getting there. A third of the encounter deck is made up of cards that spread doom around. Two of those cards, Ancient Evils and Endless Weaving, are not really all that interactive. But the Web-Spinner should get all the attention needed so that it doesn’t get to do its thing. Between the nine spiders in the encounter deck, the small web of locations and Atlach-Nacha occupying up to four of these locations herself, the spider synergies from some of the treacheries are more likely to fire in this scenario than in the ones before. This is particularly relevant for Will of the Spider-Mother that can stop a player from finishing off a leg or dealing with a Web-Spinner. Something unusual about this encounter deck is how it has more treacheries requiring fight tests than ones that check willpower. Investigators that struggle with passing fight tests may need another player on their side who can, otherwise they risk being immobilized over and over by Caught in a Web and Sickening Webs.
This scenario is not perfect, but i don’t think that’s the encounter deck’s fault. This deck looks focused on doing a few things well and accomplishes those goals reasonably well.
Cancel these: Ancient Evils, Endless Weaving. The real enemy in this scenario is not the spider queen, it’s the doom clock. Delaying doom, especially doom on locations, is crucial to having enough time to finish off Atlach-Nacha’s final form. The Web-Spinner can be dealt with conventional means, but Evils and Weaving are both non-interactive and a case of either they get canceled or they add their doom.
What it does: Spinner in Darkness enhances the nearest spider leg (or Atlach-Nacha herself, if already at that stage) with an extra damage and horror on attacks. To discard it, a player has to take an action and test any of their skills at difficulty 5.
My take: Only relevant in high player counts. Otherwise it’s easy enough to burst down a leg in one turn, so it won’t even get an attack off. Either way, using precious actions to try and pass a difficult test just to discard this card seems outlandish to me, just kill that leg and be done with it.
Threat level: Low. Only a problem on high player counts, and not much of one even then.
Dealing with it: Instead of dealing with this treachery, it’s preferrable to deal with the leg that is attached to it. Since that is what you are trying to do anyways, this treachery shouldn’t feel like much.
What it does: The player who gets Caught in a Web is unable to move more than once each turn. They also gain a -1 penalty to their agility. This keeps on until someone spends an action and passes a fight test to discard the treachery.
My take: Being limited to only one action can severely limit a player’s options in this scenario, so discarding this treachery should be a priority. Note that Weavers of the Cosmos also has Sickening Webs from the Spiders encounter set, doubling up on this effect.
Threat level: Mid to High. Weaver of the Cosmos requires players to move around the spider web to move out of the legs ways, run after Web-Spinners and collect clues. Caught in a Web directly impairs the player’s ability to do those things.
Dealing with it: As with all treacheries that follow this template, either do the test yourself or have a teammate do it for you. A difficulty of three means that as long as you have an icon or two to commit to the test, you should be fine … but the players with low fight stats usually do not have a whole lot of fight icons in their deck either. Since there are five treacheries of this kind in the encounter deck, low fight investigators can find themselves bullied by the encounter deck when they draw multiples of them back to back.
What it does: The Web-Spinner is a weak spider that drops a doom token on its location every round it gets to stay alive. It is aloof, making it take more actions to engage and kill it.
My take: I would call the Web-Spinner this scenario’s version of Ancient Evils, but Evils is actually in the deck itself. Still, an enemy that creates doom every turn is a high priority – especially if that doom doesn’t go away when the enemy is killed. It’s worth to drop what you are doing and take these out as soon as possible, even if it means getting slapped by one of Atlach-Nacha’s legs in the process.
Threat level: Very High. Doom is usually how you lose this scenario. Web-Spinners can cause a lot of doom if unanswered, which is why they cannot be allowed to do so.
Dealing with it: Their low stats mean that they aren’t difficult to kill. It just takes a turn to move into their location, engage them and then squish them. Thankfully, it appears at any empty location, so it will not just appear on the other side of the web and you should be able to place it right next to someone capable of killing it.
What it does: Endless Weaving causes a spider enemy to make an immediate attack. If the spider is not engaged, it will drop a doom token on its location instead. Should no spider be in play (which is only possible in the first act, since all of Atlach-Nacha’s parts count as spider enemies, of course), a spider enemy is spawned from the encounter deck.
My take: I don’t have a habit of engaging spiders and letting them live into the next turn, so i have come to accept Endless Weavings as Ancient Evils #4-6. Obviously that’s not great for us…
Threat level: Very High. It could be argued that this is even worse than Ancient Evils, since the doom token placed on the location persists through flipping the agenda.
Dealing with it: If given the option, take the attack. You are going to need as little doom on the locations as possible to have as much time as you can to deal with the final phase of the boss fight. That being said, this option doesn’t present itself often (unless you set it up to do so, but that doesn’t seem worth it), leaving Endless Weaving as a prime candidate for a cancel card.