|Number of unique Cards||3|
|Role||Willpower, Discard(Hand), Horror|
|# of scenarios||4|
My take on this set: Much more than the actual witches from Anette’s Coven, this group of encounter cards is what players need to fear when going up against the coven. All of these cards test willpower and their effects are a wide spread of things that stop players from enacting their game plan. This set is very impactful and one of the major reasons why investigators with low willpower have a hard time in the campaign.
What it does: Bedeviled sticks to an investigator until they can make an action and pass a Willpower test. This test will automatically be successful if an exhausted witch is around, otherwise the difficulty is three. Until discarded this way, the investigator is unable to trigger any other action abilities on their cards.
Rules clarification: You don’t own treacheries in your threat area, so you are actually able to get rid of this hex yourself without having to rely on being bailed out by someone else.
My take: While there are some investigators that are less troubled by this treachery, the ones most impacted by it are often the ones who are not great at passing the will test. Where a Mystic may just spend an action to regain access to their Shrivels and Rites of Seekings, a Guardian or Rogue could see themselves being locked out of using their weapons with little hope of getting out of it. This card often ends up being a bit of an issue that needs to be solved.
Threat level: Mid to High depending on the investigator. All that is needed to clear the card is a single action and test, but in practice this can be hard to achieve by some.
Dealing with it: For both of the hexes in this set it’s important to remember than any player at the same location can trigger the action and the test on this card. So if the card stuck to a low willpower character that now sees themselves unable to use their assets, hopefully a teammate is able to clear the card for them.
What it does: Wracked uses the same mechanics as Bedeviled for going into a player’s threat area and staying there until an action and willpower test can be made. While under effect of Wracked, the investigator gains -1 to the first skill test they perform each round.
My take: Unlike Bedeviled which is very black and white about how impacting it is, Wracked is a bit more subtle and thus the temptation to let it stick for a few turns is greater. That being said, i certainly failed tests due to the -1 from Wracked before and clearing it should happen rather sooner than later. One of the more threatening effects of Wracked is making all treacheries with a skill test on later turns be harder to pass, enhancing cards such as Rotting Remains, Centuries of Secrets or of course this set’s own Diabolic Voices.
Threat level: High. The danger posed by Wracked isn’t as straightforward as on most other treacheries, but the more difficult tests do stack up and will lead to issues down the line
Dealing with it: If possible, don’t underestimate the card and try to get rid of it before it leads to failed tests and whatever consequences those bring with them. Note that trying to clear the card with your first action will give you -1 to your will, making this harder than it needs to be. Either do it once you already made a different test or let a teammate do it for you.
What it does: Diabolic Voices makes the investigator attempt a willpower test. For each point they failed by, they have to discard a random card from their hand. If copies of Diabolic Voices are already in the encounter discard, then this willpower test’s difficulty is increased for each copy, potentially raising the ceiling on how many cards can be discarded. Investigators that are unable to discard the required number of cards have to take a horror or damage for each missing card.
My take: Random discard can always be painful, even if it’s just a single card that gets discarded. Botching this willpower test can rip a hole into the hand and if that happens early in the game can make short work of any plans the player had to set up. Late game, the potential of discard up to 5 cards lets it stay relevant. This is one of the cards that act as payoff for the “encounter deck discard” theme that is set up by cards like Centuries of Secrets or the Coven Initiate. Personally, i think it does a much better job at that than Evil Past from the City of Sins set.
Threat level: High. This is one of the most frightening player discard treacheries, able to rip apart their hand and once it is done with that, dealing sizeable chunks of damage and horror to them.
Dealing with it: Passing that willpower test is of course the primary way of reducing this cards impact. Doing so will require committing cards for low willpower investigators, though – which in itself is also an attack on the cards in hand. Once there are additional copies of Diabolic Voices in the discard pile, even high willpower characters may want to pitch a card or two if they hold a card that is worth protecting.
Often, this card will be worth just canceling right away, especially the third and second copy. The Guardian card “Fool me once” would be a neat tech card to take a copy of Diabolic Voices out of the game, but that would require resolving the card once without having to discard “Fool me once”, so it’s unreliable at best.
Return to Circle Undone: Hexcraft
My take on this set: I am a bit torn on this set. On the one hand, having more Hexes is certainly good, especially for mixing with the old ones. On the other hand, losing Diabolic Voices stings a bit. It’s one of those treacheries that i love to hate, very powerful and it might just be the only one of the “collect multiples” cards that do work in low player counts. Trespasser is not a whole lot less punishing, but it’s certainly less interesting. The interaction with Hexes in the threat area is a good idea, i wish the payoff was more interesting than just plain damage/horror. TCU already has a lot of that. A LOT.
I don’t think i like this set as a straight up replacement for Witchcraft. The hexes are less impactful and Trespasser… well, see above. I’d be very interested in mixing the original and the new set, though. Running one of each hex and then either 3 Voices or 3 Trespasser sounds like a good idea.
What it does: Like most of the TCU Hexes, Maligned is put into the player’s threat area and stays there until they spend an action and either pass a willpower test or have an exhausted witch at their location.
While in play, the investigator has the cost of all cards they play increased by 1.
My take: Where Bedeviled goes after the player’s assets, Maligned is most impactful for those investigators that play a lot of events. The effect is certainly softer, as Bedeviled completely shuts down an option while this only makes it more expensive. Depending on when you draw this and your investigator, there’s even a good chance that you can just ride this treachery out until the end of the scenario.
Threat level: Low to mid, depending on the investigator. Of the four Hexes in the original and in the new set, this one is the mildest one.
Dealing with it: This is probably going to be less of a priority than the other Hexes. So if you are stuck with this and don’t feel like you can get rid of it yourself, you can coordinate with someone who has better Willpower to take care of it.
What it does: Despoiled uses the same Hex template as the other ones for how it enters and leaves play. While active, the affected player has their skill tests increased in difficulty for each other successful skill test they did before.
My take: Another close mirror of the card it replaces. Where Wracked puts a penalty on your first test, Despoiled does so on the following ones. If you aren’t fighting, you will often not do more than 1 or maybe 2 tests, so this will often be equal or less impacting than Wracked.
Threat level: Low to Mid. Getting your first test without any penalty makes this a lot less frightening than the card it replaces.
Dealing with it: As long as you are not engaged with an enemy, that first action certainly can go towards getting rid of the card via the willpower test. Note that the difficulty on the following tests is only increased if your tests are successful.
What it does: After failing a willpower test, the investigator takes either 2 horror or 2 damage. The difficulty of the test increases by 1 for each (non-weakness) treachery in their threat area.
My take: This can be a significant increase in pressure on the sanity and health of the investigators, especially during Secret Name and Wages of Sin, which both are already not holding back with that. It’s particularly brutal for investigators with very low willpower, like Joe Diamond or most Rogues. Not only will those struggle to discard the treacheries from their threat area, but they will already have a good chance to fail even the basic Willpower(2) test on Trespasser! Since there are 3 copies of this card around, this can stack up fast.
There is a player choice of whether to take damage or horror, but most of the scenarios have a generous amount of both already.
Threat level: Mid to High for most investigators, High for those with 1 or 2 willpower.
Dealing with it: Knowing what else lurks in the encounter deck helps a lot when you have to decide whether you take damage or horror from this. Wages and Secret Name mostly deal damage in large amounts while Witching Hour has Rotting Remains to pile on the horror. Clutches is more even between the two.