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The DFCO Strategy Guide Section IX: Picking Your Characters

Aug 28 2017

We’re going to be honest here—the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is delightfully difficult. Just like Harry Dresden’s default setting in the novels, the game is designed to be a nail-biter all the way until the end, where winning and losing is often decided by a throw of the dice. The game includes three difficulty levels, and we strongly suggest that you start on the Apprentice setting while you’re learning how to play. But what if you’ve done that and are still netting far more losses than wins? Shannon Appelcline of Designers & Dragons and Mechanics & Meeples is here to give you some advice, clarify some rules, and tell you what you need to succeed in this epic 14-part series!

So, without further ado, we present…

The Mechanics & Meeples DFCO Strategy Guide, Section IX: Picking Your Characters

by Shannon Appelcline
Game Historian of Designers & Dragons
Board Game Analyst of Mechanics & Meeples

edited by Karen Twelves

So which of those characters do you use in your DFCO game? There are a few ways to pick.

IX-A. Picking by Stunts or Talents

One way to pick your characters is to look at their cards, Stunts, and Talents and see which would work best for the current Book. In particular, if a Book is Foe-heavy or Case-heavy, pick the stars in that suit.

| Character | Talent | Stunt | Suit |
| Billy & Georgia | +1 Hit to Furthest | Add Hits to Hit Foes | Attack |
| Butters | 1 Hit → 2 Clues | Add Clues to Investigated Cases | Advantage/Investigate |
| Harry | Move Advantage or Obstacle | +4 Hits to Kill Foe | Investigate |
| Luccio | +1 Clue or +1 Hit to Toughest | Move Clues or Hits | Attack |
| Michael | Ready for Range | +3 Hits to Unhit Foe & Push | Balanced |
| Molly | Ready for Die Change | Copy Unused Stunt | Investigate |
| Mouse | Choose to Discard & Draw | Choose to Return a Used Stunt | Attack/Investigate |
| Murphy | +1 Clue to Furthest | Make Fate for Tokened Cards | Investigate |
| Ra | +1 Hit to Wounded | Take a Discarded Attack | Attack |
| Ramirez | 1 Clue → 2 Hits | Return a Discarded Card | Attack/Overcome |
| Sanya | +1 Fate | +3 Clues to Uninvestigated Case & Pull | Attack/Investigate |
| Susan | +1 Clue to Nearest | Choose to Draw & Take Turn | Investigate |
| Thomas | +1 Hit to Nearest | Draw & Play | Attack |

IX-B. Picking by Combos

You can also try to pick characters that work well together. The following list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but instead offers eleven ideas for sets of characters that are fun to play together.

Billy & Georgia + Butters: “Looking at Wolf Bites.” Billy & Georgia have a Talent that can be inefficient, if their Hits on a distant Foe don’t ever kill it. If that’s the case, just have Butters translate those Hits into Clues somewhere closer.

Billy & Georgia + Luccio: “Concentrating the Wolf Bites.” Luccio can also help focus those distant wolf-bite Hits. She does it all in one fell swoop, with her Stunt.

Butters + Ramirez: “Building a Pyramid Scheme.” Butters can turn 1 Hit to 2 Clues and Ramirez can turn 1 Clue to 2 Hits. Put them together and you have an ever-increasing token count with very precise control over where they go.

Luccio + Billy & Georgia or Butters or Murphy: “Peppering the Cards.” Luccio has two different cards (“Pyromantic Precision” and “Strategy”) that add tokens to all appropriate cards within Range 3. This works well with the three Stunts that benefit from having more cards with tokens—but be sure not to waste tokens on cards that will never finish!

Luccio + Michael or Sanya: “Restoring to Mint Condition.” Michael and Sanya can accidentally end up with an unusable Stunt…but not if Luccio is around. She can clear all the tokens off of any one card.

Michael + Billy & Georgia: “Keeping at Arm’s Reach.” Michael’s Stunt allows him to deal damage to a Foe, but it knocks the Foe to the back of the row where they’re hard to hit. Billy & Georgia can help with that, because every time they use their Talent, they can apply another Hit to the Foe. Their Stunt can also hit them.

Michael + Billy & Georgia + Ra: “Adding Insult to Injury.” Michael’s Stunt puts three Hits on that distant Foe, making Ra’s Talent immediately effective against the Foe at the farthest range. This also ensures there is a legal Foe at the farthest range for Billy & Georgia’s Talent to hit. Between the two of them, they can whittle down a very powerful Foe over the course of the game just by using their Talents.

Molly + Mouse: “Triple Stunting.” Molly can use someone else’s Stunt; Mouse can let them reuse it. Together that means that you can use a Stunt three times in a game! (Often, that means that you can use Harry’s “Blasting Rod” three times.) However, the two characters are even more complementary than that: Molly usually has to be careful, lest someone else use a Stunt before she does, but Mouse can just flip the Stunt back over, allowing Molly to use it.

Mouse + Harry or Sanya: “Lining Them Up.” Mouse has two cards (“Claw, Claw, Bite” and “The Nose Knows”) that allow him to swap any two cards at the same range. This nicely lines things up for Harry (who can Attack all the Foes in a row with his “Pyrofuego!” card and who can Investigate all the Cases in a row with his “Consult with Bob” card) or Sanya (who can Attack all the Foes in a row with his “Grenades”). Yeah, Harry is always in the game, but keep an eye out for this combo.

Sanya + Susan: “Keeping it Close.” This is the flip side of the Michael + Billy & Georgia combo. Sanya can use her Stunt to bring a Case in close and apply Clues, then Susan can keep adding to it every time she uses her Talent. It’s not quite as important, because it’s easy to add tokens to a nearby Case (whereas it was hard to add tokens to a faraway Foe), but it’s still a nice bit of synergy.

Thomas + Mouse: “Balancing the Demon.” Thomas’s Stunt is hard to use well. One way to decrease its variability is to decrease the number of cards in Thomas’s deck, letting him have a better idea of what’s left. Mouse can cycle Thomas’s cards, causing him to discard and draw a few times, which will give him a pretty precise understanding of what’s left, particularly in a game with fewer players.


Missed some of the other articles in the series, or looking for advice on a particular gameplay element? Go here for the full list of articles and Bob’s top ten favorite romance novels. (We’re kidding about that last one. It’s probably for the best.)

And that’s it for the strategy guide! We’d like to thank Shannon for all of the excellent advice. The world will be safer from Denarians now.

But seriously, Shannon. Thank you.

The DFCO Strategy Guide Section VIII-E: Playing Promo Characters

Aug 21 2017

We’re going to be honest here—the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is delightfully difficult. Just like Harry Dresden’s default setting in the novels, the game is designed to be a nail-biter all the way until the end, where winning and losing is often decided by a throw of the dice. The game includes three difficulty levels, and we strongly suggest that you start on the Apprentice setting while you’re learning how to play. But what if you’ve done that and are still netting far more losses than wins? Shannon Appelcline of Designers & Dragons and Mechanics & Meeples is here to give you some advice, clarify some rules, and tell you what you need to succeed in this epic 14-part series!

So, without further ado, we present…

The Mechanics & Meeples DFCO Strategy Guide, Section VIII-E: Playing Promo Characters

by Shannon Appelcline
Game Historian of Designers & Dragons
Board Game Analyst of Mechanics & Meeples

edited by Karen Twelves

Hank Walker, alias: Ra

Do you play the non-Dresden Files deck?

Cards of Note. Ra has some unique Overcome and Take Advantage cards. “The Staff of Ra” lets him take an Advantage and keep this Player card if he discards something else, which is handy if your group has ended up short on the card type, while “Scorched Earth” is expensive at 4 Fate, but overcomes the nearest Obstacle, which is useful if something is hanging out at the back of the row.

Best Suit [Attack: 14]. “Blazing Tornado” is of note because it’s one of those rare cards that can do 6 Hits for 5 Fate, in this case if there’s a second Foe adjacent. Otherwise, Ra has some nice Range.

Talent: Sun God for Hire. +1 Hit to a wounded Foe, with two Hits or more. The requirement of two Hits is a slight limit on Ra’s Talent. Try and make that happen quickly, so that he always has a target if he needs to make Fate.

Stunt: Imbued Fire. Take a discarded non-∞ Attack card from another player. Obviously, Ra’s Stunt is dependent on other players having Attack cards. Do your best to retrieve one worth 4 or 5 Fate, but remember that non-infinite limitation, so that you don’t have a rude surprise when you go to grab the card and your resident Rules Lawyer says, “No!”

Team Notes. Make sure to wound a character early on, so that Ra can use his Talent at will.

Mouse

Mouse is the best support character in the game.

Cards of Note. ”Eat Mister’s Food” is a Take Advantage with a shocking Range of 4+2dF, for a reasonable cost of 3 Fate. If you need a hail-Harry to clear an Advantage at Range 5 or 6, this is your card (just be sure you also have an Advantage to take as near as 2, in case you roll badly). Mister isn’t fond of the card, though.

Best Suits [Attack: 11, Investigate: 11]. Unsurprisingly, Mouse’s deck is balanced like a Knight of the Cross. The Attack and Investigate are both strong suits. Especially note his “The Nose Knows” Investigate and “Claw, Claw, Bite” Attack, each of which can swap cards between the rows besides delivering their normal count of token—something that can be used to help out other characters with cards that affect an entire row.

Talent: Foo Dog [Any Time]. Choose a player to discard a card, choose a player to draw a card. Mouse is the ultimate card equalizer, who can make sure that all of your players have the same number of cards, minimizing passes at the end. If you have any large inequity of cards among the players, equalizing it should be Mouse’s first priority: have a player with too many cards discard one of them and have a player with too few cards draw one. If the cards are roughly equal, Mouse can instead help out players who didn’t draw their best cards, as is discussed in Susan’s Stunt strategy.

Stunt: Temple Dog Warning Bark [Mid- to Late Game]. Choose a player to flip over a used Stunt. This is like Molly’s Talent (which lets her use a Stunt), but it gives that additional use to the original player. As with Molly, you can use this very tactically to ensure that you get an extra use of the most appropriate Stunt for you game. If you think it’s useful to reuse a Stunt that works best in early game (like Michael’s), be sure that Stunt gets used very quickly and Mouse gives his warning shortly thereafter. Be aware that a player who gets their Stunt back will have an extra turn, just as if they’d drawn an extra card. So you can also use Mouse’s Stunt to balance player-turn inequities (or if you create an inequity with the Stunt, you may need to balance it with his Talent).

Team Notes. Mouse is the ultimate team player. Coordinate with him to decide who is going to reuse Stunts, which should be part of your big-picture strategy, and who could benefit from card draws and/or card equalization.

 


Missed some of the other articles in the series, or looking for advice on a particular gameplay element? Go here for the full list of articles and Bob’s top ten favorite romance novels. (We’re kidding about that last one. It’s probably for the best.)

Stay tuned to this space for the next section on Picking Your Characters, which will go live on Wednesday, August 23!

Fate Toolkits

Aug 16 2017

Introducing the Toolkit line! These purple-covered books are designed to help you put your ideas into action in Fate. If you find yourself thinking, “What we need here is a flying ape brigade with time-altering lasers, but how do I do that mechanically?” then the Toolkits are designed for you. Whatever your flavor of Fate, the Toolkits are chock full of ideas to help fuel your game.

The Toolkits are designed to work together, so pick and choose system elements from as many or as few as you want. Are you looking to run a Halloween campaign about evil wizards and the group of meddling kids who take them down? You might take the magic rules from Fate System Toolkit, build up the fear factor with the Fate Horror Toolkit, and use ideas from the Fate Adversary Toolkit to create villains that your group will remember forever.

The Fate System Toolkit provides an overview of the kinds of mechanics Fate can support, so if you’re looking for a broad spectrum of ideas, that’s a good place to start. The rest of the Toolkits are designed around a particular theme. All of them are crammed full of mechanics for Fate—aspects, stunts, challenges, compels, zoned combat, and more!

Coming soon (visit the Project Status page for the most up to date information on scheduling):

  • Fate Accessibility Toolkit
  • Fate Space Toolkit
  • Fate Horror Toolkit
  • Fate City Toolkit
  • Fate Infiltration Toolkit

System ToolkitFate System Toolkit

Rules, glorious rules! The Fate Core system is flexible, hackable, and adaptable to any world you can dream up. This Fate System Toolkit is packed with system ideas to bring those dreams to life.

Learn how to hack the skill system to better suit your terraforming campaign. Get ideas on how to create races and societies for your woodland elves, subterranean aliens, or afterlife police force. Customize our magic starters to create your own system, and use our gadget starters to bring your gear to life (only not literally).

Whatever genre you’re gaming, you’ll find a wide array of customizable concepts and optional rules in the Fate System Toolkit to take your campaign to the next level.

Fate System Toolkit.
Raise your game!

The Fate System Toolkit is a Fate Core supplement.

Adversary ToolkitFate Adversary Toolkit

Calling all adversaries!

Antagonists. Obstacles. Villains. Impediments. Call them what you will, but a great campaign needs opposition to create stirring conflict. The Fate Adversary Toolkit offers a variety of ideas, mechanics, and hacks to help you make the most out of every obstacle in your game. Explore what an adversary is in Fate terms, and always remember that everything is a character. Inhabit hostile worlds and situations that work against the players. Face down mooks and big bads built to provide high stakes drama and engage everyone at the table. Learn how to use high quality adversaries to drive your stories to completion.

The Fate Adversary Toolkit is a Fate Core supplement.

The DFCO Strategy Guide Section VIII-D: Playing Expansion #3: Wardens Attack

Aug 16 2017

We’re going to be honest here—the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is delightfully difficult. Just like Harry Dresden’s default setting in the novels, the game is designed to be a nail-biter all the way until the end, where winning and losing is often decided by a throw of the dice. The game includes three difficulty levels, and we strongly suggest that you start on the Apprentice setting while you’re learning how to play. But what if you’ve done that and are still netting far more losses than wins? Shannon Appelcline of Designers & Dragons and Mechanics & Meeples is here to give you some advice, clarify some rules, and tell you what you need to succeed in this epic 14-part series!

So, without further ado, we present…

The Mechanics & Meeples DFCO Strategy Guide, Section VIII-D: Playing Expansion #3: Wardens Attack

by Shannon Appelcline
Game Historian of Designers & Dragons
Board Game Analyst of Mechanics & Meeples

edited by Karen Twelves

Anastasia Luccio

Luccio is a combat beast who can tactically consolidate Hits and Clues.

Cards of Note. Luccio has one of the more expensive Take Advantages in the game: “Council Access,” which costs due to its Range of 4. Besides that, her “Strategy” and “Pyromantic Precision” are of note, because they respectively allow the division of five Clues or Hits among Cases or Foes in Range.

Best Suit [Attack: 12]. Besides “Pyromantic Precision,” Luccio’s Attacks also include “Silver Scimitar” and a “Flame Ribbon” that’s overpriced due to its greater Range.

Talent: Captain of the Wardens [Any Time]. +1 Clue to hardest Case or +1 Hit to toughest Foe. Do damage to a high-value Foe or Case. Ideally, you want to go after a highest-value Case of Foe that’s near the head of a row: it’ll help clear the row and it’ll make sure the tokens you place aren’t wasted.

Stunt: Focus Our Efforts! [Mid- to Late Game]. Move Clues or Hits among Cases or Foes. This is probably one of the more underrated Stunts because it doesn’t improve the count of tokens as you move them nor does it guarantee a kill. Instead, you have to use the Stunt carefully and subtly. Its power is that it removes inefficiency. If you were stacking tokens on a few different Foes (or Cases) that you aren’t likely to solve with an average Showdown, then you can instead consolidate them. Instead of two cards you weren’t going to finish, you hopefully end up with one you will. This can increase the efficiency of your Showdown.

Team Notes. Work with Luccio to make sure that the toughest Foe or hardest Case is something that will accept tokens and can eventually be solved. Also talk with Luccio about how her Stunt empowers everyone else’s abilities—like Billy & Georgia, Murphy, and Butters, whose Stunts power up when there are more tokens out, and Ramirez and (again) Butters, whose Talents move tokens around.

Carlos Ramirez

Ramirez is another combat beast, but with surprising ability to remove Obstacles too.

Cards of Note. “Entropic Blast” and “Steadfast Ally” are high cost Attack and Investigate cards with a special power: they also hit either an adjacent Foe or Case. They offer great versatility, possibly allowing you to finish other Foes or Cases or just to spread out the tokens. The “Regional Commander” Overcome card is also of note. Though it’s a high-cost card at 4 Fate, it basically pays for itself because it lets you draw a card. Play it if you’re early in the turn order or if you know that you have high-cost cards in your draw pile.

Best Suit [Attack: 14, Overcome: 7]. Ramirez’s Attack suit totals four cards. Besides “Entropic Blast” there are “Emerald Light” and “Disintegrator Screen” which do nice short-range damage. Ramirez also gets a reduced version of Harry’s “Pyrofuego!”: “Grenades” adds 1 Hit to all Foes in a row. Meanwhile, don’t overlook Ramirez’s Overcome cards, which total three; it’s one of the stronger Overcome sets in the game. If you’re having problems with Obstacles, and you have a card draw, Ramirez is your go-to warden.

Talent: It Hurts to Be This Good! [Any Time]. Change 1 Clue to 2 Hits. The strategy is the same as Butters’s Talent strategy: increase token count; bail on Cases you won’t solve; and increase Hits on vulnerable Foes. [See Also Butters: change 1 Hit to 2 Clues.]

Stunt: Got Your Back [Mid- to Late Game]. Return a discarded card. The most obvious use of this Stunt is to give someone a “5” Fate card back. Try not to use it unless you can do that. However, you can also recover a type of card that your group needs more of. Perhaps most importantly, you can use it to even out card counts among the players, to minimize passing at the end of the game.

Team Notes. Harry and Ramirez work so well together! Imagine a Pyrofuego from Harry followed by a Grenades from Ramirez, and then Ramirez giving Harry his Pyrofuego back. You’ve done 5 Hits to every Foe in a row! Meanwhile, to allow use of Ramirez’s Talent, be sure that you have Clues sitting out.


Missed some of the other articles in the series, or looking for advice on a particular gameplay element? Go here for the full list of articles and Bob’s top ten favorite romance novels. (We’re kidding about that last one. It’s probably for the best.)

Stay tuned to this space for the next section on Playing Promo Characters, which will go live on Monday, August 21!

The DFCO Strategy Guide Section VIII-C: Playing Expansion #2: Helping Hands

Aug 14 2017

We’re going to be honest here—the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is delightfully difficult. Just like Harry Dresden’s default setting in the novels, the game is designed to be a nail-biter all the way until the end, where winning and losing is often decided by a throw of the dice. The game includes three difficulty levels, and we strongly suggest that you start on the Apprentice setting while you’re learning how to play. But what if you’ve done that and are still netting far more losses than wins? Shannon Appelcline of Designers & Dragons and Mechanics & Meeples is here to give you some advice, clarify some rules, and tell you what you need to succeed in this epic 14-part series!

So, without further ado, we present…

The Mechanics & Meeples DFCO Strategy Guide, Section VIII-C: Playing Expansion #2: Helping Hands

by Shannon Appelcline
Game Historian of Designers & Dragons
Board Game Analyst of Mechanics & Meeples

edited by Karen Twelves

Molly Carpenter

Molly has subtle magic: she’s an investigator, Advantage taker, and manipulator.

Cards of Note. Though “Neru!” is a ghastly expensive Take Advantage with a 5 Fate cost, it has great Range, and it can partially repay for itself with a card draw. “One-Woman Rave” is one of the stronger Attacks since it does 2-6 Hits…and Molly is exactly the woman to make sure the answer is 6.

Best Suit [Investigate: 13]. Of Molly’s Investigates, “Hireki!” is notable for its 5 Fate/4+1dF Clues, and “Sensitive Trance” is notable for its parallel to “One-Woman Rave”: it delivers 2-6 Clues.

Talent: Apprentice Wizard [Intermittently, Any Time]. Later, change a die roll. Molly’s ability to flip one die to a “-” or “+” is particularly notable because every one of her cards except “Veil” has a die roll on it. As a result, she should probably never take an action without having her Talent ready. This Talent is particularly important for “Sensitive Trance” and “One-Woman Rave,” where the die-roll can mean the difference between a horrible action and a great action. Molly also has the advantage of being the only character to date in DFCO who can guarantee herself the longer Range of a card like “Neru!” which has a die roll in its Range (3+1dF). Usually, you would never use that card if you had to get to Range 4, but Molly can. [See also Michael: Ready for range.]

Stunt: Talented Holomancer [Early Game]. Copy an unused Stunt. Obviously, this needs to be used quickly before you start losing options. Harry’s “Blasting Rod” is a popular choice, because it’s one of the best Stunts in the game. Using Ramirez’s ability to retrieve a card is pretty nice too: both to reclaim a high-value card and to further adjust player card counts. Generally, just be sure that you’re planning for its use, because being able to use anyone’s Stunt is pretty powerful strategically.

Team Notes. The players should talk before using their Stunts to be sure that they don’t undercut Molly from doing the same. Plan a strategy for what Stunt can effectively be used twice.

Sanya

Sanya is quite multi-talented, delivering good value for all four types of cards. As thematic as it might be to put Michael and Sanya in the same game, it may not be good strategy unless you are playing a Book with a high proportion of Advantage and Obstacle cards.

Cards of Note. Sanya has another of the adjacency card sets, just like fellow knight Michael: “Esperacchius” delivers Hits but also resolves an adjacent Advantage or Obstacle and “Unswayed by Temptation” does the same with Clues. They’re both great cards because they deliver four tokens at Range 3 for just 5 Fate. Even if you just wanted to place the tokens at Range 3, these would be good cards, but of course you always want to maximize efficiency, so make sure you use the adjacency ability too. Note that the way the card works, you can stretch Sanya’s Range to 4 for that Advantage or Obstacle, which can help hit a card that would usually be out of range.

Best Suit [Attack: 11, Investigate: 11]. Sanya isn’t quite as balanced as Michael, but what do you expect from an agnostic Knight of the Cross? His Attacks and Investigates all have good Range, of at least 2, without much extra cost.

Talent: Agnostic Knight [Any Time]. +1 Fate. Sanya’s Talent is useful, but not very interesting to play. Don’t make the Sanya player generate more than his share of Fate because of his simple, pragmatic Talent. Not only will you make the character less fun to play, but you’ll miss out on his cards, which are well worth playing.

Stunt: Hand of Hope [Early to Mid-Game]+3 Clues to an uninvestigated Case & pull it to front of row. As with Michael, be sure not to waste this—you need to use it before too many Clues go down. Also be aware that it can be very helpful not just for its token placement, but also to move up a Case that’s currently lost at the back of its row. [See also Michael: +3 Hits to a Foe without hits & push.]

Team Notes. Remember to have Harry use his Talent to help Sanya optimize “Esperacchius” and “Unswayed by Temptation” if Sanya is holding them. This costs turns, but as with Michael’s Talent, it may save you from the usual rigamarole of Harry having to pull an Advantage or Obstacle all the way to the front. Also, as with Michael, make sure you’re aware of the limitations on Sanya’s Stunt, and that you don’t accidentally place Clues on a Case that he wanted to use Hand of Hope on.

 

 

 

 


Missed some of the other articles in the series, or looking for advice on a particular gameplay element? Go here for the full list of articles and Bob’s top ten favorite romance novels. (We’re kidding about that last one. It’s probably for the best.)

Stay tuned to this space for the next section on Playing Expansion #3, which will go live on Wednesday, August 16!

The DFCO Strategy Guide Section VIII-B: Playing Expansion #1: Fan Favorites

Aug 9 2017

We’re going to be honest here—the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is delightfully difficult. Just like Harry Dresden’s default setting in the novels, the game is designed to be a nail-biter all the way until the end, where winning and losing is often decided by a throw of the dice. The game includes three difficulty levels, and we strongly suggest that you start on the Apprentice setting while you’re learning how to play. But what if you’ve done that and are still netting far more losses than wins? Shannon Appelcline of Designers & Dragons and Mechanics & Meeples is here to give you some advice, clarify some rules, and tell you what you need to succeed in this epic 14-part series!

So, without further ado, we present…

The Mechanics & Meeples DFCO Strategy Guide, Section VIII-B: Playing Expansion #1: Fan Favorites

by Shannon Appelcline
Game Historian of Designers & Dragons
Board Game Analyst of Mechanics & Meeples

edited by Karen Twelves

Thomas Raith

Thomas can deal lots of Hits, and removes Obstacles well.

Cards of Note. Thomas has the best Overcome card in the whole game: “Family Power” removes every Obstacle in a row. Yes, it costs 5 Fate, but if you can hit two or three Obstacles in a single turn, that’s a phenomenal time saver.

Best Suit [Attack: 14]. Thomas’s Attack cards are a relatively normal set, doing medium to good damage with a bit of extra Range on “Quick Lunge.” And then there’s “Two Blades Slash,” which Hits a Foe in each row at any Range. Add that to its 6 Hits total, and it’s obviously a great card…as long as there’s a Foe in each row.

Talent: Sawed Off Shotgun [Any Time]. +1 Hit to nearest Foe. Like Susan’s similar Talent, this one is almost always useful, because Hits to a nearby Foe should be something you can always build on. Just make sure you do! [See also Billy & Georgia: +1 Hit to furthest; Murphy: +1 Clue to furthest; Susan: +1 Clue to nearest.]

Stunt: Inner Demon [Early Game]. Draw and play a Player card. This is one of the tough Stunts to use, because it’s easy to waste it if you draw a card that’s impossible to use. That’s why it’s usually best to play early, before all the Advantages and Obstacles disappear. If you manage to have all four types of cards at near Range (1 or 2), that’s when you’re most likely to be successful. A Case and a Foe at Range 1 may be the absolutely best setup. You can improve your odds of success with this Stunt if you assess what’s still in your deck. Remember that the deck divider lists how many you have of all four types of cards. Keep it out and refer to it to see what you might draw. This card counting means that Thomas works better in a game with more players: he’ll have fewer cards left in his deck, and so he’ll know more about what he’s got left.

Team Notes. Similar to Susan’s team strategy, try not to put an invulnerable Foe to the front of a row, and if you do, get another Foe to the head of the other row. Consider giving Thomas card draws, or even better discards-and-draws, because this decreases the number of cards left in his deck, increasing his ability to assess what he’ll draw with his Stunt.

Waldo Butters

Butters can deal lots of Clues but he’s also great at taking Advantages and Obstacles at long Range.

Cards of Note. The “Research Party!” Take Advantage is quite expensive, at 5 Fate with only Range 2, but if you can let someone take a 5 Fate card back from their discard, it’s free.

Best Suit [Investigate: 14; Take Advantage: 11]. If you need Investigating, Butters is your pathologist. His “Science!” is notable because for 5 Fate it can deal a total of 6 Clues to two Cases in different rows at any range, which is the mirror of Thomas’s “Two Blades Slash.” His “Medical Examiner” also can deal piles of Clues. Butters also has a shockingly strong Take Advantage hand, which is useful if you’re in a bad situation where you must Take Advantages that are far away.

Talent: Forensic Pathologist [Any Time]. Change 1 Hit to 2 Clues. Obviously, you’re increasing the number of tokens with this Talent. Be sure to also use it to even out tokens usefully, either by getting them off a Foe you’re not going to kill or onto a Case that could be solved. [See also Ramirez: 1 Clue to 2 Hits.]

Stunt: Eureka! [Mid-Game]. Add Clues to investigated Cases. As with Billy & Georgia’s Stunt, don’t wait too long. If a situation looks good, it probably is. [See also Billy & Georgia: Add Hits to hit Foes; Murphy: Make Fate for tokened cards.]

Team Notes. Add some Hits to a Foe early on, so that Butters can use his Talent to heal them and get Clues from them. As with Billy & Georgia and Murphy, consider spreading out your Clue tokens, without finishing Cases, until Butters uses his Stunt.


Missed some of the other articles in the series, or looking for advice on a particular gameplay element? Go here for the full list of articles and Bob’s top ten favorite romance novels. (We’re kidding about that last one. It’s probably for the best.)

Stay tuned to this space for the next section on Playing Expansion #2, which will go live on Monday, August 14!

Limited number of Blades Special Edition available!

Aug 8 2017

It’s a good day for cutthroats, smugglers, and other nefarious types. We’ve just received word that we have a few extra copies of the Blades in the Dark Special Edition!

Hold your lurking-in-the-dark horses. (Do horses lurk? If they don’t, they SHOULD.) Didn’t you say the special edition would only be available to Kickstarter backers?

We did. See, printing is a funny thing. When we print a game, we always print a bit more than we need to account for lost packages, damaged shipments, printing errors, and any books used to defend the KS backer from a knife attack by a shadowy figure. (Actually, I don’t know if we’d replace the book in that last instance. Strangely, it has never come up.) We’re usually pretty good about making those estimates—they’re fueled by Fred’s magical record-keeping ninja powers. But on rare occasions, we lose more copies than expected. That happened with Dresden Files Accelerated earlier this year, and it kinda sucks but then we move along and fix it. On other rare occasions, the printing and shipping fairies are kind to us. We have fewer damages, lost packages, and misprints. And then we end up with extras.

That’s why we ended up with copies after saying that we wouldn’t be able to get any.

Restrain the crew of horse assassins again! (Horseassins? Shouldn’t that be a thing?!) What is the Special Edition?

The Special Edition contains all of the stuff you get in the standard print edition, but with two major differences:

  • A swanky cover (although the cover of the standard print is also swanky)
  • An additional city guide for U’Duasha, the city of fire and bronze. It includes city maps, factions, situations, items, and treasures unique to the Iruvian city of U’Duasha. More places to practice your lurking skills is always good!

The Special Edition will sell for $50, which is exactly what Kickstarter backers paid for it. That seems fair and all, and we’re a fair bunch of evilly hatted scoundrels.

I wants it, my shadow-skulking precious! How do I get my grabby hands on it?!?!

There are two ways to get a copy! First, you can order a copy from the Evil Hat webstore. A stealthy team of black garbed footpads will deliver it to your door. Or, you know, the postal service might do it.

PLEASE NOTE that the Evil Hat webstore no longer offers international shipping. We love our international folks in a major way, and we hate the idea that shipping your products to you from our webstore often costs more than the actual games. With that in mind, we’ve been working hard to develop more and more relationships with overseas distributors. In this case, we know that’s not going to do you a whole lot of good, since the SE will only be offered via our webstore. So! If you live outside of the US and are willing to pay the postage, we suggest a freight forwarder like https://www.shipito.com/en/. It should still be cheaper than the postage rates we were able to offer previously.

If you are going to GenCon, you can get your grabby hands on a copy right there at the con! Indie Press Revolution will have a limited number of copies for sale at booth 2338. Then you don’t have to engage in any of that postage nonsense at all, and you can lurk in the corners of the convention hall with your copy!

Any last words of wisdom before we embark on our latest score?

Why yes! I’m so glad you asked!

These are the LAST LAST REALLY THE LAST copies of the special edition that we intend to print. There are about 500 of them in total. We’re splitting that number between GenCon and our webstore. When they are gone, they are gone like a stolen painting at a black market auction. If you’d like a copy, we advise getting on that as soon as possible.

Did you really just write an informational blog post that included horseassins, printing fairies, and mail-delivering black garbed footpads?

I sure did. And I can write more of them, if you have questions. Just ask ‘em in the comments or email me at carrie@evilhat.com.

The DFCO Strategy Guide Section VIII-A: Playing the Core Characters

Aug 7 2017

We’re going to be honest here—the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is delightfully difficult. Just like Harry Dresden’s default setting in the novels, the game is designed to be a nail-biter all the way until the end, where winning and losing is often decided by a throw of the dice. The game includes three difficulty levels, and we strongly suggest that you start on the Apprentice setting while you’re learning how to play. But what if you’ve done that and are still netting far more losses than wins? Shannon Appelcline of Designers & Dragons and Mechanics & Meeples is here to give you some advice, clarify some rules, and tell you what you need to succeed in this epic 14-part series!

So, without further ado, we present…

The Mechanics & Meeples DFCO Strategy Guide, Section VIII-A: Playing the Core Characters

by Shannon Appelcline
Game Historian of Designers & Dragons
Board Game Analyst of Mechanics & Meeples

edited by Karen Twelves

Billy & Georgia

Billy & Georgia range far afield.

Cards of Note. Almost every one of the Billy & Georgia cards is notable because with just two exceptions they all have strong Range, without much additional Fate cost. Their Attacks span from Range 2 to Range 3, with a cost that’s around a 1:1 Fate:Hits ratio, and their Investigates are similar. If you need someone to place tokens on cards at Range, and you don’t want to pay for it, these are your wolves. (The Alpha’s long-range Overcome and Take Advantage cards are more expensive.)

Best Suit [Attack: 13]. The wolves have a total of four(!) Attack cards. The thing to watch is that one card (“Death Grip”) restores Fate if used to defeat while another (“Savage”) can’t be used to defeat. So, play them early! You don’t want to get stuck with an unplayable card, nor do you want to waste the efficiency of that Fate restoration.

Talent: Leaders of the Pack [Any Time]. +1 Hit to furthest Foe. Make sure that you can eventually make these distant Hits useful—by getting the Foe into Range, using long-range Attacks, or transferring the damage. [See also Murphy: +1 Clue to furthest; Thomas: +1 Hit to nearest; Susan: +1 Clue to nearest]

Stunt: Alpha Pack Attack [Mid-Game]. Add Hits to hit Foes. This is one of those Stunts that you should be very careful with. Don’t keep waiting for the “ideal” usage and don’t put Hits on Foes that will be useless just to make this Stunt seem better. [See also Butters: Add Clues to investigated Cases; Murphy: Make Fate for tokened cards.]

Team Notes. Don’t move invulnerable foes to the longest Range, or Billy & Georgia won’t be able to use their Talent. Meanwhile, spread out team damage early on (as long as it will be useful), but don’t finish things off, so that they can maximize their Stunt.

Harry Dresden

Harry manages the Advantages and Obstacles.

Cards of Note. Harry’s most notable cards are “Pyrofuego!” and “Consult with Bob,” which add Hits or Clues to all the Foes or Cases in a row, respectively. They should be used with care, however: if there aren’t enough Foes or Cases in a single row, they will be inefficient. They are clearly worthwhile if they add Hits or Clues to three cards, but may not be worthwhile if they hit just two.

Best Suit [Investigate: 12]. Besides “Consult with Bob” there’s also “Soulgaze” which adds an impressive 5+2dF Clues and “Private Investigator”—which will probably be used as a Fate generator unless you really need a 3+1dF Range!

Talent: Wizard, P.I. [Early Game]. Move Advantages or Obstacles. Harry’s Talent is the heart of the game. It’s a Talent that should be used in the first few rounds to move Obstacles or Advantages to the front of the rows (or to the back). Burn Harry’s less useful cards in order to help remove these early Book cards. Meanwhile, save the cards that seem most useful for later in the game, when the Fate generation will be turned over to others.

Stunt: Blasting Rod [Mid- to Late Game].+4 Hits to Foe if that will kill them. Optimally, get a Foe to exactly 4 Hits left, to maximize this Stunt’s efficiency.

Team Notes. Depend on Harry for Fate generation early in the game, but expect to support him with Fate later in the game. Also, help to set up his Stunt by arranging it so that Foes have exactly 4 Hits left. Butters and Rodriguez can use their Talents to manage this precisely. If a player gets an opportunity to re-draw a card from discard, it is often best to let Harry re-draw “Pyrofuego!” or “Consult with Bob.”

Karrin Murphy

Murphy is one of the top investigators.

Cards of Note. Note Murphy’s several cards (“Deadeye Shot,” “Detective Work,” and “Interrogation”) that all give bonuses if they finish off their Foe or Case; work to make sure they do—unless several players in the gamers have this same criteria on their cards, then consider using them for Fate generation.

Best Suit [Investigate: 15]. Murphy’s ”Street Sense” has a great 1:1 Fate:Clue ratio, thanks to its Range of 1. Meanwhile, “Detective Work” and “Interrogation,” which pay for their Range of 3 with extra Fate, are definitiely worthwhile as long as they close their Cases.

Talent: S.I. Detective [Any Time]. +1 Clue to furthest Case. Just as with Billy & Georgia, make sure it counts. There’s no point in adding Clues to a Case that you’re never going to get to! [See also Billy & Georgia: +1 Hit to furthest; Thomas: +1 Hit to nearest; Susan: +1 Clue to nearest.]

Stunt: Raw Determination [Mid- to Late Game]. Make +1 Fate for each tokened Book card. Again, the strategy for Billy & Georgia’s Stunt is mirrored here: don’t wait too long on this, or you’ll start hitting diminishing returns. [See also Billy & Georgia: Add Hits to hit Foes; Butters: Add Clues to investigated Cases]

Team Notes. A mirror to the suggestions for Billy & Georgia: don’t move a Case to the longest Range that can’t have tokens placed on it; and early on spread out your tokens without removing Cases or Foes—until Murphy uses her Stunt.

Michael Carpenter

Michael is a problem solver who deals with Advantages and Obstacles.

Cards of Note. Michael can dump a pile of tokens with “Dragonslayer” and “Divine Revelation,” each of which averages a 1:1 Fate:Token ratio and drops down five tokens.

Best Suit [Balanced]. All of Michael’s suits total either 7 or 8 Fate. This makes the Overcome and Take Advantage suits notable; at three cards each, they’re most of his deck. “Kevlar Helps” and “Prayer” are pretty standard cards that remove an Advantage or Obstacle at Range 1 for 1 Fate. It’s “Family Man” and “Fist of God” that are amazing. They have Range 2 and cost 4 Fate, but they also drop two tokens on Foes and Cases on either side. If they can be used for maximum efficiency then the Overcome or Take Advantage power is pretty much free.

Talent: Holy Knight of the Cross [Intermittently, Early to Mid-Game]. Later, extend Range by 2. Michael’s Talent is pretty great because extended Range usually costs extra Fate. Instead Michael has six different cards with Range 1 that all average a 1:1 Fate:Token ratio, but which he can actually use at Range 3 with his Talent. So, power up Michael on his first turn, use as necessary, then power up again. Just be sure not to power him up toward the end of the game when the power will likely be wasted. [See also Molly: Ready for die change.]

Stunt: Amoracchius [Early Game]. +3 Hits to a Foe with no Hits and push them to back of row. Michael’s Stunt is one of the hardest to use well in the game. First, it’s easy to mess up and realize that you can’t use it because all the remaining Foes have already taken Hits. Not only do you lose a great power, but you also lose a turn of play. Wasting a Stunt is the quickest way toward loss in DFCO. But beyond that, you push the Foe to the back of the row. In order to use it effectively, you need to go after a weak Foe (who will die in the Showdown, even with no more Hits) or someone that other Stunts or Talents can hit. There’s one other option: Attack someone in a row that’s become short, leaving them accessible. This will let Michael double up on his Stunt and Talent. If he only knocks someone back to a Range of 3, he can then Hit them with his Talent and either of his Attacks. [See also Sanya: +3 Hits to Uninvestigated Case & pull.]

Team Notes. Have Harry move around cards to maximize Michael’s use of “Family Man” and “Fist of God.” This is a fair trade-off because you may need to worry less about moving those Advantages and Obstacles to closer Ranges because of Michael’s Talent. Make sure that you’re aware of Michael’s need to have a Foe empty of Hits, so that you don’t accidentally spoil his use of his Stunt.

Susan Rodriguez

Susan may be an even better investigator than Murphy.

Cards of Note. The “Expose” Investigate Hits a Foe if it solves a Case and the “The Pen is Mightier…” Attack Investigates a Case if it does not defeat a Foe (which is much easier to do). Try to always use these for their maximum efficiency.

Best Suit [Investigate: 14]. Susan’s 14 Fate of Investigation is concentrated into just three cards. That means her worst Investigate, “Play a Hunch,” delivers 4 Clues for 4 Fate. And it just gets better from there.

Talent: Arcane Reporter [Any Time]. +1 Clue to nearest Case. Susan’s Talent is a lot easier to use than Billy & Georgia’s and Murphy’s, because it adds tokens to a nearby card instead of a faraway one. You still have to make the tokens count, of course, but it’s a lot easier to do so. [See also Billy & Georgia: +1 Hit to furthest; Murphy: +1 Clue to furthest; Thomas: +1 Hit to nearest.]

Stunt: Timely Assist [Mid- to Late Game]. Choose a player to draw a Player card and take the next turn. Susan’s Stunt can help with turn order, but it may not be immediately obvious how that works because of the combo of the card draw and the turn. Effectively she’s both giving a player an extra card/turn and moving them to the start of the turn order. So, if a few players near the end of the original turn order have extra cards, Susan can give the player just before them the card draw and play, and that will balance things out. If the cards are roughly equal, Susan can instead help out a player who didn’t draw their best cards. Remember that the average Fate value of a card is 3. So, have each player count up their cards in hand and played. If someone averages way less than 3, then they’re a great candidate for some assistance. Absent either of these situations, it’s often best for Susan to give the draw to herself.

Team Notes. If a Case that can’t have tokens placed on it ends up at the front of a row, work to get a Case to the front of the other row too, so that Susan can use her Talent. Meanwhile, if you’re one of those people who got a really bad card draw, particularly if you know one of your great cards is in your draw pile, tell Susan.

 


Missed some of the other articles in the series, or looking for advice on a particular gameplay element? Go here for the full list of articles and Bob’s top ten favorite romance novels. (We’re kidding about that last one. It’s probably for the best.)

Stay tuned to this space for the next section on Playing Expansion #1, which will go live on Wednesday, August 9!

Fate Adversary Toolkit

Aug 2 2017
players_info_icon ages_info_icon time_info_icon price_info_icon Fate Adversary Toolkit
3-6 12+ 2-8 hr $15

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Fate Adversary Toolkit

Fate Adversary Toolkit

Fate Adversary Toolkit is an expansion for the Fate Core System.

Calling all adversaries!

Antagonists. Obstacles. Villains. Impediments. Call them what you will, but a great campaign needs opposition to create stirring conflict. The Fate Adversary Toolkit offers a variety of ideas, mechanics, and hacks to help you make the most out of every obstacle in your game. Explore what an adversary is in Fate terms, and always remember that everything is a character. Inhabit hostile worlds and situations that work against the players. Face down mooks and big bads built to provide high stakes drama and engage everyone at the table. Learn how to use high quality adversaries to drive your stories to completion.

The Fate Adversary Toolkit is a Fate Core supplement. This Toolkit includes:

  • A general approach that gives you the tools to create quality adversaries regardless of setting or genre.
  • New categories of adversaries (enemies, obstacles, and constraints), each with their own rules, functions, and samples.
  • Ideas on how to use environments to create conflict and make the most of battlefield zones.
  • A Rogue’s Gallery, full of sample adversaries separated by genre, with ideas on how to use the characters and settings provided to create plot.

Fate Toolkits. All the tools to build your stage.

Expansion Information

Number of players: 3-6
Age of players: 12+
Length: 2-8 hours
Type of Game: Roleplaying Game Supplement for Fate Core
Languages Available: English
Product Code: EHP0034
ISBN: 978-1-61317-139-4
Suggested Retail: $15
Length: 112 Pages
Format: Hardcover Book and digital formats (PDF, Mobi, ebook)
Release Date: August 17, 2017
Game Designers: Brian Engard and Ed Turner

The DFCO Strategy Guide Section VII: Ending the Game

Aug 2 2017

We’re going to be honest here—the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is delightfully difficult. Just like Harry Dresden’s default setting in the novels, the game is designed to be a nail-biter all the way until the end, where winning and losing is often decided by a throw of the dice. The game includes three difficulty levels, and we strongly suggest that you start on the Apprentice setting while you’re learning how to play. But what if you’ve done that and are still netting far more losses than wins? Shannon Appelcline of Designers & Dragons and Mechanics & Meeples is here to give you some advice, clarify some rules, and tell you what you need to succeed in this epic 14-part series!

So, without further ado, we present…

The Mechanics & Meeples DFCO Strategy Guide, Section VII: Ending the Game

by Shannon Appelcline
Game Historian of Designers & Dragons
Board Game Analyst of Mechanics & Meeples

The fact that you can choose when to end your game of DFCO makes it surprisingly tricky.

Get Out in Time

Do not play to the bitter end. Remember that you can stop DFCO at any time and immediately move on the Showdown. If you’ve kept player turns balanced, then your team will probably want to play all of its cards, but if your distribution of cards was uneven, then you may be forced to finish while someone still has cards in their hand.

Manage Your Passes Carefully

This is practically a corollary to “Get Out in Time.” In short: don’t pass unless you absolutely have to. Remember that each pass costs you 1 Fate. So, if you have to pass twice to get back to a player that has a “2” Fate card in his hand, then you might as well have just stopped the game early. If you did the same to get back to someone with a “1” Fate card, then you lost ground.

Corollary #1: Manage your card draws so you never have to pass. This of course goes back to an earlier rule: “Spread Out Player Card Draws.” If you gave bonus cards to players equally, starting with the first player, then no players should need to pass at the end.

Make Fate at the End

At times, it is possible for your team to optimize all their card usage in DFCO. If your final Player cards are all Range 1 Attack and Investigate cards, and they’re in the exact right combination to finish off the Foes and Cases on the board, then you can just keep playing them until you’ve emptied your hands. If you do so, then you may  win the game ahead of the Showdown, and this is usually the most efficient way to play DFCO.

The problem is that you probably haven’t optimized your card usage, and even if you have, you probably haven’t been able to communicate that within your group. You also need some luck with your draw and dice rolls to make that kind of optimization happen. As a result, saving some Fate at the end of the game for the known (but random) rolls of a Showdown is often superior to the unknown results of playing the last few final cards.

This is even more true in several special cases.

Corollary #1: Make Fate if you have the wrong Player cards. When you “Coordinate Your Final Player Cards,” you might determine that you have a useless card or two. Converting them to Fate is a no-brainer.

Corollary #2: Make Fate if your Talent is more useful than your cards. Talents that add Hits and Clues are particularly useful in the late game. If you have a choice between spending 2 Fate to add 2 Hits or making 2 Fate to add 1, you should probably do the latter.

Corollary #3: Make Fate if you have good opportunities for Showdown rolls. If a Showdown roll is particularly good, which tends to mean a 1:1 Fate:Token ratio, then go with the roll, because you usually won’t do better with a Player card play. Spending 1 Fate or 2 Fate for Clues on Storm Front is thus a good choice, because they both generate the same number of tokens on average. Similarly, all of the Showdown rolls for Cases in Fool Moon are worthwhile because they’re 1:1 ratios.

Corollary #3: Make Fate if you have inefficient Player cards. Many Player cards drop below the 1:1 ratio, most often because they have increased Range. You should be even more suspicious of these than usual toward the end of the game. If you don’t need the extra Range, use them for Fate instead.

Corollary #4: Make Fate if you have a long shot to win. Finally, you should generate Fate if it’s obvious that your cards just don’t have any possibility to win the game. In this situation, generate as much Fate as you’ll need to roll high on all the cards that have enough tokens to be worthwhile.

Know Your Showdown Odds

That last point suggests one final rule: your team should know the odds of your Showdown. To roughly calculate this, you need to know three things: how many Book cards you’re going to need to roll on, how many you need to win, and how many tokens each of those Book cards needs to complete.

You’re going to compare those facts to the base number of the Showdown roll. The number of dice you throw creates variance, and there’s a slight difference in the variance between throwing four dice and six dice, but it’s not worth calculating.

There are a large number of possibilities, so the best this article can offer is a few rules of thumb:

If you want to have above-average chances of completing a single Book card, make sure the base number on the Showdown is at least one higher than the number you need. For example, if you are trying to place three tokens on the Book card, for above-average odds, make sure you’re rolling 4+XdF.

You can still have above-average chances for completing a single needed Book card if you have two cards that will each get a Showdown whose base number is equal to the number of tokens you need. For example, if you need three tokens on one of two Book cards, rolling each at 3+XdF isn’t bad.

You can still have above-average chances for completing a single needed Book card if you have three cards that will each get a Showdown whose base number is one less than the number of tokens you need. For example, if you need three tokens on one of three Book cards, rolling each at 2+XdF isn’t bad.

If you increase your base numbers by +1 on any of these Showdown rolls, your odds go up to very good. If you decrease them by -1 or -2, they drop to average or poor.

Corollary #1: If you need to complete more than one Book card in the Showdown, your odds get worse quicker. This is true even if you have great Showdown rolls that are above the numbers suggested here.


Missed some of the other articles in the series, or looking for advice on a particular gameplay element? Go here for the full list of articles and Bob’s top ten favorite romance novels. (We’re kidding about that last one. It’s probably for the best.)

Stay tuned to this space for the next section on Playing the Core Characters, which will go live on Monday, August 7!