Evil Hat Productions

 

Evil Hat Productions

So You Want To Be A Superhero…

Oct 24 2017

A primer on creating a Venture City supers character for Fate


Before You Start

If your gaming group is going to start a new Venture City campaign, then we recommend you follow the guidelines in Fate Core. Sit down together and discuss the setting, decide on the scale of the story, figure out what issues your party will grapple with, and jointly create the major NPCs and locations. Explore the phase trio which gives your characters backstory and connection. We strongly believe this collaborative experience helps set the foundation for an engaging, dynamic campaign.

However, sometimes you just want to play a one-shot or tinker with a new character. That’s where this guide comes in. It assumes you own both Fate Core and Venture City and provides a quick overview of key concepts without going into the weeds of how the system works. And remember: if you really need to make a character quickly, Venture City has a whole set of partially pregenerated characters ready to customize.

The Fundamentals

Ideally you should start by coming up with your character’s high concept (their role in life and the world), their trouble (their personal struggle) and their name. These will be key to playing the game, but maybe you won’t be inspired until you find out what kind of superhero they are. That’s fine, you can come back to this part at any time.

Powers

Most characters in Venture City have one suite of powers. Powers are like a bigger, flashier version of stunts in Fate Core, and they are paid for by using your stunts. Good news: you get three bonus stunts (for a total of six) to help make your character truly super. If that’s not enough juice, you can also reduce your character’s refresh, with each point of refresh equivalent to one stunt. All characters start with a refresh of 3 and can’t go lower than 1.

A power is the basic building block of the Venture City system. It’s the one cool thing that sets your character apart, and the foundation for all the extra effects your hero can do. Let’s take a look at the different attributes of a power.

Basic power: The big, flashy thing your character does. Does she open a dimensional rift and pop across the room? That’s Teleportation. Your basic power costs one stunt.

Enhancements: Optional extra effects that you stack onto your basic power. We decide our hero (lets call her Fermion) can take people with her as she teleports across the street. That’s an enhancement called Collective Teleportation. Each one also costs a stunt. You can improve an enhancement by paying another stunt and bumping the bonus up by +2.

Drawbacks: Every power has a drawback. Fermion’s physical body hypercharges with energy when she teleports and that energy discharges as soon as she appears at her destination, creating an Involuntary Energy Field. Each power has a list of suggested drawbacks but you can also create your own. Drawbacks are free.

Collateral Damage: Each power can be turbocharged for extra potency, with the downside of inflicting collateral damage. You can choose to use this effect at any time to give your abilities a super boost, but it always comes at a cost. In our example, Fermion can teleport to any location in the city that she has seen before (even in photos) but this imprecise maneuver usually ends up with Fermion crashing through something important. She has Jaunt as a Collateral Damage Effect.  Like drawbacks, collateral damage is free.

Special Effects: These are extra-special benefits you can pull off when you succeed with style or score a success and spend a Fate point. Each power gets two special effects from the following list: Forced Movement, Area Attack, Inflict Condition, Extra Movement, Physical Recovery, Mental Recovery, or Extra Action. If you don’t like those you can also create a special effect using those effects as a guideline. It makes sense that Fermion would have the Forced Movement and Extra Movement special effects attached to her power. If you want more than two special effects, you buy two more by spending a stunt.

Improved Special Effects: Not every power has these, but improved special effects work just like a special effect except that they are unique to their power, do bigger stuff, and each one costs a stunt. A character with the Flight basic power, for example, could choose to spend a stunt to gain the Bullrush improved special effect.

Power Synergies: These are other basic powers that naturally fit with the foundational power. This is the best way to add to your suite of powers without giving your character a bunch of drawbacks. Each synergy costs a stunt, and you can also purchase any enhancements that apply to the new power. In addition, when it comes time to pick special effects, drawbacks, and collateral damage effects, you can pull from the list associated with your foundational power or any of the power synergies you’ve added. If we want to give Fermion the hurl spheres of crackling plasma, we could spend a stunt and pick Energy Blast from the synergy list for Teleportation. Keep in mind, you aren’t limited to the list when picking power synergies. If you can justify it and pay the stunt, you can combine Teleportation with Illusion or whatever combination inspires you.

Power Themes: A power theme colors how your power presents itself. You might create little licks of fire when and wisps of smoke when you use your power, or perhaps you trail a streak of sparks around wherever you go. Power themes also have their own set of enhancements, drawbacks, collateral damage, special effects, and power synergies you can choose from when finalizing your character. Your first power theme is free, but any enhancements, special effects, or power synergies cost the same as if you were buying them off. If you want a second power theme, that costs a stunt. In the case of our hero, let’s give Fermion the Electricity Projection power theme: she’s infused with electrical energy and whenever she uses her power she creates sparks and bolts of lightning.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the various power elements and their costs:

Power Attributes and Cost

Attribute Cost Notes
Basic Power 1 stunt The fundamental root of your hero’s power.
Enhancement 1 stunt Can boost the potency by buying the same enhancement multiple times
Drawback Free You can’t take multiple drawbacks to offset other costs.
Collateral Damage Free The GM gets to determine the exact nature of the collateral damage each time you use it.
Special Effects First two free, 1 stunt per two thereafter Occur when you succeed with style or when you roll a success and pay a Fate point.
Improved Special Effect 1 stunt Work like special effects, but pack a bigger punch.
Power Synergies 1 stunt Gives you an additional power without an additional drawback. Expands the list of enhancements, drawbacks, collateral damage, and special effects you can choose from.
Power Themes First one free, 1 stunt for each thereafter Expands the list of enhancements, drawbacks, collateral damage, and special effects you can choose from.

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve picked your hero’s suite of powers, only a few things remain:

1) Pick and rate your characters skills. You get one Great (+4) skill, two Good (+3) skills, three Fair (+2) skills, and four Average (+1) skills. All other skills Mediocre (+0) by default, unless they’re considered unavailable if the character didn’t take it.

2) Pick any additional stunts, if you have some left. This is optional, you can just pick one and leave the others open to discovery during play. However: those three bonus stunts we gave you earlier? They have to spent on powers.

3) Determine your character’s refresh. Your player character starts with a refresh of 3 unless you spent refresh to get additional powers and effects.

4) Determine stress. By default each Venture City character has two boxes in each physical and mental stress track unless they have skills or powers that modify this number.

If you skipped over defining your hero’s high concept, trouble, or name, you should revisit that now. Heroes without problems or a guiding principle are boring.

And that’s the overview of the core concepts at work in Venture City! Inspired to make your own hero? Grab a copy of the full hardcover book here or order through your FLGS. You’ll also want a copy of Fate Core if you don’t already have one. Now don your cape, grab on of our form-fillable PDF character sheets, and get out there. Venture City needs you!

A Spooky Selection of Fate Worlds for your Halloween Home Game

Oct 13 2017

Since it’s Friday the 13th, we thought we’d share a few of our games and Fate Worlds of Adventure that are just ripe for a special Halloween one-shot. Most are quick reads featuring a ready-to-run sample adventure.

Blood on the Trail sets vampires loose in an alternate history of the Wild West. Your explorers must deal with weather, sickness, wild animals, and… the bloodthirsty undead. It’s American Vampire meets Oregon Trail.
(PDF – Pay What You Want)

 

For a sci-fi bent, Ghost Planets sends members of the highly-skilled Xenohistory Corps off into the far reaches of the galaxy to investigate the mysterious Sigma Event which wiped out vast swathes of alien civilizations. Is humankind next?
(PDF – Pay What You Want)

 

The zombie apocalyse has come! …and gone. Still, someone has to keep the undead in line. In Morts, you’re a Mortician facing down the undead for minimum wage with a shotgun, a couple chintzy rituals, and a chewed up leather jacket.
(PDF – Pay What You Want)

 

For something a bit more whimsical, check out Loose Threads. On the edges of fairy tales live the forgotten misfits of the Company – the collateral damage of someone else’s Happily Ever After. Travel the In-Betweens and help other fairy tale characters who need rescuing from ogres, reversing of curses, and freedom from the evil clutches of bandits.
(PDF – Pay What You Want)

 

When evil is on the rise, the Parliament of Cats stands ready to fight it. The Secrets of Cats depicts a world where the only thing standing between safety and the wrath of a foul Cthulhoid horror is the neighborhood stray and her pack of fellow feline guardians!
(PDF – Pay What You Want)

 

Straw Boss is our latest Fate World of Adventure where the Scholars of the Hieroglyphical Monad bind the Bad Things into service in order to prevent the real world from crumbling into ancient evil. Fight to preserve Who You Think You Are as you tap the eldritch powers of The Thing Inside!
(PDF – Pay What You Want)

 

Walk the twisted alleys of Mad City in Don’t Rest Your Head, a game of nightmares and insomnia, madness and exhaustion. The Paper Boys are closing in, and you’d better pray you don’t become a headline. There’s just one simple rule: Stay Awake. Don’t Rest Your Head.
(PDF – $5)

 

If shows like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or The X-Files inspire you, grab a copy of Monster of the Week. Based on the popular Apocalypse World RPG, this standalone action-horror RPG contains everything you need to tackle Bigfoot, collar a chupacabra, and drive away demons.
(PDF – $12 or $25 Print + PDF )

Finally, if you’re just looking to enjoy a night of spooky boardgaming, check out Don’t Turn Your Back. Set in the sinister world of Don’t Rest Your Head, this combination worker placement and deck building game sets you loose on the streets of Mad City to extract dreams, buy favors from Nightmares, and compete for the Wax King’s favor, and the ultimate prize…escape! (Print – $40)

New to Fate? A Quick List of Resources

Oct 6 2017

If you’re looking to find out more about Fate or want a quick understanding of the core elements of the system, this quick list of a resources will help get you started.

We recommend starting with the Fate Core rulebook itself. You can get it as a Pay What You Want PDF or order the hardcover and PDF in our store. You can also order the book from your local game store and (like all our titles) get the PDF for free.

If you’d like to pick through the rules piecemeal, we have a full Fate SRD online. It includes the foundations of Fate Core as well as many rules innovations introduced in other supplements like Atomic Robo, Three Rocketeers, and Venture City.

Another great way to quickly digest the basics of how the game works is through an Actual Play. We’re big fans of this episode of TableTop with Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, and John Rogers playing in a Fate game run by developer Ryan Macklin.

(If you’d like your own set of Skill Prompt cards used in this game, they are available here.)

For a quick visual explanation of Fate Core, we heartily endorse this two-page comic created by the talented folks over at Up To 4 Players. It’s clean, concise and ideal for printing off as a handout to use at convention or home play.

Click to view the full two-page rules primer over on the Up To 4 Players website.

Finally, once you’ve gotten your feet wet with the rules, join the ongoing discussion of Fate over at the Google+ community or on the Fate reddit or learn more about all of the various core books and supplements via this handy downloadable.

Those are the basics! This list is by no means comprehensive, there are a plethora of Fate-related resources, re-skins, actual plays and more on twitch, youtube, etc.

Welcome to the table. Sit down, join in, and let’s have some fun.

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.