Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tommy's Take on ATOE Hero Packs 1 & 2

Yes, more A Touch of Evil reviews. Why? In part because I've been playing the game a lot lately. Now, I'm going to tackle the two Hero Packs, even though they came out three years apart. Hero Pack 1 was released around the same time as the big box expansion Something Wicked, while Hero Pack 2 was released in conjunction with big box expansion The Coast.

A TOUCH OF EVIL HERO PACK 1

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: A small box expansion for A Touch of Evil, retailing for about $25 (or less if you find can a good deal), including a handful of cards to expand the existing Shadowbrook town decks, but also (more importantly) four new heroes and a villain. Each hero comes with a new figure and a Hero Card, and the villain has a large Record sheet. First up, the Heroes:

Harlow Morgan, Inventor: This Ben Franklin looking fellow is high on Cunning and Honor, but not Spirit and Combat. He can generate Investigation each round, due to his genius, and spend Investigation for extra Fight Dice as he brainstorms ways to fight the bad guys.

Lucy Hanbrook: Lucy is actually the daughter of two of the Elders in the game, and appears as an Ally card in the main set. She gets an alternate starting position (the Hanbrook Manor) and the ability to force opponents to re-roll a die, as well as healing quickly.

Adrianna, The Foreign Traveler: A mysterious blind chick that has heightened senses, allowing her to discover the secrets of the Elders easier, as well as allowing her to land blows before her opponents do in combat.

The Scarlet Shadow: Portrayed by the game's designer, Jason C. Hill, The Scarlet Shadow is one of the more unique heroes. He has an Honor of 6, starts off on Road spaces, and can lose Investigation for venturing into town. Oh, and if he rolls a 6 for movement, he can go anywhere on the board. Like Lucy, he is also available as in Ally (in the Allies web expansion).

The new villain:

The Necromancer: A depraved man who has studied dark Magik in order to lash out at those he feels has wronged him, The Necromancer spawns Walking Dead like crazy, sending them towards Town Hall every Mystery Phase, and requires the heroes fighting him to beef up Spirit and Cunning or they'll have trouble. The Necromancer is assumed to use the Vampire Minion chart.

It also introduces a new rule covering the drawing of Ally cards for people already in the game (it can score you both Investigation) and new cards (like Event cards that allow you to add traits together when fighting, or team attacks).

WHAT WORKS: Three of the four heroes are GREAT (I don't care for Lucy), and the Necromancer can be an awesome villain with some modifications (see below). I'm also a pretty big fan of the "add one stat to another" Event cards.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I've had some bad experiences playing as Lucy, and the Necromancer using the Vampire's minion chart is kinda weak, but a fan-made Necromancer minion chart filled the voice nicely.

CONCLUSION: Three great characters and a villain who is awesome with a bit of house ruling, and this makes for a worthwhile addition to your ATOE games.

A TOUCH OF EVIL HERO PACK 2

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: As with Hero Pack 1, you are getting a small box expansion that retails for about $25, includes 10 cards, four heroes and a villain (this time with its own minion chart). The Heroes:

Abigail Sturn, Student of the Occult: Another "ascended ally", Abigail Sturn first appeared at The Inn in Something Wicked. She can use Cunning in place of Combat, which may not seem like a huge deal...until you realize that she gets +1 Cunning for every book she has, and some of the Book items add to Cunning as well.

Jack Fellows, Privateer: A good alternate to Karl, The Soldier for a low-maintenance character, he's a stout, well-rounded fighter who can re-roll any missed to-hit rolls.

Frederic Leon, Foreign Diplomat: A French diplomat, Leon can acquire his own personal Militia to follow him around the board.

Sara, The Bright Witch: She scores 2 Investigation a turn, trumping Harlow, and can stop damage from being inflicted with a die roll and Investigation expenditure, and gains a bonus against certain monster types.

And the new villain:

The Reaper: Every bit as bad as he sounds, The Reaper is essentially death incarnate. He marks Elders for death, spreads death across the land and gains Wounds every time he kills an Elder. He will strike often, as well.

New cards include Lighting strikes that blast random locations (attacking any Heroes who happen to be there) and location cards like the chest at the Windmill that lets you carry more cards.

WHAT WORKS: Cool new concepts for characters, and a villain that just seems like a horrifying force to deal with.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I need to play some more, but the new heroes seem a tad powerful compared to the earlier ones...power creep would be a bad thing, as it could hamper the fun factor of playing with parties of new and old characters.

CONCLUSION: The Villain is a bit cooler this time around, but the characters are a little less fun compared to Harlow, Adrianna and The Scarlet Shadow. Still, for an ATOE enthusiast, it's a strong recommendation. I certainly didn't feel like I wasted my money.