Survivor
Asset. Hand

Item. Tool. Weapon. Melee.

Cost: 2.
Test Icons:

: Fight. You get +2 for this attack.

Discard Gravedigger's Shovel: Discover 1 clue at your location.

I knew I should have, but I couldn't stop digging.
Matt Bradbury
The Path to Carcosa #37.
Gravedigger's Shovel
Reviews

So I have to step in here and try and prevent another senseless loss of ...okay its not that critical but honestly I am seeing grave diggers shovel all over the place and wondering to myself "why?"

Let's look at what it does piece by piece:

What it is: 2 cost, item, tool, melee, weapon. hand slot. A lot of cool tags to help it get into play, you can discount it, hold it in a bandolier, its also not too expensive so you don't really need to do much to get it into play.

What it gives you: +2 to combat for 1 damage fights, action and discard to get 1 clue these seem alright on paper, but remember this is tied to a hand slot, a hand slot that could have been a flashlight if core was all you had, and flashlight while providing no combat powers provides much more clue gathering ability at lower shrouds. If you are at the point where all that are left are high shroud locations and the only tool left is the shovel you are in for a world of hurt to win anyway.

The main issue I have is, even if this card is free to play, came into play fast it still isn't worth your time to use it, because the effects that brought it into play could have gotten anything else with the similarly wide net of traits. So really what this turns into is 2 resources, 2 actions, get 1 clue, maybe fight slightly higher between the two actions against odd health enemies. almost any other investigation card you can think of will outperform the shovel and now days we have Ice Pick, Mysterious Raven, Grete Wagner, faster effects that are just as guaranteed to work or remain as the shovel.

And for William Yorick the king of recursion, while the big Gravedigger's Shovel is a little fancy, Ancient Covenant+Favor of the Sun buries this card and breaks it down to salvage. If you really want to get clues at 0xp and your collection is limited: Lucky!, "Look what I found!" and Evidence! are all core set cards, if your team needs more than that there's Flashlight.

I can see it and its upgrades sleeker version being somewhat playable in a one handed melee weapon bruiser deck that had high enough combat to be using bruiser just for free money but what I have seen is decks running things like chainsaw and gravediggers shovel wondering to myself "how do they plan to use it?" "when do you get a chance to play it?" "where is the missing bandolier?" and "why?"

Zerogrim · 255
The shovel always did feel like a beginner's trap card... "Stronger than knife! Turns into a clue when you find a better weapon!" But when you realize how many things have to go in the perfect order for shovel to feel good, you just start bringing the raven instead and continue to improve from there. — Hylianpuffball · 20
You point out the alternates and of those, two are in the highly contested ally slot, and Ice Pick is not testless. You are undervaluing testless clues in a hand slot asset. — fiatluxia · 50
$2 and 2 actions for a clue? Rough outside solo! — MrGoldbee · 1265
I think Bob — Tharzax · 1
is a good candidate for this. With his ability and his special card the cost is reduced to 1 action and one Buck. He can also support other Investigators, who struggle with high shrouds, with this. And he has good chances to recur it with scavenger. Your Ally just need a free Hand (or Detectives Colts) — Tharzax · 1
Ally slots can be purchased and oftern are, and icepicks only discard when you pass so it may as well be testless and it also serves as a better back up weapon. — Zerogrim · 255

MMMh.... a shovel. Uh, it is owned by someone, a Gravedigger. Uh oh, this new handsome's job is burying the dead. Following this logical chain William Yorick's favorite assets are Gravedigger's Shovel and Lantern.

I daresay that this beautiful picture is only skin-deep. Imagine Mr. Yorick carrying both, shovel and lantern. He fights with the shovel and uses the lantern to gather clues. Each time he defeats an enemy, he just forfeits his reaction ability? Or is he meant to throw the lantern into the enemy's face at first sight, then charge with his shovel, hack away and lastly retrieve the lantern for 2 resources? Does it sound better if William Yorick had both his shovels to his disposal? He would be well advised to discard the first shovel to discover a clue, then equip the second shovel. With it, he could easily beat an enemy, trigger his special ability... oh, dang! The lantern blocks his other hand! To get this combo running, Yorick would have to keep his second hand free all the time or draw his Bandolier early. Even then, it still seems costly to me: 2 resources for each 1 clue gained! Let us face the truth, Mr. Yorick is a dumbass. He did not pass as an actor, nor does he have a detective's training. He is really good at tanking/fighting and recycling assets. But this review is not about William Yorick, it is meant to demonstrate how intricate Gravedigger's shovel's second ability works under the best of circumstances (continuous, action-free retrieval).

As a conclusion, use the shovel mainly as a weapon. The +2 is a strong bonus for fighters (hard/expert mode) and weaklings (easy/normal mode) alike. As a one-handed weapon, you can pack complementary assets. And, if a treachery raises the shroud value of your location into the sky, you can trigger the emergency button and discard the shovel to auto-access a clue nonetheless.

I should stress that the auto-success is invaluable if you play in expert mode, where tempo is more important than anything else!

Pros

  • Unconditional +2 Combat for each attack.
  • One-handed weapon.
  • Decent install cost.
  • The second ability works as an auto-success on clue finding.
  • Can be retrieved with Scavenging or Yorick's ability.

Cons

  • The second ability can not be combined with any other card's effect at the time of this writing.
  • Don't waste it to boost skill tests.

Recommendations

  • A spoiler can be completely bypassed with the shovel's second ability.
  • spoiler is not discarded after discarding the shovel, because there was no prior investigation.
Synisill · 769
Also of note, it has a nice combo with Vicious Blow(2) - +2 combat is good, and you're liking to get the succeeds by 2 bonus from Vicious Blow, so 3 damage! Unfortunately, it highlights the problem of the shovel as a weapon - it's slow, due to lack of damage bonus. — AndyB · 902
I'll always consider a card with the ability for an 'auto success' in this game. Even Kukri. I'm going to test it in Askcan Pete as a clue getter first, alternative weapon option second. — bigstupidgrin · 80