Cost: 2. XP: 2.
Test Icons:

Fast. Play when you perform a skill test with a difficulty higher than your base skill value.

Reveal X additional chaos tokens for this skill test. Choose one to resolve and ignore the others. X is the difference between the test's difficulty and your base skill value.

Anders Finer
Heart of the Elders #202.
Against All Odds

Am I missing something? This seems like an underwhelming card even for Calvin Wright, whose base skill values are all 0, and completely useless for anybody else.

The ability to draw just one extra token for a card and two resources isn't exactly a bargain, so you'll want the difficulty to be at least two higher than your base skill. A few problems with that:

  • A difficulty two higher than your base skill? That probably means your investigator is working outside of their specialty. Why would you take such a test voluntarily?
  • If you're taking it involuntarily, then it's probably a willpower test - but don't all the Survivor investigators have at least three base willpower? How often do you run into a five-difficulty willpower test?
  • Don't you need at least a +3 boost alongside Against All Odds to have a reasonable chance of success? With three token draws you can be reasonably confident of drawing a -1 on most difficulties, but not a 0.

So if Against All Odds isn't a good way to win skill tests, what is it good for? Maybe it would be worthwhile if:

  • the investigator has access to amazing effects if he or she draws a special symbol, such as ; or
  • the investigator is trying to fail the skill test by as wide a margin as possible, for some reason.

The former possibility doesn't really work right now. There aren't any symbol-specific effects so good that they're worth playing this card for a slightly improved, but still slim, chance of drawing that specific symbol.

The latter possibility is interesting but I don't think there are any cards that can take advantage of "failing harder" at the moment - and certainly not well enough to justify 2 resources and 2XP. On top of that, the minimum adjusted skill-value is 0 anyway, so what you'd really need is an effect that plays off of large negatives on the skill token itself, like Sure Gamble. Except also not like Sure Gamble, because this would be a stupid way to use it and your investigator probably isn't even eligible to buy both cards anyway.

So what about for Calvin? Well, it's mostly just a drastically weaker variation of Will to Survive. Sure, you can't use Will to Survive on Treachery cards, but there are all sorts of Survivor cards that do work in the Mythos phase, which are both cheaper and more reliable.

Do you see how badly this is wracking my brain? Even my most feverish hypotheticals are riding a long trail of "even if" before I can arrive at a slightly useful application for this card. Bottom line, I might include Against All Odds in a Calvin deck if its combined XP and resource cost were less, and wouldn't include it in anything else even if it were free. Someone please tell me what it is I'm missing.

sfarmstrong · 38
No, I'm with you. I think this card is really bad in everyone outside of Calvin, and not that amazing in Calvin. — CaiusDrewart · 976
Now, there might be some late-campaign scenarios where you know in advance that a really hard but really important test is coming up, like the Will (6) test in The Devourer Below. But this is pretty niche, and in any case Survivors have better cards for that, like Stroke of Luck. — CaiusDrewart · 976
Against All Odds is one of the few cards that protects from autofail, although you need other bonus (static or not) to boost your skill and actualy pass the test. — Okami · 8
Worth noting that Silas Marsh is now a survivor with both <3 willpower, an exceptionally strong Eder Sign Effect - and very capable of commiting +3 to a skill test. The fact that this costs resources might be an issue though, but maybe not enough of one. — Death by Chocolate · 10
FIreaxe Pete or Fireaxe Wendy against retaliating elite enemies. — FBones · 5015