Survivor
Asset. Hand

Item. Tool.

Cost: 3.
Test Icons:

Exhaust Mariner's Compass: Investigate. If you succeed and have no resources in your resource pool, discover 1 additional clue at your location.

During an investigation using Mariner's Compass, spend 1 resource: You get +1 for this skill test. (Limit three times per investigation.)

Romana Kendelic
In Too Deep #121.
Mariner's Compass
Reviews

This card has nothing to do with the bless/curse gimmick of the cycle; just another addition to a no-resource playstyle right next to Dark Horse and Fire Axe.

With a twist.

I want to say this is really is just the investigation version of Fire Axe. You know the one: very nice if you plan returning to 0 resources frequently and gives you a method of returning to 0 with some bonuses if you have a couple resources to shave off. However, there are some differences to keep in mind that make it much less ideal to such a playstyle.

1.) It costs 3 as opposed to Axe's 1 while still taking up a hand slot, so this isn't an easy play from a no-resource deck. You could play it to GET to no resources, maybe.

2.) This card expects you to have a good investigative stat already. Each additional resource committed to its test gives you a bonus of +1 as opposed to Axe's +2. The consistent extra clue for having no resources is great, but you need to be able to reliably pass that test on your own because the compass ain't gonna help you. And also because.....

3.) This bad boy exhausts. Pull the brakes, stop the presses, you get ONE use out of this each turn. To be fair, if it didn't exhaust, it would be an incredibly busted card, netting you a potential 6 clues each turn at lvl 0. However, this also means that you'll likely (preferably) need a couple other methods to help you gather clues more efficiently, and to do that you usually need...........resources. And your minimalistic lifestyle thrives off starvation.

Now, this doesn't necessarily mean this card is bad, but it does mean that you really shouldn't just run this expecting it to be your no-resource Flashlight or something. Fire Axe you could do that with because it was inexpensive and, frankly, didn't need to you to be broke in order to get use from it. Being broke was a fantastic bonus to an otherwise good budget fighting tool. You can't do that with the Mariner's Compass because the +1 to 1 resource bonus isn't worth the 3 resources it takes to play it. The compass, costing you 3 resources and a hand slot, expects you to have absolutely nothing before helping you at all, so if you pull this out AFTER using other cards, it can help you MAINTAIN your momentum. It is not something to LEAD with. This makes the compass very unwieldy and hard to pin down with its use, but if you can hit that stride, playing cards, living your life, and THEN coming back to the compass, I think this card's consistent clue-gathering boost MIGHT be worth the cost for admission. Or you could slap a compass to each wrist and just go nuts.

Personally, I don't see myself including this card anytime soon; I dislike the fact that it demands a decent overhead, and then tells you to get on the ground and lick its boots. Once you hit 0, even if you have ways of gaining more resources, there's only so many times you can go back DOWN to 0 without running out of ways to climb back up. There's a couple of consistent resource replenishers like Drawing Thin or Lone Wolf, but you're still very much limiting your freedom with what you can do with your cards and still get the most out of this. Remember, when you're not using it, it's just burning a hole in your hand (slot).

To each their own, though. If someone told me they found great success with this card, I wouldn't be shocked, but I'd definitely ask to see their deck.

TheDoc37 · 20

Heloooooooo, Preston. Since resources on your Family Inheritance aren't in your resource pool, you can spend the full amount on the compass every turn, getting 2 clues with an of 4. Dark Horse Preston is a real thing (I hear), and this will give him one strong investigate every turn.

For everyone else who can take it, I like it a lot; getting two clues in one action is a big deal, even if it's only once/turn. Although Minh might have trouble emptying her resource pool if she has Milan out, it's cheaper than Fingerprint Kit and doesn't have charges, which is big. Another big winner is "Ashcan" Pete, especially running Dark Horse. In a perfect world, you can Duke over to a location with 5 or more clues, use the compass, ready the compass with his ability, then use it again. If clues aren't that deep, just use your ability to ready Duke instead. The ceiling here is pretty phenomenal, but you're only at 4, 3, and 3/4 on each test, before other bonuses (and assuming you only have 1 buck from your upkeep). Also getting any benefit from the second compass use gets a bit tricky without Madame Labranche to refill your resources. At any rate, I'm interested in using this somewhere.

SGPrometheus · 266

Having tested this card, it’s nice but not as game-breaking as initially thought. The three cost, the exhaust, and the fact you constantly have to be broke mean that you’re going to not be adding much to your tableau every turn. And it’s a hand slot, which means you can’t have two magnifying glass out with it.

For Minh, this serves as a fun piece of clue acceleration before you get the big-ticket seeker items. And combos well with deduction in larger player games: Theoretically, you can combine this with practice makes perfect to add a deduction, get three clues, and keep the deduction.

This is probably more useful for people with Survivor splash: Stella, Yorick, Calvin, Rita and Ashcan don’t have tons of Direct clue finding power. Wendy’s only slightly better, and she probably wants lockpicks instead.

Preston will have fun here, as well as anyone who can scheme to get this in the hands of a five lore seeker. (Joe diamond can request it with teamwork.) And if you’re sailing as a team, anyone can enjoy this at a skeleton key location.

MrGoldbee · 254

Understandably, most of the comparisons here are to Fire Axe, as the equivalent of it, and looking at it like that, it comes up a little short. Another interesting comparison would be the Fingerprint Kit. A card that is 4 resources for 3 investigations at +1 that potentially net you six clues. Looking at the compass as a comparable card, it's 1 cheaper to get into play, but making each test at the same bonus will be more expensive, ending up at 6 for the card and three +1 investigations. Of course, it doesn't run out of charges, and you don't have to spend those resources, and can even spend more. So long as you can take advantage of that, using it more than three times, or synergise it with other cards, it gets more value. So if you think Fingerprint Kit is good, it can be better if you can keep it in play and don't mind staying low on resources.

Obviously, this comparison is faulty, too - a seeker tool is always going to be different to a survivor tool. Not that many Survivors have the to really make use of this. Wendy Adams and Calvin Wright are probably the best stat-wise, with Preston Fairmont able to make it up with resource shenanigans. But even the other survivors can make up for their lower stats with survivor tools like Dark Horse or Lucky!

Cross-class, Minh Thi Phan, Rex Murphy and Finn Edwards benefit a lot from this card, though Rex can simply run a Fingerprint Kit build, so he has to build towards it to make it worthwhile. Minh can take as many Survivor cards as she likes, so I think it works best in her. She can stay low-resource in a Dark Horse build without it really hurting her, and all but guarantee the two clues a turn with committed skills and/or Lucky! or Live and Learn in hand. Alternatively, Rex can overcommit on compass tests, pick up three clues with one action and use the rest for things you usually struggle to find time for as a seeker.

I think it's a good card overall, but limited more than a little by its class. If we ever get a Survivor 5/Seeker 2 it might find a place where it really shines.

SSW · 43
Seems designed specifically for a Dark Horse/Madame LaBranche interaction to get 4 clues in 2 actions without being used up. — Time4Tiddy · 89
I still think it is very comparable to the Fire Axe but a nerfed version since it would break the game if it gave a +2Int for each resource. This is one indication that the design team realizes that one clue doesn't equal one damage after so many instances where the best card out of a set was the clue getting card. — TWWaterfalls · 587
Until recently Clues were hard to get for survivors. But Dark horse deck with granny orne and compass seems solid to me. — Django · 2884