- NB: ArkhamDB now incorporates errata from the Arkham Horror FAQ in its card text, so the ArkhamDB text and the card image above differ, as the ArkhamDB text has been edited to contain this erratum (updated August 2022): Erratum: The purchase restriction on this card should be replaced with the keyword: "Researched." - FAQ, v.2.0, August 2022
Text of the Elder Guardian
Item. Tome. Blessed.
: After you resolve 1 or more tokens during a skill test: Place that many secrets on Cryptic Grimoire.
When you would draw the top card of the encounter deck, spend 5 secrets: Draw a card from your deck instead.
I'll leave my original review down below, but like pointed out by Thatwasademo, the recent FAQ actually proved wrong my understanding of Uses. (And that from the people, who told me, that I should not have action-free translated the Archaic Glyphs with Astounding Revelations, when I played Mandy.) I still think, that 5 secrets are a hard ask for an effect, that does not even trigger before knowing, which card you avoid, and is trounced by the effect from A Watchful Peace from class in the same cycle, at least in multiplayer. Text of the Elder Herald is likely the stronger card of the two, but I'm now actually interested in translating the damn thing. I will update the review, once I have actual played with these cards.
So now Seekers have their way to mitigate the encounter deck just like a Mystic, do they?
Let's compare that to the staple core set Mystic card for that cause, Ward of Protection. It costs 2 resources and an action more to play, and doesn't cost you a horror. And I think, it won't be likely usable more than once, even if you play the card early. There are no "Uses (X secrets)" on the card, so you can't fill it with Astounding Revelations, Eldritch Sophists and the like. You only get secrets on this card, if you (not any player) resolve -token(s) during a skill test. You can't cancel the token(s) drawn either, and likely fail the test or at least gain one clue less than otherwise. So to charge up this grimoire once, you likely loose 2 to 5 actions. (On top of what your fellow investigators might loose, when they draw a .) It won't help, if you draw a on some other occasion, like Daisy playing Voice of Ra. You are paying 3 resources, a card and an action upfront to possibly save yourself an encounter draw and replace your card with a delay. This seems really weak for an unconditioned level 0 card, let alone something that requires 4 XP and a "quest" fulfilled earlier in the campaign. We probably shouldn't tax the 2 to 5 lost actions, because there should be other incentives to put -tokens into the bag than this card. It's OK, that different classes don't excel at all tasks equally. That's part of there theme and diversifies game play. Mystic's Astral Travel ain't a Shortcut, and that's fine. At least, it does not cost 4 XP!
Compared to the other Cryptic Grimoire, the 5 -threshold also looks unfavourable. This one is more to compare with Chuck Fergus, who is more flexible, grants a bigger discount, gives some soak and will likely be activated much more often in any given game. But at least he costs 1 XP more. I think, you still must reliable put at least 6 secrets on that one to get some use of it, which is much easier to archive than 10! (With 4 you only trade 3 resources, an action and a card to 2 resources and 2 actions, so basically buying an action for a resource, a card and some upfront cost.) I'm not really impressed with either version. "Quest cards" should give you something amazing for the extra effort. In particular since this one isn't the easiest to fulfil. I'm not sure, if I would take this path, even in decks heavily investing in to get some extra mileage out of them.
Oh boy... there are bad cards, there are laughably bad cards, there's Flute of the Outer Gods, then there's this absolute hunk of junk. My goodness, what a terrible waste. Let me point some things out...
You'll need dedicated support curse token bag manipulation to make this card even close to being viable. That is going to almost certainly mean help from a red character running the absolutely overpowered Spirit of Humanity. Nothing else is going to come close in multiplayer in keeping the chaos bag stocked full of tokens. Even so.... good luck ever getting 5 charges on this card purely from curse tokens that ONLY you can pull. You're lucky to pull 5 curse tokens in an entire mission with a chaos bag filled with 10 at most times. So even if you DO manage to get 5 charges on it, and you manage to ignore one single encounter card, what have you invested...
You've struggled through the untranslated grimoire, which is just a dead card in your deck.
You've spent a whopping 4 xp to purchase this card.
You've had to find this card early in the mission so that you have a prayer of getting 5 secrets.
You have a precious hand slot taken up for the entirety of the mission.
You make all this investment for a card, that if drawn in the last half or so of a mission, is completely dead. There's no point trying to play this card when you only have a few turns left. It's only viable if found and played early.
All that to ignore MAYBE.... and I say MAAAAAAYBE 1-2 encounter cards (and draw 2 cards).
My goodness. You can make it your life mission to manipulate secrets via Eldritch Sophist, Ariadne's Twine, Favor of the Moon, etc... but my god. You're devoting all this effort simply to cancel a couple encounter cards with a big fat maybe attached.
There's no comparison to say, A Watchful Peace. Absolutely none. Cheaper to play. Far easier to play. No silly untranslated hoop to jump through. No hand slot to take up, and simply 5 bless tokens from anywhere.
A simply taboo fix that is DESPERATELY needed is to proc the curse tokens from any investigator at your location.
This is not bad in a curse Amanda Sharpe deck.
Challenge 1, get the original grimoire translated. Tempt Fate helps, Promise of Power as your under card helps, Deep Knowledge helps... I have played a few times with an Amanda Deck (published) that has seen the grimoire translated in 75% of scenario 1.
Challenge 2, get secrets on it to make it work. Truth from Fiction helps, Enrapture as an under card helps, Eldritch Sophist helps, Favor of the Moon on your previous Tempt Fates helps... In the games that I have played with a translated grimoire, I have gotten use out of it at least once every game, most games twice, but rarely 3 times.
It is expensive, but I have a successful character (at least on normal) Amanda is still strong despite playing this strategy. Fey works nicely here as an under card, save the Favor of the Moon play for the last skill test and return it to your hand. Rinse and repeat until the favor is gone. Gaze of Ouraxsh can be great if you need some punch.