Q: The play example in FAQ 2.10 ("As if...") makes it clear that if Luke Robinson plays an event as if he is at a location with a ready unengaged enemy, he treats that enemy as if it is engaged with him, and it will make an attack of opportunity against him (assuming the event is one that provokes). Pocket Telescope does not specify anything about engagement, but FAQ 2.10 says that "The game state is considered to be altered throughout the duration of the indicated ability or action, from its initiation (including the paying of its costs, attacks of opportunity, etc)..." and "Other card abilities or game effects resolved during this duration are also resolved with the altered game state in mind." This seems to indicate that if you use Pocket Telescope to investigate as if at a location with a ready, unengaged enemy, that enemy will engage you (although it will not physically move to your threat area), and it will make an attack of opportunity against you. Is that correct? A: Attacks of Opportunity occur immediately after the cost of initiating the action, but before the application of the action’s effect. In other words, when you attempt to use Pocket Telescope’s “Investigate” action, the “cost” to initiate it is spending one of your player actions, and this is the moment when Attacks of Opportunity occur. Enemies at your current location [emphasis in original email] would perform Attacks of Opportunity against you, and enemies at the connecting location you’re investigating would not, because the trigger for these Attacks has passed.
Q: I use Pocket Telescope to investigate a connected location and then use Chuck Fergus to play Pilfer during the Telescope test. Since Pilfer has a skill test, I have to do the test after resolving the Telescope one because of the nested skill ruling. But when the Telescope's test is finished, the ''as if'' clause is finished, so do I resolve Pilfer at my ''real'' location? or the ''as if'' continues for the Pilfer test because when I played it, it was at the connected location? A: This interaction could not work, because you can’t interrupt one action with a second action. You can’t play a card prompting an investigation during an investigation you’re currently performing.
Exhaust Pocket Telescope: Look at the revealed side of a connecting unrevealed location.
: Investigate. Investigate a revealed connecting location as if you were there.
Since it feels like this card is somewhat flying under the radar, and I think it's potentially one of the stronger level 0 cards released this set, I guess I'll point out a few moments in each campaign where it shines.
Night of the Zealot
- Avoiding a single damage or horror from slipping into your basement or attic is fairly minor, but does let you try to get those clues from the safety of the location that you need to be on to advance.
- You will likely be leaving clues behind throughout most of Midnight Masks, if only to chase down Acolytes. Leaving clues sprinkled behind you is less of a pain if you can just look backwards and grab them.
- Scanning the various nasty Arkham Woods locations before blundering in is unquestionably valuable. Just look at them.
The Dunwich Legacy
- In the Miskatonic Museum, we have an ability that usually costs one or two actions that can be emulated for free simply by exhausting it. Considering there is a nasty trap location, another, though less nasty, in return, and another that hurts to enter, it might not be worthwhile when it's out of your way and two actions, but is incredible when it's fast and can be done from the connecting location. Not to mention it allows you to send someone else to reveal them while you sit back and get clues from every revealed hall whenever you feel like it. Not a bad counter for if the Infinite Doorway shows up there.
- Seeing whatever horrible demand the next train car will demand of you is incredible, even if it might not end up changing your playstyle all that much.
- Sitting on whatever location The Hidden Chamber spawns next to and just snipe every clue from it without ever having to tangle with Silas Bishop? Yes please.
- Being able to check every diverging path so you can completely minimize the pain or never bother visiting in the first place. And if they shuffle again it's not a problem.
- Just sitting on Another Dimension and grabbing clues from the Tears Through Space every time they show up before immediately discarding them until there's actually a path in play
The Path to Carcosa
- The first level's randomised locations are dead ends, so if you want the clues you have to reveal them anyway. That said, if you want to avoid being ambushed by rats, or avoid going to the two locations without clues, you could do worse. Spirit's Torment is also marginally less painful on more central locations.
- All of Echoes of the Past's locations will get revealed pretty quick, but checking them ahead of time can be useful. It could also be fun to connect a location to the Hidden Library and investigate there without running the (admittedly minor) risk of getting trapped there.
- Figuring out which of the Patient Confinement locations contains the way forward, or which have the easier tests for your team to make, is pretty good when you're strapped for time in the Asylum.
- No matter which way you're playing A Phantom of Truth, you're likely to be moving around a fair bit, and leaving clues behind as you do. It's also pretty fun to investigate the cemetery from outside it and be unable to leave a location you aren't in for the rest of the turn.
- The Pallid Mask might be the best use case for this card full stop. A completely randomised level with randomised locations, several of which can be quite punishing. It also lets you scan for your goal locations. Plus, this is another level that contains the ability to look at unrevealed locations, this time attached to a high test and limited in use.
- Get to the Abbey Church. Check which version of Chapel of St. Aubert you have. Congratulations, you know how to win the level without having to mess around with getting a guide. Though knowing the answer gives you more time to get everything anyway.
- Dim Carcosa has each location begin revealed and with clues on it. The is mostly useless, but the is always useable. Pretty similar to Lost in Time and Space, actually.
The Forgotten Age
- The explore mechanic in general makes this a lot worse than basically every other campaign. Even on levels where locations start in play, Threads of Fate and Boundary Beyond, it doesn't save much movement. Threads is another cultist level where you might leave clues behind to hunt enemies, but other than that there's not an enormous benefit. Boundary still needs a lot of movement to get the locations with clues into play, and then switches around the connections for extra confusion. The City of Archives can at least benefit you checking which Interview Room is which, but that's pretty minor and the rest of the level grants little benefit to leaving clues behind or checking the mostly non-randomised locations. Depths of Yoth and Elders-B basically force you to get every clue before moving off each location, so there's even less benefit. I wouldn't really consider it except in the people it's already good in.
The Circle Undone
- "Locations in front of you are connected to one another. You cannot enter locations in front of other investigators." But you can pretend to be there with a Telescope. Not insane on its own, but there is a window in each investigate where a friend could potentially interact with you in some way. I'm sure there's a broken combo there but everything I can think of is too high level to be relevant.
- Haunted in general is not countered by the Telescope, but the treacheries that interact with it can be. Position yourself on the least annoying haunted location and investigate the more annoying haunted locations without visiting - you can still get hit by the effect by failing, but not by a Realm of Torment you can't shake, or an annoying Shapes in the Mist. It helps that a few of these haunted locations will come into play revealed so you may never have to visit them at all.
- You could immediately move to the locations you put into play by Keziah's Room, or you could wait and check them for victory or clues. There's a location or two that hurt to enter, too, and you might want to prepare for. It's arguably inefficient not to move to them right away, but you could just do a three investigate turn, check the first you put into play on that turn, then check the second as soon as the telescope readies. If even a single one of the three locations is not worth visiting, you've likely saved actions over all, especially in higher player counts where others can just reveal the locations for you and you still don't have to leave the witch's room.
- I haven't played past The Wages of Sin, but I hear there's some annoying randomised locations later in the campaign. This could probably help with those.
The Dream Eaters
- Checking the Enchanted Woods before moving into them is invaluable. There are trap locations, and while they're all worth going to eventually, being able to plan for your approach and dodge the ones you can't handle is very good. It does take six turns to check all six, but if you see a safe one you can immediately move to it and start clearing it out.
- Kadath has a number of small maps that start with clues revealed. In one or two of them, you could get a good chunk of the clues without really having to move.
- Checking the hospital rooms for Randolf might save you an action or two, but across the campaign, spiders and their Sickening Webs can gum up your movement
- In the Waking side finale, any check of the randomised web locations is incredibly valuable, since they can vary from largely harmless to very nasty. And if you're chasing the spider around to hit it with a rolled-up newspaper, you're likely leaving behind a few clues that you might want to hoover up later.
The Innsmouth Conspiracy
- This is pretty much the opposite of The Forgotten Age. It's great on every level, with the sole exception of The Vanishing of Elina Harper. Pit of Despair, Devil Reef, Light in the Fog, Lair of Dagon and Into the Maelstrom all have randomised locations with certain goals - keys - you need to reach and a few locations that are a bit of a waste to move into, though no real outright trap or painful locations. Light in the Fog is another level that has a very useable 'peek at locations' ability - this time, by using the Telescope, you're saving clues, which isn't nothing. Being able to scout a single location for free before starting your movement is exceptional in every single one of these levels. The ability is a little less useful since you need to be at a location to pick up its key - though if you really don't want to move to one you could waste an investigate on an empty location and simply pick up its key in the window in that otherwise worthless investigate. I don't know if that's ever a good play, but it's an option.
- Pocket Telescope can bypass the gimmick of In Too Deep, the barricades that prevent movement but do not stop the locations from actually being connected. You can't leave keys behind very easily, but you can do so with victory, if the enemies are catching up and you feel the need to run.
- Horror in High Gear has very punishing locations that it's nice to see ahead of time, especially if you plan on driving your vehicle forward. On top of that, it completely negates the Forks in the Road that can give you a Long Way Around, and saves clues on the Intersections too.
Well, I'll leave it at that for now, but there's certainly side-scenarios that it's pretty good in too. At best, the Telescope can break levels in half, or completely neuter their threat or gimmick - which makes it an excellent Adaptable target. At worst - well, don't bother taking it in the Forgotten Age. And all this was written with the assumption that it's the worst possible version of itself - that its ability triggers attacks of opportunity from enemies at locations you're pretending to be at. I'd be very surprised if it turns out that it does, but I'd still consider it a very solid pick that can fall off in some levels, and an insane adaptable target for the levels it just breaks.
As SSW mentions in his comment, I felt rather underwhelmed when I first read this card and it is only recently that I realised how good it can be. Instead of reviewing scenarios when it can be beneficial, I am going to look at synergies with other Investigators/Player cards. Hopefully, that will help people to find a spot for it in their decks.
We do not know yet if investigating a location with an enemy will trigger an AoO. In this review, I consider that it does, following the Grim rule, but I leave that up to you. I will edit this review once there is an FAQ that clarifies the situation.
TL;DR: Use this card as it brings a lot of fun combos.
The card itself:
• Does not exhaust to investigate connecting locations.
• Uses the "As if" allowing all the to resolve at the targetted location.
• Allows you to look at connecting locations Fast, saving Move actions, especially when there is a cul-de-sac.
• Takes a hand slot that is often used for base skill boost - Magnifying Glass, Hawk-Eye Folding Camera, Dream Diary, Fingerprint Kit, etc....
• Does not reveal connecting locations, you can look at them, but not investigate there... Therefore it does not trigger Whitton Greene or Vantage Point.
Compared to In the Know, it costs less XP, is cheaper, allows you to look at connecting locations, and investigate connecting locations with no limit, when In the Know does not take any slots, does it for every revealed location, but only 3 times.
• Rex Murphy - Easy, go to a central location and empty all the connecting locations. Rex's passive will take a second clue of the targetted location and not on his actual location [See "As if" rule].
• Amanda Sharpe - The most heart-breaking thing to do with Amanda is to Move when you have a Good Card under her. Pocket Telescope allows you to stay where you are, and use all your actions investigating every connected location while your heavy skill is active.
• Trish Scarborough - Investigate at a location with an enemy to trigger the auto-clue/evade without having to actually be at the enemy's location, saving you some damage during the enemy phase. You will still have to Obfuscate the AoO.
• Luke Robinson - Investigate every revealed location from your Dream-Gate.
• Bob Jenkins and Dexter Drake for all the usual Items/Assets shenanigans.
• Ursula Downs / Monterey Jack - Move across the map to reveal a lot of locations and stop to investigate at a central location.
• Hiking Boots - If you empty a connecting location while using the Pocket Telescope, you are now happy to move 2 locations away as the will trigger at the "As if" location of the investigation, bringing you to a connecting location to your connecting location. This combo shines in Monterey Jack as it allows you to trigger his passive without taking a single Move action.
• Shortcut - Play it during the test [See Shortcut's FAQ] to move two locations away.
• Pathfinder - Same as Shortcut, use it during the test to move 2 locations away.
• Working a Hunch - Use any window to get an extra clue at the targetted location.
• Lola Santiago/Delilah O'Rourke/Lonnie Ritter - Use any window during the test to trigger their abilities.
• Connect the Dots - Just the normal use here, just increases the chances of making it happen.
• Cryptographic Cipher - Use it during any of the test's windows to get another Investigate action for free at the targetted location.
• Ice Pick (3)/Deduction - Works like Rex Murphy, get an extra clue at the targetted location.
• Arcane Insight - Decreases the shroud of the targetted location for the rest of the turn.
• Quickdraw Holster - Shoot the enemy at the connecting location. Does not prevent the AoO.
• Crack the Case - Get the resources of the targetted location and share with the investigators at that location.
• - Dynamite Blast (3) - Use the test's windows to target a place 2 locations away / Alice Luxley / Beat Cop (2) / Solemn Vow / "Get behind me!" - Use any window to use the effect at the targetted location.
• - Open Gates around your location,
• - Mysterious Raven / Stray Cat (doesn't prevent the AoO) - "Look what I found!" that would bring clues at the targetted location (this one is a bit unclear, but for consistency matters, I think that makes the most sense this way).
When reading this card without thinking about the synergies it can bring, it feels like it's going to take the spot of a more useful card like the Magnifying Glass or any Tome, just to be able to investigate one step further, when it is anyway very likely that you will go to that location anyway to move forward with the game.
But when looking at Investigators' Passives and other Player Cards, the number of delicious combos it can trigger make it one of the sweetest 0xp releases of The Edge of the Earth IMO. Just a shame that the ability does not reveal locations, but hey, I'd gladly pay 2xp for this (wink wink FFG).
This card makes Horror in High Gear much easier. Nice in the rest of Innsmouth due to flooded locations but faces a lot of competition as a hand slot. Best used on specific scenarios.
Sounds like a nice item for Trish Scarborough, as it gives her some control over hunting enemies in case you don’t want them to enter your location (you still need to dodge the AoO attack with e.g. Obfuscation )
For investigation focused Rogue doing campaign replays that can get to 4+ (Streetwise, Gené Beauregard, Monterey Jack, etc.) to succeed without depending on Flashlight shroud reduction, but not intended to remove Flashlight from the deck either, they can grab Adaptable and then use 2 swaps to go back and forth between 2x Flashlight and 2x Pocket Telescope depending if the scenario is in fog-of-war style or not. Now you have got a flashlight-telescope built with 1 XP!
There's a lot of back and forth here so just want to clear this up, if the Q&A above is accurate, it's clear that:
Attacks of opportunity do NOT occur when the targeted location for investigation has an enemy. This is because attacks of opportunity occur when you spend the action, which happens at your current location before the investigate.
I believe in reading that, it can be assumed that attacks of opportunity do NOT occur when the target location has a massive enemy either. For the same logic above, attacks of opportunity happen before the application of an actions effect. Meaning there's no additional check for AoO on the targeted location.
I've still seen some doubt about massive enemies, but based on the Q&A here I don't see why there would be any doubt.
EDIT: Does seem to still be some confusion about massive enemies, really because the FAQ description of "As If" seems to be at least a bit at odds with the Q&A here.
Someone please help me resolve this dilemma of talmudic complexity: Does pocket telescope enable parallel Roland Banks' due diligence directive which says: "During a skill test while investigating, evading, or parleying, exhaust Directive: You get +2 skill value for this test for each enemy engaged with you."
It is officially clarfiied now, that no AOO is happening while investigating another location with the telescope, but the reasoning is unclear about whether you engage the enemies or nut during the action:
"when you attempt to use Pocket Telescope’s “Investigate” action, the “cost” to initiate it is spending one of your player actions, and this is the moment when Attacks of Opportunity occur. Enemies at your current location [emphasis in original email] would perform Attacks of Opportunity against you, and enemies at the connecting location you’re investigating would not, because the trigger for these Attacks has passed."
TLDR: So am I considered engaged to enemies of the connected location while investigating it with pocket telescope or not? (I have searched through the internet for the answer, but nothing... whom should I ask for an official answer, wise people?)