Charlie Kane
The Politician

Neutral
Investigator

Civic. Socialite.

Willpower: 1. Intellect: 1. Combat: 1. Agility: 1.
Health: 6. Sanity: 6.

You have 3 additional ally slots.

During a skill test you are performing, exhaust an Ally asset you control: For this test, you get +1 skill value, plus an additional +1 for each skill icon that Ally asset has that matches this test's type.

effect: +3. Ready an Ally asset at your location.

"It can be arranged. It's just a matter of acceptable terms."
Magali Villeneuve
The Scarlet Keys Investigator Expansion #18.
Charlie Kane

Charlie Kane - Back

Investigator

Deck Size: 30.

Class Choices: At deck creation, choose 2 classes (, , , , or ).

Deckbuilding Options: Ally cards level 0-5, Neutral cards level 0-5, cards from your chosen classes level 0-2.

Deckbuilding Requirements (do not count toward deck size): Bonnie Walsh, Burden of Leadership, 1 random basic weakness.

Charlie Kane promised the people of Arkham a safer future. He made a lot of promises - lower taxes, better schools, less crime. It was part of the job, after all. And although he sometimes had to do things he wasn't proud of, Charlie always did work for the greater good. So when he started hearing the reports, he put the people first. Of course, he couldn't tell anyone. Widespread panic would not serve the public good. Besides, who'd believe him? Still, Charlie has always had connections in town. So he made a few calls, put a task force together, and went to work.
Charlie Kane
Reviews

Alright, let's try to do an in-depth review of Charlie Kane before the Scarlet Key - Investigator Box comes out. This could be useful for all the people interested in trying him. I will amend this post once the expansion is out with the new cards and synergies available!

TL;DR Go with and for a dedicated clue-getter, and or for a fighter build and and for Flex.



Character breakdown

Let's try to understand better what makes Charlie Kane fundamentally different from any other investigator so far.


Stats:

1 | 1 | 1 | 1

With Preston Fairmont and Calvin Wright, Charlie Kane is part of the selective club of investigators that rely entirely on their Ability and Card Pool to achieve anything.

At this point, we can already guess that cards that "Add" a different stat the test being performed, such as Lockpicks or Spectral Razor, will most likely be weak with Charlie Kane. As use largely that mechanic, a significant part of their card pool will be of little use to Charlie Kane.


Ability:

We have 3 additional Ally slots, making it possible to have 4 Allies on the table simultaneously without counting cards, increasing the number of Ally slots.

To compensate for the ugly stat line, we needed a strong ability. This one may not read that strong, but trust me. It is.

It basically reads: Exhaust one or more Allies you control: Add the matching icons to your skill value for this test, +1 for each Ally exhausted.

This Ability also means that you:

  1. Need multiple Allies in play since you can only exhaust an Ally once (unless you un-exhaust them, which we will discuss later), which means that you cannot do much before you play your Allies. It is interesting to load your Deck with more than enough or with Ally searching tools like Flare or Calling in Favors.
  2. Once you exhaust an Ally for their icons, you will not be able to use the Abilities that require them to exhaust. This concerns most Allies in the game.

Note 1: There is no limit expressed in the Passive Ability of Charlie Kane. You can use this Ability as many times as you want throughout a single skill test.

Note 2: You can exhaust an ally with no matching skills, like David Renfield during an investigation test. This will only give you +1 for your test.

Note 3: If you want to use the Lockpicks and you exhaust Gené Beauregard, you will only gain +2, (+1 for the Ally and +1 for the icon) since it says "that matches this test's type." at the end of the Ability.

Example: If during a basic investigate action, you exhaust 2 Allies with 1 each like Leo De Luca and Art Student, you get +4 (+2 each).

Implications:

  • A consequence of this is that you have a limited chance to boost your skills each turn, and therefore Charlie Kane will rely on increasing the impact of his test more than trying to gain actions that would result in more tests.

  • You still may choose to increase your number of Ally slots with Charisma or Rod of Animalism since the more Allies you control, the more you can commit to tests.

  • Alternatively, you may want to look for Allies with 2 of the same icons or with a even though committing 2 Allies with only 1 icon is more interesting. icons are particularly good since they also help with tests during the mythos phase.

  • Allies that bring a static boost on top of an icon of the same skill or increase your base value for a test will be very interesting.


Elder Sign:

Average strength: brings your base stat to 4 on the skill tested, which should very often lead to succeeding, and readies an Ally at your location.

This means that you can either use the Ally you just committed to that test another time or that you can use the Ally's exhaust ability.

Note: It refers to an Ally at your location and therefore can be used on someone else's Ally, which could be interesting if someone else has an Ally with a trigger that can be used outside of their turn, like Beat Cop (2).


Deckbuilding Restrictions:

Since we rely so heavily on Allies, it is evident that we would get good access, but wow, "Allies 0-5" is huge! That means every Ally in the game. Forever. This is already big with the current card pool and will age like wine. But not your supermarket wine. This is already a Saint Emilion Grand Cru and can only improve with time. I'm looking for the time of future releases in years when with every Ally revealed, everyone will be thinking: Is it good in Charlie Kane?

On the side of the Ally access, we can choose 2 classes and have 0-2 access in each of these classes. Of course, 0-3 access like Lola would have been sick since most cards that start to shine in each class are 3+, but that's only fair and already gives a lot of choice.

In my personal opinion, Charlie Kane is the Neutral investigator I had been waiting for. The perfect sandbox that can be built in 100 different ways, all roughly as good as the other. Some fantastic community members around this game will probably find ways to break the game with him, but until now, it also feels like there is no one-way to build him that would make the others look silly. That's a demonstration of mastering the arts of game balancing from the Game Designers!


Signature:

Bonnie Walsh is pure potency. The icons mean that you have a chance, once a turn to be 4 in any skill that you want.

Exhausting her will also ready another Ally, making it possible to exhaust one Ally twice in the same turn or exhaust an Ally and their exhaust ability on the same turn or even use the exhaust ability of an ally twice in a turn.

Example: A full turn with Lola Santiago, Dr. Milan Christopher and Bonnie Walsh on the table could look like this. Your base value is 3, since both Milan and Lola bring a static boost.

1: Exhaust Lola Santiago to investigate with 6 .

2: Exhaust Bonnie Walsh to investigate again with 6 . Ready Lola Santiago.

3: Exhaust Lola Santiago to investigate with 6 . Use Dr. Milan Christopher's tabooed exhaust ability to gain 1 resource.

Note 1: Nothing prevents you from using Bonnie Walsh to ready an Ally you committed to the same test. If you use Charlie's ability to first exhaust Lola Santiago, then his ability a second time to exhaust Bonnie Walsh and choose to ready Lola Santiago, you could then use his ability again on Lola Santiago! You are now testing with no less than 11 !! Add Gregory Gry to the mix and get easy 3 resources.

Note 2: The "(Limit once per round.)" clause prevents you from using cards like Inspiring Presence to be able to use Bonnie Walsh's Ability more than once a turn.

Price-wise and in terms of soak, she's just average; nothing much to say here.


Weakness:

Burden of Leadership ranges from mild to just a dead draw. What's the worst it can do? Exhaust some of your Allies during the Upkeep Phase, making them useless for the next turn. At best? You draw it at the end of your turn when all your Allies are already exhausted and choose to exhaust them.

Disclaimer: this is a literal interpretation of the rules that mention the keyword Must: In the absence of the word "must" while choosing among multiple options, any option may be chosen upon the resolution of the effect – even an option that does not change the game state. Therefore, we are allowed to decide to exhaust already exhausted Allies, leading to no change in the game state. Yet, you could also opt for a less literal interpretation and read the card as if it was written with the word must, increasing the tension when drawing with exhausted Allies, improving the Arkham Horroresque feeling of playing Charlie Kane.

How it works:

  1. The "ready all exhausted cards" is step 4.3, and "draw 1 card and gain 1 resource" is at step 4.4, so if you draw it during the upkeep phase, you will have all your Allies ready, and you will have to choose between hurting them or exhausting them.
  2. During your turn, if you go for the literal reading, exhaust your Allies as early as possible and play your card-drawing cards as late as possible. If you choose the Horroresque interpretation, opt for the opposite and do not draw cards during your last action since it may defeat expensive Allies.

An excellent way to reduce the impact of Burden of Leadership if you draw it during the upkeep phase is to not assign any Damage/Horror to Bonnie Walsh before you draw it, and when you do, give her a Damage and a Horror to keep her ready. In this situation, even if you exhausted every other Ally, you will still be able to use 2 Allies' icons with your Ability.



Now that we know how Charlie Kane works, let's look at what cards he can use.

For the rest of the Review, I will write the Ally name in bold to indicate the best Allies for Charlie Kane.

Interesting Allies:


Allies that give 2 of the same icon:

To have good chances to pass skill tests, it can be a winning strategy to look for Allies that can give you 2 of the same icons, which provides you with a base of 4 of that skill during the test when you exhaust them.

Of all of these, only The Black Cat does not exhaust for any of its abilities, and Michael Leigh does not exhaust to collect evidence while investigating.


Allies with interesting abilities:

Another category of interesting Allies to Charlie Kane is those with exciting abilities. It's impossible to name them all, but I will name some that I've heard being named regularly or that I could see being used:

The Allies that only bring you something only once (either when played or when leaving play):

These are interesting since you can pack many of them in your Deck, increasing the set-up pace since Charlie Kane is useless before he has 2-3 Allies on the board.

  • The Red-Gloved Man that boosts 2 of your stats to 6 while giving you a icon to commit for a +2 at any test using your Ability.

  • Jeremiah Kirby of course, if you manage to get around 20 cards of either odd or even in your Deck.

  • Mysterious Raven that is a cheap 1 icon and can be discarded for an auto-clue before you replace it.

  • Art Student that gives you a clue when played and an icon to use during a skill test without sacrificing any exhaust ability.

  • Laboratory Assistant for an ok draw and an icon to use with your ability on a test without any downside.

  • Medical Student can be nice to heal one of your Allies (Bonnie Walsh if possible) after you had the Burden of Leadership. It also gives you a welcome defensive icon.

  • Stray Cat can be good as it is improbable that you give any evade abilities to Charlie Kane.

  • Brother Xavier that is more a one-off ability, and also helps you both with a static +1 and a similar icon. He could fit as an early upgrade in a oriented build even though his price is hard to justify.

  • Tetsuo Mori that helps you investigating with an icon, and helps you finding your Items when leaving the game.

  • Priest of Two Faiths for a blurse build, that offers the best soak/resource ratio, but coming with a disappointing icon.

  • Anna Kaslow if you try to boost your stats with Tarot cards, that comes with a icon.

The Allies that do not exhaust to give you something:

  • Miss Doyle gives you a icon to use at any time, along with 3 little kitties that do not have health/sanity and therefore are not affected by Burden of Leadership since you can still choose to deal them 1 Damage/Horror. Zeal, Hope, and Augur do not take the Ally slot yet have the Ally trait, so you can still use them for your Ability. It's a one-slot two Allies pack. There are 3 main uses for the cat crew. 1) Use Augur's ability to boost your to 5 during one of your investigation. 2) Use Augur's and Miss Doyle's icons during a treachery test to get to 5 . 3) Use Hope as a defensive card in case you draw an enemy during the upkeep phase. I think our Politician will be a cat lover.

  • Speaking of furry balls, the Black Cat decreases the threat of Symbol tokens and helps you take advantage of the if you draw it when there is no Ally to ready. Also, it doesn't have any reason to exhaust, so it can be fully dedicated to your Ability. It is also a great soak to compensate for your 6 Health, 6 Sanity.

  • Gregory Gry can be really interesting here. He exhausts for an icon and you do not need to exhaust him to bet the 3 resources. So if you exhaust him, Lola Santiago and Bonnie Walsh to the same test, you are investigating at 10 which should be enough to collect the 3 resources out of him reliably. Another trick to secure the +3 resources is to use the auto-succeed feature of Miss Doyle's cats.

  • Leo De Luca, our good ol' friend. The lion gives 1 additional action without exhausting and a nice icon! This one never stops being a good boy.

  • The traditional power couple Jessica Hyde and Peter Sylvestre (2) do not exhaust to soak. They offer a lot of Static boosts (unfortunately no though) and / icons.

  • Guard Dog does not require exhaust and can help fight. He could see play in a Fighter/Flex build using the Rod of Animalism to increase the Allies to use with Charlie Kane's Ability.

  • Tristan Botley gives you +1 to two of your skills without exhausting and gives a icon. That could be good if you're going for a statball build or down the road.

  • Familiar Spirit gives you an additional Arcane Slot while allowing you to use it for a test. The only reason to slot this little creature is if you go full in your build.

  • Dr. Elli Horowitz that could hold a Relic while giving you a icon to use. Could see play in builds.

  • Dario El-Amin for big money builds, also has 1 icon. I doubt that he'll see much play here. Maybe alongside Gregory Gry?

  • Joey "The Rat" Vigil (0) and (3) does not require exhaust for its shenanigans, while allowing you to use both an and an icon. I also doubt he'll see play here.

Allies not mentioned above that are just good for Charlie Kane:

  • David Renfield is perfect with Charlie. You can use his ability since you most likely do not care for the icon. The best is when you use Bonnie Walsh to ready him and use it a second time to collect resources during the same turn. That can bring ridiculous amounts. To get rid of him, you can use Calling in Favors, replace him with one of your many Allies, provoke an attack of opportunity or even choose not to boost yourself during an Encounter Test since your stats are all 1s.

  • Dr. Milan Christopher for the Static boost, the icon and the reward if you didn't need to exhaust him earlier.

  • Lola Santiago will be a staple for the Cluever Decks. Her 2 icons and Static boost are the best to him right now. There are multiple ways of abusing her ability by reducing the shroud of the location and using her ability during the skill test. Flashlight, Old Keyring, Lantern, Cryptographic Cipher and The Skeleton Key are some of the available options available to Charlie Kane. The BETA version of Alice Luxley (2) also offers a shroud reduction until the end of the turn.

  • Grete Wagner (3) for the flexibility of the icons, the static boost and the situational yet impactful Ability.

  • Summoned Hound is one of the obvious choices. You can play it ignoring the Unbound Beast by using A Chance Encounter (2) though it makes the combo heavier in XP and Deck space. It gives you an extra fight/investigate each turn with a base of 5, which is good. Also using Bonnie Walsh's ability to ready it gives you a 2nd action.


Recommended Allies for a cluever role:

Here are Allies that I would recommend starting your Deck with if you are trying to throw your first Clue-getter Deck together.

0xp Allies:

1-5 Allies:

  • Miss Doyle for Augur and the icon.

  • Lola Santiago for the 2 icons and the static boost, probably one of the first purchases with XP. Either use her icons for a high score or if you have money, simply buy the clue during an investigation with the Flashlight.

  • Granny Orne (3) brings both an and a static boost, with a built-in mini Lucky!.

  • The newly revealed Field Agent offers a test-less clue and an icon. When you are ready to replace her, you can also finish her with a last clue before playing a new Ally.


Recommended Allies for a fighter role:

0xp Allies:

  • Beat Cop is a neat level 0 Ally since it gives a passive +1 and doesn't provide anything that would exhaust them, so you can use it for your ability.

  • Grete Wagner is a bit like the Beat Cop except that her Ability can be helpful for just 1 more resource.

  • Lonnie Ritter gives you a static and a icon when you do not need her passive for healing purposes. Recommendations on what to bring with her further down the Review.

  • Guard Dog for the icon and the defensive damage that doesn't require exhaustion.

  • A pack of Sled Dogs, since you don't need to spend any XP to play them all. As a side note, Charlie Kane could actually run the 16-Sled Dog dream with 2 Charisma and Rod of Animalism and a team full of Teamworkers.

1-5xp Allies:

  • Upgrading to Beat Cop (2) is logic to access the test less damage. Add Bandages, Trusted and Inspiring Presence to your Deck and you have a reliable damage engine.

  • Grete Wagner (3) with her static and her 2 icons available is fantastic. Plus her exhaust ability is not always needed, making her an ideal target for your ability, that Bonnie Walsh can ready if need be to collect the clue.

  • Nephthys brings some solid icons, and justifies by herself a combat build.

  • Aquinnah (3) could see play in a fighter build. I doubt that anyone would build this, but you never know!

  • The Jessica Hyde/Peter Sylvestre (2) that gives you nearly unlimited soak, Jessica's static an a similar icon for the passive ability, and Peter Sylvestre's defensive stats.


Recommended Allies for a flex role:

1-5xp Allies:

1-5xp Allies:

  • Miss Doyle for the flexibility that it offers.

  • Summoned Hound for the free action that can be used to fight or investigate with a base 5.

  • Michael Leigh boosts both and and rewards you for doing both.

  • The Red-Gloved Man for the +5 to 2 of your stats during one turn and the icon. Pack 2 Daredevil as the only skill in your Deck to unlock the fast Deck cycling to see The Man more often.

  • Jacob Morrison has the particularity of readying by himself if you draw a token, and brings a to the table. I guess it's hard to generate enough to make him reliable, but it's also good to know that he's the only card that Tommy Muldoon cannot access in a solid build. Bring 2 Favor of the Sun to ready him at will.

  • Alongside Jacob, Tristan Botley can find a spot, bringing +1 to 2 stats that you choose based on your needs, while also coming with a icon.

  • Anna Kaslow to use, for example, Ace of Swords and Death • XIII (they are not unique so that you can have 2 copies of one of them online at the same time).

  • Abigail Foreman would hold an Encyclopedia could also be a lead to explore. Maybe with Leo De Luca to compensate the needed?



Interesting 0-2 cards from each faction:

Let's now explore cool potential cards and synergies for Charlie Kane in each class. This is a non-exhaustive list, and if you have any other ideas, feel free to let me know in the comments!


Cards :


Overall good Cards:

  • Well Prepared was one of my first thought when seeing Charlie Kane. Get another boost based on the icons of your Assets (including your Allies). This helps boost one test much higher or pass more tests during the same turn, especially before Bonnie Walsh shows up.

  • Ever Vigilant is probably going to see play in a lot of Charlie Kane Decks since he is rather Asset heavy, and Allies tend to be an expensive type of allies. Also, he does not only need it during turn 1 since he will most likely replace a certain number of Allies throughout a scenario.

  • Glory if you decide to kill enemies.

  • Vicious Blow as usual

Cards for specific builds:

Overall good Cards:

More situational cards:

Overall good Cards:

More situational Cards:

  • Geas are good in this type of Deck if it is built around them, by including 0 skill cards, for example (which is also favourable for Jeremiah Kirby).

  • Crystalliser of Dreams can be good like in any other Deck, but I don't see it shining here.

  • Lone Wolf is an easy way to increase your income.

  • Well Connected and Well Connected (3) can be reliable ways to increase your stats if you go big money. High Roller works well in the same type of Deck.

  • Sneak Attack, Decoy, Intel Report, Small Favor and Counterespionage are good ways to leverage the money for testless actions, though Charlie Kane is probably not going to be nearly as good as Preston at doing this.

  • Three Aces if you have enough draw to be sure to see the 3 of them. An automatic success is nothing to sneeze at when your highest base stat is 1.

  • Chuck Fergus can be good with his icons if you go full Tactic/Trick. But probably not his best home either.

  • The Red Clock is not necessarily that optimised here, but still lovely for the +3 at a test when it has only 1 charge, the rest being the icing on the cake.

  • Priest of Two Faiths as a cheap soak and generator.

  • Easy Mark is always good to thin a Deck.


Cards

Mystic seems to be the least considered class for Charlie Kane. The reason is most likely the lack of 2 that can also have a good use or the fact that it's hard to match the power of a pure mystic.

- Promise of Power and Prophesy for the big amount of that they provide fit especially well in Charlie Kane's Decks.

  • Recall the Future is an easy way to prevent yourself from failing while pulling the token with the worst modifier (let's admit it, it's much less stressful to draw a Chaos Token when there is only the that can make you fail, and not a rogue -5).

  • Ikiaq could see uses in some enemy-management builds since you can use them to store the weaknesses of you and your party, without impacting your and . Doing so will prevent you from passing any and tests, which can be challenging for your survival.


Cards

Overall good Cards:

More situational Cards:


Neutral and Multi-Class Cards:



Build ideas:

I will leave some space for your imagination, but I think it's always nice to have some inspiration for where to start with your Deck.


Cluever Deck:

For a Cluever Deck, I would recommend and . Both card pools have amazing cards that both help with getting more clues and compensate the 1-1-1-1 stat line.

For a Fighter Deck, I would opt for and since these are the 2 most fighty card pools, or and for the same reason as above, is great at leveraging low skill values and includes a high amount of great level 0-2 cards.

  • Here is an example of a Deck that uses the Eye of the Djinn to bring you base value to 5 at least once a turn, with a clear target of at least twice or 3 times if needed.

Flex Deck:

and is an obvious choice for this category. could also work but it's hard to compete with dedicated Mystics. is also terrific as a flex faction.

You will have fun, Charlie Kane feels good to play, not too hard once you get the trick, yet still engaging.

But you are going to LOVE Charlie Kane if you are into Deck building. He is unlimited fun, bringing tons of combinations, and the length of this Review says enough.

Valentin1331 · 24706
What a senior thesis! — MrGoldbee · 1314
Wow! This is absolutely amazing. Thank you. — acotgreave · 498
Important quibble: you can absolutely exhaust any ally during any skill test, regardless of icons. You will always get the base +1, even if your ally has no matching icons (or any icons at all!) — Hylianpuffball · 22
Thanks @Hylianpuffball! I got it wrong indeed, let me correct it :) @MrGoldbee, I started it as a "quick review" and thought I'd just put down a few words for 5 minutes... took me more than 12 hours to write this ahah — Valentin1331 · 24706
Blessings hadn't occurred to me, but now I'm thinking about them: Charlie actually has access to Eye of the Djinn. It uniquely suits him just as it does Preston, but Charlie's deckbuilding is much more open, and so more able to stack the bag with both blessings and curses to fully utilise it. Interesting buildspace. — Maseiken · 1
Aaaaand of course you mentioned eye of the Djinn alreadu — Maseiken · 1
This is an incredible review on a versatile investigator. Well done! — Therealestize · 47
Amazing effort put into this breakdown, good stuff. — fiatluxia · 52
Ooops, hit post too quickly. Meant to say that don't forget Story allies -- there are usually quite a few in each campaign. Might be worth seeing a breakdown of their skill icons (bit spoilery though I suppose). — fiatluxia · 52
Regardless of the absence of must, you have to take the ruling for exhaust into account: "An exhausted card CANNOT exhaust again until it is ready (typically by a game step or card ability)." So the weakness is quite more threatening, than you give it credit for. — Susumu · 271
Thanks for checking this! The rules stipulate that: "In the absence of the word "must" while choosing among multiple options, any option may be chosen upon the resolution of the effect – even an option that does not change the game state." We are therefore free to chose anything we want, no matter the state of the game and even though are Allies are already exhausted. As they cannot exhaust another time, as you pointed out correctly, they simply won't and to quote the rule itself, it "does not change the game state". Does it make it any clearer? — Valentin1331 · 24706
I understand your reasoning. However I think, allowing you to pick an option, that does not change the game state does not allow you to pick an option, that is illegal to pick to beginn with. — Susumu · 271
You are of course correct, that drawing it during Upkeep does not risk the allies, because they ready before you draw your upkeep card. So I too think, this is a quite managable weakness. Just don't draw during your turn, while it could hurt your allies. — Susumu · 271
I am sorry but even after checking with the rules gurus, they agreed that "there is no ambiguity as written". The reasoning is that you can choose to exhaust the Ally, and since you cannot exhaust a second time, nothing happens. The same way as if you would choose to discard all your resources when you have none, nothing happens. As I explained though, your interpretation seems closer to what the designer may have intended. Once again, it's really up to your own interpretation and that is why I've detailed both options in my review. — Valentin1331 · 24706
Miss Doyle seems like a bad target for Calling in Favors since when you play her a second time you won't be able to find any cats in your bonded cards. — sharpobject · 1
Thanks sharpobject for the good point. Fortunately they corrected this with the last FAQ, so I won't make the change in the text since it may cause more confusion than clarification. — Valentin1331 · 24706
I don't know, which rules gurus you've talked to, officials from FFG, or some dudes on Reditt? There is an interesting thread on BGG on another topic, which might give an answer: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2935271/article/40804535#40804535 Here user KillBray gave his opinion, that something to "choose" has to be literally on the card for the paragraph of the RR on the must keyword to apply. — Susumu · 271

One nice little quirk not mentioned in the other review:

Several scenarios have story assets, normally with an encounter card back, that often rather represent a liability than being of actual use. Poster children for these are Helpless Passenger or Innocent Reveler, but also Harold Walsted or Joe Sargent, who are of some use, can be seen as an example. None of these have any icons, but this does not stop Charlie from exhausting them for the 1 from his own ability. With the notable exception of Mr. Peabody, they usually don't cost an ally slot, so they are a completely free bonus for him! Just be aware, that your weakness might kill your free allies off, if it hits you, while they are exhausted.

Susumu · 271

There have been been some particularly nasty investigator + basic weakness pairings in the past, and with the introduction of Charlie, a new one rises to the top of that list.

Stubborn Detective shuts down the front of your investigator card. For Charlie, this includes not just his ability ... but also his 3 additional ally slots. Drawing this weakness could lead to you losing up to 3 allies at once, along with their skill boosts, abilities, and soak. (and the resources and actions to put them into play). You can go from being completely secure, to being defenseless and 1/1/1/1 in the mythos phase.

For other investigators, the detective's effect is temporary e.g. Calvin can get his stats back by walking out. Unfortunately, as Charlie, your discarded allies don't come back. Another problem is that you don't have to be the one to draw Stubborn Detective; another player's Detective zaps you simply by being in the same location.

I think, once you see this guy show up on the table, you will need to make some adjustments to your deck to mitigate the carnage. Charisma shoots up in priority, obviously. If you have the correct classes, deck scrying (Scrying, Parallel Fates etc) can help, as can ally recursion (A Chance Encounter, Protecting the Anirniq). Maybe put in some non-Ally defense/soak, and skills as well. If another player has the Detective in their deck, you will be taking a great risk being at the same location, so you may wish to split up until the detective arrives and is dealt with.

This combination is on par with Lola Hayes' pre-Taboo weakness, in terms of how devastating it can be, and the amount of dread it makes you feel every time you draw a card. But at least it does make for great stories and memorable moments..?

jemwong · 90
For only 3 xp you can take Ikaiq to cancel Stubborn Detective, thanks to Charlie having level 5 ally access. You'll then need to protect Ikaiq, of course, but losing 3 ally slots isn't quite as bad when it happens *after* you already lost an ally. You should probably be lead investigator each scenario after taking her so you draw first during upkeep, to let you help other investigators with less risk of being caught with her exhausted. — Thatwasademo · 44
*her name is spelled Ikiaq, not Ikaiq — Thatwasademo · 44
Ikiaq is very smart. Though she still needs to already be out at the time that the Detective is drawn. Thanks for the tip! — jemwong · 90
Such a fantastic review, thank you — nonobstant · 11

There are some great campaign allies to get with Charlie. Usually they all have a and an extra incon.

In my opinion, one should consider the campaign allies when building a Charlie deck, so let's review what's available.


Spoilers incoming !


  • NoZ : sadly Lita Chantler has no icons. Same for the Wayfarer allies from Edge of the Earth (only Anyu may be considered, but she has already a nice exhausting ability and won't get extra value from Charlie's ).

  • Carcosa is the only campaign where you never get an ally. No, The Man in the Pallid Mask doesn't count.

Outside those 3 campaigns, the other present you some nice options :

You can also play independant scenarios, consider playing those :

Abbess Allegria Di Biase (Carneval eof Horrors), John & Jessie Burke (Guardians of the Abyss) ,Lady Esprit (Rougarou), Sergeant Monroe (Excelsior) cost a bit too much imo. Keep your money and your slots for better allies (see the other review)

Emmental · 27
The Alice in Wonderland campaign also has some excellent allies to pick up along the way. Dormouse was particularly great in my Charlie deck (3 icons, plus card-draw) — acotgreave · 498

Obviously no one is going to top Valentin1331's review of Charlie Kane. Having played a flex-Kane in the Scarlet Keys campaign I want to highlight a couple of character dynamics. I approached Charlie in a pure ally fashion--no hand slots were used in the [redacted]. Obviously if you want to play Charlie differently some of these thoughts will be less useful.

First, ally economy. Kane is pretty inept until he gets allies out and even then it can be hard to safely get him through more than two tests a turn because he's exhausting his allies. You can get out of this by having a lot of allies on the field (i highly recommend rod of animism and charisma, especially once your primary cards are in the deck), exhausting allies (Bonnie Walsh is a perfect signature card and drawing the elder sign with Charlie is pure joy), or changing your base stats. To this end, I believe Miss Doyle and Summoned Hound are perfect additions to a Charlie Kane deck.

Miss Doyle provides two ally slots in a single ally slot, plus her kitties allow you to take a test with a base skill of 5 rather than 1. Even if you play the wrong kitten, the fact that Doyle has ? icons and that each kitten has two icons rather than one means they are almost always high benefit exhausts. Summoned Hound on the other hand is almost never exhausted for benefit. Rather it lets you do one of the main activities in the game with a base score of 5 as a fast action. If you get Bonnie and the Hound out at the same time this can lead to investigating or fighting with a base of 5 twice (and once with a minimum score of 4) three times for the price of a single action (fast action Hound, action do a test where you commit Bonnie, fast action hound). Have a few more allies out and/or cards to commit and suddenly Charlie Kane can be a secondary guardian or seeker.

Second, Rogue/Survivor Charlie. What is a politician, if not a roguish survivor? Their job is to shake hands, smile, grease wheels, and weather scandals. Kane is no different, and I actually think in multiplayer play this is a better pair for a flex Charlie than Seeker/Guardian as it helps you play, search for, and sometimes abuse your allies. On the Rogue side, Hit and Run is a wonderful card. Every time you add an ally into a Kane deck I recommend considering how it would interact with Hit and Run--by the end of my campaign Hit and Run was the only rogue card in my deck and I had no regrets about my class choice. Though I only did it one time, playing Hit and Run and Calling in Favors on the same card is exceedingly satisfying, and can save a few precious resources if you're really lucky. More impressive are the Survivor cards. Flare alone makes me think Survivor should be considered for every Kane deck. Adding A Chance Encounter (with or without experience) and Resourceful (to get back Encounter, and some of your high value allies like Miss Doyle and Peter back) to the card pool and...well, I promise it is fun. Remember, Chance Encounter(2) and Flare both put Summoned Hound into play so you don't need to drop the bonded card in the deck.

Overall I think Charlie is a super fun and satisfying investigator. His card pool opens up all sorts of wonky interactions (ESPECIALLY if you have oodles of experience or are playing off taboo). If you like allies, animals, and confusing turns, give the old man a shot.

turtlegods · 2
Faustian is real good for high cost allies too. — MrGoldbee · 1314

Charlie is a disabled old man with a cane and a bad smoking habit, until you play him off taboo.

Off taboo, he's a machete wielding lunatic who swarms his victims with a pro football player, dogs, a literal assassin and his trusty secretary. He uses Dig Deep and Drawing Thin to ace will/evasion checks, physical conditioning or combat training to buff his machete and loves explosives. He's even ever vigilant for eldritch horrors, and has no problem going Toe to Toe.

Don't count this guy out, unless you play taboo. I'm not sure how to play him without the ridiculous resource generation from Drawing Thin.

Tldr

Off taboo, starter deck should be In The Thick of it, Drawing Thin x2, Ever Vigilant x2, Jessica Hyde, Peter Sylvester, Physical Conditioning x2, Machete x2, Guard Dogs x2, Dynamitex2, Hallowed Mirror, Dig Deep then whatever you want.

This mitigates his biggest problem which is playing assets, and let's you do one (1) really good combat check per round. He's otherwise extremely tanky, but due to the fact he only gets one "good hit" hes dependent upon card effects that guarantee damage.

That's not enough to be a solo mob healer imo, and he will usually need to be paired with someone who can handle enemies just fine on their own (i.e. trish) but his strength comes from being able to do anything really, really well, one time per round.

drjones87 · 105
Need money? Play Rogue. — MrGoldbee · 1314
Drawing Thin is Taboo'd to 3 XP not Forbidden, so you could still assemble this list for 10 XP total. you should be able to play this deck after the first one or two scenarios depending on campaign and whether you boosted your XP somehow (In the Thick of It, Delve too Deep....). However, I think while this isn't a bad list per se, there are other ways to boost Charlie Kane's stats and make him a Fighter than bloating your deck with 3 pump cards, by boosting him with allies and/or skills. — PowLee · 13