Flashlight

There is a lot of writing on how good flashlight is at what it does, but I think it is critical to understand why flashlight is so good in a 'meta' sense to really start to understand Arkham as a game.

As one of my friends put it, "Someone who isn't normally expected to get clues successfully getting 2-3 clues is the difference between winning and losing a scenario in multiplayer"

Arkham, at its core, all about efficiently getting through the act deck, and while there are combat or movement focused acts, the overwhelming majority of scenarios are advanced primarily through investigation: you are, after all, an investigator.

So while a strong, two handed gun, or a deck with every card focused for tackling enemies and threats, is going to be very good at clearing those threats you face out fast, you need to ask yourself why you are removing threats. In general, killing enemies is done specifically to allow you to safely go get more clues. So if your just... not assisting with clues at all, it doesn't matter that you kill enemies twice as fast. Who cares that you killed a 3 health enemy in 1 action instead of 2 because you got rid of your .45 really early in a campaign, if you are going to spend every turn sharpening your sword and polishing your gun rather than using that action to actually help win the scenario?

This doesn't mean every deck needs flashlight: Mystic, Seekers, and arguably Rogues don't really need it usually. Survivors have other tools but often want Flashlight as well. But I see so many guardians falling for the trap option of being 'pure combat' and trying to take that entire dimension of the game on alone, and abandoning all else, and that is a huge mistake.

So Flashlight teaches us this: Your deck needs plans for things to do that actually help your team win the scenario, rather than just endlessly handling threats. Yes, even in 4 player multiplayer. Yes, even if you are Mark.

Killing enemies super efficiently isn't the same as cluvering really efficiently. A seeker, mystic, or rogue just nomming up clues faster than normal is helping the entire team get through the scenario faster, reducing the amoung of encounters everyone faces, and freeing up others to explore other easier locations, regain resources, or explore because they are 'overkilling' a location and gathering faster than normal.

But a fighter like Guardians or Survivors killing the maybe the small handful of 3 health enemies they face early on in a campaign doesn't help anyone else. It just helps that fighter, because no one else really cares how fast the enemy dies, just that it isn't attacking them while they seek out clues. Outside of bosses (who, again, you spend a minority of your time fighting so being a bit less efficient at that early is totally ok), doing lots of damage very fast only helps the team if you can, after efficiently killing something, go on to do other helpful things! So have tools to do other helpful things!

Those tools don't have to be Flashlight, and eventually you may need to leave it behind to get tools to deal with escalating threats, but you need to do more than slap two Evidence! or Look what I found into your deck and calling it a day even once you leave Flashlight behind. Almost every investigator has good options for replacing it, even if it as simple as getting a 'resources for stat boost' card that can boost your investigates.

dezzmont · 13
Ancient Stone

With Return to Forgotten Age, this is a great Stone upgrade for Ursula Downs, especially if you can get Dr. Elli Horowitz to hold it for you. With one of the worst weaknesses in the game this Stone offers great protection, and if you are also running Veda Whitsley with Charisma, you have a lot of double-chances with the encounter deck during the mythos phase. Throw in Truth from Fiction at level 0 or 2 and maybe Astounding Revelation and you are in great shape.

Krysmopompas · 212
Astounding revelation requires some search effects. You can also add scavenging with versatile to your deck and recycle the empty stone — Django · 3683
I don't quite get, what makes her weakness so bad with "Return to Forgotten Age"? — Susumu · 156
The Enchanted Path

Just played this scenario for the first time and we stayed on the path as instructed. Big mistake. Found out afterwards the designer assumed no one would listen to the instructions and everyone would leave the path. This was an enjoyable scenario that was ruined by a joke that has a huge negative impact on gameplay.

thericker3 · 4
Dreamlands is a disordered place. Don't trust so easily. — MrGoldbee · 1101
Such a genuine surprise that people would spend (15*the number of investigator) actions to place clues on an 8-shroud location and try to discover said clues. In addition to that, deliberately avoiding unrevealed locations on a blind run for potential victory points. — toastsushi · 62
@toast TDE could well be your first campaign, so you might not know that. Also in the design space of Arkham, it's entirely possible that an agenda flip or resolution would reward you for not exploring. But that's a design problem inherent to blind plays of Arkham, where it sometimes turns into a game of "guess the designer's intention". It can be a bad experience if you guess wrong. — suika · 7772
to be fair, the card Text strongly suggests that staying there is possibly not the right thing to do. — PowLee · 10
Ditto what @PowLee says. Also, in a 2-player game, after spending 30 actions (with no time to deal with enemies), and then finding 10 clues on a 8 shroud location? Sure, technically not impossible, but on your first playthrough without being prepared for this location? Highly likely you misplayed something. — Nenananas · 187
I'm afraid, my friend, that you'll not find much sympathy here. On the other hand, if you don't want the game to be mean to you, this is maybe not the best game for you? — SGPrometheus · 563
The card explicitly says "but you feel you are missing something"... It's an 8 shroud location that requires three actions per clue just to place the clues, that you need to collect a ton of clues from, that even tells you that you are missing something. It's obvious that you aren't intended to attempt this ridiculous task on scenario 1. You can only blame yourself for this one. — Soul_Turtle · 1
One can call it obvious, but that doesn't really make sense considering that Arkham is a game about narratives and using the information in the narrative to navigate scenarios. The scenario plays up that you shouldn't leave the path, it is heavily established early and Arkham is a game where certain choices have long term consequences. You can't say "I didn't expect anyone to listen to what I told them to do" as a game designer, especially because this is literally playing on real world myths and fairy tales and it feels very much like it is tempting you to leave the path, rather than it being legitimate. It violates the normal rules of "Establish, Payoff" pretty heavily, and the capstone of why this 'tehehe' wink and nod moment didn't work is that Arkham is a NARRATIVE game, and it stands to reason that having the narrative say one thing and the mechanics try to tell you to do another isn't going to work out for many players. It is a suuuuuuper common pain point in dream eater playthroughs for a reason. — dezzmont · 13
It is not “obvious”. My blind run of this campaign was in three player. I was Patrice and I had built a deck packed with skill icons. I suggested to my group that I generate the clues and commit what I had to their tests and we aced it. Naturally, we later discovered how damaging this was, but in previous campaigns, you were generally awarded something regardless of the path you chose. You can burn down your house and get Lita and trauma, or you can forgo Lita for the house in next scenario and bonus XP. That’s how an RPG should run. This dream eater scenario definitely breeches some player trust because they rightfully and conditionally assume a “pure” avoidance of the woods will grant them a story path (not unlike doubt/conviction or circle undone allegiances). — LaRoix · 1489
Trench Knife

One under-appreciated aspect of this card is that it gives you some seriously good bonus against swarming enemies in the Dream-Eaters campaign, so it can work as a very cheap off-hand weapon alongside your primary extra-damage weapon.

snacc · 469
Think on Your Feet

A card that's largely been decent but fairly niche up to now, but I think with the release of Edge of the Earth, this may have found a character who considers it very strongly. Monterey Jack's ability draws him a card right at the end of any turn he wishes to use it - which, if playing solo or just taking your turn last, is a bit of an issue for weaknesses like Mob Enforcer or Stubborn Detective which will both immediately hit you for a damage and stick a tough enemy on you, Your Worst Nightmare, which will then immediately hit you for two horror in the enemy phase (though thankfully can't be drawn in solo), or worst of all Silver Twilight Acolyte, which will hit you and immediately place a doom on the agenda. But holding this in hand, you can just completely negate this aspect of threat from them, meaning there's little need to play around having Monty go first, or stick near to the fighters just in case he drew one of his worse weaknesses.

And what happens if you don't draw one of those weaknesses? Well, it's still a strong enough card. His ability checks where you were at the start of the round, rather than your turn, so it effectively just shunts you away from a monster and pays for itself (or gets you a draw). And if the monster spawned is a hunter, you can then just move during your turn and get a resource and a draw. You might not carry it through too much of the campaign, as it still generally loses out to more consistent movement tech from seeker, but it's still very much worth including at deck creation.

SSW · 116