Improvised Weapon

Improvised Weapon - the ultimate back-up weapon?

Having played around with Improvised Weapon my conclusion is it fits the slot of a versatile back-up weapon.

When building for an investigator that can take Improvised Weapon it is never going to compete for the main weapon slot. There is still the need however for an alternative means of combat to hand in case you haven't drawn the main weapon, or you happen to be out of ammo/charges, or just want save ammo for the last swing. If combat is a focus, just including 4 weapons (two main, two backup) in a deck is not necessarily ideal but the temptation can be to include more weapons, which of course can reduce the flexibility of the deck.

In considering this back-up slot, something that may not be immediately obvious at first pass is the recursion potential of Improvised Weapon. After use from the discard it returns to your deck, which depending on the class will almost always be getting smaller. This means that although it only takes up one to two slots in deck construction, Improvised Weapon is effectively going to count as more copies of itself each time it is shuffled back into the deck. Even if this happens just once or twice a game your effective deck size is increasing by that amount, or to see it slightly differently, you have the potential to have more than two copies of Improvised Weapon in your deck without altering your deck size restriction.

This feature has pros and cons. By making your deck bigger the more you use Improvised Weapon, the less likely you are to draw another card you might need. However if you are using it you probably want to be seeing combat options sooner rather than later. Plus if you don't use it, well it just sits in your hand or discard until you do.

The second feature that makes Improvised Weapon shine is being an event that results in a fight action. This means no attacks of opportunity whenever it is used, no playing to the table that allows loss from asset-hate or competition with hand slots. It even resists deck milling by the mythos (which in turn makes it more effective!). In terms of straight damage it is very close to a knife that is discarded on the second action, but one that is fast, can be played from a discard pile and you can have more than two in your deck.

A brief mention also should be mentioned with regards to the -1 enemy fight value. As with shroud reduction verses investigation boost, reducing an enemy fight value is slightly better than boosting fight, even though the benefit is felt more with lower level fight tests. At present this is the only fight option that does this directly, Anatomical Diagrams being the only player card at present which does reduce fight but unfortunately without the fight action included.

The other points and considerations from previous reviews above are still very valid. While Improvised Weapon is a versatile back up or filler weapon, it isn't going to take down any enemies of more than 3 health and 3 fight easily on its own. In the most favourable situation assuming one Improvised Weapon in hand and one in the discard, it could dish out 5 damage for 3 resource and 3 action cost with 3 successful combat checks. Not perfect but it could save the day...

That said, Investigators that can take this and want to fight often may want rethink ignoring this card, especially early in a campaign. It can be useful for that odd ping of 1-2 damage in high combat investigators to save ammo and even in low combat investigators to give them at least something to fight back with. There will be better options later on, especially when classes are able to tutor for their main weapons, but even in late in a campaign, and depending on the scenario, being played from the discard can be clutch, while being filtered back into the deck ensures more readily available combat options are not far away.

In summary, don't ignore the effectiveness, recursion and resilience of this card as a combat option when everything else is against you. It works well equally with or without Dark Horse and especially well with discard options such as Cornered or, "Ashcan" Pete and Wendy Adams abilities. While the optimum play may be on a 1 fight enemy with 2 health when played from the discard pile, this card has a lot more going for it, even without other cards to support it.

Considering the Survivor faction, in my opinion this card is a flavour and faction home run; and one that is competes soundly for the title of the ultimate back-up weapon!

(Yes Survival Knife is ace, but no true survivor is going to want to take attacks on the chin regularly!)

SolarJ 4
All In

So for me the obvious comparison for this card is Cryptic Research, as they are both high XP, fast sources of card draw.

Cryptic Research has the advantages of being guaranteed card draw and costs one fewer XP. All In has the advantages of being able to draw you more cards in the best case scenario, not being able to draw weaknesses, and having two wild skill icons. 5XP is a lot to pay for an Unexpected Courage so I imagine this is mostly going to be used on easy skill tests to try to draw a bunch of cards, but there's always the option to commit it to a difficult test that you have to succeed, so I suppose its an upside.

Personally, Cryptic Research has never quite gotten there for me, and I never find myself with enough spare exp to justify running it. In theory, Rogue's should have even less spare exp floating around, so if this is really just the green Cryptic Research then it's terrible, right?

Well, maybe... but probably not! I don't think All In is a card that you can throw into a random late campaign rogue deck and expect to get value out of, I think this card is actually a big pay-off card for the "Succeed by Two" archetype. The ideal combo turn for the succeed by two deck looks something like.... find an easy test like a low shroud location or low fight enemy, attempt it and commit some combination of Watch This, Quick Thinking, Double or Nothing plus whatever cards you need to feel confident in over-succeeding, and then gain a bunch of extra actions and money and maybe a card if you had Pickpocketing or a Lucky Cigarette Case.

Enter All In.

With the +2 this card gives you to the test you can reasonably expect to be drawing 6-8 cards off your big combo test, even on hard or expert. What this does is let you add a huge injection of cards to that combo turn, which can then let you really get maximum use out of all those extra actions, and then end your turn still with a full grip of cards to let you combo off again next turn. This is all of course very risky as drawing the Tentacles on your big test can ruin your entire week, maybe you can convince your friend to play mystic....

personnaly, I can see this card as a late game purchase for any rogue running charon's Obol so that they can get their good toys like golden pocket watch, lola santiago, sleight of hand + lupara, lockpicks, hot streaks, sure gambles.... Basically spending your XP on consistency rather than other xp cards that you might not see — aurchen 1
I don't think this card has to be part of a big combo. Getting 4 or 5 cards out of it is reasonably good. Card draw is useful in any deck. I have found myself spending actions to draw cards in order to find important assets a lot of times and get really frustrated when I happen to stumble upon one of my weaknesses when I try and this card helps a lot with that. Now, you have to be oversucceeding by a lot in order to get good value out of it (Daring Manuever helps a lot with that if you 're running it) so my guess is that you will probably bumping resources into Streetwise, so it's not really of an early game card. I think it's generally a good upgrade for any Rogue if you 've already acquired your most important XP cards and it should be pretty good on decks that run Hot Streak. — matt88 90
I definitely agree with both your points, my review wasn't meaning to suggest that the card is only good in combo decks. I was just outlining how it can really shine there. As I said, I think it compares roughly to Cryptic Research, which is a solid card for decks with an excess of exp and I think that All-In performs the same role in Rogue. — birdfriender 5
Well, "roughly" describes that well. Cryptic Research might also be part of your build, since it helps a lot for Higher Education. — matt88 90
Yeah, it can be. But for me I always find the upgrade to Cryptic Research from Preposterous Sketches to be a luxury, I expect more so once the exp version of sketches is released. — birdfriender 5
I don't really like Sketches tbh. The clue ristriction can be annoying. I prefer Lab assistant, which also has an effect that is useful to Seekers, so I lean more towards Cryptic Research there. — matt88 90
@birdfriender You mention that you're going to draw 6-8 cards with this for a combo deck, but All In has a maximum of five cards drawn, and one copy committed per skill test. Is there something about the combo I'm missing? — cb42 12
@cb42 the 6-8 cards is assuming a Double or Nothing combo turn — birdfriender 5
@birdfriender Sorry for my confusion. That makes sense. In practice, Double or Nothing has only ever sat in a Rogue's hand during games I've played, so I failed to consider it. Thanks for clearing up my confusion! — cb42 12
Deciphered Reality

This card has excellent synergy with Ursula Downs. Given that she’ll be moving around quite a bit to maximize use of her ability and investing in mobility upgrades like Pathfinder and Shortcut to further capitalise on that, it’s very plausible she’ll be scampering across the map at lightspeed, handily opening up locations left and right.

Getting this card is a further extension of that play style; finding one of these copies at or near the start of the game means that you can afford to keep moving off from high shroud or otherwise troublesome locations like Circuitous Trail or Serpent's Haven instead of staying to empty them normally and paying through the nose as a result. You can then play this card to grab the breadcrumb trail of clues you’ve left behind, sweeping off the last remaining clue or two off a whole bunch of locations at once, and minimizing the number of tests you need to make as well.

Always though about this card in multiplayer, but your point will make me rethink it even in solo. But that rethinking will be heavy though, since a use case for this card is like once a campaign maybe, if I'm unlucky enough to fail multiple investigations along the way (1 clue locations) and lucky enough to start a secenario with that in hands. — Onetribe 111
Mob Enforcer

Mack gripped the railing tight as he peered through the pouring rain, the boat's lights behind him doing little to pierce the darkness. A crack of lightning was more effective--the massive shadow that was the island, and next to it, the silhouette of another boat, hastily moored to a rock. Good--he wasn't too late.

"Bring her in!" Mack shouted back to the captain. "Shore's just up ahead!"

"Are you mad?" came the response. "Nothing's supposed to be here! It's not natural! There's not enough money in the world to get me closer!"

"Yeah? Well I've got plenty more motivation if that's not gonna work. Bring her in if you know what's good for ya!"

There was a pause, silent but for the roaring storm, and the boat continued forwards. Within minutes, Mack had his feet back on solid ground. It was strangely spongy, and unpleasant to walk on, but Mack was too much of a professional to let something like that stop him. His ears perked up at the familiar sound of a gunshot from among the towers up ahead. They were some real ugly pieces of work, those. Whoever'd built them hadn't even managed to cut the stones straight.

Another gunshot, closer this time. Mack hurried forward, turning a corner to see his old 'buddy' Rex, apparently fighting some kind of octopus thing. Mack didn't hesitate, lifting his Thompson and unloading a full clip into the mass of tentacles. Storm must've been stronger than he thought if sea life was being washed this far inland. The octopus pulled away with a shriek that he hadn't known that octopuses could make, Rex turned in disbelief, eyes widening as they laid upon Mack.

"Oh, thank god! Listen, there's not much time left! We have to--URK!" Rex lost his wind as Mack seized him by the lapels and slammed him against the closest walls.

"Thought you could just skip town, huh, Rex?"

"W-what? What are you--"

"Boss doesn't take KINDLY to bums what think they can take his money and HIDE on some crap-ass island!" Mack's words were punctuated by further slams against the wall.

"What? No! No! This isn't-- I'm not--"

"Yeah? Sure LOOKS like you are!"

"That's not the--" Rex paled as the lightning flashed again and he stared off at something behind Mack in the distance. Behind, and far, far above him. "There's no time! We have to--OOF!"

"WE don't gotta do nothin', Rex! YOU, on the other hand, gotta pay up, or you're gonna regret it!" the enforcer lifted the reporter off the ground and them dropped him. Rex's wallet spilled out onto the uneven stone, and Mack flipped through it before pocketing the entire thing. "Yeah, that'll cover it. You better not make it so hard next time, or I'm not gonna be so friendly."

Rex blinked in disbelief. "Okay, sure! No come on, there's not much time! The world's going to end if we don't stop this from--" It was too late. Mack had already disappeared into the gloom, back down towards the beach. That sorry excuse for a ship's captain had run off, but Mack didn't let it spoil his good mood. After all, there was another boat right there.

((In conclusion, this is a pretty easy weakness to deal with--inconvenient, sure, but never too crippling. But boy, if the investigators could fight monsters with the same level of determination that O'Bannon enforcers chase debtors, the entire mythos would already be dead)).

Whoever runs this site should clearly add a fanfic section to the cards in addition to the existing Reviews and fAQ... — Death by Chocolate 8
I'm playing through Carcosa with a couple of friends, and the Jenny player has this card in their deck. I think his name is now Mack! — cb42 12