Sledgehammer

I can't match how entertaining the other review on this weapon is, but I do want to chime in and say that this doesn't actually look that bad, if a bit on the bland side. When a person building a fighting-focused deck looks at this, they (rightfully) go "meh, I can do better than +1 damage per action." That said, this is a very solid weapon for the fighter who doesn't care that much about fighting, but is still expected to do it:

Leo Anderson wants to do ally shenanigans, but definitely wouldn't mind a solid (cheap!) weapon for smashing little fellows, and he can still put his back into it for bosses.

Roland Banks (particularly Parallel Front Roland playing with Due Diligance) might feel like focusing a little more into his investigative side, but would want a damage boost to murder nuisances who get in his way.

Tommy Muldoon, if he's playing a tank role for his teammates in a multiplayer game, or is investing his time and effort into working Agency Backup.

Silas or Daniela are less likely to go for it, but it's still an option for some builds for them. Basically any time you're going to be building most of your deck around something that isn't fighting, but still have 4+ fight and would rather smash things than run from them, this is a solid choice, if you can stomach the xp cost. Like Fire Extinguisher (3), getting consistent +1 damage on an unlimited use weapon at 3 resources is a steal, and this also lets you get in on the big fights without any further investment.

Malafar · 4
On the other hand, it's 3 xp, 1 resource, and a hand slot more expensive than Taboo Machete, just to make the +1 damage unconditional and give you a second option you probably don't want to use too often. And, I guess, to give Survivors access to it. — Thatwasademo · 41
Joey "The Rat" Vigil

Now that we have an investigator that is Items oriented and has access to The Rat, it is maybe time for another review of the #1.

The first ability is here icing on the cake, we can play another Item , but with Bob Jenkins' passive, we will not need it that much. The only 2 cases when I've found it useful was to play an Item when I was engaged with an enemy and I didn't want to trigger an AoO, or to play Leather Coat/Cherished Keepsake fast for 1 resource right after pulling a scary Encounter Card that involves a test ( for example) to absorb the potential failure.

However, the 2nd ability is a must-have for Bob. It is simple to understand: Empty your Flashlight, your .18 Derringer, your Eon Chart and sell them to Mr Vigil. Then go and Scavenge his hiding place to get them back, play them with your Passive and here you go for another round while having paid for the costs of replaying them. Bonus for Eon Chart that you can use, discard, scavenge and use again in the same round.

This can also work in case you do not have any Item to play with your Passive and you want to turn this un-used action into cash: Play Leather Coat/Cherished Keepsake using your Passive action an throw it immediately. Use Scavenging to get it back during a round when you don't need to scavenge anything else and you're ready to go again.

Finally, there is another series of cards that is worth looking at when considering Joey "The Rat" Vigil: the self-discarding type. We can split them into 2 categories, the ones that involve a test and the ones that do not. If a test is involved during the action that would self-discard the Item, then you have a window to use The Rat before the card self-discards. Other cards do not allow you to do so.

Here's a list of all the cards available to Bob:

Backpack/Schoffner's Catalogue: NO - no Player Window when playing an Item

Bandages: NO

Baseball Bat/Lockpicks: NO - no Player Window after ST.3 Reveal Chaos Token

Gravedigger's Shovel/Lantern/Knife/Tennessee Sour Mash: NO - discard is part of the cost

Old Keyring: YES

Talisman of Protection: NO

Colt Vest Pocket/Colt Vest Pocket (2): YES

That is not a lot of cards, but that means that Old Keyring is now as interesting as Flashlight and Bob Jenkins should most likely run both, the Old Keyring on 4+ shroud locations and the Flashlight on less than 3 shroud locations. Colt Vest Pocket is also amazing as you can play it in advance, and whenever you use it, you get your money back right after. This combo makes it the #1 defensive weapon for Bob.

So what about Bob Jenkins and Joey "The Rat" Vigil? They seem like the best buddies to travel to the Edge of the Earth. Bring Dario El-Amin and Leo De Luca in the loop and you have the best undercover criminal gang in the continent.

Valentin1331 · 2548
Always thought it was VIRGIL. Whoops. — MrGoldbee · 1148
Cyclopean Hammer

I think I'm a little less hot on this card compared to some of the other reviews here, and I'm not seeing this as a new "king of weapons".

Yes, it has the potential to be a 3 damage attack with infinite uses, but I think "succeed by 3" is a bigger deal (especially on higher difficulties) than it seems. On most enemies, your token-modified skill value would have to hit 6+, which will pretty much always require stat boosts, even with the will+fight modifier.

On hard, I think this weapon will do 2 damage more often than one would hope for with a 5 resource, 5 xp weapon, and I think on that difficulty lightning gun, flamethrower, holy spear, and the lv 5 mystic spells still compete with, or even outperform (particularly in consistency) this weapon. On standard or easy, I can definitely see the appeal of picking up a big weapon that always does a minimum of 2 damage and often times 3, but it's still got more variance than comparable choices.

And yes, Reliable goes a long way to get you the consistency you want, but now you're looking at a 2-3 cards, and the other options have their own synergy cards too. None of this is to say that Cyclopean Hammer is bad by any means, I just don't think you should binder your other choices just yet.

Malafar · 4
I agree. It's a very strong weapon, but I'm not sure it's even the best weapon of the set. With a lot of support - allies, reliable, etc. - you can make it reasonably reliable to hit for three, but you can say exactly the same about ammo cards with flamethrower, or bless support with the Holy Spear, or Recharge with mystic spells. Plus, out of all these options, this Hammer is the most expensive, so cuts hugely into the resources you need to set up its support, and of course just has much less support in mystic in general. — SSW · 148
I think the value of this being able to swing multiple times (no ammo) is a big deal. Even on 3 health enemies it doesn't feel as bad as having to swing twice as you aren't using up ammo/charges. You have less action efficiency, but you're MUCH happier to have this against 1-2hp enemies. — Therebrae · 11
Having unlimited uses is absolutely a big deal. There's a very intentional line between higher action efficiency with limited uses, and unlimited uses with lower action efficiency. Now, we have a weapon that can *potentially* provide the same efficiency of a firearm with unlimited uses: but in the end, it isn't that simple because "succeed by 3" isn't a trivial ask. Since I usually play on Hard, I look at this and think "Holy Spear can do the same or better for 1 resource less, and Timeworn Brand for 1 slot less". That said, I'm not going to sneer when my playgroup decides they want to take this out for a spin, it's still a very solid weapon. Since you mentioned the 1-2hp enemies: Ironically, one of the strategies to get cyclopean hammer's consistency up (Increasing your base fight stat) also works for firearm users to punch low health enemies to death without spending bullets. All roads lead to the same place? — Malafar · 4
It's worth noting that the hammer itself does a lot to help you reach that succeed by 3 target on the right investigator, just like Lockpicks helps you hit its own succeed by 2 target. With a 4+4 or 3+5 base stat line, even with no other static boosts, you probably don't want to count on hitting for 3 but you also generally won't miss and you'll get pleasantly surprised often enough. — Thatwasademo · 41
It also really, really doesn't hurt that if you hit for 2 and don't have the time to swing again you can push the enemy away. This doesn't particularly help against hunter enemies that weren't going to make an AOO against you or your seeker, but FFG does occasionally print enemies without hunter and sometimes your seeker is the one to draw the enemy. — Thatwasademo · 41
Sledgehammer

This card is not a niche card, rather, one of the best, if not the best, level 0 weapon. Its main strength in my opinion is actually the second ability, as I explain below. The first ability is just icing on the cake that adds some flexibility for enemies with low fight and high health. You can choose to attempt 1 (basic attack), 2 or 3 damage to handle a given enemy situation. My only hesitation about saying it is the number 1 weapon at level zero is that it is two-handed, which is unacceptable for some decks.

Why is the second ability so good? The answer is: the +2 combat with unlimited uses plus increased damage. Many people miss this important point when they look at/review weapons: the net damage you deal per action is affected by not only the damage modifier but also how often you hit. It is a mistake to look at .32 colt and sledgehammer and say that the colt deals 2 damage per action and the sledgehammer’s second ability only 1.5. People tend to act as if a given weapon will either never hit or always hit, which is obviously incorrect. The truth is that in all likelihood for most investigators the sledgehammer double action will deal more damage (and often much more damage) per action when you consider the hit rate. I’m not going to calculate the predicted damage/action right now, but having done this for most of the other weapons, I can predict with some confidence that the sledgehammer deals more damage than the .32 colt for any investigator with less than 5 base combat in typical enemy encounters, barring additional combat modifiers.

And it doesn’t run out of ammo. This should not be taken lightly. Those of you that remember how much better machete was at level zero than the firearms at the time will understand. So while the .45 Thompson deals more damage per action, this is not a fair comparison with its limited uses. Direct competitors with sledgehammer at level 0 that increase damage and have unlimited uses are fire axe, knuckleduster, meat cleaver, switchblade, dragon pole (any others I’m forgetting?). Gravedigger’s shovel gives +2 combat but no damage bonus. It’s easy to see that sledgehammer is arguably the most useful among these, its main limitation again that it takes up two hand slots.

What about the first ability? This is obviously best when you are at a large combat advantage, such as enemies with 1 or 2 fight. It is hard to use when your base combat is less than 4, but will still usually be better than a basic fight action, since it deals double damage with hits. It’s not so common that -1 combat reduces your chances of hitting by 50%.

One trick to use with the sledgehammer is gaining an extra action to get two of the double action hits in; for example, the original Skids loves this as he can always swing twice per round by paying for an extra action. Otherwise, you can use the odd extra action for something else, such as a basic attack, an evade, or a fight action on an event or arcane asset.

In summary, for survivors and guardians willing to use both hand slots for a weapon, this card is right at the top of the competition. Please consider odds to hit when comparing weapons.

jmmeye3 · 559
I think for the first ability, there are to few enemies with low fight and high health. "Conglomeration of Spheres" is the first one to come to me, but it is also one of the worst ones to tackle with this card for obviouse reasons. The second ability (on it's own, without support from "Viciouse Blow" or fight events) is great, when you are facing one enemy with exactly 3 health. But it get's problematic with multiple enemies or ones with more health. It's also a waste of actions on 2 health enemies. (Or a waste of comitted cards or resources to get the test high enough despite using the first ability). There are very few options to consistently get two activations. You mentioned Skids, who has a rather expensive option. There could also be Zoe with Leo as splash card. But that's exactly, what makes this card niche. It takes up two handslots, yet is realistically only usable once per round. — Susumu · 165
If the enemy has 4 health, use your last action for a basic attack. If 5 or more health, use the first ability. If you have ways of getting an extra action, even better! All level 0 weapons have limitations. — jmmeye3 · 559
I think the value of unlimited extra-damage attacks is pretty hard to overstate; this seems more like a balanced machete than anything (read: a great level 0 weapon). — SGPrometheus · 594
Against All Odds

I think this card is valuable and the comments don't do it justice because it is not being interpreted right (or maybe I am wrong). The key phrasing here is "X is the difference between the test's difficulty and your base skill value." The base value is the value printed on your investigators card. Because it uses that value before any modifications, you can technically have a higher skill value for the test and still draw extra tokens. You would then just pick the token that allows you to pass. Still kind of niche, but can be a life saver for Calvin or Preston. I plan on trying it out in Preston's deck. Really, this card is meant to be used for skill tests you need to succeed and used alongside other card abilities to boost your stats on those really difficult tests (like an elite boss enemy), it can be very useful and you'll be glad you have it in your hand.

You're not wrong on the difference between printed value, the problem is that even then it isn't that great. Its "best case" is often to avoid the auto-fail, which Eucatastrophe often does better, and retroactively so you don't 'waste' Eucatastrophe. Preston may be the one odd exception, but even he has enough ways to get away with testless clues, damage and the like. — Therebrae · 11
Thanks for the comment. Yeah, Eucatastrophe is often better for this, but that is also a level 3 card and sometimes you just can't spare another experience. Again, another fringe situation and I agree with you that there are better options for those situations regarding damage and clues, etc. But, this is one card that can boost your chances for success and fits all of those situations. Its more versatile and in my opinion, more valuable. — PrecariousSleuth · 8