"I Found a Clue!"

January 2, 2019

Hello again readers!


Last week we explored one of the most important tenants of Lovecraft lore - Sanity. We showed you how sanity impacts the decisions in play of Elder Shadows. This week will explore one of the other important tenants of Lovecraft's work - investigating the mystery. 


Investigation plays a key role for the Investigator in Elder Shadows, I mean, it is an investigator after all. In the game of Elder Shadows, the players take turns using actions and cards to progress their independent win conditions. The Investigators goal is to gain enough Insight to stop the Cultist from summoning an Elder One. To do this, the investigator must maneuver through the perils the Cultist Conceals at one of the three locations. If she can make her way through the dangers of the location, the investigator earns a chance to gain Insight through investigation. 


Investigations happen in the following steps.

  1. The Cultist chooses cards from their hand equal to the Investigator's Wisdom, adding or subtracting any bonuses. The Cultist must choose all the cards in hand if they have less cards in hand than the Investigator's Wisdom.  The Cultist places the chosen cards face down on the table.

  2. The Investigator declares 1 Investigation Ruin symbol.

  3. The chosen cards are revealed.

  4. The Investigator gains Insight equal to any revealed cards that match the Investigation Ruin symbol she declared.

  5. The Investigator suffers the effects of any Investigation Ruin symbols she did not declare.

  6. The cards are returned to the Cultists hand.

When the Investigator gathers enough Insight, they win!


With this system, the Cultist has decisions to make during every investigation. Deciding which cards to put into the investigation to outwit the investigator and progress his nefarious plans.

 - Each card with the Claw symbol that the Investigator doesn't declare deals 1 Wound to the Investigator. With enough Wounds, the Investigator loses.

- Each card with the Discard Symbol that the Investigator doesn't declare will force the Investigator to discard a card from her hand, reducing her options for the future.

- Each card with the Circle symbol that the Investigator doesn't declare will give the investigator Stress, leading her deeper into madness.


Each card in the Cultist deck will have one of the three Investigation Ruins on the bottom right of the card. Some of the most important decisions the Cultists has is when to use cards or when to keep them in hand to ensure a balance of all three symbols.

This Investigation system provides a mystery for the Investigator to solve that is not only dangerous and tense, but satisfying when solved. Even in failure the Investigator gains useful information. Each card the Cultist places face down will be revealed before the end of the investigation. This allows clever investigators to remember the cards that the Cultist has in hand and prepare for when the cultist plays them. Furthermore she can remember which cards she has seen from previous investigations that haven't been played - and use that information to better guess symbols in future investigations.


That is all for this week. I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about Elder Shadows. I will see you again in two weeks.


Thanks for reading

Nicholas Markgraf 




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