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Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Skill boosting talents rss

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Christian Kløve
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One of the card types, I disregarded during my first couple of games, were the talents, which allow you to spend resources to boost your skills for a skill check (Arcance Studies, Dig Deeep, Hard Knocks, Physical Training, Hyperawareness). I find these cards very usefull, almost to the point of being essential, since they allow for repeated skill boosting, substituting the loss of cards for the loss of resources to increase your chances of success.

I was somewhat surprised to read in these forums and see on a youtube video, that this estimation is not shared - some players leave these out completely. Even having played just the first two scenarios, I have encountered plenty of situations, which were either made much easier or downright only realistic due to having one of the above in play.

What are your experiences with the talents? Are you using them? If not, why not?
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Phil Tegg
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I don't see why anybody wouldn't want these - they don't even take up a slot!
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Christian Vetter
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Can you actually use them multiple times for the same skill check?

Is so they are actually much better than other items.
 
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Christopher Drew
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Agent of Cthulhu wrote:
I don't see why anybody wouldn't want these - they don't even take up a slot!

Agreed, no slot and after I get my three main assets out I start pooling resources.
 
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David Ainsworth
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Like any other cards, it depends on the deck you use them in. I found them to be really valuable running them with Skids, especially once he gets access to cards like Hot Streaks.

Playing as Daisy, on the other hand, with tonnes of card draw, I found the resources better spent elsewhere and skill cards to be better overall.
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Thanee
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I like them, in theory. In practice, I have not drawn any, yet (but only played one game so far).

I did include two of them in my first deck, tho.

Bye
Thanee
 
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Christian Kløve
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CletusVanDamme wrote:
Like any other cards, it depends on the deck you use them in. I found them to be really valuable running them with Skids, especially once he gets access to cards like Hot Streaks.

Playing as Daisy, on the other hand, with tonnes of card draw, I found the resources better spent elsewhere and skill cards to be better overall.


Good point. I haven't tried Daisy (or Skids) yet, but I really like them for both Roland and Agnes.
 
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Dimhalo
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I found Roland less so with this card because I never had enough resources. The weakness where you discard all your resources also shafted me twice so you have to spend them all as you get them just incase you get that weakness card!

I found it quite hard to get resources outside of the cache card with Roland.
 
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Mike B.
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I guess I played them wrong... I thought you discard them after playing them once. Can you use them multiple times? Does the card go back to your hand?
 
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mplain
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Talents are assets, and like any other assets they stay in play. Unlike other assets, they don't occupy any slots, so that might have confused you. But that's the way they are - an asset that stays in play, but doesn't occupy any slots.

You can use a Talent as many times as you want for a single skill test - as long as you have the money to pay for it. Basically, it converts resources into skill bonuses. Quite handy.
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Matthew Sigal
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They are powerful IF you have the economy to support them. For most characters in core, it seems resources are pretty scarce. So, most of my decks don't run them, instead opting for cards that aid checks and give me draw or other benefits.

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mathew rynich
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Try using Skids. Skids + Burglary + Physical Training. getting two Burglary out early when camped on low Shroud areas allows you to build a pretty decent stack of resources. It was my way last campaign of dealing with Skids' low Willpower and as a backup to boost combat if needed. I also bought Hot Streak, which was a lot of fun.
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Jacek Deimer
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I can see how can you fuel them, there is always something better to play like good ally or weapon or powerful event. Resources are scarce. Unless you have economy combo like Leo + Burglary + Hot Streak or Wendy with a ally who gives you resources when investigating, I can see how you could afford to use them.

And considering basic math they very inefficient way of boosting your stats.

Of course they might have some uses, like stocking up before a boss fight, if you a time.

In my opinion those are one of the first cards to cut when more deckbuilding options opens.
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mathew rynich
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One thing I noticed early about AH LCG when compared to LOTR is that in LOTR resources felt so important. Getting even just 1 resource extra was a big deal. In AH LCG resources are not as significant. You do need them to purchase stuff, but some card pools just don't need them as much. Some can generate them really easily (not to mention you can go turns without spending them since the majority of actions are free). That I think is a strength of the game. While I find it really easy to use them with Skids or Wendy I do find it really hard to pay for them with Roland or Agnes who need to purchase many expensive (sometimes expendable) assets.
 
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Richard Poole
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So what's good about the Talents is that they let you potentially burst key skill checks at the expense of a lot of resources, and each one enables you to do that with two different skills.

What's bad about Talents is that the game is as much about efficiently completing routine skill checks as it is making a few key checks. It's not worth sinking 3 resources to add +3 to your investigation when you need to pull 4 clues off a location. This means if failing a single check isn't going to kill or seriously maim, then you're better off loading up with cards that will give you one-time bonuses or accomplish your goals through different means (using Evidence! to steal clues off corpses, using Mind over Matter to make several combat checks rather than paying several times to buff them using Dig Deep).

And then just to make the Talents more annoying, they cost 2, they're not fast, and they only give 1 of two different icons, ensuring that half their icons go to waste even if they can apply to twice as many checks.

As Roland, built to be a monster-murdering, clue-swiping maniac, the number of times I used Physical Training and Hyperawareness during the original campaign was twice. And that was playing 2 and 2 ccpies in scenario 1, and 2 and 1 copies in the final 2. I'd say they're easy cuts. I'll admit that they were pretty important checks to not fail, but had I not been clogging my hand with Talents, and my partner doing the same, perhaps we could've reached the same time with more cards in hand, or time, or other assets such that we would've been better positioned when we got there.

In short, Talents don't DO anything. They give you the option of buying icons at a steep price when you desperately need them, and sit around doing nothing the rest of the time. (and maybe you can sacrifice them to cards that destroy assets?). Then again, if you're Skids and you have a crazy economy, you might be able to have so many resources that Talents go from an emergency measure to a routine way of hitting your checks.
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Lluluien
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Escapade wrote:
What's bad about Talents is that the game is as much about efficiently completing routine skill checks as it is making a few key checks.


On the other hand, I think knowing which checks are which is a significant part of doing well in the game. I actually think except for the scenario icon effects getting worse, in most of my games, the content of the chaos bag (as set by difficulty) wouldn't have mattered much to my strategy, only in the amount of attrition I felt. In checks that were not key, I go into them with a plan for failing. In checks that were key, I spent enough (often via these Talent cards on Wendy, saving skill icons to play on Roland's checks since he can't afford the Talents) that I only had a 1/16 chance of failing.

I actually think the Talents are excellent cards because they give you a wide spectrum over which you can adjust your risk assessment, since you can spend as little as nothing and as much as everything on any given check.
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MC Shudde M'ell
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lluluien wrote:
I actually think the Talents are excellent cards because they give you a wide spectrum over which you can adjust your risk assessment, since you can spend as little as nothing and as much as everything on any given check.


It is worth bearing mind that Talents always have a cost - you have to spend an Action and Resource cost just to put them in play. That investment is Escapade's main point, and it's worth bearing in mind.

I shouldn't jump ahead, but it seems to me that Jenny Barnes will be a monster with Talents, far more so than Skids or Wendy.
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mathew rynich
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Agreed. Getting 2 resources a turn is crazy good. She loses Skids' Guardian card pool and ability to extent his turn, but with her completely balanced stat line and extra resources she seems like a perfect fit for these skill pumping talents.

Unfortunately if you want to include a talent for all four skills for her the best combo is Physical Training and Hyperawareness since they have no redundant skill types on them. That would eat a lot of her precious out of faction card slots. Hard Knocks is redundant with one skill on all four other skill boosters.
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Richard Poole
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Not only is it worth bearing in mind the initial cost, but the opportunity cost of not putting in a "free" card in your deck (a skill, for instance).

As for Jenny, she's going to be sick with talents. I'd just give her Hard Knocks and then your pick of Physical Training or Hyperawareness. Maybe even one of each, if you're so inclined. Willpower isn't a tremendously important stat to boost when you've got 9 sanity. Roland manages to squeeze by with 3 willpower, 5 sanity (or in my case, 4, after he took a mental trauma).
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Cameron McKenzie
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Spend resources to pump your tests is not unlike committing cards to pump your tests.

Incidentally, if you regularly commit cards to tests, you are more likely to have a abundance of resources because you aren't playing cards.

Maybe there's a viable strategy here of coasting by on skill cards and talents alone and just only playing cheap efficient cards or economy supporting cards. Especially a burgling, pickpcketing, Jenny Barnes.

But the talents are obviously not good if you've planned your deck on spending tons of resources on the best cards available.

But I think it's also good to remember that sometimes taking an action to collect resource and then another action to do the (boosted) test will in many cases give a better average result than trying the unboosfed test twice.

Trying a difficult test multiple times without a boost is like firing wildly. Spending an action or a few actions to get cards/resources to pump it is like taking careful aim and making a single shot. Sometimes, the situation calls for the latter.
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Escapade wrote:
Not only is it worth bearing in mind the initial cost, but the opportunity cost of not putting in a "free" card in your deck (a skill, for instance).


But Skills aren't "free". They have a rather significant opportunity cost of being unplayable if you aren't asked to commit to a test that they can help in. Sure, eventually every investigator will probably have to test on all stats, but if the encounter deck is shuffled such that, for instance, Roland just isn't getting Willpower tests to do, those Guts are going to sit in his hand and feel very awkward.

In addition, if you're running Skills, you have no idea what cards you're getting next. If you badly need a Willpower boost to get rid of a nasty Frozen in Fear, you may or may not be drawing your Guts from your deck this turn. But if you have a Physical Training Talent in play, you know that a resource can be spent for a guaranteed boost to Willpower, and that you can generate that resource at will -- in fact, you could generate +3 of them if you felt you really wanted guaranteed boosts to what the Skill Talent gives you.

So it's a tradeoff between burst boosts which are resource-free but high on opportunity cost (both in taking up hand slots if unneeded and in not reliably being drawn from your deck in emergencies) vs. reliable boosts which cost resources to enact. They're both a fine strategy (and I don't see any reason why you couldn't use both), but it's not like one is strictly better than the other.
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Richard Poole
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I wasn't, nor do I think anybody else was, saying that skills are strictly superior to talents. Indeed, I put "free" in quotes specifically to acknowledge that even 0 cost cards that sometimes draw you cards have an opportunity cost.

When you run Talents, you know what you have, but conversely, you also know what you don't have. If you sink 3 action-equivalents (I think credits might be better valued at .75 actions or somesuch, but bear with me) on Physical Training, and you have to make an Agility check, then you get nothing.

Another point that could probably stand being made is that talents are less important on easier difficulties, and more important on harder ones. If your expected value of chaos token goes down, the importance of stacking additional bonuses goes up. On Normal you can get away with making just about any roll with a +2, or +4 if it's a hard roll and you suck at it. Of course, on Expert, the Survivor and Rogue cards that directly alter or bypass the chaos bag entirely are even better answers.

Further, talents get better the fewer resources your deck spends on other assets or expensive events, whereas they're worse for characters whose game plans involve buying a lot of expensive assets and have few ways of generating resources quickler than 1:1 action to resource.

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