Welcome to Shadowbrook - and our first game of Flying Frog Productions A Touch Of Evil!
Tis’ the dawn of the 19th century; an age of science, superstition, and witchcraft. Howling fills the night as a full moon rises over the small, secluded village of Shadowbrook. Gruesome murders have become a daily occurrence and terror haunts the streets at night. An evil creature has taken up residence here and the countryside is engulfed by a tide of darkness. But all is not lost…not yet.
Our cast of heroes are:
Isabella Von Took (the Noble Woman, played by @RogerBW): wife to one of the wealthiest statesmen in the former colonies, Isabella Von Took has led a pampered but secluded life. Used to playing politics and getting what she wants, Isabella is not above treachery and deceit, when it suits her. Recently widowed, she has set out with an entourage of servants and a coach full of luggage to find her own adventure in the world.
Thomas (the Courier, played by @RossM): since a young age, Thomas has been a traveler. A loner and a scout, he makes a living as a courier, forever on the move. With a scarred face and a dead eye, Thomas has always looked out for himself above all else. Riding into town with a special delivery for one of the Elders of Shadowbrook, he finds himself wrapped up in the mysterious and deadly events that begin to unfold around him.
Heinrich Cartwright (the Drifter, played by @Captbnut): always in the wrong place at the wrong time, Heinrich Cartwright arrived in Shadowbrook this afternoon. Drifting from town to town, he is a stranger to all. With a scruffy beard and well-worn clothes, he has learned to be resourceful, making due with what is on hand. In his long life, Heinrich Cartwright has seen more than his share of death, and the unspeakable horrors that haunt this world. Seen them… and defeated them.
Anne Marie (the School Teacher, played by @COMaestro): having recently arrived in Shadowbrook, Anne Marie has come to replace the last school master who disappeared quite suddenly, under mysterious circumstances. With a firm hand and compassionate spirit, she believes that only knowledge can bring the power to make the world a better place.
The villain of our story is the Spectral Horseman, roaming the land with his Barghest Hound and Ghost Soldier minions!
We will go through specific rules as play continues but to read an essential rules summary, click below, or visit the game rulebook on the Flying Frog Productions website here.
Essential Rules Summary
Starting with the First Player, each Hero will take their turn in full. Each Hero Turn has three stages: (i) Move, (ii) Fight Enemies in your space, and (iii) Take Actions. After a Hero has completed their turn, the next Hero takes their turn. Once all Heroes have completed their turns, the Mystery Phase starts where bad stuff happens, and then the new First Player starts a new round by taking their next Hero Turn. I’ll cover the Mystery Phase in full when we get there.
Roll 1d6 and move your Hero up to that many spaces. A Hero can freely move over other Heroes and round counters, but they must stop on a space with any square Minion counters. If their movement roll is a 1, the Hero draws a free Event Card as a compensation for their time spent investigating their surroundings rather than getting going.
Whatever the roll though, a Hero can always choose to remain in place - called “lingering” - in order to encounter that same space again, however if they do another 1d6 is rolled, and if the result is a 1 the Hero will be attacked by one of the Villain’s Minions - or maybe even by the Villain itself.
Fight Enemies in your space
Square face up Minions on the board stop Hero movement and must be defeated to clear the path or enable spaces to be encountered and actions taken. Fights are basically Skill Tests using the Combat skill, and I’ll cover these later.
After moving and defeating any enemies in the space, a Hero can take any or all of the following actions in any order they wish, many of which can be taken multiple times unless specified.
Encounter the Space (mandatory action and a maximum of once per Hero turn) which involves following the text on a Town spaces or a Dangerous Location, or drawing a specific Encounter Card if on one of the four distinct Corner locations.
Collect Investigation from the Board (maximum of once per Hero turn) which involves making a Cunning or Spirit 5+ test (details later) and collecting one face up Investigation counter on that space for each success.
Exchange Items or Ally Cards with any willing Heroes on the same space without limit for free - but not Event Cards or Investigation.
Heal a Wound at a cost of 3 Investigation per Wound
Look at a Town Elder’s Secrets at a cost of 4 Investigation per Secret. Examing Secrets help identify which of the Town Elders will be most useful in the Showdown with the Villain - but may also reveal if any of them are working with the Villain and turn to join his side!
Buy a Lair Card for the Investigation cost listed on the Shadow Track at that stage of the game (limit of 1 Lair card for the team).
Start a Showdown to confront the main Villain for the Investigation cost listed on the Lair card. More on these as we get neaer to calling one but Showdowns are basically Fights over multiple rounds with every Hero that wishes to take part (and can pay the Investigation for that Lair) joining in for an epic struggle with the Villain.
Skill Tests are called for often in the game, such as for Fights, collecting Investigation from the board and in encountering the spaces or challenges on Event and Location cards. A Skill Test will test one (or more) of the Hero’s skills - Combat, Cunning, Spirit or Honor - and give a number which must be rolled for success. The Hero then rolls as many d6 as they have points in that skill (or skills) and counts how many successes they have.
For example, a Hero with Spirt of 3 is asked to make a Spirit 4+ test, so rolls 3d6 to see how many of the dice are a 4 or higher.
The resulting outcome may be singular (success or failure) or be dependant on the number of successes or failures (gain 1 Investigation per success, or take 1 Wound per failure).
Fights are in essence Combat Skill Tests played in multiple rounds until either the Hero or Enemy is defeated, the Hero chooses to Escape or a time limit occurs (when some Enemies move away). Fights take place in rounds and, in most cases, attacks occur simultaneously - so it is possible for a Hero to defeat an Enemy - even the Villain itself in a Showdown - but be defeated themselves too and be KO’d.
In each Fight Round, the Hero determines the number of Fight Dice they roll, which is normally their Combat Skill number, and rolls them, and the Enemy will do the same. Normally, each roll of a 5+ is a hit (although some Heros, Enemies and Items have a different difficulty number to roll to hit) and will deal 1 Wound per Hit to the target. If either side is left with 0 Wounds left, the Fight ends: if the Hero prevailed they usually collect Investigation points for their victory, if the Enemy wins, the Hero is KO’d and moves to the Town Hall space where they are laid prone - and will recover during the next Mystery Phase - and the Enemy stays face up on the board (in most cases).
At the end of each Fight Round, the Hero can choose to continue the Fight, maybe playing Item or Event cards to assist them (such as cards that provide healing to remove Wounds taken), or to Escape. If they continue, a new Fight Round is begun; if they choose to Escape, the Fight ends, the Hero must move to an adjacent space from the space where the Fight occured that does not contain another Enemy.
Note that some Event or Item cards and some Enemies may allow or require you to use your Cunning or Spirit Skill number to determine the number of Fight Dice to roll. In circumstances where there is a conflict as to which Skill to use, the Skill directed by the Enemy being faced is always used.
Equipment and Event Cards
During the game, each Hero will likely acquire several useful supplies to help with their hunt but there is a limit on how much they can have in their inventory. A Hero can have at most 1 Item/Ally card from each of the four Corner Locations, plus up to 3 Town Hall Items. (Note that some Heros and Event Cards may allow a Hero to carry more Items as directed.) Extra Items must be discarded, back to the appropriate Corner Location discard pile, or to the Town Item supply. There is no limit on how many Event Cards or Investigation points a Hero can have.
We will cover the rest and any specifics or pecularities as we play, but if you have any questions just ask me privately via message or publicly here. Remember: there are no stupid questions, but I can’t promise I won’t accidentally give stupid answers!
(Rules Summary ends)