.35 Winchester

Previously, the consensus on this card has been that while the +2 Combat boost and the 5 ammo are nice, the damage boost just isn't reliable enough to make it an effective weapon -- unless you have access to cards that let you pull multiple tokens, which basically means Olive McBride (Grotesque Statue occupies a hand-slot, unfortunately). With the new taboo list that was just released, this consensus needs to be reassessed. To give the conclusion up front, thesis-statement style: you still need Olive McBride to make the Winchester sing, but there are now ways to make its note even more... piercing.

For those who haven't checked the list, here's the change. In order to get the +2 damage from Winnie's attack, ANY token with a non-negative modifier will do. It doesn't have to be a zero, +1, or elder sign.

What other tokens have non-negative modifiers? Depending on the scenario, sometimes the special tokens will fit the bill. For instance, the skulls in The Gathering will often be zeros (assuming your location is ghoul-free). Same thing in The Untamed Wilds, until you have vengeance in the victory display.

But that's a minor, scenario-specific situation. The real change here is that bless tokens, with their +2 modifier, now score you the head-shot, too. Let's see how pumping the chaos bag with bless tokens changes the calculus.

For most campaigns, you start with around 16 tokens in the chaos bag. Usually four of those would trigger the original Winchester. That means that, pre-upgrade, you had a 25% chance to do 3 damage, and a 75% chance to do one damage or miss. (We're assumining that you're going to hit if you pull a zero or better.) Not great for a four-cost, two-hand weapon. Now, by adding bless tokens, you can improve those odds, though only to a point. If you fully load the bag with 10 bless tokens, you have about a 54% chance to do 3 damage, and a 46% to do 1 or no damage (this isn't exactly true -- there's a chance you pull a bless token and then follow it up with an auto-fail or a -5 for example; just not sure how to calculate that).

Those odds are respectable, but it's hard to earn them. Sniper Mary, I mean Sister Mary, would seem to be the only character capable of maxing out the bag reliably. Others would need either Sister Mary in the party, or a pretty massive commitment to bag-pumping via cards like Blessed Blade, Hand of Fate, and Book of Psalms, The first and last of those cards take up a hand slot, which can create timing problems unless you're sporting a Bandolier. (There are a handful of survivor cards that can pump the bag, too, but if you have access to them, you probably don't have access to the all-important Olive McBride. Those cards can still be helpful, though, if another player is running them).

And this brings us back to the original Winchester strategy -- drawing multiple tokens. If you can pump the bag AND draw multiple tokens, the story changes. Let's say you have Olive McBride as your ally and a certain number of bless tokens in the bag. Now you're turning into a true deadeye!

Odds of a critical hit with Olive and X Bless tokens, assuming a standard 16-token bag:

0: 61%. 1: 68%. 2: 73%. 3: 77%. 4: 81%. 5: 83%. 6: 86%. 7: 88%. 8: 89%. 9: 90%. 10: 92%.

Of course, with Olive, there is now a slightly higher chance that you find a token you want but still fail the test. In most cases, if you draw a zero or a bless token, you're passing, but if you have to pair that zero with a -4 because of Olive, you may fail. Still, the math is now firmly in your favor, even if you're only lightly padding the bag.

What's the upshot? The new and improved Winchester is now a legitimately good card for a particular kind of character -- namely, one who is blessing the bag (or has a partner who is) and who has access to Olive McBride. It still has drawbacks of course -- until you get Olive out, Winnie will be hit-or-miss, and mainly miss. But once you do, the advantages are substantial -- huge damage for a level 0 weapon, plentiful ammunition, and a very handsome boost to combat. And there are upgrade paths that make it even better: Custom Ammunition brings you up to seven, highly impactful shots; and Telescopic Sight could create an interesting playstyle as well, as long as you are not the tank. So, who can make it all come together? From best to ok, I'd say:

1) Sister Scary, I mean Sister Mary. She checks all boxes. The Winchester also converts her mediocre 3 combat into a very respectable 5, without the need for a Beat Cop or skill card.

2) Jim Culver is a sneaky candidate, since he treats skulls as zeroes always. Even without bless tokens, as long as he's rolling with Olive McBride, he has a massive 79% chance to trigger Winnie's effect -- though if you want him to be able to bugle while he blasts, you'll need a Bandolier.

3) Diana Stanley is another character who might benefit from the strategy, since it usually takes a few turns to get her to a spell-worthy Will value. The new Hand of Fate, which cancels an attack and adds bless tokens, is doubly effective for her if she goes this route. It fattens the bag, making Winnie more accurate, and it can be placed under her investigator card for a draw, a resource, and a Will boost. Like Jim, though, Diana will likely run into hand-slot issues: her signature asset occupies one, too.

4) Zoey Samaras. I don't know that she has any special synergy with the Winchester, but she has access to all the cards you need to run this strategy. She doesn't need the +2 Combat as badly as the characters above, but it's still nice to play one asset and suddenly be at a 6. Also, Zoey's Cross is an accessory, so no difficulties with hand slots there.

A great review. Detailed and interesting analysis. I do have one negative comment, if you are playing The Gathering, and there are no Ghouls at your location, you are pretty unlikely to be firing a Winchester hoping for a 3 damage hit :-P — NarkasisBroon · 1
But what if they need 2 money on their Relentless when they shoot a rat! :P — Death by Chocolate · 408
Sharpshooter

I've been rambling quite a bit in the comments of the other recent review of this card, and I think it's time I actually write up my own review.

This card was printed in Winifred Habbamock's starter deck, alongside a few very strong firearms, a context which makes the other review of this card wrong on all three counts.

1) Having to have a firearm in play is really not a huge burden. You already weren't going to be fighting enemies with your fists given you have 3 (and basic attack actions are also just ... never good anyway, given the game pretty much expects you to always deal at least 2 damage per action). The resource cost is also actually quite cheap for what you get: 2 resources, paid once, for +2 to one test per round forever without occupying a slot. Only using the card on attacks isn't that troublesome, either: in a multiplayer game, there's usually a pretty steady flow of enemies coming out of the encounter deck, and you can't get away with evading and ignoring most of them.

2) Wini has 3 and 5 . 3 is enough to be decent with a gun in hand especially given Wini's focus on skill cards (in case you can't find this card or have to make multiple shots in the same round), but the difference of 2 is a fairly hefty base boost. Then add on top of that the fact that if an enemy has lower evade than fight you can choose both options, so you sometimes get even more. And on top of that, there are a couple of Rogue skills that have agility icons and good effects, and the Rogue tarot card boosts agility... And it's not like that boost is going to waste if you were already going to pass the attack, since the guns FFG clearly wants you to run with Wini and this card give bonuses for over-succeeding. (for instance, turning the Beretta's 7 in Wini's hands to 9 sounds excessive, then you realize you want to be succeeding by 4 if possible, or maybe the enemy just has that high of a fight value...)

3) All of the alternative cards listed simply don't work as well for the job this does. Delilah O'Rourke takes up your ally slot (whereas this is slotless -- basically a dealbreaker when you're trying to make that sort of a direct comparison), costs one more resource, and gives half the boost (admittedly to every test, but then that also includes tests made with Sharpshooter?). Hard Knocks ... sucks. You pay the same 2 resources, and same play action in advance, to get the same +2 boost. Without getting to use the enemy's evade value if it's lower, or those agility skills I mentioned. And to do it again, you have to pay the 2 resources again. The only upside is that you can use it multiple times in the same round, if you can afford to throw away money that frivolously (a hard ask with Wini's card draw rate). Well Connected is a card that I love dearly... for Preston Fairmont or Jenny Barnes. Banking 10 resources for a +2 boost is probably also doable for Wini, but it takes more effort than just playing this card and immediately using it. It is a level 0 card though... maybe look into starting with Well Connected and upgrading into this card later? There is one card that was mentioned in the comments which actually stands a fighting chance against this: High Roller. One fewer XP, same resource and action cost, just as free to repeat if you succeed, and can be used on any skill test. It has its downsides which I think are just barely worth more than the 1 XP and added versatility though: You have to hold on to those 3 resources (not nearly as onerous as Well Connected's requirement, but it can bite you). If you fail the test you use it on, you lose 3 resources. You don't get more than +2 against enemies with low evade values.

In short, while this card is fairly niche (the 3 5 statline that makes this card shine like it does with Wini is pretty rare, though it might be okay for a 2 4 rogue?), it is, in fact, the best there is at what it does. Conveniently, as an investigator starter deck card, you have the cards to run alongside it and make it work included in the same pack.

Thatwasademo · 27
Showmanship

I'm wondering: is it possible to double up on this card's bonus and get +4 to all skills for one or more tests?

There's no limit on Showmanship's ability, so if you put multiple assets into play in the same round, you can apply the +2 bonus to each. But under normal circumstances you won't be "resolving a triggered ability" on more than one asset at a time.

But suppose you play Haste and, say, Shrivelling in the same turn, triggering Showmanship on both. Now activate Shrivelling twice (getting +2 from Showmanship each time), and then exhaust Haste to activate Shrivelling a third time. Do you get the +2 from using Showmanship on Shrivelling and the +2 from using it on Haste? I would think so, but I'm not sure.

Granted, this is a lot of effort to go to for an extra +2 on a single test, but maybe there are other ways of accomplishing the same thing that I haven't thought of. The best I could come up with was to use De Vermis Mysteriis to play Knowledge is Power (via Versatile) and activate Shrivelling as above ... but that's even more effort for the same minor benefit.

I think +2 is the maximum benefit. In this case, the resolution of Haste's triggered ability is to get the opportunity for a third action of a type, not to take that action, so there is no test to get a bonus on. So you would 1. Play Haste, 2. (probably) Use Dexter's reaction ability to overwrite something with Shrivelling, 3. Shrivel at +2, 4. Shrivel at +2, 5. reaction trigger Haste to get a 3rd activate action. 6. Shrivel at +2. trigger — LivefromBenefitSt · 165
Not sure what that rogue "trigger quote is doing at the end there — LivefromBenefitSt · 165
Hmm, I'm not so sure. Haste's effect is "Take another action [right now]", not "You may take an additional action [during this turn]". — RhialtoTheMarvellous · 4
Lockpicks

For new players, you might think lockpicks (1) is a super amazing upgrade for lockpicks. But actually, level zero lockpicks are a lousy downgrade.

The reason why is because of how the game is structured. Losing assets is terrible. And the law of eventuality says that you’re gonna miss a skill test.

So for three bucks and two actions (one to put out, one to play), you have a chance of losing your lockpicks! You have to be at a +4 vs the skill test to reliably not lose'em. And they're once a turn.

This card solves a problem that doesn’t really exist: needing to get to a +8 to pass a single investigate test in scenario one of a campaign. (Yes, these exhaust after one use, even in the best of cases.) For the same cost, you can get a flashlight, which will give you a +2 and a huge chance of automatic success on shroud one or two locations. You can try it three times, and more if you can reload charges!

Maybe this is to teach new players that leveling up their gear can be very, very useful. So if you’re a new player, please learn that.

MrGoldbee · 181
"You have to be at a +4 vs the skill test to reliably not lose'em" Well, as it turns out, you will be. Locations with more than 4 shroud are rare, and honestly, risking lockpicks to investigate such a location is worth it? Obviously, don't take lockpicks if you're not one of the many 4 int / 4 agi rogues (or Winifred, who is 3/5), but for those even Lockpicks (0) is much better than flashlight — Thatwasademo · 27
Also, exhausting doesn't mean you only get to use it once, and it's bizarre that you seem to be implying that? Passing one investigate test a turn against a difficult location generally nets you more clues over the course of the scenario than passing three tests in a row against an easy location. — Thatwasademo · 27
I dont understand why you implied this can only be used once a scenario. The point of Lockpicks is to overcome a high shroud location consistently- round after round. Lockpicks basically wont break on anything but autofail if you’re using it correctly, and the cost hurts much less when you happen to be the class whose specialty is resource generation. You absolutely should take Lockpicks 0 if taking it gets your test value up to 7 at least, and especially if you combine it with Lucky Cit Case or any number of fantastic Rogue skills like Quick Thinking. It’s a brilliant card. Definitely worth upgrading though. — StyxTBeuford · 2311
I think Mr. MrGoldbee's reasoning is: Let's sy you are an investigator with a combined Int and Agl of 8, at a shroud 4 location. You pay 3 resources for lockpicks (0). Now, if you get a -2 or better token pull, you get a clue and keep the lockpicks. If you get at -3/4, you get a clue and lose the lockpicks. If you get -5 or lower, you don't get a clue and you lose the lockpicks. So you could reasonably pay 3 resources, draw the auto fail, and listen to the sad violin music. This is not an unreasonable thing to consider, but, if you are playing Rouge, it's a calculation you're going to be making a lot, so eventually you get used to it. Obviously, upgrading to the level one version should be a priority, but, if this gets you a few clues you wouldn't otherwise get, it was well worth spending the three resources. — LivefromBenefitSt · 165
Winifred Habbamock

You won’t get Winifred by accident, because she’s sold in her own individual pack. So why would you like her and what should you watch out for?

First, WH is a triumph of theming. Each of the individually sold investigators expand their color, and green is about risk. Some characters, like Nathaniel Cho, are campfires. A few things to get you started, and you can keep it burning all night. Every animal you punch with your boxing gloves will get you more cards to punch more people. A few things to get you started, and you can keep it burning all night. Every foe you smash with your boxing gloves will get you more cards to punch more people.

Winnie is an industrial coal boiler. For every two cards you give her, she’ll usually give you back one. Opportunist, most of the time, will cover for you, but if you don’t draw it or you lose it, you’re out of luck. Manual dexterity changes the ratio, and so do other cards like the lucky cigarette case, but most of the time you’re going to need a runway.

There’s another downside: one will power. You will get screwed over by the encounter deck unless you and your teammates have mitigation. First watch, ward of protection 2, the usual players will need to be in full force to keep you from going insane.

But the rest is upside. Winnifred is one of the best evaders in the game, and unlike Rita or Stella, she can get massively rewarded for it. Pickpocketing is a way of life. Sneak By gives you money while doing what you were going to do anyway. Delilah damages your enemies or Cat Burglars let you strand non-hunters. Nimble will move you around the map, bringing your safeguarded guardians along with you. And once it’s running, your draw engine is one of the best in the game. No other rogue can mill their deck as fast, getting extra actions with quick thinking or dropping a “Watch this” for big cash.

You’re also incredibly flexible. “Anything you can do“ gives you viability in everything, even willpower tests, and with unexpected courage, it’s a success on anything but the autofail and a free card. Scenario cards that test books, fists and/or feet are much less of a challenge for you.

Just avoid failing! Unlike a survivor, you don’t get second chances at skill tests. Your engine can sputter out with a few bad pulls. When that happens, don’t be afraid to take a few actions to draw cards, knowing that when you’re on top again, you’ll have bonus everything.

The aviatrix has natural synergy with mystics who can help her predict the future. Jacqueline with premonition, scrying mirrors, or triple token pulls is great foil. So is Anyone who can fill the bag with bless tokens, turning even hard pulls into succeed by two opportunities.

MrGoldbee · 181
Compared to her other low will counterparts- Finn and Preston namely- she’s actually pretty resilient, as committing double to a will test, especially with her signature, makes them very passable. — StyxTBeuford · 2311
Preston can pay to win tho. — MrGoldbee · 181
Only if you're doing rich man Preston. Poorston Fairmont doesn't usually have more than a single resource during the Mythos phase, as Family Inheritance refills at the beginning of your turn, not the round. — StyxTBeuford · 2311
Winifred fails will tests less often than you'd think, it's true. Rich Preston, on the other hand, I'd say is even more resilient -- he's not any worse at will than any other stats, and once you get past the rough initial setup drawing a will test treachery often just means you exhaust Well Connected and don't even pay any resources. — Thatwasademo · 27