Forbidden Knowledge

The important thing to understand about this card is that it is a special purpose card, not a general resource card. It is only meant to be he used by characters who want to inflict horror upon themselves. Otherwise, the reward for this card is absolutely not worth the horror it inflicts upon you.

In the Core Set this was the special friend of Agnes Baker, I treated it practically as one of her signature cards. Then Carolyn Fern came along and added another user for it. If you are feeling a little wild you could try to use it to lower your sanity for cards that require sanity of 3 or less. But for ordinary characters, just ignore this card.

ChristopherA · 36
In a eldritch sophist or ariadnes twine build this card is a good secrets battery, more efficient than truth from fiction — niklas1meyer · 1
I don't disagree that the card has a "special purpose" but I don't consider it a card to be ignored. There are a number of very powerful advantages to the way this card can drip feed you resources, most notably if you are running Peter Sylvester, Dark Horse, Fire Axe, and/or any talents. It's more useful than Emergency Cache or any other resource generator in bulk because you can maintain the level of cash that you want far better than other cards permit. You also get a total of 4 resources so it's already more than more other resource generating one off's at level 0. Finally, Agnes and Carolyn both like it as you pointed out, but so does Jim who can heal with his trumpet and has access to survivor tech. Patrice falls into that as well. Sister Mary has a massive sanity pool and access to two healing classes. And if the card can find a home in so many investigators, I find it difficult to "ignore". — LaRoix · 1440
That's all well and good, LaRoix, but I think ChristopherA's review, which I think is generally right and is helpful for newer players. The fact is you shouldn't just throw this into your deck because you want a better economy. That's a trap for newer players as the horror is not worth it. And while there can be specific reasons (like Dark Horse) to prefer a steady stream of resources over a bunch at once (as in Emergency Cache), most of the time, the latter is better, another strike against this card. — CaiusDrewart · 2353
While I agree that Forbidden Knowledge shouldn't be taken naively by new players, I agree with LaRoix's counterpoints in their entirety. There are A LOT of situations where the four horror inflicted is negligible and the controlled drip of resources is useful. — Death by Chocolate · 712
Physical Training

Physical Training, Hyperawareness, Hard Knocks, Arcane Studies, Dig Deep are part of a cycle, and partly share a common review. These cards are really, really inefficient, yet they have unique capabilities and I at least consider whether to take them every time I make a character. They have two main purposes:

  1. Making use of excess resources. Most characters are tight for resources early on, but many times a character will reach the point where they have what they need, or they can't afford the actions to play any more cards, and they start just building up resources. These cards ensure that you can never have too much money, because if nothing else your one resource per turn becomes a flexible, storable +1 each turn. If you really have run out of other ways to spend your resources, a card to turn resources into bonuses can become a very effective play. However, it is important to be aware that just because your character tends to have a few resources hanging around at the end of the game is no reason to take this card, you would be better off taking a skill card. Just playing the card alone will use up 2 resources before you even gain a benefit. You really need to have a character who would otherwise end up with at least 6 extra resources at the end of this scenario, before you start to get excited by this type of card. That is entirely possible for certain characters, but most characters won't end up in that situation. You need to be very aware of what kind of resource economy your character has, and that your character really does spend substantially fewer resources than they earn over the course of a scenario, before you put this type of card in your deck. (Some characters make money more quickly than one per turn, and have stronger reasons to take this card).
  2. Flexibility. Sometimes you have other ways to spend your resources, but this card gives you the flexibility to spend a bunch of resources on two very different skills, in any amount and any way you choose. Normally skill cards are way, way more efficient than this kind of card, but a single skill card isn't going to give you, for instance, +7 on a test of your choice, and this card can. Inefficient though this card may be, if you have it in play and you are forced to make an extremely critical skill check, it is quite comforting that there is almost always something you can do to improve your chances – you can make the decision that a resource you otherwise would have spent on something else would be better spent giving you a +1 on this test. So you don’t really need to have nothing at all to do with your resources, in order to play this card. But you still need lots of available resources. A character who is tight on resources (which is quite common) just should not use this type of card; even though the flexibility might be useful, you can’t afford the action and 2 resources to play it.

If you do play one of these cards, when it is worth using? A really good situation is when +1 skill would turn 3 tokens (about 1/5 of the bag) from failure to success. So if turning a failure into a success isn’t worth 5 resources, you shouldn’t be using this.

Now for the review specific to Physical Training: In theory this could be the best card of the cycle, because combat and willpower checks can be the most vital, with the worst penalties for failure. But guardians tend to be cash strapped and unable to use this card even if they would like to. You might find it usable if you tend to complete your character and not need any more money after that (a machete fighter perhaps), or if you are someone like Skids who needs the help and has access to extra resources.

ChristopherA · 36
Even though I go back and forth on the talents myself, I do like the comfort element you bring up. For me I just hate having to pay 2 resources just to get the thing in play so the 2xp upgrade is generally what I use. Those are even great mock skills in case you never get the action to play them. — LaRoix · 1440
Leo De Luca

This is one of the least impactful upgrades in the game, but still deserves a review. Although I often get Leo De Luca, I rarely get this upgrade. The general “rate of exchange” in this game is that 1 XP makes a card one cheaper, and this card follows that rule. However, I tend not to like it for two reasons:

  1. There are usually tons of far more meaningful things to spend your XP on, cards you can only get by spending XP and upgrades that do really important things that change how your character works. Spending XP just to make cards cheaper is relatively boring and lower priority, and I would only do that once I'm done buying the really important cards that improve my deck in more substantial ways.
  2. I would normally have two copies of Leo in my deck and would thus need to spend 2 XP you upgrade both of them, but if you draw both copies during the game you will only be able to play one of them so you will save at most one money, not 2. And he is so expensive that if you draw him late, you might not play him at all and might not save any money. If I'm going to spend XP to make cards cheaper, I would rather do it on a card I am almost always going to play when I draw.

However, I should mention a couple reasons why you would play this card:

  1. Sometimes, late in a campaign, you reach a point where you have purchased call the new cards you really want, and all the remaining level 0 cards you have are key parts of your deck and it is quite painful to get rid of them to buy a new card. In this case you want to start upgrading your existing cards, and the number of upgrades available in the game is often quite limited, so even if this option isn't that amazing at least it has the virtue that it is available and makes your deck unconditionally better.
  2. Leo De Luca is so unusually expensive that most of the time I end up needing to spend actions to gain money just in order to play him, or in order to play both him and whatever else I need. And spending actions to gain money is not, in a general sense, what you want to be doing in the game. This seems to be the primary intent behind the card, that in practice it doesn't merely save you money, but in fact saves you an action, which is more valuable.

I think that if either of these two advantages are appealing to you, you would be even better off buying Another Day, Another Dollar instead - assuming your character is permitted to take that card.

ChristopherA · 36
More fun with Chance Encounter tho. — MrGoldbee · 1036
I like the upgrade stacked with Leo Anderson's discount ability for allies - 4 resources means you still have 1 resource spare if De Luca (1) is in your starting hand. Not huge, but it feels a lot better than going down to 0. — Prinny_wizzard · 72
"I want to add Leo to my deck after level 1, o he comes with a discount, nice!" Seen here, a world where adaptable doesn't exist, or you know, you just bought charisma and whats 2 more XP? — Zerogrim · 171
I feel like you've overlooked the key value in this upgrade. It is not about saving you a resource. It's about saving you an action because if you draw him turn 1, you can play him with your 5 resources. And if you don't, it is far easier to hover around the 5 resource mark than it is 6. — LaRoix · 1440
Sacred Covenant

Let me get this straight. Step 3: I reveal a bless token. End of step 3, I activate Sacred Covenant and return the single bless token to the bag. There is no step 4 as there is no token to resolve. If you have 10 bless tokens in the bag and Sacred Covenant ready, you basically have ten more 0 tokens in the bag, this is super powerful.

Vittek · 1
You ignore its MODIFIER (+2) but not the EFFECT attached to the bless token, which is to reveal another token. — Pinchers · 6
Ah, I was sure I was missing something. Thanks. — Vittek · 1
Also, any time a token makes you reveal another token, you basically loop back to step 3, so you can wait until the end of the chain of token reveals before activating Sacred Covenant and return multiple Bless tokens. If you want a Covenant that basically adds 10 +2 tokens to the bag, take Ancient Covenant as that does what you want: stopping the test while positive. — Death by Chocolate · 712
Veda Whitsley

Got this as a chance encounter as Yorick in RttFA. Well, what a fortouitous team mate for William; Veda has everything Yorick needs in a soak ally.

She is super super cheap at 1 resource for 3/3 soak! What value! If you compare Veda to the classic combo pair of 0 cost Leather Coat at 2/0 soak or Keepsake at 0/2 for Yorick as soak, Veda costs 1 resource more, BUT is 3/3. If she lasts 1 round she's already earned her upkeep. Also it feels great to have both sanity and health in one asset, versus 2 seperate item assets. There are many times where you end up tanking a hit as Yorick and burn through both your Coat and Keepsake before killing an enemy, but can only put one of those two assets back into play for a free action. Veda is more soak in 1 single card, for the cost of 1 resource.

But she gets better; Both her abilities are great for everyone, but for Yorick as a fighter it can help him setup his encounter to be an enemy and avoid nasties. It also helps your weak seeker get through the damn exploration deck safer without drawing an enemy.

Obviously you have to complete the related "story thing" in scenario 3 of RttFA, but if you do as Yorick, prepare for some good times!

Antiundead · 11
I think Tommy and Gloria are also good partner for they. — elkeinkrad · 103
Oh my god! I didn't know this card before, but it seems more broken than Lita! Would never want Yorick to be the lead investigator with this card. Because with "Well Prepared" and this card, he just laughts at the encounter deck. Better use the discards to protect somebody else! — Susumu · 121
It's a very strong card, but you do have to go through quite a lot to get her. I always slam her down the second I draw her and use her encounter ability quite liberally. She doesn't stay out long! — Pinchers · 6