Belly of the Beast

The effect on this card is clearly very powerful, as we have seen with Working a Hunch the ability to discover a clue without a test or even an action is invaluable. This card has the same powerful effect but for one fewer resource, and in a faction with less competition for clue gathering tools. The catch here is that in order to play it you have to successfully evade an enemy, and over-succeed at that.

This downside is both more and less severe than it can initially seem. The biggest problem posed by this restriction is that if there is no enemy in play, this card is mostly dead weight. This isn't helped by the pretty feeble skill icons provided by this card, as compared to the broadly useful double icons on Working a Hunch. In addition, even if there is an enemy in play, if you aren't engaged with it then you're going to have to spend an action to engage before spending another to evade which significantly reduces the efficiency of this card.

While enemies are common enough that this card is unlikely to be offline for more than a turn or two at a time, there is the additional caveat that the enemy has to be on a location that it is valuable to discover clues from. If the enemy you need to evade is on a low shroud location you are forced to make the decision as to whether you will fire it off now to guarantee getting a use out of it, or if you hold onto it in the hope of using it on a higher shroud location later on. Even worse, an enemy may spawn on a location with no clues at all.

Finally, its not enough to just evade an enemy, you have to succeed by two or more. This likely means that you either need to be evading a low evade enemy, or you are needing to overcommit to the test to ensure Belly of the Beast can be used. In the former case, you are placing another restriction on its usability, making it more likely that you never get to play it in a scenario. In the latter case, by needing to commit resources to ensure over-success you are mitigating the advantage that you gain by test-lessly gathering clues.

In summary, this card is no Working a Hunch, and I dont see it reaching the same level of ubiquity in Survivor as Working a Hunch has in Seeker. So what is Belly of the Beast good for?

What I see as the power of Belly of the Beast is the way that it lets you convert your strengths in one area into success in another area. In this case, letting investigators who are already very good at evading leverage some of that power to gather clues as well.

Investigators that I think will find this card very useful are:

  • Rita Young who already needs very little help evading enemies, and will often find herself on evasion duty for the whole group, giving her plenty of opportunities to use this card to great effect
  • Silas Marsh who typically packs plenty of skills with agility icons, but struggles to investigate effectively
  • Wendy Adams who, while capable of investigating pretty capably with Lockpicks, will still be evading often enough to get reliable value out of Belly of the Beast

One oddball pick for this card could be William Yorick who can use Handcuffs to evade with his reasonable score. Though reliably finding humanoid enemies to evade makes this a little more niche, and Yorick doesnt have a shortage of ways to grab clues.

birdfriender · 96
Enchanted Blade

This card is a much more appealing option with the recent release of the Limited list, and may become the Level 0 weapon of choice for Guardians (at least for players who choose to apply the optional Machete changes). It's cheaper and arguably better than the .45 Automatic (one less damage-boosted attack, but a higher bonus to and continued marginal utility after the charges have been used). Mark Harrigan will still probably prefer the .32 Colt, but most other investigators with access to the Guardian card pool may prefer the all-around goodness of the Blade.

Note also that its Relic trait gives it great synergy with Dr. Elli Horowitz (another beneficiary of the Limited list thanks to the optional Dr. Milan Christopher change). I'm experimenting with a Dr. Elli/Relic package in a Joe Diamond deck (including Tooth of Eztli to ensure consistency with Dr. Elli), and so far the results have been very promising. It sort of operates as a Prepared for the Worst with a net cost of 0 and an extra sanity soak that puts the tutored weapon directly into play. It thins the deck and frees up hand slots for other key Seeker items (Magnifying Glass, Hawk-Eye Folding Camera) until Joe can find his Detective's Colt 1911s.

starhawk77 · 2
Key of Ys

Hi folks--this is less a review than a post to point out that in the new "List of Taboos" FFG released with new Errata, Key of Ys has been "Mutated" to have the Exceptional keyword. That would mean this would cost a whopping 10xp, right? That almost certainly puts it outside of playable for most decks. That seems like a wild over-correction to me... I appreciate the List of Taboos as an incentive to keep deckbuilding fresher... but what do you all think?

I personally would be disposed to house-rule it to keep the exceptional key-word, but shift the XP to 3 or even 4 (which would total 6 or 8 xp). A 10 XP total cost just seems grossly prohibitive.

Malgox · 4
Yes, for me, it's a little like, now you won't play this card! In my groups we never had to have prohibitive rules like that! We have a general guideline, only Calvin can take the key, well we're partial to Calvin! — mogwen · 84
The "Taboos" section in the FAQ includes the Limited, Mutated and Forbidden clarifications... this is entirely optional. I believe you should only use it if you have played enough to require a different challenge. For me its something i will not apply in my sessions. — Adrian San · 1
The Taboo list hits 4 cards that I liked to (ab)use: Machete, Higher Ed, Street Wise and Dr. Milan. I think the Taboo list is great, because it encourages creative deck building. I think the list nerfs seekers and rogues the most. — Alogon · 19
I think the taboo modifications are fair with the exception of Elusive and Machete, because with them, you´ll never gonna pay 2xp to buy them. Because you have Elusive(2) and .45(2), wich are clearly more effective. — Fenrirgarm · 3
I usually don´t play with the Key of Ys, since its release because i think its not well designed. But I think they could simply modify the "placed on you" part of the text, to "Whenever you receive any horror", that way its a strong card, but it forces you to be careful. — Fenrirgarm · 3
Ruins of New York

I love the shoutout to 'Valérian, agent spatio-temporel' (not sure under which name it was released in the US) in this card, the destroyed New York of 1986 is one of the alternate future timelines there that the heroes try to prevent in that Graphic Novel. Kudos for deriving the artwork for this card from the cover of "La Cité des Eaux mouvantes".

Shakiko · 3

Gotta say, this card is getting very appealing as a key first weapon in a Leo Anderson deck.

Leo starts with a good Fight value of 4 and will likely have at least one Beat Cop in his deck and hopefully out early, so that's Fight 5. Add a Guard Dog to that for a missed swing and you're doing damage anyway...and have a Survival Knife in the other hand and you're really starting to rock.

With a lot of enemies having a Fight of 2 or 3, even Leo and one Cop will give him a 5 vs. 3 test, and that's easily upped by getting Lone Wolf going with Keen Eye or Physical Training.

And when you get into big bosses, many have Retaliate anyway.

This is an underrated as heck and a guaranteed 2 Damage with no ammo drawbacks.

I see very little reason to run this card over Machete even in Leo Anderson. Machete just seems to be a lot better in many ways. Yes, some bosses already have retaliate, but others don't and there are many strong enemies with high fight value who also don't have retaliate. If this card gave you a +combat bonus to the attack it might 've been worth consideration, but as it is, it is very unappealing. — matt88 · 461
For me, the ability to engage with more than one enemy at a time and still do 2 damage on a hit is great especially early in a cycle. In games with 2 or 3 players where one is just going after clues, it’s even more appealing. Machete penalises you for taking on more than one at once; knuckleduster doesn’t. IMO if you manage your Fight this is a great card. — Krysmopompas · 3
If you'd said Mark instead of Leo (and if Mark could even run this), I could maybe agree with you, but a native fight of 4 doesn't feel like enough. Also, remember that you only get to use the survival knife's reaction during the enemy phase, so you get no benefit from it when you miss your knuckleduster swings. — TheNameWasTaken · 2
Weak card...weak review — Alogon · 19
Weak card...weak review — Alogon · 19
On a lower difficulty where +2 could be enough, and in a multiplayer game where you may have to face multiple enemies on a regular basis (the only reason to consider this over Machete), it may be worth giving this card a second look. I'm not sure how unwieldy the enemies may be in four player, but with three players, we very rarely have a situation where Machete isn't good enough. That said, I don't agree that this is a weak review. — cb42 · 15
I think if this didn't take up a hand slot (y'know... you can hold a gun while wearing these, maybe), I think they'd be as good as people keep trying to make them. With enchanted blade out now, i don't think Guardians even need to consider this. Non-Guardians might like it if they can't get machete, but they'll really miss the extra accuracy. — SGPrometheus · 123
I think it will see more play the day a Rogue with 4 or 5 combat comes out! I look at you, Michael McGlenn, come here! — mogwen · 84
I've been playing it more and it's grown on me too. Not nearly as solid as machete but works really well in niche builds like "bought in blood" Leo (i.e. leo with hired muscles, treasure hunters, etc.) — gyarados · 1
The only place I've found so far for Knuckleduster is with Wendy and The Red-Gloved Man. At 6 combat she doesn't miss the lack of a combat boost so much, and TRGM can soak any retaliation (or she can evade first). — Herumen · 1049