Monday, February 21, 2011

A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game

A TOUCH OF EVIL: THE SUPERNATURAL GAME  
by Flying Frog Productions                Published in 2008

A Touch of Evil is a board game of horror and adventure.
The game takes place at some time during the early 19th century, in a small, secluded village named Shadowbrook. An evil creature has made its lair near Shadowbrook and is now threatening the village and its population. Strange and terrifying events are happening, people are getting murdered and monsters roam the countryside.
But a glimmer of hope emerges, as a small group of heroes arrive at the village, aiming to rid it from this evil presence, once and for all.

A Touch of Evil is a large game. It contains some 250 cards, a nice assortment of tokens and markers, 16 dice, game board and large hero- and villain character sheets. A nice, large space is needed to play this game comfortably, and as the next picture will show, there is a lot going on at the table:

And compare this to the chaotic last picture, that pictures how the table looks at the end of the game!
But with the multitude of components, comes a very stylized game with strong theme and interesting mechanics.
The game has two modes of play: Competitive and Cooperative.
In competitive game, all the heroes are only looking after themselves, trying to be the first one to slay the Villain. The heroes don't actually fight against each other, but many of the Event- cards can be used to hinder the progress of other heroes.
In cooperative game, all the heroes team up against a much stronger villain.

This game is a cooperative game, with two heroes: Karl, the Soldier, and Victor, the Playwright.

The Villain is Werewolf; a brutish beast with some very tough fighting abilities.








The board represents the village of Shadowbrook, and some of the countryside surrounding it. Places of interest are at the corners: Hanbrook manor, ruins of an abandoned keep, the Olde Woods, and a mysterious windmill all offer a multitude of possible encounters, items and allies to be discovered.

The town is run by 6 Town Elders, who have their own secrets... Some of them may be of great help during the last showdown against the Werewolf, but they may also be in league with it.



THE GAME BEGINS:

Book Burning! Reverend Harding has some delusions about witchcraft, ordering some of the books in village to be burned. A Book of Lore and a Book of Town History is removed from the stock.
Karl is heading at the Olde Woods, taking a break at the Covered Bridge. While he is there, the Werewolf attacks him! Karl receives a minor injury, but gains some investigation. A fast start!

Victor searches the Manor and finds a beautiful cross from there. This holy item is not very helpful against werewolves, but it may be used to prevent a wound. Meanwhile, Karl reaches the Woods and finds some healing herbs from there.

Karl looks into the secrets of magistrate Kroft. Kroft is revealed to be a Servant of Darkness - "the Executioner"! He immediately joins the Werewolf at its lair.






Lord Hanbrook is suspicious about the heroes, and has some townspeople to attack them. Victor manages to talk his way out of this, but Karl gets a beating... He uses his healing herbs to tend to his injuries.

The Villain attacks - and kills - doctor Manning, one of the town elders. Another possible ally gone.. the Evil is very active in this game.

Next attack: This time Victor is ambushed by the Werewolf, while he is crossing though the fields. Victor survives, but gets badly wounded. A rough start for both of the heroes.








Karl visits the Doctor's Office for some medical attention.
Victor searches the Windmill, finding a wooden stake. Again, not the best weapon against a werewolf. A cross and a wooden stake.. Vampires would be trembling right now.

The Villain shows itself at the village Church, but luckily no one was in there at the moment. After this, it attacks reverend Harding, but Harding survives. This level of activity is very unusual indeed...

Victor is attacked by one of the Werewolf's minions - Feral Kin - and knocked unconscious. Another Feral Kin attacks Karl at the same time, but he survives the attack with his 'veteran'- ability, as well as kills the creature.

One of the townspeople is murdered at the Manor!
Murders leave clues behind, but they also advance the "shadow track", bringing the town closer and closer to its final demise.

The Villain also gains more strength, as the shadow track advances.






Victor holds a reassuring speech at the Church, easing the minds of the panicking townspeople. These kind of actions bring the shadow track few spaces backwards. He gains some investigation in process.

The two-timing Victor allows Lady Hanbrook to be killed by the Werewolf! Why does he do this, no one knows...

Now only three of the six town elders are left; two have been killed and one joined the Villain.







Victor uses all the investigation he had gathered, and buys a Horse for quicker movement, and a Silver Shot.
Finally a good weapon against werewolves! So far, neither one of the heroes possesses any firearms to shoot the silver with, but one will be found somewhere...

Karl finds some interesting places: He discovers a secret passage from the Manor, which leads him to the marsh near the Abandoned Keep. There he encounters "Ghosts in the fog"... Karl survives this unharmed, and gains a lot of investigation.

Victor meets Karl and gives him the Silver Shot. This is a good move, since the Soldier is much more effective in combat than the Actor.

Karl has an impressive amount of investigation.
He is planning to go to the village Blacksmith and buy a musket with it.










The secrets of all the town elders have now been revealed. As for the three elders left, no big secrets were found.
Karl finds out where the Werewolf is keeping its lair; at the Marsh. A combat there will be difficult both for the heroes, and for the Villain...

Meanwhile Victor finds a strange trail of bones from the Olde Woods.. He follows it and gains some investigation.

A Highwayman attacks Victor at the Abandoned Keep, badly injuring him and stealing away his cross.









Karl finally gets to buy the musket. Now, with his musket loaded with silver shots, he is about ready to go against the Werewolf.

The shadow track keeps on advancing, making the Villain even more powerful... The attack against the Werewolf must be made quickly!







A Chill Wind rises, diminishing the combat abilities of all the heroes. Luckily a it doesn't last long.
Victor buys a pistol to support his combat.

While preparing for the last fight, Karl stumbles on to another musket at the Abandoned Keep. Well, two muskets are better than one!

Someone is murdered at the Olde Woods. There was some militia patrolling around those parts, but apparently they saw nothing.










THE SHOWDOWN BEGINS:
Time is running out, so Karl and Victor venture into the marshes, at the Werewolf's Lair.
Lord Hanbrook and Reverend Harding join the heroes, backing Karl up while he uses his muskets to fire silver shots at the Werewolf. Victor is seriously underpowered in this fight, but he offers everything he can to help the other heroes in this important battle.

Magistrate Kroft, now known as The Executioner, appears from the Lair, fighting on the Villains side.

The Werewolf, being a lot faster than any of the heroes, furiously attacks Karl and the elders. Karl and Lord Hanbrook are injured.

Karl's counter-attack! The large number of dice tells of the attack's power. Karl gives everything he has for this first combat round, so the results must be good.

The Werewolf receives 8 hits, a very good opening, since 15 is the required number of hits to kill this beast.



Karl also kills the Magistrate.

Victor manages to trick the Werewolf into killing his horse, sparing Victor himself from any damage. Victor scores one hit to the monster.

Karl uses the healing herbs to heal himself.
Lord Hanbrook and reverend Harding are killed by the Werewolf. This will advance the shadow track past zero, to the negative scores, so it's official now: Either the Villain is killed in this combat, or all will be lost!

Karl scores four hits to the Werewolf. Now only two more is needed to kill it...

The Werewolf knocks Victor out of the combat, before the Actor manages finish the beast off... Now it's all up to Karl to do it. If only he would survive the beast's next attack...

Karl gets seriously wounded by the Werewolf's attack, but stays on his feet, allowing him to execute his counter-attack...

...which is a success! The Werewolf dies from a hit of Karl's silver shot...
        Game over, successfully!



CONCLUSION:

A very nice game! Not just because I won it, but because it was challenging and it had some nice events and encounters in it. Also the final showdown was very interesting to play through.

I have to confess; sometimes I play the solo game without the "cooperative shadow track".. This makes the game easier, as the Villain does not gain strength as the track advances. This time, however, I did use the cooperative track, and it was worth it: The game had just the right difficulty level.
A Touch of Evil has a "basic game", and an "advanced game". I play with a mixture of these, using the Advanced Villain abilities, but Basic Minion chart. The advanced Minion chart brings some more rules into the game, and in my opinion, that the game has enough complexity as it is.

As mentioned before, the game does have a lot of things to keep in mind. Some might say the game is heavy, and sure enough, a Touch of Evil may not be for those who like their games simple and easy.
The rulebook is thick, but don't let this to scare you away; the rules are very consistent.

Components are durable and beautiful, and the artwork is of high quality.
One thing about the cards; they are quite difficult to shuffle. They seem to be laminated for added protection, which is a good thing, but this actually does make the shuffling somewhat troublesome. But if I have enough time to play this game (which may take up to 2 hours with just me alone), I'm sure I have enough time to go through the shuffling.

RATING: 9 /10

SOLO RATING: 8 /10

Like with most of the heavily themed adventure games, A Touch of Evil is heavy for just one player. I wouldn't pick more than two heroes for each of my solo games, as even these two sometimes are too much to control. Every now and then, I may forget to use some of the event cards I have, or I may overlook some minor detail of the rules.. just because there is so many things to remember.

But if one doesn't mind the weight of this game, A Touch of Evil is a very nice experience for soloing, as well as for multiplaying.

3 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed your review. Convinced me to get this game. Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
  2. a truly excellent review... very informative and helpful. I own this game and one of the expansions, and absolutely love it; both played solo and co-operatively with family.

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  3. Ahh, how can you not play with the Shadow Track?!? That's an essential component of the game.

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