This is the first installment in what I hope will be an ongoing series on the new Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game from Evil Hat Productions. Please note, these articles are meant to serve as helpful tips for players who are trying to improve their gameplay, or who’re are hoping to make gameplay a bit easier. I will be posting an actual review of the game as a podcast on Sunday March 12, 2017 though so please keep an eye out for it if you’re interested.
Before jumping into the tips I do want to offer a warning, there will be spoilers contained in these articles. If you haven’t read The Dresden Files books and you care about maintaining secrecy than please, stop reading now.
So you’ve purchased your copy of the core game and maybe a couple of the expansions, and you’ve played a couple of games, maybe by yourself or with a group of players. One of the first things you’ll have to learn to tackle are the obstacles. Obstacles vary greatly from book to both in the actual effects they bring to table and the number you’ll have to overcome. Ranging from one to three they’re often going to hinder your progress if not bring it to a complete halt.
For example Lunar Cycle from Fool Moon prevents hits from being added to either of the Loup Garou foes. This will protect the most powerful enemies in this book.
Meanwhile Harry Captured from Death Masks prevents Harry from Attacking or Investigating. Since every game uses Harry Dresden this effectively prevents him from helping the players move towards their primary goals.
Remember this is a cooperative game so all of the players need to work together if they’re going to have any chance at winning. One of the first things you should be doing is looking at the obstacles in play and seeing how they interact with the the foes and cases. Determine if the obstacle is a major hurdle or just an inconvenience, although in most situations you’re group will probably want to prioritize getting rid of the obstacle as soon as possible.
Harry’s Talent for moving obstacles and advantages around is one key strategy to bypassing these problematic hurdles. It allows him to move far away obstacles to a more advantageous position in the row is important in that it helps minimize the cost for getting rid of them. All of the characters have abilities that allow them to remove obstacles, but some are better at it than others.
Thomas Raith’s card Family Power allows to overcome all of the obstacles in 1 row for 5 fate points. This is perfect given the wealth and prestige of the White Court Vampires with the Raith family. (In one instance we see his sister Lara Raith arrange an airlift by the U.S. Navy.) Now a cost of 5 fate points is nothing to laugh at, but if multiple obstacles happen to fall in the same row, especially n a game with 2-3 obstacles Thomas can wipe them out in a single go. Again, you have to weigh the cost and consider the opportunities carefully. In a game with only one obstacle in player this is almost certainly too high of a cost to pay.
Every character has a 1 range ability to overcome obstacles costing a single fate point. These pair very well with Harry’s ability to move the obstacles around when he discards for fate points. This of course means in many of your games you’ll have a chance at overcoming obstacles for a minimum cost. This strategy only works if you can get the obstacle where you need it to be and when you need it to be there.
Many characters have an ability with a variable fate cost or a variable range. A few of those cards have a fixed cost and range, which comes in handy. The variable cost cards are…not great. These should only be used in a moment of most dire need as they’re usually better for generating some much needed fate points. Besides t is so hard to be cool when you have to borrow your parent’s cars or you’re driving around in a beetle held together by the will of an underpaid wizard and duct tape.
Molly Carpenter’s card Borrow the Family Minivan is an example of one of these less optimal cards. As we can see it can eat up to five of your precious fate points, but it has a fixed range of 3.
Some characters like Sanya have attacks that allow them to overcome obstacles while adding hits. There aren’t too many of these cards so it is a great boon if you happen to get one. Since you can’t always count on a Knight of the Cross swooping into save the day these shouldn’t be counted on, if you happen to get one though you’re certainly going to want to use it. In general any cards that let you do more than one thing are going to be very helpful.
In short my tips are figure out what the obstacles are doing to your early on and then prioritize them. In most games you’re going to want to get rid of them straight away. Use Harry’s talent to move the obstacles around to help position them so that they can be overcome for a minimum cost if possible. If you have variable cards they should only be used when absolutely needed. Special cards like Family Power and Esperacchius are fantastic when the circumstances support them. Hopefully this helps everyone with getting over obstacles. I still think we need a Harry card that says “When a player overcomes an obstacle if Harry’s player shouts ‘Parkour” get x number of fate points.” Don’t judge me.
I do not own the Dresden Files and all of the art for this article was created by Tyler Walpole and Christian Mcgrath