Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A Touch Of Evil Heroes 01

As promised last time I'm going to review the eight 28mm scale Hero figures that come with Flying Frog Productions' boardgame, A Touch Of Evil and a bonus of the four Hero figures that come with the expansion set, Hero Pack One. I'll describe the background of each Hero along with their Special Abilities and stats and end with a few personal notes. Note that in a few cases I have added my own Christian names or surnames.
At the far left is Heinrich Cartwright, the Drifter. Always in the wrong place at the wrong time, Heinrich Cartwright arrived in Shadowbrook this afternoon. Drifting from town to town, he is a stranger to all. With a scruffy beard and well worn clothes, he has learned to be resourceful, making do with what is on hand. In his long life, Heinrich Cartwright has seen more than his share of death and the unspeakable horrors that haunt the world. Seen them... and defeated them!
His Special Abilities are Resourceful (when drawing an Event card he may draw two and choose which one to keep. The other is discarded) and Outsider (he starts the game at the Crossroads. He may not use his Resourceful ability at the Town Hall).
With 4 Wounds, 4 Honour and 4 Spirit he is quite a tough character but his 2 Cunning and 2 Combat do let him down.
Next to Heinrich is Inspector Jonathan Cooke. From the neighbouring "big city", Police Inspector Jonathan Cooke has come to Shadowbrook to hunt down and apprehend the men responsible for terrorising this small community. Rooted in science and fact, he believes that there is nothing that cannot be explained through investigation and logic. To him,  fear and superstition are the greatest enemies of reason.
He has only one Special Ability - Detective, which allows him to collect 1 extra Investigation token from the same source (either from the board or Pool of Investigation) except from a Fight.
Inspector Cooke has 4 Cunning and 4 Honour, 3 Wounds, 2 Combat and 1 Spirit. He is very much ATOE's version of Ichabod Crane from Sleepy Hollow. He is weak in combat but very good at collecting Investigation Tokens.
Standing second from the right is Thomas Lowrance the Courier. Since a young age, Thomas has been a traveller. A loner and a scout, he makes a living as a courier, forever on the move. With a scarred face and dead eye, Thomas has always looked out for himself above all else. Riding into town with a special delivery for one of the Elders of Shadowbrook, he finds himself wrapped up in the mysterious and deadly events that begin to unfold around him.
Thomas has two Special Abilities - Traveller (adds +2 to Movement) and Delivery (at the start of the game he may peek at the secrets of one Town Elder without revealing them).
Thomas has average stats with 3 Combat, 3 Spirit, 3 Wounds, 2 Cunning and 2 Honour. His Traveller Ability allows him to dash around the board far faster than anyone else. This can be quite advantageous. Buy him a Horse and he really move!
At the far left is Karl Meehan the Soldier. A veteran of the Revolution, Karl has witnessed horrors of war first hand. During his time in the continental army he also saw things that were beyond belief... supernatural things. With his hardened combat experience and research of the occult, Karl has become a hunter, tracking down and vanquishing the creatures of the night.
Karl has one Special Ability - Veteran (he may ignore the first Hit taken during each Fight Round (no additional benefit with Lady Hanbrook)).
Karl's stats of 5 Honour, 4 Combat, 3 Wounds, 2 Cunning and 2 Spirit make him very good in a fight. Because the figure is holding a musket I try to buy it for him from the Blacksmith's as soon as he can afford it. It adds +2 to his Combat score.
At the far left of my next set of photos is Victor Danforth the Playwright. A boastful braggart and a master thespian, the world renowned Victor Danforth expounds endlessly on his life of adventure and romantic exploits. He has learned every trick of the trade to keep up appearances while hiding the fact that he is, at heart, a cowardly soul who is afraid of his own shadow.
Victor has two Special Abilities - Creative Thinking (when rolling for Movement draw an Event card on a roll of 1 or 2 instead of just 1) and Flair for the Dramatic (as an Action, he may pay 4 Investigation to take any card with quote marks in the title from the Event discard pile (limit once per Turn)).
Victor is the least adept Hero at fighting with 1 Combat but his other stats make up for this deficiency - 4 Cunning, 4 Spirit, 3 Honour and 3 Wounds. That said, I have used him successfully on two occasions and he's never let me down yet.
Moving on to the females, first up is Anne Marie Henderson the School Teacher. Having recently arrived in Shadowbrook, Anne Marie has come to replace the last school master who disappeared quite suddenly, under mysterious circumstances. With a firm hand and compassionate spirit, she believes that only knowledge can bring the power to make the world a better place.
She has two Special Abilities - Lightweight (may not use Gun Items except the Pistol) and Knowledge is Power (gains +2 Combat for each Book Item she has).
Her stats are average with 4 Spirit, 3 Cunning, 3 Honour, 3 Wounds and 2 Combat. She performed heroically for me in one game when I teamed her up with Inspector Cooke against the Spectral Horseman in my remake of Sleepy Hollow. Thanks to an unfortunate Mystery Phase result the Showdown occurred far too early for my liking. Inspector Cooke got knocked out in Round One but Anne Marie survived and in Round Two defeated the villain thanks to her good foresight in buying two books very early in the game. They gave her +4 Combat which was enough to swing the tide in her favour.
Second from the right is Isabella Von Took the Noble Woman. Wife to one of the wealthiest statesmen in the former colonies, Isabella Von Took has led a pampered but secluded life. Used to playing politics and getting what she wants, Isabella is not above treachery and deceit when it suits her. Recently widowed, she has set out with an entourage of servants and a coach full of luggage to find her own adventure in the world.
Isabella has two Special Abilities - Manipulation (she may discard an Ally, Item or Investigation Token to prevent a Wound to herself. This may be used any number of times per Turn) and Personal Servants (she may carry one extra Item or Ally from a single Location or a one extra Town Item).
Isabella has below average stats with 3 Combat, 3 Cunning, 3 Spirit and only 2 Honour and 2 Wounds. You'd think having just 2 Wounds would make her rather fragile in Combat but her Manipulation Ability makes it very difficult to wound her, especially if she amasses a lot of Investigation Tokens.
Last in line from this group is Katarina Morgaine the Outlaw. A scoundrel and a thief, Katarina stalks the roads at night as a highway robber. Her skill with a blade and accuracy with her trusty pistol crossbow are matched only by her strong sense of honour. With a wink and a smile, she only steals from the richest of travellers who greedily horde their ill-gotten wealth.
Katarina has one excellent Special Ability - Deadly (when rolling Fight Dice, she hits on a 4, 5 or 6 instead of the normal 5 or 6).
As befits such an honourable woman she has 5 Honour. Her 4 Wounds are impressive but her 3 Cunning is average and her 2 Combat and 2 Spirit are poor. Try to equip her with a weapon or two as soon as possible and she'll serve you well in a game.
Moving on, here are the four Heroes from Hero Pack One, starting with Harlow Morgan the Inventor. A genius by all accounts, Harlow Morgan is an inventor, a craftsman and a diplomat of the highest order. On his many trips to London and Paris he has returned with not only new ideas and innovations, but legendary tales of adventure, intrigue and romance. During his last excursion to Spain, it is said that in a single night he had dinner with the royal family, was seen gallivanting with the infamous Lady Montoya, invented a new timepiece and solved the Riddle of Nardu. Not bad for a day's work.
Harlow has three Special Abilities - Genius (gains 1 Investigation at the start of each of his Hero Turns), Invention (as an Action, he may discard any two of his Items to take another Item out of the discard pile) and Quick Thinking (he may pay 2 investigation to gain +1 Fight Dice until the end of the Fight Round. This may be used multiple times per Fight).
His stats are 4 Cunning, 3 Honour, 3 Wounds and a measly 1 Combat and 1 Spirit. However, his Quick Thinking Ability can quickly rack up his Fight Dice.
The second male from this set is the Scarlet Shadow. A daring outlaw and highwayman, the Scarlet Shadow is a hero of the people and a scourge to the greedy and unjust. Stalking the roads at night, he is a wanted man in the town of Shadowbrook (as well as many other neighbouring towns no doubt). As a masked avenger, the Scarlet shadow is also a protector, hunting down the dark creatures of the night that have grown more numerous and bold of late.
The Scarlet Shadow has three Special Abilities - Secret Camp (he starts the game at any Road space. When KO'd, he is placed at the Abandoned Keep instead of the Town Hall. While at the Abandoned Keep, he may heal Wounds as an action for 1 Investigation each), Wanted (when ending his Move in a Town space, he must make a Cunning 5+ test. If failed, he must pay 1d6 Investigation. He takes 1 Wound for each investigation he cannot pay) and Shadow Move (any time he has 6 or more for Movement, he may instead move to any space).
The Scarlet Shadow is the most honourable of all the heroes with 6 Honour. 4 Combat is good, 3 Cunning and 3 Wounds are average and 2 Spirit is below average. He is a good character to play and makes a perfect partner for Katarina the Outlaw (see above).
Next in line is Adrianna Quetado the Foreign Traveller. A traveller from a distant and exotic land, Adrianna Quetado has ventured away from her home to see what the rest of the world has to offer. Journeying from town to town, she has come to Shadowbrook in its darkest hour. Though blind, her other senses are extremely heightened making her an agile and deadly fighter. Around her right eye is a birthmark in the shape of a crescent moon. Though quiet and subdued in social settings, Adrianna is clearly more than she appears.
Adrianna has three Special Abilities - Blind (she may not use Book or Map items) Fast Strike (during a Fight, roll her Fight Dice and resolve any Hits before opponents get to fight back) and Enhanced Senses (she pays 1 less Investigation to look at the Secrets of any Town Elder (minimum of 1). Also, may pay 2 Investigation during a Fight to force an opponent to re-roll one of their Fight Dice this may be used multiple times per Fight).
Adrianna has a good 4 Honour and scores of 3 for Combat, Cunning, Spirit and Wounds. Despite being blind she is very skilled in combat, both melee and ranged.
Finally, is Lucy Hanbrook. Daughter of the Town Elders, Lord and Lady Hanbrook, Lucy has led a fairly sheltered life within the rural confines of Shadowbrook. As the only child of the wealthiest family in town, she bears a heavy burden of being the only heir to her family's legacy. Though still young, Lucy has a heart for adventure and has always preferred exploring the outskirts of town to  study or learning the proper etiquette of a lady.
Lucy, like everyone else in this set, has three Special Abilities - Hanbrook (starts at The Manor. When KO'd she is placed at The Manor instead of the Town Hall. She starts with 4 Investigation instead of the normal 2), Lucky (once per Fight Round, she may force her opponent to re-roll one of its Fight Dice) and Youth (she heals 1 Wound at the start of each of her Turns or Showdown Fight Rounds).
Lucy has the lowest stat ratings of any Hero with 4 Honour, 3 Spirit, 2 Combat, 2 Cunning and 2 Wounds. However, don't underestimate her. Lucky and Youth can boost her survival chances a lot.

These are really beautiful figures. I had heard that they were difficult to paint because of the plastic they were made of but I encountered no problems whatsoever when I painted mine. I added sand and rubble to their bases to tie them in with my other 28mm scale figures but I can't think of how I might integrate them with the others in my collection as these are the only early 19th century figures I own. Some heroes are better at combat than others but never dismiss those who at first glance appear weak. See my yarn above about how Anne Marie the School Teacher triumphed in her encounter with the Spectral Horseman. Inevitably, they'll have something worth having. I don't think there is any one perfect character or combination of Heroes because the roll of dice or the draw of a card affects the game so much, often in ways you couldn't imagine. It is this element of uncertainty that makes the game so much fun. 
One final point before I leave - are the figures really necessary for the game? After all, the villains and their minions are represented by card counters. Usually, I'd say of course the figures are necessary. There is no question that they look cool and when painted up add a colourful dimension to the game. Arkham Horror, of which many compare this game to, exclusively uses card counters for its heroes and villains. I think that ATOE would work just as well with card counters for the Heroes. But, I am very glad it uses 3D figures instead. I like them... a lot! There has been talk of Flying Frog Productions making 28mm scale figures of the villains but if it ever happens remains to be seen.


  1. Wonderful stuff Bryan. Your knowledge of the games you own is absolutely outstanding, and your explanations of their skills and how best to use them are very easily read. There's some great minis there too, though I'm not so sure the quality of the sculpts for Hero Pack One is the same as the others? Hopefully they make up for this with their abilities. I think Karl is my fave of the bunch though and I especially like your notion of going to the Blacksmith's as quickly as possible to get that wonderful musket. He somehow reminds me of John Constantine... (possibly a descendent), which is doubtless due to your colour scheme for him :-)

    1. Many thanks, Simon. I'm glad you appreciated my hints and tips on how to use these Heroes. I can assure that the quality of the figures is unchanged for all five sets. Maybe it's my paintwork or photography that lets the Hero Pack One figures look inferior. I can understand why you'd like Karl. Yes, I do get the John Constantine reference. I have yet to show my favourite Hero from the game. Tease, I know! :)

  2. Excellent stuff. The heroes look dark and menacing and yet heroic at the same time. A Credit to you.

    1. Thanks, Clint. Painting these was a labour of love simply because they were so different to anything else I have painted.

  3. Lovely job on these Bryan! They are quite characterful, your colour scheme makes them look dark and brooding. Perfect for the genre and period. The game sounds interesting, at least the way you have detailed it, it does.

    1. Cheers, Bob. Better than Chibi figures, eh? The game is very interesting, fast paced and fun and contains lots of horror elements that I love. Yes, zombies are in the game even though I forgot to mention them in my review.

  4. Very nice. I'd be tempted to search out suitable models for the villains as well - defeating a cardboard counter just isn't as satisfying as besting a 3D figure, I think!

    1. It certainly shouldn't be too difficult to find suitable figures to use for the villains and there is no reason why you can't if you have a suitable collection to choose from. The Horrorclix range would make for an ideal starting point. Hmm, you've given me food for thought here, Hugh.

    2. Please don't start posting up any more "Horrorclix" Bryan... my wallet is still recovering from the last load of minis you posted and I felt the need to go searching for ;-)

    3. Simon, I may be able to help you out. I have a load of spare Horrorclix figures. I'll be only too happy to let you have any you want for free. They're just taking up space so I'd like to see them go to a good home. Drop me a line at vampifan@talktalk.net and we can discuss this further.

  5. As you know Bryan, this is probably one of my top couple board/miniature games of all time, coming in a close third behind the Dungeons and Dragons Boardgame System and Zombicide....I`m sure Super Dungeon Explore is there somewhere too, just not sure what order on the short list that cool game would go in.

    A Touch of Evil, wow what can I say... gorgeous miniatures and stat cards, nice rules, and possibly the nicest looking board(s) I have ever seen in a boardgame of this ilk.

    I love the way you have managed to bring out the Gothic feel in the miniatures. You could so easily have gone for the more Hollywood Sleepy Hollow look, but your pieces have a real "Hammer House of Horrors" feel to them, which I absolutely love (Fall of the house of Usher, Masque of the Red Death, The Raven, etc).

    Just out of interest: I know Flying Frog promote A Touch of Evil as taking place at the dawn of the 19th century, but I believe they have got this slightly wrong... or at the least, have sold themselves short of the game`s true time scope. As a lover of 18th century wargaming, rpg, art, and dress styles (I have to know this stuff for my modelling, for my uniforms and civilian outfits), especially the French Indian Wars, the short lived Caribbean Pirate era, and the later American War of Independence, I would have said, beyond a shadow of doubt, that A Touch of Evil`s miniatures have a dress code that much more closely follows late 18th century style, rather than early 19th century.

    Excellent work Bryan.

    Steve :)))

    1. What an excellent comment, Steve. I must admit that I was a bit sceptical about the period the game is supposed to be set. "The dawn of the 19th century" felt a bit too late to me, too. I'm with you on thinking it should be set in the 18th century, probably after the American War of Independence (1775-1783) but before the 1800's.

      I'm so glad you like how I've painted the figures, especially as you know far more about this historical period then I do. I plan on reviewing the four expansion sets next time and then I'll review the rest of the Heroes.

      Many thanks, Steve.