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"Hero Pack One" is the first of the small box expansions for A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game (AToE), a game I previously reviewed in this thread (here) - it's a game I'm quite fond of, but I did feel that the game could do with a few improvements and was missing one important character.

This expansion provides a few extra bits to expand on your games of AToE.

The first things you'll notice are the hefty size of the box and the frankly sumptueous cover graphics - displaying quite clearly for us the characters presented inside the box and the components.



It is worth noting that one of the characters pictured on the back cover is actually from A Touch of Evil: Something Wicked Expansion and that's Valeria the eternal. I'm not sure what she's doing here, but she is pictured on one of the cards included.

So what do you get inside?

Upon opening the box you'll be greeted with a two page, double-sided rulesheet which covers the rest of the contents. Putting that to the side for the moment reveals this:



It's a great inlay, possibly one of the best out there, but it is also a little deceptive. Because once you lift out the various cards you're greeted with a lot of empty space. The wells beneath are very useful if you are having trouble getting all the counters to fit inside the original box, but they're a little disappointing if you were expecting lots of stuff for your moneys.

The full component list is as follows:

‣ The rules booklet
‣ Four Hero character sheets and their corrosponding figures
‣ Six event cards (2 Teamwork, 2 Tactical Strike and 2 Spirited Attack)
‣ Four Location cards, one for each of the main board locations
‣ One new villain

Ok, so tell me about the various things you get in this box. Lets start with the rule booklet.

The booklet is pretty lightweight, but then there's not a lot of new rules being introduced in this expansion - in fact there's just the one rule, which covers what to do if you draw an ally card and someone is playing that character in the game. The rest of the booklet tells you about the new heroes, expands on the new Villain's abilities and provides a FAQ/Clarification section for a few of the new (and old) rules. It's well laid out and concise.

How about the cards? Any goodies I'll enjoy using?

There are a lot less cards in this expansion than I'd hoped for, the three event cards are all quite decent, but as there's only two of each you won't be seeing them too often in your games (especially if you're using Something Wicked as well)



I personally like Teamwork best of all, but that's because I prefer to play this game in small competitive teams - so this card rewards players for sticking together. The other two cards are variable in use; some characters will find them to be amazing and save them for important fights, others will just use them quickly as they're only of minor benefit.

The location cards are all quite interesting, but not that exciting on the whole:



Two of them are just reprints of town equipment, it's nice to have duplicates of these cards because some characters just can't function well without them and this does result in a scramble for the relevant items, but they are essentially reprints in a location. This means you can't rely on getting them.

Moving Portrait and Vial of Poison are more interesting thematically; Moving Portrait can either give you more information about the elders or it can increase the chances of corrupting Lord and Lady Hanbrook.

Vial of Poison is probably the most fun of all the new cards, it's certainly more entertaining to fail the test when you find this card - as that allows you to either eliminate a troublesome elder or even hurt another player by killing off one of their allies. We need more cards like this in the game.

Sadly Lucy Hanbrook is not featured on any of these cards, this is a major oversight on the part of the designers, but I'll forgive them for a reason to be revealled later on.

Show me the money! What's this new villain? The bad guys are always more fun.

The newsest villain is no less than 'The Necromancer':



As you can see he's the first "man" villain to make an appearance in the game. But despite his human nature he's no slouch at all. In fact he's pretty dangerous as his minions can spiral out of control rapidly, he's especially challenging if there are a low number of heroes in the game. He can also ramp up in difficulty very quickly if the town elders start being slain by him.

Additionally in the final showdown he can be quite challenging to fight, heroes need to ensure that they work on their spirit and cunning in order to have a reasonable chance while fighting him.

But there are a couple of downsides to this particular villain, first up he doesn't have his own minion chart - instead he just cribs from the Vampire's. This is a shame because it means he doesn't feel totally unique, in fact at times it can feel like you're just playing against a variation on the Vampire. Secondly he doesn't have his own character token, it's actually located in A Touch of Evil: Something Wicked Expansion!

So we've saved the best for last, spill the beans on the heroes!

Yes indeed, this expansion is called "Hero Pack One" because it focuses on some new heroes - providing new character cards and miniatures for each. There are four of them in total and each is very different to play:



Harlow is a craftsman, a diplomat and most importantly of all an inventor. He's one of the afformentioned characters who relies on the tools of science card to function well as he's got low spirit and combat scores, fortunately he'll be able to purchase them quickly as he earns an investigation point every turn thanks to his Genius. Additionally he has two other abilities; Quick Thinking which lets him use his investigation to gain fight dice - an ability which can be unbelievable in the right situation. If you see Harlow hording his investigation be prepared to watch him deliver a whopping of epic proportions! His other ability is the most interesting one, thanks to his "powers of Invention" he can discard two items to retrieve any item from a discard pile (this does not include the Town or Monastery decks as these are not discard piles). Other players need to think carefully about what they're discarding when Harlow the scavenger is about.

His honor and wounds are both average, so on the whole he's an interesting character who tends towards being quite powerful when used correctly.



Adrianna is the quintesential blind kick-ass traveller - statwise she's average across the board with a little bump in honour. But in combat she's far more dangerous than she appears, the Fast Strike ability means she can often dispatch minions before they have a chance to harm her, this can equate to preventing far more wounds than she appears to have. She can also use her Enhanced Senses to make her even harder to hurt by forcing rerolls, and she's more efficient at investigating the Town Elders.

But, of course, she's Blind which is a thematic drawback, preventing her from using books and maps. It's an evocative drawback and one which can be annoying at times because many of the books are fantastic. Oddly enough she does seem to be able to use an journal cards which are not also identified as books or maps, I'm not sure how she does that.

Next up is the hero most people will start dancing about:



The honourable highwayman known only as "The Scarlet Shadow" has arrived; hero of the common man, but wanted by the law. He's a solid character with good stats and decent abilities. He starts the game on any road space (which is an incredible ability when you're playing with Something Wicked as well) and is able to heal while at the Abandoned Keep by spending investigation. Sadly he is a Wanted man, making the town a very risky proposition for him, but you don't need to hang about in town if you don't want to. Finally it seems that "The Scarlet Shadow" has a little of the fae about him, because when he rolls a six to move he can Shadow Move anywhere on the board. That's nothing short of amazing.

He's a superb character and I'm sure he's the one most people will be excited about. But personally it's the last of the four heroes which has me most excited.



Yes, that's right. My favourite character from the original game has recieved her own character card and miniature. The awesome and plucky young lass has decided that "[She] has to do something!" about the situation in Shadowbrook and swanning about as someone elses sidekick just isn't enough for her.

Bravo Lucy!

Lucy starts (as you'd expect) at The Manor, she is a Hanbrook after all remember. This means she has three distinct advantages, first of all she can linger at the manor on the first turn and start drawing location cards for the place, but it also means when playing with Something Wicked she can quickly move to the Monastery and start exploring the new board long before anyone else can get there. She also starts with four investigation instead of two and if anyone draws the Lucy Hanbrook ally card (including herself) she'll gain another 2D6 investigation.

But wait! There's more! Lucy is also Lucky (it's just one letter away from her name remember), which means she can force a reroll of one hit per fight round. That can make the difference between life and death at times.

Unfortunately for Lucy she's one of the few characters in the game who has just two wounds, and while she's filled with the vigor of Youth and regenerates a hit each turn it is vital to get an item or two which increase her wound total.

The rest of her stats are middling to low, so it's important to boost them up whenever you have the chance.

So that's everything in the set then? How do you feel about it?

The Review:

Well first up I can't help but wonder if Lucy's addition into this pack has anything to do with my own review of A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game as I did in fact fill the review with as many Lucy Hanbrook pictures as possible. Regardless I got my wish for a Lucy Hanbrook character, which meant I had no choice about this set - I just HAD to have it and I'm thrilled I do, Lucy's miniature is great and I love playing as her.

But this said it's hard to recommend the set wholeheartedly because you don't really get a massive amount for your moneys. While the new villain is excellent he also feels a little slapdash without his own minion sheet and character token - and receiving just seven cards for the decks also feels a little light. Considering the contents it's a rather large box (it could have been half this size and still fit everything in) and it is expensive. But boardgame prices have been trending upwards across the board recently, so this inflation is understandable - unwelcome, but understandable.

Hopefully future hero packs provide more than just a selection of heros, a few cards and a single villain. I do hope Flying Frog step up to the plate with Hero Pack Two and deliver something a little nearer the awesomeness of A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game and its big box, filled to the gills expansion A Touch of Evil: Something Wicked Expansion.

But I forgive everything because of the addition of Lucy Hanbrook!

(Thanks and thumbs to those of you who took the pictures I've used!)
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James
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Why do game manufactures have to spend so much on packaging is beyond me. I personally am not interested in buying an expansion just because of an elaborate box, especially if it's only half full. The company could have put everything in a see through plastic bag and sold it a lot cheaper and I'm sure most of us would have been more inclined to buy it. Companies have to realize that many gamers have to order their games online and shipping is far from being cheap. The bigger the box sometimes means higher shipping costs and who wants to pay more for shipping than what the item is worth?
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fen
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generalpf wrote:
grahamj wrote:
The company could have put everything in a see through plastic bag and sold it a lot cheaper and I'm sure most of us would have been more inclined to buy it.

Can you imagine what that would look like on a store shelf? :yuk:

Indeed, it doesn't need to be in a plastic bag, but the expansion would benefit from being in a box half the size - something nearer the Arkham small expansions for example.

Shelf space is a premium we gamers have to spend wisely!
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Wulf Corbett
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Styfen wrote:
Indeed, it doesn't need to be in a plastic bag, but the expansion would benefit from being in a box half the size - something nearer the Arkham small expansions for example.
But that's the point - the bigger, more visible, the box, the better chance someone will see it & buy it. There is no benefit in using a smaller box from the manufacturer's position (barring a marginal cost benefit), there is a loss of visibility. The more competition there is, the more visibility you want for your product.
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Gordon Adams
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I had painted all my characters and they looked really cool so we had decided to play AToE this evening. One person had bought the Hero Pack and we were all excited (I say all,this is not one of my favourite games )

It was such a disappointment when the Hero Pack box was openned. Yes, big box and few components. However, we thought it would add that little bit extra to the base game. Sorry, it did not do so....for us, anyway.

I am happy that I did not buy the expansions, but that is a matter of taste. However, I cannot understand why the Pack was not included in as an extra in the SG ! Elbow, a member of my group thought that he had wasted his money so we all chipped in and he had a smile on his face. I doubt whether he will be playing AToE again. Come to think of it, I think I might not, either

At least we had played Tikal and enjoyed that before this game and it's expansions. We also ended up playing Long Shot to give us a few laughs to counter-act the shock !

Regards.

Regards.
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Mik Svellov
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
Styfen wrote:
Indeed, it doesn't need to be in a plastic bag, but the expansion would benefit from being in a box half the size - something nearer the Arkham small expansions for example.
But that's the point - the bigger, more visible, the box, the better chance someone will see it & buy it. There is no benefit in using a smaller box from the manufacturer's position (barring a marginal cost benefit), there is a loss of visibility. The more competition there is, the more visibility you want for your product.
Exactly. The box is no bigger than the ones most computer games are sold in - and they take up even less space once they have been unpacked.
At least this box needs the protection to save the miniatures from breaking.
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Tristan Hall
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Thanks for the review. Contents are a bit disappointing (quantity) but I'll probably end up getting it along with Something Wicked as AToE kicks bum.
As for the packaging, the first thing I do is find a way to get expansion stuff into the main box and do away with it. That might be a cardinal sin on BGG but it looks like less total games in the collection to my wife. Bits in a plastic bag sounds fine to me!

arrrh
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Tommy Brownell
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I rather loved the expansion, AND I now keep all my Wound and Investigation tokens in the Hero Pack box so I'm not fumbling around for them during set-up or in-game.
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William Gaskill
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Good Review,IMO the Hero Pack was a worthwhile addition & I hope to
see a Hero Pack#2 next year.But i'm a hopeless AToE Fan Boylaugh

Oh-the box should be big enough to set two beer can on,this is a
personal purchase rule.(saves table space)

OD
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Matt Asher
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Old Dwarf wrote:

Oh-the box should be big enough to set two beer can on,this is a
personal purchase rule.(saves table space)

OD


LOL
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