by Lee Valentine
A Touch of Evil: Hero Pack One expansion
Published by Flying Frog Productions
Designed by Jason C. Hill
Contents: 4 Hero character boards; 1 Villain character board; 4 plastic Hero miniatures; 6 event
cards; Manor card; Olde Woods card; Windmill card; Abandoned Keep card; full-color rulebook.
Hero Pack One (HP1) is an expansion for Flying Frog
Production's game A Touch of Evil (ATOE). HP1
contains 10 new game cards, four new Heroes, and a new Villain.
Four new Hero character boards (sheets) and their accompanying gray,
plastic miniatures make up the bulk of HP1. I'll give a short
commentary on each new character's abilities.
Adrianna, the Foreign Traveler, is a blind martial artist. Her visual
impairment keeps her from using books and maps, but she can attack with
weapons, even guns, as well as any sighted character. Like the Werewolf
Villain, she has a "first strike" capability, landing her blows before
her opponents can respond. She has the ability to trade Investigation
to force an opponent to re-roll Fight Dice. Lastly, she seems to have a
sixth sense, which she can use to readily learn the secrets of the Town
Lucy Hanbrook, daughter of Lord Hanbrook and Lady Hanbrook (from the
ATOE base game), is a spirited girl, but a sub-standard
combatant. She has only two Wound slots, but her youth grants her the
ability to heal one wound at the start of each of her turns. Clearly
this is a callback to Flying Frog's game Last Night on Earth,
where characters with "Youth" can take fewer total wounds but can
regenerate. In ATOE, however, two wound slots is a pittance, and
Lucy Hanbrook often ends up flat on her back during the early game until
she is appropriately armed, or unless she flees instead of fighting
every time. She is, however, lucky, and she can force her opponent to
re-roll one of his Fight Dice against her each Fight Round. She starts
the game at the Manor with a couple of extra points of Investigation.
While this latter note is only of mild interest with regards to
HP1, the Something Wicked expansion allows Heroes at the
Manor to use a secret passage between the Manor and the Monastery on a
separate game board, setting up Lucy to move on to the Echo Lake board
as her very first move of the game.
Harlow Morgan, the Inventor, is a cunning fellow, but like Lucy, is not
much of a combatant at the start of the game. He is a genius, however,
and as such he gains free Investigation at the start of every turn. He
can trade that Investigation in to gain bonus dice in a Fight in
addition to its myriad other uses. His power as an Inventor is rarely
used - it lets him discard any two of his Items to take another Item out
of any discard pile. Typically there are few items in the Location
discard piles, and this is particularly true with the Something
Wicked expansion, since there are so many more Locations to visit.
I have only been able to use this odd power once out of several games
with Harlow, where I believe that Harlow somehow shot his Horse with a
Pistol and changed them both into a garland of garlic.
The Scarlet Shadow, whose backstory calls him a "masked avenger" and a
"daring outlaw", is the fourth hero. He has great attribute scores, but
is difficult to equip with weaponry, because he is wanted by the militia
of Shadowbrook. Every time he steps foot in the town he takes the
chance that he'll be spotted; if he is, he'll either be fined
(Investigation) or thrashed within an inch of his life (taking Wounds).
The Scarlet Shadow starts at any road space on any board, allowing him
easy access to the Echo Lake board if you also own the Something
Wicked expansion. He has an occasionally useful ability to "Shadow
Move" to any space on the board whenever he rolls a 6+ on his Movement
The Scarlet Shadow and Adrianna usually make me think harder when I play
them, and are thus more interesting. Harlow and Lucy, however,
represent thinking inside the box. I was not given enough reasons to
prefer them strongly over pre-existing characters.
Each of these characters comes with a custom sculpted gray, plastic
miniature. While each of these is of high quality, the variety of poses
is limited enough that, for example, it is somewhat difficult to tell
the miniature for Victor Danforth, the Playwright (ATOE) apart
from Harlow Morgan, The Inventor (HP1) at a quick glance. Those
two miniatures appear like mirror images of each other from any
significant distance. I found that Arianna, whose character is armed
with fighting sticks, has a tendency of having her sticks bent slightly
out of shape if I store her miniature with other characters instead of
in her own individual storage space in the HP1 package.
Ten New Game Cards
HP1 comes with ten new game cards. They all feature costumed
characters in a variety of situations ranging from an eerie painting
that's watching you, to aggressive combat stances. The cards have been
die cut so that they are slightly larger than similar cards from the
Lucy and Harlow practically beg to be equipped with a "Runic Amulet" or
the "Tools of Science" to allow them to fight with Spirit or Cunning
instead of Combat. Typically in a competitive game there's only one of
each of those items for sale at the Blacksmith shop. HP1 adds an
extra "Runic Amulet" as a card for the Olde Woods, and an extra "Tools
of Science" at the Abandoned Keep. While these are great cards, they
can get lost in the shuffle (literally) as each new expansion adds more
and more cards for the original Corner Locations on the Shadowbrook
board. Should Harlow have the wild luck of finding the "Tools of
Science", his Inventor power will keep them handy for the rest of the
The Windmill adds a "Vial of Poison" which can kill off an Ally, Town
Elder, or Evil Elder if you are disreputable enough to use it. Outside
of a Showdown, this is about the only way to get rid of an Evil Elder,
so this is an interesting new card.
The Manor's new card is the least interesting. Unlike the others, which
all can readily be positive, this new card is a skill challenge which
may give you insight into a Town Elder's secrets, but is actually more
likely to instead add an extra Secret to both Lord Hanbrook and Lady
The other six cards are actually a pair each of three different Event
cards. All grant some form of bonus in a fight. One, "Teamwork", is
wildly powerful in cooperative play, allowing you either to prevent
damage to a teammate in the same space or to gain lots of additional
Fight Dice in a Combat alongside other characters (such as is common in
a cooperative Showdown).
A New Villain
The Necromancer is the newest threat to the Village of Shadowbrook.
Only cunning and spirited adventurers have a good chance of defeating
him. While the Necromancer himself is mildly dangerous in a Showdown,
his primary threat is a continuous parade of zombies that march upon the
Town Hall of Shadowbrook. Not only does this make the roads a constant
threat to travel on, it has the primary effect of driving the Shadow
Track like a constant engine each time a new Minion arrives at Town
Hall, hot on the heels of the previous Minion.
I had one minor quibble and one complaint with the Necromancer. First,
each Villain in ATOE typically comes with a small circular token
picturing the Villain, to be placed on the board when he attacks.
Except with the Spectral Horseman, this token is not absolutely
necessary. The quibble is, this token is missing in HP1 and
instead was printed as part of the Something Wicked expansion.
The more significant complaint was that, unlike every other Villain in
the game that has a custom Minion Chart and custom Minion counters, the
Necromancer simply uses the Vampire's Minion Chart and Minion counters
from the base game. This means that the Necromancer has bats and
wolves, among other things for minions. While this is potentially
acceptable in the simple definition of "Necromancer" as "sorcerer", it
didn't seem to fit with the army of the dead theme, and it certainly
didn't make this Villain stand out as quite unique as other Villains.
Overall, in game play both with the single Shadowbrook board
(ATOE) and with the extra Echo Lake game board (Something
Wicked expansion) the Necromancer is a credible threat. However,
his Minions apply most of the pressure. Provided you have the necessary
Spirit and Cunning scores to avoid the penalties his abilities inflict,
in a Showdown the Necromancer is one of the weaker adversaries. This
bias toward characters with high Spirit and Cunning will naturally
advantage Heroes who use those attributes in fights instead of Combat,
because they need only improve on their strong suit, while
Combat-oriented characters will have to develop Spirit and Cunning up
the entire game even though they won't be fighting with those
Most of the cards and abilities were fairly clear. I had a couple of
rules questions, but this set raised fewer rules issues than most
expansions for ATOE. This was probably because of the set's
small size - character cards aside, there are only five unique game
cards introduced in this set.
There is one odd new rule. Both Lucy Hanbrook and The Scarlet Shadow
have been introduced in previous sets as Allies. So it's possible for
someone to be playing a Hero (e.g., Lucy Hanbrook) while another player
draws a copy of the same character as an Ally. Rather than removing
these Ally cards from the game before play starts, when one of these
matching Allies is drawn, it summons the Hero of the same name to the
Location where the Ally was drawn from. Then both players, the one
drawing the Ally and the one playing the summoned Hero in question, gain
2D6 Investigation each.
The box for HP1 includes a nice plastic insert that stores each
miniature separately, and allows you to store the character boards and
game cards as well. Unfortunately, the original ATOE box was not
designed with expansions in mind, and there's no place for all these new
materials in the original game box without taking everything else out of
its original place. The packaging for HP1 itself is of very high
quality, but is larger than it needs to be just to store its contents.
Given that you may have to carry this around as a separate box to use it
with the base game, I found that mildly troublesome.
Oddly enough, Valeria, the vampire Hero character from the Something
Wicked expansion is pictured prominently on the back of the box for
HP1. While her character appears alongside The Scarlet Shadow on
the photo for the "Teamwork" Event, she is not included in the box as a
Two of the characters in the set intrigued me, and two left me feeling
flat. All four seemed reasonably playable. While The Necromancer is
playable, I wish he had had a custom Minion Chart to make him seem less
like the Vampire. These complaints are overall pretty minor, and this
expansion is a good one.
The biggest contention I have with the product is its price point.
Compare this product to the Something Wicked expansion box for
ATOE. Something Wicked cost $15.00 more, but comes with
over a hundred new cards, four heroes, four villains (each with custom
villain counters and minion charts), terrain effect counters, new
villainous curses, more items to purchase in game, a new board to play
on, and a bigger box. It becomes crystal clear that something is
missing at a $25.00 price point. Undoubtedly the inclusion of custom
miniatures and what is probably a relatively short production run have
impacted profit margins on this product.
Nevertheless, ideally this product should have included the 32 game
cards that were available as part of the online expansion sets The
Madness and The Allies. Together, those two mini-expansions
plus HP1 might have justified an overall price tag of $25.00 or
$30.00, instead of the nearly $45.00 total that is charged for these
three expansions separately now.
A Touch of Evil: Hero Pack One is a solid expansion, with some
interesting play options. HP1 even feels better playtested than
Something Wicked. So if you like ATOE, if you are looking
for some more heroes, and if you have the $25.00 to spend, then this
could be a good fit for you. If you have money for only one supplement
for ATOE, then I think your money is better spent on Something
Wicked. Both are good products, but Something Wicked will
give you more play experience for your gaming dollar.
The production values are high both on this product's game components
and particularly on the product's packaging. That could be reason
enough to carry HP1 if ATOE sells well at your store. The
game box does a good job of exciting the customer about what's inside.
The price point is my primary concern. My other concern is that it is
being launched at the same time as a larger, more attractive expansion
that offers more entertainment value. If your margins allow it,
consider offering a bundled discount on Hero Pack 1 and
Something Wicked together; that may help sell more of both
products. If product margins don't allow for a bundled discount and you
have a miniature painter on staff, these sculpts would look great
painted; a painted display would help move this product out your door.
Overall: B (a good expansion, but not a great one)
Game Play: B (good game play, but not groundbreaking)
Rules: B+ (reasonably clear cards; a rarely useful, odd rule concerning characters that are both Heroes and Allies)