Welcome to C-ARRR!-cosa. In this text-based, image-free Let’s Play series, I will be playing solo Roland Banks through The Path to Carcosa on standard difficulty, using the ARRR! deck described here. For this campaign, my random basic weakness is Internal Injury. Please read the article to get a full idea of how the deck being played works. As I mentioned towards the end of the article, the deck excels at lower player counts due to its jack-of-all-trades nature; hence, a solo adventure seems only natural!
Note that this series assumes you have played The Path to Carcosa before and are familiar with the scenarios. If you have not played this before, you may find this series to be full of campaign spoilers. I also will not spend lots of time explaining all of the scenario cards, because I am assuming you either know what the cards do, or if you do not can look it up to refresh your memory.
Let’s dive right in with Curtain Call!
Alright, let’s get started. For my opening hand, I draw the following:
-Dr. Elli Horowitz
Elli in the opening hand is perfection. Guts is a bit more meh for an opener, but I’m sure can make use of it so I’ll hang on to it.
Obviously, we are going to mulligan Astounding Revelation. I also am thinking I want to mulligan Hallowed Mirror as well. If I had to choose, I’d much rather have Disc in the accessory slot. It’s way too early to be going for healing. I also am going to mulligan my Vicious Blow. I would much rather see a weapon than a Vicious Blow right now.
After our mulligan, let’s see what cards I get now.
-Dr. Elli Horowitz
-Take the Initiative
-Disc of Itzamna
-Take the Initiative
Still no weapon, but this is not the worst. Disc of Itzamna actually kills a lot of enemies that spawn on me in this scenario. Most importantly, because it is a Relic, it will kill the Poltergeists, which deal 2 horror to me if allowed to attack me. Dr. Elli is also potentially a pathway into getting myself a weapon if she finds the Enchanted Blade. The three skill cards in my hand are going to be fantastic at keeping me safe from any treachery tests. Because of that, I feel comfortable to take some time to build up my assets.
Damage – 0/9; Horror – 0/5; Resources – 5; Clues – 0
Hand (5): Disc of Itzamna, Dr. Elli Horowitz, Guts, Take the Initiative, Take the Initiative
I want to put out Disc of Itzamna right away, mainly because I am very concerned about an early Poltergeist spawn. However, if I do that, I have to spend an action to gain a resource if I want to put out Dr. Elli as well.
Therefore, thinking through my deck, the first thing I want to do is put out Dr. Elli. I am hoping she can search into Astounding Revelation to get me 2 resources. She possibly finds another Disc anyway, or she finds an Enchanted Blade. Either of those, I would be happy with because either one counters an early Poltergeist spawn. But once I see what Elli finds, I can decide what I’m doing from there.
Action 1: Play Dr. Elli Horowitz for 3 resources. I didn’t get an Astounding Revelation, which is sad. But I did get an Enchanted Blade, so that’s going on me for sure. I’m now feeling okay about running into enemies, so let’s go towards Backstage.
Action 2: Move Backstage.
Action 3: I don’t want to continue running into the Backstage Doorway in case I hit the Trap Room and get hit unnecessarily by a Swarm of Rats, so I’m going to just draw a card. I draw my Astounding Revelation. Well. Whatever. Can’t always get lucky with draws.
Enemy Phase: No enemies.
Upkeep: I draw Practice Makes Perfect. That’s nice! And I gain a resource.
Damage – 0/9; Horror – 0/5; Resources – 3; Clues – 0
Hand (6): Astounding Revelation, Disc of Itzamna, Guts, Practice Makes Perfect, Take the Initiative, Take the Initiative
Mythos: 1 doom added, 1 out of 6 doom.
Encounter card: Poltergeist!! I feel so validated!
Action 1: We got to kill this right away, so I’m going to charge up my Enchanted Blade for a swing here and test 6v3. We draw an Elder Sign! It’s dead! We may as well pick up the clue from Backstage.
Action 2: I’m going to keep moving and hope I don’t hit the Trap Room. The reason why is because I ideally I want to get the clue off of it by killing the Rats that spawn there and my investigator ability has already been used this round. Let’s move to one of the rooms and see what happens. We move and reveal the Dressing Room. Ok, well, pretty useless, but at least we revealed more of the map.
Action 3: Move back to Backstage.
Enemy phase: No enemies.
Upkeep: I draw .45 Automatic and gain 1 resource. I feel like I have so much damage available now. Just need to get some Astounding Revelations to have enough resources to pay for Disc and .45 Automatic.
Damage – 0/9; Horror – 0/5; Resources – 4; Clues – 1
Hand (7): .45 Automatic, Astounding Revelation, Disc of Itzamna, Guts, Practice Makes Perfect, Take the Initiative, Take the Initiative
Mythos: 1 doom added, 2 out of 6 doom.
Encounter card: The King’s Edict. There are no cultists, so this is going to surge. Next, I draw Rotting Remains. Good thing I have my Guts! I will commit this to make this test 5v3 and if I pass, I can draw another card! I draw a 0! Hooray! I pass with flying colours and draw On the Hunt off of Guts!
Action 1: Now I feel free to move in to the other Backstage Doorway. I move over and it is the Rehearsal Room. Well, I guess the Trap Room is not even here.
Action 2: I’ll investigate normally, 3v1. I draw a Skull which is -1. That means I succeed by 1 only, so I don’t take any horror. We are doing great so far.
Action 3: I move back to Backstage.
Enemy phase: No enemies.
Upkeep: I draw another Enchanted Blade and gain 1 resource.
Damage – 0/9; Horror – 0/5; Resources – 5; Clues – 2
Hand (8): .45 Automatic, Astounding Revelation, Disc of Itzamna, Enchanted Blade, Practice Makes Perfect, On the Hunt, Take the Initiative, Take the Initiative
Mythos: 1 doom added, 3 out of 6 doom
Encounter card: I do not want to On the Hunt right now, just because I want to be able to get a clue from the enemy defeat and there no clues where I am. So I will just draw normally. I draw Black Stars Rise. The test is pretty difficult for me, but I have an idea here. I’m going to play Practice Makes Perfect and see if I can find my Perception now. It’s a bit of a long shot, but let’s go for it.
Not only did I find my Perception, I got an Astounding Revelation! So that’s +2 resources to me already. I’ll commit the Perception and the Astounding Revelation I had sitting around in my hand. That makes the test a 6v4. We draw a -2! Our plan paid off big time as we pass a test on a treachery card that was initially a 3v4 for us. The Perception I committed returns to my hand, and I get to draw another card from the Perception. I draw Glory! Ah! I’m excited to see this card in hand.
Action 1: I’m feeling really good right now. The best thing to do is keep moving around as fast I can so I can get my clues. I’m going to move twice. First, I move to the Theatre.
Action 2: I move to the Lobby.
Action 3: I play my Disc of Itzamna. Note, at this point I have to play something or else I will discard during Upkeep from having too many cards.
Looking at the state of the game, I am feeling very powerful. I have 2 Take the Initiatives in hand. I have On the Hunt with Disc in play, which is a great combo. And, not only do I have Enchanted Blade in play because of Dr. Elli, I also have more weapons in hand, just in case. The card I am most worried about drawing into is Frozen in Fear because my TTI can’t help me with it, but well, we just got to keep moving. However, we are feeling great as Round 4 ends.
Enemy phase: No enemies.
Upkeep: I draw Prepared for the Worst (which I don’t particularly need right now) and gain 1 resource.
Damage – 0/9; Horror – 0/5; Resources – 4; Clues – 2
Hand (8): .45 Automatic, Enchanted Blade, Glory, On the Hunt, Perception, Prepared for the Worst, Take the Initiative, Take the Initiative
Mythos: 1 doom added, 4 out of 6 doom
Encounter card: I draw Dissonant Voices, which is pretty harmless to me right now. It will likely result in me losing a card in Upkeep due to my hand being too full, but I’m not that worried about a one-off discard right now.
Action 1: I move up to the Balcony.
Action 2: I investigate the Balcony, committing Perception. This test is a 5v2. I draw a Skull (-1) and pass. I draw a card. It’s my last Astounding Revelation. Oh well. I’ll just make this the card I drop during Upkeep.
At this point, I spend 3 clues to advance the act. The set aside location that enters play is the Lobby Doorway, which means that ironically the Trap Room I talked so much about will not be appearing in this run at all.
Action 3: I move back to the Lobby.
Enemy phase: The Man in the Pallid Mask doesn’t do anything.
Upkeep: I draw another On the Hunt and gain 1 resource. Dissonant Voices is discarded. Astounding Revelation is also discarded because I have too many cards.
Damage – 0/9; Horror – 0/5; Resources – 5; Clues – 0
Hand (8): .45 Automatic, Enchanted Blade, Glory, On the Hunt, On the Hunt, Prepared for the Worst, Take the Initiative, Take the Initiative
Mythos: 1 doom added, 5 out of 6 doom
Encounter card: I will On the Hunt here. The reason why is because I am way more equipped to handle an enemy over some of the treacheries still in this deck. I draw a Fanatic and blow it up with my Disc of Itzamna, gaining control of its clue. I will now play Glory. I draw Vicious Blow and Hallowed Mirror. So, for no actions, I defeated an enemy, gained a clue, and drew 2 cards, before the investigation phase even begins. Ughhhhh, I just love this deck sometimes!
Action 1: I move to the Lobby Doorway with The Man in the Pallid Mask in it. It’s the Box Office, so sadly no clues there.
Action 2: So, I am probably equipped to do either the investigate check on him or defeating him normally. I’m going to opt in to doing the investigate check, just because this way I save my charges on my Enchanted Blade for later. I also want to do this because when he moves to the Lobby, I will not be able to investigate against a 6. I commit a Take the Initiative for +2, and a Prepared for the Worst for +1. This test is now a 6v4. Not super safe, but let’s see how it goes. I draw a -1! The Man in the Pallid Mask is defeated! The act advances again.
The act 2b that we draw is the ooze one which features an Agility 4 check on leaving a location and giving you 1 damage and 1 horror when you fail. Honestly, I think this is the worst act 2b I could get, not just because I can’t really pass these tests, which is a shame, but because it’s the only act2b that deals horror to my precious Roland’s fragile mind. However, I am completely untouched currently, so I might be fine anyway. I also have Hallowed Mirror in hand, so I can heal in an emergency. Two tablet tokens are also added to the bag. Boooo.
Action 3: I move back to the Lobby, and perform the Agility check I have no chance at all of passing, which is 2v4. I draw an autofail, which is pretty funny to me. I take a damage and a horror. I don’t mind just putting those on me right now.
Enemy phase: The Man in the Pallid Mask does nothing.
Upkeep: I draw Internal Injury and gain 1 resource. I’m not too worried about drawing this, but we’ll see what happens next. A horror is placed on all locations connected to the Lobby.
Damage – 1/9; Horror – 1/5; Resources – 5; Clues – 1
Hand (6): .45 Automatic, Enchanted Blade, Hallowed Mirror, On the Hunt, Prepared for the Worst, Take the Initiative, Vicious Blow
Mythos: 1 doom added. 6 out of 6 doom. The Agenda advances. The Royal Emissary spawns in the Theatre.
Encounter card: Dissonant Voices. This again doesn’t really affect me.
Action 1: Ok, sooo… I can totally just murder The Man In the Pallid Mask here and then resign. However, I’m feeling really strong and I want to keep going for victory points. The only problem with continuing to push for victory points is that means I have to run around the map more and I will always fail these agility checks, taking more damage and horror. I have a risky idea, but if it works, it’ll be hilarious. First, I engage The Man in the Pallid Mask.
Action 2: I move in to a Lobby Doorway. I take an attack of opportunity and put the horror from it on Elli. I have to do the Agility test, which I will fail, causing me to take another horror and a damage. These go on me. I am now in the Lighting Box.
Action 3: I power up my Enchanted Blade and commit my Vicious Blow. This is a 7v4 test. I’m worried about the -4’s in the bag so I will commit my On the Hunt to this to make it an 8v4. I draw a Skull (-1). The Man in the Pallid Mask is defeated and I discover the clue on the Lighting Box.
I take a direct damage from Internal Injury.
Enemy phase: Royal Emissary moves to the Lobby, meaning I take a horror for being connected to it.
Upkeep: I draw Guts and gain 1 resource. Dissonant Voices goes away. A horror is placed on Backstage.
Damage – 3/9; Horror – 3/5; Resources – 6; Clues – 2
Hand (5): .45 Automatic, Enchanted Blade, Guts Hallowed Mirror, Take the Initiative
Mythos: 1 doom added. 1 out of 6 doom.
Encounter card: I draw a Swarm of Rats. Ok, well that’s only mildly annoying.
Action 1: I fight the rats with an uncharged Enchanted Blade swing. I draw a Skull (-3) and the rats are dead.
Now at this point, I have to look at this and figure out if I can kill the Royal Emissary without dying first. I should mention at this point that I’ve already won the scenario. All I have to do is move over and resign. I just want those 2 victory points on the Emissary, especially because I got the maximum amount of unlucky I could get with my locations. I ended up visiting both empty locations along the way, so I’m feeling much lighter on victory points than I would have been otherwise.
Looking at my options, I could play Hallowed Mirror here and use Soothing Melody, which will heal me 2 horror. However, I am also in the Lighting Box, therefore, both Hallowed Mirror and Soothing Melody will cost 2 additional resources to play each. That’s all my money, which normally wouldn’t bother me but I also need the money for something else. My Enchanted Blade has only one charge left in it, so I am lacking damage output to kill the Emissary if I do not play my second copy of Enchanted Blade. If I am going to play a weapon, I need to play it now, from the Lighting Box; otherwise, I will be taking attacks of opportunity in the future.
The other issue here is I am on track to take a lot of damage and horror. I will take 1 damage and horror from moving back because I am all but guaranteed to fail the agility test, 1 damage from the Internal Injury I have no time to clear out, and then 2 damage and 1 horror from the Emissary itself during the enemy phase. Altogether, that’s 4 damage and 2 horror. Two more horror would kill me unless I sacrifice Elli, which eliminates my weapon from play. Even if I did sacrifice Elli, there is a non-zero risk I can die to my next encounter card pull regardless even with the Guts and Take the Initiative I have in my hand helping me on a test.
I think there is a potential case that I should attempt this fight and a lot of ways to analyze this corner I am in. Ultimately I’m going to not take this fight. There are two other considerations I have in mind. First, I can take a horror again if I draw a Tablet at any time during a skill test. This will definitely set me up to die. Second, Cover Up is still in my deck. I mercifully have not drawn it yet, but now there are no clues up on the map. It would be pretty much impossible for me to get rid of Cover Up now. If I died to horror AND drew Cover Up, that would be a possible 2 mental trauma onto Roland by the end of scenario 1.
I think the potential downsides for failure are much too great, especially when I already know I can just walk out of here with what I have scot-free. So we are getting the hell out, and leaving the Emissary behind.
Action 2: I move to the Lobby. I may as well commit my cards to this test, because why not? I commit Take the Initiative and .45 Automatic to make this test a 5v4. I draw a -2 and I fail. I’m smiling anyway, because I know I’ve won the scenario already. I’m putting both the damage and horror onto me because thematically, I like the idea of my buddy Dr. Elli walking out of here with me.
Action 3: I resign and advance the act! For thematic reasons, we’re going to say Roland goes to the police.
-you tried to warn the police
-the Stranger is on to you
-Chasing the Stranger: 2
-Conviction: 1, Doubt: 0
And with that, solo Roland has completed Curtain Call alive and with 3 Victory Points (Rehearsal Room, Balcony, Lighting Box), completely blowing through it at sonic speed in only 8 rounds! While I look at 3 victory points earned and think that’s a really low haul for a Curtain Call victory (I believe the maximum VP on Curtain Call ignoring player cards is 8), I still feel really good about this result. I don’t think it’s the fault of the deck or my gameplay at all that I ended with only 3 points. It’s simply that the locations I visited ended up being duds. For example, if I had drawn the Trap Room when I wanted to, I could have easily killed the Rats that would spawn there and gained a clue, thereby clearing another VP location. Also, if I could have killed the Man in the Pallid Mask in the Green Room instead of spawning him in the Box Office, that would have been another potential point for me. Well, I’ll just have to keep hope alive that I’ll be getting my experience points in the future. We’ll see if I can make The Last King work well for me.
I feel good enough about this deck that I don’t mind forgoing an Enchanted Blade 3 purchase to save my 3 XP to prioritize getting Stick to the Plan. So we are buying… nothing! But hopefully before Echoes of the Past, we are going to be getting some nice gear. And that’s it! Tune in next time for The Last King.