RTFC of the Week: Shortcut (Arkham Horror LCG)

In Arkham Horror, Cards by Paul0 Comments

What I particularly like about this card, and I do like this card, is that’s its name is relevant on all the levels: thematically, pictorially, mechanically. Introduced in the Dunwich big box expansion, this Seeker card is a solid card that provides efficient action economy whilst the art offers the possibility that the ‘person’ depicted could also be a snake-man really.

See what I mean? Clearly half-man, half-snake.

Errata

I hope no errata ever applies to this card!

Unpacking Shortcut

The text is relatively straight-forward; it allows you to move an investigator to a connecting location as a Fast action. It’s got a Willpower and an Evade icon for skill-tests, both of which are pretty useful in the build of Investigator likely to use this.

It basically reads: take one additional action this turn so long as you (or a companion) wants to move from your location at some point.

It’s a zero-cost event in the Seeker class.

Let’s unpick it then:

  • It’s Fast so it doesn’t cost an action
  • You have to play it on your turn though
  • You can move yourself
  • It won’t provoke attacks of opportunity
  • Engaged enemies will still move with you
  • The locations must be connected as normal
  • You can play it at any point in your turn

What makes this great?

Well, three things for me. Firstly, the pure efficiency of it. Quite often in Arkham Horror success relies upon being able to get the most out of your three actions. This action-economy is the heart of the game, and anything that allows you to most effectively use your actions is a great advantage. Being able to move to a location and then take three investigate actions (for instance) might mean that you can get sufficient clues before the Agenda advances.

Or perhaps it took an action more to kill that enemy than ideal and you still need to move to a particular location. Well shortcut helps with that as you can play it at any point in your turn.

Secondly, the flexibility. You can ‘push’ another investigator along so that they get the benefit of all of their actions. Or perhaps you just want to move them along before you nuke your location form orbit 1920s style! You can play this card to help yourself, others and at exactly the point when you want it to in your actions.

Thirdly, the zero-cost. The only planning that is required is when and who. If this card cost a resource, for instance, then it wouldn’t really be action economy as you need to spend an action to gain the resource to play it. This is demonstrative of a design team that understand the underlying economy and wants to ensure the game adheres to the underlying maths.

What makes Shortcut better?

Any investigation where moving quickly between locations is key will benefit from this action economy. I can think of some investigations off the top of my head, but movement is a key part of the game so this is a broad benefit.

I don’t think it matters if there are many hops that you need to take, or if the locations are clustered around a particular hub.

Take the shortcut to Kingsport, or the scenic route?

However, it does make a difference for any investigator that needs to get their specific weakness quickly, such as Jenny Barnes.

Effects that take away actions also increase the value to be gained from Shortcut.

What makes shortcut worse?

Errrrr…. An investigation without locations, I guess?

Given as the card covers such as basic function, I don’t think that there’s much that would make this worse.

Conclusion

Try it. Well, try it if it’s legal in the deck anyways!

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