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Z-Man Games: Shadow Hunters (Expansion) – Strategy

February 4, 2016

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An expansion was released for the game Shadow Hunters. One of the characters was slightly adjusted and a bunch of new characters were added to the mix. The adjustments made were simply to help balance the game and do not change the strategies of these characters. For this reason, I am only going to address strategies for the expansion characters.

Agnes

Victory Condition: The Player to your immediate right wins
Strategy: This character is the alternative to Allie. She corrects the issue of not being invested in the game. With Agnes it matters greatly to you who the players next to you are. Once you know what their objective is you basically just want to help them win. What’s more, if they don’t need to be alive to win then you can still win even if they are dead.

Agnes is one of the few neutrals who can win even when she’s dead. So don’t worry about drawing fire from your new found ally’s enemies. As such there is little need to hide your “allying with” the other player, since even if someone figures out exactly who you are, your ally’s identity isn’t blown in the least.

Ability Use: Your ability is to switch sides, sort of. Basically you can change your win condition so that now you win if the player on your left wins. You can of course easily run into the situation where the players on both sides of you are on the same team and so switching doesn’t actually do anything. As a result you will want to know which side you “can” switch to and if that even makes a difference.

Bryan

Victory Condition: You win if your attack kills a character whose HP is 13 or more.
Strategy: This character is the alternative to Bob. However, he plays more like Charles. This character can be incredibly challenging to win with. Because you do not have many hitpoints yourself you need to be careful not to draw too much attention to yourself. You will basically want to give green cards to people and try to figure out who in the game will make a good target. Then you will want to wait until they have taken around 11 damage. Once someone is this hurt you will want to pour on the damage in an effort to finish them off. If Daniel is in the game he will often be an ideal target. Just be careful that he doesn’t kill himself before you can.

Also, you only win if you kill someone via attacking. So be careful when using cards or board locations to directly deal damage to players as these will not count if you kill them this way (basically anything that wouldn’t trigger the werewolf’s counter attack doesn’t count).

Ability Use: Like Daniel you don’t really have an ability. Basically this triggers when you “screw up” and kill someone that won’t trigger your win condition. This is mainly there in order to incentivize against just randomly attacking and killing everyone in the hopes that it will trigger your win condition.

Catherine

Victory Condition: You Die first OR you are one of the last two characters still living.
Strategy: This character is the alternative to Allie. She corrects the issue of not being invested in the game. With Agnes it matters greatly to you who the players next to you are. Once you know what their objective is you basically just want to help them win. What’s more, if they don’t need to be alive to win then you can still win even if they are dead.

Agnes is one of the few neutrals who can win even when she’s dead. So don’t worry about drawing fire from your new found ally’s enemies. As such there is little need to hide your “allying with” the other player, since even if someone figures out exactly who you are, your ally’s identity isn’t blown in the least.

Ability Use: Your ability is to switch sides, sort of. Basically you can change your win condition so that now you win if the player on your left wins. You can of course easily run into the situation where the players on both sides of you are on the same team and so switching doesn’t actually do anything. As a result you will want to know which side you “can” switch to and if that even makes a difference.

David

Victory Condition: You have 3 or more of the following. ‘Talisman’, ‘Spear of Longinus’, ‘Holy Robe’, ‘Silver Rosary’
Strategy: This character is the alternative to Daniel. However, he plays similar to Bob. However, there are a few differences. To start with you don’t need as many equipment cards, but you do need specific equipment. The other thing to keep in mind is that all of the equipment you need are white cards. As such you can pretend to be Allie and just quietly gather defensive cards. The only times you should start attacking people is if doing so will help you gather the equipment you need. The spear is the only item that will raise suspicion or make people nervous since they will assume you want it because you plan to use it or you’re afraid of it being used on you.
Ability Use: This ability should really only be used to win the game. Don’t overlook the fact that you can use it on any piece of equipment in the discard pile not just the pieces you need to win. Sometimes a winning play is to grab an item like the pistol or the cursed sword in order to successfully kill and take the last piece of equipment you need.

Ellen

Victory Condition: All the Shadow Characters are dead.
Strategy: This character is the alternative to Emi. Because of how few hitpoints this character has she is primarily used reflexively. So the pre-reveal strategy is the same for Ellen as it is for Emi. This character is the weakest of the hunters and as such is often the 1st hunter to get killed. So, keeping this in mind you probably will want to heal yourself and draw white cards more than the other hunters. There are also two white cards that can give you a full heal. Otherwise just identify the shadows and kill them. Just remember that the unknown may be in the game masquerading as a hunter. If this happens you can reveal yourself and “turn off” the unknown’s  ability.
Ability Use: You need to be careful when it comes to using your ability. You can only use it once per game and so you need to be sure the character in question is actually in the game. Keep in mind you remove the ability of a particular character not of a player. So you can’t just point at a player and say “I turn off your ability”. You need to say the character’s name. In general its best to wait until a player reveals them self before you shut down their ability. The unknown of course will never reveal until they are dead but if you are sure someone is the unknown (for example two people have said they are a hunter via green cards, and there are only two hunters in the game), it may be helpful to turn off their ability to lie.

Fu-ka

Victory Condition: All the Shadow Characters are dead.
Strategy: This character is the alternative to Franklin and they play pretty much the same as  Franklin.
Ability Use: Fu-ka’s ability is potentially one of the most powerful hunter abilities in the game. You basically get a built in healing kit that can be used at any time. This means that it can be used to greatly even the field by using it offensively against a relatively unhurt shadow. Alternatively, it can heal up an ally like George or even yourself bringing them back from the brink of death. The only downside is that you have to use this ability at the beginning of your turn and so you may lose the opportunity to heal someone (yourself included) before they’ve been killed.

Gregor

Victory Condition: All the Shadow Characters are dead.
Strategy: This character is the alternative to George and they play pretty much the same as  George.
Ability Use: Gregor’s ability is best used when you know that people will be attacking you and/or when you are low on health. Unfortunately, because it is only active from the end of your turn until the beginning of your next turn you can’t use it to negate the werewolf’s ability.

Ultra Soul

Victory Condition: All the Hunter Characters are dead or 3 Neutral characters are dead.
Strategy: This character is the alternative to the Unknown. This character is in some ways probably the most suicidal of all of the shadow characters. This is because you don’t have a lot of hit points and your ability is fully aggressive. For this reason you will want to be careful to only start attacking when you are completely confidant that another player is a hunter. The reason for this is that you might die before you are able to finish them off.
Ability Use: This ability should be used as soon as you are able to target a player that you know is a hunter. Unfortunately, once you start using this ability your enemies will try to avoid the “Underworld Gate” as much as possible.

Valkyrie

Victory Condition: All the Hunter Characters are dead or 3 Neutral characters are dead.
Strategy: This character is the alternative to the Vampire and plays the same.
Ability Use: This ability is one of the most useful shadow abilities. Particularly when you have one or two pieces of equipment that adds to your damage. It’s all the benefits of the cursed sword with none of the downsides.

Wight

Victory Condition: All the Hunter Characters are dead or 3 Neutral characters are dead.
Strategy: This character is the alternative to Werewolf. Unfortunately, the character can feel neutered under the wrong conditions. If no one is dead yet then you have no abilities at your disposal. While you should try to kill your enemies as soon as you figure out who they are you will need to rely heavily on equipment to get an edge over them. Since you won’t have anything to fall back on. You might think that trying to kil neutrals to start with would be good (since this would make your ability more powerful) but all this will really do is create more enemies. Instead it’s best to only target hunters and just hope that one or more other characters will die before you’re forced to use your ability.
Ability Use: How useful/powerful your ability is, depends on how many players are in the game. In a 5 player game for example, there will only be at most 3 dead players, where as in an 8 player game there could be as many as 6 dead. In general though, you want to save your ability until either you’re almost dead (and so it’s now or never) or using it will tip the scales in your favor (making it so there the number of shadows is equal or greater than the number of hunters).

As you can see, the expansion adds interest to the game which may have become boring and/or predictable. Some of the characters though, I’m afraid may be weaker than intended (such as the wight). But I would recommend trying them all out to see who it makes sense to keep and if there are any that should just not be used.


Part 1: Z-Man Games: Shadow Hunters – Review
Part 2: Z-Man Games: Shadow Hunters – Hints, Tips and Strategies
Part 3: Z-Man Games: Shadow Hunters (Expansion) – Strategy
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