Sometimes you really just want to chuck a bunch of dice, draw a bunch of cards, and get lost in a great theme, all while building your own narrative. This is exactly why A Touch of Evil is a game that I love to pull out often and get to the table.
Your town is under threat of an "Evil" that is hiding in its lair, waiting to grow in power and influence enough to unleash its terror and take control of the area. Each player selects a villager who has their own unique set of characteristics and player abilities, hoping to become the hero who will stop the Evil in its tracks. Will you be the soldier wanting to shoot first and ask questions later? The school teacher hoping to learn more about the Evil threatening the town and use your knowledge to stop them? Or how about the courier, hoping your familiarity of the secret paths around town can be used to your advantage? With each passing turn, the Evil will be releasing minions in the surrounding area, continuing to influence the town elders in hopes that some will turn on the heroes and join them in their pursuit of darkness, or even venturing out to commit acts of darkness around town. Will any of you be able to stop this horror, or will the Evil prevail?
A Touch of Evil is a game dripping in theme, as you would expect from a Flying Frog published game. The gothic horror setting lends itself perfectly to this game and is always a welcome change of pace from the mostly fantasy-dominated themes that I feel a lot of other similar games tend to be based on. The locations, items, characters, etc. do a good job at helping to immerse the players in the theme and let them all create and visualize their own stories.
This game has a lot of great replayability in the base box. There are 8 player characters and 4 villains you can select from, so the different combinations are already quite high from the start. There are also numerous expansions available that include a lot more characters, villains, locations, items, etc. Oh, and did I mention that the game can be played both as a competitive game or a cooperative adventure? Because it can. Now with that said, the cooperative game (at least from my experience) is far from a difficult adventure and can easily become an exercise in how to stomp on the villain when you as a team choose to invade their lair and begin the showdown so some homebrew rules are recommended to help up the difficulty a bit if you are looking for more of a challenge.
Learnability & Difficulty
As just mentioned above, the difficulty of the game, when playing cooperatively, isn’t very difficult for the players as they can all really take their time to max out the items they are allowed to carry and wait to fight the villain when it is optimal for them. However, what's so great about the competitive mode is that the players are forced to push their luck and be more aggressive when they attempt to take down the villain as it really is a race to who can defeat the villain. Sometimes you have to go in before you are fully ready because you know the other players at the table could do so as well at any moment. As for the learnability of the game, I always feel that new players will not struggle in picking up the mechanics of the game. It's not hard to quickly learn how to attempt a test at locations and how to fight enemies. Where the difficulty in learning the game comes forward is more in the ability of players to be able to manage all their items and cards as the game goes on. Players are allowed to have 7 gear/allies in play as well as a small hand of event cards so as players gain more and more of these, there are a lot of abilities and bonuses that can be hard to keep track of.
A Touch of Evil was one of the first games I bought where I began to learn that I am a gamer who gets sucked into a great theme. I am willing to overlook small game and design flaws if the theme lets me get immersed in a great narrative, whether lead by story cards in the game or just a simple narrative that I can create in my own mind as I go through the game. A Touch of Evil will stay on my game shelf for many years to come and I know it will continue to see more and more plays over the years. While I do love all the additional content the expansions offer, I find that I rarely add the extra map boards to the table as that begins to become too much to really have to deal with. Having that much going on across the table can distract from what I love most about the game, and that is focusing on the story of your character and what they come across on their journey to town hero.
Suggested Sand Box Gaming Products
Touch of Evil Bundle
1 Sand Box
1 Sand Bar
3 Single Card Inserts
1 Double Drawer
1 Mini Double Drawer (exclusively offered in this bundle)