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I disagree with the previous reviewer that this is binder fodder. It's not an amazing card, but it's certainly playable and I've run it in quite a few Seeker decks on Hard/Expert. (Admittedly cycling it out later in the campaign when I get more XP). There are two main reasons for running it.

  1. Higher Education
  2. Dr. Milan Christopher

Both of these are the strongest seeker cards in the game, and you're probably running both (If not, why not? Tell Finn the good Doctor is yours!). Dr Milan is often giving you a surplus of cash that even Higher Education doesn't drain. Additionally Higher Education needs 5 cards in hand and if you go through a period of encounter card, pressure, you might quickly need to fill you hand-up again. In such a scenario, if you were going to be clicking for a card anyway, the sketches come good.

The previous reviewer suggests that, because the sketches actually do very little (if you were clicking for a card anyway, their net effect is a free action to swap 2 resources for a card), this is bad as they've used a slot in your deck. But the opposite is true - this is deck thinning, and this is good! Cards that replace themselves at very little or zero cost, are making it more likely you will draw into the cards you have spent real XP on (or 0XP cards that are just boss). And seekers have lots of high-impact cards that mean they like thinning. The sketches aren't truly free thinning, you have to spend the 2 resources for the bonus card, but they are pretty close.

Yes, you do need to be aware if there are weaknesses left in your deck, but this is a general part of card-draw and play-management within the game, not specific to the sketches. Eg, if you have a enemy basic weakness and your guardian has already played, or is busy, then drawing is much worse. I don't think one should be discounting draw effects just because sometimes draw can be bad. Drawing cards is, in general, a good thing and we should be constructing decks that want to draw (especially when we can control when that draw happens).

Backpack exists, yes, and Backpack is stronger if you have the deck to support it (lots of items, or specific high-value items you need to find). Without that scenario, and faced with the common Seeker scenario of wanting cards and having money, the sketches do have a slot in the Seeker playbook.

With this card, I feel, you can commit heavier to certain tests without the fear of Higher Education going offline. So on paper I like this but only in the early stages of the deck. — Hellnas · 1
Honestly i have no idea why FFG didn't call this card "Cryptic Research" with a cost of 0 XP. I always include it in seeker decks, when i'm going to get the 4 XP version. Though i often prefer "laboratory assistent" as additional damage/horror soak and no condition. Yesterday we played Labyrinth in 4 player mode and 5 allies died on my side (2x art student, 2x laboratory assistent, 1x guard dog). — Django · 4976
Good point. They could have used the artwork on this though, as it's better, so maybe they should have made the Cryptic Research the 4XP sketches. — duke_loves_biscuits · 1240
I've played the card in my early low XP Rexx Murphy deck along with Burglary. It worked quite well at converting excess resources generated from Burglary into cards, but as I earned XP it was replaced by Cryptic Research. Nonetheless, I do believe it is pretty weak for other investigators. Spending 1 card, 1 action and two resources to draw 3 cards is overall disadvantageous. You spend 4 of your "resources" (1 card/1 action/ 2 resources) to get 3 "resources" (3 cards). So unless you're overflowing with cash, have extra action you don't know what to do with or absolutely need to dig for a certain card, you're usually better off running a "draw a card" skill card instead. — Daerthalus · 14
it's debatable how much deck thinning is worth in Arkham, due to the presence of weaknesses in the deck — jd9000 · 72

Excessively poor card - let's analyse it. You draw 3 cards:

  • First card: Could have been drawn instead of drawing Preposterous Sketches
  • Second card: Could have been drawn instead of playing Preposterous Sketches
  • Third card: You pay 2 ressources to get this one (ressources that you gain in 2 actions or round). Only if you have too much money is this move interesting... but wait:

There is also the opportunity cost of eating a slot in your deck, slot that could have contained a much better card. Finally, you need to have a clue on your location.

To the garbage bin!

(edit after 3 years: we now have Harvey Walters and Farsight that make this card significantly more interesting)

jd9000 · 72
So i think your first point perfectly right, when we look at draw cards we should consider the cost of drawing the card itself. Your second point is true to a great degree, you could simply have drawn another card, however this ignores benefits of deck thinning. For example if there was a zero cost fast event that drew 1 card, if you so desired, you could simply use it to effectively reduce your deck size by 1 slot for consistency purposes basically making all other cards in your deck (weaknesses and all mind you) more likely to come up in a given game. Please don’t be offended if I say I think your third point might miss a key point though. This obviously doesnt belong in a deck that runs poor and your having to wait or click for resources, but tbh you have Milan in faction here so seekers have the option to build their deck to be ok for cash (and often do). I would always avoid comparisons on 1 resource for 1 action as they are only realised in certain decks. They are an exception rather than the rule really. Similarly needing to have a clue at the location is indeed situationally restrictive, but ive very rarely had a real problem. Crucially Seekers seem to be getting Draw, hand size and ofc investigating as a faction traits. So they should more commonly be in a position to make use of a card like this. It doesn’t fit in all decks, and if you can spare the xp, it is very much in the shadow of cryptic research, but it can easily fit into the popular (and from experience very strong) milan/higher ed setup. — StartWithTheName · 66237
This card is effectively an action to draw two cards. Which is an extra card over the stock action, at the cost of 2 resources. So the easiest way to evaluate it is whether two resources are worth more or less than a single action in your deck, and how often you'll be at a point where you have no need for resources. As StartWithTheName mentioned, sometimes virtually shrinking your deck is very valuable - if you have a smaller number of very key cards, getting to them faster and having cards that help do that can be extremely important. If dynamite blast is your way to win the scenario, then digging it out fast is key. If you have 6 weapons in your deck, and you just need any one of them, it's far less key. — Ergonomic Cat · 47
Also, for investigators like Jenny (and other rogues) who swim in ressources, the cost is nearly non existant, so there it's a valid way to speed up the deck. — Django · 4976
I think Jd90 is a bit too harsh here. First, the card has both a Willpower and a Knowledge skill tokens on it, so it's never totally wasted. Second, it's a quick way to fill your hand for [Higher Education] (https://arkhamdb.com/card/02187). I agree that it's not a great card, tho', but there's worse out there. — olahren · 3199
Decent way to spend Dr. Milan cash in the midgame if you're running him. After establishing a board this is a great card to draw tricks and generally reload. — bigstupidgrin · 83
I agree with jd90 - this card is just impossible to justify. If you're so flush with resources that you'd even consider playing this, then why on earth would you spend them on this rather than Hyperawareness or Higher Education? — sfarmstrong · 268
Perhaps you don't have 5 cards in hand? Card cycling and card draw are commonly very powerful in these kinds of games. Deck thinning is a difficult concept, but once you play a lot and repeatedly you'll see its might. It's about finding answers to problems which this card will do for you in a very effective manner. How do you evaluate "Search for the Truth", Rex's signature card? Also really really bad? — Nils · 1
So yeah I'm in the "this evaluation is completely wrong boat". — Nils · 1

I'm surprised this hasn't come up yet on this page, but put 2x of this in your Joe Diamond Hunch deck, and you basically added 4xp to your deck, as you will get the effect of playing Preposterous Sketches2 because of Joe's Hunch discount!

Soloclue · 2544

This card is worthwhile in a lean (low average resource cost) Norman Withers deck with Dr. Milan Christopher for resource generation. When played the top of the deck with Norman’s power, you get a net +1 effect (1 resource and 1 action for 3 cards) instead of the normal -1 (1 action, 1 card and 2 resources for 3 cards). When played from your hand, it can also be used to change the top card of the deck to expose a new potential play for Norman’s power. I say lean Norman deck, because with a normal resource curve, the extra cards are overkill in a deck that already has good card draw.

jmmeye3 · 615
I've played this card in a clue-seeking Rex deck. While it came in handy from time to time to refill my hand (and enable Higher Education), I found it sat in my hand unused a little too often. I'd probably look elsewhere in future campaigns. — cb42 · 36

While usually Arkham Horror LCG is pretty good at avoiding power creep overall, or keep it at a minimum, this card has been hit full strenght by it: you cannot really justify using this in place of Deep Knowledge, when that cards costs zero and can also allow others investigators at your location to "take" your draws to draw cards from their deck instead, making that card even more versatile than Preposterous Sketches. And it doesn't even need for your location to have a clue, mind you!

This card is completely worthless if you have Innsmouth Cospiracy in your collection: about the only investigator who would run this in place of Deep Knowledge is Joe Diamond, who can reduce the cost to 0 by putting it in his hunch deck and play it without adding curses as long as he is somewhere with a clue

Even the upgrade isn't worth it, for 2 exp you reduce the cost of the card to zero: that is it. No extra skill icon, no removal of the clue clause, no extra effect: nothing. The fact you do not add curses is not worth the sheer versatility of allowing other investigators to draw, unless you are playing solo

About the only reason why I see anyone taking Preposterous Sketches over Deep Knowledge is because your team generates so many curses, you are not likely to be able to play this consistently (as you need to have 2 "free spaces" to put two curses in the Chaos Bag to pay the cost of playing the card, if you have 9 or 10 in the game you cannot play Deep Knowledge), which is honestly fairly unlikely even if you have a 4 members party all using curse-adding cards, as the high number of players means the curses will get flushed out at a quicker pace too.

So yeah, dead card: shame

"This card is completely worthless", immediately followed by "here's someone who can use it". You know, it's fine for cards to be niche. You also might not want to deal with curses, or have a none-Joe way of making this card free. — SSW · 206
Yes, one seeker out of ten wants it: surely that does save the card from being completely outclassed in every way. And mind you, Joe has to contend with the fact has to randomly draw it from his hunch deck first too, and is unable to hold the card for when he wants to use it. So while it has a niche, it's not a good one, nor one that saves the card from irrelevancy. Also getting 2 curses in the chaos bag is a significantly better deal than spending 2 resources in essentially every difficulty, especially if you are not making use of other curse-adding cards, as they may, worst case scenario, cost you 2 skill checks, or may not. A loss in resources means you can play less cards. The real only reason you would actually pick Preposterous Sketches over Deep Knowledge is because you are not playing with curses at all, which means you can't pay the cost and use the card at all — HeroesOfTomorrow · 46
A none-Joe way of making this card free, as mentioned by SSW, would be "Crafty". — Susumu · 351
It's true, but Crafty costs 3 exp, Deep Knowledge zero: it's already bad when a level 0 card outperforms another level 0 card of the same class, the fact it is also better than its level 2 upgrade in most cases is ludicrous. I'm honestly starting to consider Deep Knowledge should get taboo to be chained 3 exp — HeroesOfTomorrow · 46
I get what you mean Susumu: you are not just saying "get Crafty to play Preposterous Sketches", that would be ludicrously inneficent given you need to find both cards first. You are saying "you might as well include Preposterous Sketches instead of Deep Knowledge if you are planning to use Crafty, so you get zero downside for the draw", and it's a sound reasoning... But I disagree: because those two resources that replenish each turn could be played on another insight or tool on top of the draw from Deep Knowledge: in fact Deep Knowledge might help you draw another card you can play through Crafty in the same turn! That's especially likely if you are also planning to use Farsight too — HeroesOfTomorrow · 46
My group is honestly not a fan of curses, so this still has it's place. Failing a Pilfer play just because someone put in curses earlier feels bad man. — Nenananas · 250
I agree broadly, but I do think you're understating the cost of deep knowledge's curses a bit. Sure , there's lots of curse-mitigation cards available but they do cost deck slots and xp that could be used for other things. And you can't entirely control who draws the added curses and when- you could end up paying significantly more than 2 resources for your two failed checks! Equally because it won't necessarily be *you* that draws the curses, other players may end up paying that cost for you. Some people are OK with that dynamic but not everyone is lol. Either way, it's a card that expects other players to account for its costs in their decision-making way more than the "typical" card. So while it's definitely more efficient than the sketches, absolutely no doubt there, it's worth bearing in mind when you play deep knowledge that you don't know exactly what its full cost is gonna be or who will end up paying it .. — bee123 · 31
Norman can play it for 1, still more than 0 but less than 2. — bugiel_marek · 17
I really don't think comparing 1 vs 1 is a good idea. Nothing is forcing you to pick only one. Get them both as I did in my Joe deck. — bugiel_marek · 17
"you are not just saying "get Crafty to play Preposterous Sketches", that would be ludicrously inneficent given you need to find both cards first. You are saying "you might as well include Preposterous Sketches instead of Deep Knowledge if you are planning to use Crafty[...]"" You are right, that was exactly what I was saying. And, yes, that does not mean, you have to take "Preposterous Sketches" in every Seeker-Crafty-deck. But there can be reasons to do so, either to avoid the Curses, or to have additional draw, if you want that. It's far from an auto include, but not "completely worthless", either. There are reasonable decks, that still might want it. — Susumu · 351
@bugiel_marek Norman does deserve an honourable mention given paying 1 resource is around the same opportunity cost of adding 2 curses, but I think adding 2 curses is way better than paying 2 resources. I think using one Sketches in the hunch deck and one Knowledge in the main one isn't a terrible idea, but putting a copy for both might be overkill. However, because these two cards have such a similiar effect, they can be used to "go over" the limit of two copies per deck, which is relevant in Seeker "Big Hands" (especially those using Forced Learning) builds which care more about drawing and holdings lots of card than what those cards are — HeroesOfTomorrow · 46
@bee123 Looks mate, that's a good point you are making: no one likes to deal with the bad choices of another player, but the way I personally see it in my game group is that we take every chance to win, if possible: if we end up making things harder for each other, that is fine, as long as the payout is worth it. We just warn people ahead if we are doing something that could put other investigators at risk. I still do hold the idea though, on a pure value stand point, adding curses is better than spending resources, because the latter is a guranteed cost, the former may or may not be a cost. Sure sometimes it causes you to fail a treachery test you really don't want to or trigger a retaliate or alert and that sucks: but two curses are few enough you may not draw them at all during the scenario, and like any player worth its salt will overcommit or raise their stats in other ways if there are curses around during an important skill check — HeroesOfTomorrow · 46
And rogues specifically can very cheaply nullify most risk with False Covenant if curses are actually a problem — HeroesOfTomorrow · 46
Sheer mathematical efficiency isn’t the only way to evaluate a card. There are many valid reasons to put Sketches in a deck. For instance, some groups may prefer to play without curse tokens, or players may prefer Sketches because it’s a better thematic fit for their deck, or maybe a deck that has plenty of resource generation prefers not to risk the curse tokens. I would like it if reviews wouldn’t label a card dead or useless, but rather just explained the reasons why they aren’t playing the card anymore. — Pseudo Nymh · 42
@Pseudo Nymh Well, I did kinda explain why I think this card is dead, didn't I? Whether you agree or disagree is another story. Beside I refuse to get into the reasoning of building lore-friendly decks: that is a completely different beast based on subjective opinions. Makes sense putting Relentless on Nathaniel, but that doesn't make the card good — HeroesOfTomorrow · 46