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German Nobile
Du Sang sur l'Autel #186.
Croquis Absurdes

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 · 4305
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 · 1136
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 · 12
it's debatable how much deck thinning is worth in Arkham, due to the presence of weaknesses in the deck — jd9000 · 68

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 · 68
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 · 53515
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 · 42
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 · 4305
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] ( I agree that it's not a great card, tho', but there's worse out there. — olahren · 2376
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 · 80
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 · 257
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 · 2367

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 · 590
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 · 33