"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their entrances and their exits,
And one man in his time plays many parts."
–William Shakespear, Hamlet
Alas, poor William Yorick! For all his talent and training, he could not find fame and fortune in the theater, and after struggling for years to keep food on his table, he left Boston and moved to the sleepy town of Arkham. There, he continued to audition for the local theater, but he earned his living as gravedigger, toiling late at night with his spade and lantern.
It seemed at first like a good move. The work was tiring, but Yorick didn't mind the labor. Moreover, the dead provided an excellent audience for his soliloquies.
But Yorick's job took a darker turn when he found degenerate creatures eating the dead in their graves. Strange and inhuman, the things caused Yorick's skin to crawl. He drove them away with his spade, but still they returned, visiting the cemetery on random nights to open graves and feed upon the dead.
One night he followed these ghouls to the bog near the potter's field, then through a subterranean tunnel that led into the crypts beneath the chapel. With only his spade as a weapon, Yorick decided not to follow them further on his own, but he knows his discovery marks a new act in his life. And he knows what part he must play.
William Yorick (The Path to Carcosa, 5) has no military training. He has never studied monstrous lore, nor dabbled in the occult. He lacks the resources to pursue special weapons or to recruit others to his cause. But he's a Survivor, and he feels compelled to act—to defend the dead and the living from the ghouls that would feed upon them.
Accordingly, William Yorick enters the game as a Survivor with the ability to round out his deck with Guardian cards Level 0–2. In many ways, this gives him the feel of a Core Set investigator, especially since he also shares their deckbuilding requirement of thirty cards. However, as The Path to Carcosa expansion continues to lead its investigators in all-new directions, it provides Yorick with a unique ability that clearly distinguishes him from the game's other investigators:
"After you defeat an enemy: Play an asset from your discard pile (paying its cost)."
Card recursion—the ability to get your cards back from the discard pile—is rife with potential in any card game. Although much of the appeal of the Arkham LCG® is the way it bridges the traditional customizable card game experience with the choices and character-building of a strong roleplaying game, Arkham Horror: The Card Game is still very much a card game at heart. This means that even though you, the player, are given tremendous freedom to plan your turns and develop your investigator as you wish, the more you can manipulate your cards, the more likely you are to advance your investigation.
This is where Yorick's ability comes in; it allows us to manipulate our deck in a whole range of all-new ways.
The first way Yorick allows us to bend the rules of the game is that he makes it possible to play more than two copies of a card. Normally, the rules of the game limit us to just two copies of any given card. That means you're normally limited to eight ammo with your two copies of .45 Automatic (Core Set, 16), you're limited to six supplies between your two Flashlights (Core Set, 87), and you can only evade two enemies with your Stray Cats (Core Set, 76). Yorick, however, frees us from many of these limitations.
It's true that Scavenging (Core Set, 73), another Survivor card, also permits a good measure of recursion. But Scavenging requires you to succeed at an investigation by two or more—something Yorick is unlikely to do very often with his Intellect of two. Moreover, Scavenging is limited to Item assets, and Yorick gains access to the full gamut of assets in his discard pile.
And this leads us to another way that Yorick's ability bends the game; it thins the distinction between his most valuable assets and his skill cards. Yorick gains a measure of freedom to commit the skill icons on valuable allies like the Beat Cop (Core Set, 18) to skill checks that other investigators wouldn't necessarily have.
For example, there are times that Roland Banks (Core Set, 1) might really want that one Combat skill icon the Beat Cop could give him, but he'd likely hold it in hand to play it later. And where Roland might struggle with that decision—and even fail at the skill check—William Yorick should have much less reservation about committing the Beat Cop's icon when he needs it. After all, if he succeeds and destroys the enemy he's fighting, Yorick can dig the Beat Cop right back out of the discard pile.
Finally, it's worth noting that recursion is an ability that only ever gains strength as a game expands and the card pool grows deeper. The existing combinations—like those with Police Badge (Core Set, 27) and The Red-Gloved Man(Lost in Time and Space, 310)—remain, and then we add such targets for recursion as Lantern (The Path to Carcosa, 36), Gravedigger's Shovel (The Path to Carcosa, 37), and more.
There is, however, one inescapable problem that should concern anyone hoping to build a William Yorick recursion deck—Yorick's unique weakness, Graveyard Ghouls (The Path to Carcosa, 17).
This monstrous enemy—a pack of enemies, really—appear to have taken offense to Yorick's constant interference in the graveyard, and they intend to burrow into his deck only to pop up at the most inopportune of moments (as all your weaknesses are wont to do). Then, they'll hunt down Yorick and prevent him from recovering any of the cards he's discarded until such a time as he can destroy them.
Now, a good Yorick deck should be loaded with plenty of Combat bonuses, meaning it won't likely be too difficult for Yorick to successfully overcome the Ghouls' three Combat, but the kicker is that they also feature three health. In most cases, this means Yorick needs to shoot them twice, or hit them twice with his Gravedigger's Shovel before setting them alight with his Lantern. And since the Arkham LCG is one in which every action matters, it's hard to find the time to deal with unruly ghouls when you still have an agenda deck resting beneath an ever-mounting stack of doom tokens.
As a result, you'll likely want to pack a couple copies of Vicious Blow (Core Set, 25) so that you can punch through the Graveyard Ghouls in a single action. You may even want to invest in a stick of dynamite or two so that you can trigger a Dynamite Blast (Core Set, 24) at a key moment.
Fortunately, there is some good that comes out of Yorick's unending battles with the Graveyard Ghouls. So long as they don't kill Yorick, they can make him stronger.
Every investigator gains experience points over the course of his or her adventures, and this experience can be spent toward self-improvement via upgrades to your deck. Generally, this experience comes from the locations you investigate, the enemies you defeat, and some story rewards, but there are other ways to gain experience, as well. The Mystic card Delve Too Deep (The Miskatonic Museum, 111) has fast become a mainstay among hardcore card players looking to build toward their campaigns' endgames.
And, now, William Yorick is likely to appeal to many of these same types of gamers with his unique Task, Bury Them Deep (The Path to Carcosa, 16). Playable for zero resources after you defeat a non-Elite enemy, the event buries itself and that enemy in the victory display, netting Yorick a point of experience. In some rare situations, the fact that the enemy is removed from the discard pile may prove useful, but the true strength of the card is the point of experience it grants you.
If you can Bury Them Deep in every scenario you play, you'll be able to net seven experience before you reach the conclusion of The Path to Carcosa campaign. That's enough experience to transform Yorick into a grizzled Scrapper(Blood on the Altar, 193) and Relic Hunter (The Essex County Express, 157)—or to experiment with any of the most interesting cards coming in The Path to Carcosa Mythos Packs.
And that's the beauty of playing as William Yorick; you start out as a struggling actor turned gravedigger, but fate changes you. Your greatest role lies ahead of you. You are called to it. Where will it lead you? That remains to be discovered.
The Path to Carcosa expansion is nearly here, and The King in Yellow will soon make its way to Arkham. While you're waiting for the show to begin, we encourage you to take a look at the program (pdf, 1.8 MB) and peruse the sample deckbuilds we've made available for William Yorick and the other investigators from The Path to Carcosa (pdf, 3.9 MB).
Whether you copy one of these deck lists directly or use them as inspiration for other, wilder builds, we hope you will enjoy the show.
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