So I finally got my copy of the set and have played a few games with some friends. So far I am very impressed with this set. It has solved a lot of issues I had, a lot of cards I felt where needed for the game where put into this set. The biggest being new Basic Resources and cards that actually create an obstacle for holding onto the lead once you get it. I had started making a custom set to add these cards but I feel this set covered the need for most of those cards.
Barry: Not as powerful I originally thought he would be. I expected to see his ability net multiple kills every turn, but at most I have seen him net 3 kills a turn and that was dumb luck. Flipped Chicken (5HP) after a Town Majini (10HP).
Claire and Jill: We referred to these two as the Internet Fight, I was playing Claire and no longer needed any cards from the resource pile at this point in the game, but the Jill Player kept targeting me with Jill's ability. Basically just negating each others ability. We made a few jokes about how we might as well have been playing Excella.
Chris + Custom Shot Guns is great: One game saw Chris with a five card inventory by the end of it all, those five cards where the Hunting Bows thanks to how fast Chris (alone even) + Shotguns slim your inventory down fast.
Rebecca: By the Actions that give you additional Buys, then buy actions that give you more actions to play more actions that give more buys, put on your troll face and buy Knives and +10 Ammo and drink delicious tears. I love this card!
Krauser: I'm not sure how to feel about him, his ability is there to pull him out of last place but I feel for an ability that requires you to be losing, +10 Damage isn't anything I fell like getting hyped for.
Wesker: Falls into the same area as Krauser as far as how I feel about it. Its 7 decorations for an ability that 9 times out of 10 when it gets used I have no cards in my hand when its based on the number of cards in hand.
HUNK: At first I wasn't all that impressed but he can reduce any damage not just infected damage and that is something I like. Him with cards like Flamethrower or Lonewolf are a good combination. My opinion of him changed the most since my initial look at the card.
Reversal Lvl. 1: I saw people discussing this card before I even got the set so I drafted it first to see what the fuss was about and I got a few games to play with it since no one caught onto how useful it was for me. I do feel it is the best skill I have seen in action so far but I don't feel it equals win. Unless maybe you are Nightmare Ada. In games when you are using the easy Mansion this skill made things a bit to easy but the Los Illuminados (Bow) can be scary if you do use Reversal Lvl: 1 to much, I played dangerous at one point and put myself at 20 Health and LI (Bow) got flipped and killed but the person who flipped it didn't chose me for some reason. Role reversal, I would have, I was in the lead. On the Medium difficulty Mansion Giant Majini aka Nightmare Hunter V2.0 creates the issue of having your health capped reducing your usage of Reversal. I don't feel Backstab threatens Reversal at all since I just started waiting till I wanted to use Reversal to put any XP on the card. Reversal has managed to avoid being dealt out during a game using the Hard Mansion.
The Giant Killing skills: I like these cards a lot, they calm the nerves when the Mansion starts getting thin and you know the big baddy is still in there but you cant reliably net the damage to kill it yet. We have one player in our group who has the worst luck ever in this game who wants to give all the staff that worked on this set a hug. (We are talking his first explore of the game will flip the boss, Mansion shuffles and will proceed to hit the boss again on the next time they explore. Record was first 3 explores of the game hit Oroboros Aheri as Sheva)
Medic skills: Have lead to people who are normally overly cautious play dangerously. Its good to see normally predictable play styles get shaken up. Have not mixed skills with older characters yet but Medic Lvl: 3 is something I look forward to combining with Cindy or Nightmare Josh Stone.
Toughness skills: I have wanted something to protect people from abilities such as the Zombie Female or Zombie Butcher since day one and we finally have it. I feel if you have a hatred for Nightmare Hunter than you should never pass this card up if the Mansion has it or Giant Majini in it. Also the idea of playing an Outbreak game and using Toughness Lvl: 3 to redirect the Tyrants effect is very sexy.
Smart Reload Lvl 1: Is Inventory Management for +10 Ammo on a stick, love at first sight.
Handgun Technique skills: Again I have not mixed skills with older characters yet but Leon seems like a given thought, though not sure if he even needs them or if this would push him to Hulk Hogan level stats. No one else is ready brother dude jack!
Weapons in General: Are all very solid. Least favorite is the IBEX Standard, I like the new starting gun better and that just feels wrong. Favorite is the Custom Pump-Action Shotgun, its a shot gun that trashes, whats not to love. None of the weapons give extra explores but if that's what you want you can just run the old Pump Action Shot gun over the new one, or hell run them both. The Bow feels balanced out now. Even with a 5 card inventory consisting only of these there are a lot of ways for a player to sabotage that in this set. The new Machine Gun farms XP while the new Magnum sees to it that any extra XP still has a use.
Backstab: Its the action that can sabotage a players XP, but it only nails XP on a skill and its the target players choice what skill loses an XP. The first though people tend to have with this card is that its the answer to Reversal Lvl:1 but the solution to that was just don't put XP on Reversal till you where ready to use it, it is good hand sabotage though.
Mercenaries: This cards is great, its a damage pump (possibly a huge one) and hand sabotage. This cards biggest purpose so far for my group has been to sabotage combo piles by discarding weapons.
Boundless Battle Field: A balanced Ominous Battle, that is all.
Anticipation: My thoughts on this card are that its a much better Shattered Memories, though this card dosnt say "I love you" on it so I don't like it as much. Much better card, just no love.
Resuscitate: A card that allows people who are scared of being killed to relax, while you do need it in your hand to use it at least gives you hope when you are in the danger zone. Buy it with Rebecca, it gives +1 Buy.
Tear Gas: A fun damage pump card, its like RPD but it increases damage as it overturns cards rather than gives you a weapon, but if there is no weapon in your inventory than you get no bonus.
Battle Hardened: Injection V2.0
Melee: It cost 20 Gold, and gives +10 Damage, +1 Card and +20 Ammo. Also in Mercenaries Mode removes itself from the game to increase the turn count. A new thing to aim for when trashing +10 Ammo and Knives with Parting Ways. Still have to give Base Set Chris Submission in the custom inventory though (Sad face).
Basic Resources: They really speed up the game, something that is very welcome if you ask me. I will say though I'd prefer it if the new Knife said "get +10 ammo" rather than "gain +10 Ammo" but its not a anything I'm upset about. I guess with a gun that trashes itself in the starting inventory having a knife that did that would be a bit much.
Mansion in general: Lost of good abilities on the infected, trash cards from other players discard piles, everyone gains the cheapest resource in play, everyone removes a card from a resource pile from the game, chose someone and deal them damage, and the Mad Hatter CHANGE PLACES effect that makes everyone pass a card in hand to the player to the left, among others is a great addition. Also the best Boss effect yet if you ask me. This Mansion, split into three or as one massive pot is my favorite so far.
In the end this set is awesome.
I am little disappointed there where no XP counters but I have a reason to put out those old Poke'mon damage counters from back when Wizards owned the game now.
Be nice if in the next set we got suport for Outbreak Mode though, my group has kind of lost interest in that mode. Need new cards that shake thigs up in that mode.