The DFCO Strategy Guide Section IX: Picking Your Characters

We’re going to be honest here—the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is delightfully difficult. Just like Harry Dresden’s default setting in the novels, the game is designed to be a nail-biter all the way until the end, where winning and losing is often decided by a throw of the dice. The game includes three difficulty levels, and we strongly suggest that you start on the Apprentice setting while you’re learning how to play. But what if you’ve done that and are still netting far more losses than wins? Shannon Appelcline of Designers & Dragons and Mechanics & Meeples is here to give you some advice, clarify some rules, and tell you what you need to succeed in this epic 14-part series!

So, without further ado, we present…

The Mechanics & Meeples DFCO Strategy Guide, Section IX: Picking Your Characters

by Shannon Appelcline
Game Historian of Designers & Dragons
Board Game Analyst of Mechanics & Meeples

edited by Karen Twelves

So which of those characters do you use in your DFCO game? There are a few ways to pick.

IX-A. Picking by Stunts or Talents

One way to pick your characters is to look at their cards, Stunts, and Talents and see which would work best for the current Book. In particular, if a Book is Foe-heavy or Case-heavy, pick the stars in that suit.

| Character | Talent | Stunt | Suit |
| Billy & Georgia | +1 Hit to Furthest | Add Hits to Hit Foes | Attack |
| Butters | 1 Hit → 2 Clues | Add Clues to Investigated Cases | Advantage/Investigate |
| Harry | Move Advantage or Obstacle | +4 Hits to Kill Foe | Investigate |
| Luccio | +1 Clue or +1 Hit to Toughest | Move Clues or Hits | Attack |
| Michael | Ready for Range | +3 Hits to Unhit Foe & Push | Balanced |
| Molly | Ready for Die Change | Copy Unused Stunt | Investigate |
| Mouse | Choose to Discard & Draw | Choose to Return a Used Stunt | Attack/Investigate |
| Murphy | +1 Clue to Furthest | Make Fate for Tokened Cards | Investigate |
| Ra | +1 Hit to Wounded | Take a Discarded Attack | Attack |
| Ramirez | 1 Clue → 2 Hits | Return a Discarded Card | Attack/Overcome |
| Sanya | +1 Fate | +3 Clues to Uninvestigated Case & Pull | Attack/Investigate |
| Susan | +1 Clue to Nearest | Choose to Draw & Take Turn | Investigate |
| Thomas | +1 Hit to Nearest | Draw & Play | Attack |

IX-B. Picking by Combos

You can also try to pick characters that work well together. The following list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but instead offers eleven ideas for sets of characters that are fun to play together.

Billy & Georgia + Butters: “Looking at Wolf Bites.” Billy & Georgia have a Talent that can be inefficient, if their Hits on a distant Foe don’t ever kill it. If that’s the case, just have Butters translate those Hits into Clues somewhere closer.

Billy & Georgia + Luccio: “Concentrating the Wolf Bites.” Luccio can also help focus those distant wolf-bite Hits. She does it all in one fell swoop, with her Stunt.

Butters + Ramirez: “Building a Pyramid Scheme.” Butters can turn 1 Hit to 2 Clues and Ramirez can turn 1 Clue to 2 Hits. Put them together and you have an ever-increasing token count with very precise control over where they go.

Luccio + Billy & Georgia or Butters or Murphy: “Peppering the Cards.” Luccio has two different cards (“Pyromantic Precision” and “Strategy”) that add tokens to all appropriate cards within Range 3. This works well with the three Stunts that benefit from having more cards with tokens—but be sure not to waste tokens on cards that will never finish!

Luccio + Michael or Sanya: “Restoring to Mint Condition.” Michael and Sanya can accidentally end up with an unusable Stunt…but not if Luccio is around. She can clear all the tokens off of any one card.

Michael + Billy & Georgia: “Keeping at Arm’s Reach.” Michael’s Stunt allows him to deal damage to a Foe, but it knocks the Foe to the back of the row where they’re hard to hit. Billy & Georgia can help with that, because every time they use their Talent, they can apply another Hit to the Foe. Their Stunt can also hit them.

Michael + Billy & Georgia + Ra: “Adding Insult to Injury.” Michael’s Stunt puts three Hits on that distant Foe, making Ra’s Talent immediately effective against the Foe at the farthest range. This also ensures there is a legal Foe at the farthest range for Billy & Georgia’s Talent to hit. Between the two of them, they can whittle down a very powerful Foe over the course of the game just by using their Talents.

Molly + Mouse: “Triple Stunting.” Molly can use someone else’s Stunt; Mouse can let them reuse it. Together that means that you can use a Stunt three times in a game! (Often, that means that you can use Harry’s “Blasting Rod” three times.) However, the two characters are even more complementary than that: Molly usually has to be careful, lest someone else use a Stunt before she does, but Mouse can just flip the Stunt back over, allowing Molly to use it.

Mouse + Harry or Sanya: “Lining Them Up.” Mouse has two cards (“Claw, Claw, Bite” and “The Nose Knows”) that allow him to swap any two cards at the same range. This nicely lines things up for Harry (who can Attack all the Foes in a row with his “Pyrofuego!” card and who can Investigate all the Cases in a row with his “Consult with Bob” card) or Sanya (who can Attack all the Foes in a row with his “Grenades”). Yeah, Harry is always in the game, but keep an eye out for this combo.

Sanya + Susan: “Keeping it Close.” This is the flip side of the Michael + Billy & Georgia combo. Sanya can use her Stunt to bring a Case in close and apply Clues, then Susan can keep adding to it every time she uses her Talent. It’s not quite as important, because it’s easy to add tokens to a nearby Case (whereas it was hard to add tokens to a faraway Foe), but it’s still a nice bit of synergy.

Thomas + Mouse: “Balancing the Demon.” Thomas’s Stunt is hard to use well. One way to decrease its variability is to decrease the number of cards in Thomas’s deck, letting him have a better idea of what’s left. Mouse can cycle Thomas’s cards, causing him to discard and draw a few times, which will give him a pretty precise understanding of what’s left, particularly in a game with fewer players.

Missed some of the other articles in the series, or looking for advice on a particular gameplay element? Go here for the full list of articles and Bob’s top ten favorite romance novels. (We’re kidding about that last one. It’s probably for the best.)

And that’s it for the strategy guide! We’d like to thank Shannon for all of the excellent advice. The world will be safer from Denarians now.

But seriously, Shannon. Thank you.