There’s a lot of set up choice in this game, but I would only have one tip on this – focus whichever character you pick to their trait. Selection of characters allows for variability, and encourages you to come back to this game time and time again. Therefore you are not making these choices to optimise; but once you have picked a character, if he is good at spells then get spells, but if he is good at finding clues then build your deck with flashlights and other clue finding tools!
During The Game:
Keep it clear; This game will throw monsters at you, nearly every turn. You will be phased by encounters weak and strong. The key is to not be overwhelmed. If you let a few monsters build up on a player then it’s going to be very hard for that player to kill them all in a turn or survive the cumulative horror / physical damage you will suffer. If it’s the weak character that’s under pressure, then it’s up to the attacking player to go clear out the room!
Arm up in turn 1; You start with resources and are allowed to mulligan hands without assets for a reason. In your first turn you should be playing assets to your field. You should be deploying the guns, allies, flashlights etc that will help you win the game. The clues in the first room will still be there next turn, but so might the monsters!
Don’t over arm; It sounds cool to have a machete and a gun, but that’s a lot of resources to use for things which can’t actually be combined. Always use your resources to offer a combination or something new, not just to re-iterate your strength.
Divide & Conquer; The game is nicely built like a maze of puzzles and each character is good at different puzzles. Help your team out by splitting up and going to different locations – although if you stumble into the wrong one for you, just move on and keep exploring.
Clue Hunting; You have to get clues in this game. Make sure at least one of your characters is really equipped to find these clues. There are loads of variations from the cards as to how to pick the clues up, but if you aren’t finding these you will never be able to close out the story line. Also, if you can carry a clue this boosts certain other cards you have!
Run Away; Don’t be a martyr; sometimes running away is the best option. It might mean that the creature follows you, it might even mean you get attacked, but if that brings the monster to the guy with the gun, then that might just be worth it! Also, many of the creatures can’t follow you if you evade so do keep your eyes peeled for the chance to evade and run!
Get by with a little help from your friend!; Probably the most interesting mechanic is that when you take a skills test you can receive help from one card of the other player. The particular thing to note is that most cards offer +1 in a skill, but the rare ones offer +2. Combining this with the fact that you can spend as many cards of your own on your tests, you should always try as a team to save those +2 for the time you need to help the other player out (and can only spend the one card)!