I'm going to preface this with the same warning I used last two times: What I'm about to say is my analysis. There are players who are better than I who will disagree with every word I type. There are also players who can regularly trounce me who will agree with every word I type. Your mileage may vary.
This is my third entry on Dungeon Twister Character Strategy, and will cover Forces of Darkness. I'm proceeding in the order of English-Language release, because the bulk of you who read this aren't French and don't read French. I'll get Mercenaries up next week, and will TRY to get Fire and Water up without too much of a delay.
As ever, please feel free to let me know what you think.
Base Set Average Movement: 3.62
Base Set Average Strength: 2.00
Forces of Darkness Average Movement: 4.1
Forces of Darkness Average Strength: 2.1
Christophe told me a while ago that every set has a rules-related theme around which it's built. Forces of Darkness is all about wounded characters and how to deal with them.
Angel of Light: For the most part, she's pretty straightforward. The fact that she flies supports a runner strategy very well - and she's fast, too. Her ability to illuminate Darkness makes it possible to move through some otherwise impassible rooms.
I've also seen her used as an Undead-Killer - Give her the Holy Cross, and have her fly over an opposing undead character. If they're not carrying anything, you can drop the cross on them as you fly past. Since six of the eight basic characters in this set are undead, this is a powerful strategy in standalone play (to counter it, make sure your undead characters are carrying an item). I'll usually use the Angel as one of my starting four, and place the Holy Cross in the room directly in front of her.
The Pickpocket (From Paladins and Dragons) can work well as suport for the Cross-Bomb strategy - but there may not be enough undead on the opposing force to make it worthwhile.
Undead Dragon: Much like the Troll from the basic set, the Undead Dragon makes an excellent Living Wall. Just make sure he's carrying something to protect him from the Cross-Bombs (torches are readily available in this set). Two VP is a lot to give up that easily.
Ghoul: The first character to reflect the set's theme. The Ghoul can carry your opponent's wounded characters as well as your own. He can be used to counter a living wall strategy, or to temporarily deprive your opponent of an exceptionally powerful character (characters being carried by the Ghoul can't Regenerate, for example). AND he can carry that character off of the board for 1 VP.
But you don't have to run off the board with the Ghoul. There are still Traps and Chasms - if you leave a rope on a trap, you can sprint the Ghoul across that space. Drop the opposing character and pick up the rope - one more VP for you without giving up your Ghoul. The Ghoul is fast enough to get in and get out quickly.
I will frequently use the Ghoul in free-choice play.
Mummy: There are a lot of Math People on the Geek. I'm totally cool with that, because they keep trying to break down charactaers into values. The Mummy tends to be rated fairly low, despite his above-average movement AND combat scores.
The key to the Mummy is to hold him back for Group Combat against multiple foes. This makes it less likely that you'll be forced to throw your +0 card (although a combat value of 4 often means you won't need much more).
In Free Choice play, the Pickpocket (from Paladins and Dragons) can defend the Mummy from having to do throw your +0 - you only need to steal one torch!
I did see one player give his Mummy a Torch before sending it out to hunt his opponent's Mummy. I laughed for a good long time about that one ...
Necromancer: I've seen a LOT of people use the Necromancer only to raise Zombies from graves. This is silly - the Necromancer is one more way to deal with a Living Wall strategy, for example. First you knock the Undead Dragon down, then you turn him into a Zombie. The Necromancer excels at depriving your opponent of useful characters (once you've wounded them). True, you don't get a VP for killing them or carrying them off the board, but you've deprived your opponent of one character while adding another to your side - one that you can move off of the board for 1 VP. Eventually.
Zombies are Token Characters - see the general rules clarifications page for general Token Character information. Otherwise, just remember that Zombies are characters with no special abilities.
Shadow: I have to admit - Darkness Squares annoy me. I'm unfond of the Shadow, in general. The rulebook has an example that covers the extent of my Shadow knowledge - you can use him as a surprise ambusher to trigger Group Combat instead of a one-on-one.
[EDIT: My Wife reminds me that the Shadow can use the Ring of Light to illuminate Darkness creating a path for other characters. He can also retrieve items which are placed in Darkess when a room is revealed.]
I suspect that there is a great deal of Shadow-related strategy that I'm overlooking, and I VERY much hope that someone can fill me in ...
Specter: This is the character who triggered these entries. Everything I said previously about the Ghost applies to the Specter (except for the bit about easily escaping). The Specter's "special ability" makes it very unlikely that she will escape the maze. But she can function like a one-shot Necromancer to deprive your opponent of a useful character or to stop a Living Wall. She's more powerful than the Necromancer in that stealing a body maintains the special abilities of that body - can you imagine controlling two Undead Dragons?
And yes - you can steal your opponent's Specter with your Specter.
Vampire: If you're running a Hitter strategy (victory through elimination of opposing characters), the Vampire can become quite powerful. Early on, use the Vampire as part of a Hit Squad, and just Group Combat enemy characters. Later, the Vampire can hit on his own.
His ability to turn to a Bat makes him extremely useful for getting across a series of obstacles so he can turn rooms for your non-Flying characters. [EDIT: My wife, again, points out that by turning into the Bat, he can also fly across the Holy Cross if it's blocking a critical hallway]