Bob Jenkins Gears Up For An Expedition

Card draw simulator

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Ric · 639

BobGears.png introduction.png Our favorite wine-swigging salesman is at it again. His partner-in-crime Lily kept giving him a hard time for spending too much time assembling his traveling kit, and instead of taking her criticism to heart, he, instead, took this as a challenge. On their next operation together, while Lily was unhooking her Runic Axe and struggling to attach her empty vessel, Bob not only gave her a helping hand: He did so while dropping equipment that were now practically strapped to him.

Welcome to my latest take on Bob Jenkins, a I not only like in terms of theme, but, mechanically, I've always enjoyed the idea of his bonus action's multifunctional aid. My only real problem I've struggled with, until now, has been his tendency to feel like he was spending more time gearing himself up more than others; I mean, yes, thematically because of Greed, it makes sense, BUT! I think Bob's someone capable of sharing more while on-tour than he lets on.

role.png I debated whether I wanted to keep a weapon on Bob, based on the fact that his free action gives him an incentive to stay on top of gearing. And while yes, he can make good use of certain higher-level rogue weapons, I feel that his tool options are going to make him a very multi-capable clue-fiend. Because of this, I advise that you insure that not only are you teamed up with a combat-heavy investigator, but that you are making sure Bob does his due-diligence in selling them excellent deals via his free-action.

Make no mistake, this not just a clue-snatching build. You are there to support the team on this expedition, and Bob didn't bring two backpacks just so he could waste time cycling them. Thanks to his shrewd dealings, Bob's about to become everyone's best friend. Something you need to assess is what your party is packing in their decks. If you notice that someone did not fill a certain slot or that they are not completely married to their choices, you will be presented with opportunities to sell them some complimentary goods.

While we can do well in a duo-arrangement, I feel like Bob's playstyle, here, will truly shine more in a three to four investigator team.

highlights.png Let's go into some breakdowns about what makes my take on Bob fun, shall we?

  • Bob's initial turn will be spent gearing himself up, courtesy of his versatile nature. What I find to be useful about this are two details:
    1. Bob has a lot of items. If he can land a Backpack and/or Schoffner's Catalogue, he'll very likely barely spend any of his starting money and end up with anywhere between 4-7 assets equipped. The worst I've ever done after several Mulligan tests is three assets, and even then: That's a good payoff, considering you're provided a -1 discount.
    2. Bob's free action is still able to be played based on the terms of Geared Up: "During this turn, you have 3 fewer actions to take." This means that, not only will Bob set himself up nice and rich, but he'll still be able to give someone else the opportunity to save one of their actions equipping something, which is an excellent compression of actions for the group on turn-one.
  • Our Backpacks are most-valued if they are in the initial draw, and they will help in locating our real body asset: The Tool Belt. We intend for Bob to take full advantage of many hand-slots. The good news is that once we have collected enough equipment, those packs don't end up as commits; it is advised to ensure that other party members who are missing key items are provided a Backpack as the team ventures forth into the unknown.
  • Since Bob's not as squeaky-clean as he'd like you to believe, he knows a lot of Friends in Low Places, and those friends happen to know a thing-or-two about the best places to find both Items and Illicits. And because Bob is Clever, he knows that, should he happen to notice a big bargain, all he has to do is move that pitch to the front of his selection, wink-wink. Speaking of friends, don't forget that Bob's #1 fan is also on his side, waiting to make him rich after his goods run out of use.
    • Fluff-aside, I struggled for a while about whether I wanted to include some Lucky Cigarette Cases, but I really like the combination of having a strong tutor in Friends while simultaneously sticking to Eon Charts for the action-boosts and support functionality. You CAN swap charts out for cigs, but there's some great opportunity for Bob to lend some extra actions in more ways than one. Speaking of...
  • As I said before, I fancy Bob to be heavy on the support-angle, and while I've seen some of you build-monkeys conjure up some neat highlander decks for Bob, I fancy the idea of using his extra copies of each card as an opportunity to help his team out. Since his starting turn will no-doubt put him ahead of the asset-race, consider opportunities to set up some friends who are in dire need once you've acquired your signature. Bob has handed out an Eon Chart to Lily so she could save time moving, helped Ursula get rich by passing her a Thieves' Kit, and made sure Calvin didn't run out of Talismans of Protection as he stared down a Shoggoth with blood in his eyes. Hell, Bob can even pass out his Embezzled Treasure to a fellow rich-party member if they're feeling charitable to his cause.

Side-Note: I experimented with Short Supply on this deck, and I feel that, while it had its moments, I ultimately preferred not gambling both Joey & Shrewd Dealings, since we can't resource them back. You are welcome to go for it, if you enjoy that thrill, you crazy scavenger.

mulligans.png Your opening will seem daunting, because depending on luck, Bob's mileage will vary. You need a minimum of three Items to justify Geared Up, or else Bob will be reminded of that time he sneezed on his client, who happened to be Mark Harrigan, who happened to have a loaded Thompson, that day.

Here are my priority tenants for Bob's starting hand:

  1. If you see Shrewd Dealings, keep it. This is the card that enables your team to love you.
  2. If you pull Scavenging, keep one; don't keep two unless you have a Backpack.
  3. If you have Joey "The Rat" Vigil, keep him around. If you have all three of these and two items, you might just have to eat a net-loss, knowing that you managed to get three most useful assets to get your engine rocking; this will rarely happen, but it's a good net-loss to have, in my opinion, especially since you're still going to give one friend a free play-action.
  4. If you land a Backpack, first of all, stand up and start cheering at the table, since you're about to over-load yourself. Secondly, if you haven't mulled and you have more than three items but none of the above, take a gamble and see if you can land any of them. If so? Stand up and cheer again.
  5. If you somehow got all four of these, then congratulations: Bobby Jay's going to have a hell of a time, tonight.

Fun mulls aside, you should rarely end up busting on these, since Bob's going to have 19 Items & 5 of the aforementioned high-value non-item assets to yank out. An example start I've had recently was a Backpack (which led to a Schoffner's, Testimony, & Tool Belt), a Keyring, Flashlight, Scavenging, and Friends. This meant that, with the exception of Scavenging and Friends, every single item was equipped on turn-one for the mere cost of 2 of my resources (spending all of Schoffner's to pay for the rest); that's six discounted play-actions + 1 free play-action to pass to someone else on turn one.

core.png Here is the link to my level 0 take on this.

Please note: If you are uncomfortable with utilizing Charon's Obol, this is more-or-less optional. I do not believe it is necessary, as the build will feel assembled by the half-way-point, but if you are used to taking big risks, you will find yourself being quickly rewarded, and there is the opportunity to go for bigger-fish upgrades later.

 Cost  Total
   In the Thick of It  →  Eon Chart 1 XP 1 XP
   In the Thick of It  →  Versatile •• 2 XP 3 XP
    →  Charon's Obol 2 XP 5 XP
   Flashlight    Flashlight ••• 3 XP 8 XP
   Flashlight    Flashlight ••• 3 XP 11 XP
   Scrounge for Supplies  →  Joey "The Rat" Vigil ••• 3 XP 14 XP
   Scrounge for Supplies  →  Joey "The Rat" Vigil ••• 3 XP 17 XP
   .18 Derringer  →  Eon Chart 1 XP 18 XP
   Lantern  →  ☑☑ Clever 2 XP 20 XP
   Lantern  →  ☑☑ Versatile 2 XP 22 XP
   "I'll take that!"  →  Damning Testimony 0 XP 22 XP
   "I'll take that!"  →  ☑☑ Blackmail 2 XP 24 XP
   Live and Learn  →  Thieves' Kit ••• 3 XP 27 XP
   Live and Learn  →  Thieves' Kit ••• 3 XP 30 XP
   Backpack    Backpack •• 2 XP 32 XP
   Backpack    Backpack •• 2 XP 34 XP

(View at arkham-starter.com)

late.png If you have completed your core-set, you have full freedom to experiment with how you want to push Bob's Limits. My suggestion is to max out your Eon Charts for double-value, consider more perks for your two customizables ,and then pick up some fun utility-choices seen in my Side Deck section. A lot of the choices you make will come down to preference based on your party's needs. If you need more actions, feel free to slot Haste in order to get more investigates. If you have someone running some Winging Its or a fighter is about to venture-off alone, consider passing them a Skeleton Key to boost their chances of clue-gathering without you. If Bob feels like his party doesn't appreciate him enough, and you're packing loads of extra XP, consider buying a Gold Pocket Watch as the ultimate form of bribery.

conclusion.png I hope you have enjoyed my guide through this expedition. Bob's been a lot of fun to revisit, so much so that I gave him a test spin in two campaigns with this arrangement, both of which felt smooth, and the team could feel the influence of his support, even if they did say "I hate you" whenever I landed a killer opening hand resulting in 5+ assets being equipped at a sick discount.

Have fun, fellow investigators! This is a new format style for me, so I hope you enjoyed. thankyou.png

17 comments

Mar 01, 2023 Valentin1331 · 47877

Wow, that's a lot of effort for the headings. I love them! Good job on creating your style!

I am also super happy to see another solid take on Bob Jenkins. It was much needed, especially since the FAQ about decreasing the power of the Eon Chart scavenging.

I also like the more support take on the deck compared to my very "individualist" take in my Bob's guide.

Keep up the good work!

Mar 01, 2023 Ric · 639

Cheers, @Valentin1331! I feel like the power of the new Flashlight has helped compliment the decreased power of Eon Chart, since we're still able to modify a 'basic' investigate with it. For Bob, especially, it gives him a great incentive to share his bonus action while he can now LARP as Ursula; bonus points if he stumbles into those delicious 2-shroud hot-spots, which will make the real Ursula proud of the salesman.

Mar 02, 2023 mattastrophic · 2880

Nice rig you got there! Question though... how does Bob pass tests that aren't Investigates, though? What does he do when confronted with a difficulty 3 willpower test?

Mar 02, 2023 Ric · 639

That is an unfortunate shortcoming; while I've built Bob to be extra supportive to his team, his already weak is threatened. I would save your Take Hearts for these in order to assist your Friends in Low Places in card-draw. Fortunately, in the campaigns I've played, my team ended up over-geared since the majority of my bonus-actions were spent insuring that they were getting their key Items out, as well as using Shrewd Dealings to equip them with my duplicate assets. Your mileage will vary from scenario to scenario, but in general, I did not find this general flaw to hinder him too badly in the grand scheme of a campaign run.

Mar 02, 2023 mattastrophic · 2880

That's good to know! The reason I ask is that I've played alongside several Bob Jenkins in the past, and they would get really focused on their Joey the Rat combo, to the point where even after drawing their entire deck, they'd be begging for Guts!

Mar 02, 2023 Ric · 639

I'm not entirely sure if the Bobs you ran with were spending a lot of time gearing themselves, but I found that, with the stronger starts in my setup, I was able to spend the majority of my bonus actions ensuring that my team-mates were getting bonus play-actions in order to keep them pushing the Act faster. In older iterations I've ran of Bob, I'd end up rarely having the opportunity to even equip anyone else since he had too many things that needed equipping.

One fun fact I will add is: You're not completely reliant on Joey in this setup, since you'll end up saving a ton of resources from the initial draw. My last game ended up not pulling Joey, period, and I still ended up with 10+ resources and everyone in the team equipped, thus making Greed only feel like a scratch when it came out.

Mar 03, 2023 mattastrophic · 2880

So I'm wondering... if you were to cut some cards to push some priority onto passing Willpower and Agility tests, in favour of cards like Savant or Unexpected Courage, what would be the first to go?

Mar 03, 2023 Ric · 639

I wouldn't take four between those two since the build is pretty tight, as is, but if I started at level 0 with Unexpected Courages and graduated into Savants, I'd likely kiss the pair of "Look what I found!", goodbye. You could cut Embezzled Treasure if you want to keep one courage, but I like the leftover money to maintain high resources between runs, especially if you're unlucky and Greed nails you within two-three rounds.

You could also make the argument that once you have a pair of Flashlights, you don't need Old Keyring, especially since Bob can't upgrade those, but two things to note: Having those four makes for easier Shed a Light setups, and cutting the Keyrings hurts your item fishing on turn one.

By all means, though. Absolutely experiment!

Mar 03, 2023 mattastrophic · 2880

I am actually thinking we could cut the Thieves' Kits, since they only provide +1 to Bob's investigations, the Tool Belts because we're only using the hand slots for clue tools and not weapons, as well as the Looks What I Foundses, and that would make room for some Savants, Courages, and Luckies. There might be a Charisma - Dario el Amin angle too, to boost Willpower and Intellect, as well any Resource actions we might want to take, which'll make up for dropping the Thieves' Kits.

Bob's a great investigator! I do think we can take this concept further and create something that's more robust and isn't a slave to Frozen in Fear.

Mar 03, 2023 mattastrophic · 2880

Oh, and the Hidden Pockets, that should free up two more slots! I like Tennessee Sour Mash here as Willpower protection, since it's Fast and Scavengeable.

Mar 03, 2023 Ric · 639

If you're concerned this much about the occasional Willpower test, my answer to that is that your fellow investigators are there to support you as much as you are there to support them. It wasn't uncommon for someone to lend me a cancel or will icons when I did end up needing them.

My issue with going for all these replacements you are suggesting is that it clashes with the goal of Bob being there to support the party with extra equips. These also cut heavily into his item loadout, thus weakening Geared Up. When I did run into the occasionally rough will-test, because I was reliably always sharing a space with 1-2 team-mates, they were able to supply me with the I needed.

By all means, you're more than welcome to expand on ideas. I ran the build through two campaigns, and the main take-away I had in both runs was that my party were pushing the Act faster thanks to the supply of bonus equips, as well as Bob's signature opening up new opportunities; protecting him ended up being the easy part, at that point.

Mar 03, 2023 mattastrophic · 2880

The thing is... Bob can do both!

He doesn't actually have to all his deck slots for Items, especially when, as you say, you're giving out his ability to other investigators at the table. It sounds like, from what you're posting, the real "core" of the Item loadout is the Keyrings and Flashlights for Shed A Light and Scavenging... Which means that Bob can probably spare the Tool Belts and Hidden Pockets if he slims down the package by dropping Thieves' Kits and maybe Testimonies, creating room for a more robust decklist that doesn't need his friends to help him with Rotting Remains or Frozen in Fear or evade enemies for him, thus sparing those cards and actions for the team.

Mar 03, 2023 Ric · 639

The core of the build is to be a team-driven build. You're more than welcome to swap out my loadout with your suggestions, but I am not married to the idea of being truly robust when I have not run into the issues you are hypothetically suggesting. Mileage will vary on the RNG of the encounter deck, of course, but I still feel that over-committing to his dump-stat is going to result in a deviation from the intent. Quite frankly, giving him 1-2 boosts to his 2 won't be enough of a game-changer when he is hit by tests between 3-5. There are a lot of Bob builds out there, and this is just my take; by all means you're more than welcome to take the ideas I've explored and create your own mix.

I mentioned in my Highlights that he has three different flavors of Investigating. While you can cut the Kits & Testimonies, I dislike the idea of relying solely on Shed a Light, as you're only going to fire off 1-3 of those per scenario (depending on the frequency of seeing them + Resourceful. You also need to remember that I am actively sharing Bob's items with other people, and the enjoyment factor of sending an extra copy of his items to someone else who can put them to the same or greater effect (again, listed in my Highlights) leads to different approach to scenarios than I am used to with Bob.

Mar 08, 2023 crazydragonking · 1

@Ric would you be willing to explain why Toolbelt is so good here - I am newish, and feel like I am missing something. You will have two 1-handed investigation tools (3 with pockets) with remaining uses, so why is it important to have the extras out on the board instead of in your hand of cards?

Mar 08, 2023 Ric · 639

@crazydragonking Howdy! You will technically have 5 if you manage to get out the both pockets (since there is no limit). I found that with having the extra slots, I could effectively tool my needs, pun-intended. While you are encouraged to use Shrewd Dealings to spread out excess tools to your allies, as needed, you won't always have the opportunity to fish them out.

Here are some considerations:

  • Your opening hand has the potential to lead you to acquiring a Backpack + a Tool Belt at once; the backpack will serve its purpose in fetching your gear, and then your toolbelt will immediately replace that backpack; if you managed to get more than 2 tools in your opening hand, you now have three tools out and ready to go.
  • If you don't find Joey "The Rat" Vigil, early on, having the excess hands will help as a combination of hold-overs until you can start recycling them with Joey's aid, as well as giving you Anti-Asset encounter protection.
  • While Old Keyrings and Flashlights go together beautifully, you won't always want to use them in every circumstance, which is where your Thieves' Kit & Damning Testimony come in. This also means you can be more choosey for which of these you will use in each room. Even early-on in a campaign, the Lantern that my starter version uses can combo great with your Flashlight in shroud 3 locations without spending resources from two assets.

It may seem like excess, but you'll find yourself putting these to use; I don't want to guarantee that every scenario will give you the circumstance of needing the extra slots, but I found that I was usually grateful to have them.

Jun 15, 2023 Marvin · 1

I really love this deck and I'm planning to try it in TSK!
Some more good things about FiLP interacting with Geared Up:

  1. Prompt: If I'm not mistaken, Fast means this card can be played even before your first round, acting like another super Backpack! With Schoffner's Catalogue and Embezzled Treasure, resources should not be a big problem. It's definately another card for you to stand up and start cheering at the table!
  2. Versatile: I would choose Talent for Scavenging and Shrewd Dealings. Though only 3 cards in the deck can be tutored, they seem important enough...
  3. Swift: And there's more! Swift upgrade gives a small but interesting chance to directly play Shrewd Dealings before you begin to Gear Up, which saves considerable money and has your friends armed up too!

Honestly that's a lot of XP invested, but it seems fantastic to play. Can't wait to play this deck, cheers!

Jun 15, 2023 Ric · 639

Glad you like it! And yes, I somehow forgot to mention this in my write-up, but I'm glad you noticed the beauty of Prompt as a crazy-powerful starter line-up in your opening hand. In one of my late-game tests with this setup, I ended up with an outrageous starting hand featuring both the Backpack and upgraded Friends, and it was pretty glorious how kitted and set I was for the rest of the scenario.

As for Talent as a trait, it's definitely a good choice, too; my logic was that with Clever, you could simply place Scavenging + Shrewd on top of your deck and draw them. By all means though, either way works!

Hope you enjoy your campaign play-through.