Hearts' Game (Guide)

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St mountainssmall.png Late PoSI Content and Onwards
Meat.png
Hearts' Game Summary
Limited-Length Activity
Setup Progress End
1/5 A 7+ A 1 A
Progress

Details

Raise Poisoner's Progress to 8 before Elusiveness of your Target. Same payout, win/lose.
Items Inputs/Outputs
Boosting
Outputs
Raw EPA 4.73 Raw SPA -

Hearts' Game is a murder-themed, Knife-and-Candle-adjacent pastime for high-level players. The first component was released on April 13, 2023. Play involves managing a team of miscreants with murder-monikers to poison a chosen target, with a number of restrictions to ensure good sportsmanship and fair hunting.

Because of the nature of Hearts Game, Any generalisation in this guide should be taken to include "Unless otherwise stated" given the frequency of exceptions. This is to clarify the core mechanics of the game and to make the exceptions more prominent .

Current Season: Excess

Getting Started[edit]

To be eligible, a player must first become a Tier 2 PoSI and reach 200 Dangerous (with equipment). The card to gain entrance to the activity will be drawn immediately, and succeeding in a Watchful check at Watchmaker's Hill lead you to The Gamekeeper's Cottage, Renovated in Watchmaker's Hill.

Your first Round is a tutorial, with a smaller set of available Accomplices and a lower requirement for victory. With some luck and planning you should be able to win the first round.

Mechanics[edit]

First, you assemble a team of Accomplices (three, unless you recruit the King of Motley). The Accomplices you may choose from are determined by the RNG, using card mechanics. The cards you draw cannot be discarded, so you must pick one of the Accomplices presented. Your hand is discarded after each choice, so your decision should not be influenced by which other cards you have drawn. Lodgings do not affect hand size here, which is limited to four cards at a time.

After you choose your team, you begin a Round. During a Round, you cannot leave The Alleyways of London and cannot change equipment. A Round will probably take between ten and twenty actions; due to the progress of Elusiveness of your Target, the longest possible Round is probably around 25 actions.

During a Round, you play Cards that are unlocked by your Accomplices and attempt to reach Poisoner's Progress either before or on the same action that you reach Elusiveness of your Target. When at least one of these qualities reaches 8, the Round ends.

You may keep the team of Accomplices that you have selected for up to ten consecutive Rounds, which is called a Run. Winning at least 7 Rounds out of 10 in a Run earns a Trophy. Wins are also grouped by Seasons, and some equipment from the Page of Quills cannot be purchased without at least 7 victories within the current Season.

While aborting a Round that is still in session is possible, it will be counted as a loss and will not allow you to pick a different team. To do so you need to reach the conclusion of a Round by raising either of its progress qualities to 8 and choose to Separate from your accomplices. You will also be forced to assemble a team again after a Run ends. You also cannot pick a different team if you choose to take a break after a Round, since doing so will only allow you to resume play when you return.

The Season changes every month, on the first Tuesday of the month. When the season changes, your current run will be stopped prematurely, so be careful starting runs late in the season!

Qualities[edit]

In Hearts' Game, the progression of a Round is influenced by two positive and three negative qualities:

Poisoner's Progress[edit]

  • Progress tracks how close you are to winning the round. You win when Progress reaches level 8 (36 CP).

Generated by offensive actions and reduced by the current level of Tolerance to a minimum of 1. Maximising this quality is your goal in Hearts Game.

Poisonous Preparation[edit]

  • Preparation is gained from support actions and are a requirement for advanced actions.

Some of these options require only 1 level of Preparation; others require as much as 8. Preparations are not consumed and can be considered an investment towards more powerful Progress in later rounds.

Elusiveness of your Target[edit]

  • Elusiveness tracks how close you are to losing the Round. You lose if Elusiveness reaches level 8 (36 CP) before Progress does.

Elusiveness does not decrease and can be considered the round's ticking clock. From the third turn onwards, all actions have a chance to increase Elusiveness by 3 CP with the probability resulting from the following equation: (turn number - 2) / 7. As such, on average Elusiveness will end the game after 17 ±3 rounds as shown in the graph below.

Likelihood of Elusiveness Gain
Elusiveness of your Target Chance per Turn
Turn 3 4 5 6 7 8 9+
Chance % 14 29 43 57 71 86 100
Graph of likely Elusiveness value in CP per turn

Hearts Game Elusiveness Progression Chart.png

Poison Tolerance of Your Target[edit]

After the first turn, each action you take has a chance to increase Tolerance by 2 CP with probability resulting from the following equation: (turn number - 1) / 12. Most actions that generate Progress CP have their effectiveness reduced by Tolerance. Some actions are guaranteed to increase Tolerance, and only one accomplice can decrease it.

Likelihood of Tolerance Gain
Poison Tolerance of Your Target Chance per Turn
Turn 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13+
Chance % 8.33 16.66 ~25 33.33 41.66 ~50 58.33 66.66 ~75 83.33 91.66 100
Graph of likely Tolerance Level per turn

Graph of likely Tolerance Level per turn .png

Counterplay[edit]

Offensive Basic actions and Failures on Advanced Actions grant 0–1 Counterplay, which are "cashed out" on negative autofire cards. These cards decrease Progress, increase Elusiveness and Tolerance, and, at high enough levels, can give An Overplayed Hand, a Burden which will make winning significantly harder. Counterplay events do not count towards turn count and can be considered to happen between turns.

Action Types[edit]

Each Accomplice unlocks two cards, and each card has an Basic Action and an Advanced Action.

Basic Actions[edit]

Advanced Actions[edit]

Both cards for an Accomplice test against the same quality. With a few exceptions, challenges against Main Stats have a Broad difficulty of 200 and challenges against Advanced Skills have a Narrow difficulty of 12.

Accomplices[edit]

This guide is incomplete. You can help by expanding it.
What needs work: Gambits' ranges require investigation
Accomplice (stat) Card Basic Action Advanced Action
PAGES Paired with PRIEST OF MAGPIES Lowered Difficulty with Ace of Pages
Four of Lures: The Reel [1]
[2]
Seven of Lures: Bait +(3 - Progress
Three of Papers: Within +(4 - Progress
Six of Papers: Correspondence +(4 - Progress
Six of Roots: The Climb
Ten of Roots: Generosity
Two of Teeth: Impulse +(4/5 - 2 x Progress
Ten of Teeth: The Mob +(4/5 - 2 x Progress
Four of Inversions: Exposure +(4/5 - 2 x Progress
Nine of Inversions: Fortress +(3/4 - 2 x Progress
Six of Gambits: Postal +(4 - Progress
Nine of Gambits: Social +(4 - Progress ( Shadowy 220)
KNIGHTS Paired with PRIEST OF SMITHS +1 Progress with Ace of Knights
Four of Flames: Fumes +1 Preparation
Eight of Flames: Ignition +1 Preparation
Three of Livers: The Duel +1 Preparation
Nine of Livers: The Calculations +1 Preparation
Two of Ribs: Pursuit +1 Preparation
Eight of Ribs: Close Quarters +(4 - Progress
Two of Skin: Precision ( Watchful 150)
Eight of Skin: Infiltration ( Watchful 150)
Four of Talons: The Wild +1 Preparation
Five of Talons: Entanglement +1 Preparation
Two of Disintegrities: Play +1 Preparation
Eight of Disintegrities: Tartare +1 Preparation
Five of Nobility: Conscription +1 Preparation
Seven of Nobility: Repose +1 Preparation
QUEENS
Two of Loins: Kindness +(3 - Progress +1 Preparation
Seven of Loins: Reflection +1 Preparation
Nought of Cod: Decoction[6]
Four of Cod: Proximal and Distal +1 Preparation
KINGS Paired with PRIEST OF BRIARS +1 Progress with Ace of Kings
Seven of Knuckles: Details +(4 - Progress
Ten of Knuckles: Mechanisms +(4 - Progress
Five of Roses: Appearances +(3 - Progress
Four of Roses: Desire +(4 - Progress
Six of Spines: Singularity +(3 - Progress
Ten of Spines: Trajectory +1 Preparation
Seven of Tallow: Recollection +1 Preparation
Nine of Tallow: Fortune +(3 - Progress
Four of Ambivalences: Reservations +1 Preparation
Seven of Ambivalences: Goad
Three of Motley: Comedy +1 Preparation
Nine of Motley: Tragedy +1 Preparation
PRIESTS
Two of Briars: Snarl
Ten of Briars: Optima
Two of Magpies: Joy
Seven of Magpies: A Secret, Never to Be Told
Four of Smiths: Artifice +1 Preparation
Nine of Smiths: Needle +1 Preparation
FOOLS Affected by Ace of Pages, Ace of Knights and Ace of Kings
Six of Audacities: Cache +1 Preparation
Eight of Audacities: Authority
  1. Without Poisonous Preparation
  2. With Poisonous Preparation
  3. Has a small chance to give 36 change points of Elusiveness
  4. 4.0 4.1 Can be substituted with Glasswork with Knight of Nobility.
  5. Adds Glasswork option with identical effect to Knight of Talons and Knight of Disintegrities.
  6. Drawn once per round, as the first card.
  7. Grants 5 Progress per Ace Boon currently active.
  8. Removes the limit on the number of accomplices you can recruit
  9. 9.0 9.1 If you already have the Ace of Kings.

Class generalisations[edit]

See the General Strategies section below for discussion on accomplice roles and individual accomplices. However, in general,

  • Pages
Pages generate some Progress without requiring much Preparation. They do not generate Preparation.
  • Knights
Knights generate Preparation. With Preparation, Knights can generate Progress or decrease Tolerance. The Knight of Nobility also allows two other Knights to check Glasswork.
  • Queens
Queens are primarily for support, combining giving preparations with other varied mechanics, such as clearing a hand or granting a multi-purpose Boon.
  • Kings
Kings generate Progress. Some Kings can generate Progress without Preparation, but all Kings have options require Preparation that generate much Progress. Some Kings can generate Preparation, as well.
  • Priests
Priests provide a Boon which can make other Accomplices more effective. They can also generate Preparation, Progress, and clear hands.
  • Fools
There is only one Fool and it is a rat in a Master's cloak. It behaves similarly to a Knight, but is affected by all Priest Boons.

Rewards[edit]

Exploits for the Page of Quills[edit]

Every action in the Alleyways gains one Hearts' Game: Exploits, which can be spent with the Page of Quills. Exploits are worth between E 4 and E 5. Some options only become available with certain amounts of Gains.

Items which can only be claimed once[edit]

Action Item Cost ( Exploits) Value Value / Action
The large wooden box Soothe & Cooper Long-Box 11 62.5 E [1] 5.20 EPA
The imposing metal meathook Honest Butcher's Tool 60[2] [3]
The ampoule of thick black liquid Ichorous Alarm 60[2] [4]
A nod from Mr Hearts A Silent Nod of Acknowledgement from Mr Hearts 500[5] [6]
The blood-coloured sapling Heart-Caught Sapling 500[7] [8]
The book in charred and blackened leather The Black Book of Hearts 500[9] [3][10]
  1. Alternatively can be sold for 50 E + 3 x Favours: The Docks
  2. 2.0 2.1 Also requires Hearts' Game: Wins this Season 7
  3. 3.0 3.1 Shared Best-in-Slot Kataleptic Toxicology Weapon
  4. Home Comfort which reduces Wounds gain
  5. Also requires Distinctions for winning Runs under various conditions
  6. Affiliation which grants Insubstantial and reduces Suspicion gain
  7. Also requires winning a Run in every Season
  8. Home Comfort of unknown distinction.
  9. Also requires previous two rewards
  10. Grants Inerrant

Items continuously available[edit]

Action Item Cost ( Exploits) Value (E ) Value / Action
The assemblage of ticking brass 5 18.5 3.08 EPA[1]
A consignment of steel 100 x Bessemer Steel Ingot 14 (50)[2] 6.67 BSI/A
An illicit secret Mortification of a Great Power 18 (62.5)[2] (3.25 EPA)[3]
The dusty book 25–32[4]
Intriguer's Compendium 65 312.5 4.73 EPA
Leviathan Frame 65 (312.5)[5] 4.73 EPA
Elemental Secret 65 312.5 4.73 EPA
Starstone Demark 65 312.5 4.73 EPA
An antique scarf Scrap of Ivory Organza 80 312.5 / 4000 3.85 EPA / 48.7 RPA
  1. A good source for grinding Whirring Contraption
  2. 2.0 2.1 Assumed value
  3. Only repeatable use is when constructing Cover Identities
  4. Cost scales with Gains qualities, starting at 32 exploits going down to 25 at 40 total Gains ( across all four qualities)
  5. Assumed value, can be boosted with an optimal Zoological Mania value

Victories[edit]

Winning a Run (by winning at least 7 Rounds out of 10) earns a Trophy, a vanity Curiosity item with no uses beyond showing off on your profile mantelpiece. Claiming the Honest Butcher's Tool or the Ichorous Alarm requires both Victories and Exploits, where in this case victories are counted over the course of an entire season as opposed to over the course of a single run.

General Strategies[edit]

Drafting Tips[edit]

First and most importantly: drafting is random. Do not come in with a specific idea of what build you would like to have. If you are looking for a specific team (for example for Distinctions), accept that you may have to draft, fail, play one round with the team, and then disband it. The good news is that bad RNG has no effect on profit, so the only thing you lose here is a handful of actions. If you're looking to get a Trophy in a given season, you may have to draft a non-optimal team, try them for a round, and then disband and try again. I do recommend actually giving a shot during your one required round though: you may find an unexpected strategy!

There are a few things to keep in mind when doing your gacha pulls for Accomplices:

  1. Skill and outfit management. This will be explained more in its own section.
  2. Flexibility. Especially for your first draft, try to keep your options open. You want to pick characters with Supportive options first.
  3. Utility. An important thing to realise is that you do not have to fully utilise every part of a character's kit just because they're on your team. It is extremely viable to only use some of a character's options and never play others in a given run.
  4. Strategy and role. The game divides characters in terms of the classes of Page, Knight, King, Queen, Priest, and Fool, but this can actually be unhelpful for our purposes. Instead it's more useful to think of accomplices as fitting in three different roles: Progressers, Supports, and Synergists.

Accomplice Roles[edit]

In terms of drafting, it helps to think in terms of the metagame roles for Accomplices:

  • Progressers are Accomplices which directly make Progress. The Page of Roots is a good example: his cards do nothing other than increase Poisoner's Progress.
  • Supports are Accomplices which don't deal damage directly, but enable others to do so. There are two subtypes:
    • Prep supports, who build Preparations to allow other accomplices to use their stronger options. The Knight of Skin is the archetypal example here, able to build multiple Preparations in a single action or make progress at the same time.
    • Deck supports, who help you manage the cards in your hand. The Queen of Loins is the archetypal Deck Support character, unable to make real progress herself but able to clear your hand and help with Preparations.
  • Synergists open up team archetypes that are otherwise not viable on their own. The Accomplice: Knight of Nobility is a good example, as she turns two other Accomplices, the Knight of Disintegrities and the Knight of Talons, into Glasswork users, opening up an entirely new skill to the game.

These classifications are not 1:1 to the actual game: the Page of Lures, for example, can act as both a Progresser and a Synergist since he consumes Preparations. These are not classes which characters fall into: rather, they are roles a character can fulfill on your team.

Here are a handful of generic team archetypes that it can help to keep in mind during drafts.

Archetype Roles Strategy
Dual-Damage
  • Progresser
  • Progresser
  • Support
Generally the goal here is straightforward: use the Support to build Preparations, and then use the other cards to attack the enemy. Usually one or both Progressers will be Pages since they can get away with only a small number of Preparations.
Hybrid Damage
  • Progresser
  • Progresser/Support Hybrid
  • Support
Similar to the dual-damage comp, some accomplices can both build Preparations and deal respectable damage. Usually the hybrid damage-dealer will be a Knight, but not always.
Carry
  • Progresser
  • Support
  • Support
The preferred setup for many Kings, this is a backloaded setup where two units set up for a much stronger unit to win the game in just a few heavy hits.
Hyper Offense
  • Progresser
  • Progresser
  • Progresser
This one is a strange build and will be smacked around by Counterplay quite a bit: extremely not recommended for Embalming runs. But certain combinations can actually make respectable progress with no Preparations and no skill checks whatsoever. It doesn't matter if you get hit with that nasty Burden if you were never rolling against your skills anyway, after all!
Wildcard
  • Synergist
  • Synergist
  • Support
Some builds rely on one character's unique gimmick very heavily and are built around it. You may be collecting Priests for the Fool of Audacities or collecting Boons for King of Ambivalences.

Example team strategies that follow these archetypes are provided in a subpage of the guide.

Here is a cheat sheet for what each Accomplice can offer in terms of archetypes for when you are drafting. Remember: it is not necessary to fully utilise every Accomplice's kit. It is perfectly viable to, for example, take a King solely for their ability to build Preparations and never actually use their damage-dealing options.

Accomplice Stat Max Prep Progress Prep support Deck Support Synergy
Page of Lures Watchful 2 Strong attacks that consume Poisonous Preparation None None Requires a teammate to build Preparations, ideally two per action. Weaker than other Accomplices if Preparations runs below 2.
Page of Papers Persuasive 3 Steady progress with 2-3 Preparations. None None Just a straightforward DPS[1].
Page of Roots Kataleptic Toxicology 3 Slightly weaker Progress but resistant to Tolerance, even checkless. None None Always increases Poison Tolerance of Your Target. Checkless options are not affected by Tolerance at all.
Page of Teeth Dangerous 2 Strong Progress even checkless but very affected by Tolerance. None None Needs Poison Tolerance of Your Target kept low.
Page of Inversions Shapeling Arts 2 Strong Progress even checkless but very affected by Tolerance. [2] None None Needs Poison Tolerance of Your Target kept low.
Page of Gambits Shadowy 3 Increases Progress Poisoner's Progress as well as Elusiveness semi-randomly, and one rare "success" can instantly end a run. None None A straightforward damage-dealer for gamblers.
Knight of Flames Watchful 2 Only small, fixed amounts. Both cards have Poisonous Preparation options None Can reduce Poison Tolerance of Your Target and so pairs well with late-strikers and characters that need it kept low.
Knight of Livers Shadowy 4 Expensive and mediocre progress but can build Prep at the same time Can give 2 Poisonous Preparation at a time None Great at building Preparations
Knight of Ribs Dangerous 4 One decent checkless option, 4 Prep options are strong. One card gives one Preparation. None Wants Prep support
Knight of Skin Watchful 3 Can do mediocre progress while building Preparations No free checks, but gives 2 Preparations at a time. None Great at building Preparations
Knight of Talons Kataleptic Toxicology 4 Decent Prep for decent damage with easier checks Checkless Preparation available on both cards None Can use Glasswork instead with Knight of Nobility.
Knight of Disintegrities Shapeling Arts 4 Decent Prep for strong damage Checkless Preparation available on both cards None Can use Glasswork instead with Knight of Nobility.
Knight of Nobility Glasswork 4 Expensive and mediocre progress but can build Prep at the same time Can give 2 Poisonous Preparation at a time None Great at building Preparations. Can open Glasswork as an option for play with good accomplice draws.
Queen of Loins None. None. One very bad checkless option Can build Preparations with checkless options on both cards One card can clear your hand. Just a generally strong support.
Queen of Cod Shadowy 2 None One card can give 2 Preparations at a time One guaranteed card draw at the start that is then dismissed for the rest of the round and gives a general-purpose Boon, the Ace of Queens. This card can also clear your hand one time only with some Preparations. Cod is the only Accomplice who actually reduces your deck size.
King of Knuckles Dangerous 5 Strong options which get more powerful with high Elusiveness None None Something of a late bloomer.
King of Roses Persuasive 6 Needs high Prep and one option scales with ever more preparations None None Ideally prefers both of his partners to be able to build Preparations to build up to a win with only a couple of extremely strong hits.
King of Spines Shadowy 7 Very high Prep requirement, very strong attacks in return One checkless option on one card gains prep None Ideally prefers both of his partners to be able to build Preparations to build up to a win with only a couple of extremely strong hits.
King of Tallow Kataleptic Toxicology 8 Very high Prep requirement, very strong attacks in return One checkless option on one card gains prep None Ideally prefers both of his partners to be able to build Preparations to build up to a win with only a couple of extremely strong hits.
King of Ambivalences Shapeling Arts 5 High progress that scales with every Ace, but also increases Counterplay Checkless Preparations on both cards None Grants Ace of Ambivalences, which can be useful if you have the other Shapeling Arts Accomplices in your party. Wants at least one other Ace-giving accomplice, or else his damage options are not worth playing.
King of Motley Persuasive 7 High progress that scales with number of Accomplices you have Can build Preparations on both cards with checkless options. Thoughts and prayers. See the section on his Distinction for a full analysis. His damaging options are not really worth using in a standard run, instead use him to build Preparations. Given how expensive his options are, he needs at least 5 total accomplices to be worth using as a main damage dealer, ideally more.
Priest of Briars Persuasive 2 None Can build Preparations 2 at a time One card can clear your hand The Ace of Kings is a nice bonus but the Preparation and hand clearing options are strong for nearly all accomplices, making his utility far from limited to King runs.
Priest of Magpies Watchful 4 Can give small checkless Progress and mediocre Progress on one card for Preparations Cannot build Preparations, unlike the other two Priests. Grants Ace of Pages and can be consumed to clear your hand on one card Magpies is sadly underpowered and situational currently, being relegated only to builds where a Page is your main damage-dealer and you have some other way of building Preparations. The Ace reduces difficulty rather than increasing progress gained, which can help players whose wardrobe is rather thin.
Priest of Smiths Dangerous 3 Can give decent Progress with Preparation Checkless options build Preparations None The Ace of Knights is a very nice boost to builds with Knight Progressers.
Fool of Audacities Persuasive 4 Decent progress that increases when paired with Priests Checkless options build Preparations None Grants Ace of Fools, which does nothing, and actually benefits more from all Priests than their intended targets. With Smiths and Briars, the Fool does King-level Progress with only Knight-level prep.
  1. Many RPGs refer to their damage-dealers as DPS, which stands for "damage per second". If you think this term doesn't really apply to Fallen London as a turn-based browser game, take it up with the Treachery of Clocks.
  2. Note that currently Inversions is strictly worse than Teeth in terms of progress, but this may be fixed in a future update.

Example Builds[edit]

See Hearts' Game (Guide)/Example Builds for a list.

Outfit Preparations[edit]

It can be useful to maintain a dedicated "flex" outfit slot for Heart's Game. After you have drafted your team but before you begin your first round, take a moment to consider. Whose attribute check options are you actually planning on using to inflict damage? These are the ones whose attributes you should prioritise, since you will be playing their cards the most. Try not to have more than one or two of these on a team or you will spread yourself very thin.

This is obvious but it bears making explicit: Failing skill checks in Hearts' Game increases your chance of losing, though it's important to stress you make the same profit regardless. You can recover from a handful of failures without too much difficulty, but the clock is against you: you will accumulate Counterplay from your failure and Elusiveness and Poison Tolerance will accrue without you having made corresponding progress. In order to try to be consistent, try to keep your main accomplice's skill checks at or above 90%, and 70-80% is acceptable for the others. These are just tips, though: Hearts' Game is about experimentation and you may find different outfits schemes work better for you, so this is just provide as a rule of thumb to start out with.

Other important considerations:

  • Highway stat checks generally require 334 points to succeed. You will likely not be able to hit this for two stats, but depending on your gear you may be able to hit around 300 for two which is 90%, an acceptable level of risk.
    • For Pages, the Priest of Magpies reduces the maximum to 300.
    • Heart's Game is a great use for Second Chances in the endgame; you will rarely encounter skill checks more difficult than these. A 70% chance to succeed with a Second Chance is equivalent to a 90% chance to succeed without one. This should only be done with options you only plan on playing a few times, such as A duel in the old style, as otherwise it gets expensive quickly.
  • Advanced Skills require reaching 17 in the skill to maximise (19 with Embalmer's Mark) to guarantee. They hit 90% at 16 (18). That likely means using almost all of your equipment slots for this one stat, and may be fully impossible for newer players of the game.
    • For Pages, the Priest of Magpies reduces the guaranteed breakpoint by 2 points to 15.
    • Even if you cannot consistently pass Advanced Skill checks, these accomplices can still be useful, albeit not as a main Progresser. The advanced skill Kings and Knights can all provide Prep support, the Page of Inversions can give you a nice checkless head start on Progress, and the Page of Roots can help push you over the finish line since his checkless options are unaffected by Poison Tolerance.

Playing The Game[edit]

Now that you've drafted your Accomplices and adjusted your outfit, it's time to actually play! Here's some general play tips:

  • Your base deck has six cards in it, five if you're running with the Queen of Cod. Counterplay cards are slowly added in as Counterplay increases and are about half as likely to be drawn as a standard card in your deck.
  • This means that effectively, you only ever have to actually play four cards in your deck, because you can hold two in your hand and draw. Thus, the general strategy is to figure out what the two worst cards in your deck are at the point in the game you're at, and hold them in your hand. Play your other cards one at a time. As a rule of thumb:
    • Early on, hold damaging cards in your hand and draw for Supports to build required Preparations, gather Aces, and so on. Then you can fire a large opening volley as soon as you hit the necessary threshold.
    • Later, hold the Support cards in your hand. This way when you draw you will draw the Progress cards over and over again.
  • If you have them, play hand-clearing cards as soon as your hand has two other junk cards for maximum efficiency.
  • Some builds may occasionally end up with three undesirable cards in their hand. This isn't a big deal if it happens a couple times in a run, but if you find yourself losing multiple Rounds because of it, you should rethink your strategy and perhaps draft new Accomplices.
    • If you have to play an undesirable card, the checkless option is likely better than risking a failure on the check option, but be wary of Counterplay.
  • Tips for managing Hearts' Game: Counterplay:
    • Counterplay accrues from two main sources: checkless progress options and failures. Avoid playing the former unnecessarily and avoid the latter with proper outfit management, and you can mitigate much of your risk.
    • Don't underestimate it. The Counterplay autofire cards only adjust the qualities a marginal amount, but while that isn't a big deal with Elusive or Poisoner's Progress an increase in Poison Tolerance early on can make a round unwinnable.
    • Try to avoid hitting Counterplay 5 if possible, as An Overplayed Hand can be a very nasty burden to deal with. It's not a death sentence to your run by any means, but it does make defeat more likely.
    • Hand management strategies for dealing with Counterplay:
      • Instead of holding two cards in your hand, instead when you draw you should play everything in your hand that doesn't give you Counterplay before you draw again (though don't play Preparations options if you don't actually need them, as then you're just running out the clock with no benefit). This maximises your chance of drawing non-Counterplay cards because of how deck math works.
      • If you already have some Counterplay and want to avoid hitting 5, draw cards one at a time until you get a few Counterplays, which will reduce it with the more manageable tweaks to Elusiveness and Tolerance. Obviously, be sure to avoid playing options which give more Counterplay!

Strategies for Distinctions[edit]

See Hearts' Game (Guide)/Distinctions for in-depth strategic discussion.