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After reading various sections on Eldritch Horror's deck management, namely the sections on Searching, on Gaining Possessions and Conditions, and on Discarding, I've tried to sum up some aspects of deck management.

  • Spells and Conditions (the 2 sided cards) never have a discard pile. Cards returned to them are shuffled right back in, while other deck types reshuffle their discard piles once the deck runs out. This is likely to keep the possible multiple outcomes of spells/conditions as varied and unpredictable as possible.
  • Random cards are drawn from the top of single-sided card decks and from the bottom of 2-sided card decks. If a repeat (such as for a condition/spell card) is found, the drawing continues and, once finished, this "temporary" discard pile (i.e. the cards passed to find a valid card) is shuffled right back in. This approach is done to minimize the possibility of having to shuffle.
  • Searching for a specific card or a kind of card (i.e. Madness) is done from the bottom of the deck and always followed by shuffling, but discard piles in the 1-sided decks are not shuffled back in. I don't know what rationale there would be for searching through the double sided cards from the bottom up as it seems marginally faster to search top to bottom.

Are there any other obvious or helpful guidelines and rationale to managing the decks?

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I have split all conditions into small sections (delimited by foam in my box). So, when I draw a madness, I pick from the madness deck. This makes the game move slightly faster as there are less draws to get what you need/must.

This could lead to some card counting. The trick there is to shuffle the desk each time it is used. You could also shuffle the desk for someone else and they give you a number, say X. You then pick the bottom/top X card to give them. Yet another alternative, as Joey suggested is to have a masking card at the top of the deck, maybe showing what type of card you have?

  • This is a super minor side effect, but by doing that, the fact that I can see the 'top card' in that sub-deck gives me slight extra information on what card might be less likely to be on the bottom of that deck (and thus the drawn random card). i.e. If I see a "Paranoia" Madness card, I know there's less of a chance of the random card being "Paranoia" (and being something like "Hallucinations"). Probably the ultra vigilant way to prevent this problem would be to have a blank blocking card to put at the top of the deck after every shuffle. Great suggestion to speed things up. – Joey Jun 1 '15 at 5:56
  • @Joey, thank you for your comment, I edited my answer to address it. I like your blank card idea. – Sardathrion Jun 1 '15 at 6:47

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