While you must have mastery over all the resources in Heretic Operative to succeed, one resource in particular is vital to managing the growth of the Heretic organization – your Influence.  Influence is spent primarily to bring new recruits into the Heretics, to convince them to risk life and liberty to both keep magic alive and stop the Cult.

Every Location on the map has a set of unique “Townsfolk”, who represent people of particular skill or position who might be persuaded to join the Heretics.  There are over 50 of these characters to recruit, and understanding which ones are most important to accomplishing your strategic goals is very important to mastering the hardest challenges in the game.  When you are first learning the game it’s easy to focus on just the Townsfolk in the starting, easy-to-reach areas.

Some Locations have Townsfolk who are possible Operatives – if you recruit them you gain a new active character to move around the map, carrying out tasks directly.  These are valuable to find, because if all of your Operatives are dead (or lost to Corruption) you immediately lose!

Besides the recruitable Townsfolk, there are two other types:  Active and Passive.  Active Townsfolk give you a powerful effect you can use when you have an Operative at the location.  The Caravan Master allows you to travel along restricted routes, and the Herbalist who can create potent healing items.  Knowing when and how to activate these Townsfolk is a critical part of developing your strategy.

Passive Townsfolk provide a constant background effect that automatically occurs.  For example, the Forager gathers additional resources, and the Poet trains your Operatives to be more persuasive. One of the most vital Townsfolk to recruit is the Cell Leader, who can provide Influence every turn allowing you spread the Heretic’s network much faster.

But it is not only the Heretics who are trying to influence these important characters – the Cult has their own form of “Cult Influence” that they use to combat the Heretics.  When the Cult sends a Cultist to a Location, they setup a local base of operations called a “Cult Site”.  Cult Sites automatically spread Cult Influence, and when that grows greater than the Heretic Influence, recruited Townsfolk are unable to be used.

Cultists will often appear at distant locations on the map, so it can be challenging to keep them in check while also accomplishing your other important goals.  The most direct way to stop the Cult is to defeat their Cultists!  On the next mechanics blog, we will cover the basics of how Combat works.