It’s time for an update on the Coldharbour board game, and where better to start than with a look at the agency’s chief, Professor Mary Blackwood.
At the start of the game, you’re dealt three agents, and choose which one you want to use. There’s no guarantee you’ll keep the same agent throughout the game – there are plenty of dangers lurking in the darkness – but choosing the correct starting agent can prove the difference between success and failure.
The Blackwood line has always been inextricably linked with Coldharbour. Since Horatio Blackwood founded the agency, five of his descendants – or perhaps six, depending on how you do the counting – have borne the responsibility of keeping London’s underground horrors away from an ignorant populace. Professor Mary Blackwood is the most recent – and, some might say, the most effective.
A shrewd operator, proven in the field and in the smoky chambers of Whitehall, Mary’s dedication to Coldharbour’s work is beyond question. Few in the organisation know her well. To most, she’s a distant figure, seized of a pragmatism bordering on ruthlessness. Some underlings whisper that she’s haunted by the ghosts of the past. Others point to the sealed room in her office – a room to which only Mary has a key – and speculate that her ghosts may be more than figurative.
Mary’s one of thirty-six agent cards in the base game – each representing a Coldharbour operative or one of their (sometimes reluctant) allies. Her key strength is her roster of contacts, allowing her to easily open stations and lines as panic spreads throughout the network. She can also sacrifice agents to dangerous missions in the hope they’ll turn up some clues; a useful ability, but one to be used sparingly. Agents can (and do!) die over the course of a Coldharbour game – the more agents Mary sacrifices in the search for clues, the more likely you’ll run out altogether…