HIGHLANDER Card of The Week #19
                             Week of 18 March 1996
       Copyright 1996, William Brinkman (wbrinkm@chop.icsa.uiowa.edu)

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WATCHER     
    
Situation

"Use to counter one Watcher card of your choice.  Remains in play until 
used, then discard."
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	New York City, Stonewall Cafe.  1988
 
	The spotlight once again focused on Andrew Milton.  It didn't 
matter if he was performing at the Globe Theater or this rat hole called 
the Stonewall Cafe, he always felt at home on stage, pouring his soul out 
to the audience and soaking up their attention in return.
 
	But finally the moment had come.  His monolog was coming to an end.  
"Well, the doctor says it's almost over."  Milton said, his voice choked 
up from the memories of all the mortals he had seen die over the centuries.  
"But no matter what the moral minority preaches."  He paused, scanning the 
captivated audiences with his eyes.  "I will never regret loving him."  
The spotlight faded and the audience erupted into applause.  Even after 
several hundred years, that simple sound never failed to move him.
 
	The house lights faded up and he could see his admiring audience 
standing up to applaud him.  Especially David Tagget, his current lover.  
He smiled and yelled "Bravo!  Bravo!"  Though Milton had only known him 
for a few months, he felt like they had been together for a lifetime.
 
	Milton bowed and stepped off the stage.  When he reached Tagget, 
they hugged and kissed each other lightly.
 
	"Our next amateur night is two weeks from today," the announcer 
said to the crowd.  "I'm sure we all hope that Andrew will be there."
 
	"You can count on it!" yelled Milton.
 
	"You were great!" said Tagget.  
 
	Milton snorted.  "I flubbed the middle part."
 
	"You're being too hard on yourself," replied Tagget with a smile.  
The smile faded, as he looked off into the crowd.
 
	Milton tilted his head in concern.  "Is something wrong?"
 
	Tagget shook his head quickly.  "Um.  No.  No nothing's wrong."
 
	"Are you sure?"
 
	Tagget nodded.  "Yeah.  Oh do you need a ride home?"
 
	Milton chuckled.  "Sure.  I'll be damned if I'm walking home 
at this hour.  It's not safe."
 
	Tagget carefully buttoned up his jacket.  "No," he said quietly, 
"it's not safe."

	Milton and Tagget left the cafe and held each others' hand as they 
walked down the street.
 
	"You know," said Milton, "we should do a skit together next time."
 
	Tagget lowered his head.  "I told you I can't act."
 
	Milton smiled.  "Yes you can.  Trust me, I've seen a lot of people 
act, and you can act."
 
	Tagget didn't respond.  Instead he pointed to a dark alley way.  
"My car's back there."  
 
	Milton looked down the alley.  "You really shouldn't park in 
places like that," he said, letting go of Tagget's hand.  Tagget shrugged 
and started down the alley.  Milton cautiously followed.  They made their 
way down the long dark alley.  When they reached the dark form of the car, 
Tagget stopped and turned, reaching his hand into his pocket.
 
	"Wait.  Andrew there's something I should tell you."
 
	Milton stopped moving.  Tagget's hand started to shake in his 
pocket.  
 
	"David?  What's wrong."
 
	"I...I--"
 
	The faint sounds of silencer shots interrupted Tagget.  Milton 
screamed before falling to the ground.  Tagget froze, staring at the three 
bullet holes in Milton's back.  
 
	A voice pierced the darkness.  "You were supposed to shoot him."  
Tagget looked up.  A tall man walked out of the shadows, wearing a 
trenchcoat and gripping an axe.
 
	"This...This isn't right."
 
	The man moved closer to Milton's head.  "I warned you about 
getting too close to him."  He shook his head and readied his axe.
 
	"We shouldn't be doing this."  Tagget said, his voice quivering.  
"This is murder!"
 
	The man angrily faced Tagget.  "This isn't murder.  This... thing is 
nothing more than an abomination!  A freak of nature!"  His tone grew 
colder.  "We will discuss this later.  You can either look away or leave, 
but you can't stop me from doing what's right!"  The man then turned his 
attention to Milton and raised his axe.
 
	The fear in Tagget's eyes turned to blind hate.  He pulled a gun 
from his pocket and fired, emptying the entire clip into the man.  When he 
returned to his senses, he could still hear the clicks from himself pulling 
the trigger.  He slowly put the gun away, tearfully looking at the two 
bodies.  The wail of sirens jolted him back to reality.  Wiping the tears 
from his face, he looked at Andrew one last time, then ran into the 
darkness.
 
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	Watcher: Counter is like a poor-man's version of Forethought, in 
that it is limited to countering only Watcher cards.  While Xavier decks 
might find Watcher: Counter too limited a card for use, others decks 
shouldn't ignore its greatest strength: the ability to counter your 
opponent's  Watcher: Treatment cards.
 
	With two Watcher: Counters in play, your opponent will either have 
to police them away or use Reporter to heal.  If they use Reporter, you 
also benefit.  On the other hand, if your opponent uses Police cards to 
remove your counter cards, your opponent has fewer cards to counter your 
other situations.  Since the average deck has three remove situation Police 
cards, your opponent will have to spend two-thirds of them just to be able 
to heal.
 
	Even if your counter cards aren't in play, the threat they pose 
might force an opponent to use them before he or she wants to.  Either way, 
your opponent can no longer choose when he or she wants to heal.  
 
	While Master's Advice and Quality Blade can increase ability in the 
short term, they cannot be re-used as easily as Watcher: Treatment.  It 
doesn't matter if your maximum ability is 18 if you're currently at five 
and can't heal because two Watcher: Counter cards are out.  Plus, if these 
cards are taken out of play, your opponent loses ability.
 
	Watcher: Counter is a useful card for Amanda decks, since she is 
rarely able to make opponents exert past Watcher: Treatment cards.  Slan 
decks might also find Watcher: Counter useful since it reduces the 
chances of an opponent recovering from one of his power blows or his 
Shooting Blade.  
 
	Watcher: Counter should almost never be used to counter Watcher: 
Sniper or Watcher: Hunter.  Preventing your opponent from healing will help 
you more in the long run.  Police cards should be used on these Watcher 
cards instead.
 
	In all, Watcher: Counter, despite its limitations, is really one 
of the most powerful counter cards in the Limited Edition, and one that 
most players should consider adding to their decks.
 
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Highlander is a protected trademark of Gaumont Television, used under 
license by Thunder Castle Games.  The card text is copyright 1996 by 
Thunder Castle Games.  All rights reserved.
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