We start with Amanda Sharpe - The Student. With a stamina of 5 and a sanity of 5 she is nicely balanced. She starts with any 2 items from the spell, common, or unique deck, you get to choose which decks to draw from. This is great as it lets you decide a nice spread, and what her role will be. Her ability studious is excellent, it lets you complete any number of tasks per roll. On a location with 2 challenges, one that needs a skull, and one that needs a skull and a terror... if you roll all those in your first roll you can shut the investigation down in one hit instead of worrying if you re-roll the ones you need. She is great for challenges with multiple tasks [M: this comes up more often than you'd think! Especially if there are several tasks that need just one or two dice].
Bob Jenkins - The Salesman has a sanity of 4, and a stamina of 6, so better for the physical tasks. He starts with 2 common and 1 unique item, potentially giving you a large starting dice pool. His ability Shrewd dealer gains you an extra common item whenever you collect a common item, so you can stack up on his equipment to get plenty of choices.
Carolyn Fern - The Psychologist has a sanity of 6 and stamina of 4, so good for the sanity challenges. She begins with a common and a unique item. Her ability Psychology can be used once a day, and lets you or another investigator regain a sanity point. She is great as a support card to help out the other investigators, keeping them topped up.
Vincent Lee - The Doctor has 5 sanity and stamina, so nicely balanced, an he begins with a spell item, and a common item. His ability Physician allows you or a fellow investigator to regain a stamina once a day, again a great support character to keep the team in the quest.
Gloria Goldberg - The Author has a sanity of 6, and stamina of 4, so leans to more sanity tasks. She starts with a common item, and a spell item. Her ability Psychic Sensitivity kicks in when you are trying to resolve an other world task. When you do with Gloria she may add the red, and yellow dice for free, so she is the most efficient member to gain those rewards from otherworld cards.
Monterey Jack - The Archaeologist has a low sanity of 3, but a very high stamina o 7, so be careful on which tasks you try to complete with him, too many sanity fails on a card and he can go insane very easily. He starts with 1 common, and 2 unique items. His ability Archaeology allows you to gain an extra unique item after he gains one from a challenge, so make sure you are maximising his rewards with the tasks you pick.
Mandy Thompson - The Researcher is balanced with 5 sanity and 5 stamina. She starts with a common item and a clue. Her ability Research can be used once a day and allows any player to re roll 2 dice before they see if they can complete a challenge, again a great support character, and used at the right time can help you finish those tasks.
Now for Olivia's Favourite character.... Jenny Barnes - The Dilettante. With a sanity of 6 and stamina of 4 she can go into challenges with out too much fear of being wiped down low quickly. Her ability Trust Fund lets you discard a clue, common item or spell to gain a yellow and red dice for the task before her. This is a great ability as you may have an item that only adds 1 yellow dice, so by ditching it you gain both. If you can keep her gaining items each turn, she can reliability add extra dice to all challenges.
Sister Mary - the Nun has sanity 7, stamina 3 so she is very susceptible to challenges that sap stamina, bear that in mind whilst using her. She starts with an ally, a common item and a spell. Her ability Guardian Angel lets her ignore Mythos effects such as losing sanity or stamina, and any locked dice, so she is the one to send in to get those dice unlocked for the fellow investigators.
Next up is my favourite investigator, Joe Diamond - The private Eye. With a sanity of 4 and stamina of 6. He starts with a clue and a common item. His ability Hunches means when he spends a clue token, he can get a second reroll free as if he had spent another one, so hopefully between the original roll, the clue re-roll, and the hunches reroll he can get all he needs.
Kate Winthrop - The Scientist has a sanity of 6 and stamina of 4, so leans more towards sanity tasks. She starts with a spell item and a unique item. Her ability Science means monsters can not appear during her turn, which is handy if you complete a task that generates a monster, and she is immune to all Terror effects, so a great option to send to those scar tasks that make you suffer when you roll a terror.
Dexter Drake - the Magician starts with a balance of 5 sanity and 5 stamina, and two spells items and a unique item. His Ability Magical Gift gives him an extra spell item when ever you gain a spell item, so aim him at tasks that give spell items as a reward and he will soon be stocked up with plenty of powerful spells to help.
Darrell Simmons - the Photographer has 4 sanity and 6 stamina, and starts with a common, and unique item. His ability Hometown advantage allows you once per roll to change the results of your investigate dice by 1, so from a 1 to a 2, and a 2 to a 3, or if a red or yellow, a 3 to a 4. he can be great to get those extra investigate rolls on some tasks that need a lot of them.
Michael McGlen - the Gangster has a sanity of 3, and a stamina of 7, so be careful on tasks with him involved. He starts with 2 common items, and his ability strong body lets you change a terror result into a skull result once per roll on his turn.
Harvey Walters - The Professor has a sanity of 3, and a stamina of 3, so he is great for sanity tasks but be careful on stamina ones. He starts with a unique item, and a spell item. His ability Strong Mind, lets you change a terror result into a scroll result once per roll on his turn. Useful for task that need lots of scrolls.
As you can see there is a great variety of investigators in the core box, and all add their own flavour and style to the game. Let us know who your favourites are!