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Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Chaos Token vs. Shadow Card rss

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Mikael Svensson
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I am a long time LOTR player and this game has learned may things from it's older brethren.

For you Non-LOTR LCG players - when doing battle, each enemy got dealt a Shadow Card backside up, that was revealed only when the enemy was attacking. This card came from the threat deck same as all the other enemy cards, and some, not all, had some form of Shadow-text pertaining only to an attack. Sometimes the creature hit harder, became harder to hit, it made an hit-and-run attack, attacked again (painful) or created som other problems for the hero that fought it. Sometimes there were no shadow effect on the card, but you could not know that until it was flipped over, creating great suspense. First the creature hit, then the players hit back. It is a really fantastic system with many decisions have to be made correctly.

Now - Arkham Horror LCG has the Chaos Tokens, the particular mix used decided by what difficulty you want to run the adventure (in addition to some of the scenario cards having Easy/Normal mode on one side and Hard/Arkham Horror on the other). A much simpler and not at all suspenseful system. No surprise effects beyond a few tokens of which one is an Auto Fail(a surprise, sure - but not in a good way.... not at all).

I know these games are very different beasts, but they caters for about the same crowd mechanics-wise if not theme-wise. I really want this game in my hands NOW though since I like both themes.

My question is - doing away with the cumbersome tokens - would it not be possible to use the cards as Deciders of Fate? A row of numbers and symbols, each corresponding to the chosen difficulty of the scenario on the scenario cards. When needing a result, just draw until a card with a result is drawn and apply.

Or maybe I'm just trying to marry my favorite LCG with this new probably also favorite LCG
 
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Nathan Rine
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I don't see why everyone insists on changing the fundamental systems of a game before it's even out...

But yes o your question I think it be too much work to do such a thing.
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Daily Grind
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Indeed, I have got to imagine FFG have play tested a wide variety of mechanisms and didn't settle on the chaos bag without cause. I find nothing cumbersome about drawing chits from a bag.
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Jeroen
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Or cup.
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Ulfengaard Hrafnson
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jvdv wrote:

Or cup.


The real question is... monster cup or chicken cup?
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Daily Grind
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Ulfengaard wrote:
jvdv wrote:

Or cup.


The real question is... monster cup or chicken cup?

If this campaign (Let´s up vote AH:LCG for Rahdo :)) gets it a runrhrough, you can bet it's a chaos chicken cup. Of madness. And other spooky things. Maybe some soup.
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Kain
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Can't stand shadow effect system. So yes. Bag all the way. Streamlined and less intrusive than literally another card.
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Drea Paulsen
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I find it interesting that you see Tokens as cumbersome, and cards as some how not being cumbersome.

Are cards not just very flat, square tokens? they take up the same number of items in the game if you replace the tokens with them. Unlike tokens which you can place in a bag and shake once to shuffle it, a deck of cards will need to be shuffles at least 5 times to make it truly random. Which in turn will wear them down faster.

I also like the Lord of the rings LCG, but I don't care much for the shadow card system. One, is if you need a objective card, that ends up being a shadow and so now you need to go through the entire deck and shuffle it to get it again (this is, if you did not build your deck to place discarded cards back into the encounter deck which also means your wasting cards for a few small chance event. Confused? yeah thats kinda what i mean lol.).

Not only that, unless you cheat and look at what all the shadow cards are ahead of time you have no idea what to expect. Which means you can't ready yourself for it. Where the tokens you know what you might draw so you can say, "no this is important and ill sacrifice this card to boost the test just encase i draw the -4". Sure you may see that as being less suspenseful, but don't forget your discarding what could be good items to boost a test which is a one time thing. This is not something you can do for every test you run across as you will end up running out of those skill cards, and as such you have to chose when its best to apply such boosts.

Other then that, the other big reason i like the new token system over the old shadow cards is that the odds are always the same. In LOTR you can easily get all the hard hitting shadows in the first few turns, which could be a game ending thing. If you survive then you have little to no worries for the rest of the deck in comparison. Where with tokens every time you draw from the bag the odds you will draw the +1 or the "fail" token is the same, which means you have just as likely chance of failing or passing be it the first time you draw of the 100th.

This fact that the odds don't change unless you change it also adds a new dynamic that the Shadow cards could never do. That is change the odds of something happening mid-game. With tokens you can remove them, add them, replace them during a game. You cant do that with shadow cards, and if you make a separate deck for just the shadow's (Shadow deck??) then your really just doing what the tokens do anyways and so why not just use the more efferent token method.

know what i mean?
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Nushura
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Remember that even fixed levels of difficulty have ways of altering the chances (i.e., adding removing tokens). How do you implement that with cards?
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Gustavo Herodier
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IronPython wrote:

Not only that, unless you cheat and look at what all the shadow cards are ahead of time you have no idea what to expect.


I actually agree with most of what you're saying, but I want to point out that the role of Shadow cards is to introduce randomness to what would otherwise be a fully predetermined combat. It's fine to hate water, but don't blame it for being wet!

I thought doom tokens were drawn in place of a die roll - as in, after you've made all your decisions. If that's the case then they're exactly like shadow cards anyway
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Milen Krastev
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Agree with most.
Combat in AH is purely test based and its simplified.
I also prefer the Lotr(standard/MTG) combat and would prefer mix between both systems: Combat from Lotr and token bag for all other non-combat situations. But this will mean a lot different game.
As far as I know you only can have single companion(ally) on your side at a time and Lotr combat depend on multiple attackers and blockers.

As some ppl mentioned, this system "might" give the option to beat scenarios without relying heavily on combat which will be great. But only playing the game will show if that's even possible.
 
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Drea Paulsen
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heroes182 wrote:
the role of Shadow cards is to introduce randomness to what would otherwise be a fully predetermined combat.


That i understand, and agree with. But tokens do the same thing, it's still random, you have no idea what your drawing from the bag, you just have an understand of what could go wrong. But with shadow cards after a few rounds you know what could go wrong as well, there is normally only a handful that are out of the normal mix of +1(+3if undefeated), goes back after attack, draw another shadow card, the attacker attacks again, the attacker goes back to the staging area.

I listed about 85% of the shadow cards in the game i belive just there. The other 15% are rare cards like, take the defenders resources, the defender losses his defense, if the attack kills do something extra, and so on.

You get my point, sure shadow cads do help keep the game random, but there are a lot that are common to nearly every game. Tokens basically do exactly what shadow cards have always done, just in a different way.

Also remember, this is arkham horror, they love doing tokens in those games. Eldrich horror, has square monsters in a cup (i use a dice bag for my monster cups), elder sign, same thing. So it should be no surprise to see them use the same thing in this game.

Also something i just thought of, shadow cards also have a big flaw. They not only can they cause you to discard important objectives, they also give away spoilers. I don't look at a single event card before playing a game because i love surprises, but it's not uncommon to revel a shadow card that is a powerful monster, and be like, oh well watch out there are monsters in here that attack with 7 and have archery 3. Just for example. It's not a big thing, but remember arkham Horror is based around mystery of the unknown. Setting what could be in the deck before it effects you directly kinda ruins that surprise "oh look at this, there are zombie dogs in this mission cool -puts in discard- " with tokens you are never given early information on what the event deck has in store for you until it's too late.

Edit-using phone to type this one, so needed to fix some auto corrects that i missed, may have missed more but hope you get what im saying lol
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souloon souloon
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If you hate tokens that much, just use normal poker deck - throw out all red cards except red joker and one red ace.

Create a deck from the black cards with all minus values according to the rulebook. They represent tokens from -1 to -8. Then continue creating the deck:

red ace represents +1
red joker represents elder sign
black joker is a tentacle
jacks are skulls
queen is a tablet
king is a cultist
Shuffle the deck and play.

After each drawn card shuffle it back into the deck. If you want more mood use some bicycle cards, or malifaux cards. Thats it.





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Nathan Rine
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If you do that your better off roleplaying Through The Breach
 
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Gustavo Herodier
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IronPython wrote:

Also something i just thought of, shadow cards also have a big flaw. They not only can they cause you to discard important objectives, they also give away spoilers.


Hmm, yeah I can see how you could see it that way - I think of the shadow effects sort of as "the thing this monster does when in a support role". It's not attacking you directly, its just shooting at you, or clearing the path for the thing that you're actually fighting etc. In that way, it's not really spoiling anything, its just being used. With your example of an Attack 7 Archery 3 monster, its shadow effect is probably some variation on "deal x damage", which still makes perfect sense for an archer.
Granted, this flavour doesn't always match up, especially for cards with no shadow effect...

OP: Sorry about the LOTR thread highjack whistle I do really like the idea of doom tokens and am glad Arkham isn't just a reskinned LOTR - I intend to play both and would prefer a bit of variety!
 
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Brady Sadler
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Shadow card effects took up too much card space, and they can be tricky to balance within certain scenarios.

From a design standpoint, the token bag is completely superior in a campaign-driven system. The bag is tweaked from scenario to scenario, and you don't have use encounter card space to add modifiers when they are all in the bag. Also, the token reference card that comes with each scenario does a beautiful job tying the tokens in the bag to the theme of the scenario.

One of the biggest problems with the shadow cards in Lord of the Rings (which is by far one of my favorite games, by the way) is that it tended to mess with the delicate balance of the encounter deck, causing the effects to be more punishing to make up for the lack of consistency. Dealing out shadow cards essentially stole valuable encounter effects from the encounter deck. Divorcing these things is an improvement and evolution of the cooperative LCG format.

I'm a huge proponent of the token bag, and I'm glad to see the aspect of chance given it's own component outside of the encounter deck.
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Evan Tyler
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I went from going to pre-order this game to not being that interested when I saw it used those tokens. The LotR LCG's "Shadow" cards was a pretty neat thing, but my favorite so far has just been WHQACG's dice rolls (Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game). It wasn't too random and I liked the feel/flow of it.


Anyway, @ OP - that seems like a lot of work!
 
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Mikael Svensson
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Yes, it would be a lot of work since they would have to redesign the whole game card layout and do something about those moments when another token gets added into the mix halfway into an adventure.

To explain where I come from.... There is this 'flow' within the best games. LOTR has that since it uses only one source, that is the Deck, to decide everything. Flow.
Another game is the older Up Front!, which most of you never have played or maybe even not heard of, - a card game about fighting tactical battles squad vs. squad during WW2. Fantastic flow - fantastic game.

AH LCG will have about the same feeling but with the added tokenbag/bowl. Each player wants to decide it's own fate and draw the token themselves, so around, around the tokens go - tokens shall be thoroughly mixed no matter what time it takes (some will really like to create that chaos and really drrraaawwssss out the moment) to reveal perhaps yet another Auto Fail token. The chaos bag would work wonders in a kids game, but this is not that game. This is a game for adults, and we should leave what is childish behind Ye Olde Chaos Bag doeth noth a flowethsome game make!

I'm sorry if I rub some people the wrong wat about this, but I want a more mature way than to draw an effin' token out of a bag. Perhaps I'm damaged from having played Bingo! with old granny one to many times.
 
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Mikael Svensson
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I'm definitely into this game for the long haul, especially since the designers of the game never have disappointed me in the slightest and I don't expect them to start now. It will be a great ride. In a couple of years, the game will have come into it's own, the cardpool will permit many types of decks.

I am playing LOTR regularly with 3 other players that has a very particular taste when it comes to mechanics of a game. The tokens will be a hard sell, but I will introduce them to The Token Master - that is, we will designate one player to be the Keeper of The Tokens for this particular adventure. The honor will come with beverages and snacks for the evening. That way, much of the fiddleiness (sp?) will be removed and we will have the Flow and Immersion we expect from this game.

I wish I had thought of that solution before writing a post to begin with... but then again... I'm old....
 
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Jani Pietikäinen
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Mixx wrote:
I'm sorry if I rub some people the wrong wat about this, but I want a more mature way than to draw an effin' token out of a bag. Perhaps I'm damaged from having played Bingo! with old granny one to many times.


Nothing to be sorry about, I'm sure But I still find it curious that you deem token-drawing as somehow immature and more suitable for children...

Maybe my inner child is more prominent than I thought it was, but I have to say I'm actually quite eager to try this token mechanic in place of handling everything with cards and/or dice.
Seems to me like it will be a quick and effective way to bring randomness into the game - and actually, I'd expect it to be less cumbersome than a deck of cards, not more...
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Nathan Rine
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I don't see how drawing tokens from a bag is kiddy.. In my opinion drawing from a bag where you can't see it is kinda scary heck if you play AH in the dark with only enough light to play you might scare yourself drawing from bag
 
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Mikael Svensson
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Yeah, I get what you mean. It's just that I know my community and they will not take to this token-thing easily. This is the thing;

It seems gimmicky. It's like you take two separate, and perhaps not entirely compatible, systems and jam them together to form something not entirely this and not entirely that. It's like you have this great card game, and then you throw in some dice. It does not really mix well together. Here you have a perfectly fine game played with cards, and then you throw in some bag of tokens instead of designing it to be played exclusively with the cards at hand.

The deal with the tokens is - it might destroy the mood. You look at the cards in hand, you examine every card in play, you are in the setting - it's great! You will try to sneak away from the rougarou....

Put's down the cards. Gimme the bag. *Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle*. Pull a token. It's a symbol. Checking the scenario for what that does. Oh, -2.

That is not immersion. That is the opposite of it. You take focus away from the cards and shifts it to a generic token. No art, nothing that ties it to this specific adventure we are playing. The cards are fantastic, very good art and have a nice layout, definitely setting the mood. The thing with the tokens? Not so much.

The resolution could have been incorporated into the design, that is all I'm saying here.

I am sure the game will be very nice to play solo, but since I always play with three other players, the handling of the tokens might be way too disruptive. LOTR does this very well. Every shadow card is thematically correct - you actually get why the orc that is attacking me does it better this turn, or why you failed the hide check when trying to evade the nazghuls outside Bag End. The cards themselves does that. They keep you in the game.

I want this game to be The Game that eventually replaces LOTR for us, I want it to be perfect. I might read too much into this token-thing, but having played innumerable games for over 30 years now, I have seen very few pulling off a successful gimmicky mechanic. I hope this time they do
 
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David Boeren
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You can aways use an app instead if you prefer, one is out for iOS already.
 
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Mikael Svensson
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My main issue, I think, was that I visualized a Chaos Bag having to go around the table, breaking immersion.

I might be getting old and problem solving seems to take longer these days, but...

The Problem was really not there to begin with. All the players will simply come to the table carrying their own preferred bag of tokens. No need for the same bag to be used, no reaching cross the table to pick a token.

I think I have come to terms with this token thing now.

Ahhh - the Peace

Sorry guys for this non-issue.
 
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Nathan Rine
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I don't think a 'grab bag' is immersion breaking it fits thematically. Grabbing into a bag filled with the unknown while your playing a horror game... I don't see how it's corny.
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