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Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: What is the target audience of this game? rss

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Dorian B
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The more I read and watch about AH: The Card Game the more I wonder. I currently feel that this game isn't aimed at the usual LGC/deckbuilding crowd AT ALL.

Yes, it's presented as a LCG but what does that mean anyway? It seems to suggest that this game is all about optimization and deck-construction like we know it from all the Netrunners and LotRs where the meta game is at the forefront really.

While one might think that the LCG-tag tells the whole story I begin to doubt if this is the case here.

First off, you're supposed to experience the game as a connected campaign, going in blind with consequences of different nature carrying over to future sessions. Story and theme is center stage here really. If you plan to play the game according to it's spirit you really can't prepare for the challenges in front of you. You basically could peak ahead but is that really something that you want to do in this kind of game?

Secondly, you have the dice a.k.a. "the black bag of doom". Yes, this game has dice, there's little room to dispute this. If you deconstruct what the randomly drawn tokens actually do, it's very much like rolling a set of dice. They had to go with the tokens instead of dice since you will compile the bag based on the scenario repectively. You have a level of randomness right here that somewhat undermines the potential of serious deck-optimization.

And finally when you crack up a new scenario pack there will be new investigator cards but they're not really yours to use right away - you'll have to earn them while you play. The game basically decides what cards you'll get for future games. Again, you could disregard this to build decks at your leisure if you'd like. But why should you feel inclined to do so?

FFG have all the right to call this a LCG, mainly because of the release format they utilize. But that aside "Arkham Horror: The Card Game" seems to be much more along the lines of "T.I.M.E. Stories" and the "Pathfinder Adventure Card Game".

Sure, you could be deck-building but I don't see why, especially because there is little incentive to play the scenarios over and over, even if you tried different characters. That and the luck factor surely make for a intense and atmospheric narrative but the replay value seems low at least moderately high.

I don't wanna sound like I'm criticizing the game because I'm NOT. However, I think that in the end it might be something entirely different compared to what some of us were expecting originally from it's core concept.

Time will surely tell, in the end it's for everyone to decide for themselves how they would want to enjoy the game...

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Jim Parkin
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Are you at all familiar with the Lovecraft mythos, FFG IP or otherwise?

This game is designed to capture the player's best possible efforts for success and survival in the face of purposeless, nihlistic, uncaring doom. Deck construction after walking blind into whatever malevolent surprises are in each campaign mission captures the attempts of pressing on against the darkness of the theme. The chaos bag, which is more customizable than just a pile of dice (though luck-forward, indeed), is likewise tailored to the experience.

This is an LCG in terms of necessary deck construction and negotiable card pool, yes, but it is also an RPG/Lovecraft narrative generator. In the same way that Netrunner is different from AGoT is different from LotR is different from CoC is different from Conquest... Arkham Horror TCG is its own spin on the system. I read elsewhere that LotR can be described as 70% deck construction and 30% strategic play, while Arkham Horror TCG is 70% strategic play and 30% deck construction.

By default, it is the most experiential and atmospheric LCG to date.
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Matthew Peckham
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The Eternal Champion wrote:
FFG have all the right to call this a LCG, mainly because of the release format they utilize. But that aside "Arkham Horror: The Card Game" seems to be much more along the lines of "T.I.M.E. Stories" and the "Pathfinder Adventure Card Game".

Sure, you could be deck-building but I don't see why, especially because there is little incentive to play the scenarios over and over, even if you tried different characters. That and the luck factor surely make for a intense and atmospheric narrative but the replay value seems low.


I think this might be why this is the first LCG I've ever purchased, and why it's the only one that looks appealing to me. Loved Eldritch Horror's storytelling, despise deck-building. Win win for me!
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Dorian B
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Annowme wrote:
Are you at all familiar with the Lovecraft mythos, FFG IP or otherwise?


I'm not sure why this was pertinent to interpret my original post, but to answer your question: I played about 200 games of Arkham Horror since it's 2004 release, and my wife and I own a library of 150+ mythos-related novels/short-story collections.

There's a reason why I'm so interested in figuring out what this game really is...
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Jordan S.
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The way I figure it, the game is an apology to the fans of Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, which just got canned before it even had a chance to get off the ground.

It's for those players who wanted a campaign-style card game with some story elements that lets the players gradually build a character as the game progresses. Taking the traditional LCG format and infusing it with some RPG-like sensibilities.
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Jim Parkin
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The Eternal Champion wrote:
Annowme wrote:
Are you at all familiar with the Lovecraft mythos, FFG IP or otherwise?


I'm not sure why this was pertinent to interpret my original post, but to answer your question: I played about 200 games of Arkham Horror since it's 2004 release, and my wife and I own a library of 150+ mythos-related novels/short-story collections.

There's a reason why I'm so interested in figuring out what this game really is...

I believe it is pertinent because the game is designed on the LCG framework but is meant to evoke the mythos and it's unknown danger and intrigue, which is a different direction than other LCGs. To me, the design of the system and its mechanics gels perfectly with the mythos, so I don't see any disconnect between the LCG format and the intended audience of players.

Had you or anyone unfamiliar with the "point" of Lovecraft played the game and asked the same question, I'd be more inclined to understand the question being asked.
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David Boeren
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The Eternal Champion wrote:
I don't wanna sound like I'm criticizing the game because I'm NOT. However, I think that in the end it might be something entirely different compared to what some of us were expecting originally from it's core concept.


I don't know what you were expecting originally, but the game seems to match closely to what I expected and probably what most people with experience in LotR LCG would expect.

You're right that a co-op LCG is substantially different from a competitive LCG, but we knew that already thanks to LotR, it shouldn't be a surprise.

The token bag isn't that new or surprising either. Co-op LCGs need a source of randomness. LotR drew a card. This one draws a token. They do roughly the same thing and I doubt you'll find anyone who expected that Arkham Horror *wouldn't* have some mechanic to introduce a random factor.

Finally, your claim that there is little replay value or reason to play a scenario more than once contradicts pretty much every report we've seen from people who have actually played the game. Everyone seems to be saying that the reply value is much higher than expected and that no two games they've played of the same scenario have been similar.

I think everyone also agrees that the degree you want to get into deck building is purely up to you, and the four difficulty levels factors into this heavily. Some people will play simple decks and lower difficulties. Those who like to optimize their decks may prefer to play at higher difficulties. It's all good, play how you want. Just don't claim that because you prefer one way, other ways do not exist. I keep seeing people saying things like "there isn't much deck building in this game" when it would be more accurate to say "I don't personally feel like doing deck building in this game".
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Gergo Tothmihaly
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Dorian B
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dboeren wrote:

Finally, your claim that there is little replay value or reason to play a scenario more than once contradicts pretty much every report we've seen from people who have actually played the game.


I have heard otherwise, so it's not merely a "claim" on my part. Zee Garcia of the Dice Tower for instance mentioned in his review that the game "needs expansions almost immediately" because there is so little content.
 
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Jim Parkin
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We'll have to play it for ourselves and determine the level of replayability via different revealed locations, deck construction, chosen investigators, and difficulty level.
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mark horneff
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I have really enjoyed the previous Mythos games from FFG and collect all the exitising LCGs as well.

Having played through the campaign a few times and experienced its many branches. I now find i am looking forward to obtaining a second set for some increased deck building options.

For me this is the best LCG to date and everything I want from a Mythos game.

As the base set is a contained campaign and good value i would suggest its worth the chance you will enjoy this.

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Kelly B
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The Eternal Champion wrote:
...

Sure, you could be deck-building but I don't see why, especially because there is little incentive to play the scenarios over and over, even if you tried different characters. That and the luck factor surely make for a intense and atmospheric narrative but the replay value seems low.

...


Apologies for snipping your post. I love the fact that people are starting to realize just how different this game is in terms of deck building when compared to LOTR or Netrunner.

Thank you for stating that in a manner that I think will finally get people's attention. All this discussion of multiple core sets really does come down to this. This game is not anything like LOTR in terms of optimization.

I do want to respond directly to one point: the lack of incentive to re-play scenarios. I disagree that there is little incentive. I've played the first scenario over a dozen times and I'm still not tired of it. I've seen every card in the first scenario and I'm learning how to better deal with them each time. Given the tightness of the encounter decks, I've found the scenarios to be much more thematic than many LOTR scenarios. This makes multiple plays more enjoyable for me.

With LOTR I could spend about as much time building decks as I could playing the game. I think with Arkham the enjoyment is in the game rather than the decks. I love this shift.

I really enjoy the whole Arkham Files experience, even the books, so maybe that colors my thinking about replay value.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Dorian.
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Jonathon Neff
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The Eternal Champion wrote:
dboeren wrote:

Finally, your claim that there is little replay value or reason to play a scenario more than once contradicts pretty much every report we've seen from people who have actually played the game.


I have heard otherwise, so it's not merely a "claim" on my part. Zee Garcia of the Dice Tower for instance mentioned in his review that the game "needs expansions almost immediately" because there is so little content.


Having played the campaign over 5 times now all the way through, I can say I have no plans on slowing down. Sure, I'd love to be able to have more options deck building, but I'm still discovering and optimizing the characters at this point. What I see going on lately is that people are looking at this and Mansions like a book, they feel the game can't be enjoyed after you have seen all the options of the plot. If the narrative is the only thing that hooks you to this game, then yeah, replay value is going to be low. If you come at this like it's a game (gasp) then the replay value shoots up dramatically.

I've failed a lot at just the core set, and that's only three scenarios. Considering our first real campaign will be eight, I'm terrified, but for all the right reasons. I love trying to go through again doing that little bit better. I've played through on easy and the game still stomps me pretty hard solo, and there's still two difficulties I haven't even tried. Granted, yes, after a few plays, I'm going through the game much more... gamey. I only focus on the narrative the first couple of times, then I stop reading the flavor text and start trying to win the game.

Also, with one friend we started a campaign, and now I'm kicking myself in the pants wishing I had certain cards and that others are gone. I made my choices to spend my xp way too quickly and now I'm paying for it because I didn't think ahead. I love the gradual deck changes and seeing how each deck slowly evolves is part of the fun for me.

I don't know, it's kind of a non issue for me. I'm going to be getting everything for this game because it's now my top game in my collection.
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Dorian B
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happycatmachine wrote:

I do want to respond directly to one point: the lack of incentive to re-play scenarios. I disagree that there is little incentive. I've played the first scenario over a dozen times and I'm still not tired of it. I've seen every card in the first scenario and I'm learning how to better deal with them each time. Given the tightness of the encounter decks, I've found the scenarios to be much more thematic than many LOTR scenarios. This makes multiple plays more enjoyable for me.

With LOTR I could spend about as much time building decks as I could playing the game. I think with Arkham the enjoyment is in the game rather than the decks. I love this shift.


That's really good to hear since you're obviously not into this game primarily for the deck-building part. Thanks.
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Marc Bowling
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I apparently am the target audience.

I have been frothing at the mouth for this since the rumors first hit.

I love the LoTR LCG but was way late to the party. It feels a bit overwhelming. I am sure I will be flamed to no end over saying that but that is how I feel.

I am stoked to get in on a LCG at the beginning and it is in one of my favorite settings. I hope they do a lotr 2E that is more campaign oriented.
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Kain
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I was playing KDD solo the other night and my wife said t sounded so sad me rolling dice by myself.

So the answer is sad sad nerds.
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Dorian B
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Dark63 wrote:
I was playing KDD solo the other night and my wife said t sounded so sad me rolling dice by myself.

So the answer is sad sad nerds.


Actually my wife and I are planning on playing Arkham TCG together, so that does make us two happy nerds.
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Jim Parkin
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The Eternal Champion wrote:
Dark63 wrote:
I was playing KDD solo the other night and my wife said t sounded so sad me rolling dice by myself.

So the answer is sad sad nerds.


Actually my wife and I are planning on playing Arkham TCG together, so that does make us two happy nerds.

Ditto!
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Emily Dickinson
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Doma0997 wrote:
What I see going on lately is that people are looking at this and Mansions like a book, they feel the game can't be enjoyed after you have seen all the options of the plot. If the narrative is the only thing that hooks you to this game, then yeah, replay value is going to be low.


A more perfect comparison would be a play. There is nothing like seeing King Lear for the first time and there's a strong case to be made for going in cold without knowing how it will end. That doesn't mean there isn't even more for repeat viewings, whether it's because you've studied the text and are more aware of the nuances and language, or because of a different production with a different cast - or even for the hardcore enthusiast, looking at the same production from the same perspective but enjoying the subtle difference between last night's performance and tonight. Obviously, FFG is not Shakespeare, but I think a strong narrative-driven experience is not inherently a barrier to replay value unless the surprises are the only good thing about the story.
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mathew rynich
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limited replayability is a relative term.

I think the core set still has legs even just in that one box. There are many ways to move through the campaign and the third scenario in particular has quite a bit of random elements implemented into it in addition to the effects that are trigger by the outcomes of the previous two scenarios. So it's perfectly easy to just pick up a new investigator or two and play through the core campaign several times.

So what number of playthroughs that will yield before you start to get bored is a subjective thing of course, but I've played through the campaign twice and the first scenario maybe half a dozen times testing out deck builds and combinations of investigators. So I feel like it's been a very good purchase so far as far as replay ability goes. Definitely better than PACG or Time Stories in my opinion. Time Stories you can only really play through once and you are done. PACG's scenarios felt so samey that I actually got bored of it before I finished the fist campaign. So there is where I'm at on the subject
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Richard A. Edwards
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I think Dorian asks a really pertinent question.

I've played all the FFG LCGs at one time or another. I'm not a big deck building fan, but I enjoy card games. I've played the Lord of the Rings LCG extensively as I prefer cooperative to competitive games.

AHLCG is very different from the Lord of the Rings LCG and comparisons to it do both games a disservice. It is even further distant from the Warhammer Quest Adventure Card Game. I have been a play tester for both games and edited several expansions for Lord of the Rings.

People who think they know what AHLCG is going to be like based on those games are going to be surprised.

Yes, as with all LCGs, AHLCG includes building a deck, draw a hand of cards, and pay for those cards with resources to get them into play. And the LCG model will be similar in terms of production cycle. Beyond that they're totally different experiences, IMHO.

AHLCG's campaign and character development is closer to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game model, in that players are individual characters represented by their deck which is modified during play and between sessions through a series of linked scenarios and where play has a random element as well.

But even then the comparison pales as the AHLCG scenarios are so much more thematic and interconnected. Deck development isn't just what you randomly find. Each scenario differs widely from the others, rather than a timed slog to kill the villain.

The game allows standalone scenarios, where you can build (and rebuild) a deck to try and "win" that scenario. Obviously the random chaos tokens can throw a wrench in the best builds, but a solid deck will win out more consistently. You can even play with experience level cards in a standalone scenario, and at different difficulty levels to vary your experience.

In this, it is more like the other LCGs where deck builders can experiment and try to win. The Rules Reference is certainly written for tournament deck building, using all the jargon and providing minutiae for argumentative card interactions.

However, AHLCG really shines in its cooperative, RPG-like, campaign game. And in a campaign of linked scenarios (such as the Dunwich Legacy campaign of 8 scenarios coming soon), a single starting deck build is not going to be as important as how you play each scenario and how you respond to the game's challenges.

And that makes the game much more like a casual adventure game than one focused on deck building.

In the course of a campaign, while you do build your deck to start, scenarios may give you allies or weaknesses or assets, or it may not. You may be asked to make narrative choices that affect the setup or outcome of scenarios. You may gain more victory points and get to upgrade a card or two, or you may take trauma and have to start EVERY scenario from then on with less health or sanity.

There are usually several resolutions to each scenario, so with the various outcomes and different things that can happen, it's difficult to think of any particular outcome as a "win". This might explain why there's a section in the Rules Reference that defines "winning". It's honestly hard to tell.

If I advance the Act to end the game at a positive resolution, but ended up with no experience, is that good for my campaign? Or if most of the group were defeated and will carry trauma forward for many scenarios, is that a good cost to winning? Or if I get the ally and defeat the monster and gain lots of experience points but they advance their Agenda giving me a difficult resolution is that really a loss?

To me, the game seems more like it is for cooperative, story-driven, RPG-like play than for high focus on deck building, but they tried to include methods for players to play it both ways.

I am a more casual player of this game and don't focus on the deck building. I'm sure though that there are focused deck builders who will play this game and concentrate on the perfect deck for each scenario.

So, to answer the original question, I think BOTH are the target audience. But while there are many competitive deck building games, AHLCG is unique in its story-driven campaign and RPG-like game play, so I think that's where this game will shine and the niche it can fill that will attract a lot of new gamers to the LCG world.

Just my two cents after 30+ years in the game industry and more than two dozen plays of AHLCG. Your mileage may vary.

It will be very interesting to hear from both camps once the game is released more widely and more players can weigh in on the discussion.

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Mihnea Cateanu
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Webhead123 wrote:
The way I figure it, the game is an apology to the fans of Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, which just got canned before it even had a chance to get off the ground.

I would guess Arhkam Horror LCG was in development long before the FFG/GW split happened.



Can`t tell you what the target audience is, but I can tell you what makes me an eager customer:

thumbsup cooperative card game with RPG elements
thumbsup campaign play with all that entails (multiple linked scenarios, far-reaching decisions)
thumbsup no legacy aspects, so potentially replayable even after you know the "story"
thumbsup heavy emphasis on story, but there seems to actually be a game in there, more so than stuff like T.I.M.E Stories
thumbsupthumbsup something similar to Eldritch Horror, but with shorter play time, a lesser footprint, more suitable for solo-play (true solo, not multiple characters) and much more thematic

Of course maybe the game won`t actually be all (or any) of that, but that is how I perceive it and what makes me excited. Could care less that they decided to make an LCG.
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mathew rynich
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I agree. I think this game is strongest as a storytelling game, and the game really plays to that strength. There is really nothing competitive about it. There is no incentive to create the most min/maxed deck. No motivation to out play the other investigators. Really no score to speak of except the state of your end game deck.

The joy comes from narrating what just happened during the turn. That said some of the actions you can execute are pretty unheroic, villainous or downright cowardly, which is thematic for the setting, but may turn off people who need to play the epic wish fulfillment type characters. Also some of the characters will definitely not feel like combat powerhouses and instead offer up other talents toward beating the scenario. I know I've talked to people who would be put off by this aspect of the game. This is a game where going insane and passing out due to injury is a pretty realistic outcome during the course of a scenario. It's needs to be that since it is a horror game, and anyone already familiar with FFGs Arkham Files games or the many Lovecraft themed RPGs will be at home with everything I just said.

So what type of game easily maps to this experience. Roleplaying games obviously. Story driven co-op games like Arkham Horror or Eldritch Horror are a pretty easy match (appropriate considering that is exactly what this game is trying to emulate in an LCG format).
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Shane
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People who like soup.
 
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ShaneXtopher wrote:
People who like soup.


...and have money.
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