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Eldritch Horror» Forums » General

Subject: So, how do the expansions dilute the game? rss

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Peter Andersson
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Let's get this straight, I have no interest in this getting into a debate whether this is a good game or not. But I don't like it, I feel it's too "unfair" to the players and some of the cards just makes no sense (like having follow a group of cultists when you're practically dead).
But I really do want to like the game. I really, really want to!
So, do the expansions balance the game a little more to the players favour? I'm not looking for a game that you win nine times out of ten, I'm ok with a game that you win one time out of ten. But when I win I want it to not just be about luck with the dice and cards but because of the decisions we've made during the game.
Do the additional cards provided by the expansions change any of this?

Again, this post is not made to bash the game. I just really want to like and enjoy it and perhaps some expansions is the way to go.

(I already own Forsaken Lore and Mountains of Madness.)
 
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ASL ... yes, this is my Desert Island Game. If I have to give up all my 3000+ games and only allowed to keep one, this would be it. This bloody game stood the test of time. Around for more than 25 years - simply the best.
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You can easily influence your chances of winning/losing with the Mythos deck - use only/more/mainly easy/medium/hard cards and set your chosen level of difficulty.

The expansions (aside from the side board expansions) simply offer more stuff. More variety. And the Focus mechanic.

After about 50 games (using all available expansions), we have a success rate of about 55% (always drawing Mythos cards totally random). Experience is also a factor in this game.

Also, if you own MoM, the Elder Things are probably the easiest scenario to win.
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M.C.Crispy
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Expansions don't really dilute the game. Each expansion attempts to maintain the balance of card types at a pre-determined level while also adding a new card type (usually). Sometimes when a new card type is added, the balance is a little "off" (such as when Foresaken Lore introduced cards that use the Poisoned mechanism), but it usually settles with the next expansion.

(I'm being very general when I say "card type", it may be a whole new deck, or a card that introduces a mechanism, or one that introduces a new effect)

It's certainly a common complaint with EH that you are quite likely to experience insta-death without mitigation. (You certainly should never let Health or Sanity drop below 4 for any period of time as this puts you in the insta-kill zone).

It's hard to completely mitigate against excessive difficulty because there's no difficulty rating on Encounter cards. However, as has been mentioned, you have full control over the difficulty of the Mythos: using only Easy Mythos cards would eliminate most insta-kill scenarios, but you'd lose variety of Mythos unless you had all the expansions.

If you're regularly being crushed, do not buy Signs of Carcosa or Under the Pyramid, you will not enjoy the Impairment mechanism.
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Peter Andersson
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Ah, thanks!
I suspected that the expansions would "only" offer variety. Which is a good thing! Dilution isn't always (rarely) a good thing.
Ah, so the game is winnable. I've only played the game about 10 times and always lost miserably. We just never had the time to accomplish enough. And never could travel fast enough.
Perhaps I'll just play a dozen or two solo games to learn what to do and then try it again with my gaming group.
 
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Peter Andersson
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@mccrispy
Thanks for the strategy tips! Those are much needed when I start playing the game.
I'll definitely start in easy mode with the lighter mythos cards and then ramp up as I gain experience. I'll probably get all expansions just to have more variety. They're pretty cheap if you compare to most kickstarters these days. So it's worth a shot.
 
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M.C.Crispy
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lugiber wrote:
@mccrispy
Thanks for the strategy tips! Those are much needed when I start playing the game.
I'll definitely start in easy mode with the lighter mythos cards and then ramp up as I gain experience. I'll probably get all expansions just to have more variety. They're pretty cheap if you compare to most kickstarters these days. So it's worth a shot.
Be aware that there are a lot of "distractions" in the game - this is deliberate. Distractions are things that divert you from the two main goals of Solving Mysteries and managing Doom (your Win and Lose "triggers"). Anything (even a Rumour) that doesn't affect your Win/Lose triggers is a distraction and should be ignored - at least while you build experience.
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You can also check out the encounter statistics in the files forum. They let you play the game in a more strategic way.
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George Aristides
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lugiber wrote:
I'm not looking for a game that you win nine times out of ten, I'm ok with a game that you win one time out of ten. But when I win I want it to not just be about luck with the dice and cards but because of the decisions we've made during the game.


If you are losing most of your games, you are making the wrong decisions. With experience, you will learn to play better, and you will win most of the time.

Have a look at some EH playthroughs in:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh-FZRH6EBIWhhHw5v645Kg/pla...

The decisions and discussions about strategy will hopefully give you some ideas of new strategies to try.
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Peter Andersson
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Thanks guys!
I guess I play the game too much like Arkham Horror, where you're usually able to solve all rumors and close most of the gates.
I guess I'll just focus on sealing gates in the future.
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M.C.Crispy
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lugiber wrote:
Thanks guys!
I guess I play the game too much like Arkham Horror, where you're usually able to solve all rumors and close most of the gates.
I guess I'll just focus on sealing gates in the future.
It's easy to get drawn into a "AH mode" of play and that can be problematic - unless your AH style of play is "focus on the win goals, avoid distractions". As I said previously, this is exactly the approach to take in EH too, in that regard EH and AH are very similar. However, in many ways AH is the simpler game: you only have to work toward Sealing Gates. Sure, managing Monsters is important and Rumours can be disruptive, but you don't "have to" do anything else as you have very limited control over Doom. In EH you not only have to work on the Win (Solve Mysteries) you also have to actively manage Doom (by Closing Gates).
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Emily Dickinson
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lugiber wrote:
Thanks guys!
I guess I play the game too much like Arkham Horror, where you're usually able to solve all rumors and close most of the gates.
I guess I'll just focus on sealing gates in the future.


Sealing Gates is often one of those distractions - the game is won by Solving Mysteries, and only that.

One rule the expansions introduce that can easily be proxied is Focus. Feel free to look at the Focus rules and just start including that with pennies or whatever.
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Peter Andersson
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Esgaldil wrote:
lugiber wrote:
Thanks guys!
I guess I play the game too much like Arkham Horror, where you're usually able to solve all rumors and close most of the gates.
I guess I'll just focus on sealing gates in the future.


Sealing Gates is often one of those distractions - the game is won by Solving Mysteries, and only that.

One rule the expansions introduce that can easily be proxied is Focus. Feel free to look at the Focus rules and just start including that with pennies or whatever.

Sorry, I meant focus on solving mysteries. Apparently AH still has a strong hold on me.

Point taken. The most basic strategy seems to be to avoid doing anything except solve mysteries. Unless there's some game effect that threaten to end the game prematurely.
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secoAce -
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I'm in a similar boat. I tried really hard to like EH but every game I played was like a torturous endeavor of walking through the mechanics where I couldn't wait for the game to end. Maybe it's because I'm not at all familiar with the Cthulhu setting but the setting of the game just didn't come through to me at all.

I too was wondering if expansions would enhance the game, but I have since found other similar adventuring games that scratches that itch a lot better without trying to work myself up to like the game so I've given up on EH. Good thing I didn't actually buy any expansions for it.

My suggestion would be to not force yourself to like a game. It's too much work and there are a lot of other games out there.
Arkham Horror The Card Game sounds like it will be a more immersive game so I'm hopeful about it and giving the Cthulhu setting another try.

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Peter Andersson
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secoAce wrote:
My suggestion would be to not force yourself to like a game. It's too much work and there are a lot of other games out there.
Arkham Horror The Card Game sounds like it will be a more immersive game so I'm hopeful about it and giving the Cthulhu setting another try.

That's some good advice! I have (of course) already ordered Arkham Horror the card game. And mechanics doesn't bother me (I love Arkham Horror). But, yeah, perhaps this game isn't for me. Only time will tell, one of these days I'll give the game a few more tries.
I've just ordered the missing expansions. And I'll definitely get the Dreamlands Expansion when it comes.
 
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George Aristides
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lugiber wrote:

Point taken. The most basic strategy seems to be to avoid doing anything except solve mysteries. Unless there's some game effect that threaten to end the game prematurely.


That could be true if you are playing with 2 investigators.
If you are playing with 4 or more, often you need to pace your game slower, making sure that some investigators are working towards the mystery (e.g. getting clues) while others are keeping the gates under control.

A good strategy for the early game (first 2-3 turns) is to focus on beefing up your investigators by taking assets (with bank loans to add extra successes) that give bonuses to your stats. This will make them a lot more likely to pass tests during encounters, which will give them more good stuff (and avoid bad stuff).

I aim to solve the first mystery by turn 7-8, the second around 3-4 turns later, and the last one 2-3 turns later. In the late game your investigators should be stacked with items, allies and improvements (if they are not, you are probably not acquiring assets enough).
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M.C.Crispy
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Esgaldil wrote:
lugiber wrote:
Thanks guys!
I guess I play the game too much like Arkham Horror, where you're usually able to solve all rumors and close most of the gates.
I guess I'll just focus on sealing gates in the future.


Sealing Gates is often one of those distractions - the game is won by Solving Mysteries, and only that.
True as far as it goes, but failing to manage Doom will likely lose you the game. So managing Doom (note that I didn't say "Closing Gates") is important. Unless you can guarantee to win really fast, before the number of open Gates sends you into a Doom-based Death-Spiral.
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Uwe Blab
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lugiber wrote:
Ah, thanks!
I suspected that the expansions would "only" offer variety. Which is a good thing! Dilution isn't always (rarely) a good thing.
Ah, so the game is winnable. I've only played the game about 10 times and always lost miserably. We just never had the time to accomplish enough. And never could travel fast enough.
Perhaps I'll just play a dozen or two solo games to learn what to do and then try it again with my gaming group.


Be sure to play with 4 characters regardless of the number of players. It's much more manageable than having two characters running all over the place. Odd numbers of characters are also unfavorable in regards to difficulty. If there are only three players, then we often just use Charlie Kane as an NPC.

Also, you should check out the Staged Difficulty variant introduced in Mountains of Madness. It removes the risk of being ground into the dirt right at the start by hard Mythos cards.
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Chris Knapp

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One thing I really like about this game is that you can adjust the difficulty anywhere from basically impossible to very easy, just with the mythos deck.
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Alexander Hristov
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I'd say practice, practice, practice.
The base game is somewhat at a miss in both variety and balance. I think the absolute must are the Forsaken Lore expansion (for spicing up the AO mysteries) and Mountains of Madness (introducing the focus mechanic). Every other expansion is more or less optional.
Don't get me wrong, I have every expansion thus far and I'm definitely getting the Dreamlands once they release though.

I got to say I love the game, whether I'm winning or not. For me it has a lot of immersion (as we always read out loud the encounter cards), it's tons of fun in my gaming group.

As for the actual gameplay - I'd say the quicker wins are with 2 investigators: you pretty much snowball the game or you get snowballed. 4 investigators seem to be the optimal way as you're getting moderate difficulty & length of the game. We've tried with 6 and 7 people, but it becomes just way too long.

If you're having difficulties, I'd suggest playing with Akachi Onyele and Charlie Kane as part of your group. Charlie can quickly gear up all the investigators and Akachi's ability to hop around the board is great for doom control (gates/clues).

And, as everyone already pointed out, you can always fiddle with the mythos deck and the difficulty of the cards used.
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Emily Dickinson
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weerax wrote:
I think the absolute must [includes] Mountains of Madness (introducing the focus mechanic). Every other expansion is more or less optional.


Strong dissent on your reasoning here. Focus can very easily be proxied - the only component is an absolutely generic set of identical tokens. If you won't allow yourself to use Focus without buying an expansion, Strange Remnants is the better bargain (and is being reprinted, so should be available at cheaper prices soon). There are good reasons to pick up Mountains of Madness, but not just to be able to include Focus.
 
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Alexander Hristov
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Esgaldil wrote:
weerax wrote:
I think the absolute must [includes] Mountains of Madness (introducing the focus mechanic). Every other expansion is more or less optional.


Strong dissent on your reasoning here. Focus can very easily be proxied - the only component is an absolutely generic set of identical tokens. If you won't allow yourself to use Focus without buying an expansion, Strange Remnants is the better bargain (and is being reprinted, so should be available at cheaper prices soon). There are good reasons to pick up Mountains of Madness, but not just to be able to include Focus.


I stand corrected then. Never thought of using just a proxy for the focus mechanic . Still, I prefer MoM over Strange Remnants, purely on thematic purposes really. I still got both and I'm enjoying the new spells & so on, but I like the Antarctic setting better.
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rugli wrote:
If there are only three players, then we often just use Charlie Kane as an NPC.


Also, park him on Tokyo to weaken those darn monsters!

Investigators are a resource. Don't waste your time trying to improve them. If yours accidentally gains a few skills, *then* try to keep them alive.

You lose the game by using up time. If you don't know that, you won't notice you've already lost until it's too late.

Hammer down on those gates. Once things go out of control, you'll know you should have kept those gates closed.

Don't waste your time hoping something will happen in an encounter. You might gain a Condition, which will further drain time.

Play the hero. If nobody does anything about something threatening, you will lose the game.
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Karsten Nolastnamegiven
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I almost always "waste my time" by improving investigators in the first few rounds.

Failing too many tests will send you into a downward spiral that can be very hard to recover from.
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M.C.Crispy
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Sam and Max wrote:
rugli wrote:
If there are only three players, then we often just use Charlie Kane as an NPC.


Also, park him on Tokyo to weaken those darn monsters!
Or London to spam Clues, which are spread very thinly on the board in a low-player-count games. Travelling to collect Clues also uses up time.
 
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George Aristides
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Arc_Light wrote:
I almost always "waste my time" by improving investigators in the first few rounds.

Failing too many tests will send you into a downward spiral that can be very hard to recover from.


Paraphrasing from Sun Tzu:

Victorious EH players first ensure they have a large dice pool for the skill they are most likely to need, then roll the dice.

Defeated EH players roll the dice first, then hope to pass.
 
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