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Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Not convinced that one Investigator can do this alone rss

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Stephan Beal
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Geltendorf
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Hi, all,

Forewarning 1: mild spoilers for the first scenario. If you haven't played it, and hate spoilers, please stop reading now.

Forewarning 2: some of you will read this as a negative critique of the game and may be offended by that. So be it. It is not intended to be negative. It is intended to reflect what i have experienced so far with the game. Your experiences, of course, will vary from mine (often wildly).

Forewarning 3: This is just kind of rambling, with no particular point in mind... just kind of a post mortem of my session and my pseudo-analysis and speculation of various aspects of the game...

So...

Last night i finally, on my third attempt, made it all the way through the first scenario with (AFAIK) only a single rules flub (Wendy briefly had 2 allies in play, until i noticed and tossed the extra one). (i think i'm gonna need a playmat to help me remember the card-slot limits.)

Partaking in the adventure was Roland and Wendy, both using the recommend preconfigured deck builds.

Disregard that for a moment, though. We had 2 Investigators in play, but throughout the game i kept coming across situations where i had to ask myself, "how on earth would {this} or {that} Investigator possibly be able to get around {that obstacle}?"

i've seen several posters claim, "this game is not intended for 1 investigator, FFG only says that to rope in the solo players." Which i will naively counter by pointing to the LTP guide, page 4, bullet point 1. i.e. i don't buy the argument that "it's not intended for play by a single investigator." If it's not, then the LTP guide is downright lying, which i find... a bit difficult to accept.

i will, however, buy the argument that it's not even remotely balanced for a single investigator. i will also buy the argument that it's literally not balanceable for a single investigator, as the variety of attributes, and range of scores needed, ensures that no single investigator is going to be able to cover all them adequately. Fine. i can accept that, but it is in direct conflict with the impression given (A) on the box and (B) in my beloved LTP guide, page 4, bullet point 1.

Yes, i've seen posts by people claiming to have played the whole campaign (on the Standard difficulty) using only a single Investigator. Quite frankly, i don't buy it.

The only way Roland and Wendy were able to defeat the Ghoul Priest was by using her to Evade/Exhaust it, and him to fill it full of lead. Wendy literally doesn't have enough Fight to damage it more than once or twice throughout the session (and only when she draws a +1 Chaos Chip), and Roland literally doesn't have enough Feet to evade it more than once or twice (again, only when tossing all his extra cards and pulling a +1 Chaos Chip). Roland doesn't have enough Head to convince Lita to join them, and without Lita that Ghoul is a tremendous pain the butt to kill. Granted, with a single Investigator it only has 5 HP, not 10, so maybe Roland could pull it off without Lita's help, in particular if he's got his trusty Guard Dog and/or Dynamite... except that he effectively can't use his Dynamite when playing alone because he doesn't have enough Feet to reliably evade the Ghoul Priest, so his only option would be to detonate it in his own space.

If Wendy were going at it alone, she would be able to do, literally, something like a grand total of 2-3 damage to the Ghoul, and then only when discarding all her cards for skill bonuses and hoping for a +1 Chaos Chit. The odds are apparently sorely against her being able to do more damage than that.

In the end, i found the tactic of using Wendy to Evade/Exhaust it, and Roland to blast it, to be utterly cheesebally and completely unsatisfying, but i saw no other approach to defeating it. Three or four turns, one after another, Wendy ties its shoelaces together and runs away laughing while Roland takes pop shots at it and shouts, "again, Wendy! Again!" It was more of a circus routine than a horrific episode.

So...

a) i'm not happy with how the Ghoul Priest's defeat played out at all. Utterly cheesebally. Yes, he died the death he deserved. Dealing it out felt like i was taking a play from Benny Hill's Guide to Fighting Monsters, though.

b) i currently feel that it's impossible, without further gimping the Chaos Chips for an Ultra-Easy Mode, for a single Investigator to have a snowball's chance in hell at victory going it alone. Maybe a single investigator can get a "resign" result, but a "real victory" (or "non-defeat") looks highly unlikely to me. i could very well be wrong (and likely am!), but i'm skeptical of anyone who says they've completed this whole campaign (as written) using only a single Investigator.


That's not to say we'll stop there. Roland and Wendy will be heading out to Scenario 2 at some point soon, with Roland carrying along one unit of Mental Trauma from watching Lita burn down his beloved house. He felt that burning it down was the lesser of two evils, though. (BTW: because of various timing issues, Wendy would have, IMO, made a better lead Investigator than Roland, in which case she would have ended up with the Trauma.)

Enough rambling for now...
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Benjamin Nicholson
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Fort Wayne
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I had Roland kill the ghoul priest in 1 round. Using a knife for two actions then using the knife's second ability plus a skill card to do 3 more damage. I'm pretty sure I played it right.
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Mathias Heilmann
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I've played the campaign with 3 heroes solo now (Roland, Daisy and Skids) and got to the end every time (standard difficulty). I didn't manage to get one of those "the investigators win" endings in the third scenario though. Remember that you don't have to "win" scenario 1 or 2 in order to get those, it's just easier. Resigning is not necessarily considered a loss in scenario 1 and especially not in scenario 2.
I agree with you when you say that it is easier with twi investigators, because you just have more chances do combos and fill in for each others weaknesses. Hence I'm going to play with 2 investigators next time and see how that works out.
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mathew rynich
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You know there are several ways to progress in the campaign. For example you don't ever have to kill the Ghoul Priest or the Masked Hunter or really any of the big bads. If you are playing just Wendy or Daisy those are viable options. I have never solo-ed the game with Daisy. I suspect that would be very challenging. That said there is usually a resign option for her and some non violent resolution available. In scenario three it's possible to beat that whole thing without ever fighting. Not easy, but possible.

Your "I don't buy it" comment is kind of weird. Is your opinion based on the one core experience. If so I can see this being a valid issue with the starter decks. I have two cores.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I beat scenario one with Wendy solo on standard difficulty getting the R1 resolution. Lita + Baseball Bat + Overpower or Unexpected Courage. I did some work in scenario two before resigning deliberately to attempt to minimize my losses going into scenario three. The Masked Hunter really jams you up, but I did stick around for a while after he appeared. His Evade test is only two versus Wendy's 4 Agility so usually I could still do stuff each turn. In scenario three I did finish with Wendy using resolution R3. The Survivor cards help a lot (Things like Stray Cat, Cunning Distraction, Close Call, Lucky!, Look What I Found!). It was hard to investigate enough with Wendy in the third scenario. I did attempt it twice. The second time I managed to investigate enough with Lucky!, Flashlights and Look What I Found! to make it to the cult. I saved for Cunning Distraction to get passed the cult and sacrifice Lita to the AO. There was some luck involved since I needed to have Lita and I needed to manage to have Cunning Distraction and the money to pay for it (I guess Elusive would have worked as well and it was also in my deck).


All that said That wasn't my first play through on the campaign so I knew how to plan things out ahead of time, which helped.
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Danwarr
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With the current card pool, yes I would agree that it is very difficult to complete a full R1 run on the base campaign on standard difficulty with 1 investigator. You simply do not have enough actions against the doom track, which is most obvious in scenario 2.

Part of the issue is that to access better cards in a campaign, you need XP, which you only get if you are doing well in any given scenario. So if you do poorly on the outset, it makes it more difficult to get a better resolution or more XP the further you go.
 
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Chris
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sgbeal wrote:


In the end, i found the tactic of using Wendy to Evade/Exhaust it, and Roland to blast it, to be utterly cheesebally and completely unsatisfying, but i saw no other approach to defeating it. Three or four turns, one after another, Wendy ties its shoelaces together and runs away laughing while Roland takes pop shots at it and shouts, "again, Wendy! Again!" It was more of a circus routine than a horrific episode.


Interesting, I had the exact same sequence play out and felt it was incredibly appropriate; the urchin distracts the Priest or presents an easy target, and squirms out of its way - and as he's trying to corner her the Fed shows up with his trusty .38 and seals the deal. Exactly the way the characters should behave, IMO.
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Tom Scutt
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I've played through the scenario twice. Once with a lone Roland, once with Roland and Wendy.
Spoiler (click to reveal)

With Roland and Wendy I took the Ghoul Priest down in two turns without a scratch even though Roland didn't have a weapon. From memory it went like this: Ghoul Priest enagages with Roland. Next turn Wendy went into the Parlour, got Lita, came back - Roland who had Beat Cop, and Physical Training out spent three actions to attack - each time with a total of +3 (+1 from Beat Cop, +1 from one resource spent on Physical Training, +1 from Lita). Did 2 damage each time despite having no weapon (+1 damage from Lita). So 6 damage that turn. Then used dodge to avoid the Ghoul Priest attack. Next turn attack, attack (the final one at +2 because I'd run out of resources to spend on Physical Training) - dead Ghoul Priest.

As for single player, I dynamited my own location. I *did* die next turn, but only from the horror effect (and only then because I forgot I could have used my Beat Cop as a psychic shield).
 
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Matthew McFarland
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Floresville
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There's plenty of cards Wendy can draw into to help against the Ghoul Priest: .41 Derringer, Hard Knocks, Backstab, Sneak Attack, Baseball Bat, Lucky, Knife, Unexpected Courage, Overcome. Not to mention Lita herself.
 
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Dreux Barbier
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I've only played scenario once now, but I did get though it without TOO much trouble soloing it with Roland. Maybe I just got lucky with card draws?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I advanced the acts quite quickly because a monster would spawn and I'd kill it, thus getting an extra clue each time. I didn't even go into the Cellar at all. With the help of extra damage from the machete, and a few boosts (from card discards), killing the ghoul only took me 3 actions in all.
 
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mathew rynich
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Backstab->Evade->Sneak Attack actually is I think enough to kill him. He's only 5 HP for 1 investigator. So you could just total ignore Combat for Wendy and concentrate on Agility. I've never done it, but it seems possible.
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Tim Moore
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I think I'm playing wrong...2 times through now (one with Wendy, one with Roland). DEAD! DEAD! DEAD!

Still looking for the subtleties...partially, I had not evaded yet. Forgot about the tapping part of that...

Perhaps now that I've got 70% of the rules figured out...

Tim
 
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mathew rynich
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Not sure what you might be getting wrong. Wendy definitely needs to exercise evade. Also I've been playing two cores for a while so I can't speak to the effectiveness of the starter decks.

I would mention make sure you understand the Spawn rules. There are two very challenging enemies that have a specific spawn location. If that location isn't in play then the encounter deck basically wiffs and they just get discarded. A rare case of something working out in the investigator's favor. Also note than unless the enemy has the hunter keyword it will not follow you if you evade it and move to another location. If Wendy is done at a location anyway it's better to just evade and escape enemies than try and deal with them.
 
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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I was able to solo the first scenario with Wendy precon, but Roland precon ate it (mostly because I was not willing to Resign and had spent too many resources going for extra victory by killing the Flesh Eater).

5 damage with Wendy against the Ghoul Priest is *easy peazy*. That's only a Sneak Attack and a Backstab (oh, did I miss on that Backstab? guess I'm throwing away a card and trying again!)
 
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Simon Taylor
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IMO the standard difficulty is not too difficult with a bit of asset and card management. Hard difficulty, is frigging hard.
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mathew rynich
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
I was able to solo the first scenario with Wendy precon, but Roland precon ate it (mostly because I was not willing to Resign and had spent too many resources going for extra victory by killing the Flesh Eater).

5 damage with Wendy against the Ghoul Priest is *easy peazy*. That's only a Sneak Attack and a Backstab (oh, did I miss on that Backstab? guess I'm throwing away a card and trying again!)


Wendy is my favorite core investigator. She seems like she'd be terrible on first glance, but she has some really powerful options available to her and her card ability to redraw a chaos token is probably the most useful investigator card ability in the game, and that's including the spoilers we've seen already for the first cycle in my opinion.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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phillosmaster wrote:
her card ability to redraw a chaos token is probably the most useful investigator card ability in the game, and that's including the spoilers we've seen already for the first cycle in my opinion.


You'd think that, and yet I draw two -2s in a row when trying to Investigate the cellar with a "Look at what I found!" in hand.

 
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Marc Bowling
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It is possible you are playing wrong. I was my first several games at first. I was forgetting that mobs auto engage when they ready, so I was wasting actions to engage so I could evade.
 
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Tim Moore
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The Yellow Meeple wrote:
I was forgetting that mobs auto engage when they ready, so I was wasting actions to engage so I could evade.


That's why I was not evading...need to go back and reread that part...

Tonight

Wendy settles back into her chair to continue her study

until the rap rap rapping at her door

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Scott Dockery
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cajuntechie wrote:
I've only played scenario once now, but I did get though it without TOO much trouble soloing it with Roland. Maybe I just got lucky with card draws?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I advanced the acts quite quickly because a monster would spawn and I'd kill it, thus getting an extra clue each time. I didn't even go into the Cellar at all. With the help of extra damage from the machete, and a few boosts (from card discards), killing the ghoul only took me 3 actions in all.


Roland's ability only works if there are clues at his location, so you can't win without going to the cellar.
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Jeroen
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As someone else stated, how you played it is (to me at least) completely thematic. Wendy distracts, Roland blasts.

Also, as stated, killing the Ghoul Priest may just not be an option.
That is how this game rolls. I was in my last session one chit draw away from Allying Lita, who could've soaked up one Attack from the Ghoul Priest, allowing me another Round to get the beast down (possibly).

Now you say we should not take offense, but the "I don't buy it" line is hard to get past without commenting. I play single Investigator only, and find that even a single Core Set brings me just enough options to try different things, get different outcomes, experience different strategies, and so forth.

After only 1 Learn To Play session I went to Hard mode and haven't looked back. I haven't "won" yet, but that's why I'm enjoying and replaying it so much. There is still plenty to discover and try.

You can play without the deckbuilding on Easy mode just for the narrative, and that's fine too. For me the gameplay is the thing, and I'm having a blast. With a single Investigator. Which the designers have firmly had in mind from the get-go (and have stated so, also in the Learn To Play guide).
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David Boeren
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Whether you choose to believe it or not, it can be done and does not require extreme luck to pull off.
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Jonathon Neff
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I'm mostly amused because with just Wendy, double back stab just kills the ghoul priest. Over kills him in fact. Heck, back stab, evade, sneak attack kills him. Yeah, playing through your first time with a solo investigator is going to hurt sometimes, but once you know what's coming, it's easier to prepare for. Granted, all did not fair well for wendy completely in the later scenarios, but I was very satisfied with that solo run...
 
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Marc Bowling
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Im not necessarily sure the point of this game is to actually win.
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Joe Robertson
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I played through the entire campaign solo with Roland on standard and made it through. Did not have too much of a hard time, although he was not in great shape at the end.
 
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Sergio Marques

London
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
I was able to solo the first scenario with Wendy precon, but Roland precon ate it (mostly because I was not willing to Resign and had spent too many resources going for extra victory by killing the Flesh Eater).

5 damage with Wendy against the Ghoul Priest is *easy peazy*. That's only a Sneak Attack and a Backstab (oh, did I miss on that Backstab? guess I'm throwing away a card and trying again!)


Out of interest, how many cores are you using? How many Sneak Attacks and Backstabs?

With one core, that *easy peazy* move just seems like a really good draw with perfect timing.
 
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