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Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Solo scaling? rss

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John So-And-So
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I have been playing this solo and I find it literally impossible to beat scenario 3, even on Easy mode. I played with both Roland and Daisy on multiple runs. With lucky Chaos pulls, or easy Encounter card draws, scenarios 1 and 2 were manageable, but even then I died half the time. I'm not an incompetent or a feeb, I'm almost 40 and I've been playing tabletop games since the late 90's. I'm well-versed in deckbuilding and strategy and I'm not asking for tips. I'm just thinking there must be some uber-obvious rule I've overlooked.

Scaling seems to be an obvious culprit to me, but I don't see this addressed in the rules. I see that each investigator draws an encounter card, but the Doom tracker seems to move at the same speed no matter how many players you have. That seems to make a 1-player game far harder. In the first Agenda of the second scenario, you have 6 doom before the first event happens. That comes out to:

1p: 18 actions, 6 encounters
2p: 36 actions, 12 encounters
3p: 54 actions, 18 encounters
4p: 72 actions, 24 encounters

While these ratios are the same, this leads to an imbalance for the same reason that a flat tax is unfair to the poor: the surplus, despite being similar in ratio, is much more significant in AMOUNT the higher you go.

It shouldn't take 3 actions to 'deal' with any given encounter (on average), or the game would never progress. So the action-to-encounter ratio is necessarily less than 3:1.

Assume it takes 1 action to 'deal' with each encounter. We then have:
1p: 12 surplus actions
2p: 24 surplus actions
3p: 36 surplus actions
4p: 48 surplus actions

(Obviously, many encounters take 0 actions to deal with, some never get dealt with; we're talking about the average net loss in game progress versus the gross potential for progress each turn).

It seems to me that the game system is hoping that in terms of scale, lack of information passed between players should count for this significant disparity in action economy, but when playing solo, this doesn't affect me. Isn't playing a single character effectively making the game significantly harder?

Again, if I'm missing an obvious rule, I'd like to know about it.

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Danny Frahm
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Try Skids with De Luca. Now you have 4 actions a turn. Also he's special immunity event will probably be handy.
 
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David Jensen

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The game is absolutely more challenging when playing solo. Piggy backing off your examples, not only do you have less surplus actions but those actions are less efficient.

When Daisy is required to fight she will be at an extreme action inefficient requiring 3 or 4 actions to achieve a success. Compare to her success rate of 50% when collecting clues. Now you've consumed a majority of your actions to make up for your inefficiency. Leaving little room for error or additional actions like card draw and resources.

Lastly I consider it a significant boon to be able to contribute to a players skill check, something that is completely absent in solo play.

Your observations are excellent thank you for being so concrete.
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Eric Borgh
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the very quick answer to your post is "yeah, so?"

first off, how successful would those pesky kids have been if it had just been Fred, or Velma? How successful would Buffy have been without the Scoobies? etc. Thematically, more characters SHOULD make it easier.

second, you say "solo", but really you mean "one investigator". Because the game can certainly be beaten easily with just one (controlling multiple investigators).

finally, one of the BRILLIANT aspects of AHLCG IMHO (lots of acronyms) is just how much you can fine tune the difficulty dial. Want to truly play it solo? Choose one character and attempt it on Easy. If you win, try again on Standard.. when you first fail, figure out where (RNG? Can you use cards to offset RNG? etc)

so what you are saying definitely has a ton of merit.. and at some point, the game may indeed become nigh unwinnable. IMHO your math and conclusions don't yell "unfair" as much as "the game is intended to be easier with more investigators, and more difficult with fewer". And frankly, AH was the same way. I'm not sure anyone expected otherwise

Still.. great observations.. Now you have me wanting to take one investigator through on Easy, and working my way up from there until it becomes near impossible.
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David Boeren
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I find that I do best in solo with Agnes and Skids. Roland and Daisy are my 2nd tier solo investigators, then Wendy bringing up the rear. Daisy can get lucky though, with the right cards out she's pretty good. Roland is more consistent but neither does he surge in power much.

It kind of comes down to:
1. Learning the game well (don't know if you've been playing non-solo games for a while or if you're brand new).

2. Having two cores so you can build a better deck (more important in solo than with 3-4 players for sure as you cannot rely on others to cover your inconsistencies)

3. And then actually working on a good deck and good strategy hand-in-hand. If you get creamed, think about why. What tools did you need that you didn't see? What cards were not useful and just sat in your hand? Is there a play you should have made but didn't? Does your plan need to be revamped? Then tune up your deck and your playstyle and have another go at it.

It's definitely not all about the deck, your choices make a huge difference too. Did you sit around and do nothing but gear up for two turns? Did you rush out without any weapons? Did you pick fighting or evading that ghoul? Should I stick around and try to clean out my location to get more xp or just finish the scenario before something bad happens again?
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Nathan Hortness
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I thought that one of the advantages with Arkham over LOTR was suppse to be the fact that you could play it solo (ie. controlling only one character) without being at a huge disadvantage. Reading this thead that doesn't seem to be the case.

That is really too bad and a huge blow to the roleplaying element of the game.
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Cameron McKenzie
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Yeah, the number of "surplus" actions scales with number of investigators...
But the number of clues and/or damage you need to achieve to advance or win also scales with the number of investigators...
So there's not really a problem.

Two investigators can run twice as fast but they have to travel twice as far, so to speak, so they get there at the same time.
 
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John So-And-So
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MasterDinadan wrote:
Yeah, the number of "surplus" actions scales with number of investigators...
But the number of clues and/or damage you need to achieve to advance or win also scales with the number of investigators...
So there's not really a problem.

Two investigators can run twice as fast but they have to travel twice as far, so to speak, so they get there at the same time.


They don't though. Two investigators "run" +12 and only have to "travel" +6. The progress required does not scale at the same rate as the potential progress (that's the point of the whole post).

I can appreciate the point of view that's saying "yes, but that's just the way it is". I'm not arguing it's bad (although it has definitely been frustrating to me), it just seems like a strange design choice and I want to make sure I'm not overlooking some mechanism that negates it.
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Pawel Gutowski
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I play only single investigator and 3rd scenario is indeed hard. I did not beat it on normal difficulty but took it on easy.

But then? Am I expected to beat it on standard with every investigator? I think this will become doable after some expansion packs become available.

Regarding multiple investigators, there are multiple threads by other people, who report that higher numer of players is making game much harder since they draw multiple cards from encounter decks.

If people who play single char say this is too hard and they believe multi would be easier
and
if at the same time some other people say exactly the same thing for reverse scenario,
I think balance is fine
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Ian Lim
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CapAp wrote:

Scaling seems to be an obvious culprit to me, but I don't see this addressed in the rules. I see that each investigator draws an encounter card, but the Doom tracker seems to move at the same speed no matter how many players you have. That seems to make a 1-player game far harder.


i would like to disagree with this. with more investigators, more Ancient Evils and Mysterious Chanting will come and more cultist appears with those doom tokens so the doom tracker is faster.

guciomir wrote:

If people who play single char say this is too hard and they believe multi would be easier
and
if at the same time some other people say exactly the same thing for reverse scenario,
I think balance is fine

I agree!




and about beating the scenario 3, maybe it is just me but throwing lita to the AO was fun, and I consider it quite a victory although you dont get much of VPs. this is the first ending i experienced, and me(skids) and my daughter(daisy) when this happened, we are on the brink of doing the 'resign' action, because we are run out of gas, lots of damage taken, and the AO is still at full health.. but we keep playing and see what will happen and we are surprised of that option and we have a lot of fun.
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Duck Farmer
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When playing solo try this variant: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1679451/cheating
 
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Allan Clements
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The numbers he posted above are fine as you need to gain twice as many clues with 2 players as you do with 1, so you have twice as many surplus actions to do that. The doom track being one turn is fine.

The main issue is movement, the map is still the same no matter the player count, the number of clues on locations scales up, but with more players you can spend less time moving and more time in single locations (if you split up) so you end up with move actions being more efficient. e.g. both players spend 1 move, then spend 2 to gain 2 clues. A single player has to spend 1 move, then gain 1 clue and then move again.

There are other issues with some cards being better solo and some being better in a group, though I think this is ok. e.g. Dynamite works better if you draw more encounter cards as you can deal with many threats in one card.

Solo also has cards like scrying though which turn the game into very much a puzzle when you know everything coming your way.

Overall I think it plays very well solo, much better than LOTR did (especially at the start) and I forsee it getting better over time.
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Allan Clements
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Using your numbers:
1p: 12 surplus actions
2p: 24 surplus actions
3p: 36 surplus actions
4p: 48 surplus actions

This is exactly scaled as it is supposed to, if you have to collect X clues, you have the same ratio of actions to do so because required clues scales per investigator.

Ignoring movement if we assume it takes 1.5 actions to gain a clue. (playing cards which have several uses or just repeatedly trying)

If 2 players move as a group and play together, they use the same number of moves, if they split up, they get an improved movement/clue ratio at the expense of needing to function solo.

If there were 6 locations, each with 1 clue per player, a single player would need to spend 6 actions to move to each, and 9 actions to collect the clues. so 15 actions.

If 2 players move together, it works out exactly the same as a solo player but doubled, so 30 actions.

2 players splitting up, would need to spend 3 actions each and 18 actions to collect. So 21 actions.

Unsurprisingly, with 12 surplus actions you need 15 to collect them all, and with 24 surplus actions you need 30 to collect them all, so 3 more than your actions, and 6 more than if two player (exactly as it should be scaled)

But if you look at the splitting up example, you in fact saved 3 actions.

This is where the scaling makes the solo game harder, but not hugely so since you don't need or want to move every turn.

The best solution (if you want one) would be to give the solo player one free move action per turn.
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owen sullivan
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Solo is harder, but some very simple house rules can fix that. Are you playing with 1 or 2 cores? Because there is a huge difference when playing solo.
 
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David Jensen

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ND3G wrote:
That is really too bad and a huge blow to the roleplaying element of the game.


I find that roleplaying solo vs Ancient One to be unrealistic (anti-thematic). It would always take a team of investigators to over come the power of the ancient one.

Compare also to D&D (role playing) where it's recommend to explore the dungeons with others. The more the merrier when it comes to RPG's.

borghe wrote:
the very quick answer to your post is "yeah, so?"


All in all, I'm okay with solo being difficult.

Given the observations, I think we all agree there is a benefit and perhaps more enjoyable experience when playing as two investigators.
 
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