Arkham Horror: the Card Game: Going through all the cycles with the expedition chief
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This is an attempt to try and wreck havoc in the Arkham Files with Leo Anderson, solo, on Easy difficulty.

The deck can be found here: https://arkhamdb.com/deck/view/231417

Rules:
- The deck will be reset at the start of each new campaign, to its original form.
- If a scenario should result in Leo's demise I take the liberty of playing it again
- Charon's Obol is not allowed!

It goes without saying that there will be massive spoilers ahead. I've still said it, though.

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1. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:19]
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The deck and the reasons behind the card choices.

Investigator

Leo's in charge of a real army of unnamed allies. His ability to use and dispose of them is phenomenal, and playing one of them from your hand for 0 action and -1 resource is promising. He's restrictions give him access to a very interesting pool and the toughest thing will be to select the right allies.
His stats are really impressive too. 4 willpower means he can survive most treacheries without comitting too many cards. 3 Intellect is a good starting value and means that you can run him solo and with a couple cards he can investigate through a good many locations. As a guardian his combat value is of course pretty high. WIth 1 evasion you won't be relying on evading enemies though and so I should make sure to pack a couple weapons so as not to have to rely on evading!
Later down the line, Leo can upgrade into most of the really tempting rogue cards, and even has access to Charon's Obol to net some more experience. Having access to Adaptable also means you can easily switch cards that don't work from scenario to scenario.



Hand slot

A good reliable gun to clear through masses of enemies at the start of the campaign but not one we will be holding of for long. Ammo running out is always a concern. But at least you still get the +1 damage when running against multiple enemies, which the Machete doesn't give anymore.


Leo's Intellect might be decent but alone it won't suffice. Those flashlight will make sure we get to successfully investigate most locations. It won't help us parley or investigate the main path in Where Doom Awaits, though.


A staple in most Guardian decks, the Machete is a good reliable weapon with unlimited use. But with low evasion, we're not guaranteed to be engaged with a single enemy all the time. Still, the added strength is welcome when a weapon like .32 Colt can fail to help even though it still gives +1 damage against multiple engaged enemies.

Allies

Beat Cop's static stat boost grants him a place in the deck. He might be expensive but he's helping a lot and being able to discard him for a single damage makes him disposable, which is welcome in a deck filled with allies. Good against enemies with low hitpoints like the whippoorwills or cultists, he can also finish enemies for zero actions and make room for another ally after soaking some damage. Besides, he'll be upgraded into quite rapidly, I expect.


The dog won't be around for long and will take attacks of opportunities for us while we try not to waste actions dealing with enemies. It's not good at taking horror, but it can tank a fare share of damage so that's fine.


There's nothing like a turn 1 Leo and with a free action and reduced cost, this in our starting hand, is invariable insane. The downside is that first turn will most probably be about gathering resources to pay for a weapon after putting him into play, but with +1 action per turn down the line, he should more than make up for it!

Other assets

This will trigger all the time when playing solo and it might not be thematic for a guy who's constently surrounded with allies, but 2 resources a turn in such an expensive deck is more than welcome! Played early, this is basically a free "gain a resource" action a turn, and it even gives us one when stuck in locations that prevent us from gaining a resource during our upkeep phase. Great.


If all goes according to plan, we should be swimming in resources, and you never know when you actually would need to evade a Razdamned monster after all. Or sometimes, you just need that sweet +1 (like when you're shooting Umordhoth and committed a Vicious Blow and fail by 1 with X resources left in your pool - true story from playtesting, sigh...) Well, this card will make sure it doesn't happen.

Events

Mitch Brown is so good, that we want to hit him on a regular basis. We're also not against refreshing allies after they take a hit, especially those Beat Cops (2), dogs, or Venturers if we go the big guns route. The card will also make sure we can hit the ally we need when we need him/her. It should allow for some fun combos.


Remember that turn 1 Leo De Luca situation?
Well, this can turn it into turn 1 Leo De Luca + Machete.
And that's sweet.


We should be running around and killing things, and so why not gather a couple clues in the process? Since investigating is not what we're the best at we'll be inspecting those monster corpses to figure out things faster. Plus, free action.


And while we're at it, why not expect those rotting remains too? Great for those high shroud locations, even when no enemy can be found.

Skills

This will be more of a cantrip than anything, essentially reducing the deck's size by 2, but still, +2 when fighting is always good.


We want to make sure we succeed those investigation skill checks. Parley ones, too.


We can't always make sure we hit a weapon, unfortunately, and sometimes, we don't want to waste an action on a three HP enemy. That's when Vicious Blow comes in handy. Especially good against big bad bosses!

Weakness

Overzealous is quite a brutal weakness to draw into, as it can mean - and often does - dealing with 3 encounter cards in a row. That can be deadly in Return to the Devourer Below for instance. Still, it's not the worst than can happen for us since we should be able to deal with most treacheries and enemies, and it's better than one that can flat out kill us in the long run.
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2. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Dunwich Legacy: Expansion [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked]
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Scenario 1: House Always Wins

I decided to take on that one first, because it will be easier without a tablet in the bag, and that Morgan should give us a lot of free cards, since we're likely to destroy a lot of enemies. Warren Rice's added intellect and sanity would have been very welcome too, but it's quite difficult to deal with House Always Wins when you start with Extracurricular, and I'd like to dispatch the Experiment and not let it eat the students. Maybe we'll do another playthrough where I do the reverse.



Our opening hand was the dream one, with Leo De Luca. So he was played on turn 1.
We then lucked out on the Bella Luna location and gathered the clue, before moving to the lounge and discarding an asset to gain 2 more clues, ensuring the Pit Boss wouldn't engage us and that we wouldn't have to waste actions moving around to evade him.



It wasn't long before Leo took a drink, and found the back door.
Thanks to the flashlight, we cleared the tree locations there, and by the time the Pit Boss made it to us, we had enough resource to play a gun.
I'm glad it was the gun, because then we drew into another enemy, and the situation which I dread (having Machete but multiple enemies on our back) was very real then. Leo took two hits while playing his gun, and an autofail forced him to take another one from the boss.
Before he could clear the boss, another enemy was drawn, making sure that sometimes, Machete is not the right weapon to have.
By the time the enemies were dispatched, the gun was empty, and we played a reliable yet sometimes disappointing Machete, and an Servant of the Lurker was spawned in the Lounge. But since we had located Francis Morgan that wasn't much of an issue.



I spent a turn playing Physical Training and pumping it to ensure that I would manage to pull Morgan back into the real world, and it wasn't long before we managed to escape through the back alley. Shame that we had to discard De Luca, but him and Lone Wolf both made sure that we had a looot of free actions in that game, making the House lose this time, and quite easily, to a super pumped and angry Leo Anderson.
The Servant of the Lurker didn't have time to reach the Darkened Hall. It ate a criminal to vent.



With 4xp in tow, Leo will upgrade into Charon's Obol, and 2 Treasure Hunter to replace the Guard Dogs.








Changes to the deck:
-2 Guard Dogs
+2 Treasure Hunters
+1 Charon's Obol
+1 Francis Morgan
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3. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Dunwich Legacy: Expansion [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked]
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Scenario 2: Extracurricular Activities.



With Francis Morgan in tow it was time to go back to the university and look for Warren Rice.
Knowing, somehow, that this was a lost cause I still started digging up in the library after playing a turn 1 Machete and Dr. Morgan. Good thing was a Ythien Observer showed up right after. After cutting its skull open I used it as Evidence! and moved to the Humanities Building where another enemy showed up, just in time for me to use Scene of the Crime. That was handy.



Having moved to act 2 I hit the Dormitories to gather clues and look for Jazz. Which I didn't with my two clues, so I decided to go explore the lab a bit and get ready for the Experiment.



Two Ancient Evils made it show up early and it didn't disappoint, but Machete did (which apparently it shouldn't have because it's still considered engaged with me but eh, it makes the following that much more interesting).
Another Ancient Evil made the Experiment move closer to the Dormitories, so, thinking Machete wasn't working, I decided to take a bet and looked for Jazz, whom I found. I convinced him to follow me by dumping two Treasure Hunters and Leo De Luca, went to the Alchemy Labs and, thanks to Flashlight and dumping Mitch, picked the Concoction up. That's all fine and well but intellect is still not Leo's main skill!



Er, it was worth a shot (and I didn't have time to play the .45, and shoot it 4 times in the face, it only had 3 damage - it should have had 5 really, +2 from the Machetes ).
So I moved to its location in the Quad, where I got hit before it moved to the Union, I then drew a card, followed it, threw the Concoction at it while committing Calling in Favor, Flashlight and the other Leo De Luca, and then sacrificed a Beat Cop to deal the killing blow!
Epic win!
Leo is quite fun to play (at least at this stage of the campaign. Might be harder in Miskatonic!)
With a total of 4xp + the 2 from the Obol, time to make that deck go serious. Some Charisma is clearly a must.






Changes to the deck:
+1 Charisma
+1 Dr. Henry Armitage
+1 Keen Eye


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4. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Miskatonic Museum: Mythos Pack [Average Rating:8.21 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.21 Unranked]
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Scenario 3: The Miskatonic Museum



It shouldn't come as a surprise that this is a challenging scenario: a single enemy in the whole deck, this focuses mostly on exploration and investigating, with some nasty treacheries to slow you down.

Failed attempt number one:
After breaking in and succesfully reaching the Restricted Hall, Leo gets attacked one time too many by the creature and bites the dust. Dead.

Failed attempt number two:
After breaking in and succesfully reaching the Restricted Hall, Leo draws into the last card of his deck, triggering Beyond the Veil, taking 10 damage. Dead.
And some people say that Beyond the Veil is trivial?
I've never liked the milling mechanism in this cycle: it's fiddly, it's annoying to see the cards you need get discarded without any hope of ever coming back, and the double-time pressure (Agenda/milling) makes these scenarios stressful and more luck-based (if you don't draw into Veil you can reshuffle, if you do you die).



Nasty card -.-

Third attempt

On my third attempt, and with a turn one De Luca, Leo decided to investigate the Museum Entrance this time around, and quickly drew the attention of Adam Lynch, from the Security.



Adam drew Leo and Leo into his office where Leo could look for his Machete. That's when the horror chose to storm in and take a bite of De Luca as Leo (the investigator) drew said Machete and wounded the creature.
After a couple exhibitions, Leo and his trusty flashlight dispatched the creature once again and the veil was beginning to open before his eyes, just in time for him to... Check the FAQ and damn, no, Armitage cannot discard weanesses for resources! Which meant the price of blood for Leo's expedition had to be paid with Armitage. Mh.
Later down the line it was Mitch Brown's turn to experience quantum bizarreries and be sent into the deck.

Luckily enough, the Restricted Hall was the penultimate exhbition and Leo entered it as his last (and fourth, since De Luca managed to stick around) action. What he saw then filled him with horror: the corpse of the curator, gutted down, and the horror feasting on it stormed through to him and took a bite of Mitch!
It was the best time ever to play Scene of the Crime and gather the final two clues to find the Necronomicon the horror was guarding!



I do not know how Leo managed to take it without the horror keeping on biting him, but he did.
And since it's too precious to forego, he'll add it to the deck.
Which means +1 Elder Thing token to the chaos bag.
And 4 (+2) xp!






Changes to the deck
-2 Physical Training
+1 Necronomicon
+2 Cat Burglars
+2 upgraded Beat Cops


Well that was fun, but Charon claimed his due, and Leo Anderson
robotIS DEADrobot
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5. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Return to the Night of the Zealot [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
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Scenario 1: Return to the Gathering.

It all began in Leo's house. While he was sipping brandy with his faithful dog, planning an expedition to the lost Eztli ruins, a sudden noise, some sort of skittering, raised his alterness. Leo picked up a nearby Machete and started investigating...



It didn't take long to realize that something was off, and off the study, Leo went, into the guest's bedchamber, where he found some ghouls feasting on corpses he had no idea were there to begin with.
Leo cursed the lack of space while he swung his trusty Machete, dispatching a Corpse-hungry ghoul, then an Acolyte, and then a Grave-eater. To his horror, his dog didn't survive the encounter, and that did take a toll on Leo, who had a lot of horror on him now.
Thankfully, it was easier to roam through after he was thrown through a whole in the wall of the Guest Hall. Physical Training and Lone Wolf ensured that Leo had enough willpower to deal with treacheries, and he fiercely brandished a flashlight to further his knowledge of his now eldritch house. In the cellar, he quickly got surrounded with 3 rats that he dispatched quite easily, thanks in part to his newfound friend, the criminal Leo De Luca, who was walking nearby. The attic proved easier to clean.
It wasn't long then before Leo finally got to the root of the problem: an uninvited redhead woman was uttering devious incantations in his Parlor. Leo wasn't about to let that kind of abuse go, he...
Suddenly, a monstrous Ghoul Priest was on him and Leo had no choice but to fight. Swinging his Machete, he dealt a vicious blow the monster and, swinging once more, chopped its head off thanks to his good physical training.




Panicked, the readhead, Lita, told Leo that unless he burnt his home, the ghoul infestation wouldn't stop. Somehow, he was convinced.
And thus, the house was burnt.
Leo still mourns its loss. And his dog's.

+1 Lita Chandler.
+1 Physical trauma.
+7 xp.


Changes to the deck will be decided later and edited into this post!

Changes to the deck
+1 Charisma
-2 Guard Dog
+2 Treasure Hunter
-1 Beat Cop
+1 Upgraded Beat Cop
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6. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Return to the Night of the Zealot [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
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Scenario 2: Return to Midnight Masks



After the burning of his house, Leo has listened to Lita tell him about the cult of Umôrdhoth, an outworldly entity worshipped by a cult of influencial people wearing dead skin masks to protect their anonymity during their gatherings.
Not overly happy with this, Leo has decided to spend the night looking for members of the cult and interrogating them. By any means necessary. And by that, Leo means: by swinging a Machete.

Good thing, since on his first turn in the Rivertown, he gets to play Lone Wolf AND Machete. Now that's a start.

It wasn't long though before wings of darkness damaged him. Luckily, Lita Chandler decided to join the effort and together, they roamed the graveyard in search of night-clad disciples of the devourer, hoping to gain some free and easy clues along the way. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be, as they soon had to reach the Northside to get rid of another disciple, and this time, clues were obtained. In time for a Masked Hunter and another disciple to show up. In the Graveyard.
The Masked Hunter was disposed of thanks to Machete and an upgraded Beat Cop, who also dispatched the disciple thanks to his free action, letting Leo gather the clues and get the names of Alma Hill and Ruth Turner, two nasty cultists. And destroying a Nightgaunt in the process, thanks to Lita/Beat Cop. In the Graveyard.



But, as he made his way to Alma, Ruth donned the mask again, getting harder to kill. Nevermind that. The beat cop was sacrificed to kill Alma, and on the subsequent turn, Leo De Luca joined the fight in order for Leo Andersen to chase after Ruth. Not to late since Doom was accumulating!



Ruth didn't last long - a vicious blow, a Machete swing, and a base Beat Cop took care of her - and it was almost midnight, but Leo decided to push it, as he really wanted to investigate downtown before resigning. A risk, with only 1 doom from the end. Darkness wanted to move him again, but Leo dumped a Lone Wolf, a couple .45s, and managed to resist the treachery, while emptying his flashlight's batteries and committing a Calling in Favors to gather the last clue before deciding that going after the newly revealed Peter Warren, was not possible before midnight striked.


Horror/damage don't show because I had started cleaning up.


Still, 7xp is nothing to scoff at. And swapping allies was very fun.

Changes to the deck:
+1 adaptable
+1 M1918 BAR
+2 Venturer
+2 Burglar Cat

-1 .45 Automatic
-1 Beat Cop
-2 Evidence!


Tough choices. I'm aiming at either destroying the boss or throwing an ally its way with other allies soaking the AoO's attack. Cat Burglar is to make it out of the woods or the main path should I progress with Flashlight + Venturer. Or to keep the boss (and its minions) at bay.
Covering up a little bit of everything (which means probably failing at everything!)


A very uninteresting attempt was played prior to this one.
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7. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Return to the Night of the Zealot [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
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Scenario 3: Return to the Devourer Below



Let me sum t that one up for you:
Play Lone Wolf and Cat Burglar, draw enemy, Burglar into a woods location, get stuck there with an enemy for 5 turns while doom piles up on Ythien Observer, draw no weapon but lots of autofails.
Eventually, dispatch the enemy, gather the clue, move to the center path, Burglar to another wood location, where I can only investigate with agility. Great.
Only 2 Doom left until Umô spawns: draw like crazy, nothing.
Umô spawns. Draw like crazy, find and play Lita.
Umô comes, Lita is thrown into it, suffering heavy damage in the process (while the excess is thrown at Beat Cop), Leo wins the day.



Wow. That sucked.
SInce the BAR was in play, I kept going to see if I could.
I was one damage away from victory.

Conclusion:
There is a reason why no-one likes this scenario.
The Return to attachement for Umô has defeated me once during the playtesting session for this deck (I was one damage away because of the vault), and would have lost here because... I was one damage away because of the vault!



Now don't get me wrong, I totally intended to throw Lita at Umô, since a) I never managed it before and b) It's totally in theme with Leo's character. But I was hoping to at least do some more shenanigans before doing it, not get stuck with no weapon AND no means to investigate.
Granted, Cat Burglar was very useful and would have been even more if I had made it to act 2, but getting stuck like that in two of the worst possible locations for Leo (Cliffside and Twisting Paths) was not very interesting.
The deck works to some extent but getting stuck without a weapon is a real, real pain (that's what made attempt #1 in Midnight Masks so uninteresting: I struggled for ages with a Disciple that kept on piling Doom because of the Cultist token).
I've seen people complain about Return To makes an already very difficult win through clues completely irrelevant and only enforces the "wait and prepare to fight" approach, and I can only attest to that.
Also, I don't regret packing Physical Training as willpower skill-checks are very much prevalent in Night of the Zealot.

Eh, that wasn't really exciting. But at least I'm done with it.
Time to go back (but not return to yet) to Dunwich!
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8. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Dunwich Legacy: Expansion [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked]
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Scenario 1: House Always Wins

So, having heard of his triumph rebuking Umôdhorth, and about his expedition in the jungles (Leo's survived Depths of Yoth, though he's trapped in a weird body), the professor Armitage invited him over to confide in his worries about the disappearance of two of his friends. He's asked him to look for them.
Leo having connexions in the underworld and wanting a solid drink, decided to first investigate after Dr. Francis Morgan in the Bella Luna club, which he knows quite well for meeting there with Leo De Luca.


I did correct the Pit Boss location don't worry.


Leo didn't take long to reach the bar after showing up with a Beat Cop. He immediately took a drink (and forgot to draw 2 cards, because you can't count on my brains to play 100% accurately, you should know that by now). He was quite dismayed that the Bella Luna turned out to be a rat-infested place, and after squishing a rodent, showed up at the lounge in which he let a Beat Cop bribe patrons to gather information about Morgan.
He heard that the guy was attending a special table in a VIP area, and so he looked for it. But that didn't go unnoticed, and while he investigated the back alley, Leo was quickly joined by an angry Pit Boss. Unlucky for the Boss that Leo had produced his Machete the turn before. It didn't take long to dispose of the criminal and hide his body in a trash can.
Leo then explored a small art gallery and accessed the VIP area. Good physical training let him reason with Morgan very easily, but then the door crashed open and a Servant of the Lurker began to thrash around. Two vicious blows from the Machete quieted the abomination down and, having squished a couple more rats, Leo and Dr. Morgan rushed into the street, crossed path with a rich and seemingly angry woman that managed to look worried at the same time, took refuge on the other side, and watched the club burn down.



With 5xp in tow, Leo is ready to look for Pr. Warren Rice at the University.

Changes to the deck:
+1 Francis Morgan
+1 Charisma
+1 Upgrade to Beat Cop.
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