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Subject: Teaching the game with The Dunwich Horror rss

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Anthony Robley
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Basingstoke
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I recently aquired Arkham horror and have so far played 3 solo games with the base set and 2/4 investigators and one solo game with the Dunwich Horror Injury/Madness, Location and Gate Bust (just for Arkham Location) cards. I bought the expansion because it seemed a bit easy towards the end once you had sealed a few gates.

SO far I've won all 4 games and found it a bit easy so I want to add the DH board to make it a bit harder.

The problem is my next game will be with 2 new players who have never played the base game and I don't want to make it too complicated for them and spoil it, but I also don't want the game to seem too easy as I had been finding it.

In your experience have you had much luck teaching the game with the DH board? (bearing in mind I haven't played it myself either) or does it end up being too much to keep track of for new players?
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Swan Bones
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I've only taught the game using Dunwich included at the very least. I bought the base game and Dunwich at the same time and only played a couple of base-only games. From experience the kind of people who are into the game are the kind that don't mind the complexity. I've also taught the game with Dunwich + Pharaoh + King in Yellow, and didn't have much of a problem.
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Tibs
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Absolutely no expansions for newbies. None.

You may use some expansion components for variety, such as investigators or items, but no mechanics other than the base game's.

The game is complicated enough to explain to then have to say, "IN ADDITION there is this town where this threat is rising. This town doesn't have a monster limit and to get there you have to use an ability that's not printed on the board," etc.
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Jim Patterson
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I've taught Arkham with Dunwich included (and it was my first time with Dunwich myself, for that matter). It does make an already rather lengthy rules explanation somewhat longer and more involved, and I did have the benefit of having the newbie be an otherwise experienced gamer. However, given that the game is co-op, there's still opportunity for new players to figure things out along the way, even if they don't get it all up front.
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M.C.Crispy
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kungfro wrote:
Absolutely no expansions for newbies. None.

You may use some expansion components for variety, such as investigators or items, but no mechanics other than the base game's.
What? Not even Injury/Madness, Gate Bursts, or Personal Stories and Relationships? They all seem fairly innocuous to me.

Quote:
The game is complicated enough to explain to then have to say, "IN ADDITION there is this town where this threat is rising. This town doesn't have a monster limit and to get there you have to use an ability that's not printed on the board," etc.
I don't think that you need to explain all those mechanics to the noobs at the beginning except in very broad brush-strokes. "Gates also open in Dunwich and you can get to Dunwich by Train from the Train station for $1 and you sometimes need to go there to stop Monsters marching into these Vortices, 'cos bad stuff happens when they do". Arkham is about as close to a "just jump in" game that I know - if most of the players really know the game. It's a co-op, you can provide assistance on an as needed basis.
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mccrispy wrote:
It's a co-op, you can provide assistance on an as needed basis.


This is how I teach it with the expansions and it works. The game is like a mystery religion anyway, you find out the secrets as they unfold. If you teach the basic mechanics of moving, actions etc. the otherworldly stuff then unfolds thematically. When I've taught people to play, not knowing what the Dunwich Horror is, or what an open rift will actually do, or what happens when the terror track fills up helps the theme. "We want to avoid that if at all possible, we don't know what will happen but when it does it'll be pretty bad" style of roleplaying it.

But as I've said in other threads I play the game as an investigation of the Arkham world, not as a strategy game.
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Tibs
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Well obviously my suggestion is just that: a suggestion. But I've taught the game to tons of players. Nearly all of the people who played with only the base game loved it and wanted to play again. Nearly all of the players who learned with an expansion in the mix did not want to play again.
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kungfro wrote:
Well obviously my suggestion is just that: a suggestion.

And a very good one.
I would probably have more players available to me if I taught it as you suggest. Unfortunately I have so few opportunities to play Arkham that I have to choose carefully, and so I usually play with people who I know would appreciate the self-indulgent approach.
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Keith M. Sandler
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I agree with Tibs. While it's tempting to bust out all the shiny new toys when showing off AH, the base game makes for a much smoother learning game for most new players. Adding expansions adds complications that can ensure that AH won't hit the table again for a long time. The set-up alone can be a deterrent. I teach Arkham with base game, personal stories, Injury/Madness, and Personal Relationships. That usually keeps people coming back so I can add the more game-changing elements of expansions (boards, heralds, etc.)

F'tagn!

-kMs
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Rafael Esberard
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The thing for is...

I completely agree with Tibs.
Teaching with DH do not ADDs any positive aspect that makes a player enjoys more the game them the regular AH.

I know DH adds cool things for those who already know how to play, and indeed we ENJOY what DH adds exacly cause we understand its impacts like Gate Bursts, more items, spells, allies, second board etc.

The ONLY thing I would add on AH learning session from DH that I take as a Game Fix are the Injury/Madness cards.

Doing this adding slowly you will also be able to create what I call as a "enjoyment progression", its like: "You enjoy this? Well, next time we will gave GATE BURSTS breaking Seals! WOOWWW.." Its like to go creating a level 2, 3, 4 of the game slowly raising the difficulty of the game and making its process fun and easy.

Thats my advise...

Ket
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M.C.Crispy
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Dark Son wrote:
I agree with Tibs. While it's tempting to bust out all the shiny new toys when showing off AH, the base game makes for a much smoother learning game for most new players. Adding expansions adds complications that can ensure that AH won't hit the table again for a long time. The set-up alone can be a deterrent. I teach Arkham with base game, personal stories, Injury/Madness, and Personal Relationships. That usually keeps people coming back so I can add the more game-changing elements of expansions (boards, heralds, etc.)

F'tagn!

-kMs
So not really agreeing with Tibs then.

kungfro wrote:
no mechanics other than the base game's
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M.C.Crispy
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Ketaros wrote:
The thing for is...

I completely agree with Tibs.
Teaching with DH do not ADDs any positive aspect that makes a player enjoys more the game them the regular AH.

I know DH adds cool things for those who already know how to play, and indeed we ENJOY what DH adds exacly cause we understand its impacts like Gate Bursts, more items, spells, allies, second board etc.

The ONLY thing I would add on AH learning session from DH that I take as a Game Fix are the Injury/Madness cards.

Doing this adding slowly you will also be able to create what I call as a "enjoyment progression", its like: "You enjoy this? Well, next time we will gave GATE BURSTS breaking Seals! WOOWWW.." Its like to go creating a level 2, 3, 4 of the game slowly raising the difficulty of the game and making its process fun and easy.

Thats my advise...

Ket
So not really complete agreement then.
 
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M.C.Crispy
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The point I'm making with my two slightly snarky comments is that although I understand Tibs' point of view there does appear to be a consensus that there are some elements from expansions that are worth adding to the base game, even when you are teaching noobs.

I think that specific guidance is difficult because it depends on a number of factors: how often you've played, how often you teach the game, how noobish are the noobs, what is your style of play, how do you teach the rules (full details, or just jump in) and whether you are going to "GM"

I'm sure that everyone can claim success (and hopefully own up to failure) using their preferred method, but when it comes down to it there is no right/wrong here, just what works best for you and the people you tend to teach. So my advice would be:

Do whatever you think will make for an interesting and engaging game for the noobs, bearing in mind that you need to be completely on top of the rules to ensure that it runs smoothly. (No "all expansion" games for 7 noobs on your own second play!)
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Tibs
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I'll admit that I typically include Relationships, Injury/Madness, Personal Stories, and Epic Battle for new games. But I don't recommend doing that unless you're really comfortable and experienced to remember everything.
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M.C.Crispy
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kungfro wrote:
I'll admit that I typically include Relationships, Injury/Madness, Personal Stories, and Epic Battle for new games. But I don't recommend doing that unless you're really comfortable and experienced to remember everything.
I do think that's the key thing: the person running the game needs to be super-familiar with any additional components. I think this is true for teaching AH more than any other game I play and that AH is hard to learn in "let's learn this puppy together" mode.
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Anthony Robley
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OK thanks. I think I'll just go with the main board but use the new items and injury cards etc.
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Tobias Lundberg
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AJRobley wrote:
OK thanks. I think I'll just go with the main board but use the new items and injury cards etc.

You could alwyas add a herald if you think things are too easy. It does add a rule or two, but if you do the book keeping it should work just fine.
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Jack Smith
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It depends entirely on the players. In our group we teach all games on the fly after a very brief introduction as tedium from rules learning can easily set in. People also tend to forget rules unless they see a rule in the proper context during play. So we find learning by playing works extremely well and we do not care if the game is not up to the usual standard. We also sometimes play a round or two then reset, depending on the game.

Others may prefer a full explanation first or at least several minutes of explanation. The difference with Arkham is that it is a cooperative so it is easy to teach players on the fly in such a way that they make informed choices when they need to, which is the whole point of any rules learning.

Arkham is not that hard a game, the rule book is just very badly written and organized which is easy to get round if the rules explainer knows them and introduces them in a timely manner.

So I would do the expansion with no second thoughts about it. Others may be horrified by this so as I said earlier it depends on the group.
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