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Subject: How I play Arkham Horror rss

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Garcian Smith
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Arkham Horror as we all know is a game that can be revered by its many fans and just as easily hated for many of its extremities. I try to get around them to make an AH night fun for everyone.

The first problem is rule complexity. I try to take care of the busy work such as controlling monster, outskirt and gate limits. I will notify players if we are close to our limits. I will also try to handle monster movement as well, but I will ask questions if I can't get a hold of all the monsters. The deal here is that I don't have to explain how the mechanisms work... they can figure that out later. I want them to focus on their character and what they want to do.

Next, I try to keep the game moving briskly. I tell people to individually grab the deck of the color of their encounter and read it to themselves and resolve it themselves. This cuts down time by a ton. You have to know the game inside out as well. When you answer questions or go over rules, do it fast. I mean don't talk so fast where nobody can understand you, but don't elaborate a ton on one small point. Humor also helps people understand as well.

I also tell them the gist of the skills. I tell them to maximize their speed early on as there are not many monsters at the start, lessening their need for sneaking. I tell them that will and fight are for fighting... people should keep it in the middle unless they have some sort of weapon... then they should maximize their will. As for luck and lore, I tell people to keep the slider balanced, maybe leaning towards luck as luck is good for encounters and lore is better for spellcasters.

As for characters, I let them draw 2 and keep one of them so that they have more attachment to their character. If they pick a character they like over the other, it makes them have more investment in their character, which means they will probably focus more, rather than giving them a character they do not like.

I also place the money, brains and hearts and clue tokens on the center of the board for easy access rather than reaching into my planobox and fiddling a token out.

Then as for how to play, I try to give them the overall bigger picture in that the real threat is the boss, that there are 3 ways to beat him, but 99% of the time, it's going to be sealing the 6 gates. I tell them that because of that, they need to be hunting the clue tokens in multiples of 5 and not wasting them. I also tell them that closing gates will wipe monsters from the board.

Then lastly, I'll probably briefly go over how combat and spell casting works, but I'll only really go into when someone asks about it or if someone is about to fight a monster.

My goal is to only give out the most relevant information possible. Doing the busy work allows the others to save brainpower for their characters. I also want the game to move at a good pace so it takes a few hours, not 8. Making it go faster means it's less exhausting and more stimulating and makes it more fun.

With that said, I was able to get a game for 8 players done in about 1.5 hours, after rules were read. We were able to fit 3 turns in before we lost when 5 gates opened. Needless to say, I will probably avoid playing with 8.
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Angry Augury
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I think the important thing with a game like Arkham (or any other complex game) is to present it in a way that will appeal to your players. Every game group is different so you need to take their personalities into consideration to make sure everyone has fun, assuming you're the host. It looks like you've found the way to make it pleasing for your crew.

My group, however, would probably not enjoy reading their own Encounters quietly. We prefer the tension and drama of having it read by a different player and stopping when they have to make the skill check. They only know the outcome that they earned so it makes it more exciting and mysterious.

I've also delegated "jobs" to other players as in one person takes care of the money tokens, health and sanity, etc. so everyone has a task to do to help the game move along.

It's been a few months since we've played thanks to a number of issues but, if you'd like, feel free to read some of our sessions.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Revelade wrote:
As for luck and lore, I tell people to keep the slider balanced, maybe leaning towards luck as luck is good for encounters and lore is better for spellcasters.


If not using spells, better IMO just to max out your Luck, having middling Lore + Luck just means you probably won't get dice in either check.
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Brian Cwikla

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Revelade wrote:
I tell people to individually grab the deck of the color of their encounter and read it to themselves and resolve it themselves.


This definitely wouldn't work for me. To me, Arkham horror is a story that we play out and the encounters that various investigators have make up a big part of that story. Without that, it's just not Arkham horror to me at all.
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M.C.Crispy
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Dam the Man wrote:
Revelade wrote:
As for luck and lore, I tell people to keep the slider balanced, maybe leaning towards luck as luck is good for encounters and lore is better for spellcasters.


If not using spells, better IMO just to max out your Luck, having middling Lore + Luck just means you probably won't get dice in either check.
Agreed, Luck is usually more useful. I haven't collected the stats but I suspect that there are more Luck-based checks in Encounters than Lore-based checks.
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Moose Detective
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Is it a moose that became a detective ? Or a detective who searches for moose?
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Revelade wrote:
I tell people to individually grab the deck of the color of their encounter and read it to themselves and resolve it themselves..


You're doing it very, very wrong.
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M.C.Crispy
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iguano wrote:
Revelade wrote:
I tell people to individually grab the deck of the color of their encounter and read it to themselves and resolve it themselves.


This definitely wouldn't work for me. To me, Arkham horror is a story that we play out and the encounters that various investigators have make up a big part of that story. Without that, it's just not Arkham horror to me at all.
Absolutely! What's the point of AH without the role-playing aspect?
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Bartow Riggs
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The real key to playing Arkham enjoyably is that at least one person in the group needs to know the rules extremely well. If so, the game moves right along and downtime is minimal.

And I certainly have to agree with other posters. The whole point of Arkham Horror, to me, is the theme and the flavor. Reading encounters silently to oneself defeats a huge portion of the fun of the playing the game. There is certainly a degree of strategy and tactics in Arkham but if you aren't playing the game for the theme and flavor it probably would be better to play something else.
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Bern Harkins
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Very nice teaching strategies; thanks for taking the time to lay them out.

I have to join the chorus of "Noes!" on the Silent Encounters, though. It's like saying "I can make Chicken Cordon Bleu in half the prep time. I just leave out the ham and the cheese."

Those encounters form the substance of the narrative; you're leaving out the good parts! And the way my group reads them, there's plenty of ham, and an abundance of cheese...
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Joe Pilkus
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I'll join the chorus of Arkhamites who enjoy reading the Encounters to one another...and allowing the Investigator's player to make a choice, at times, before proceeding and adding to the tension in the game.

I certainly enjoyed reading the way in which you've introduced the game to your mates...I'm a big fan of the RPG aspect of the game, as well!

Cheers,
Joe
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Rafael Esberard
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Well,

I could HIGHLIGHT this on everything you said:

"My goal is to only give out the most relevant information possible. Doing the busy work allows the others to save brainpower for their characters."

I had a bad experience once letting the group be so worried about mechanics, what would be.. what would not.. that it ruined alot the feeling of role playing and terror of the game...

I takes to that... the hosts/owner of the Arkham Horror, plays like a GM most of the learning sessions, and things only start to get fun by the 3rd or 4th game with the same group...

Nice post!

Ket
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