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Subject: Too random (at least for solo play)? rss

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Øivind Karlsrud
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I'm now into my second game of Arkham Horror. I really enjoy the storytelling aspect of it, but there is one thing that annoys me. The first game went OK, but in the second game I've already (six turns in) had two characters lose all their stamina, even though I try to avoid combat at this stage. Random events make monsters pop up, or they pop up in a newly opened gate next to my investigator, then move. The monsters were too powerful for me to sneak away from, and too powerful to defeat (although in one case, I was a bit unlucky with the dice). I like the excitement of drawing random events, but when the random events are equivalent to "you lose all your stamina (and most of your sanity too)", and those random events were difficult for me (a new player) to predict, that's just annoying to me. This reminds me of the random events in Hornet Leader, some of which are equivalent to "you fail the mission" (there goes 15 minutes of planning down the drain). I would rather have bad things happen because I pushed my luck (although I suspect experienced players would say I was pushing my luck when I moved to Hibbs Roadhouse with no weapons, just to pick up two clue tokens).

I've just played solo, by the way. I do like the story in Arkham Horror, and I'm sure I will like the roleplaying together with friends. Then we can at least laugh together when some characters are unlucky. Luckily I didn't buy Arkham Horror solely for solo play, like I did with Mage Knight (a much better solo game, IMHO).
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M.C.Crispy
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You make a fair observation about the nature of AH. Random shit happens. All the time. Your job is to "deal with" while still progressing toward your victory condition. That's pretty hard for a noob, especially if you are playing solo. Are you using multiple Investigators in your solo game? If you are then I'd have a bit of a browse around the forums to see if there's a different approach that you could take (not that you can effect random shit much, but you might better survive it). If you aren't then I suggest you try with 3 or 4 if you can manage it.

As to "pushing your luck" I have no criticism: the whole game is about playing the odds and risk management. If you play safe, then the game with just overwhelm you before you are ready; if you take massive risks all the time you are likely to come unstuck and the game will just grind you under its cloven hoof. Leaving 2 Clues in Hibbs Roadhouse is particularly risky (you'll find out why with more plays), so I'd have probably done the same. And it's never "just to pick up Clues". If you don't pick up Clues, you can't win (at least not by Seals, which is the primary path to victory)

BTW: it doesn't help, but this "blocked by Monsters" effect is something that FFG addressed in Eldritch Horror - a game that I like, but not as much as I like AH (my only 10-rated game)
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Yeah, I've read your comments on Eldritch Horror (MC Crispy ). From what I've read, I think I will like the changes in Eldritch Horror. I will probably buy it when it comes out. If not I will always wonder if Eldritch Horror is the better game. I would probably feel the same way about Arkham Horror, if I only had Eldritch Horror. I think there are some things I will like better in Arkham Horror (especially that you have more choices on how to get equipment/allies etc.), while there will be some things I like more in Eldritch Horror (the customized Mythos-deck, combat, the "Pandemic-like" action phase...). If I can't decide between two games, I usually end up getting both. That way I have the choice, each time I play.

I am playing with 3 investigators, by the way. I think I may try 4 investigators the next time, but I must find a better way to track everything. I guess that with more characters, luck is mitigated somewhat, because it is very unlikely that all of them will be unlucky.

Just one question: Would you say that being devoured or retiring is a major part of Arkham Horror? Should I just accept that some characters will die/go insane, or does that ususally mean that you lose the game? I get the impression that dying/going insane and starting a new character is more common in Eldritch Horror. I would probably consider this a good thing, as long as it doesn't mean you lose the game. Dying or going insane is quite lovecraftian, after all.
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M.C.Crispy
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oivind22 wrote:
Just one question: Would you say that being devoured or retiring is a major part of Arkham Horror? Should I just accept that some characters will die/go insane, or does that ususally mean that you lose the game? I get the impression that dying/going insane and starting a new character is more common in Eldritch Horror. I would probably consider this a good thing, as long as it doesn't mean you lose the game. Dying or going insane is quite lovecraftian, after all.
Devourings and Retirement are, in my experience, exceptions rather than the rule. However, different folk play in different styles. For instance, I know at least one contributor to these forums that plays AH as though the Investigators were pawns in a board game (which they are, I guess) and so abuses them horribly, pushing them until they get devoured or have to retire at which point a new pawn is grabbed and the cycle starts again. That's a legitimate play-style. I invest in my Investigators' story and so I try to avoid devourings except for the occasional sacrifice to bring the win. But that's just my play-style.

I have had more defeated Investigators in EH than devoured/retired in AH. Partly that's because I find EH to be more "boardgamey" (as I've said many times before), so I don't invest so much in my Investigator. But also it's not a big deal in EH - it might actually be a benefit as you can encounter the defeated Investigator and retrieve their stuff for your new, hale and hearty Investigator. The trope of visiting the mad/crippled ex-adventurer is thematically pretty good too (both in an Indiana Jones style and a Lovecraftian style)
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Bern Harkins
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We seldom find time for Retirement; there has to be a combo of Injuries and Madnesses that really make an Investigator useless for us to even consider it.

Devourments, on the other hand, while they do not happen every game, are considered a badge of honor by my group. You have Given Your All for humanity... "End of the World, Babies!"

As far as randomness goes, I can offer no advice to reduce it... you just have to learn to surf on it. And belly laugh when you fail.
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Fortunately, failing one combat is not the end of the world. You just lose half your stuff or get an injury/madness. This is all part of the fun, of course.

But I'm still thinking about making a house rule that adds monsters to the cup in stages (sort of like the stages of the Mythos-deck in Eldritch Horror). Maybe certain monsters could be added when the doom track reaches certain levels, while other monsters might be removed. It's really no fun to meet a Gug in a random encounter on your first turn, and meet a measly cultist later in the game (which even nuns can kill with their bare hands). This house rule would make sure you avoid extremely unlucky monster draws early in the game, while making them more likely later in the game. This could give a sense of progression, which I think would be nice, as long the game doesn't become too easy.

Come to think of it, the monsters are my least favorite aspect of the game, at least those wandering the streets. Too often, I end up fighting them, and this makes the game feel like a zombie shooter. Which is fine, but it takes away the creepy horror feeling I get from some of the encounter cards. Monsters are too important in the game to change this, though. For one thing, they're used as currency in many locations.
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M.C.Crispy
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oivind22 wrote:
Fortunately, failing one combat is not the end of the world. You just lose half your stuff or get an injury/madness. This is all part of the fun, of course.

But I'm still thinking about making a house rule that adds monsters to the cup in stages (sort of like the stages of the Mythos-deck in Eldritch Horror). Maybe certain monsters could be added when the doom track reaches certain levels, while other monsters might be removed. It's really no fun to meet a Gug in a random encounter on your first turn, and meet a measly cultist later in the game (which even nuns can kill with their bare hands). This house rule would make sure you avoid extremely unlucky monster draws early in the game, while making them more likely later in the game. This could give a sense of progression, which I think would be nice, as long the game doesn't become too easy.
Why not build a difficulty rating points system for Monsters and then add a certain number of points to the cup, using particular point distributions based on how hard you want the game to be? You could even have several cups that staged the difficulty related to the Doom and/or Terror level. Working this way, you could assemble thematic Monster Cups with greater reliability.
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Bern Harkins
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mccrispy wrote:
oivind22 wrote:
Fortunately, failing one combat is not the end of the world. You just lose half your stuff or get an injury/madness. This is all part of the fun, of course.

But I'm still thinking about making a house rule that adds monsters to the cup in stages (sort of like the stages of the Mythos-deck in Eldritch Horror). Maybe certain monsters could be added when the doom track reaches certain levels, while other monsters might be removed. It's really no fun to meet a Gug in a random encounter on your first turn, and meet a measly cultist later in the game (which even nuns can kill with their bare hands). This house rule would make sure you avoid extremely unlucky monster draws early in the game, while making them more likely later in the game. This could give a sense of progression, which I think would be nice, as long the game doesn't become too easy.
Why not build a difficulty rating points system for Monsters and then add a certain number of points to the cup, using particular point distributions based on how hard you want the game to be? You could even have several cups that staged the difficulty related to the Doom and/or Terror level. Working this way, you could assemble thematic Monster Cups with greater reliability.


Naaaahhhhhh...

As well thought out as you response is, MC, I say, "Take your knocks, laugh it off, and play again..."

Maybe it's that I'm a professional card dealer, and I'm used to things falling in a disadvantageous manner. Players exclaim, "That's so unfair!"
I reply, "Oh, my! And we're all about 'fair' here!"

Always gets a laugh.

Rub some dirt on it. Get back on the field.

(Or play one of those co-op/solitaires with the terribly predictable AI's. Might as well just work on spread sheets, as far as I am concerned.)
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Stuart Holttum
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oivind22 wrote:
It's really no fun to meet a Gug in a random encounter on your first turn, and meet a measly cultist later in the game (which even nuns can kill with their bare hands). This house rule would make sure you avoid extremely unlucky monster draws early in the game, while making them more likely later in the game. This could give a sense of progression, which I think would be nice, as long the game doesn't become too easy.


While I see Bern's point, I do like the idea of monstrous progression. As has been expressed, this game is all about the theme, and a game where you meet an ever increasing level of baddies would feel more thematic.
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M.C.Crispy
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Radulla wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
oivind22 wrote:
Fortunately, failing one combat is not the end of the world. You just lose half your stuff or get an injury/madness. This is all part of the fun, of course.

But I'm still thinking about making a house rule that adds monsters to the cup in stages (sort of like the stages of the Mythos-deck in Eldritch Horror). Maybe certain monsters could be added when the doom track reaches certain levels, while other monsters might be removed. It's really no fun to meet a Gug in a random encounter on your first turn, and meet a measly cultist later in the game (which even nuns can kill with their bare hands). This house rule would make sure you avoid extremely unlucky monster draws early in the game, while making them more likely later in the game. This could give a sense of progression, which I think would be nice, as long the game doesn't become too easy.
Why not build a difficulty rating points system for Monsters and then add a certain number of points to the cup, using particular point distributions based on how hard you want the game to be? You could even have several cups that staged the difficulty related to the Doom and/or Terror level. Working this way, you could assemble thematic Monster Cups with greater reliability.


Naaaahhhhhh...

As well thought out as you response is, MC, I say, "Take your knocks, laugh it off, and play again..."

Maybe it's that I'm a professional card dealer, and I'm used to things falling in a disadvantageous manner. Players exclaim, "That's so unfair!"
I reply, "Oh, my! And we're all about 'fair' here!"

Always gets a laugh.

Rub some dirt on it. Get back on the field.

(Or play one of those co-op/solitaires with the terribly predictable AI's. Might as well just work on spread sheets, as far as I am concerned.)
Hey! I'm not saying I agree with the poster, I'm merely trying to make a constructive suggestion as to how the poster could address their concerns (though my highlights are intended to draw attention to a slight inconsistency in oivind22's post). I'd rather help folks play the game and get pleasure from their investment than say "wimp, this is a real man's game, if you can't take your knocks, go play <insert game it's currently trendy to knock>". Having a tested Variant for scaling the Monster cup might help us support noobs who sometimes struggle with the brutality of their early games, if oivind22 cares to try this out and post it back, I for one will provide some GG for the contribution.
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Øivind Karlsrud
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I get what Bern is saying, but I do like your suggestion MC Crispy. I do think losing combat is part of the fun, by the way, it's just that it's frustrating when it happens almost before I get started, even though I do my best to avoid it, and when I have no chance, whatsoever. Still, I may have things under control now. I have sealed three gates, and may win if the doom track doesn't fill up. So it really wasn't the end of the world.
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oivind22 wrote:
I get what Bern is saying, but I do like your suggestion MC Crispy. I do think losing combat is part of the fun, by the way, it's just that it's frustrating when it happens almost before I get started, even though I do my best to avoid it, and when I have no chance, whatsoever. Still, I may have things under control now. I have sealed three gates, and may win if the doom track doesn't fill up. So it really wasn't the end of the world.
Agreed, pretty much any of the ridiculous things that AH does to you add to the fun, it only becomes less fun when the game prevents you from playing the game (as it sometimes does). Rarely can your fellow Investigators spare the resources to mount a rescue mission either and that doubly sux. But always remember, if I seem to criticize the game, it is when all said and done, my only 10-rated game (and that's unlikely to change).
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