Steve Kim
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The fact that everyone has to move first and then everyone pulls an encounter card seems to slow down the game and even cause confusion at times and because of that I'm wondering if combining movement and encounter wouldn't be better all around.

Does it really mess up the game if we modify the phases so that each player would move their investigator, resolve combat if necessary, and then pull an encounter card?

It just seems like it would be so much simpler and each turn (not phase) would go by so much faster and in a more straightforward manner thereby speeding up the game.

The manual has it so that a player moves his or her investigator and then the next player does the same and so on until everyone has moved. Then anyone in an Arkham location pulls an encounter card. After all that is resolved any player in an other world location pulls an encounter card. And then the whole turn ends with the first player drawing a mythos card.

Just seems like it would be faster if a player moved their investigator, resolved any combat, pulled an encounter card, and then concluded ALL their actions for the turn. So once every player goes, all that's left to do is to draw the mythos card and conclude the turn.
 
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brian
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Follow the phases. They are there for a reason. It does matter, especially with what monsters are left around and the opening of games.
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I do a modified version of this to speed up the game but phases and order do matter.

What I typically do is just give people their encounter cards after they move so they can read it and begin to process what they need to do. So after you move/combat, you get your card. Then after everyone has moved we start with encounters. For encounters I usually ask to give us a small idea on what is happening during your encounter. You don't need to read everything on the card to us, just say whats happening to you and what you need to do. "I stumbled into a corpse and need to see if I find something, (rolls dice), and I failed". Other people just explain what is happening in their own words or add stuff to it to flesh it out. The point being, they have the card and have some time to look at it.

Some people might have a problem with this as its not as thematic as reading everything to everyone or having someone else read cards. But it makes the game fun for us and cuts down a bit on the time.

~Jeff

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David Jones
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We've answered a similar question like this before:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1051940/combining-arkham...

In addition to the points mentioned in that thread, you also have to remember that trading happens only in the movement phase. Combining the phases would allow, for example, the start player to acquire an item and then pass it to another player before that second player's turn starts. You could also have a situation where the start player closes a gate, which would remove monsters from the board that were impeding the second player. Similarly, there are encounters that open gates which would severely affect decision about where a player would move to if change the order of the phases.

In the end, I think it comes to down to what you mean by "breaking" the game. Is it still playable? Sure. But it does change the dynamics of the game, probably in favor of the players. I think this particular situation is probably worse than the one referred to above though. I've always thought of players movement occuring simultaneously in game time, with encounters similarly occuring simultaneously. This idea tends to break timing concepts, both thematically and with some of the more minute mechanics.
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Steve Kim
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I knew there were some instances where it would alter the sequence in an important way, but there are many instances where it doesn't really make a huge difference.

For example:

Player moves his/her investigator to an Arkham Location and then immediately takes an Arkham Encounter card and plays through the encounter.

IF the encounter doesn't alter the game board (e.g. check skill and take a spell/common item/unique/ally/retainer/blessed/cursed card) I don't think it really matters.

It would mess up the trading though so there are some problems with it, but you could remedy it by acknowledging that these events are happening after the movement phase and that any new items cannot be traded within the same round/turn.

Blah! I agree that for true "simplicity" the game should be played in the phase order given in the manual even though (for the most part) an insignificant Arkham encounter that really affects the investigator engaged in the encounter doesn't really affect the game either way.
 
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Bern Harkins
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Steve, how often has your group played?

Because if you continue playing the phases as they are written, things WILL get smoother and confusions will abate...

...where as if you start playing around with house rules which "most of the time won't actually break the game" you will set yourself back on the path towards a smooth and natural gaming experience.

There are thousands of cards in Arkham, every one written with the assumption that you are playing the phases in order. The vast majority of those will play fine anyway. Some will leave you with no way to resolve an "issue" that never should have arisen.

The notion that one should move and then immediately have an encounter comes from other games, but it is surprisingly persistent in this forum. Many "rules questions" are answered with "there's no rule for that because it doesn't happen if you play the phases in order".

My recommendation, as you can probably guess, is get used to the (working) game mechanics rather than rewriting your own.
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David Jones
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stevekim wrote:
IF the encounter doesn't alter the game board (e.g. check skill and take a spell/common item/unique/ally/retainer/blessed/cursed card) I don't think it really matters.


But you're completely missing the problem here. You don't know if the game board will be altered until after you've drawn and resolved the encounter. For example, I have played games where there were two investigators at Independence Square and one of them pulls the encounter that opens a gate. This means both investigators get pulled through. If you play the game your way, the second player now has a piece of information that completely changes what he would have done during the movement phase. There is no way to objectively know what the second player would have done before that gate opened. (Similarly, there are reasons a second player might choose to go into a freshly opened gate when s/he had planned on going somewhere else instead.) You can't go back and undo the card once you've seen it - the information is already revealed even if you delay executing the card. The problem isn't the board state - the problem is that you want to assume that Schroedinger's Cat isn't going to die without first opening the box. So your claim that it doesn't matter if the board doesn't change is correct, but you have no way to foresee which encounters will be the ones that matter until you pull the card.

This is why I say such ideas benefit the players. When you start mucking with the phases, players who play later in the turn order inevitably have access to more information than they would if you played the game per the rules. So going back to your original question, does it break the game? Not in the literal sense of the word. All the mechanics should still work fine and I can't think of a specific instance that would result in a rules contradiction. (Nothing I can recall actually has an "end of movement phase" trigger.) But what it does do is give the players access to a certain amount of information that the designers did not intend for them have. I think it would work as a "make the game easier" variant, but it changes the game far too much to allow as "streamline the mechanics" variant.
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davypi wrote:
For example, I have played games where there were two investigators at Independence Square and one of them pulls the encounter that opens a gate. This means both investigators get pulled through.


Not to mention that messing with the Arkham / Other World phases could mean (in the above case) that an investigator might have come back from an other world, closed a gate and then be sucked back into a new other world again all in one turn.

When I started playing Arkham I too was of the opinion that the phases could work in the way you intend, but after countless plays I am firmly of the opinion that the rules as writ work far more smoothly. I acknowledge the early desire to make Arkham like other games, but in the end who really wants that?
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brian
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stevekim wrote:
I knew there were some instances where it would alter the sequence in an important way, but there are many instances where it doesn't really make a huge difference.

The point is if you purposely play the game wrong when you don't think it matters, you are going to forget to play the game right when it does.

The other point is that FFG tests their games in-house for a long time (contrary to popular belief). But sometimes things change once the masses get a game and play it quite a bit. This part of the game has never changed and the game has been out for almost a decade. So trust the collective experience on this one.

As mentioned above, it will smooth out and become second nature. I always recommend that players use Phase 1 Upkeep for more than just administrative maintenance. This should be the time when you plan out and/or change up the plans for the round. Who's going where? Who's fighting which monster? Who gets those clue tokens? Once that is all decided, the other phases go by quick. You can change if you need to because someone failed a fight or something unexpected happen but the brunt of the decisions are already made in Phase 1 and Phases 2-4 are just executing those decisions.
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Steve Kim
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I agree with following the proper phase order as instructed in the manual. I was just pointing out that there are many instances where it wouldn't make a huge difference.

For example, when we started playing the game we would often make the mistake of moving and flipping an Arkham encounter card and resolving it only to realize later we made a mistake. Rather than going back and doing it all over, we realized it didn't make a difference because:

1. It didn't alter the game board (no gates, permanent monsters, etc.)

2. The player would have done the exact same thing after all the players had moved anyways.

So there are instances where it doesn't affect the game at all. That's all I'm saying.

I think a few players (myself included) got a little frustrated with the down-time and the phase order kind of added to that. Without a doubt, it's important to play the game in the proper phase order, but there are many encounters that wouldn't really influence (who knows, perhaps an investigator losing 1 sanity or gaining a common spell would affect another player's decision-making) the game either way.

Also, there a few encounters where the card basically says nothing happens.
 
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Bobby Ramsey
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stevekim wrote:

So there are instances where it doesn't affect the game at all. That's all I'm saying.


Yup. I agree that there are some instances where it does not affect the game. There are also instances where it does. Unfortunately you just don't know which situation will happen until after all the encounter cards have been flipped.
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AnyMouse wrote:
stevekim wrote:

So there are instances where it doesn't affect the game at all. That's all I'm saying.


Yup. I agree that there are some instances where it does not affect the game. There are also instances where it does. Unfortunately you just don't know which situation will happen until after all the encounter cards have been flipped.

Agreed. That is the only point I am trying to make. It may not matter, and it may not break the game, in certain instances. But it is important many times and so should be followed consistently at all times.
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M.C.Crispy
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
AnyMouse wrote:
stevekim wrote:

So there are instances where it doesn't affect the game at all. That's all I'm saying.


Yup. I agree that there are some instances where it does not affect the game. There are also instances where it does. Unfortunately you just don't know which situation will happen until after all the encounter cards have been flipped.

Agreed. That is the only point I am trying to make. It may not matter, and it may not break the game, in certain instances. But it is important many times and so should be followed consistently at all times.
There are some important tactics that become impossible if you combine Phase II and Phase III. Without separating Phase II from Phase III the player order is less important and takes some of the interesting logistics-related challenges out of the game. Please, persist with the game as she is writ until you can play with sufficient facility that you understand what changes your house rules will have. I wanted to use an analogy with playing a musical instrument and needing enough skill with the instrument and experience with the piece of music before you try improvising, but my analogy generating engine is on the blink tonight.
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