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Subject: New Expansion for Arkham Horror - South Seas Tales rss

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Shawn H.
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Most recent files are at drop box: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kz14rcq39xy0z3x/South%20Seas%20Tal...

Images below may not be most recent.

I am almost finished an expansion for Arkham Horror based on the Shadows over Innsmouth back story and I would appreciate some feedback on it's development.

Files are located at drop box:
Choose Your Own Adventure style encounter book 5/9: see below
Rules / / Design Notes: 4/27 see below
AO and Herald: 4/27 see below
Monsters: 4/27 see below
Citizens: 4/27 see below
Plot Cards: 4/27 see below
Gold Leads (to be finished): 4/27 see below
Red Leads: 4/27 see below
Location Cards: 4/27 see below
Coop Cards: 4/27 see below
Reward Items: 5/9 see below.



Overview
Like many other players, our team was immediately attracted to the Arkham Horror game because I enjoy HPL’s books and it promised an element of co operative play. However, like many others, I found the lack of coherent central theme or plot to underutilize the rich source of material that Lovecraft’s stories offer. Our play team really enjoyed the Dark Pharaoh expansion, so I wanted to strengthen the thematic elements of a particular play session and control the pace of the game so the story could unfold prior to the action accelerating. In addition, based on strong feedback from the female members of our group – mostly my wife and my neighbor’s SWMBO - I wanted more direct ways of having investigators work together.

On the practical side, while I found that making the new game elements, once I discovered Strange Eons, was not difficult, they did not easily match the existing game materials. So rather than extending existing card sets, I added a couple of new game mechanisms that supplemented rather than added.

The biggest risk to these changes is that they tend to extend the play time of an already long game, however, we found that they introduction of the story line made the game engaging enough to warrant the extra time.

Rules Changes
1. Plot
Given that I tend to play this game with players that are more casual than serious, I wanted to change the pace of the game to build up a little more slowly, engaging folks through the story line and letting them explore the board a bit before the game difficulty accelerates.

Initially I considered using grouped sets of Mythos Cards, but that would have required more work than necessary to allow for sufficient variation in gate locations, movement, clue locations etc … and a very large set of cards. Instead I created a supplemental control mechanism that allowed for re use of the existing materials and allowed for other expansions to be incorporated (Kingsport or Innsmouth seemed particularly appropriate).

I tied the acceleration of the plot to the attainment of the goals of the cult the players are combating. So while the baseline game difficulty is lowered at the beginning, it quickly accelerates as the plot progresses tied to a visual progression on the game board.

2. Leads
Another place to add story line was the use of leads to provide a quest mechanism for players, with clue tokens providing an obvious reward. I chose to make leads a combination of story line and quest items to simplify the number of new rules/card types. I wanted to use a combination of plot/event driven events (gold leads) and backstory/random chance events (red) to reveal the story.

In terms of game mechanics, the plot cards provide background and overall pacing while the lead cards and lead encounters function within the plot to provide story details and individual player motivations.

3. Lead Encounter Story Book
I struggled with the most efficient way to drive encounters based off of leads. I tried location cards, small booklets (tomes) and cards that had the location and lead number on the back with the story in the front. They all proved to be too clumsy. In the end, I resorted to a printed story book as it was realistic to produce and use, even if it introduced a new game mechanism that seems very out of step with the card based approach of Arkham Horror.

4. Citizens
Essentially a mobile quest item with an extended reward set, I wanted to create a direct competition between the players and the monsters for the same resources. In the various HPL stories, hapless third parties are often touched by the horrors of the Ancient Ones as sacrifices/victims and the protagonists are often attempting to save them.

5. Lair Board
I love the use of smaller supplemental boards that are revealed through game play as they provide a condensed location to have an accelerated dénouement to the story. The location cards can be used to provide a very tailored experience.

6. Cooperation Cards
Overall, the game tends to start with the investigators separated, tracking down various leads and rescuing citizens. However, as the game draws closer to the end, I wanted to give players an enhanced mechanism to work together to overcome increased game challenges. Player relationship cards from the Lurker expansion also address this, but cooperation card approach seemed like a more dynamic mechanism and is more tied to being in a specific place at a specific time.

7. Multiple Monster Cups
The use of Gate Monsters allows for incorporation of existing game materials that are thematically appropriate. The use of Plot (or Theme) Monsters provides more story specific type of encounter and added more atmosphere. Finally, I extended the use of spawn monsters as a mechanism to introduce specific encounters.
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reaching out from the in-between spaces...
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Baldwin
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You don't want to hear this, But I for one just don't have the time right now to download, print and play to give you feed back.

However, I will watch the development of this project and WILL appreciate all the work you put into it. I really like your designer notes about why you did this and that. At some point I will try this out, but not in the timeframe you need :-(

However, keep on plugging away. It does look interesting from what I have seen.

Jorune
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Shawn H.
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I understand the significant effort that goes into printing out a large expansion. I enjoy creating this stuff and we enjoy playing it, so any input from the community here is appreciated but not expected. The comments I got from posting the co op cards previous were very handy and are built into this version.

Here are more items completed:

The location cards: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1vptxfq2wdu5e07/Location%20Cards.z...
Expanded designer notes: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qqxh1fbcyu0b6wx/South%20Seas%20Tal...
Updated Coop cards: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7cj854xa7ukm8nm/Coop%20Cards.zip
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Jacob Busby
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It looks very professional. You've certainly captured the pulp tone. I half expect to see a Fu Manchu Herald or a Charlie Chan Ally.

Whilst the flavour text on the monster is good, it makes the rules text too small to read, so I'd recommend you drop it from monsters with non-standard rules. You might be able to recycle some of it elsewhere. I'd also be inclined to name the leads (e.g. "A Mysterious Disappearance") rather than number them. This helps maintain the ambience, rather than exposing the secrets of your legerdemain.

Rather than "discard this card and draw again", it might be better to split the neighbourhoods into two territories. One for the journey and dive and one for the sea cavern and lair. This is a little less clunky than your current method, as every card draw will prove meaningful, although it might necessitate writing additional encounters.

Should the lair be an unstable location? This gives you a very simple encounter to write "A gate and a monster appears", and means that the lair starts with a clue. By extension the arrows should then point the other direction (away from the lair). The "voyage" space could gain the ability "if a monster moves from this location, place it at the River Docks" Additionally, you could spawn a monster on the lair every time the plot advances (perhaps moderated by player size), as this would incentivise the players to explore the South Seas board, if only to stop swarms of monsters swimming towards Arkham.

I'll let you know more when I've read through it in full, but can you publish the .eon files?
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Tim Thorp
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"Come on! Come on! Come and get it, baby! Come on! I don't got all day! Come on! Come on! Come on you bastard! Come on, you too! Oh, you want some of this? "
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Beautiful! The artwork for the box lid alone is worth the price of admission!
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Shawn H.
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Thank you for the comments. I was a little worried about too much text on several of the items in game so I appreciate the suggestion on monsters.

I go back and forth on names versus numbers for the leads. The choice of numbers was intended to make it easier to look up but also had the intent of better concealing leads that were not yet discovered so that look ups of the encounters did not give everything away. I may produce two versions to see which works better.

My approach for the lair cards was taken from the Otherworld encounters, and as you guessed, is really intended to reduce the total number of cards. I will also play around with the card and boards changes you suggest.

I am restricted on dropbox space but will publish the eon files as I get to the final versions if I can make the space..

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Bob T
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Between 7Zip and Foxit reader I should be able to open these files- but I can't. How do I open these files?

Managed to open the Monsters and Citizens, but not the Rules for some reason. Definitely a different vibe from classic AH- really love the Pulp artwork!
 
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Shawn H.
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I have reposted the Coop Cards as apparently the image file was corrupted.

And the attached link has the Rules, the Designers notes and a Draft of the Lead Encounters book in standard zipped format.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5rms49xjsmfil52/Rules.zip
 
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Raymond Darby
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I'll second (or third or fourth) it that the art is superb. The Desperate Kanakys monster token says "attached" and not "attacked"--I like flavour text BTW--and the resolution isn't too good on them, esp. when the image is enlarged for reading.

Time for a nice browse of your files.
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Shawn H.
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Here is the first version of the completed game. Based on feedback from several people and a couple of play sessions, I have adjusted the rules, images and text.

I apologize if you have downloaded previously, but many of the game elements have been updated so it might be best to download again.

The biggest changes since the previous postings are: A complete Lead Encounters book, Reduced text to improve readability, Thematic Common and Unique Items and a complete set of Gold Lead Cards.

I am including both the image files and the EON files.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kz14rcq39xy0z3x/South%20Seas%20Tal...

I have cleaned up a number of mistakes but I am sure I will continue to catch mistyped text. Also need a few more play test sessions to make sure game flows ok so I expect I will update the files again. I will keep a version number associated with the Rules book.
 
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Shawn H.
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4/28 Image Files and Eon Files for the Items have been updated based on input from others.
 
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Shawn H.
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5/9 - Version 1.0 is ready. Contains fully play tested game. Also posted image files for box and custom monster cups.

Links for dropbox image, rules and eon files have been updated.
 
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Shawn H.
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Updated dropbox link at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kz14rcq39xy0z3x/South%20Seas%20Tal...

6/6 V1.1 Posted

V1.1
• Add Aurum Solis Institution as method to introduce Co operation Cards
• Updated Herald text with more game rule text
• Fixed High Priestess terrible summoning attack
• Added additional reward items with a new skill, three spells and a couple new items
• Clarified text on Lair Board
• Updated decks with names to make easier to print images
• Update deck layouts to support printing side by side based on my preferences for cutting out cards. I find it easier to print side by side with scoring cut to enable folding rather than trying to print and glue fronts and backs.
 
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sonny sonny
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thx for sharing and updating. i downloaded, but it will likely be a long time until i play it.
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