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Arkham Horror» Forums » Variants

Subject: Take Your Darn Turn Already! rss

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Lazarus Darkeyes
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Proposal: Instead of going 'round the table for each phase, each player executes their upkeep, movement, arkham encounters, and other world phase before going to the next player. The Mythos phase happens after each player has taken their turn.

There is obviously an increased delay between a given player's turns, but this seems to, in our group, cut a lot of time out of the game as a whole.

Thoughts?
 
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Stephen Williams
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I'm considering the same house rule myself.

It will obviously alter the timing sequence of some events. No longer can two players move into the same location and then get sucked through a gate together. The timing of gates opening and closing as a result of encounters might cause the GOO to wake up when he might otherwise have stayed asleep (or vice versa.)

But I don't think it would have any disasterous consequences on general game play. As long as you can accept these sorts of implied timing changes, I think it will be fine.
 
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Bern Harkins
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I strongly recommend against this.

Every few months, a query will appear in these forums on a "rules situation".

People will try to help, but the only answer we have to give is "that can't happen".

The reply will be, "Well, it happens with our group, because we do movement and encounter together" (or Arkham and Other World encounters together, or some other variation).

The game is designed to be played in phase order; the thousands of different cards are written presuming phase order.

Most of the time, glomping the phases together will just change the game slightly (mostly by removing opportunities to trade), but every once in a while, it will screw up the works badly, and when that happens, there is no good resolution. Because you are not playing the game the way the designers are assuming, you can run into circumstances for which there simply is no rule.

I've seen smooth games played with phases two and three melded, but members of that group admitted to me that they had encountered irreconcilable circumstances on more than one occasion.

My advice; do yourself a favor, follow the phases, and never expose yourself to a mid-game ten minute rules discussion which has no correct answer, because the situation is never supposed to arise.
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Swan Bones
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Radulla wrote:
My advice; do yourself a favor, follow the phases, and never expose yourself to a mid-game ten minute rules discussion which has no correct answer, because the situation is never supposed to arise.


This. I've tried it and it can break a game. A hastily bolted on, mid-game fix can sap the credibility out of Arkham Horror and credibility is so important to a solo or collaborative game (at least it is for me/us). And therefore why waste a couple of hours of build-up to realise that the only way out of a situation is to have to start again?
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Benj Davis
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I actually don't see why doing things that way would save time anyway.
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Stephen Williams
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Okay, now I understand that a large portion of the community is opposed to the idea of messing with the turn sequence. That makes perfect sense; the whole idea of play by RAW because that's how it was designed. I get that.

I've used the search feature to dig up a few other threads from the past discussing this idea, too.

Here's the thing, and I swear I'm not trying to pick a fight or contradict anyone, but I don't see any horrible game-breaking scenarios being mentioned in any of those past threads. I see a lot of "you don't know what might happen" or "here's one specific timing issue that would make the game play differently." Not broken mind you, just different than it would play by RAW. No examples that would actually stop the game cold in its tracks and force us to stop playing because there are no rules to cover this case.

The most convincing argument against playing your whole turn at once that I could find was the idea that it could make the game easier on the players by revealing information out of turn (ie: player A has an encounter that opens a gate on location X, so player B decides to move elsewhere when he was planning to go to X.)

I recall the old 1980's version or Arkham Horror being one of the most devilishly difficult games to win, despite players taking their turns all at once. I recently looked up the 1980's rules again to compare and here's the thing: they're almost exactly the same as FFG's version, except for player turn sequence, monster movement, and the fact that encounters are rolled on a chart instead of drawn as a card. I honestly don't see the new monster movement rules being impacted by this house rule. You can, of course, argue that the FFG version's encounters were written with the phase sequence in mind, but what I want to know is if there's any specific example of a case that can actually break the game.

Maybe this house rule will alter timing of some events and ultimately make things a little easier on the players, but I'm confident that with all the added expansion rules to make things harder again, AH will remain competitive despite this.

Again, this is not intended as flamebait or any kind of challenge, just an honest request for information. I'd like to know if anyone has an example of a conflict arising from this house rule that would actually stop the game in its tracks and make proceeding impossible.

I think this house rule will make the game flow easier in our group, which is why I'm so interested in trying it. I'm planning to run a few solo games first to see if I can shake anything loose myself. I'm interested in any wisdom the community has to offer, but from all the other threads on this subject I could find, it sounds like most people are just opposed to messing with RAW. And if messing with RAW was a problem for me, I wouldn't be thinking about house rules in the first place.
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Bern Harkins
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There are some funky interactions with some Encounter cards, but the most frequent malfunction seems to be short circuiting someone's turn when another investigator's encounter opens a gate at their location. The "victim" will either have already had their turn, and so will not have an Other World encounter, or has NOT yet had their turn, in which case their entire turn consists of Upkeep and an Other World Encounter.

Losing their movement phase seems to be the biggest gripe people have about this; very inconvenient when you are clutching an Old Journal or a copy of The King in Yellow.

Everyone knows there is something wrong with having your place in the turn order so radically change your fortunes, and that's when various resolutions are proposed; go back and take your movement, take an Other World out of turn, etc. The problem is that there is no logic or authority to choose among these ad hoc patches, since the situation was never supposed to happen; acrimony can result.

You also seriously nerf trading as a strategy, reducing opportunities like the famous multi-player movement phase shotgun relay. Trading is the most significant interaction among players in the game; weakening it impacts the "cooperative" nature of the game, and constrains creativity and planning.

It's simply not as good a game without people going through the phases together. It's drier, less engaging, and less rewarding of thought.

At least in my opinion... YMMV.

A question... why do you even want to do this? Following the phases keeps things smooth and shortens down time; what would the benefit be of abandoning it?
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Stephen Williams
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Radulla wrote:

A question... why do you even want to do this? Following the phases keeps things smooth and shortens down time; what would the benefit be of abandoning it?


We have a couple of players in our group who basically can't sit still. They'll do their movement and then get up and wander off into another room and we have to start yelling at them to come back and do their encounter phase.

They express great interest in playing Arkham Horror because they like the theme, but they refuse - despite being repeatedly asked to do so - to just sit down and play. They're like this about everything, btw, not just board games. Can't stay focused on one thing. I'm reasonably certain that you'd advocate dealing with these players directly rather than changing the rules to work around them. Believe me, we've tried that.

"Kicking them out" is likewise unpalatable since one of them is family. When we get together as a family, playing games is something we enjoy doing - but everyone is always there, of course. So we can't just not invite him, and finding other ways to exclude him would be childish in itself.

It may come down to simply refusing to play games like Arkham Horror with these guys some day, but for now I'm still working on alternatives. Everyone in our group is generally easy-going about the idea of house rules. The problem players can't be bothered to actually learn the rules in the first place, and the others are fine with variants as long as they all understand the change. So that's why this idea offers such great promise to me.

I'm sure the wanderers will still wander - I don't think any force on Earth can stop that - but my hope is by giving them a good 5 minutes of uninterrupted downtime to wander and then come back while everyone else takes their turns, it will be less disruptive to those of us who actually CAN sit still for 5 minutes.

Radulla wrote:

There are some funky interactions with some Encounter cards, but the most frequent malfunction seems to be short circuiting someone's turn when another investigator's encounter opens a gate at their location. The "victim" will either have already had their turn, and so will not have an Other World encounter, or has NOT yet had their turn, in which case their entire turn consists of Upkeep and an Other World Encounter.


Well, my understanding is that any time a gate opens up underneath someone, they get delayed as they are pulled through, so the first half of this is fine. The investigator will still end up having 2 OW encounters before returning. Maybe they should've had 3 by RAW, but whatever.

The second half falls under "implied timing changes" to me. Time will tell if it's a problem for our group, but I don't think it will be. We take relish in the idea that Arkham Horror is a hard game to win, so the idea that every now and then your turn gets pooched by a random event like a gate opening under you will probably just make us laugh.

Radulla wrote:

You also seriously nerf trading as a strategy, reducing opportunities like the famous multi-player movement phase shotgun relay. Trading is the most significant interaction among players in the game; weakening it impacts the "cooperative" nature of the game, and constrains creativity and planning.


Apparently not famous enough for me to have heard of it. I assume this refers to a situation like player A moves, carrying a shotgun to fight anything, then passes the shotgun to player B (who is hopefully in the same space where A got stuck fighting monsters, if any fighting actually occurred.) Player B then moves and uses it to fight, etc.

I can see how that would be a handy rules application with the RAW phases, but frankly it sounds a bit cheap to me. Any time multiple players can benefit from a single item in a single turn (in any game) it starts to make my skin crawl. Unless it's some kind of AoE effect that hits everyone at once, of course. Also, the fact that we never struck upon this tactic ourselves in the past suggests to me that maybe we aren't taking full advantage of trading anyway. As such, I find myself doubting that the nerf here will cause too many problems. Again, time will tell.

I do appreciate you taking the time to reply and point these things out. Certainly good to watch out in case these complaints do begin to surface in our group (at which point we would most likely repeal this house rule and I'd have to try something else to deal with our troublesome players.)
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It is of course your game to do with what you will, particularly if there is no other way it will be used. However it sounds now like you'd already made up your mind at the start, so I question the point of posting this in the forum in the first place, particularly as there are a number of pre-existing threads on the issue.

I imagine you were hoping for fixes to allow this to work smoothly, but bear in mind the people who respond to posts like these are trying to help not hinder your experience. if your group is only able to play this way for whatever reason and you personally are more inclined to accept results from "time will tell" experience then this thread seems rather unnecessary.
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Teeka
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Stephen, let me say I feel really sorry for you. I understand the situation as I know ADHD people myself (I guess pretty much everyone does). I've seen how hard it is sometimes having to work around the problem, as it isn't anyone's fault. Especially with family.
But if it's so bad that these folks go away into other rooms(!) after only a few minutes of having to focus, then AH just isn't for them.

Sorry to say this, cause I wish you a fun game night of course. But with these folks you just can't play a game that lasts more than 30 minutes (in normal playtime), or that requires planning and keeping track of little stuff.
Even if you slug yourself through an AH game with them, you're never going to enjoy the game unless the others are practically playing for them anyway.

And to be honest, apart from the theme being appealing, I really don't see these folks themselves enjoying any of it either. The fun is in the story and the uphill battle. If all you're getting out of it is a little thematic stuff and some dice rolls, why play a 3-hour game like this?

That said, go ahead and houserule the hell out of it if you're really that set on playing AH.
What you'll get is not AH at all and as Radulla has explained, you'll need to 'judge' the entire game through all sorts of problems. There's just no "correct" way to do it, so you might as well just do whatever you want.
...But hey, if that does make for a fun family game night, then good for you, right? Good luck!
 
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Lazarus Darkeyes
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Jacky Blue Note wrote:
It is of course your game to do with what you will, particularly if there is no other way it will be used. However it sounds now like you'd already made up your mind at the start, so I question the point of posting this in the forum in the first place, particularly as there are a number of pre-existing threads on the issue.

I imagine you were hoping for fixes to allow this to work smoothly, but bear the people who respond to posts like these are trying to help not hinder your experience. if your group is only able to play this way for whatever reason and you personally are more inclined to accept results from "time will tell" experience then this thread seems rather unnecessary.


While I did look through a nice chunk of threads on the Variants forum here, I did not see this before.

I just thought I'd share with the community an idea that my group enjoys and see if anyone here (a) might also enjoy it and (b) might have comments to note anything game-breaking/critical that I missed.
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Lazarus Darkeyes
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Radulla wrote:

A question... why do you even want to do this? Following the phases keeps things smooth and shortens down time; what would the benefit be of abandoning it?


I completely understand how it does shorten downtime. It's a trend in FF games (TI3 being a leading example -- which I *love*, btw). And I appreciate how cycling parts of a turn instead of "I take a 20 minute turn and can walk away for an hour while 3 other people take 20 minute turns" can be superior in many games as well as offer interesting interrupts/adjustments in mechanics/strategy.

My ever so humble opinion is that this game needs that.

There is an associated downside w/ the break-apart-phases-and-cycle-players mechanic: UPTIME.

This is the time saver. You do not have to adjust your actions for what other players did between your phases. You do not have to 'ramp up' your attention (*I* don't have this problem, but a decent percent of the players I encounter do) and that eats a lot of time. You can make a plan at the beginning of your turn and execute it.

I've actually timed it in our group 3 times. Game turns take ~75% less time when we use this rule. That is savings of at least an hour for us. This is not insignificant.

As for the strong warnings from the first few posts on this thread...we've not yet encountered anything in encounters or elsewhere that were broken or had interpretation issues w/ this.

As for the concerns regarding trading items around, you can still do it just fine. Almost better now! It's now possible for someone to go to the General Store, but something, and others can run by and grab it from them. I don't consider this broken; this is a 'half-turn' readjustment of perspective and I'm fine with that.

 
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Teeka
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LazarusDarkeyes wrote:
You do not have to adjust your actions for what other players did between your phases.
This is part of what makes AH what it is. Removing that IMHO means turning AH into a wholly different game.

Judging from the two threads you started, I gather that your group approaches co-ops as a collection of individual endeavours against a common enemy, not a team effort at all.
You don't want to take one for the team because "you personally need to win", and you don't want another player interrupting "your turn".
Go ahead and be like that of course, but that's not the approach games like this are designed around.

LazarusDarkeyes wrote:
As for the strong warnings from the first few posts on this thread...we've not yet encountered anything in encounters or elsewhere that were broken or had interpretation issues w/ this.
I think you already have and chose to not acknowlege it as an issue.

LazarusDarkeyes wrote:
As for the concerns regarding trading items around, you can still do it just fine. Almost better now! It's now possible for someone to go to the General Store, but something, and others can run by and grab it from them.
Which, by design, you're not supposed to be able to.

Doing it like this will affect the difficulty, for instance:
Normally when monsters enter/move in Mythos, you have to deal with them during next Movement using the weapons that you currently have.
But now you can go shop for just the right weapon, and have your buddy use it, all in the same turn (before more monsters come).
 
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Stephen Williams
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Teeka wrote:

Sorry to say this, cause I wish you a fun game night of course. But with these folks you just can't play a game that lasts more than 30 minutes (in normal playtime), or that requires planning and keeping track of little stuff.


Indeed, and we certainly play our fair share of games like that with them. Hope springs eternal for longer games like AH, though.

Teeka wrote:

What you'll get is not AH at all.


That's a matter of opinion, of course. For me, AH is all in the fluff, and I don't see how this house rule could possibly remove that. It will still be chock full of Lovecraftian horror, it just won't be operating by RAW.

Teeka wrote:

Good luck!


Thanks.

If I do end up coming across an unknowable conundrum as a result of playing this game in a way that Man was Not Meant To Play AH, I'll be sure to write up a lengthy and no-doubt somewhat bonkers session report with which to warn off those who would foolishly follow in my footsteps. =P
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Teeka
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Cool.
Please note (this is to both you and Lazarus, btw) that above all I hope you have fun playing.
I was only trying to tell you that I think you were kindof trying to accomplish the impossible (messing with AH's basic structure while keeping the gameplay intact).

But like you say, if you use the components of AH to make your own completely different game, and then you and your family really enjoy that different game, then more power to you!

Game on!
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Jon G
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A lot of this debate depends on how engaged the players are while playing. If you play all-day four-expansion games of Arkham with players who wander off and chat between turns, (as Laz's games often do) then longer turns mean that wander-offs will disrupt the game less. It's perhaps not optimal, but just about every game of Arkham I've seen has at least one disengaged player.
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There is one solution that respects game mechanics:
Most of the time players can have separate turns ignoring phases, so you do just that because it's easier and keeps the wildest (or youngest) players focused. BUT you keep an eye on them to make sure their actions don't disrupt the game mechanics, so when phase sequence is an issue you enforce it to keep the game balanced.
The trick is identifying phase conflicts beforehand, as an example: Most problems with phases happen when players interact or move to the same location, so when that happens you use phases to ensure normal game flow. Another common problem: player1 closes a gate that returns a monster to the cup, then player2 moves trough the location where the monster stood; just leave the monster in place until everybody has moved.

Essentialy we ignore phases but keep them in mind to avoid broken mechanics, and it's easier than expected because most turns are unafected by phase sequences. Also: some players have difficulty grasping phases because they are wired for whole turns, so in essence the most experienced players do the math for them. It's not perfect but it does make life easier for casual players and also speeds up the game.
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