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Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham» Forums » General

Subject: Need some Official-Sounding House Rules to vary difficulty rss

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Bob T
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Elder Sign is one of my group's favorite games but they don't know about "Gates" yet. I've played it a few times solo and I can tell they're going to hate it pretty fast if I throw them into the deep end with the full difficulty of this expansion, and I can't bear the thought of that happening. Even tried it with 3 Arkham and 3 Museum Adventure cards and it was still impossibly hard.

There's no shame in playing an "easy" level- we still play Pandemic that way and lose 80% of the time. (None of us are master strategists) Unlike me, the other 2/3 of my group are highly resistant to any sort of house-rule or unofficial variants in their games. This expansion would have been perfect with a list of easier variants in the back of the book. Alas it's not there. What am I to do?

I plan to snow them of course. So I'll need a convincing, official-sounding "easy level" that I can bamboozle them with. Here's what I've come up with so far...


1) Remove the Red Arkham Adventure cards. Hate to do that cause they're awesome.

2) Keep the Entrance card from the base game or the 4 Entrance cards from "Unseen Forces", along with the Streets card.

3) No Events. (maybe a good idea for the first few games anyway)

4) Shuffle in the OW cards from the base game.

5) Each player starts with one Skill. (This one is so simple I wouldn't even have to tell them it's an "easy" variant)



So what's the most convincing easy level that doesn't nerf it too much?



 
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Vladimir Lehotai
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Point number 4 is already needless, since you don't play only with the new OW cards - you mix them together with those from the base game.
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Thoth Amon wrote:
Elder Sign is one of my group's favorite games but they don't know about "Gates" yet. I've played it a few times solo and I can tell they're going to hate it pretty fast if I throw them into the deep end with the full difficulty of this expansion, and I can't bear the thought of that happening. Even tried it with 3 Arkham and 3 Museum Adventure cards and it was still impossibly hard.

There's no shame in playing an "easy" level- we still play Pandemic that way and lose 80% of the time. (None of us are master strategists) Unlike me, the other 2/3 of my group are highly resistant to any sort of house-rule or unofficial variants in their games. This expansion would have been perfect with a list of easier variants in the back of the book. Alas it's not there. What am I to do?

I plan to snow them of course. So I'll need a convincing, official-sounding "easy level" that I can bamboozle them with. Here's what I've come up with so far...


1) Remove the Red Arkham Adventure cards. Hate to do that cause they're awesome.

2) Keep the Entrance card from the base game or the 4 Entrance cards from "Unseen Forces", along with the Streets card.

3) No Events. (maybe a good idea for the first few games anyway)

4) Shuffle in the OW cards from the base game.

5) Each player starts with one Skill. (This one is so simple I wouldn't even have to tell them it's an "easy" variant)



So what's the most convincing easy level that doesn't nerf it too much?





Maybe try it without the event deck.

One of the video reviews noted that the event deck seems to take it too far and that by leaving it out helps bring down the difficulty.

Of course you could remind the group that in a Lovecraft game it's not about winning or losing but how well you die

(I keep waiting for the 'This game is too easy' post...you know it's coming)
 
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Franklin1742 wrote:
This game is way too easy. I bought the Gates expansion and I haven't played it yet but I can tell from looking at the picture on the cover.


DONE AND DULY NOTED!

(beat all those other posers...damn straight)
 
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Lipa LeChuck
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Play with face-up Adventure cards? Although I think you would lose much of the GoA spirit by this...

Always replace the top three cards face-up and the bottom three cards face-down?

Pay 2 trophies at any time to flip any one Adventure card face-up?

Play with face-up Other World cards?

Dilute the Mythos deck by mixing it together with the original ES+UF deck?

Or (to reverse-use one of the most popular house-rules to make the original ES more difficult) - reduce the clock increment to 2 hours instead of 3.
 
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Ben Bosmans
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pnpfanatic wrote:
Franklin1742 wrote:
This game is way too easy. I bought the Gates expansion and I haven't played it yet but I can tell from looking at the picture on the cover.


DONE AND DULY NOTED!

(beat all those other posers...damn straight)


Such a great post !

You know I love Elder Sign and the difficulty of that game with the first expansion was just TOP for me.

I never believed those stats of 80% wins by ... 11 (sic) different users on the FFG website stats. Never. As I win around 30% on the IPad, my average is 50-60% on the basic boardgame version.

I didn't buy the Arkham expansion yet, but I do hope the "hardcore" braggers didn't kill the 50% win rate of the boardgame and rendered it to an extreme un fun game experience due to their complaining about the early easiness of the game (which I never believed btw).

Last game I lost due to the 3 Elder specific monsters showing up in ONE midnight strike (yep 2 mythos in a row that called out a new midnight). I will buy the expansion AFTER I will have downed all Elder ... and I still need to win against 3 of them, so OP...

Just play the standard game if you think your group can't conquer the new difficulty. The game is and was already great before this expansion.

To me ES is still the best dice rolling game until further notice.


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J M
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We had a player tackle a face-down red adventure on the first turn, and he crushed it. It wasn't a super-lucky set of rolls, either, so they're not necessarily the worst. There are also some relatively tough yellow and even green adventures. Events are a mix of both good and bad.

Richard Launius, elsewhere in these forums, suggested doing a Mulligan if you don't get a mix of difficulties that you're comfortable with on the first deal. Also, I'll always suggest Azathoth as the GOO for a learning game.
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Loki
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The first time playing through I would avoid a GoA Old One, since they spawn lots of gates and instead do an easier one from the base game, like Azathoth as Ace suggested. I would also stack the deck a little and only have Green and Yellow cards within the top 10 cards or so. This should allow your players to explore the expansion a bit before the difficulty ramps up. You can do both of these things without your players being none the wiser I think.
 
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Bob T
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Vladimir17 wrote:
Point number 4 is already needless, since you don't play only with the new OW cards - you mix them together with those from the base game.


Think we found the first variant to make it tougher- I've been making it even harder than it needs to be by only using the new OW cards (which are all ridiculously horrid)
 
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Thoth Amon wrote:
Vladimir17 wrote:
Point number 4 is already needless, since you don't play only with the new OW cards - you mix them together with those from the base game.


Think we found the first variant to make it tougher- I've been making it even harder than it needs to be by only using the new OW cards (which are all ridiculously horrid)


Awesome

For those who play sleeved you might try mine: If the cards are going to be face down to hide information why let the game tip its hand by having difficulty signals on the back of the card. Cover up the green, yellow and red tip offs (I'm using black Post-It note strips to cover them. NOTE: If you do something similar make certain it is Post-It brand material...other imitations will leave residue behind...only Post-It adhesive comes off clean-I've tested it...4 years on some Arkham cards and came off clean yesterday).
 
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Bob T
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You should use stickers with skulls and/or tentacles!
 
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N S.
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Option 5 is a nice idea. Also, when a character dies you can "forget" to add a doom token.
 
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Bob T
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LipaB wrote:
Play with face-up Adventure cards? Although I think you would lose much of the GoA spirit by this...

Always replace the top three cards face-up and the bottom three cards face-down?

Pay 2 trophies at any time to flip any one Adventure card face-up?

Play with face-up Other World cards?

Dilute the Mythos deck by mixing it together with the original ES+UF deck?

Or (to reverse-use one of the most popular house-rules to make the original ES more difficult) - reduce the clock increment to 2 hours instead of 3.


A 2-hr clock is an excellent idea! Simple to implement and it sounds "official".

All face-up Adventure cards would make the game harder since you could never buy stuff or heal for free, but face-up OW's are a good idea.
 
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