Alex
Spain
Coruña
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This would be too incomplete for a proper AAR and it couldn't qualify as a review in a million eons. But I'd have liked to read something a bit like this while I was on the fence about trying this game. Sessions seemed like the most appropriate forum, so bear with me.

It was my first game ever, so I was testing the rules solo with just a single investigator and checking for answers at BGG. That's how I learned that my character, Dexter Drake, isn't what you would call a beloved option of the AH community. It seems that his stats are rubbish. Also, he was pitched against Cthulhu himself, who further reduces his starting attributes.

With this handicap and no strategic knowledge whatsoever of the intricacies of the game, I proceeded to do what seemed the obvious way to go: gather clues, seal gates to other worlds.

But my low stats and some clumsy dice rolling soon got me playing a game of hide and hide and hide and run while the board teemed with open gates and failure loomed. I knew I was gonna lose big time. Then I got a better understanding of the mechanics and I realized that at least I could predict when, more or less. Also I concluded that it wouldn't be a simple defeat, but a major humiliation.

Then I noticed that I was having a lot of fun. And also cackling. The narrative was kicking in...


When I went through a lot of reviews, I found all this testimonials about "building your own adventure" and such. I was sceptic, to put it mildly. I wanted a game with choices and a bit of depth, and getting excited on the theme wasn't my priority.

But it worked. While I was hiding in a sealed room waiting for an opening to evade the monsters roaming the streets -this describes most of my mid to end game- It kinda reminded me about... "Shadow over Innsmouth", was it? Soon, I found myself laughing. Not the kind of laugh coming from a man losing his feeble mind. No. I was in hysterics because I anticipated the end.

I haven't told you yet, but Dexter --the Magician-- roams the streets on a top hat, a cane and white gloves. He was 1/1 on basic stats, which means he couldn't cast a single spell or get a bruise without getting a severe penalty and losing his items.

And I couldn't afford that. Because the laughs were provoked by the thought that this daper useless guy was about to face Cthulhu on this ridiculous garb while riding a motorcycle, armed with just a flask of holy water and his sidekick, the old professor Armitage, mumbling odd things about kicking that weird octopus. Seriously, this mental image alone made me want to resist until the final battle.

I was so filled with joy with this ridiculous idea... I still chuckle thinking about it. Later, it hit me. I can't get this emotions with Agricola, for example. My farm just doesn't click on the narrative side. Ok. Worker placement isn't the best comparison. Cluedo, maybe? I just can't buy into the murder thing either. But Arkham got to me. And I thought that all the fluff in the world wouldn't be able to do so.

Anyway, I was about to meet my GOO maker ("primigenio", in Spanish, sounds much more majestic, by the way) with my good looking caster that couldn't cast cantrips without going insane. By this time I was already thinking about him in terms of a 1920's GOB Bluth from Arrested Development --"I'm The Magician!!"--.

Then a random card threw me out of the world, lost in time and space. The next second, Cthulhu awakens. I check the rulebook. I'm devoured and the game is over without the final battle. So anticlimactic.

I was decided to cheat so I could have the final battle. Turns out It wasn't necessary. I misread a rule. If you get twice a determined number of monsters in town, Cthulhu awakens. I had 5 times that amount... So I could have battled Cthulhu all the turns I spent basically hiding.

I went against the Ryleh scourge ready with flask, bike, top hat, decrepit sidecick and 6 bucks in my pocket. Then I did the math. Winning wasn't an option. I could just deal him a max. of 1 hit per turn, which he would regain automatically. So I cheated. I allowed myself a rematch and a second instance of Wither that I had discarded before in a wrong choice. Just for the fun of it. I had four die rolls each round to hit him and seven rounds before auto-dying. There was a possibility.

I couldn't scratch him. Cthulhu ended in full health. Actually, he would have been over the starting value, if possible.

But I had a wonderful time while playing terribly. I can only hope for this to get better and deeper. I'm still afraid that it may not fulfill all my needs. I had a blast playing it, however. And that doesn't happen as much as I'd like to, lately. For all those out there on the doorstep, scoffing at the "narrative developing", you should give it a try.

I'm gonna read AARs until I can play again. I think I'll try a 2 investigators team with Dexter in it.

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Marco Donghi
Italy
Near Milan
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Glad you liked the game!
Just one thing, it's not clear from your recount if you have used the monster limit correctly.
For single player, the monster limit is 4. So when you draw a fifth monster, you place it instead in the Outskirts.
The Outskirt is not infinite either: when you have X monsters, you clear it and raise Terror by one. For single player, X=7.

This way, having the board overrun is actually impossible unless you get the Terror Track to 10 (which removes the monster limit for the rest of the game).

I suggest the use of these rule sheets as they are the most complete and concise I've found up to now. https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/27852/arkham-horror-modul...
I hope this will help you for the next game!
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Alex
Spain
Coruña
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Terror track had reached 10. Believe me, I had a lot of time to get acquainted with the outskirt limit and terror increasing during the surges. But somehow I missed the last awakening condition: 2x standard arkham limit. At 8 monsters in town with 1 Derek, the unspeakable doom awakens. I had 20 and the mythos movement phase had become sort of a micromanagement meta game by that point
 
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Gary Weston
United States
Sacramento
California
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For me, the bizarre narratives that emerge from this game are what make AH special. The stories keep me coming back again and again. The image of Prof. Harvey Walters chasing monsters in the streets, an enchanted blade in one hand and the other crackling with magic, will be with me forever.

I've had a decent amount of success with Dexter Drake, but he definitely needs a team. For me, three investigators is the sweet spot for solo play. In a group, Dexter can be a powerful spell-caster, especially if he has the Find Gate spell.

Anyway, glad you enjoyed getting devoured! Many more memorable adventures to come!
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Kris Wiggins
United States
Kingwood
Texas
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Uh! It's this darn dice tower!
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Paul F
Wales
Vale of Glamorgan
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Your post sums up exactly what I love about the game. It's a little adventure into the absurd and the narratives that players make up themselves are what really round out the experience.

zosete wrote:
By this time I was already thinking about him in terms of a 1920's GOB Bluth from Arrested Development --"I'm The Magician!!"--.


Haha. Love it. I'll never look at Dexter the same way again...

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George
Greece
Athens
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Next time pick Mandy. She's so strong, it's not even funny. I do not remember ever losing a game with her.
 
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