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Subject: Help to boost team play & reduce Multi Player Solitaire feeling rss

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Dan Fielding
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We play with 4-5 people and the Dunwich expansion (so far). We TRY to play as a team, but there just isn't enough time for one player to go buy stuff, then meet another to exchange items, etc. So each player utilizes their character's strongest traits for collecting stuff, but never put it to much use, and typically end the game with a pile of money or items they really can't use very well. The women also avoid combat, so we need a way for them to become better at distributing their "logistical supply." The men keep getting beat up and spending a lot of time in the hospital, or dodging too-powerful monsters.

One aspect seems to be that the movement rates are too slow; OTOH monsters block the streets quite often anyway.

Another issue might be that the players avoid going to zero on their stats, both to avoid losing their stuff, and the time it takes to heal (especially since many characters don't have the two bucks to get healed in one turn). They never take the disability cards instead of the wound.

Any tested variants to allow players to move & fight as a group?

I'd like to get more expansions and maybe play with 2 Investigators per player.
 
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Bern Harkins
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Movement in Arkham is more of an art than a science. You get a feel for which monsters are liable to clog up movement and should be eliminated. Evading is also an important part of the mix, especially for higher speed or focus characters.

Trading can be inconvenient, but it's the best way to boost the power of the individual characters. It's often a good idea to pass off an item or cash to someone who can't use it, but is going in the direction of someone who can.

If you have few items and enough cash, it's okay to go "old school" on Injuries and Madnesses... but that should seldom happen. It is almost ALWAYS better to take a condition card... a small number of them are horrific, but most are minor annoyances.
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MC Crispy
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Firstly, you are misunderstanding the game if you are playing it as a "swords and mythos" game. The aim is not to beat on Monsters, but to Seal Gates. Do everything to achieve that and nothing that doesn't directly lead to that or that might prevent you doing that. Which often means Evading Monsters. (Yes, you need to keep on top of the Monster count if you want the shops to stay open, but...)

Secondly, Arkham isn't so much a "co-op" as a "collaborative" game. By which I mean that you have a goal to achieve as a team but each person works on their piece of the project (as you would in a project team in the work environment). This means that the aim is not to do things together, but to achieve goals together. You are not a squad, you are an operations team. Note that this doesn't stop you trading stuff where this advances the collective goal, but it isn't a game of logistics (for that, try Thunderbirds).
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Krawhitham B
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It sounds like Arkham just isn't the best fit for your group...

Arkham Horror is best enjoyed as a story/rollercoaster. Immerse yourselves into the spirit of the game and enjoy the experience together.

I actually love that you can end up isolated, each fighting your own set of terrors.
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MC Crispy
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Krawhitham wrote:
It sounds like Arkham just isn't the best fit for your group...

Arkham Horror is best enjoyed as a story/rollercoaster. Immerse yourselves into the spirit of the game and enjoy the experience together.

I actually love that you can end up isolated, each fighting your own set of terrors.
I don't think that you can infer that "Arkham just isn't the best fit for your group". The OP just needs to understand how AH works as a co-op: it's not a combat-focussed game (so if that's what the OP is looking for then you are right - it's a poor fit). To me it just seems like the OP has the wrong "approach" to playing AH and that refocussing on the goals of Sealing Gates might help. Unless, of course, the group wants to beat the snot out of stuff. In which case, we can help select AOs/scenarios that are specifically designed for final combat victories rather than Sealing victories.
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The Grouch
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Eldritch Horror has a similar theme, but implements mechanics which allow for more cooperation in defeating monsters. That having been said, I find the random events in this younger sibling of Arkham Horror quite frustrating as one unfortunate card draw can wipe out most of the progress made during the entire game, far more so than a simple gate burst can in Arkham Horror with Arkham Horror: Dunwich Horror Expansion.
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Matěj Jan Morávek
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If you cannot trade (or almost never trade), something is done wrong. It happens with this game a lot. You have to exchange acquired things (as much as it is possible and convenient of course) to cover the weaknesses of the characters and bolster their strengths.

It was some time after we got this game, when we find out, that you are allowed to trade DURING THE WHOLE MOVEMENT PHASE, not only when you stop moving. This helped a lot - a fast character can even play "courier" and get crucial item from one to another while still ending somewhere relevant. You can even visit someone who just returned from the OW and failed to close the gate - you would be sucked in only if you stop there, during the Arkham encounter phase.

Good point to exchange (and also acquire) good stuff is to go shopping with more characters at the same time to the same shop - you can pool money on the much needed Tommy Gun, Ancient Sword or whatever and pass it to the investigator who will make best use of it.
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Dan Fielding
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Hmmm... when going to fight a tough monster, you could hand off all the stuff you aren't going to use in the fight, so its not at risk of being lost.

 
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Bern Harkins
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Gronak wrote:
Hmmm... when going to fight a tough monster, you could hand off all the stuff you aren't going to use in the fight, so its not at risk of being lost.

DO NOT LOSE YOUR STUFF. Take an injury or madness card. You save time, money and items. A few of the conditions are pretty terrible, but many others will hardly affect your game at all.

If the monster is one who has a Devour ability, then yes, bank your stuff with another player.
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Dan Fielding
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what's the ratio of productive turns to "maintenence" turns where you are travelling or healing or scounging for money etc ?
 
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Bern Harkins
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It varies wildly. An investigator may be too slow to reach his intended destinations in a single turn, may be lost in time and space.... twice... be delayed, have to spend a turn shopping, get detoured by monsters... and still lay down the game winning seal.

The point is, you take actions to attempt to get seals on the board. Sometimes this means fighting, sometimes shopping, sometimes just moving. Your question should not be "Have I already had enough 'nonproductive turns'?" It should be, "Which action has a reasonable chance of improving our position?"
 
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Dan Fielding
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A timid player will hide in a location waiting for the monster to move, instead of risking losing combat and spending several turns in the hospital/sanitarium if it fails to sneak by. Even spending a couple turns hiding is less downtime than getting reduced to zero.

The game makes it hard to make rational decisions since its so hard to even estimate your odds of success (need to both pass the Sanity check and also win the combat, vs sneak by...).

I'm looking for things to make them behave less timidly.
 
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Bern Harkins
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Gronak wrote:
I'm looking for things to make them behave less timidly.
Stress the attitude.

As one player in our group delights in reminding us, "It's the end of the world, Babes!"

No reason to hold back, and no time... heroic measures are needed.

Your Investigator is in danger of being devoured? He's one guy, against the fate of the world... do something useful, and if he dies, start a new Investigator.

You can't make Arkham safe. The design never gives you good choices; you are looking for less bad choices. This is what makes the game into a hilarious, desperate scramble to eek out a victory using old lanterns, loyal dogs and spells that break your brain.

No action is secure. You can try to play the odds, but every deck is a mixture of requirements and results. With more plays, you get a feel for what might be most helpful at a given moment, but you won't know until you act.

Also, if players stay at the hospital or asylum healing one a turn for multiple turns, mock them. You can tell them I said to mock them.

THIS GAME IS NOT ABOUT SAVING YOUR CHARACTER. IT IS ABOUT SAVING THE WORLD.

You have to be able to play hurt, take chances, and laugh when you lose your last sanity to a foul otherworldly smell.
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Dan Fielding
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"With more plays, you get a feel for what might be most helpful at a given moment"

But when you only play once every two months it won't happen.

And if you don't have the $$ you have no choice but to heal at 1/turn. There seem to be very few ways of getting cash if you don't have a character ability that gives you an income. Loans and retainers take precious time to try to get.
 
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Bern Harkins
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Gronak wrote:

And if you don't have the $$ you have no choice but to heal at 1/turn.
Hmm...perhaps I am mixing you up with another poster.... I thought you aid you had Dunwich, but your players were reluctant to use the Injury and Madness cards.

Even if you don't have Dunwich, I advise against spending more than two or three turns healing... get back out there!

Quote:
There seem to be very few ways of getting cash if you don't have a character ability that gives you an income.
Have you noticed the icons printed on each board location? These will give you some notion of what you might be able to get from an encounter there.

Quote:
Loans and retainers take precious time to try to get.
True, and Loans aren't really very good... but a retainer can mean the difference between facing off against a shoggoth with a flamethrower, instead of an ax.

We're really not all trying to be mysterious, here... it's a game of balancing paradoxes. That's what's got us hooked.



Oh, BTW, how do you use your trophies? That can have a big impact on the game... Blesses are huge, and should be bought for other players. After all, you are warm and snug at South Church... get the Bless for the poor guy crawling across the Plateau of Leng.
 
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Dan Fielding
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I do need to force them to use the madness/injury cards. Maybe going over the rules slowly...

Takes a long time to get 10 points of trophies. Gates too valuable to spend in the group opinion.

Also, they want to "get playing" and I don't think we spend enough time getting to know the other player's Investigators and what stuff they could benefit from acquiring.
 
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Bern Harkins
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Gronak wrote:

Takes a long time to get 10 points of trophies. Gates too valuable to spend in the group opinion.
5 pt. will get you a Bless or two clues, probably the best choices. What on earth are they hanging onto gate trophies for? Once in a great while, you'll have an "all gates closed" win that needs trophies equal to the number of investigators... but that's pretty uncommon, and even in that case, you probably can still spare a trophy or two. Also, although it costs ten trophy points and is a bit overpriced, it is great fun to be Deputy of Arkham, and everyone would try it at least once.

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Also, they want to "get playing" and I don't think we spend enough time getting to know the other player's Investigators and what stuff they could benefit from acquiring.
That just sounds like inexperience.
Starting out, just one character is overwhelming, without trying to monitor every character.

At our table, any time two investigators are in the same location, we scan all our [i]own[/q] stuff, and offer anything we are not using. We only trade things if it improves one investigator, or if someone is headed in the direction of a third investigator who could use the item. Such "hand-offs" are surprisingly effective at getting items across the board to where they need to be.

But that's now... for years, every time an investigator moved onto another's location, I would say, "Stop! Anybody got stuff they're not using?" Point out every opportunity to trade of share money, and get them in the habit of checking their own stuff for non crucial items.
 
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Dan Fielding
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"Once in a great while, you'll have an "all gates closed" win that needs trophies equal to the number of investigators... but that's pretty uncommon"

No, that's the way we tend to do it.
 
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Matěj Jan Morávek
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Well, than you are imposing an enormous burden on your shoulders. We have played about fifty games with my wife so far and only once or twice we won by closing the gates (and that was more luck in opening of the gates at sealed locations than intention).

I am not saying,you should not play it so, but it makes the game significantly harder and when mythos gives, impossible to win.
 
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MC Crispy
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Gronak wrote:
"Once in a great while, you'll have an "all gates closed" win that needs trophies equal to the number of investigators... but that's pretty uncommon"

No, that's the way we tend to do it.
Wow! You're either a billion times better at this than me, or I've been doing it wrong for a very long time indeed. Sure, I can swing the odd "all Gates closed" win, but it's opportunistic at best and absolutely not something that I've been able to manufacture on demand (which is effectively what you are saying you do). For my group it's always been "six Seals" as the strategic path to victory. If you take a look at the statistics over at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1v_y5tJMBalbjUg5i2kbm... and you'll see that the statistics bear this out.

Of course, you might be losing more often that you need to because you focus on the low yield strategy... (stats say you should win about 10% of the time compared to Six Sealed at 40% and final combat 15%)
 
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