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Subject: Which components from expansions can I combine and which should I keep seperate? rss

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Jeff Plank
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My wife and I managed to pick up Arkham Horror along with all of the big box expansions at a pretty cheap price on Kijiji. We just had our first game tonight and loved it. We're wondering - are there components form the expansions that people usually mix together even when not using the board from that particular expansion? For example, I'm wondering if the Mythos cards can all be shuffled into one giant deck? Which items do people keep separated and which do people usually combine?
 
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I combine all the small cards together to use in every game. These are the common items, unique items, spells, skills, allies, and also different special cards that can be used in all occasions like the madness/injury, and personal stories.

I also mix all the monsters, investigators, and Old Ones together (when choosing randomly). Any heralds or guardians/institutes are chosen on a case by case basis. Also the large card epic battles can be used all the time if needed.

The large cards I keep separate to use only when the expansions are in use are the Mythos, Encounters, and Other World Encounters. Those often refer to specific locations or events that are based on the expansion they come from. While it is true that there are certain cards from these sets that can be used anytime, I prefer to keep them separate in order to give more individual flavor to the expansions.

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Bern Harkins
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First off, the small Invesigator cards... spells, allies, blessings, Injuries and Madnesses, skills... can all be used in every game.

They won't always be appropriate to a game... for instance, no use having Favor of Bast cards if you aren't using Bast, or the White Ship if you're not using Kingsport, but you can shuffle up teetering decks of Uniques, Commons and such with no rules problems.

Some players feel this impacts the thematic quality of the game, especially with the King in Yellow, but I don't agree; I like the big, varied decks.

One consequence of this is that you will see Elder Signs less often, but once you've been playing awhile, you may find they are more fun as a rare treat. And not that rare... we use all Unique items from all expansions, and we see an Elder Sign or two in three quarters of our games.

The "Attribute" cards, such as Blessings, Rail Passes, Sheldon Gang Memberships and the like can be kept in one stack.


You can use any Ancient One and any Investigator in any game. Simple as that. The same goes for Heralds, Guardians and Organizations.


You can include or leave out most any portion of any expansion. Want Dunwich Injury and Madness cards, but not the Dunwich map? Relationships without Innsmouth? No problem.



The larger cards are where things get complicated.


Mythos decks are carefully balanced, with different frequencies for some locations. You can make up your own (I leave it to MCCrispy to explain that arcane art), but for the most part, you should use the basegame Mythos deck mixed with whatever expansions you are using.

Over the years, a general consensus has emerged on these fora that one Big Box and one Small Box makes for smooth, enjoyable games. If you use a small box, you may find that the Innsmouth and Dunwich boards are quiet most games; this can be remedied with the Miskatonic Horror expansion, with its multiple gate cards.

Some people fight dilution by keeping the Mythos decks separate, and rolling a die, taking from the base game deck on a one to four, and from the expansion decks on a five or six.

You CAN just stack them all up, and ignore gates for locations that are not in use, but things can get weird and streaky with such a stack.


The in-Arkham location encounter decks are less finicky about how you mix them. You may find an encounter that sends you to a location not in use, but not frequently. Once again, though, adding one Big Box and one Small Box is usually fine.


People often mix all the Other World Encounter cards together, and I advise against this. Every Other World has its own atmosphere which becomes apparent over time. If you use all the cards at once, these thematic qualities can't shine through, and that's a shame. (You should be freaking TERRIFIED of Kaddath, but if all the Encounters you get there are Other, you'll never know that press-your-luck excitement.) Base game. One Big Box. One Little Box.



Well, sorry to throw a wall of text at you, but it IS an epic game. I hope you enjoy your adventures... I know I have.


googoogoo Welcome to the Madness googoogoo


tl;dr Mix all the small cards, Investigators and Ancient Ones. Use one Big Box and one Small Box for larger cards.
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Bern Harkins
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PS... you can mix all the monsters (except Spawn Monsters with the red circle icon).
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Jerry Martin
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We mix them ALL together. Then when we draw a Mythos card if it has a location that isn't in our game then we discard and draw a new one.
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Jack Liu
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Almost everyone uses the madness/injury cards from dunwich horror. Personal stories from innsmouth are great too.


Most people just mix in all encounters after they get a lot of boxes. You can just choose to ignore ones not from the expacs you are using if you want a less diluted set

All other big box and small expansions have something going for it.
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Neil J.
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Radulla wrote:


People often mix all the Other World Encounter cards together, and I advise against this. Every Other World has its own atmosphere which becomes apparent over time. If you use all the cards at once, these thematic qualities can't shine through, and that's a shame. (You should be freaking TERRIFIED of Kaddath, but if all the Encounters you get there are Other, you'll never know that press-your-luck excitement.) Base game. One Big Box. One Little Box.



I generally agree with Radulla's approach. However, contrary to above I do shuffle all the Other World Location cards together, but add the following variant rule: "Other" category can only be used for encounters in Another Dimension. This means that you will always use the Kaddath category for a Kaddath encounter. You'll be drawing cards for a few seconds to find a match, but it's worth it to keep the theme intact.

I'm glad this is being discussed, although I know it's far from the first thread to do so. My biggest dilemma is the Arkham Location cards. The standard decks are tired in my group, and sometimes players rely too heavily on them (such as camping out at the Newspaper for a Retainer). However, I know at least some of the individual expansion theme is contained in their respective Arkham Location decks so they should be used modestly. I like the [1-4: Base, 5-6: Expansion] rule idea for drawing these cards, although I may consider a [1-3, 4-6] ratio instead.
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M.C.Crispy
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Gaius wrote:
Radulla wrote:


People often mix all the Other World Encounter cards together, and I advise against this. Every Other World has its own atmosphere which becomes apparent over time. If you use all the cards at once, these thematic qualities can't shine through, and that's a shame. (You should be freaking TERRIFIED of Kaddath, but if all the Encounters you get there are Other, you'll never know that press-your-luck excitement.) Base game. One Big Box. One Little Box.



I generally agree with Radulla's approach. However, contrary to above I do shuffle all the Other World Location cards together, but add the following variant rule: "Other" category can only be used for encounters in Another Dimension. This means that you will always use the Kaddath category for a Kaddath encounter. You'll be drawing cards for a few seconds to find a match, but it's worth it to keep the theme intact.

I'm glad this is being discussed, although I know it's far from the first thread to do so. My biggest dilemma is the Arkham Location cards. The standard decks are tired in my group, and sometimes players rely too heavily on them (such as camping out at the Newspaper for a Retainer). However, I know at least some of the individual expansion theme is contained in their respective Arkham Location decks so they should be used modestly. I like the [1-4: Base, 5-6: Expansion] rule idea for drawing these cards, although I may consider a [1-3, 4-6] ratio instead.
Do you discard the unused Gate Cards to the discard pile, or do you (like I do) discard them to a pile beside one of the OW that are on the card - so you can draw from that pile instead of the Gate deck?
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Neil J.
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mccrispy wrote:
Gaius wrote:
Radulla wrote:


People often mix all the Other World Encounter cards together, and I advise against this. Every Other World has its own atmosphere which becomes apparent over time. If you use all the cards at once, these thematic qualities can't shine through, and that's a shame. (You should be freaking TERRIFIED of Kaddath, but if all the Encounters you get there are Other, you'll never know that press-your-luck excitement.) Base game. One Big Box. One Little Box.



I generally agree with Radulla's approach. However, contrary to above I do shuffle all the Other World Location cards together, but add the following variant rule: "OthIer" category can only be used for encounters in Another Dimension. This means that you will always use the Kaddath category for a Kaddath encounter. You'll be drawing cards for a few seconds to find a match, but it's worth it to keep the theme intact.

I'm glad this is being discussed, although I know it's far from the first thread to do so. My biggest dilemma is the Arkham Location cards. The standard decks are tired in my group, and sometimes players rely too heavily on them (such as camping out at the Newspaper for a Retainer). However, I know at least some of the individual expansion theme is contained in their respective Arkham Location decks so they should be used modestly. I like the [1-4: Base, 5-6: Expansion] rule idea for drawing these cards, although I may consider a [1-3, 4-6] ratio instead.
Do you discard the unused Gate Cards to the discard pile, or do you (like I do) discard them to a pile beside one of the OW that are on the card - so you can draw from that pile instead of the Gate deck?


Interesting idea, Mccrispy. I guess that could save a little time, as long as you don't peak at the other encounters on the card.

I've always put the discarded cards back under the deck. I own all the expansions so it's a very large stack of cards. Probability-wise it keeps the encounters very fresh.

EDIT: Reverted mccrispy back to his rightful nationality. Silly spellchecker...
 
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Nick Bolton
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Gaius wrote:
McCrispy


Despite appearances, he's not actualy Scottish.

Back on topic: I prefer to mix everything in and have all cards available as well as all boards in play.
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I play everything mixed together. However, if you plan to do so make sure to get Miskatonic, otherwise the deck will be quite unbalanced.
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I would keep the Mythos cards for the individual boards seperatly.

For example when we play with Dunwich we have two stacks of Mythos cards. Then in each Mythos phase we roll a die.

1-3: Draw from the Dunwich stack.
4-6: Draw from the main board stack.

With this tweak you will have an intense game every time and it would not happen that the additional board stays empty the whole time.

Every other cards could be mixed together.

Exceptions for me: I play King of yellow for its own - it is much richer thematich wise instead of shuflling everything together.


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My 2 cents:

We play a lot of 2-player(investigator) games, sometimes 3 player. So expansion boards are rarely used unfortunately, and for instance the non-base game AOs are too hard. Also, dilution is a bit of a problem as we don't get to do as much as a team of 4 would. So we ended up picking 2 small expansions that we thought were easiest to combine, plus some stuff that we thought really added to the fun.

This is our current standard set-up:

- All investigators, including any unique fixed posessions (which are shuffled in with the rest if the investigator isn't chosen).
We just ignore any texts that refer to expansion elements not in use.

- Injury and Madness cards from Dunwich (but not Miskatonic).

- Personal stories.

- The entire Dark Pharaoh expansion* except the herald.

- The entire King in Yellow expansion except the act cards (and appropriate Mythos cards).
Herald (and Blights) only used with 3-p, not 2-p.

- Miskatonic: the "Egyptologist" skill, the "Strange Sightings" Mythos cards, the extra Exhibit encounters / items.


* Ally house rule: shuffle and deal 11 to be available at Ma's. These are the ones that leave when the terror level rises. The others still count as 'available' should you draw an encounter that fetches one of them.
 
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M.C.Crispy
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Beckikaze wrote:
I would keep the Mythos cards for the individual boards seperatly.

For example when we play with Dunwich we have two stacks of Mythos cards. Then in each Mythos phase we roll a die.

1-3: Draw from the Dunwich stack.
4-6: Draw from the main board stack.

With this tweak you will have an intense game every time and it would not happen that the additional board stays empty the whole time.

Every other cards could be mixed together.

Exceptions for me: I play King of yellow for its own - it is much richer thematich wise instead of shuflling everything together.


The OP says that they have all the big box expansions, which includes Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion. This being the case, they can use MH to address the issues of inactive side boards (it's one of the things it was specifically designed to do). This, IMO, is a better solution than multiple stacks of Mythos and using dice (I really, really hate this approach, but of course YMMV)
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mccrispy wrote:
Beckikaze wrote:
I would keep the Mythos cards for the individual boards seperatly.

For example when we play with Dunwich we have two stacks of Mythos cards. Then in each Mythos phase we roll a die.

1-3: Draw from the Dunwich stack.
4-6: Draw from the main board stack.

With this tweak you will have an intense game every time and it would not happen that the additional board stays empty the whole time.

Every other cards could be mixed together.

Exceptions for me: I play King of yellow for its own - it is much richer thematich wise instead of shuflling everything together.


The OP says that they have all the big box expansions, which includes Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion. This being the case, they can use MH to address the issues of inactive side boards (it's one of the things it was specifically designed to do). This, IMO, is a better solution than multiple stacks of Mythos and using dice (I really, really hate this approach, but of course YMMV)


We're really enjoying the 25-card proportional deck method you use (we add a card for turn 0), and combined with archiving off mythos cards, great variety in the games. And added bonus, no rolling!
 
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Jeff Plank
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mccrispy wrote:
Beckikaze wrote:
I would keep the Mythos cards for the individual boards seperatly.

For example when we play with Dunwich we have two stacks of Mythos cards. Then in each Mythos phase we roll a die.

1-3: Draw from the Dunwich stack.
4-6: Draw from the main board stack.

With this tweak you will have an intense game every time and it would not happen that the additional board stays empty the whole time.

Every other cards could be mixed together.

Exceptions for me: I play King of yellow for its own - it is much richer thematich wise instead of shuflling everything together.


The OP says that they have all the big box expansions, which includes Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion. This being the case, they can use MH to address the issues of inactive side boards (it's one of the things it was specifically designed to do). This, IMO, is a better solution than multiple stacks of Mythos and using dice (I really, really hate this approach, but of course YMMV)


Could you elaborate on what you mean by using MH to address the issues of inactive side boards?

Also - I really appreciate all the advice and feedback everynoe. Thank you. I'm learning a lot
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Wolfpack48 wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
The OP says that they have all the big box expansions, which includes Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion. This being the case, they can use MH to address the issues of inactive side boards (it's one of the things it was specifically designed to do). This, IMO, is a better solution than multiple stacks of Mythos and using dice (I really, really hate this approach, but of course YMMV)


We're really enjoying the 25-card proportional deck method you use (we add a card for turn 0), and combined with archiving off mythos cards, great variety in the games. And added bonus, no rolling!
Glad to hear it - it certainly avoids those massive stacks of Mythos cards and helps keep the side board active (it just requires a bit more prep)
 
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jplank wrote:
Could you elaborate on what you mean by using MH to address the issues of inactive side boards?
MH both addresses card numbers and provides "double gate" Mythos cards. These new cards have an Arkham location and a side board location on them, when a side board is present you spawn the gate on the side board, if (the relevant) side board isn't in play then the Arkham location is used. The slight downside is that these Mythos are also slightly harder.
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Wolfie
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Gaius wrote:
Radulla wrote:


People often mix all the Other World Encounter cards together, and I advise against this. Every Other World has its own atmosphere which becomes apparent over time. If you use all the cards at once, these thematic qualities can't shine through, and that's a shame. (You should be freaking TERRIFIED of Kaddath, but if all the Encounters you get there are Other, you'll never know that press-your-luck excitement.) Base game. One Big Box. One Little Box.



I generally agree with Radulla's approach. However, contrary to above I do shuffle all the Other World Location cards together, but add the following variant rule: "Other" category can only be used for encounters in Another Dimension. This means that you will always use the Kaddath category for a Kaddath encounter. You'll be drawing cards for a few seconds to find a match, but it's worth it to keep the theme intact.

I'm glad this is being discussed, although I know it's far from the first thread to do so. My biggest dilemma is the Arkham Location cards. The standard decks are tired in my group, and sometimes players rely too heavily on them (such as camping out at the Newspaper for a Retainer). However, I know at least some of the individual expansion theme is contained in their respective Arkham Location decks so they should be used modestly. I like the [1-4: Base, 5-6: Expansion] rule idea for drawing these cards, although I may consider a [1-3, 4-6] ratio instead.


We've found that mixing everything together except for Mythos works well. Location and gate cards mixed all together improve variety a great deal, though we skip the first Other card if it doesn't match the current Other World. It's the Mythos (and to a lesser degree Gate and Location) cards that bring out the theme of the expansion.
 
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Andreas Alexiou
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Building on the OP's question, which elements from each of each expansion would you use to make the ultimate (but lean) AH game?

To elaborate a bit more, I own the following:

AH Base
Dunwitch Horror
Kingsport Horror
Innsmouth Horror
Lurker at the threshold

I wanted to make a version of AH for 4 players but avoid much dilution and huge stacks of cards. My thoughts were:

Boards: Base game + Innsmouth only.
Mythos: Base + Innsmouth only
Locations: Base + Innsmouth only.
Gates: Lurker (more flavor)
Investigators + GOOs: All expansions
Madness/Injury Cards: Dunwitch
Personal Stories: Innsmouth

What I doubt about:

Items/spells etc: Mix them all or not? I don't want Elder signs to become almost impossible to find.
Monsters: Mix them all together? Does that have any impact on the difficulty?
Friendship cards from Lurker: I'm leaning towards leaving them out since we most of the time forget to apply them anyway.
Final Battle: Do you guys use the Kingsport cards or stick to standard battle routines?
Heralds/Guardians: I never use them. Too many rules/effects to remember already.

I usually play this game 2-3 times a year so at this point variability is not an issue. I just want to have a balanced but enriched base game ready to put on the table when needed. All unused materials I want to keep in their original box in case I want to try at some point in the future.

What would you guys say?
 
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Aion wrote:

What I doubt about:

Items/spells etc: Mix them all or not? I don't want Elder signs to become almost impossible to find.
Monsters: Mix them all together? Does that have any impact on the difficulty?
Friendship cards from Lurker: I'm leaning towards leaving them out since we most of the time forget to apply them anyway.
Final Battle: Do you guys use the Kingsport cards or stick to standard battle routines?
Heralds/Guardians: I never use them. Too many rules/effects to remember already.

I usually play this game 2-3 times a year so at this point variability is not an issue. I just want to have a balanced but enriched base game ready to put on the table when needed. All unused materials I want to keep in their original box in case I want to try at some point in the future.

What would you guys say?


Just my opinion:
- Investigator cards (items/spells): use them all
- Monsters: if using the Aquatic monsters from Innsmouth, for more Innsmouth theme take out an equal number of non-Innsmouth monsters
- Personal Stories: Always
- Relationship cards: I never personally bother, too situational
- Epic Battle.cards: Always
- Heralds: There are some nice thematic ones, like Dagon, but personal preference. Note that they do make the GOO harder.
- Guardians: Usually only if I'm playing a Herald (to reset the balance)

Have fun!

 
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Here's the items we use in every game, no matter which expansions are in play:

Mix all Common Item cards (variety)

Mix all Unique Item cards (variety. Yes, finding Elder signs is harder, but it also prevents farming the Curiositie Shoppe, which is pretty cheesy anyway)

Mix all Spells (variety)

Mix all Skills (some specialty exceptions specific to an expansion)

Mix all Allies and draw 11 (variety)

Personal Story Cards

Relationship Cards

Madness and Injury Cards

Mix all gate cards with the exception of dual expansion symbols from Miskaonic Horror. We always skip the first "Other" if it doesn't match the Other World you are in.

Mix all locations (variety). If you come across an encounter too specific to an expansion, draw another card.

Mix in all base Miskatonic Horror Mythos with the base game Mythos
cards. Then, only use that deck with the Mythos cards from the expansion deck you are playing. You can create a proportional mix deck, or roll to see which deck to draw from.

Mix in the Lurker and base game gates (variety. We rarely run out of gate tokens even if we're playing with one or the other set)

Epic Battle Cards
 
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Aion wrote:

Building on the OP's question, which elements from each of each expansion would you use to make the ultimate (but lean) AH game?

To elaborate a bit more, I own the following:

AH Base
Dunwitch Horror
Kingsport Horror
Innsmouth Horror
Lurker at the threshold

I wanted to make a version of AH for 4 players but avoid much dilution and huge stacks of cards. My thoughts were:

Boards: Base game + Innsmouth only.
Mythos: Base + Innsmouth only
Locations: Base + Innsmouth only.
Gates: Lurker (more flavor)
Investigators + GOOs: All expansions
Madness/Injury Cards: Dunwitch
Personal Stories: Innsmouth

What I doubt about:

Items/spells etc: Mix them all or not? I don't want Elder signs to become almost impossible to find.
Monsters: Mix them all together? Does that have any impact on the difficulty?
Friendship cards from Lurker: I'm leaning towards leaving them out since we most of the time forget to apply them anyway.
Final Battle: Do you guys use the Kingsport cards or stick to standard battle routines?
Heralds/Guardians: I never use them. Too many rules/effects to remember already.

I usually play this game 2-3 times a year so at this point variability is not an issue. I just want to have a balanced but enriched base game ready to put on the table when needed. All unused materials I want to keep in their original box in case I want to try at some point in the future.

What would you guys say?
Here's what we do currently: Arkham Horror: Game Component Setups used by mccrispy
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mccrispy wrote:
Wolfpack48 wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
The OP says that they have all the big box expansions, which includes Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion. This being the case, they can use MH to address the issues of inactive side boards (it's one of the things it was specifically designed to do). This, IMO, is a better solution than multiple stacks of Mythos and using dice (I really, really hate this approach, but of course YMMV)


We're really enjoying the 25-card proportional deck method you use (we add a card for turn 0), and combined with archiving off mythos cards, great variety in the games. And added bonus, no rolling!
Glad to hear it - it certainly avoids those massive stacks of Mythos cards and helps keep the side board active (it just requires a bit more prep)


Do you houserule anything for when the deck runs out? We've had some longer games and also some games where an effect causes a draw of multiple Mythos cards. So far we've just pulled more cards from the box, but it might be interesting if something happened when no more Mythos are available.
 
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Wolfpack48 wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
Wolfpack48 wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
The OP says that they have all the big box expansions, which includes Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion. This being the case, they can use MH to address the issues of inactive side boards (it's one of the things it was specifically designed to do). This, IMO, is a better solution than multiple stacks of Mythos and using dice (I really, really hate this approach, but of course YMMV)


We're really enjoying the 25-card proportional deck method you use (we add a card for turn 0), and combined with archiving off mythos cards, great variety in the games. And added bonus, no rolling!
Glad to hear it - it certainly avoids those massive stacks of Mythos cards and helps keep the side board active (it just requires a bit more prep)


Do you houserule anything for when the deck runs out? We've had some longer games and also some games where an effect causes a draw of multiple Mythos cards. So far we've just pulled more cards from the box, but it might be interesting if something happened when no more Mythos are available.
Never happened that I can remember but... (1) grab stuff at random from the box, or (2) spend 2 minutes building a new deck from the source piles, (3) build a 36 card deck next time

But something Thematic? In Eldritch Horror the Investigators lose the game. So how about the AO wakes up? You could even tweak the size of the deck for each AO or for difficulty adjustment (speed Arkham anyone? )
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