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Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham» Forums » Variants

Subject: Fixing Investigator Abilities? rss

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sylas vlad venare
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There are a few investigators in Elder Sign that i feel are way too good and stand a better chance of winning when facing any Ancient One. But there are also bad ones that i feel do a lot worse in any game. Now that we play Gates of Arkham, the imbalance of these abilities becomes much more prominent. The already weak investigators just don't get used any more since it would be starting a game at a disadvantage.

Has any one ever had a go at fixing these with homebrew abilities? It would be much better if all the investigators had the potential of surviving a game.
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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I like it when investigators are devoured. It just isn't Yog-Sothothery if all the humans survive, says I.
 
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Samuel Bailey
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Which Investigators do you find problematic?
 
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sylas vlad venare
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*Note that these are just personal opinions. I don't expect others to completely agree and maybe these problems don't even affect everyone else's game.

The ones i've found to be the weakest are the ones that do'nt really contribute anything to the game as their powers are only okay ~20% of the time or detrimental to the investigator.

The most obvious are: Trish Scarborough, 'Ashcan' Pete, and Mark Harrigan.

Trish's ability boils down to being just a wordy reroll at the huge expense of life loss. In GoA losing health is a serious problem and Trish only speeds up the process. Not only that but being a Spy, it's not a very spy-like power to give her. Whether or not she uses her power, she tends to be the one who gets devoured the most often.
(Change loss of Sanity and Stamina to OR not AND)

Ashcan was only okay in the base game but in GoA he needs help. Starting off only with Duke means he gets absolutely no items to aid him in the tasks ahead. in the very likelihood that he loses Duke, he's basically a sitting duck.
(Change to start with a Common item as well as Duke)

Mark problem is that his ability just isn't used to good effect. its was okay but lacking in the base game but here, where he doesn't know where arrow tasks lie, the power barely gets used; maybe just once or twice in the whole game.
(Change to include ignoring Entry effects as well as having his normal ability)

Other nitpicks: Norman Withers should begin with a Spell and a Skill instead of 2 Spells. Diana Stanley should receive Clue tokens as soon as she defeats a Monster rather than at the end of her Resolution phase.

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Samuel Bailey
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For quite awhile in development, Trish's ability cost 1 stamina or 1 sanity but ended up being too good. I experimented with just 1 sanity, and then with just 1 stamina, but she still performed too well. So she finally settled on having it cost 1 of each and she still was interesting to people. It is true that sometimes people fall in the trap of killing her when the dice don't come up in her favor, but I've also seen some pretty amazing plays. She probably could have started with an additional item though.

Ashcan Pete isn't one of my designs, but he is my least favorite character in the game. Which is a shame, because he was one of my favorites in Arkham Horror and Mansions of Maddness. His ability isn't great as it really isn't a vertical increase in power, and Duke isn't really good enough to be your only starting item. I would have given him an ability that interacted with other people using and discarding items. Or maybe something like "Pete cannot be forced to discard items."

Mark also isn't super great, even in the base game, but you are right that GoA isn't doing him any favors. I think he would have been better served having an ability that interacted with monsters.

I agree with you on Norman Withers. He used to have a Skill as a starting item, but when GoA was made to be modular, some people didn't think he should have a starting item that required you to use components that might not otherwise be in the game (if you were just playing the base game with GoA investigators for example). So the Skill was removed. Amanda Sharpe should also probably have a Skill!

I also agree with Diana, her ability isn't so strong that it needed that restriction.
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sylas vlad venare
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Samuel Bailey wrote:
For quite awhile in development, Trish's ability cost 1 stamina or 1 sanity but ended up being too good. I experimented with just 1 sanity, and then with just 1 stamina, but she still performed too well. So she finally settled on having it cost 1 of each and she still was interesting to people. It is true that sometimes people fall in the trap of killing her when the dice don't come up in her favor, but I've also seen some pretty amazing plays. She probably could have started with an additional item though.


Thing is, i don't agree that it is too good. What gives it the illusion of being too good is that it relies on the power succeeding in the task at hand. Let's say on her first turn she's forced to attempt a Yellow card as there are no Green ones present. So a Yellow card is slightly harder and she struggles. So in order to try to succeed, she must use her power once or twice (all she can realistically afford). But the dice don't go her way (this happens often for any investigator) and she suffers penalties. If that doesn't kill her, she's still in a bad way. Since she failed, she has no trophies to heal herself and must go on until she get's lucky or devoured. The trap here is if others try to help by giving her items, she'll likely end up in a bad way later again. There is no spare time or resource to waste on investigators that cannot contribute enough.
After 10+ games, she's survived about twice as opposed to around half the time. Other investigators don't have to worry about their health anywhere near as often as Trish. It's a shame; she the hottest one in the selection
 
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Samuel Bailey
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I say she was too good before (when she could spend either 1 stamina or 1 sanity) because after many tests she was statistically the best investigator with the most won games. Her ability was a good example of win more, though now its often closer to lose more since if your risk doesn't pay off you usually end up dead.

I agree that her ability is a little on the weak side now and wish I had given her another starting item to help make up for that weakness.
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The War Chief
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So how about an upgrade pack to fix these investigators?
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sylas vlad venare
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Springheeledjack wrote:
So how about an upgrade pack to fix these investigators?


That would be fantastic. They kinda did that with Unseen Forces too. One can hope.
 
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Samuel Bailey
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Well, I don't work at FFG anymore, so can't really push that idea along. Also sounds like that would be very low on their list of priorities. Nothing stopping you from adjusting Investigators in your own game to be playable though.
 
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sylas vlad venare
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I do the odd tweak here and there. I don't even include the Find Gate item cards in our game anymore since they are traps now.
In terms of Investigators being overpowered, there are only 2 that i can think of: Jenny Barnes and Patrice Hathaway. Jenny is too good for obvious reasons. (change to gaining Red and Yellow by using a Red OR Yellow). Patrice is just awesome in every game even if we lose but she's not invulnerable so I'll leave her alone.
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Samuel Bailey
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Yeah, Jenny is by far the best when it comes to sheer power.

Patrice is slightly higher in power level because she shares her power with others. Her original ability used to be only that she could share her clues with others, but that often led to someone else using all her clues and her having nothing. So I increased her clue output a little so she had a clearer purpose about what to go for on her turn.
 
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