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Subject: First play will be tonight: what do I need to know? rss

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Matt Shepherd
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Bought the game yesterday, skimmed the rules; I haven't read too much of the board here because I don't want to "spoil" the game with hard-won strategies and formulas for playing before we get a chance to figure it out for ourselves.

That being said: what, if anything, do we really need to avoid screwing up? Are there things that we really absolutely should know before beginning? Every time a new FFG hits the table, we always have a good time but there are invariably five or six "soft spots" in the rules. Having some pointers of what those might be and how to resolve them ahead of time would be useful.
 
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Tommy Wareing
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What you need to know: you're going to get it wrong! It's a strange game, in which more and more rules (or even combinations of rules) just keep crawling out of the woodwork.

You can't transfer clue tokens, gate trophies, or monster trophies.
Keep track of the number of monsters on the board, so you know when you've hit the monster limits, and need to put them in the outskirts (using spare counters and putting one on each monster as it comes to the board helps a lot here!)
Keep track of the number of open gates on the board, or you'll get taken by suprise when the last one opens!

Add a doom token every time a gate opens (very, very easy to forget that, in the heat of the moment).
Doom tokens are only removed when you use an Elder Sign (and the Elder Sign is then discarded).

Shuffle the Arkham Encounter decks each time you draw from them.

 
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Christopher KrackerJack
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Read the rules again before playing. They are poorly laid out and, in places, counter-intuitive. There are also a few rules that only come up occasionally, so be prepared to look them up (Lost in Time and Space).

A few key areas to focus on that I seem to have to explain every time we play:
Turn order. The threaded turn mechanism and first player token can cause great confusion the first time out. Especially when monsters impede movement and the order in which events take place becomes important.

Remember: only 1 mythos card per turn, not one per player per turn.

Victory conditions: There are three ways to win, make sure you understand and can explain all three.

End game: know when doom tokens get placed and what will trigger an endgame (GOO awakening).

Monsters: make sure understand all of the symbols on the tokens and the order in which combat/ evasion takes place. Little things like failing an evasion roll can cause confusion. Also, review monsters in the Sky and Outskirts and how they effect gameplay.

Spellcasting during combat seems to cause confusion as well.

I also recommend pulling a few Tome cards out of the unique item deck and reading the text. For some reason people have a hard time understanding what they do.

Good luck and have fun. This is one of my favorite games and is one of the most played games by the adults around my house.
 
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Eric Jome
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MattShepherd wrote:
That being said: what, if anything, do we really need to avoid screwing up? Are there things that we really absolutely should know before beginning?


Well, in addition to what others have mentioned;

1) Explain how the game is won. Gates sealed, gates closed, or fight the Great Old One. Show what it takes to close a gate (enter gate, go through the other world, return and close with Fight or Lore). Show what it takes to seal a gate (Elder Sign or clues). Show how the Great Old One might enter play (a basic description about Doom Tokens and the Terror Track, not every detail).

2) Explain each player's turn. You have a character (show them the basics of stamina, sanity, focus and stats, and gear) and you move around town having encounters. Then show them drawing the Mythos cards and opening gates once per round. Draw a sample Mythos card to show it.

3) Monsters are a big part of the game. When you move, you have to evade them to keep moving or avoid a fight. When you fail to evade or choose to fight, there is an important series of steps. Know how monsters work! Explain this carefully to others and show a few quick ones as examples.

That's how I'd approach teaching the game. How do you win, what do I do on my turn, and is there anything central to the action of the game (in this case, encounters/monsters). Then, just begin playing. The pace of the game is slow enough that people will be able to take it in as they go... definitely do NOT try to download the entire concept on them right away! Three quick things and roll.

Good luck!
 
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Lester Dizon
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Go to the files section here and download either Mr. Skeletor's flowchart or Universal Head's ArkhamHorror_rules summary (or both) and print them out for each player to follow along as you play. Having more than one person keeping track of gameflow will help.
 
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Scott Ferrier
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One thing that can be confusing if you have not played Shadowrun or games that require success rolls is that a success roll in Arkham is a roll of a 5 or 6. You will need extra dice the game just doesn't come with enough.

Getting the rules summary will help save an hour out of your first game as the rules layout is horrible, they have you look on this page and then that page has you look on another page but do not be discouraged as the game is hella fun.

In addition remember that you can't injure a monster, either you kill it in one fight or your character gets damaged and you fight another round till someone runs away or ends up in the hospital.
 
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Casey Rogers
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Read the rules, reread the rules, read the rules again and then rereread the rules. Also, read the rules again as a final backup against errors.

Oh, a be prepared for a pretty merciless game.
 
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Jeff Wood
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Remember the number of monsters drawn per gate is 2 if there are five or more players. Else one.

REMOVE THE MASK MONSTERS (unless needed) FROM THE CUP.

Monsters drawn for an Encounter card stick around if there is a Gate drawn as well, else they disappear back to the cup after tormenting the player drawing the card.

 
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Kevin Wilson
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The Nicholas Cage of games! Oh god, not the beeeeeesssss!
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And since no one else mentioned it, you'll want the FAQ for a couple of clarifications and such.

-Kevin Wilson
Fantasy Flight Games
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Bill Abner
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Don't worry about screwing up. This is not a game that live and dies with its rules. If you're having fun, then that's all that matters. It's not a game to be taken too seriously in the sense that if you mess up a rule or two that it will ruin the game.

Bring coffee. It's gonna be a late one.
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T. B.
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You're going to miss stuff, probably lots of stuff. Just be fairly casual and if you forget to roll for an upkeep three turns in a row, don't sweat it too much.

These are the major, game impacting things I was getting wrong the first few times I played:

Mythos phase order for an opening gate: place gate, place doom token, place monster, move monsters. THEN read text. This is a mantra.

On-board monster limit: current number of players +3. Any more than that go to the outskirts.

Outskirts monster limit: 8 - current number of players. Any more than that, clear the outskirts, raise the terror level by one.

If you get a chance, try to solo it for a few turns at least.

Oh, one more thing: on the Great Old One's card, where it says "While Cthulhu(or whoever) stirs in his slumber", that means throughout the game! Not when he wakes up! The first time I saw that, I read "stirs in his slumber" and assumed that was some sort of immediately-before-awakening thing.
 
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Todd Pytel
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I would really try to set up the game a little early and play a few turns solo (maybe taking two investigators if you want). The AH rules are kind of quirky and easy to get wrong. This is doubly true if you're playing with a large group (say, 5+) - the game is really going to bog if you go in there cold. Once you've got the cards and everything all laid out, it only takes a few minutes to reset everything for a new game, so you wouldn't be losing much time in trying it out solo first.
 
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Dave Sokolowski
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I will mention the one thing no has remembered to tell you...

[wait for it]

Make sure you have enough room on the table! Lots of stuff to push around, lots of table space to take up.

Have fun!
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Universal Head
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Game summaries and reference sheets: www.headlesshollow.com
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You might find my rules summary and reference sheets useful.
 
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Jeb Adams
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Be ready for a loooooooong game. Long. When you don't know the rules, it's a long one. Fun, but long. Hours.

I really like the flowchart and the rules summary that has the blanks at the for you to fill out for this game. You make notes about how many gates bring the GOO, how many critters can be in town before overflowing, etc.

The flow chart really helps you nail down the turn order, and that matters. Let's say you're in Arkham:

0. Upkeep phase, roll for any thing that has an upkeep that you've had for at least one turn (first one's free!).

1. Movement phase, you opt to move to a location with a gate. Evade or fight any monsters at that location. (If you move from any space that has a monster in it while trying to get to that location, you'll have to Evade them too. If you stop to fight, then you lose all movement points).

2. Arkham Encounter phase, you are at a site with an open gate. You get moved to stage one of wherever that crazy thing goes.

3. Other Worlds Encounter phase, you are in another world, so draw an Encounter card for the other world. Barring weirdness, you will never have an Arkham Encounter card and an Other World encounter card in the same turn. This is a little weird, as players before and after you will have drawn and played Encounter cards for Arkham while you don't. Then when they are done, you do your Encounter card, simply because of the phase order.

4. Mythos phase, well described above.

Good luck man, the game is fun. Keep a list of all the rules you mess up so we can mock your session report.

(I played a solo game today, doozy!)
 
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Jeb Adams
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ced1106 wrote:
tppytel wrote:
I would really try to set up the game a little early and play a few turns solo (maybe taking two investigators if you want).


Definitely worth repeating. I'd add you may wish to try different situations as you play. For example, when you fight a monster, fight different monsters with different items and spells. And consider playing your first game with Azathoth -- he modifies the rules least, and you don't have to worry about the end battle...
Wow, I disagree--he also eliminates a way to win the game. Not fun. For the first time, you should use Yig, Ithaqua, or Nyarlahotep--they're pretty easy, and the Yig game is basically as fast as a game can go.
 
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Matt Shepherd
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Three games down and session report posted. This thread was super helpful! Thanks, everybody!
 
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