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Elder Sign» Forums » Rules

Subject: Seal markers in GoA -- am I missing something? rss

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Ryan Scott
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So, I'm playing Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham's "Streets of Arkham" mode, and I understand how gates are opened, attacked, and then closed with a seal marker. Once a seal marker is placed on an Arkham Adventure card, a gate can no longer open on that location. BUT, if all Arkham Adventure cards have either an open gate or a seal marker on then when it comes time to open another gate, it blows up (removes) all the seal markers, and earns you a doom token.

My question is this: Am I missing a mechanic somewhere, for the seal markers?

It just doesn't seem like they... do anything. In fact, once they are in play, the only outcome they can bring about is a negative one (the doom token mechanic I mentioned above). I guess preventing more gates from opening on a given card is OK, but it's not like this makes a huge difference anyway, since you get to choose which Arkham Adventure card gets a new gate. Shouldn't there be some type of positive use for the seal markers -- say, using them as a single "wildcard" die roll when solving the associated Arkham Adventure card? It strikes me as an odd design omission that these seal markers don't bring you any kind of true benefit.

Or maybe I'm missing something from the rules, in which case I will happily eat my words.
 
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Robert Clevidence
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Apparently I'm missing something too: I don't understand your concern. A common complaint with Elder Sign was that it was too easy. Why would they make the seals do something helpful?
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Ryan Scott
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Clevider wrote:
Apparently I'm missing something too: I don't understand your concern. A common complaint with Elder Sign was that it was too easy. Why would they make the seals do something helpful?

That's a valid counterpoint, though I would say that Gates of Arkham ramps up the difficulty substantially enough, that having a positive seal marker effect wouldn't necessarily tarnish the design goal of making the game harder (and a positive seal marker effect could potentially introduce new tactical considerations when deciding where to place gates, which could be a very good thing).

My concern really amounts to "The seal markers feel kinda weird and pointless as-is, as though they forgot something." In the canon of the Arkham Files universe, sealing gates is generally a major action that players are compelled toward, with positive consequences. The implementation in Gates of Arkham just feels strange in that regard. Does that make sense, or am I crazy?
 
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Julia
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Think at the seals in this way: they prevent further gates to open, thus, the location card they appeared at is now free to be attempted. Let's say that card locks a die, or has some sort of nasty monster, or a horrible At Midnight effect: no gates appearing there means that you have some time to resolve it. Not too much time, tho: the power of the Mythos is strong enough to not be harnessed forever, and sooner or later, what's sealed will be freed again.

So, seals here are just a temporary benefical protection
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Robert Clevidence
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Ok, I agree they're kinda counter-intuitive, thematically. While reading the rule book I do remember being surprised that the seals didn't do anything good. I just accepted that they served as a weak timer and moved on.

@Julia:
That's one way to look at it, but I have to agree the theme there is weak. Like Ryan pointed out, players can choose to put new gates elsewhere anyway; so I think "restriction" is a more apt term for it than "protection."
 
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Julia
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Clevider wrote:
@Julia:
That's one way to look at it, but I have to agree the theme there is weak. Like Ryan pointed out, players can choose to put new gates elsewhere anyway; so I think "restriction" is a more apt term for it than "protection."


Yes, I agree, my explanation was a tad bit of a stretch. I just tried to give a thematic explanation to a mechanic that was created for other reasons (internal balance of the game, mantaining the threat of gates as something always present, and so on)
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Jason Beighel
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I never thought of it as a protection, but maybe that's just how I treat the portals. I tend to put them on the adventures I don't want to tackle for whatever reason, so once they have a seal I'm stuck blocking adventures I may want to do with portals.

At the same time if I get a seal on one of those adventures I don't want to do, then continue to avoid it it makes it more likely that I'll get a doom token penalty. I have run into situations where irrational biases towards locations left me cycling two location spots, so the other four ended up sealed.

I guess the end result is that if you're not cycling all 6 adventure locations then the seals are less "temporary protection" and more "tiny step toward a doom token".
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Michael Brettell
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I remember feeling the same thing about sealing the gates. I think intuitively you'd think they'd be a really good thing, and if you've played Arkham, they are the main way to win the game.

Once you get over that preconception, then they become just another mechanic you have to deal with, and part of what makes GoA such an enjoyable challenge!
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