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Arkham Horror» Forums » Variants

Subject: One Gate Variant rss

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Josip Markulin
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I played and enjoyed Arkham Horror for a long time now. Lately I've been thinking about a little more thematic variant and am interested in any feedback.

This is in no way a replacement or upgrade for the original game, just an alternative. The game then becomes more quest like, with a defined goal. No expansions are used for now but would go well with injury and madness cards.

So, the Great Old One is trying break free to our world. A Great gate opens to his dimension and the investigators must seal it to stop the Horror. They rush across the city gathering clues as monsters appear through unseen cracks in time and space. Smaller rifts sometimes appear in their path but they pale in comparison the the real threat. Finally, having amassed enough knowledge they together brave the Great gate, survive the horrors of the other world and return to seal it. Or do they return just to find out they are too late and must now defeat the freed monstrosity?

Rules:

0. Everything not mentioned bellow, phases, movement, skills etc. remains the same.

1. Players can't win the game with standard gate closing, they must close the Great gate or defeat he Great Old One in battle.
Great Old One can't appear because too much gates are open but still appears through other means, if its doom track is full or the terror limit is reached.

2. The first gate set on board during setup mythos phase is the Great Gate.
To close the great gate, players must seal it (5 clue tokens + skill check/elder sign) a number of times indicated below. Use seal tokens on the gate as counters. Investigators still need to pass through the gate to receive the explored marker and they don't lose the marker as long as they remain on the Great gate location. A thematic combination of gate's Other World locations and Great Old ones can be used.

Great Gate seals needed for different group sizes:
1 investigator - 2 seals
2 investigators - 3 seals
3 investigators - 4 seals
4 investigators - 5 seals
5 investigators - 5 seals
6 investigators - 6 seals
7 investigators - 6 seals
8 investigators - 6 seals


3. No additional gates are opening during mythos.
During regular mythos phases spawn monsters normally (where the new gate would appear), move monsters, place clue tokens and resolve text, but do not place a gate marker. The doom track still advances if there is no gate at drawn location.

3.1. If an encounter opens a gate, proceed normally.
Draw random gate (redraw if the same as Great gate) investigator is sucked in, and when he exits he can close the gate with a skill check.

4. Outskirts have a set limit of 0 for all group sizes.
Guarantees the horror track rises at least a few times.

5. Clue and trophy trading is permitted.
Since the Great gate requires a lot of clues, investigators can pool their knowledge to close it before or after entering the Great gate. They can also gather monster or gate trophies together to exchange for clues.

6. Clue spawning is changed for balance
During first mythos phase place one clue token on each of two Other World location that the Great Gate leads to.
During every mythos phase, besides normal clue placement, first place one additional clue token on the card's indicated gate location (unless there is a gate at that location), and second, place a clue token on any Great Gate's Other world location that has no clues and no investigators on it.



What this variant does:

1. Gives the investigators a streamlined quest

2. Shortens the game since a doom track is rising almost every turn.

3. Varies difficulty depending on the Great Gate location, Other world destination, and skill check modifier.

4. Adds teamwork and suspense to closing the Great gate.
"Will somebody enter now to add a few seal tokens or do we go together when we have enough and risk filling the doom track?", "Who will cary how much tokens to succeed?", "Don't waste precious clues!"

Great Old One - Gate combination
Set so the Great Old One has a thematically corresponding Other World location (corrections are welcome). Optionally, random Great Old One - Other World location can be used.

Cthulhu - R'lyeh
Ithaqua - Plateau Of Leng
Azathoth - Abyss
Nyarlathotep - The Dreamlands
Hastur- Another Dimension
Yog-Sothoth - Great Hall Of Celeano
Shub-Niggurath - Yuggoth
Yig - City of the Great Race


Problems:

1. Too few other world encounters

2. Horror track is underused

3. Great Old One's attacks based on trophies (Yog-Sothoth's) become unbalanced

What are your thoughts?
It still needs refinement, any feedback is good feedback.
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Brian C
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Love this idea. Might even make the game more immersive for me -- having a single target that you must focus on and pour into it all of your resources, with minor objectives appearing here and there to provide some distraction.. sounds great.

Side thought: I wonder about giving each Great Gate a passive rule that would apply to the games that they are the centerpiece for -- then you could end up with different parameters for a game depending on the GG/GOO combination (edit: unless a gate is already tied to its GOO? Haven't had the pleasure of reading any of the Lovecraft novels yet..).

Good luck in finishing this
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Josip Markulin
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Thanks for the feedback. I was going for such a streamlined feeling.

Yes, the Great Gates would already be tied to their GOO, so they have it's respective ongoing power and thematic other world encounters when entered. Some ties are based on the novels and the remainder I tried to tie appropriately.

I wanted to avoid additional made up rules and use what is already there, but I'll give a thought about different GOO/gate combinations.
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Daily Grind
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My initial thought is that the doom track will be unforgiving with this variant as you'll never hit the late-game respite of having a gate whiff when it tries to open on a sealed location. Maybe each seal of the great gate can give the elder sign bonus of lowering the track?
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Josip Markulin
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cafin8d wrote:
My initial thought is that the doom track will be unforgiving with this variant as you'll never hit the late-game respite of having a gate whiff when it tries to open on a sealed location. Maybe each seal of the great gate can give the elder sign bonus of lowering the track?


Well, that is intended to mitigate the lower difficulty of only having one gate (less monster surges and the ability to chain seal the gate with enough clues). It also keeps the pressure on throughout the game, the play time in check, and lastly it forces the players to cooperate and optimize (e.g. you don't waste turns in other worlds for only one Great gate seal).
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Daily Grind
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Batela wrote:
Well, that is intended to mitigate the lower difficulty of only having one gate (less monster surges and the ability to chain seal the gate with enough clues). It also keeps the pressure on throughout the game, the play time in check, and lastly it forces the players to cooperate and optimize (e.g. you don't waste turns in other worlds for only one Great gate seal).

That's true... I guess you also won't have an instant clue shortage because the gates aren't gobbling up the starting location clues. Maybe I'll give this a play test next time I break out the big-old-box.
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Matěj Jan Morávek
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cafin8d wrote:
Batela wrote:
Well, that is intended to mitigate the lower difficulty of only having one gate (less monster surges and the ability to chain seal the gate with enough clues). It also keeps the pressure on throughout the game, the play time in check, and lastly it forces the players to cooperate and optimize (e.g. you don't waste turns in other worlds for only one Great gate seal).

That's true... I guess you also won't have an instant clue shortage because the gates aren't gobbling up the starting location clues. Maybe I'll give this a play test next time I break out the big-old-box.


I still think it will be very quick death of Invs. Take Ithaqua e.g. With the length of doom track of 11, he gives you 10 gamerounds to seal 5 gates (with 4 players). Regarding that you have to travel through the OW, you have to "go for the finish" after only 8-9 turns. Without the help of Elder sign, it will take 25 clues. You got 10 on the board at the start and 1 each mythos phase, that brings you to the total of 19 clues. Sure, you start with some in your pocket, I think it is like 1.5 on average per inv., that brings you to the desired 25 clues. So you know you absolutely cannot spend a clue to add a dice to any check. Maybe you will get some clues in the encounters, of course, but that would be somewhat mitigated by having to spend the clues during the more-dangerous encounters (such as in some unstable locations or OW like Abyss, Yuggoth or R'lyeh). Not to mention being sucked by a gate.

Also, you have to keep in mind you spend a lot of time travelling and it is not like you will be able to gather every clue immediately (with 4 Invs. you spend 2.5 turns just to gather the starting clues on the board). It is true, that there will be very little monsters roaming the streets unless you are very unlucky with Mythos cards. Certainly, almost no monster surges will occur. But still, the speed of the characters will be very limiting (only two or three are able to cross the whole town in one turn in the base game without the help of vehicles or maps). This is closely related to my question: Where is the Great Gate located? Is it accessible from anywhere in the Arkham? Or is it in some specific place, dictated e.g. by the first mythos card drawn?

Because of the low monsters count, the Horror track would be meaningless. That is just a fact, IDK if it is good or bad.

The investigators will be badly hurt although by utter lack of trophies - gates or monsters.

It will be very thrilling, I like that aspect, it seems a bit like "Arkham Horror Condensed", but it needs some tweaks. Personally, I would lower the count of the times of sealing of the GG to equal to the number of Invs. on par with the Closed Gates Win condition. And maybe add some mechanism to distribute the clues to the Invs.

You have to keep in mind, that on average the base game takes about 20 +- 2 turns. By essentially halving this time window, you are tempering with the speed the resources are distributed in the game.

Your version also very badly scales with the number of Invs. Take 6 Invs. instead of 4 in my previous example - you will need 35 clues, but you will have sure access to only 19 + 6*1.5 = 28. The time you need to collect them however stays the same. On the other hand, two Invs. will need only 15 clues, but will be much slower in obtaining them. They start with 3 and add 3 each of the first few rounds. That means that unless they are lucky to hit some of the many-clue-dispensing encounter they will spend four turns racing for the clues, than two turns in the OW, one turn twice seal, than one of them will have to go again to spend three turns (two in the OW, one sealing). That totals in 10 turns, the exact time window they got from Ithaqua. And hope nothing went wrong on the way there...goo
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Josip Markulin
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Thank you Matěj. It's a great analysis with excellent points.

First, I want to address the doubts you had:

1. Yes, GG would have a location, indicated by the first mythos card. As usual, drawing that location again during mythos would trigger monster surges and wouldn't add a doom token. That adds a turn or two.

2. Investigators don't lose explored token when sealing the GG if the gate remains. So, in an example with 2 investigators, when they gather enough clues, they go through the gate (2 turns in OW), put one seal each on return (1 turn) and put another seal next turn (total of 4 turns).

That leaves 7-10 turns in Arkham (depending on the GOO) which remains constant for any group size.

Now, for the problems you pointed out:

1. I am aware that the Horror track losses meaning. I thought about setting a fixed Outskirts limit to 0, but didn't know how much it will help.
Edit: Added to first post.

2. For more players, some could trade what little trophies they get for clues in the Science building.
Edit: Added trophy trading between investigators to first post.

3. I didn't put the number of GG seals the same as number of investigators because I felt it would make low player games too easy. Having such a close number needed to win seemed to fit the theme as well as promote having clue encounters and doing that final push as a team.
Edit: After your sugestions and some testing I decided to tweak the number of GG seals, and add additional clue dispensing. Added to first post

To give large groups enough clues, maybe I could, for 5+ investigator games, implement two clues per mythos?
Edit: Added to first post for all group sizes.

Another tweak could be to have both Other world encounters in the same turn?
Edit: Discarded for now. Don't want to mess with phases.

Thanks again for the feedback!
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Josip Markulin
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Updated the original post based on suggestions and some tests.

With these fixes, the minimum number of turns in Arkham needed for gathering enough clues only by picking them up (assume the investigators start the game with 1.5 clues each on average, 2 new clues every turn, and one trip for 2 clues in Other World):
1 inv = 4 turns
2 inv = 4 turns
3 inv = 4 turns
4 inv = 5 turns
5 inv = 5 turns
6 inv = 6 turns
7 inv = 6 turns
8 inv = 6 turns

With the average of 9 turns in Arkham, that leaves 3-6 turns per each investigator (for all group sizes, because in bigger groups not everybody is needed all the time to pick up enough clues) for side encounters, preparation, mistakes, gathering trophies or earning additional clues for re-rolls.

That means that, if all goes perfect, every game can be won. But Arkham Horror is fun when we try to save a situation that is not going perfect The minimum number of turns is rising with the number of investigators because a bad encounter or death hurts more the less people there are, so they get little larger window for error. Bigger groups have just enough time and resources available and must use their wits to compensate for their loses or gain an advantage.
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Josip Markulin
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I finally got the time to do some full play-tests with 1, 2, 3 and 4 investigators. I must say, it played surprisingly great. 1 and 2 investigator games are a little luck dependent, but are doable with this variant. Most interesting moment was with two investigators against Hastur, who is quite nasty in this variant. I got half way through the doom track with most of the clues needed, but the game knew. One investigator was sent to another world with an encounter, a monster surge occurred twice and the second investigator was knocked out. It was a glorious defeat.

I made a scenario like overview of the version's rules, if anyone is interested:

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Matěj Jan Morávek
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Looking forward to trying this (as it looks like it should speed the game up, it could be easier than to get to play actual AH game;-)).
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Wolfie
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Great idea!

Have you thought about setting aside the gate cards that have only the encounters corresponding to the chosen other world (no "Other" encounters for the Great Gate)? Maybe 2 decks, one for the Great Gate, and the other cards used for gates that come up in Arkham Encounters.
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Josip Markulin
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Wolfpack48 wrote:
Great idea!

Have you thought about setting aside the gate cards that have only the encounters corresponding to the chosen other world (no "Other" encounters for the Great Gate)? Maybe 2 decks, one for the Great Gate, and the other cards used for gates that come up in Arkham Encounters.


Thanks

I didn't think about that. It could keep the Great Gate encounters as pure and as thematic as possible. But I dislike the additional setup and two decks. I would either play with only the twelve or so cards for that world and ignore the color codes for others, or I would draw from the full deck until I get a card for the Great Gate's other world. All approaches have their problems (setup, possible repetition or too much drawing) and I would rather leave that option to individuals to tailor their experience.
If anybody tries any of this, please share!
 
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