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Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Arkham horror vs LOTR randomness rss

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David Boeren
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Arkham Horror more consistently offers meaningful decisions IMHO.
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Milen Krastev
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Honestly I was very concerned about the chaos bag, but after I played I can say I'm very pleased. The chaos tokens are not overused and you still have good amount of options and decisions. The 3 actions you have give enough meaningful variety of options.
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David Boeren
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DouglasLondon wrote:
so no matter what you plan you still fail.


You fail WHAT though? You fail the campaign? The scenario? You die? No wait, in most cases you just failed one action and you can try again. Don't blow things out of proportion.
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Nuka 75
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DouglasLondon wrote:
The big problem I have with them is how swingy they are. I don't have the game with me now but I know there's a -8 and not sure what the biggest + is, but I wanna say 2 or 3? That's a 11 or 12 point swing. Not counting the auto fail, so no matter what you plan you still fail. There should be a test of will type card to counter that. Otherwise it's just dumb luck.


It is, like poker, a statistic thing. You know what the tokens in the bags are. You also have cards that you can commit to skills which help to mitigate that luck. But of course, you will always have a luck effect. It is just that you can try to get a control on it. And certain decks are better for that than others.

(Sometimes, it is bad. For istance I got frozen in fear for like 5 rounds... could have removed it if, at one point, I commited a +2 cards to it instead of a +1).
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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It's definitely more random than LOTR and has less ways to mitigate this randomness (for now).
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Jan Probst
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DouglasLondon wrote:
The big problem I have with them is how swingy they are. I don't have the game with me now but I know there's a -8 and not sure what the biggest + is, but I wanna say 2 or 3? That's a 11 or 12 point swing. Not counting the auto fail, so no matter what you plan you still fail. There should be a test of will type card to counter that. Otherwise it's just dumb luck.
Did you throw all tokens into the bag without checking page 1 of the campaign guide? the -8 and similar are only in hardest mode.

Games handle "difficulty levels" differently, many of them poorly.
In MMOs, something being "difficult" to get or do generally merely means time expenditure or tedium. Which sort of sucks.
Civs add ridiculous starting troops to AIs. Which sort of sucks.
Here, difficulty mainly means turning up the bag swinginess up to 11. Which also sort of sucks.
Etc.

Knowing that difficulty levels are often stupid, diverting from default mode is kind of on oneself. As long as the default bag is workable (I feel it is, some may disagree given the mere existence of the 1/16 autofail), I'm not gonna hang the game for having a stupid hard mode bag.
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Evan Stegman
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DouglasLondon wrote:
It does suck though when you have a critical test, so you plan ahead, use an unexpected courage, discard another card just so you're sure you will pass and then ....AUTO FAIL. The monster retaliates and kills you! ...or something like that...doesn't have to be a monster.


There's nothing you could have done. I'd rather there was a -8 and you decide to hold back a boost and then you can kick yourself for not discarding to get that extra +2 you needed. No need to kick yourself though when there's nothing you could have done.



If the 6% chance of auto-fail bothers you, there's any easy fix: don't put that token in the bag.

That is one advantage the token bag has over dice: you can't take a die face off but you can adjust the bag to whatever you like best.
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Nerds call me
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EvanMinn wrote:
DouglasLondon wrote:
It does suck though when you have a critical test, so you plan ahead, use an unexpected courage, discard another card just so you're sure you will pass and then ....AUTO FAIL. The monster retaliates and kills you! ...or something like that...doesn't have to be a monster.


There's nothing you could have done. I'd rather there was a -8 and you decide to hold back a boost and then you can kick yourself for not discarding to get that extra +2 you needed. No need to kick yourself though when there's nothing you could have done.



If the 6% chance of auto-fail bothers you, there's any easy fix: don't put that token in the bag.

That is one advantage the token bag has over dice: you can't take a die face off but you can adjust the bag to whatever you like best.


Essentially this. I failed three straight tests last night at a critical point in the campaign because of crappy token pulls. It felt a little wrong but that's life. The great thing about the token bag is that we can all customize it to whatever feels right for difficulty for a given scenario for the given players. It's a pretty neat system with a lot of potential. I'm excited to see if FFG adds more token types and modifiers in future expansions.
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Kelly B
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With LOTR, a game I've played far more than any other in my library, I felt that treacheries (arguably in the number one spot for insta-deaths) were mostly unfair. Either they came out early and I didn't have the cards I needed or they came out sequentially so my mitigation was used up by the second (or third) card. One could argue (and I would agree) that perhaps that came down to my play skill. I've seen players steamroll encounter decks that continue to eat me alive.

With Arkham, if I do fail a test due to a bad draw it is because I was simply overwhelmed in the face of forces I could not comprehend. What would have angered me in LOTR instead gives me a measure of respect for the terrors that I face in AH.

Maybe this is theme coming through in AH where I felt theme was a bumpy road in LOTR, particularly with earlier quests. With LOTR I felt it was card mechanics vs. card mechanics at times. With AH I feel there is more narrative, even on the 20th time I've played The Gathering. I'm still hearing the story in my head even if it's over in 10 minutes.

This is all about how I feel rather than analyzing the odds, but that is what is important (to me) and why I think AH LCG is far less swingy and random than LOTR LCG.

Edit: phone typing sucks.
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Christian Kløve
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Both games have ways to mitigate luck. In LotR, you can play spirit to cancel 'When revealed' or lore to disregard shadow cards. In AH you can play Wendy, Sure Gamble or Ward of Protrction to mitigate chaos tokens or mythos card draws.

I have not played enough AH to have an informed oppinion, but LotR can feel very swingy - or at least very brutal, since it is not swingy if the quest outright destroys you every time.

In our last game I attacked an enemy 3 times and failed all 3 attacks. After I realised that I should have played a talent, which would have allowed me to spend resources - that would likely have allowed me to hit on at least 2 of the attacks. Instead I ended up resigning. Part bad luck, part bad play.
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Jeremie Miller
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I only played the core set and first Hobbit expansion of LOTR, and that was a few years ago, so memories are hazy.

I have now played one full campaign and two half campaigns of AHTCG.

I am not sure which I feel is more lucky, but so far I feel like I have more choices and more ways to mitigate luck in AHTCG.

In LOTR I remember getting overwhelmed and frustrated a lot trying to play. The pull of the cards in the first few turns could make it feel like my game was over and I may as well reset and start again.

Or, in another play through a super tough card would end up getting used as a shadow card and make things much simpler.

My choices were assigning characters to fight enemies, playing attachments, and playing cards from my hand.

(This was years ago, so I apologize for any mis-remembers or rules mistakes in that brief description)

In AHTCG I feel more in control with what I can do, and like I have more decisions, while at the same time feeling like the odds are stacked against me. But if you look at the Cthulhu theme, I think that is the whole point of the theme: you are supposed to feel like you don't have much of a chance.

In Arkham I can make so many decisions (and this is playing one investigator solo, I think there are more with more than one investigator):

- do I fight the ghoul here, in a room with no clues, or take an attack of opportunity and move to a room with clues so I can grab clues once I kill my enemy?
- do I try to evade and use two cards to boost that skill (cards I won't have to use later) or risk attacking even though my combat and the monster's combat are equal?
- do I risk taking a hard hit right now and not wasting a valuable asset on a skill test, but if I fail that skill test I won't be around to play the asset
- do I take the time to set up my tableau or use those actions to try get a quick start?
- do I put cards into my deck to help with my weakest stat, or is that a waste of time?
- do I fight an enemy or use parlay and lose cards/resources
- do I investigate for clues or resources
- I can control the chaos token results by playing talents, committing skill cards, putting cards in my deck that change how I draw chaos tokens, or playing cards that make failing skill tests helpful

In LOTR I just felt like I had fewer ways to affect what happened to me, so in many cases I felt like I had no choice in what happened. In Arkham, more often than not, when I fail a skill test I feel like my gameplay had a part in that failure.

Of course, last night when I drew the -4 token three times in a row I didn't feel that way, but for me the theme supports something like that.

And then a few turns later in a boss battle I drew 0,0,+1 so it balanced out.

I do currently wonder what they were thinking when putting together the third scenario as it feels impossible. However, I am enjoying the game enough to keep trying. With LOTR I eventually gave up on the third scenario out of frustration.

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Jeremie Miller
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Explained to me, so I have deleted my post about autofailing and the tentacle token.

Tentacle token equals an absolute fail. Your skill test then becomes zero to determine bad things like damage and horror because of the autofail.

 
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Kelly B
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GFWD wrote:
Also, remember that the tentacle token is an autofail. Autofails result in your skill check being reduced to zero. If you manage to also reduce the difficulty of that skill check to zero then you still pass even though you drew the tentacle.

So the tentacle doesn't always result in a failed result.

I have only managed to do this during investigation skill checks, but it may be possible in other areas of the game. I am not sure.


Actually NOT true. Please correct this post. It is for mathematical purposes (lose sanity equal to the loss) to be zero but it is failure none-the-less.

Page 8 of Learn to Play:

Quote:
Indicates an automatic failure of the skill test.

If the revealed chaos token (or the effect referenced by a chaos token) has a numerical modifer, that modifer is applied to the investigator’s skill value for this test.


It's complicated and probably will be covered in an FAQ because the rules, if you read them only to a certain point, seem to make your point true as well as the mathematics however on page 26 of the RR, Step 6:

Quote:
If an investigator automatically fails at a test via a card ability or revealing the [tentacle] symbol, his or her total skill value for that test is considered 0.
 
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Tom N
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MountainMaverick wrote:
Phoenix_Bird wrote:
DouglasLondon wrote:

But thanks for checking to see if I read the rules.


Looking at all the threads you have started one might think you never have.

In those threads you will find me quoting the rules you seem to have never seen.

DouglasLondon wrote:

I think a good solution would be some player cards that can deal with it.


There are two characters that can be immune the auto fail and one that can retest. There are even cards that give you bonuses after you fail.
Maybe read the cards after the rulebook.


I apologise for appearing obnoxious and sarcastic. I have a note from my doctor.

Phoenix



Wow you're kind of a dick. huh? Gotta the love the community in this game.



In all fairness it's mostly just this one guy who keeps posting snarky answers to people's honest questions.
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Jeremie Miller
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I am not going to delete my post yet, because I think what you have just said backs up what I am saying.

From the Rules Reference pg6: "This is the auto-fail token. If this token is revealed for a skill test, it indicates the investigator automatically fails the test (see "automatic failure/success on page 5"

From page 5: "If a skill test automatically fails, the investigator's total skill value for that test is considered 0"

From page 26: "Compare the investigator's modified skill value to the difficulty of the skill test. If the investigator's skill value EQUALS or EXCEEDS the difficulty for this test the investigator succeeds at the test"

also on page 26: " if an investigator automatically fails at a test via a card ability or revealing the tentacle token symbol, his or her total skill value for that test is considered 0"


So, if I have a shroud 2 location, and play flashlight I bring the shroud for that test to zero.

If I pull the tentacle token, my result for that skill test becomes a zero.

Zero difficulty=zero skill check = passed skill test.

I am totally willing to be wrong, but I don't see that I am wrong after reading all these sections of the rule book.

 
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Kelly B
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Yes, I quoted two phrases that were worded that way however it was also clarified by Matt at some point. Looking for it.
 
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Jeremie Miller
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It was explained to me on Discord and I have changed my post.

I still think they could have made this clearer, but I now understand.

Luckily I don't think this came up during my one scenario win so far so I don't have to asterisk that win
 
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Kelly B
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GFWD wrote:
It was explained to me on Discord and I have changed my post.

I still think they could have made this clearer, but I now understand.

Luckily I don't think this came up during my one scenario win so far so I don't have to asterisk that win


Thanks mate, I might have seen it on discord but of course that is transitory compared to message boards, lol. Cheers.
 
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Everett
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I would say Arkham is more random. Not that I don't like the random, actually it works with the style of game Arkham is (spoiler alert: Arkham and Lotr are completely different in every way), but it is way more random than Lotr.
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Tom N
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I'd agree so far it is more random. But not so much more that I don't like it. And it stands to reason there's more ways to mitigate luck in a game that's been out for years as opposed to a game that was just released.

I actually prefer this game much more than LoTR even though I've played countless hours of LoTR. LoTR can start to feel math-y, and puzzle-y. This feels much more narrative and I never thought I'd say this, but I like the art better in this game too! (so far at least). Before this game came out the art in LoTR was my favorite of all time.

Considering I only have the time and energy for one LCG, this one looks like it might be replacing LoTR for me if it continues at this level of quality.
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Jeremie Miller
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Not official, but there is a comment here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/235090-automa...

from mplain who has been in email contact with the designer, and he explains it.
 
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Phoenix Bird
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I apologise for making a post which didn’t contribute to the community positively.

I have removed it.

I will try and make sure that doesn’t happen again and maybe take a day away from the forums in order to become a much more chilled out and helpful poster. I'm sorry.

Thank you for your patience.

Phoenix
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Creed Buhallin
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I tend to think the increased randomness is mostly an illusion.

As dboeren tried to point out at the very beginning, even though Arkham has more randomized events they rarely have a dramatic impact. Failing to find a clue doesn't end the game right then and there. Even attacking doesn't do much if you fail.

So while Arkham may have more randomly determined outcomes, I don't think those outcomes have the swingy impact that LOTR does.
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