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Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Arkham horror vs LOTR randomness rss

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Doug London
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Hopefully this doesn't turn into a flame war. That's not my intent anyway.

1) which game is more random?

2) which game offers more meaningful decisions?



My take:

Whenever I lose in lotr I end of thinking "I should have saved my test of will" or "I shouldn't have committed that hero to the quest" or something like that. I always felt like I made a hasty mistake. Or "I should have put that in my deck" or "I've gotta take that out and add that."

In this game I feel like it's "I drew that auto fail 3 damn times" or something along those lines with -4 or -5 at critical junctures.

Those are my initial thoughts but curious what you guys think.
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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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Doug London
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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.
 
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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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Doug London
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dboeren wrote:
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.


I'm not trying to argue that the game is broken but I do think it's more random that LOTR.

I want to say that I do enjoy this game, I'm Just curious about what other people's thoughts are on all of this.
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Doug London
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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.

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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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Doug London
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Weltenreiter wrote:
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.


Pretty sure I never said I used the -8 in an actual game. But I DID say -8 EXISTS and was speaking towards how swingy the game could be.

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

Regardless I'd rather have -8 or hell even -10 than an auto fail.

 
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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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Doug London
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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.


That's a fair point. It doesn't bother me enough to do that really like I said just wondering if it bothers other people. I think a good solution would be some player cards that can deal with it. That way you need to make the decision whether or not to include them in your deck.
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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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Brian Wilson
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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.
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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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Doug London
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Zeromage wrote:
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.


Yup. He even wasted his time and started a thread about how he doesn't want to waste his time answering "obvious" or repeated questions. whistle
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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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Kate M
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GFWD wrote:
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.



*in before Phoenix makes fun of you for asking a question*

The Autofail means you fail, but it's zero for purposes of determining how much you fail by.
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Brian Wilson
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happycatmachine wrote:
KateGamer80 wrote:
GFWD wrote:
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.



*in before Phoenix makes fun of you for asking a question*

The Autofail means you fail, but it's zero for purposes of determining how much you fail by.


That is precisely what I said however I'm still trying to find where it has been definitely answered. I know it has but that (somewhat) lame cardgamedb FAQ says is down. If you can help with finding something definitive, please do.


Page 16 of the rulebook says "investigator automatically fails the test". Then says "as if she had a skill value of 0."

If it read, "the investigator's skill value is reduced to 0", then I might say it's debatable. But it clearly says "automatically fails" first.
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