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Subject: 3 Players Sample Arkham Horror for the 1st Time rss

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This is a first game of Arkham Horror basic for me and my 2 friends H and PL. PL mainly plays computer games, but has been inducted into boardgaming in the last few months. H has been playing some Euro-games and party games. I usually play with H, while PL is a more recent "guest player" whose last game with us was a 4-person session of Himalaya.

Since I own the game, I'm the one to read the 24-page rulebook, and surf forums for clarifications on rules. I also downloaded and customised some player aids to guide our game play.

We started at 8+pm last night. Although I had pre-organised the bits into a multi-compartment plastic box, it still took some time to sort out the many decks of cards. H's dinner table was barely able to accomodate all the stuff. Drinks were, as usual, "banished" to a foldable side table.

I explained the setting and overall objective of Arkham Horror ("AH"), introduced the various areas on the game board, decks of cards, investigator sheets and Ancient Ones. PL asked about how to win, so I took them through the 3 avenues of winning (close gates, seal gates or defeat the Ancient One). Then I let them choose from 2 randomly dealt Investigator Sheets for their characters. Based on advice from a friendly gameshop staff, I chose to have Yig as our Ancient One.

H chose Bob Jenkins, PL had Amanda Sharp while I had Vincent Lee. During the 1st Mythos phase, I chose to use a houserule from Richard Launius to spawn 2 monsters at the 1st gate to speed things up. They turned up at Independence Square. From then on, the northern side of the board was monster territory. As many as 3 monsters terrorized the Downtown area at one time.

PL took the brunt of it as she kept having to evade and fight monsters, landing her in the hospital once. H collected a lot of clue tokens. I was drawn through a gate to the Other World but couldn't seal it for lack of 2 clue tokens. We suffered 2 monster surges and busted the monster limit for the suburbs, that helped to trigger the Final Battle with Yig when the 7th gate opened.

By this time, PL had exclaimed that it was boring to go through all the dicerolling for the checks,and the many fiddly things to monitor. So it was just as well the endgame arrived. Actually both PL and H didn't really engage fully on the game as they half-watched the TV.

I was knocked out first during the battle, then PL, then H succumbed. Arkham was lost to Yig.

We flubbed/neglected several things at different times during play despite my having prepared the play aids:
- Yellow-bordered monsters don't move at all.
- Monsters' special abilities during checks.
- Investigators' own abilities to be activated.
- Investigators can trade items.
- Doom tokens to be added whenever new gate opens.
- Monster limit in the Outskirts

We didn't cast a single spell. In fact we could barely remember to use our weapons and items, so overwrought with the mechanics of the game turn and skill checks. H didn't remember about her weapons until 3/4 through the game.

After the 3-hour game, both PL and H expressed their reluctance to play AH again because of its "complexity", having too many things to monitor and remember. PL preferred to have less dicerolling, or no dicerolling at all (using a gamemaster format). H liked the graphic design and the bits but also found it too tiresome to play. She reiterated that my Ticket to Ride Europe was much more enjoyable (she won 2 of 3 games we played).

So chances are, I'd have to play AH solo in future. And it also made me wonder if they would have a nicer time if we'd tried Power Grid instead...
 
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Dork Angel
United Kingdom
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You played with the TV on!

Crazy fool, that's just asking for trouble.

TV should be banned during games, as should mobile phones... angry
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If it were up to me I'd switch off TV too. Unfortunately, we were playing at H's home...soblue
 
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Sean P
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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Sorry it didn't work out. AH is my favorite game, but it has a definite learning curve. And if the players aren't into it, it's hard to make it work (actually, all game are like this).
 
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roland dupont

Idaho
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I would recommend you play a couple of solo games to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the rules/procedures. You will find after 1-2 full games that things get MUCH easier to understand/manage. Once you have done that, then ask your friends to give it one more try. With you handling the 'bits' and flow of the game, they will enjoy it alot more. It's well worth the effort.

Roland
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David Aubert
France
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AH is good but difficult at first
AH is a excellent game, but you just can't play 'like this' with your mind not on it.

It's really for players that want to play and that are not afraid some some complexity in the rules.


Try solo if you don't find other player, you'll not regret it !
 
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Robert Wilson
Canada
Riverview
New Brunswick
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djbcrawford wrote:
You played with the TV on!

Crazy fool, that's just asking for trouble.

TV should be banned during games, as should mobile phones... angry

I was going to say the same thing

good thing about AH is: you CAN play solo and have a great time!
 
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David Gardner
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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Lots of house rules, tweaks, etc. for this game. So let me ask: For those promoting solo play, is there a particular (house or standard) ruleset that you play? Do you just play the standard rules, but, say, running two characters?
 
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Tibs
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Boston
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I have never played with more characters than players. It's always been one-to-one. That allows players to get more into the roleplaying spirit. Also this means that when I play alone it's one player. Sorry me, there are no free lunches in Arkham (unless Velma's Gratitude is up).
 
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I did play some turns solo to get a feel for the game flow. Couldn't play full solo games for lack of time and table space at home.

I don't know if being more familiar with the rules would have turned the mood around. My fellow players were just not very engaged, and I got the feeling that AH was just too much effort. One even said, "This is what people do when they have too much time on their hands." Another said that if it were a computer game, with the system tracking the environment, dicerolls, monster limits, etc., it would be better. They were not into it.

Think I'd play less fiddly games with them next time.
 
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michael dorazio
United States
Tyngsboro
Massachusetts
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Those two are definitely not AH players. Keep going with the light euros and move on to Power Grid. Even after you've personally mastered the maintenance and rules of AH, some people just aren't going to be interested in this kind of a game. Do it up solo. I did yesterday, and it was a blast. Of course, my single, randomly-drawn investigator got devoured by the GOO on turn eleven or so. It's a shame ... I had a shotgun and a Mi-Go Brain ...
 
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