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Subject: How Tough is This in Single Player Mode? rss

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Erik Hatinen
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I’ve played three games of this game, single player each time, and each time got slaughtered. While I’m very new to the game, I’m quite adept at thinking games, mostly because I’m very good at statistical math. I also used to be the Keeper for my old Call of Cthulhu RPG, which was obviously an inspiration for this and Arkham Horror.

I'll leave my first game for last to describe, just because of how preposterous that loss was.

My second game was against Cthulhu, and I was Silas Marsh the Sailor. Silas did well against monsters (he got the Sacred Dagger almost immediately in Australia) and sealed quite a few gates, but the only mystery he resolved got undone by the Mythos deck, and the Doom clock resolved very rapidly. I suspect that a big part of this loss was simply dumb luck, as Silas seems to have Sanity as his Achilles' heel and Cthulhu wins when the player(s) lose too much Sanity. I assumed that even though Cthulhu wasn’t on the board, when Doom reached zero that it was game over when Silas ran out of Sanity.

The third game featured Shub Nigurath versus Jacqueline Pine the Psychic. She did much better than the Sailor or Politician, and she resolved multiple mysteries chiefly because of some dang good spells. But multiple monsters showed up that she couldn’t handle and two of them advanced Doom whenever a Reckoning happens (Zombie Horde was one and I think the Shoggoth was the other).

The first game was against Azathoth, and I was Charlie Cane the Politician. Charlie was slaughtered many times over. Aside from sealing gates, he and I succeeded at a total of two skill checks (buying Holy Water and buying that super-rest service). Admittedly, for about a third of the game he was under a curse when a Wraith showed up, but the rest of the game was nothing but failing die rolls, in particular fights, running away and then resting to regain life (health? Little hearts). Clearly he needs a big weapon to handle monsters, and it was plain bad luck that no weapons showed up other than the holy water, but that game was beyond sad.

So, do you have any advice on at least how to make a loss interesting? I'm wondering if I had bad luck (two of the games had the Zombie Horde, and that can't be a good thing to see on the board), missed some part of strategy (I noticed I never got to improve skills in any of the games) or simply need more experience. After all, there are more than a few differences between this and Call of Cthulhu (in it you have no chance whatsoever if you even see a Great Old One or Outer God, let alone fight one).
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Driss
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You should probably play with 2 investigators minimum simply because of the area you have to cover can be too overwhelming for a single investigator. Even 2 is very difficult but my preferred number. If one of your investigators is killed or goes insane don't hesitate to immediately jump in with a new investigator. Just don't forget to advance doom when they die.

Going solo with someone like Charlie who is more of a support is not really feasible. If you go for two investigators try to find ones who synergize well and cover each others weaknesses.
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Drake Coker
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I also recommend two characters (minimum) when playing solo. It feels like the game was designed for this.

Two characters solo plays well. The game is tough, but definitely winnable and there isn't too much to keep track of.
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Jonathan Campbell
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Hi Erik,

In single player I would recommend having numerous investigators, 2 or 4 is the easiest. That way you have better board coverage, more actions, and a better chance when cards say half the investigators (which rounds up). Also investigations sync up, including their abilities, for instance charlie can be great at sending items to other players and equipping your whole team of investigators. Remember you as long as you don't already have one you can take a loan to help you to buy the more expensive/better items.

Losing all your sanity doesn't lose the game, just doom down by one and the investigator is replaced by a new one next turn, you can even collect all their items and undo the doom by doing an encounter on the downed investigator. Some times it is better to run an investigator into the ground, rather than use actions every turn just to fight to stay alive.

If still finding it very tough build the mythos deck with easier cards, (more blue/white edged cards and less red ones) as this will make it much nicer to you.

Give Azathoth another go, good luck next time!
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Marco P.
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I also play solo with 2 investigator. Its hard as hell but very enjoyable. I recommend to take 2 investigators that fit well together. One to collect clues and the other one to close gates and do combat.

This means one investigator with high will and lore and the other one with high observation and strenght/will.
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MC Shudde M'ell
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One Investigator is hard, but possible. Jacqueline and Charlie are not great choices for solo play, though. Silas vs. Cthulhu can work, and I find Tricia Scarborough and Diana Stanley to be strong base set solo Investigators, but that doesn't mean you're likely to crack 50% wins.

It's certainly possible to play this game as a statistician, and there are databases out there (or you could just go through all the cards yourself), but I think it's a stronger game with a certain amount of melancholic resignation and willingness to see how you get eaten this time. Read all the cards, take your time, enjoy the sights and sounds as the Earth dies screaming.
 
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Ron Gilbert
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I've played a bunch of solo games (1, 2 and 4 investigators), and I really prefer 4 investigators. It is a bit to keep track of, but it gives me some flexibility and is just more fun in general.

Oh yeah, and I lose most games - but have a blast doing so! :)
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mortego
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When I first bought this game I REFUSED to play with more than one investigator in solo play.............I learned soon afterwards that two was better, then I advanced to four investigators in solo play.

LOVE-THIS-GAME!
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Oded K
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I agree with everyone else answering here - when playing solo, it's recommended to play with more than one investigator.
The other commenters here are right - the game becomes much more manageable with a team of investigators. But my reason is a little different.

I find when I play (solo with four investigators), I spend most of my play time on the start of every round, planning and coordinating the actions of the team, deciding who should be the first investigator and how to arrange trades between them, who is best suited to handle which crisis etc.

Losing this aspect when playing with one investigator only would lose 90% of the strategic aspect of the game, and would a much different (and in my opinion much less engaging) experience.

And one more thing, regarding the specific games you described, Charlie and Jacqueline are two of the most powerful characters in the base game, but they are both almost completely useless when played solo, so they probably didn't give you the best experience.
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Guillaume Guigue
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To play with one investigator is really a different game. You essentially run, as you have no time for killing monsters and closing portals. One interesting investigator is Daisy Walker, as with her books you can finish Mythos very quickly. Oh, and don't even try Cthulhu yet, he's by far the most difficult ancient one.
 
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MC Crispy
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Tsallak wrote:
I’ve played three games of this game, single player each time, and each time got slaughtered. While I’m very new to the game, I’m quite adept at thinking games, mostly because I’m very good at statistical math. I also used to be the Keeper for my old Call of Cthulhu RPG, which was obviously an inspiration for this and Arkham Horror.
These are essentially completely irrelevant "qualifications" for being good at Eldritch Horror. 

The Reference Guide implies that two Investigators are a better way to play than with one. You should try this way first. Playing with very low Investigator numbers is also a very different game from how the game is intended to be experienced: in low Investigator count games there is a huge emphasis on Movement that you just won't experience with 4 Investigators. Also, as you've already experienced, a single Investigator is very limited in what s/he can achieve - some are simply not useful for solo play (I expect that somebody will tell us that they've won against every AO with every Investigator played as 1 Investigator games, but that's the Internet for you).

As to strategy: in EH you simply have to focus on solving Mysteries and sufficiently controlling Doom, anything else is a distraction.
 
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Le Roux Van Der Vyver
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mccrispy wrote:
These are essentially completely irrelevant "qualifications" for being good at Eldritch Horror.


I would not say they are irrelevant.

Firstly, they inform me as to the cognitive ability of his brain to asses tactics and strategy. If it has started with:

"Hi there, I cannot read, write or do basic math and I struggled to get someone to type this for me, also, I lost my last 3 games of Eldritch Horror, what am I doing wrong?"

My response would differ significantly compared to the information provided by the OP that you perceive as "irrelevant".

Secondly, unless you are the designer of the game, what makes you qualified to state empirically what is and what is not a "relevant" qualification for being good at Eldritch Horror? Or unless you are God. If you are either of those please let me know, got some favours to ask.

As for your original question Erik, I see that a lot of people have already provided a lot of answers here. As someone new to boardgaming who has enjoyed this game I will make one observation. I had played a lot of games before (Pc etc) where you are against something, YOU, as in a character. In this game you are managing a TEAM of investigators. Each one of them has strengths and weaknesses and you will need to assess what tasks to send which ones on based on the game state.

Some will need to be sent on suicidal missions, others preserved like a fragile object.

Some links I found useful:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1233643/your-trusted-circle...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1085042/what-eldritch-horro...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1086903/things-i-wished-i-k...

All the best and enjoy!


 
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MC Crispy
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leroux13 wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
These are essentially completely irrelevant "qualifications" for being good at Eldritch Horror.


I would not say they are irrelevant.

Firstly, they inform me as to the cognitive ability of his brain to asses tactics and strategy.
Not really, it shows that he states that he is good at statistics, which he believes means that he has the ability to play EH. It's a stretch to link statistics to a "cognitive ability of his brain to asses tactics and strategy". Statistics is great for working out the probability of success in a Skill check in advance. I'll grant that this is certainly a useful skill in any dice-based game, so I'll modify my "completely irrelevant" rating: "moderately useful for a limited aspect of the game". 

I also find it a stretch to link godhood to the ability to have insight into the skills necessary to play a game well. Clearly godhood would be a help, but I don't think that it's a prerequisite. It would appear that you on the other hand do so believe, so I'm not sure how you think that you are qualified to provide guidance either

I do have some small experience with EH (and Arkham Horror, which is by no means the same game - but many of the gameplay tropes were transferred over to EH). I'm pleased that you have so quickly gained an insight into how to play EH and I look forward to learning from you in future, I certainly don't have the complete answer (I'd have stopped playing the game if I had ).

By the way, if you have favours to ask, please feel free. I may not be able to help, but if I can reasonably do so, it will be my honour to do so.
 
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Erik Hatinen
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Note: I forgot what this game calls the big super monster of the game, so I'll just call it the Eldritch Horror for obvious reasons.

Wow, that's a lot of answers! Thanks, everyone!

First, what I mainly meant when bringing up my math skills and experience with a game that preceded Eldritch Horror, I was mainly using that to discount a possible reflex from people who are immersed in this game might have, chiefly that my experience playing the game can be dismissed as those of someone who really didn't understand the game.

I'm nowhere near genius or gifted levels of IQ but my brain power is well above average (one test put it at 118 and one at 120, and these were done by professionals, not a web site) and I want to learn as much as I can about things that interest me, including this game. When getting into new things my time as the guy who doesn't know anything is extremely brief. And in this case I spent a good deal of time playing a game that almost certainly had great input into this game (though as I pointed out in my opening post, there are some big differences, most obvious to me being that attacking the Eldritch Horror is not suicide).

I'll definitely use multiple Investigators in my next game. I thought I read both booklets that came with the game (I love the inspiration and reading in general) but either I didn't read all of both or simply didn't absorb the fact that being just one investigator is asking for trouble. I had noticed in either my second or third game that travelling was definitely a nuisance, as I had to tour the whole globe to stop a rumor from ending the game, but I didn't know that having just one investigator makes a normally difficult game nastily difficult.

I don't think anyone thinks I was thinking this way, but just in case someone wondered I'll mention that my complaint was never that I didn't beat any of the Eldritch Horrors, but that none of the games came anywhere near a contest. Humans shouldn't be on even footing against immortal creatures older than Earth! This is definitely a case where the experience with the Call of Cthulhu game is relevant. (note: if you don't care about it, skip the next paragraph)

In Call of Cthulhu, in all of the Editions I had (fourth, fifth and seventh), the players are doomed. They can't defeat the Elder Gods The Investigators can sometimes break up cults or stop the plans of a powerful sorcerer, but to say they're outmatched against the likes of Cthulhu or Yog Sothoth (Sothog? I'll call it "Yog") is a massive understatement. The official rules for "fighting" Cthulhu (you can't really call it that) is that each turn, Cthulhu automatically kills three characters. No, they can't dodge the attack. And when they run, they'll only escape if Cthulhu decides he's okay with them getting away.

I'll close with one question that I think I looked for the answer to, but given that I missed the recommendation against using just one Investigator I wouldn't be surprised if I missed it, too:

When Doom reaches zero but there's at least one mystery left to solve, do the qualifications for players to lose under "(X) Awakens!" still apply, or do the mystery or mysteries have to be solved first? I assumed that defeated players were eliminated and therefore the game was over. I suspect the first possibility is true, as some mysteries can be too much for certain investigators (Charlie the Politician probably can't ever beat up named Star Spawn of Cthulhu no matter what gear he has, for example).

PS: I did understand the difference between defeated investigators and eliminated before making either post, but it never came up. Charlie the Politician kept resting instead of getting defeated and the other two never came close to being defeated before Doom hit zero and (I think) getting defeated means being eliminated.

PPS: I took no offense at M C's remark about math skills being irrelevant, but merely assumed that he or she oversimplified things for the sake of being brief.
 
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George Aristides
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Tsallak wrote:

When Doom reaches zero but there's at least one mystery left to solve, do the qualifications for players to lose under "(X) Awakens!" still apply, or do the mystery or mysteries have to be solved first? I assumed that defeated players were eliminated and therefore the game was over. I suspect the first possibility is true, as some mysteries can be too much for certain investigators (Charlie the Politician probably can't ever beat up named Star Spawn of Cthulhu no matter what gear he has, for example).


When Doom reaches zero, the AOO awakens and the AOO card flips.
This means that (with the exception of Syzygy and Yig) defeated investigators are eliminated. Which makes it harder to solve any of the normal mysteries, which would normally enable trying to solve the final mystery to win the game.

So basically, if you let Doom reach zero, your odds of winning drop considerably. This is intentional; at the same time as trying to solve mysteries, your investigators should be trying to keep Doom under control (mostly by closing gates before their sign comes up in the omen track).
 
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MC Crispy
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Tsallak wrote:
Note: I forgot what this game calls the big super monster of the game, so I'll just call it the Eldritch Horror for obvious reasons.

Wow, that's a lot of answers! Thanks, everyone!

First, what I mainly meant when bringing up my math skills and experience with a game that preceded Eldritch Horror, I was mainly using that to discount a possible reflex from people who are immersed in this game might have, chiefly that my experience playing the game can be dismissed as those of someone who really didn't understand the game.

I'm nowhere near genius or gifted levels of IQ but my brain power is well above average (one test put it at 118 and one at 120, and these were done by professionals, not a web site) and I want to learn as much as I can about things that interest me, including this game. When getting into new things my time as the guy who doesn't know anything is extremely brief. And in this case I spent a good deal of time playing a game that almost certainly had great input into this game (though as I pointed out in my opening post, there are some big differences, most obvious to me being that attacking the Eldritch Horror is not suicide).

I'll definitely use multiple Investigators in my next game. I thought I read both booklets that came with the game (I love the inspiration and reading in general) but either I didn't read all of both or simply didn't absorb the fact that being just one investigator is asking for trouble. I had noticed in either my second or third game that travelling was definitely a nuisance, as I had to tour the whole globe to stop a rumor from ending the game, but I didn't know that having just one investigator makes a normally difficult game nastily difficult.

I don't think anyone thinks I was thinking this way, but just in case someone wondered I'll mention that my complaint was never that I didn't beat any of the Eldritch Horrors, but that none of the games came anywhere near a contest. Humans shouldn't be on even footing against immortal creatures older than Earth! This is definitely a case where the experience with the Call of Cthulhu game is relevant. (note: if you don't care about it, skip the next paragraph)

In Call of Cthulhu, in all of the Editions I had (fourth, fifth and seventh), the players are doomed. They can't defeat the Elder Gods The Investigators can sometimes break up cults or stop the plans of a powerful sorcerer, but to say they're outmatched against the likes of Cthulhu or Yog Sothoth (Sothog? I'll call it "Yog") is a massive understatement. The official rules for "fighting" Cthulhu (you can't really call it that) is that each turn, Cthulhu automatically kills three characters. No, they can't dodge the attack. And when they run, they'll only escape if Cthulhu decides he's okay with them getting away.

I'll close with one question that I think I looked for the answer to, but given that I missed the recommendation against using just one Investigator I wouldn't be surprised if I missed it, too:

When Doom reaches zero but there's at least one mystery left to solve, do the qualifications for players to lose under "(X) Awakens!" still apply, or do the mystery or mysteries have to be solved first? I assumed that defeated players were eliminated and therefore the game was over. I suspect the first possibility is true, as some mysteries can be too much for certain investigators (Charlie the Politician probably can't ever beat up named Star Spawn of Cthulhu no matter what gear he has, for example).

PS: I did understand the difference between defeated investigators and eliminated before making either post, but it never came up. Charlie the Politician kept resting instead of getting defeated and the other two never came close to being defeated before Doom hit zero and (I think) getting defeated means being eliminated.

PPS: I took no offense at M C's remark about math skills being irrelevant, but merely assumed that he or she oversimplified things for the sake of being brief.
I have no idea why you are so fixated on your own intellectual horsepower as an indicator of competence at a game. I've rarely found a direct correlation between the two. I also maintain that a competence at statistics has very limited relevance in regard to competence at EH (no, I wasn't oversimplifying, but then neither was I intending to offend)

Similarly, I don't understand why you are fixating on applying CoC tropes in EH. They aren't the same game. But as has already been mentioned, you're unlikely to win once the AO has woken (not guaranteed to lose, but unlikely to win) - so you could just call it a loss if the AO does wake, though you'd be missing out on some cool mechanisms and game experiences if you did, FFG put some effort into making the "post wakening" game more interesting than in Arkham Horror.

While we're on the topic of the AO awakening: the rulebook on page 11 under the section "Winning the Game" has this to say
Quote:
Investigators immediately win the game if they solve three of the Ancient One’s Mysteries. If the Ancient One awakens, investigators will also need to solve the Final Mystery in order to win the game
does that help with your query?

And with regard to Defeated/Eliminated players the rulebook has this to say on page 16
Quote:
After the Ancient One has awakened, when an investigator is defeated or devoured, the player controlling that investigator is eliminated. Eliminated players do not select a new investigator to control and can no longer participate in the game.

If all players are eliminated, investigators lose the game.
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Erik Hatinen
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I wouldn't say I'm fixated on my brain or math skills as a way to measure my skill at games (in my last post, that was two of seven paragraphs, not including the post scripts), but I can understand why you'd think that way. Personally, by my experience smarter people are usually better at games that aren't mostly reliant on luck, but I have incredibly little social interaction so I would never assume my experiences are the norm. This is especially true since I've been living in a Board & Lodge (which is just a step from a homeless shelter) since 2003.

I assumed that this game and Call of Cthulhu would be similar because they're both based on the Cthulhu Mythos stories. Obviously the mechanics are very different, but I assumed there would be more things in common. Given that in Eldritch Horror players can in fact win, there's obviously a massive difference in theme, too. I was clearly wrong on that.

I was confused by the rules on Doom reaching zero because I thought at least one of the Ancient One cards (Yog Sothoth) reads something like "after the Doom counter reaches zero and the mysteries have been solved". That would mean that if Doom reached zero but one or more mysteries remained to be solved, the Ancient One wouldn't awaken. Like I wrote in my second post, that struck me as wrong given the themes of the short stories that inspired this game. I wonder if I misread the Ancient One card wrong or if it was simply a case of bad wording; certainly there are going to be times when the investigators are just getting creamed.

PS: Since my second post I've played a fourth game, this time with two investigators. I lost again but the team put up a much better fight, resolving one Mystery but getting their butts kicked when the second mystery required them to cast spells. Neither the Soldier (who had that Saint's sword Relic at that point) nor the Actress (I think. The Woman who can shift her Skill Improvements around) had any appreciable strength in Lore. I declared it a loss at that point (I thought it would be cheating to just dismiss one of the Investigators to sub in one with a good Lore score, and the Doom clock was getting low after the Wind Walker Rumor killed the first two Investigators when time ran out). I had mostly packed up the game when I was putting away the Investigator sheets and I remembered they have their own special Actions, and Actress could have given herself an adequate score in Lore. Dho!
 
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George Aristides
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Tsallak wrote:
Since my second post I've played a fourth game, this time with two investigators. I lost again but the team put up a much better fight, resolving one Mystery but getting their butts kicked when the second mystery required them to cast spells. Neither the Soldier (who had that Saint's sword Relic at that point) nor the Actress (I think. The Woman who can shift her Skill Improvements around) had any appreciable strength in Lore.


You do realise that different AOOs have different emphasis on stuff, right?
Yog Sothoth is all about spells and gates. I am very curious as to why anyone would choose Mark (the Soldier) in a Yog-Sothoth game.

If you are playing random investigators, maybe it's a good idea to stop doing so and start playing investigators that are well suited against the specific AOO.

Have a look at: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1233643/your-trusted-ci...

When you start winning more often and you need more of a challenge, you can revert back to random or semi-random team.
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nobody82b wrote:
I am very curious as to why anyone would choose Mark (the Soldier) in a Yog-Sothoth game.


You should be choosing your investigators before the AO
 
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George Aristides
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Sindriss wrote:
nobody82b wrote:
I am very curious as to why anyone would choose Mark (the Soldier) in a Yog-Sothoth game.


You should be choosing your investigators before the AO


The order only matters if you are choosing one or the other randomly.

In practice, if you are a new player concerned about a low win rate, and you are playing with 2 investigators only (i.e. less scope to be able to cover all bases), you should try playing with a specific team (i.e. not randomly) that are good vs. the AOO you are playing against.
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Driss
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No the order matters. There's a reason you pick investigators first. Especially when playing with friends. If all you care about is winning there are plenty of ways to game the system in your favor but it gets dull quickly. You can play however you want but you are playing a variant.
 
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MC Shudde M'ell
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Sindriss wrote:
No the order matters. There's a reason you pick investigators first. Especially when playing with friends. If all you care about is winning there are plenty of ways to game the system in your favor but it gets dull quickly. You can play however you want but you are playing a variant.


Technically, choosing the GOO before the Investigators is a variant, but it makes no practical difference, and it certainly doesn't remove challenge from the game in some houserule way. For players familiar with the game, choosing a team that would be good against a particular GOO and then choosing that GOO is absolutely standard play, and there's nothing to prevent talking or thinking about which GOO you're going to choose during Investigator selection. Neither step is random or blind in the official rules.

It is, of course, fine to choose randomly or with the deliberate aim of making the game more challenging, if that's what you want to do, but those options are neither more nor less a variant than optimizing a team to have synergy with each other and efficacy against today's GOO-to-be.
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Driss
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If it doesn't matter then follow the rules and choose investigators first.

It's easier to fine tune your team to an AO than it is to pick an AO to suit your team. This is not as noticeable when playing solo but when you have friends over all picking their favorite investigator before discussing the AO that is following the intended process. I'm not going to argue about it or try to convince you. House Rule all you want, that is one of the benefits of board gaming. Do whatever is right for your group.
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George Aristides
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Sindriss wrote:
If it doesn't matter then follow the rules and choose investigators first.

It's easier to fine tune your team to an AO than it is to pick an AO to suit your team. This is not as noticeable when playing solo but when you have friends over all picking their favorite investigator before discussing the AO that is following the intended process. I'm not going to argue about it or try to convince you. House Rule all you want, that is one of the benefits of board gaming. Do whatever is right for your group.


Don't forget the context of the discussion. This is all in response to an original poster who started with:

"I’ve played three games of this game, single player each time, and each time got slaughtered. While I’m very new to the game..."

This is less about what is a "purist" way to play the game with friends, and more of a discussion of how to help a new player start winning on occasion when playing solo.
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