Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
55 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Arkham Horror: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Does the Encounter Deck overwhelm the story? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Andrew
United Kingdom
Sunderland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
We had our first play of this at the weekend, and the experience turned out to be different than I had expected. After scenario 1, which we enjoyed, it kind of fell apart as a story experience (which is what drew me to this game in the first place). It seemed like the encounter deck was 90% of the playing experience. With a combination of bad luck in the chaos tokens and possible bad luck in the encounter deck we just seemed to be beaten down. You'd draw an enemy, then have to spend your entire turn trying to fight/kill them, then if you did, another came out, so you spent your turn doing that again. There's nothing technically wrong with this, however on two scenarios we never even got through one Act card!

The reason this game appealed to me is for the story, flipping over those cards where you don't know what's coming. You still get some of that of course, but when I think back over the play the story definitely took a back seat to the encounter deck. Being our first play I'm hoping we can mitigate this in future plays by getting better luck, building the deck to our advantage (we used the suggested setup for the first game) and perhaps learning how to better manage certain situations. It's a pity the encounter decks have so many duplicates, having all unique cards, even if the variances were very slight or had different artwork would have helped, rather than seeing the same cards over and over again in a single play-through. I'm not sure if these individual encounter decks be fleshed out over future packs, such as new rats in the rodents deck?

Ultimately, I guess I found the encounter deck to be a bit of a chore rather than fun.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian Kløve
Denmark
Hillerød
flag msg tools
badge
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sorry that you didn't enjoy the experience.

I would say that that the encounter cards supplement the story, which is mainly provided by the agenda and act cards. Since the encounter deck is tailored to the scenario, the treacheries and enemies encountered make sense in the context of the narrative provided. However since encounter cards are random, they will never provide the same coherent story, but only serve to support and enhance the main narrative.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Giuliano Bartolucci
Italy
fano
Pesaro Urbino
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Mythos phase is the Brand Mark of almost all of the Lovecraft-inspired FFG games. Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness & Co always come with the double uncertainty of drawing bad cards (/tossing bad dice) and dealing with Mythos reactions somewhere during the round...
AHLCG is just a story telling declination of such a mechanic and, out of his family, is probably the best at it...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nigel Buckle
United Kingdom
Thornton Heath
Croydon
flag msg tools
designer
NSKN are publishing my next game :)
badge
Omega Centauri Published in 2014
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It might be this isn't the game for you - the encounter deck supplements the story of the agenda and acts.

Which investigator(s) did you use? Some are better at fighting than others (some you should evade enemies, at least until you have a combat spell or weapon in play).

The recommended starter decks aren't great, if you are building your own deck (assuming you have two core sets) you should find the scenario easier.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew
United Kingdom
Sunderland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
giulibartolucci1204 wrote:
Mythos phase is the Brand Mark of almost all of the Lovecraft-inspired FFG games. Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness & Co always come with the double uncertainty of drawing bad cards (/tossing bad dice) and dealing with Mythos reactions somewhere during the round...
AHLCG is just a story telling declination of such a mechanic and, out of his family, is probably the best at it...

Ultimately that's what I'm trying to work out, I really enjoy the mythos phase in Eldritch Horror so why did I find the Encounter Deck quite tedious in this?

Perhaps the biggest difference is that in AH:TCG you basically HAVE to deal what's in front of you, if you try to do anything else then you get punished with hits, whereas in EH you can (albeit unwisely) ignore whatever has spawned and still do what you like, prioritise something over another, you still have that choice. I think AH:TCG is severely limiting my options in what I can down, whereas EH still gives you that freedom. I'll have to see if future plays make me feel different, I've had bad first game experiences before and then ended up loving it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guillermo Rico Tipper
Spain
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
I´m now not sure If I was lucky or what, but aside from the cards always being negative, there has been a way to make them "not as bad" and keep on my objectives on the same turn. And that is using mostly wendy´s basic deck on solo,

Are you playing custom decks?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Njål Nordmark
Norway
flag msg tools
mb
Hi,

When playing the second scenario of the First Night of the Zealot campaign we had a similar mechanical expecient, but came away with a different narrative experience.

Let me try to explain (spoilers abound):
Spoiler (click to reveal)

In the second scenario we had just defeated the Ghoul Priest, running out into Arkham in the evening. We did not know what was happening, but rumours of cult and terrible rituals needed exploring.

However, at every turn we faced terrible obstacles! The cult had summoned forth monsters and horrors, impeding our race to uncover the secret identities, their goals and means.

We gathered enough information (i.e., clues) to reveal a few of the cult members, and was even able to confront some of them, but as the night crept ever on, we were forced to move on with the little information we had (i.e., resign as per Act I ability).

We had done what we could, but been opposed by the cult. Now we had to face them, ready or not.


So, to summarise, yes, in the second scenario, the encounter deck plays a major role in what you are doing turn-by-turn, but I felt it suited the agenda and story; we were forced to deal with the consequences of the cult, not the cult itself.

Whilst I do felt that this worked in this specific instance in this scenario, I also do fear that the Encounter deck can become a simple solution to not having a proper story. I guess we'll see how it goes
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Giuliano Bartolucci
Italy
fano
Pesaro Urbino
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hope no one gets angry with this answer, but...the game is yours!
I mean, customize your experience, change, bend or ignore the components you don't like: try different Chaos tokens combinations, or maybe draw just 1 card from encounter deck every 2 investigators in play. Try and balance it all in order not to make the game too easy to beat (it's stil Arkham Horror, after all)and just have fun
14 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Driss
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tigerwalms wrote:
It seemed like the encounter deck was 90% of the playing experience. With a combination of bad luck in the chaos tokens and possible bad luck in the encounter deck we just seemed to be beaten down. You'd draw an enemy, then have to spend your entire turn trying to fight/kill them, then if you did, another came out, so you spent your turn doing that again.


I've had games like this. You just want to explore and advance the story but pesky mythos cards keep using up all your actions. It's always different though. Sometimes you'll have a more quiet game whereas others are heavy combat. Since the Encounter cards are tailored for the story somewhat I don't feel it takes me out of the story it just distracts from my task which is their purpose.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve S
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Andrew, like you I'm not getting much of a story feel from this game. By the time I've finished a game of Eldritch Horror I feel like I've been on a world wide expedition, recovered long lost relics, and ultimately saved the world or lost horribly trying, I get non of that from Arkham LCG, so far I feel the story part has been very bland, though I do enjoy the game.

I havn't yet tried this but I't something I plan to do (it may of not work out), instead of turning over a card for each investigator during the Mythos phase just turn over one (like in EH) and apply it to the lead investigator, this may prevent the story getting lost in the constant turning over of cards each turn, but to counter this making the game much easier take the difficulty of the chaos bag up one, or even create a custom chaos bag (hard difficulty plus one extra of the highest negative number).

Edit - I see Giuliano Bartolucci also came up with similar suggestion while I was trying this out
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Boulter
United Kingdom
Bristol
UK
flag msg tools
badge
knowledge is power
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I really like the game.

The Agenda/Act; Chit Pull; 'Commit' cards to test; and RPG elements are excellent.

The game is essentially a puzzle.

First time out it is exciting as it is the unknown. But... second and plus times, a deck building challenge.

I enjoyed the different outcomes. Which to me move away from the 'Win/Lose' result and tend towards the 'Experience' result. e.g. Resign option is a nice mechanic.

Lots of replayability as well as constant decision making.

A clichéd statement, 'Its not about the destination; more the journey'.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Giuliano Bartolucci
Italy
fano
Pesaro Urbino
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Also you can enhance rpg-ish aspect of the game by keeping Act and Agenda secret: only leader investigator (or the highest in Knowledge)reads them and TELLS the other players what's going on keeping secrets clue requirements & co, and just alluding to Act & Agenda objectives...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew
United Kingdom
Sunderland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
giulibartolucci1204 wrote:
Also you can enhance rpg-ish aspect of the game by keeping Act and Agenda secret: only leader investigator (or the highest in Knowledge)reads them and TELLS the other players what's going on keeping secrets clue requirements & co, and just alluding to Act & Agenda objectives...

Me thinks you've been playing a bit too much Time Stories.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonatan Rueløkke
msg tools
For me the encounter cards build the story together with the act cards, agenda cards, location cards, and player cards. Everything can be used to build the story. For example in midnight masks you dont exactly get much story from the act and agenda deck. In that mission most of the story comes from the lore text on each of the unique cultists with some imagination added to the mixture.

In my opinion this game is great in its storytelling because it combines the obvious story which is seen in games like Time Stories or Mansions of Madness. With the imaginative storytelling of games like D&D and Eldritch Horror. Ill give a couple of examples below.

Small Spoiler alert for The Gathering
Spoiler (click to reveal)
In the Gathering the house belongs to the lead investigator. I have played that mission around 40 times when recently i played it with 3 friends who had not tried it before. When deciding on the lead investigator the choice fell on Wendy. Since it seemed strange that the urchin had a big house, one of my friends suddenly suggested that the "house" had to be a cardboard box and that all 4 of us are Crazy Hobos imagining everything.

This lead to an exceptionally funny alternative story, by using both the scripted story but also the immagination sparked from one of my friends.


Big Spoiler alert for Carnevale of Horrors
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I Played Carnevale of Horrors last week where in the third act you have to row for the life of you in a Gondola to get away from this big Cthulian monster and at the same time get it to follow you so it doesnt rip Venice to shreds. At this exact moment one of my friends drew the Stubborn Detective, and lets just say laughing quickly followed. The kid Wendy Adams is rowing for her life together with Roland the Fed and Skids the Ex-Con when suddenly from a bridge a detective jumps down to arrest her meanwhile a monster is closing in on the pram, but the detective doesnt care.

Furthermore the Venice mission showed that they do think about the encounter deck for story telling. In that mission once you get on the Gondola each player draws 5 cards instead of 1 but only 1 specific type of monster is drawn and every other card is discarded.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Giuliano Bartolucci
Italy
fano
Pesaro Urbino
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
tigerwalms wrote:
giulibartolucci1204 wrote:
Also you can enhance rpg-ish aspect of the game by keeping Act and Agenda secret: only leader investigator (or the highest in Knowledge)reads them and TELLS the other players what's going on keeping secrets clue requirements & co, and just alluding to Act & Agenda objectives...

Me thinks you've been playing a bit too much Time Stories.

...well...maybe...whistle
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MC Shudde M'ell
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think FFG oversold this an RPG. It's a card game, and neither the Encounter decks nor the Investigator decks make narrative sense. I don't share tigerwalms' reaction, but it's a totally valid disappointment, and he may be better off playing a different game.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew
United Kingdom
Sunderland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Esgaldil wrote:
I think FFG oversold this an RPG. It's a card game, and neither the Encounter decks nor the Investigator decks make narrative sense. I don't share tigerwalms' reaction, but it's a totally valid disappointment, and he may be better off playing a different game.

I never said I didn't like the game, it was still enjoyable and I want to and will play this campaign again. I like what it's trying to do, I just found the encounter deck overpowering, but like has been mentioned, decks and even individual plays of the same scenario will play differently. With a better built deck I may be able to negate it's threat.

It was the amount of enemies in the deck that seemed overpowered to me. The cards where you pick it up and have to resolve one of two effects or do a single test with an outcome coming from that test - I found those fine, they hinder you but they are dealt with then you can have your turn playing the story. There seemed to be too many monster cards, which stop you having your normal turns that was my issue. I could have had a game where I got lucky and never drew those cards, who knows?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Koen Pater
msg tools
mb
When introducing this game to a group recently, I stacked the Encounter deck. I made sure the 'events' were more common at the top of the deck, and enemies more common at the bottom (though all still random).

Be sure to still have some enemies in the top and some events in the bottom parts though. Not just for variety, but also for those "search the encounter deck for the first enemy" effects
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Giuliano Bartolucci
Italy
fano
Pesaro Urbino
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Esgaldil wrote:
I think FFG oversold this an RPG. It's a card game, and neither the Encounter decks nor the Investigator decks make narrative sense. I don't share tigerwalms' reaction, but it's a totally valid disappointment, and he may be better off playing a different game.

Please do not commit the error of thinking people to be passive on marketing: FFG can try to sell her games in every and each way they belive is the more effective.
But actually when a gamer buys a new game, it is likely he/she knows exactly what they are purchasing
Things are what you make of them: you've bought a card game, some others an RPG/LCG Hybrid instead...both own AHLCG
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bojan Prakljacic
msg tools
Avatar
giulibartolucci1204 wrote:
Mythos phase is the Brand Mark of almost all of the Lovecraft-inspired FFG games. Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness & Co always come with the double uncertainty of drawing bad cards (/tossing bad dice) and dealing with Mythos reactions somewhere during the round...
AHLCG is just a story telling declination of such a mechanic and, out of his family, is probably the best at it...


That is true. And to be honest I implemented the same thing is few of my game designs where I've noticed that it causes a 'piling up of a bad luck' so to speak. It can happen to be overwhelmed with problems coming down from one deck which mix with the crisis you already have in solving the main story problem. There must be a balance to 'vent' enough bad happenings so players can catch a breath and consolidate. AH LCG doesn't have that vent.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nigel Buckle
United Kingdom
Thornton Heath
Croydon
flag msg tools
designer
NSKN are publishing my next game :)
badge
Omega Centauri Published in 2014
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For some people (me included) the possibility of bad luck and pile on of the misery causing the investigators to 'resign' is part of the Mythos theme (I don't expect to 'win' all the time).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris G
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you were playing on Standard Difficulty you may want to set the chaos tokens to the Easy Difficulty setup. While it won't change what cards come up it can help the game progress faster. I find that in some cases the difference between a game feeling like a story and feeling like a slog is how fast you progress through it and the perceived challenge. If things go smoothly and there is a bit of risk, but you aren't getting slaughtered that may create the feeling you are going for. If the event cards and monsters don't totally bog you down then you can appreciate them for what they are, which is another element of the story to overcome.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MC Shudde M'ell
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
giulibartolucci1204 wrote:
Esgaldil wrote:
I think FFG oversold this an RPG. It's a card game, and neither the Encounter decks nor the Investigator decks make narrative sense. I don't share tigerwalms' reaction, but it's a totally valid disappointment, and he may be better off playing a different game.

Please do not commit the error of thinking people to be passive on marketing: FFG can try to sell her games in every and each way they belive is the more effective.
But actually when a gamer buys a new game, it is likely he/she knows exactly what they are purchasing
Things are what you make of them: you've bought a card game, some others an RPG/LCG Hybrid instead...both own AHLCG


Fair point. I was thinking specifically of tigerwalms saying this game "turned out to be different than [he] had expected", which I took to mean that he might not have known exactly what he purchased.

FFG obviously has every right to describe this game in the way they believe will best maximize their revenue, so if I call shenanigans on parts of the official description like "Arkham Horror: The Card Game blurs the distinction between the card game and roleplaying experiences", or "These alterations in your deck mirror the sense of character advancement familiar to most roleplaying games", it's not to suggest that anyone has a right to ask for their money back, or that no one should practice due diligence in getting the information they need to make an informed purchase or not. I'm saying it's a misleading exaggeration on their part, because I believe it is. I myself am perfectly okay with AHLCG not being an RPG or feeling to me much like an RPG - I have RPGs for that.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Watkins
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Esgaldil wrote:
I think FFG oversold this an RPG. It's a card game, and neither the Encounter decks nor the Investigator decks make narrative sense. I don't share tigerwalms' reaction, but it's a totally valid disappointment, and he may be better off playing a different game.


Maybe it's that the PoD scenarios are such high quality, but I've rarely (never?) felt more immersed in a board game narrative than with Curse of the Rougarou. I've never felt a ratcheting sense of increasing dread and frenzy the way I did with Carnavale. I think the immediacy of the narrative here sets it apart from the other Arkham Files games. The theme is heavy and looming.

I see lots of narrative in the encounter and player decks too. The encounter sets are specific to the type of scenario you're playing. A locked door doesn't appear in outside locations; swamp leeches appear in the swamp, etc. Ex-cop Roland has a .45, while Daisy, the librarian has an Encyclopedia. The strengths and abilities in the character decks are drawn from their back-stories.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enon Sci
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've played the first two scenarios and the first POD. The second scenario was story light, but the POD is basically what you're expecting, judging from your positive comments regarding the first scenario (twists, turns, changes to the map over play, etc).

I'd track that down before tossing in the towel, but know that it is hard (tip: make your strongest investigator the lead ).

Esgaldil wrote:

Fair point. I was thinking specifically of tigerwalms saying this game "turned out to be different than [he] had expected", which I took to mean that he might not have known exactly what he purchased.


Keep in mind he admitted to liking the first scenario, which implies what he was disappointed by was a lack of twists in the second scenario (it is very "here is your map, here is your objective.. go to it," after all). I think the OP was being a touch unclear and this impression he doesn't resonate with the general approach to story the game offers is misplaced -- rather, if he enjoyed the first scenario but disliked the second, it must be the difference between the two that is what he enjoyed.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.