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Subject: Getting Back Into the Hobby rss

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Robin FitzClemen
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Greetings!

I have been lurking around here for a couple months now and this is my first post. Hi everybody!

A little bit about me - After a many year long absence from tabletop gaming beyond party games (CAH and Telestrations mainly), I have been getting back into gaming over the last year or so. As a child/teenager I played all kinds of games, CCGs, TCGs, war games, euro games, pretty much any game I could get my hands on. During college I did not do much social gaming. Now that I have a 40 hr/wk job sitting at a computer the allure of physical games and human interaction has a strong hold on me and I feel the desire to buy all the games. With the overwhelming number of games out there these days that look great, and the opportunity to spend way more than I should, I'd like to work on making targeted purchases and keep my game collection from exploding into a bunch of games I never play(ed). So I thought I would pop over here and ask y'all for advice. Here is what I have been enjoying since I got back into gaming:

- Current Favorites: Catan, BaHotH, Descent 2nd ed, Mysterium, Pandemic, Once Upon a Time

These games all feel pretty light in my opinion, and I would love to take things up a notch with my friends without running too quickly into the really heavy stuff.

- Games I've been enjoying/didn't quite love: Dixit (we haven't touched it since Mysterium showed up), Boss Monster (This game is amusing, but the mechanics feel poorly developed to me), Gloom/Fairytale Gloom

- Games I have my eye on: Dark Souls, KD:M (would love to play it but cannot sink that much into a game), Tales of the Arabian Knights, Rising Sun, Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror: Card Game, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

That pretty much sums up what I have been playing. I am burnt out on Munchkin, and am not interested in CCGs/TCGs. I am interested to hear what you more experienced folks think I might enjoy as some slightly heavier versions/new alternatives to what I have been playing.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help me refine this habit... I mean hobby. BGG seems like a very friendly place
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Paul DeStefano
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Turn back now.

Before it's too late.
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Calvin Nicholson
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I bought Tales of the Arabian Nights thinking I would love this game, but the reality is the game is kind of flat. I really like the story telling and what the choice of answers you can give. I guess I justed wanted more from this game feels more like a activity then a game in my opinion.


Welcome back to board gaming
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wrobio wrote:
Greetings!

I have been lurking around here for a couple months now and this is my first post. Hi everybody!

Hi and welcome (back) !

wrobio wrote:
[...] With the overwhelming number of games out there these days that look great, and the opportunity to spend way more than I should, I'd like to work on making targeted purchases and keep my game collection from exploding into a bunch of games I never play(ed).

thumbsup

wrobio wrote:
- Current Favorites: Catan, BaHotH, Descent 2nd ed, Mysterium, Pandemic, Once Upon a Time

These games all feel pretty light in my opinion, and I would love to take things up a notch with my friends without running too quickly into the really heavy stuff.

- Games I've been enjoying/didn't quite love: Dixit (we haven't touched it since Mysterium showed up), Boss Monster (This game is amusing, but the mechanics feel poorly developed to me), Gloom/Fairytale Gloom

- Games I have my eye on: Dark Souls, KD:M (would love to play it but cannot sink that much into a game), Tales of the Arabian Knights, Rising Sun, Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror: Card Game, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

That pretty much sums up what I have been playing. I am burnt out on Munchkin, and am not interested in CCGs/TCGs. I am interested to hear what you more experienced folks think I might enjoy as some slightly heavier versions/new alternatives to what I have been playing.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help me refine this habit... I mean hobby. BGG seems like a very friendly place

That's a very nice selection of games you have been playing so far and it appears you have already done some good research.

Eldritch Horror and Tales of the Arabian Nights are 2 of my favourite games and it would make sense to give these games a try, since their storytelling aspect might be something new you and your group might enjoy. Still, I have to ask: how big is your game group usually ? Eldritch Horror works in my opinion best with 4 characters/players in terms of downtime and game balance, while Tales of the Arabian Nights is best with 2-3; 4 is still possible but I would not go higher than that.

I like encouraging people to explore the hobby in completely new directions rather than playing a lot of similar games, so I hope you don't mind if I ask a few questions before giving some recommendations:

- (Again) What is the size of your game group ?
- How long should the game be ? (Giving a time window would be great)
- Any favourite themes or themes to be avoided ? Does theme matter at all ?
- What is the groups' opinion on luck in board games ?
- Could limited table space become a potential issue ?
- What is it that you and your group like about your favourite games ?
- Do you favour cooperative or competitive games ?
- How much money do you want to spend ?

Welcome to BGG !
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Robin FitzClemen
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Turn back now.

Before it's too late.


It's already too late.
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Robin FitzClemen
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Kyur wrote:


I like encouraging people to explore the hobby in completely new directions rather than playing a lot of similar games, so I hope you don't mind if I ask a few questions before giving some recommendations:



- (Again) What is the size of your game group ? Typically it is 4 - 6, every now and then the stars align and it explodes into 12 or so.

- How long should the game be ? (Giving a time window would be great) We enjoy games that last 1 - 3 hours

- Any favourite themes or themes to be avoided ? Does theme matter at all ? We all enjoy fantasy theme. I personally am not a huge fan of sci-fi. Overall theme is second to great mechanics

- What is the groups' opinion on luck in board games ? We like a bit of luck. I feel like luck is a good way to bring new players in as well. A small amount of chaos is always fun as well.

- Could limited table space become a potential issue ? Not really, we have options

- What is it that you and your group like about your favourite games ?
We all enjoy storytelling and games that take on a life of their own the more you play them. BaHotH is great for this. Some of the characters have had such ridiculous stories during play that they end up sticking with the characters through multiple sessions. We also all enjoy a good amount of tension within the game without having to feel too competitive.

- Do you favour cooperative or competitive games ? We generally lean toward cooperative these days, or games that involve trading/deal making so there is good player interaction.

- How much money do you want to spend ? ALL OF IT! But realistically, I have about an $80/month budget for games at this point

Great questions!
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Steve R Bullock
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DO NOT GO TOWARD THE LIGHT!

Really...I mean it.
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Your game group apparently has a great taste.

Anyway, here are my recommendations, although I don't focus too much on increasing the complexity, rather than just putting some games on your radar that you might enjoy and are different from what you have played so far.


Eldritch Horror

1-8 players (cooperative; disclaimer: best with 4)
Great components
Medium complexity
Nice roleplay elements (character progression + passive storytelling)
Long playtime: 2-4 hours, depending on the number of players and their familiarity with the rules
E Passive storytelling, dice rolling, character progression, action points

People who don't like luck in their games ►often criticise Eldritch Horror game to be too luck-dependent and while it's true that luck is a factor in this game, players will after repeated plays start to see patters to mitigate the luck factor (developing your character(s), synergy between characters, the fact that certain characters work better against certain Ancient Old Ones ect.). In the end, this is a game about mitigating the luck factor and trying to control the risk and chaos on the table before it spirals out of control.


Mansions of Madness: Second Edition

1-5 players (cooperative)
E Can't comment too much on this one, but if you want a cooperative dungeon crawler that is focusing on storytelling and atmosphere and if you are also not afraid of using a digital companion app to control "the bad guy" and opening the possibility for mini games (puzzles), this might be interesting to you.

Since you like Descent 2 and the group is interested in games that are immersive and telling a story, this might be an interesting new experience. Plus: nobody has to be the bad guy, everybody is on the same team.


Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

1-4 players (cooperative)
E Again, cannot comment on this game, but if you like Pandemic, this is definitely worth your time for some research. It's BGG's current #1 thematic game, #1 strategy game and #1 overall.

The game's unique aspect is the "legacy" system, meaning that the game will gradually change over time, depending on the outcome (victory/loss) of your games and the decisions of the players. Or in other words: the board, the components, the characters -- everything changes over the course of various connected games and the changes are permanent and non-reversible, meaning that your group will have a quite unique and personal experience with this game.


Tales of the Arabian Nights

1-6 players (somewhat competitive, best with 2-4)
Beautiful components
Nice humour
Easy rules
Very light gameplay
Expensive
E Passive storytelling, (light) RPG elements

Tales of the Arabian Nights is quite unique, the only other comparable game I know of is Agents of SMERSH. Anyway, if your group is looking for something very different and quite mystical (there are 2500+ unique encounters in the Book of Tales) with the right amount of self-aware humour, give this game a try. Fair warning though: the game provides humour, but also requires the players to have some, as the game can be quite random, as you never really know what happens after you have picked one of the available reactions during an encounter. Many don't even consider this a game but more of an "event", and with the right people in the right mood with the right drinks, this game will create memories to remember.


Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

2-5 players (cooperative with potential traitor)
Great components
Medium rules complexity
Right dose of humour and darkness
Getting the zombie theme actually right
E Action points, hidden traitor, bluffing, dice rolling

Dead of Winter is in my opinion the game that provides the best and deepest semi-cooperative gameplay while also knowing how to use zombies as a theme, as they take the backseat here and the group of survivors (controlled by the players) is the game's main focus -- and of course the inherent conflict, creeping paranoia and other flawed sides of our human nature. Your reflex might be to stay away from this game because of the zombie-theme flooded market, but I highly encourage you to give this game at least a try in terms of some research time. It's exciting, the gameplay is clever, the game looks nice on the table and the Crossroad Card mechanism together with the possibility that there might be a traitor among the group will keep the players on their toes throughout the entire game.


The Resistance: Avalon

5-10 players (semi-coop
Easy rules
E Bluffing, discussion

Unlike The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, The Resistance: Avalon has no player elemination nor does it require a moderator, meaning that everybody is at all times involved. If you are looking for a game that supports bigger groups of players with easy rules and a tense experience of group discussion, paranoia and bluffing, look no further.



There are plenty of other games I would like to recommend, but most of them only support up to 4 (or 5) players: Lords of Vegas (a high-conflict game with easy rules and opened-up trading options), Lords of Waterdeep (a great first step into the genre of worker placement games), Sheriff of Nottingham (another excellent bluffing game in which everybody gets to be the bad guy eventually, giving the others a hard time), 1775: Rebellion (the "Risk" kind of game I wish we had as kids back in the days, even allowing 2 vs 2 team gameplay), Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island (heavy-weight and highly thematic cooperative game with a very punishing difficulty), Seasons (a great blend between card/dice game), Puerto Rico (the classic and in my opinion best economy game), Galaxy Trucker (a very unique mix of careful planning and random chaos, puzzle and stategy, humour and actual game depth), ...

For bigger groups and if you are interested in games focusing on the drafting mechanism: check out 7 Wonders or Sushi Go Party!, with 7 Wonders being the more complex but still very easy to learn game.

Good luck and have fun !
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Steven P
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Tales of the Arabian Nights is great if your expectations are right. If you want a game with strategy and decisions, you will be very frustrated. If you're playing it to win, you will be very frustrated. You play Arabian Nights to go along for a wild and crazy ride, and win conditions exist only because it has to end sometime... It's definitely better at low player counts. Somebody once told me to expect 30 minutes per player, but I'd say at least an hour per player. (Though you can modify the end-game condition to adjust to your desire).

Here are some of my favorites
* Hanabi -- A lot of game packed into an inexpensive package
* Sentinels of the Multiverse -- cooperative superhero battle -- though it can have a lot of bookkeeping with certain heroes or villains, so it's not for everybody in that regard.
* A deck-building game. Dominion is great, but I like Paperback better.
* Codenames -- a party game for gamers
* Stuff and Nonsense, since it looks like you like storytelling
* 7 Wonders -- scales well 3-7p
* One Night Ultimate Werewolf -- social deduction, much faster than Resistance
* Deception: Murder in Hong Kong -- social deduction; competitive Mysterium ish
* Flash Point Fire Rescue -- another great coop
* Bohnanza -- you like to trade and bargain, huh? There's a lot in this game! (Can turn into a slog if people take too long figuring out trades or has analysis paralysis)

Welcome back!
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WD Yoga
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I seconded (thirded? fourthed?) the opinions here about Tales of the Arabian Nights. It is a great narrative game which immerse the players in the fantastical world of Arabian Nights. It does not, however, provide a structure which allows you to build your economic engine or what not. Think of it as the tabletop version of Choose Your Adventure books.

If you want similar experience in a more structured game, I'd recommend Near and Far. Mind, it has not been released yet so I don't really know how it is but at least it has the potential to be a "better" ToAN. Above and Below, from the same designer of NaF, is available in retail but for me it lacks the compelling narrative ToAN has. AaB is more "game with simple story as gimmick" for me.

Also, check Gloomhaven for a narrative game with heavier emphasis on battle and dungeon crawling. The reception is overwhelming positive, making Gloomhaven blazing through Top 30 list in BGG. It is out of print now but Isaac will launch another KS campaign by the end of this month.

If you like coop programming game with lots of minis, try Mechs vs. Minions. It is more on the light side story-wise (make sure to listen to radioplay from mvm website before playing) but the game itself has a great theme and fun to play!
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Timothy Young
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Re: Tales of the Arabian Nights. What they said ^.
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wrobio wrote:

- (Again) What is the size of your game group ? Typically it is 4 - 6, every now and then the stars align and it explodes into 12 or so.

- How long should the game be ? (Giving a time window would be great) We enjoy games that last 1 - 3 hours


- What is the groups' opinion on luck in board games ? We like a bit of luck. I feel like luck is a good way to bring new players in as well. A small amount of chaos is always fun as well.


- What is it that you and your group like about your favourite games ?
We all enjoy storytelling and games that take on a life of their own the more you play them. BaHotH is great for this. Some of the characters have had such ridiculous stories during play that they end up sticking with the characters through multiple sessions. We also all enjoy a good amount of tension within the game without having to feel too competitive.

- Do you favour cooperative or competitive games ? We generally lean toward cooperative these days, or games that involve trading/deal making so there is good player interaction.


From that, it sounds like the Gale Force Nine games tick all of your boxes. Especially Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem (worker placement on steroids) and Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery (negotiation and dealmaking interspersed with gladiatorial combat).

Both come with luck, chaos and lots of player interaction. They're a bit of a step up from what you've been playing in terms of complexity, but not a massive leap. They'll play four with the base game, and will go up to six with expansions. Sons of Anarchy comes in at the lower end of your prefered playing time, Spartacus at the higher. Both tend towards strong narratives.

In fact, the only thing missing I think is playing more than six. But for that realistically you either need to split the group or play a murder mystery.
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Robin FitzClemen
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Thank you all for putting time into this! Sounds like TotAN is definitely a good fit for my group. Sometimes no one really wants to strategize once and we all just want to have fun and laugh, but at something more interesting than a party game.

Dead of winter looks quite intriguing as well. I have had my eye on Gloomhaven also, that game looks wild and exciting. I have been dabbling in miniature painting as well so anything that is a good game and comes with the bonus of stellar miniatures to paint is just a double win for me.

Abiezer Coppe wrote:

From that, it sounds like the Gale Force Nine games tick all of your boxes. Especially Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem (worker placement on steroids) and Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery (negotiation and dealmaking interspersed with gladiatorial combat).

Both come with luck, chaos and lots of player interaction. They're a bit of a step up from what you've been playing in terms of complexity, but not a massive leap. They'll play four with the base game, and will go up to six with expansions. Sons of Anarchy comes in at the lower end of your prefered playing time, Spartacus at the higher. Both tend towards strong narratives.

In fact, the only thing missing I think is playing more than six. But for that realistically you either need to split the group or play a murder mystery.


I like the look and sound of SoA: Men of Mayhem quite a bit (I was a fan of the show). It is only $15 on Amazon prime right now so I may have to grab it. Thanks for the recommendation .
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Justin R
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Even if I am late, I have to say, IMO: Tales of the Arabian Nights is not a game. It's just some bullshit. If you want to spend 2+ hours reading and actually making meaningful decisions, get Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. If you'd rather not make meaningful decisions while you read, I'd suggest Dostoevsky.
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Robert Sweeney
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Steve R Bullick is right...
 
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Brent Gerig
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We enjoy Agents of SMERSH, although it does only play up to 4. It's a story-telling game like Arabian Nights, but completely co-op, and has a 70's cheesy spy theme. While it definitely has randomness in the encounters, there are meaningful decisions you can make through leveling up your character, gathering intel, and fighting henchmen. It actually does feel like a game. If you use the encounter book, there are over 1600 story encounters.

Edit: Since the encounters are somewhat random (you choose from a response group how to respond to a couple-word scenario, and that plus a random number gives you your encounter), you're not necessarily going to be building a cohesive narrative. But part of the fun is trying to weave together the stuff that happens.
 
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Maybe something like Terraforming Mars it's a little heavy but not too heavy, it maybe something to look in to.

You could also branch out of your comfort zone and maybe try things like Splendor or Castles of Mad King Ludwig?

Just my one cent.
 
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MAJBrown22 wrote:




laughlaughlaugh

of course now I can't get that song out of my head.shake
 
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wrobio wrote:
Thank you all for putting time into this! Sounds like TotAN is definitely a good fit for my group. Sometimes no one really wants to strategize once and we all just want to have fun and laugh, but at something more interesting than a party game.

Dead of winter looks quite intriguing as well. I have had my eye on Gloomhaven also, that game looks wild and exciting. I have been dabbling in miniature painting as well so anything that is a good game and comes with the bonus of stellar miniatures to paint is just a double win for me.

Abiezer Coppe wrote:

From that, it sounds like the Gale Force Nine games tick all of your boxes. Especially Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem (worker placement on steroids) and Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery (negotiation and dealmaking interspersed with gladiatorial combat).

Both come with luck, chaos and lots of player interaction. They're a bit of a step up from what you've been playing in terms of complexity, but not a massive leap. They'll play four with the base game, and will go up to six with expansions. Sons of Anarchy comes in at the lower end of your prefered playing time, Spartacus at the higher. Both tend towards strong narratives.

In fact, the only thing missing I think is playing more than six. But for that realistically you either need to split the group or play a murder mystery.


I like the look and sound of SoA: Men of Mayhem quite a bit (I was a fan of the show). It is only $15 on Amazon prime right now so I may have to grab it. Thanks for the recommendation .


Get it. AND the expansion if its available.

Lords of Waterdeep would be up your alley too.
 
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JJRR_Esq wrote:
Tales of the Arabian Nights is not a game. It's just some bullshit.

Classic!
 
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Robin FitzClemen
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Barmybee wrote:
JJRR_Esq wrote:
Tales of the Arabian Nights is not a game. It's just some bullshit.

Classic!


Good news! Sometimes some bullshit is exactly what I'm in the mood for. I mean games like Once Upon A Time and Gloom are nothing if not a bunch of bullshit, and I've seen some truly glorious mounds of bullshit fall from those gems.
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wrobio wrote:
Barmybee wrote:
JJRR_Esq wrote:
Tales of the Arabian Nights is not a game. It's just some bullshit.

Classic!


Good news! Sometimes some bullshit is exactly what I'm in the mood for. I mean games lol Once Upon A Time and Gloom are nothing if not a bunch of bullshit, and I've seen some truly glorious mounds of bullshit fall from those gems.

Great attitude, Robin! Bullshit can be fun too.
 
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Robin FitzClemen
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After much debate (and because I saw it sitting on a picnic table while biking home... almost like Cthulhu was calling me), I went down to the game store and picked up Eldritch Horror. It was a smashing success! (Folks were already talking expansions midway through) Nice balance of narrative, decision making, luck&chaos, and a phenomenal theme. It ended up as winning because it can accommodate 4 couples, and even though it seems unwieldly at 8 people, we did okay in our first run through (though we messed a few rules up pretty bad).

So what's everyone's favorite EH expansion?

Also, if you play with a large group do you have any house rules to keep things moving at a reasonable pace

Edit: despite super awkward wording, I did not in fact steal this game. I just happened to be considering board games while biking home when I spotted it through a fence in someone's yard. I did the honorable thing and kept right on peddling.
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wrobio wrote:
After much debate (and because I saw it sitting on a picnic table while biking home... almost like Cthulhu was calling me), I went down to the game store and picked up Eldritch Horror. It was a smashing success! (Folks were already talking expansions midway through) Nice balance of narrative, decision making, luck&chaos, and a phenomenal theme. It ended up as winning because it can accommodate 4 couples, and even though it seems unwieldly at 8 people, we did okay in our first run through (though we messed a few rules up pretty bad).

Nice to hear that you enjoy the game !

wrobio wrote:
So what's everyone's favorite EH expansion?

The first (small-box) expansion Eldritch Horror: Forsaken Lore is obligatory for fans of the game, as it just adds more variety (and introducing 2 new conditions). So if you just want to add more replay value at a small price without increasing the complexity, this is the expansion to get.

Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness (big box) and Eldritch Horror: Strange Remnants (small box) are nice, as they add the much necessary "focus" action. Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness also adds a few new (partially modular/optional) RPG-ish elements (prelude cards, tasks, ...) and a new (also optional) side board that zooms in on Antarctica.

wrobio wrote:
Also, if you play with a large group do you have any house rules to keep things moving at a reasonable pace

My advice would be to stay away from house rules, as they tend to mess with the game's balance.

Here are some general tips for having a good flow at the table:

To save time and space for all players: don't hand out Health and Sanity Tokens at the beginning. Instead, use them as negative "wound" tokens. You could also use 1 red D10 and 1 blue D10 as indicators, although you have to be careful not to toss the dice around.

To save space (at the cost of time), put discarded cards faceup under the the corresponding deck.

Have lots of dice lying around, so that nobody has ever to ask where the dice are.

Have the most experienced player do the Mythos Phase. Let him/her have the handy reference guide, as the last page gives an excellent overview and help.

To counter analysis paralysis: Give new players investigators with basic abilities, which are easy to understand.
People prone to analysis paralysis should possibly not play spell-casting investigators (with a high Lore statistic).

Also: talk. This is a cooperative game, so if someone feels unsure on what to do, he/she should listen to the options the group can provide.

People uncomfortable with reading (to others) or having problems with small-printed texts should appoint a helpful person who does the reading to them - preferably someone who is comfortable with this task.
If all are on the same level with this, the current player being the Lead Investigator can take the job by default.
My recommendation: let the player sitting on the right read the current player's encounter, which not only increases the tension (as all the card's information is hidden from him/her) but also keeps everyone more involved in the encounter phase.

Keep the helpful reference guide close to answer upcomming questions fast and precisely. Take a first look at the index on page 15.
It's also helpful to have read the entire reference guide after having played a few rounds.

Sort the available Asset Items from the reserve by cost. Minor thing, but it increasing the general overview of the board.

Distribute rule relevant tasks to other players:

One player takes the job of placing new Gate Tokens, another player handles the random monster pile, a third person manages the distribution of all genereal tokens - and so on.

I know from personal experience that the most experienced player normally falls into "computer mode" and does all the automated steps at the table, and by doing this, mistakes are more likely to occur than if all the small tasks are distributed among the players.
It also keeps the attention of all at the table as they need to pay attention at all times. Also, if one player does all the house-keeping, it's less fun for him/her.

If Mythos Cards with ongoing effects tend to be overlooked: place them near the corresponding place on the game board itself as a "closer" reminder to all.

Use the small reference card (displaying number of players and ratio of new portals/tokens/monster spawns) as a reminder to handle the Mythos Cards faster.

At the cost of atmosphere: ignore background texts (although I absolutely don't recommend doing this). For example, Mythos Cards have small storytelling introductory texts at the top, which can easily be skipped when handling the Mythos Phase.



If you play with people who never read any Lovecraftian fiction, this blog post might be interesting to them for enhancing the immersion and atmosphere:

►Instant insanity: My 5-minute introduction to H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos


Have fun !
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