An excellent game played with a couple of Arkham newbies against Shub-Niggurath, this was their second game, but their first game in which they were playing from the start.
The selected investigators were Carolyn Fern(Psychiatrist,) Joe Diamond(Harder than GOD!) and Dexter Drake. We got a decent haul of physical weapons on our starting set, Dexter getting an elder sign, and we got ready to rumble against the Ancient One.
The first Mythos card we drew released two monsters into the Downtown streets, blocking the good Doc Fern from getting absolutely anywheres. To make matters worse, one of them was a Star Vampire... with Four toughness from Shub's global effect.
Dexter immediately charged up from the magic shop in her general direction, stopping to grab a few clue tokens as Joe scrambled for the same rewards. Doc hid in her office and fiddled with her puzzle box, losing a drop of sanity in frustration, then wandered the corridors until she got a sleepy shot from Nurse Sharon.
The next turn lead to a monster surge on the open gate in Unvisited Isle, and the Star Vampire moved into the Asylum, with Dexter in hot pursuit, blasting away with Shrivelling. Unfortunately, Dexter failed to realize that magic isn't real, and got his ass kicked ten ways from tuesday, waking up the next day in the hospital with a splitting headache.
The Doc managed to avoid the Vampire in a groggy, confused state, and unnoticed by everyone else, Joe Diamond had actually managed to blast his way through the Great Hall of Celeano and closed the gate, sucking the Vamp back to its deep abyss.
With the initial setbacks out of the way, we charged into the gates, Dexter armed with his Elder Sign, Carolyn with a handful of clues, and Joe Diamond with nothing but his guns.
Dexter got a run of bad luck and ended up DEVOURED when he used his Elder Sign, but managed to seal the gate. Carolyn shut hers, for a total of two seals, and Joe Diamond also slammed his gate shut. The doom track was at 5, and we were a third of the way to victory. Unfortunately, we had just lost Dex.
Monterey Jack hit the ground running, coming well-equipped with an Elder Sign for another fast seal, running into a gate to Another Dimension through the basement of the Unnamable in his first turn on the board. Carolyn and Joe regrouped for clues and to blast away at a few of the encroaching monsters, trying to keep the Terror Level down so that none of the nasty Blights would hit.
However, the actors in Independence Square were prepping up for their big show, and only the addition of two doom tokens to the track stopped them from initiating the ghastly play. Jeffrey Doyle got news of the investigators stopping the play, though... and the Riots took to the streets, blocking the small group from accomplishing what they needed to do.
With 8 doom tokens on the track and two Elder Signs already played, four seals on the board, things were looking pretty good... until the next turn, when the rumors of the Tattered King started spreading. Two doom tokens away from the final awakening, MUCH too close for comfort.
With only two open gates on the board, Monterey and Carolyn made a last-ditch attempt to shut down Shub's seemingly unavoidable awakening, with a grim sense of do-or-die, Joe being stuck away from the gates, he made a run for the Ally deck at Ma's Boarding House, and his two Gate Trophies.
Out of a perverse roleplaying sense, he saved the game by picking "The dame named Ruby, a good name to match the color of her lips, and a slinky way of moving that made you look right over her, and then look again." Monterey Jack was banished to Lost in Time and Space as he tripped over a rock, and Joe, with the aid of his new ally, snuck through the hordes of monsters to the open gate, catching up with the delayed Doc on the timeline.
Two other worlds of insanely good luck later(clue tokens and spells for both of the travellers,) and one more open gate pushing the Doom Track to 11, we plunked down our last two seals.
Without the two Elder Signs, we wouldn't have stood a chance against Shub, since we had only ONE magical weapon on hand(a Gladius of Carcosa in the hands of Monterey Jack.) However, the noble sacrifice of Dexter, and the mad brutality of Joe Diamond, who was at one sanity and one stamina for about half the game, and the dogged efforts of Carolyn sealed the win for us.
An absolutely fantastic game, and I can't wait for the next session in our group.
For those wondering about numbers, we started the game at about 9:30 PM and wrapped it up as 12:00, giving us a respectable, but not overly lengthy two and a half hours of playtime.
I look forward to the next play of the game, especially with my new group.