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Subject: High Stamina Investigators - How To Use them? rss

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Timothy Pride
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I've played a couple of times, and it seems to me (and others at my group) that investigators who have 3 sanity and 7 stamina (like Monterey Jack and Michael McGlen), are weaker than other investigators. Even compared with their counterpart, 7 sanity and 3 stamina (like Harvey Walters and Sister Mary).

Why is that? Because usually they get to insane first, rather than be able to battle. While their counterpart, usually still get a good chance to win, even if they fail horror check. They just pull the skill into combat and fight with spells or items.

By this situations, I think sanity worth more than stamina. Because sanity is checked first before stamina, and even if you don't succeed, you just got hit once in sanity and go on, while you got beaten forever on stamina until you succeed or defeated.

I hope I'm wrong, because I don't think this is true to the spirit of the game (sanity always better than stamina). I think investigators should be balanced, more or less, not certainly weaker like this. Is there any strategy to play them so that they stand a same chance like other investigators?
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Jefferson Krogh
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If you're speaking about fighting monsters, there are ways to overcome the low Sanity score. It's much easier to raise Combat checks than it is to raise Horror checks. Just give these characters the larger weapons, and have them crank that Will slider to the maximum. With their huge Stamina pools, they can afford to lose combat rounds from time to time.

Also, there are quite a few monsters in the game that require no Horror checks at all. In my experience, investigators can pick their moments to fight, more often than not. Have those low-Sanity investigators avoid combat with scary monsters as much as possible, or give them a non-combat role such as designated shopper.

If you have Dunwich, there is another option -- just go crazy twice, take the Madness cards, and then retire the investigator and pick a new one!
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Lars Thorwald
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We actually find both Monterey Jack and Michael McGlen quite good for combats once they get some weapons allowing to keep "will" higher rather than "fight". Indeed monsters requiring no horror checks (Cultists...) or making the investigator suffer a lower loss in sanity are good for them. In our last game Michael McGlen was able to collect enough toughness points in monsters so that he could become deputy. With the Wagon ability he was able to serve as an intermediate helping in the trade of items between all investigators. Shopping is also a good option and Monterey Jack has the special ability of drawing one extra unique item.

I think it is more a matter of balancing the sum of characteristics of all investigators and in some cases not assigning one of them to only one kind of action. They can fight but they will probably need others to fight monsters too risky for them in terms of sanity loss. Also, one of the skills the others got could be more useful if given to them. And, of course, clue tokens are precious, not only to seal gates but also for that extra die...
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Daniel
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I don't know if this is completely accurate, but I feel like encounters in Other Worlds are more likely to cause stamina loss than sanity. I seem to remember more encounters like 'You must jump the gorge' or 'The only way forward is a sheer cliff face'. If this is the case, it seems like high stamina investigators are better to explore other worlds, and probably then close/seal gates with a high fight roll.

And don't forget the 'Horrible Accident' mythos card, which costs somebody 3 stamina when drawn. I seem to get lumped with the damage every game!
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Timothy Pride
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That might be true, but isn't the main purpose of high stamina is to fight monsters, not closing gates? So, having them in other world is kinda desperate move I think.

On the other hand, adjusting the skill slider might work, for McGlen. But for Jack... I don't know. He got 2 points lower than McGlen in speed/sneak and fight/will. The only compensation is 3 points more on lore/luck. What the hell is lore for to investigator with low sanity?

But stacking items is not what I'm looking for. Because you could do that strategy with Harvey and Mary too, and they will fare better than McGlen and Jack. At least, that's the way it is the last time we saw them in play.
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"Every Board Game I Reach Is Dead"
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This has never really come up in our gaming group but it's an interesting observation.

My girlfriend started off using Mary the nun in earlier games but changed to McGlen the gangster because in her opinion more stamina is better then more sanity. She has used him ever since, and I must admit I prefer less sanity more stamina characters to the other way round. McGlen starts off strong with the tommygun, you just shift his will to max and you still have an average fight strength to combine with weapons.

I suppose the higher lore with Jack is so he can make use of all of the good tomes he pulls from the Unique Items deck with his ability, although I agree that he needs a good weapon to be able to act as monster killer or he would be restricted more to a shopping role.

I would say that high sanity has the advantage of spells where high stamina has the advantage of multiple attempts in combat, they just need to overcome their initial fears.

I think all round it depends to the individual game and situation. The use of Stamina and Sanity varies depending upon what's going on- which brings balance in the most part to the investigators. goo
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Timothy Pride
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I know that they are balanced. And by looking all the investigators, I don't think they were made without thought. They are quite balanced.


In theory.


But in reality, all of us agree, higher sanity is better than higher stamina. Let's pick two extreme examples. McGlen and Walters. McGlen got 3 sanity 7 stamina, and the most left fight/will is 3/4. Walters got 7 sanity and 3 stamina, and the most right of fight/will is 3/0. Most of our games, it's easier for the situations to make McGlen goes insane first rather than Walters is knocked out.

In my analysis, it's because there are still many monsters with -2 or more modifiers to horror checks. And to my knowledge, other than skill and allies, nothing else could boost your will (you could say cross, but it eats your hand slots). Two dice are just not enough. But for combat, there are plenty easier to achieve things that boost your fight/combat, like common, unique, and spells. So, McGlen chance to survive is lower than Walters, even if Walters get monsters with -3 modifier to combat.

Another thing to point, Horror checks are checked only once, while combat checks are checked until death, and no carried over success. So even if McGlen pass the horror check, he still could get knocked out, if you get very bad roll (happen to me once). While Walters, even if he failed the horror check, the damage has been done and let's not dwell on that again and move to stamina. Can you see the discrimination here? Not to mention horror checks is made BEFORE combat checks.

I don't want to be skeptic, but the game made me think like this. So I want opinions for you all that have played the game more than me, to change my mind. The strategies offered here were good, to make McGlen and Jack survive. But I'm not convinced that those are enough to make them on the same level/power as Mary or Walters. I just want to know, are there any strategies for them to stand on the same ground?
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Stephen Davis
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Quote:
What the hell is lore for to investigator with low sanity?


I started with Tony Morgan, the bounty hunter from Kingsport, and his starting skill was Occult Expert. At first I thought it was useless, but he ended up with the spell Feeding the Mind, which let him sac a Stamina to restore 2 Sanity each upkeep. He also got a spell that let him gain a new skill. It's also nice to be able to cast Find Gate and myriad spells from the expansions - I believe there is a spell that switches locations with another investigator, useful for when someone is stuck in a location behind a monster they can't deal with, and things like Greater Banishment is always good times. While you're not likely going to be using Shriveling or the like, there are still nice options in spells for the sanity-challenged.

Once I got him equipped - like ANY investigator needs to be - He could take out any monster with a horror damage of 2 or less and with conserving clue tokens for horror checks he could make a solid try against monsters with a -3 horror check even if they had more than 2 horror damage(Max Will for Tony is 5). His high stamina lets him fail a combat check or two against a monster, useful for those 3+ toughness peeps, and provides longer life when Cthonians are drawn. His abilities gives him quick cash and more bang for the buck, making monsters he kills worth an extra toughness. All those easy kills are much better in his hands than some random investigator with a gun.

The argument is that a high sanity investigator with the same equipment is just as good in combat without the drawbacks of difficult horror checks and the increased likelihood of going insane. But what isn't being considered is the dynamism of the game. There are times when Sister Mary and the like are going to be a liability, too. Cthonians on the board, lots of Overwhelming monsters, and unlucky equipment and/or encounter draws spell bad times. Fixed vs random starting equipment matters, as Harvey Walters could end up with nothing combat related in his starting equipment, while Michael McGlenn packs a permanent +6, meaning he can start with a 9-12/4-1 combat/horror check. Mark Harrigan packs a permanent +6 and some extra hate. Tony Morgan at least gets Handcuffs to automatically ace an occasional monster. Sister Mary can wield her cross, which is about on par with Handcuffs, and has a one-shot, but no money at all. Tony & Michael can immediately make a relevant purchase from the General Store or Curiosity Shoppe. Harvey gets 5 bucks, much more suitable for a trip to the Magic store. Tony & Mark also start with 3 clue tokens, which significantly speeds up the first gate sealing or aids in early combat against tougher critters.

3 Sanity investigators are considerably worse off when a Colour Out of Space is drawn, and the fact that no counter part to Flesh Ward exists except for Feeding the Mind makes it possible for a high Sanity investigator to become relatively immortal. That's certainly a bonus. But the special abilities tell a different story. Michael McGlenn and Harvey Walters are counterparts, and I wouldn't place too much stock in either special ability though less trips to recuperate and less $2 fees can make a difference. Sister Mary's ability is worth nothing in most games imho, especially while playing with expansion boards. Mark Harrigan's One Man Army ability is awesome - no arrests or delays. He's the perfect man for Kingsport, where so many encounters delay you, and this makes him the best candidate for acquiring the Changed and The Great Seal cards from the High House in the Mists as well as coming into play in Other World encounters just as much as Sister Mary's -but with the significant bonus of continuing through the Other World to close/seal the gate turns earlier than Sister Mary. Also, with the expansion boards there are times when being LiTaS is an advantage, as I think you can come out anywhere, skipping the $1 fee and massive movements points needed to make it to where you gotta be.

Now, the new 3 Stamina/7 Sanity investigators paint a different picture.

Jacqueline Fine is one of the most powerful investigators in the game. 2 Clues to replace a mythos card is a highly relevant ability, and she essentially starts with 7 sanity and 6 stamina because of her Enchanted Jewelry. She has the cash to buy what she wants, and has her drawbacks in the mundane skill tracks. I wouldn't argue against using her over the other characters as a hunter, except again for the dynamism of the game.

Luke Robinson isn't intended to to throw down with monsters in the street, but Luke is by far more versatile than Mary, Harvey, Tony, and Michael. He has significant gate closing advantages and gains a clue upon entry - he never needs to enter Arkham if he doesn't want to - and can come out on any gate, sometimes putting him into a position to banish monsters too tough to beat otherwise or remove many monsters at once. He also has the maximum Will possible. Despite his slow speed, he can serve as a hunter, too.

I think my argument rests on the versatility of the characters and consistency. Any character can play any role in a game, and the role they play depends largely on the equipment they and the group get from game to game. Equipment drawn, the wrong encounters, or monster pulls can significantly change who is better as a hunter game to game. For me, Mark Harrigan trumps Sister Mary and Harvey Walters and is on par with Jacqueline and Luke. The other investigators aren't strictly worse, though. Against certain GOOs and depending on other investigators in the game, all Investigators have a chance to shine. Even to argue that high sanity investigators are better on average as a hunter seems to ignore the team aspect of the game beyond trading equipment.

If you are just using Arkham Horror without any of the expansions, then I agree that high sanity usually trumps high stamina, but with some or all expansions included in the argument I think the balance is considerably higher. Another thing to consider is that the 7/3 sanity/stamina investigators aren't strictly better than any of the other distributions. A 5/5 can do just as well in the role of a hunter and be more versatile.
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Darcy Hartwick
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Simply put sanity seems much better.

Sanity is required to pass horror checks - which you cannot avoid.
Sanity is required to cast most spells.

In my experience combat is usually a 1 round affair - I go in with enough dice to be confident in a win, and if things go wrong (rare) I spend clue tokens to fix it.

I've seen monterey and mcglen wind up in the loony bin WAY more often than gloria or harvey go to the hospital.

That being said maybe we didn't mitigate it properly - I think we usually upped the fight sliders thinking of the sta guys as "fighters", when really you need their will maxed and let their weapons do the fighting.



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Andrew Clarke
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Sanity is unquestionably better than Stamina overall. That doesn't mean all high-Stamina investigators are bad, though.
Of course the investigators aren't perfectly balanced: that's impossible, anyway. But since you draw them randomly, it doesn't really matter: the game is about making the best use of what you get.
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David Bell
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Sanity isn't required to pass horror checks. Sanity is required to survive failing horror checks. If you're a low sanity character, find ways to not fail horror checks. Turn your will up. Turn your fight down. You can afford to fail the occasional combat check much more easily than you can a horror check.
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Kevin P
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I don't think it's as black and white as everyone else seems to think. In my experience sanity and stamina are pretty closely matched. As others said, investigators can pick their fights more often than not- and there are plenty of monsters that are tougher on stamina than on sanity.

High stamina investigators have the advantage of greater attrition against most monsters. Because sanity damage only occurs once per combat, but stamina damage occurs every round that the monster remains undefeated, high stamina characters are generally better fighters as long as they stay away from monsters that can drop them from a single lost horror check (and there really aren't that many that do 3 or more sanity damage).

The only investigator I struggle with out of the 3/7 lot is Monterey, because it seems to me that he's intended to be more versatile than his low sanity allows him to be. For the others, I don't think there's much of a problem.
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Advosan Advosan
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Imho, high stamina investigators should be used to safely travel to Another Dimension, Abyss, Celeano and Leng. That means they can go to half the Other Worlds and seal or close without much risk. They should definitely avoid travelling to the rest of the Other Worlds though. So, high stamina investigators are not automatically monster hunters, but with the right equipement and Allies (Duke, LeGrass, Dean) they can become. They are primarily Other (but non-yellow) World travellers.
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Jonas Albrecht
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I'm a big fan of Monterey Jack, and one of the things I've found useful for him is the spell Open the Third Eye. I'm more than willing to shave the top off my stamina for a boost to San and Horror checks, and protection from getting Cursed is helpful in a lot of encounters.
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Erik C
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I find Mcglenn to be one of the most powerful monster hunters once he passes his personal story (essentially gaining 1 sanity whenever he beats a monster). It's not easy to fail (those 'knocked unconscious or driven insane' ones can be brutal for combat characters like Rita), and when passed it sets his max sanity to 4 which buffers against a lot of the nastiest monsters that do 3 sanity damage. Personal stories really help to balance out many investigators, and really up the value of the Innsmouth expansion.

High speed and sneak makes him good for monster handling. Low luck and focus make him poor for outer worlds. Obviously an appropriate skill or horror boosting item is extremely useful.

I'm not a huge fan of Monteray Jack, and his low sanity is part of the problem.
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