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Subject: Arkham Horror, why I like it and comments on common critiques rss

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lam nguyen
Sweden
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Hi,
I purchased Arkham Horror 3 weeks ago, and played the game about 15 times, with 2, 3 or 4 players. Though I am not a completely crazy fan of Lovecraft, I did read many of his stories, enjoyed them, and consider his work as "classic". My boardgaming experience is very limited compared to most of the members of BGG, but I enjoyed a lot playing games like "Settlers of Catane" and "Inkognito" and "La vallee des Mamouths". I enjoy playing adventure video games, and I tried role playing game once. I am french so forgive my english mistakes!

I decided to try Arkham Horror following the advices of the guy responsible in the science fiction bookshop in Gamla Stan (Stockholm). I had never played a "horror" game before and I must say the look of the box, though very nicely done, didnt attract me at all. But when I was told it was a cooperative game (and a reference in this type of games), I started getting interested.

Why I like the game?
- The atmosphere is great. As said I am not a purist of Lovecraft, so I wont be shocked if something doesnt reflect perfectly what is described in the books.
- The cooperative aspect. I had never played "against the game" before, and it is a lot of fun to do so.
- A lot of cards. Be it the encounters, the items, the allies, the investigators, the ancient ones etc... There are a lot of combinations and so far even though the basic actions one does are always the same, it does feel like a unique adventure each time.
- It plays really well with 2 players. Besides chess, this is the best 2 players game I have ever played. From my experience it tends to be boring to play boardgames with "only" two people. With Arkham Horror, we played most of our games with two people, me and my girlfriend. This is just a great game for us. That leads to next point:
- My girlfriend likes it !
- The community is dynamic. I havent tried them yet, but you can find scenarios on the official webpage of FFG. The forum is active and ...
- You are most welcome to bend the rules. House rules come kind of naturally. I read reviews criticizing the fact that the game is either too easy or too hard. One could argue that a game should be balanced right from the start. Personnaly I dont care much and I am happy to try different house rules. Some possible House rules are even available on FFG website. It is then possible to adjust the difficulty of the game, but also adapt it to your personal view of how Arkham should be.

Comments on some critiques:
- There is too much luck involved / not enough strategy. It is a fact that one rolls a lot of dice when playing Arkham Horror, and that you can be lucky or unlucky in your encounters. One can spend a precious gate trophy to become blessed just to lose the blessing and be cursed the very next turn. The way I ve played Arkham Horror so far is as an adventure with friends. It is a good time to spend with people in the right state of mind, ready to believe for a while that they absolutely need to close that last gate. When I play for the intellectual challenge, I play chess or poker. I play Arkham Horror a bit like I would watch a movie, or play Secret of Mana. But dont get me wrong, you do have to take decisions, and you CAN make bad ones, the game is not completely skill-less. It might be something like a "light-RPG".
- "The game is too long". The shortest game I played lasted 1h45 and we won. The longest took 4h30 and we lost. It is definitely a game that takes time. Is it too much time? This is a very subjective question. I personnaly dont think so. What I can say is that usually, the more you advance in the game, the higher the feeling of stress is, and you feel that you actually have too little time to do what you have to do. When I play with my girlfriend, we dont hesitate to pause the game if we feel we need a break, and then continue playing later. It is certain that if you dont get IN the game, you will feel that it is too long. But if you are up for some role play, and AWARE that the game can be long, everything goes just fine. I personnaly dont get bored at all when playing. The game is known to have a steep learning curve, with lots of small rules and "housekeeping" stuff. Once all the players know them, it becomes a lot smoother and faster. If you always have one or more first-time player in your group, it will take more time, and it may feel long for everybody.
- It is not like the books. This is true, but I would think it is almost impossible to create a boardgame giving the same feel than a book... Playing the game made me reach for Lovecraft books on my shelves and read some parts again, with a grin on my face. Of course the Necronomicon becomes a simple card (quite lousy if I remember well) while it makes me horrified when reading the books. But I mean, adopt a ready-to-believe mindset and you can actually enjoy having the mad arab book in your Arkham Horror items, next to your shotgun.


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Paul DeStefano
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Re: Arkham Horror, why I like it and comments on common critics
Understanding you are from Sweden, and I am unsure of your native language, there's a misused word here you may want to fix.

Critic is the person who is writing the words.

Critique is the words they write or ideas they present. The way you are using the word here should be critique.
 
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Danjell Elgebrandt
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Re: Arkham Horror, why I like it and comments on common critics
Balancing the game can be done quite nicely through the guardian/heralds included in the expansion sets, Kingsport in particular. Though the game is enjoyable with only two players and even as a solitaire game (provided you don't take back moves or adjust sliders because you 'obviously intended to do so' ;-) you really should give it a try with more players. I find it to be best at around six players though we've had some good times playing with eight players.

If you live in Stockholm and want to play with a larger group you can PM me. Also you might want to check out the game Last Night on Earth if you want to play another horror themed cooperative game.
 
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Chris
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Re: Arkham Horror, why I like it and comments on common critics
The Black Goat of the Woods expansion includes 5 Difficulty cards that can make the game harder or easier depending on your tastes
 
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Железный комиссар
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Re: Arkham Horror, why I like it and comments on common critics
Geosphere wrote:
Understanding you are from Sweden, and I am unsure of your native language, there's a misused word here you may want to fix.

Critic is the person who is writing the words.

Critique is the words they write or ideas they present. The way you are using the word here should be critique.


And since he's addressing particular criticisms, that's probably the word he should use. laugh
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lam nguyen
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Re: Arkham Horror, why I like it and comments on common critics
Thanks all for the critics/critiques/criticism correction !
I ll edit the post !
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John W
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You missed the one major complaint about it - it's too long for what gameplay it provides.
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lam nguyen
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reapersaurus wrote:
You missed the one major complaint about it - it's too long for what gameplay it provides.


Ok, added something about that !
 
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