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Subject: My first game of Arkham Horror rss

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Jack Wells
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I decided to get a couple more games, Arkham Horror was at the top of my list, and I pondered for a few minutes and decided to get Fire and Axe too. A postage cost of 20% of the items is a big no-no, I had to get another game to go with it, no choice in the matter. Shame.

Anyway, on with the show. It had just arrived, after my usual ritual of squealing like a little girl a friend of mine literally rang up just as I had finished punching all the markers out the games and asked if I wanted to hang out. I told him Arkham had just arrived so I brought it down with me.

This was my first mistake, usually I at least give the rules a good read through before I introduce it to my friends, this time I didn't even get a chance to read them before I went off.

So I arrived, and for the first hour or so we set up the board and I tried to figure out how you play the game. It's probably one of, if not the most complicated game I own so far. So we set it up, with my second mistake, on the living room floor. Usually we play on the floor but after a few hours our knees do hurt, so I did suggest last time we played that we do it on a table. However I just wanted to get playing as quick as possible so I completely forgot.

So reading through the entire rulebook was going to take a while so we decided to start off and read the rules as we came to them. This was my third mistake, we had a whole lot of the rules unread, at the time we had no idea what the little symbols on the locations meant or even how combat and closing gates worked. So what did I do as my first real action of the game? "Oh there's a monster there, I'll kill it, I'm sure I can take it on. I just need to read about how I take it on. Ok, horror check first." I took one look at it and turned into a gibbering mess.

So we played a few more rounds, and another friend of mine turned up so we started again, this time it wasn't going so badly, it was actually going quite well, or so we thought. We were slowly sealing up gates, for some reason the cards insisted on giving us monster surges and I've just realised right now we forgot to move the terror track down 1 when there's a monster surge. Ok that would have made a difference. But anyway, since we forgot to do that and there were only a few gates open, we could quite easily handle the monsters that were getting thrown at us. As more opened however, the monster surges got bigger and bigger until they were starting to fill up the outskirts quite quickly and we had some nasty monsters on the board we had trouble defeating. By about halfway through the game I had died and I had real trouble finding items, money and clues so I was next to useless.

Nearing the end of the game there were 5 gates sealed, and we were working on getting the clues or finding an elder sign to seal up the last one we needed for victory. Unfortunately three nasty rumor cards came up, first it was one that could remove all our elder signs from the board, luckily this one didn't do anything as we spent a few clue tokens to keep it from doing that. The second was one that put a doom track token on the Ancient One's doom track on the roll of a 1 or 2, and the third was the one that had monsters added to it every mystery phase and bumped the terror level to 10 if it got full. The last one fired off, and there were monsters everywhere. One of our players had gotten the 5 clue tokens we needed and he was about to go through the gate to explore it. In that rounds mystery phase, I rolled a 2, the last doom track's space was filled.

"OK then, lets fight this thing, how hard can it be?" I got out the manual, "Uh oh.....uh oh......oh shit", looks at the Ancient One's card, "We're screwed". We managed to take about 4 or 5 tokens off it, surprising seeing as it had a physical immunity and I was rolling a grand total of 1 dice for my combat. Eventually I was somehow the last man standing, then got devoured.

So it looked like we were doing quite well throughout the game, but we weren't really at all. Still, I thought it was fun, my knees were killing me by the end of it and it took a really long time, about 4 and a half hours, though we did have a few breaks. Definitely want to play it again and beat him, this time on a table and with a better understanding of the rules. Oh we were fighting that dude who kills you if you have no monster trophies and takes a trophy from you if you fail a sneak test as it's attack. Can't remember his name, or pronounce it.
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Bryan Maxwell
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Sounds like you guys did pretty well all things considered. Arkham Horor is one of my favorites, though it doesn't hit the table too often as we don't care for it much as a two player game, and our group isn't always up for a 2-3 hour game.

When I first bought it, I sat down and read the rules twice before trying to play. The first play was still pretty muddled. I then played at a friend's house, and he was already experienced with the game. When you have someone who already knows the game, it isn't too complicated. Once you get the hang of the flow of the game, there are just a few little rules to memorize (what order you handle things as far as combat vs gates, etc.)

Glad you like the game.
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Dice Hate Me
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Well, first off let me just welcome you to the madness! Your first time in Arkham sounds like most experiences - confusing, fatal, but fun. I'm glad you realized it was a mistake to go investigating without reading the rules first, though. It's a tough game to get going right off the bat, but once you get a couple of plays under your belt, the game will get much smoother and your understanding of the strategies you'll need to succeed will become much more evident.

You were fighting Shub-Niggurath, by the way. It's pronounced shub nig GOO rath, emphasis on the goo, and with a slightly insane intonation. That's a tough Ancient One to go up against when you're first starting out. I would suggest you try going against Azathoth for at least your next try. Azathoth gives you 14 rounds to try and seal six or close all the gates, which gives you more time to get a feel for moving around Arkham and gathering what you need. After that, try out Ithaqua. He's a bit harder than Azathoth, but you still stand a decent chance in killing him in direct combat if he awakens.

Quote:

We were slowly sealing up gates, for some reason the cards insisted on giving us monster surges and I've just realised right now we forgot to move the terror track down 1 when there's a monster surge.


You only move the terror track up a level when you reach the town's monster limit, so unless the monster surges were overflowing Arkham each turn, the terror track doesn't automatically go up.

Quote:
Unfortunately three nasty rumor cards came up, first it was one that could remove all our elder signs from the board, luckily this one didn't do anything as we spent a few clue tokens to keep it from doing that. The second was one that put a doom track token on the Ancient One's doom track on the roll of a 1 or 2, and the third was the one that had monsters added to it every mystery phase and bumped the terror level to 10 if it got full. The last one fired off, and there were monsters everywhere.


Remember that only one rumor card can be in play at one time. You may have played this way during your first session, but it's not clear from your review. Just want to make sure you remember that rule because more than rumor card in play will just plain kick your butt. goo

Glad you had fun and let us know how you do in subsequent games. Happy investigating!

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Jack Wells
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ckirkman wrote:
You only move the terror track up a level when you reach the town's monster limit, so unless the monster surges were overflowing Arkham each turn, the terror track doesn't automatically go up.


Ah I thought I remembered as I was typing that the rules said that, I should really give them a proper read before my next game. Usually when I get a new game I give the rules a proper read through and play a game or a few rounds on my own to get a feel for it before I introduce my friends to it.

ckirkman wrote:
Remember that only one rumor card can be in play at one time. You may have played this way during your first session, but it's not clear from your review. Just want to make sure you remember that rule because more than rumor card in play will just plain kick your butt.


Gah, missed that rule, I knew you could have only 1 environment card in play, I'm assuming you can have 1 environment and 1 rumour card in play at the same time?

Thanks for the advice guys, we're going to play some more games tonight, I'll give the rulebook a good read through and take a look at the flow charts and stuff encase we decide to break out AH again, this time on a table.
 
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Quote:
Ah I thought I remembered as I was typing that the rules said that, I should really give them a proper read before my next game. Usually when I get a new game I give the rules a proper read through and play a game or a few rounds on my own to get a feel for it before I introduce my friends to it.


Yup, and remember that you have that handy reference on the back of the rule book that shows you the monster limit, etc. It really is useful for your first few games.

Quote:
Gah, missed that rule, I knew you could have only 1 environment card in play, I'm assuming you can have 1 environment and 1 rumour card in play at the same time?


Yes, you can have a rumor and an environment card in play at the same time, and often you will. Sometimes, the rumor and environment cards get together and conspire against you, creating this perfect storm of suckitude. The only thing to keep in mind about rumor and environments is that an environment card is replaced with another environment card, but rumor cards are only removed from play when the pass requirement on the card has been satisfied.

Again, have fun and good luck!
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Jack Wells
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So if a new rumor card comes out and the current one hasn't been removed by the players it's rumor effects are ignored and it's just put on the bottom of the deck?
 
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Veles wrote:
So if a new rumor card comes out and the current one hasn't been removed by the players it's rumor effects are ignored and it's just put on the bottom of the deck?


That is correct! Often a blessing, sometimes a curse.
 
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Linda Baldwin
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Jack, there's an excellent flow chart and other play aids in here that help tremendously.

I'm getting this out myself this weekend for the first time in a few months, and I'm studying the rules AND play aids. Take comfort; even people who play this often discover they've misplayed certain rules. Totally worth the effort, though.
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Carmilla wrote:
Take comfort; even people who play this often discover they've misplayed certain rules.


I'll second that notion.
 
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ced1106 wrote:
If you have only the base game, I would recommend removing some of the Elder Signs or drawing only two cards at the Curioussitte Shoppe.


Do you normally do that when you're playing just the base game? Do you find that it evens up the odds? I've never considered that option before.
 
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ced1106 wrote:
ckirkman wrote:
Do you normally do that when you're playing just the base game? Do you find that it evens up the odds? I've never considered that option before.


I rarely play the base game, but the ratio of Elder Signs (and magical weapons) to other Unique Items in the base game deck makes "camping" at the Curiousitte Shoppe (even with the mandatory purchase clarification) still too good of an action.

Here's a Herald to mitigate the Curiousitte Shoppe, although I'm thinking that just allowing the number of cards drawn at the Curiousitte Shoppe be equal to the number of rows filled in the doom track would be easier...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/352113?size=original


Good gravy, that'll make things tough. Nice herald variant, though. We might just have to try that out since we've separated out all the expansions...
 
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Dan Conley
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Hi, Jack! Nice report! I'm a big fan of AH myself. As many times as I've played and read the rules, I can't IMAGINE trying to play by the seat of the pants!!!!!!!!! surprise

I've found two files that have been VERY helpful. Go to the AH page on BGG and look under "files". Go to page 5 and find the "AH flowchart for base game only" posted by Mr. Skeletor. GREAT stuff!

Also, check out page 14, the "Universal Head AH rules". Another great download! (Sorry I don't know how to provide links for these. Must learn that skill someday...) blush

Good luck with the game and HAVE FUN!
 
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Jack Wells
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My friend (the one who I was playing a 2 player game with before the third turned up) and I decided to play another game last night. This time we went for 2 investigators each as I've read that when playing solo or 2 player it's best to have 4 investigators on the board.

As Chris suggested, we went against Azathoth this time and I think we pretty much had the rules down this time. We didn't manage to finish it, got about halfway through I would have thought, we were about to seal up our 4th gate. This time we were actually closing gates, last time we didn't bother unless we could seal them and we got many monster surges as a result. This time the doom track went up quicker but our terror track didn't move very fast. This time though we had some real nasty monsters come out onto the board, in our first game there weren't many difficult enemies (ignoring the fact that every enemy had their toughness increased by 1). We also discovered that the newspaper is a really good place to visit early on for a high chance of getting a retainer and money and we were putting a bit more thought into our skills in the upkeep phase and moving them depending on what we thought we would encounter.

I'm really loving the game, I think it's fantastic. It's not tense all the way through like Last Night on Earth is, it's a very long game after all, very difficult to do that, but it's got the "just one more turn" drive of a turn-based strategy. I'm compelled to keep on playing.

Oh, we played it on a table this time, was a lot more comfortable, but even though the table was huge, it wasn't really wide enough to have the board and character sheets either side :(
 
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