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Subject: I think I must be missing something... rss

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Matt
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So three friends and I just tried to play this game. None of us have played it before.

The game seems incredibly short. We drew Yig, but it doesn't really seem like a couple extra spots on the doom track will make that much of a difference.

One main issue (and this really, really bugs all four of us) is that the rules talk about closing all gates as a viable strategy. Since a gate spawns every turn and it takes three turns to close a gate, that seems nearly impossible. We'd have to get really lucky the last several turns and have gates duplicate already-open ones. Then we'd have to win every one of our checks to close them.

Moreover, (and more fundamentally) there's nothing in the rules to indicate that closing gates (as opposed to sealing them) is a horrible idea unless you specifically need to get rid of a ton of monsters. All it does is increase the horror level because a new gate can spawn in that now-open location. Also, it just doesn't make any intuitive sense that closing gates should hasten the end of the world.

It seems like we need to lengthen the game to give us a chance to collect enough clue tokens to seal gates. That will take a while since clue tokens don't seem to spawn more (or at least much more) quickly than gates.

Also, just looking over the ancient ones, it seems like it would be almost impossible to defeat them in combat. I guess I can image a group being strong enough to beat Yig if everyone is blessed at the start of combat so they aren't cursed by him. It still seems like you'd have a very low chance of winning. I really can't imagine beating any of the others, especially the ones with immunities that totally hose characters.

Basically, it seems like one path to victory (defeating the ancient one) seems incredibly unlikely. Another path (closing all gates) is almost technically impossible and undermines attempts to use the only viable path to success (sealing gates).

I feel like I must be missing something or several things. I really want to like this, but these elements are really bothering me.
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John Anderson
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For beginners, sealing gates is probably the only viable strategy. However, once you get more experience and know where gates are likely to open, what's the fastest way to collect clue tokens, etc., this can actually become pretty easy. Then you can move on to tougher methods of ending the game, like by closing all gates. You can still seal some, but the "advanced" variant I think some people use is that you can't end the game with open gates, even if you've sealed six.

As for beating the ancient one in battle, it's actually not terribly hard, depending on who it is. You can see their strengths and weaknesses, so theoretically you can stock up all game on items that can swiftly kill it. However, most people I've seen on here don't consider that a "pure" victory, and consider it a loss if the AO is even awakened.

Bottom line, try it some more and I think you'll find the balance between figuring out which gates to seal and which to just close, which can go a long way. Then start adding the expansions.
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You may have had terrible luck, but normally a new gate does not open every turn. There are some other possibilities:

A gate "opens" where there is already a gate, so you get a monster surge instead of a gate (and no new doom token).

A gate "opens" where you've sealed a gate, so nothing happens.

There are certain locations (*ahem* The Woods) which have a much higher chance of getting a gate, so it's unlikely you will get a gate on every unstable location.

In many games I've played, we've seen at most a moderate number of gates compared to the number of players.

Also: as far as GOO difficulty, we usually double the number of hit points which the GOO has -- that is, (#of doom tokens)*(number of players)*2 total -- because we've found it much too easy to defeat them. Some are harder than others, but in general they aren't too bad if you prepare a bit with weapons, spells, skills, etc.

Edit: I forgot the "un-" in front of "-likely". That changes my meaning a little.
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Curtis Bensmiller
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I have gone through really short games where doom tokens have shown up in a surprisingly fast fashion, and others where the game has dragged on for many, many, many hours.

The main thing is this.

Yig probably gave you the shortest game time to begin with and therefore you have to act fast in terms of your goals. (ie. closing gates) Second, it sounds as if you had a lot of bad luck with *new* gates spawning every turn. I've had this before, and in combination with Yig, this is a really bad situation. Finally, with the game being new to everyone involved, I believe you were all hoping for a slower, more developed game where you could try out different things and different strategies throughout the game.

Bottom line....

Try it again, but try it with another ancient one that has more doom counters and have each player pick an investigator to try and combat the ancient one. I think if you get a better draw from the Mythos deck and some more luck and time, you'll enjoy the game a lot more and want to try it again and again.

Just for the record, it took 5 or 6 full games four our team of 4 investigators to actually win a game. Now it works out to be about 60% win, to 40% lose.

Hope you enjoy another session.
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Chris Franka
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I had the same feeling when I first started as well. Running around, trying to close gates--I felt like we could never catch up.

But as others have said, I think there is some viability to leaving some of the gates open for a while. Don't think you have to try to close a gate every turn. Some cards are events or environments. But more importantly, some encounters may say that a gate opens in a place where a gate is already open. This doesn't hurt as bad, as you can take the tradeoff of more monsters appearing rather than more gates appearing early on.

When monsters pile up, the terror track bumps up. But you can take a few increments on the terror track without significantly hurting yourself. Plus, it gives you more monsters on the board so that you have a higher chance of finding one that you CAN beat, and defeated monsters are an important form of currency.

And like I said, once some gates are open, the gate opening rate slows down (because you can't open a gate on a location that already has one), so you have a chance to get clue tokens before venturing into them.

I think it's more important to SEAL a gate or two rather than just closing them. So we try to wait to enter them until we have at least a chance of sealing it.

Plus, don't forget that closing a gate also clears out all monsters with that same symbol anywhere on the board. Once you get to close gates, maybe look for gates that have the same symbol as monsters that are really terrorizing the investigators.

It's a tough game. But not impossible. But it's meant to be tough. One of those "When you win, we want it to MEAN something" things.
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Rauli Kettunen
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For the record, I've done 65 games of AH, have managed a win by closing gates 3 times (though there have been a few close runs).

Your best bet is generally to seal the 2-4 of the major hot spots, that will buy you time and also nerf good deal of the Mythos cards regarding gate opening. Of course, if you have 4 seals down, victory by seals is within grasp as well. If you can ever pull Arcane Insight + Kate Winthrop, you can pretty much control when and where gates will open. Makes for a really boring game though.

As to final combat, even with his Curse to all investigators, Yig is a push-over. Why? Well, you get to roll for the Curse, since you get a regular upkeep. His -3 modifier leaves even the weakest investigators rolling a few dice (should they have weapons). I've only lost to Yig once in 5 final combats and even then I got to 25 of 30 successes with 2 investigators (3rd got LiTaS, which woke Yig blush ). Tsathoggua, Cthulhu and of course Azathoth are the ones I feel like are really hard to impossible for non-gearing investigators.
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Scott Woods
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mathyou wrote:

Basically, it seems like one path to victory (defeating the ancient one) seems incredibly unlikely. Another path (closing all gates) is almost technically impossible and undermines attempts to use the only viable path to success (sealing gates).

I feel like I must be missing something or several things. I really want to like this, but these elements are really bothering me.


[edit]

You HAVE to shut down gates, but you need to shut down the RIGHT gates.

It sounds to me like you got some suspect investigators, some bad rolls and didn't close the gates you needed to. Don't know if this is what happened, but it's sure one way to have your game end fast.

(FYI: I play with Azathoth as my Ancient One. When he wakes up, game over. I can live with that extra 20 minutes of my life back.)
 
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brian
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scottwoods wrote:
I'm not a multi-year veteranof the game or anything, but here is a helpful stat (assumes you play the core game with no expansions):

Obviously everyone is entitled to post whatever they please and I am no hall monitor.

But I wish stuff like this would be kept in spoilers or only hinted at. Some people find joy in discovering this info on their own. Kind of defeats the purpose when it is in your face and unsoliciated. shake

I now return the soapbox.
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David Tolin
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
scottwoods wrote:
I'm not a multi-year veteranof the game or anything, but here is a helpful stat (assumes you play the core game with no expansions):

Obviously everyone is entitled to post whatever they please and I am no hall monitor.

But I wish stuff like this would be kept in spoilers or only hinted at. Some people find joy in discovering this info on their own. Kind of defeats the purpose when it is in your face and unsoliciated. shake

I now return the soapbox.


Ditto. Since it sounds like the OP has just started learning the game, I'd urge him to completely ignore Mr. Woods's post, if it's not too late. Our group has had a lot of fun finding out through trial and error which gate locations seem to be "hotter" than others. Reducing the game to a bald exercise in math and deck distribution just sucks all the fun right out of it.
 
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Scott Woods
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
scottwoods wrote:
I'm not a multi-year veteranof the game or anything, but here is a helpful stat (assumes you play the core game with no expansions):

Obviously everyone is entitled to post whatever they please and I am no hall monitor.

But I wish stuff like this would be kept in spoilers or only hinted at. Some people find joy in discovering this info on their own. Kind of defeats the purpose when it is in your face and unsoliciated. :shake:

I now return the soapbox.


I understand your position. I would probably feel the same way about a lot of games if they were broken down this way.

But AH is a game so dense and rife with speed bumps that even having info like this doesn't take anything away from it. Knowing this doesn't guarantee a win (I still lose plenty knowing this information), and there are plenty of ways to complicate the game (tougher AOs, etc.) to offset that feeling should it in fact exist.
 
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brian
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scottwoods wrote:
I understand your position. I would probably feel the same way about a lot of games if they were broken down this way.

There are so many people that complain this game is too easy. And there are so many guides and "cheats" on this game that you can remove a lot of the fun and just go for the win. I think the base game has a lot of potential all on its own befor eyou start mixing expansions. Others would see this if they didn't come here and have their whole game planned out by others.

I just wish more people would keep it simple and say "Not all gates are created equal" and leave it at that. I do think going to the 4 hotspots and ignoring the 4 coldspots if necessary can turn the game in your favor considerably. Sure, anything can happen when you have the luck of the draw. But any advantage makes the game that much easier.

At a bare minimum, wrap spoiler tags around the text!
 
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Matt
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Thanks for all the replies and sorry for not responding again sooner. After the holiday I got caught up in real life again.

Anyway, three of us played again the night using some better investigators and a sealing gate strategy and won without too much trouble (though I did almost die just before sealing the last gate).

We understand how the play the game now, and I think we all enjoyed it the second time. I really appreciate all the feedback.

I do still feel like it is unreasonable for players to have to go online or ask people who have played before to figure out how to have a chance to win the game. I am convinced that the rules strongly imply a "close as many gates as possible as fast as possible" strategy is the right way to go when in fact it is almost certainly going to doom new players to failure.

I don't have a problem with the game (I quite like it, actually), but I think the documentation that comes with it does it a real disservice with new players who don't have the benefit of advice from people with more experience.
 
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brian
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mathyou wrote:
I do still feel like it is unreasonable for players to have to go online or ask people who have played before to figure out how to have a chance to win the game. I am convinced that the rules strongly imply a "close as many gates as possible as fast as possible" strategy is the right way to go when in fact it is almost certainly going to doom new players to failure.

Hmmm...

I am not sure why you feel the rules are biased towards this strategy. In the "Object of the Game" all three win conditions are mentioned:
Quote:
The players must work together as a team of investigators
to close all of the dimensional gates, seal them permanently,
or if that fails, defeat the Ancient One when it
awakens from its slumber.


The "Game Overview" also gives equal mention to both with sealing slightly more ephasized:
Quote:
Early in the game, investigators seek to avoid more powerful
monsters while moving around the city to gather
weapons, spells, clues, and other items they will need.

Later, the investigators attempt to close a few gates and
seal some of the most active gates.

Finally, once several gates have been sealed and the
investigators have acquired valuable weapons, spells,
clues, and allies, they make one last, desperate assault on
the mythos, attempting to close or seal the final gates.


Within the rulebook, closing gates may get mentioned slightly more because it is describing the procedure for both the closing the gate strategy and the sealing the gate strategy. So technically, sealing gets more covereage because then it goes on to cover how to seal.

Closing gates becomes slightly more probably with less players. But regardless, it only took me two or three games to figure out on my own that Closing doesn't happen when running 4 and the more sound strategy is sealing gates. In fact, I have never won by closing gates, only sealing them.

So maybe it isn't crystal clear that selaing is better, but enough hints are dropped in the rules to imply it. Part of the fun of the game is having your butt handed to you and trying figure out a better strategy for next time. I liken it to a video game. You can either go and buy just that and spend a lot of time and enjoyment discovering it on your own. Or you can go buy the manual and look up the cheat codes and have everything pictorially mapped out for you. To each his own, but I would rather they error on the side of holding back info for those of us who want to discover and get the most out of our games.
 
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Scott Woods
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
scottwoods wrote:
I understand your position. I would probably feel the same way about a lot of games if they were broken down this way.

There are so many people that complain this game is too easy. And there are so many guides and "cheats" on this game that you can remove a lot of the fun and just go for the win. I think the base game has a lot of potential all on its own befor eyou start mixing expansions. Others would see this if they didn't come here and have their whole game planned out by others.

I just wish more people would keep it simple and say "Not all gates are created equal" and leave it at that. I do think going to the 4 hotspots and ignoring the 4 coldspots if necessary can turn the game in your favor considerably. Sure, anything can happen when you have the luck of the draw. But any advantage makes the game that much easier.

At a bare minimum, wrap spoiler tags around the text! ;)


Edited accordingly. Last thing I want to do as a newbie to the boards is break a "rule".
 
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brian
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scottwoods wrote:
Edited accordingly. Last thing I want to do as a newbie to the boards is break a "rule".

All i meant was to put spoiler tags around them!

Like this:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
spoiler tags hide the text so you can post what you but still give the option to others to read it.
 
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Nick Short
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The rules really don't give you that subtle hint that closing gates without sealing is usually going to doom the players. I don't think a nigh-unwinable first game is a necessary part of the learning process. With a game that takes this long, I think you should still have a decent shot on that first attempt.

That said, posting the gate probabilities themselves was probably a bit too far. It does take a bit away from that sense of exploration.

Besides, if anyone wanted to know them, it's easy enough for them to look it up themselves. Just go through the deck once and you've got it.
 
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