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Subject: Has it come to this? I think we need an "Expansion Expansion". rss

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Morgan Dontanville
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I think that it is pretty safe to say that clearly there are enough other suckers out there like me that are going to buy all the expansions to Arkham. I mean there is no reason to expect that someone is just going to pick up Kingsport and Black Goat of the Woods and be done.

As someone that takes every element I like from each new expansion and shuffles it all in with the base game, I'm going to say that there is a lot going on now. While I will absolutely get Innsmouth, I fear that the more I add, the more I'm running into problems with dilution of basic elements.

What I'd like to see is an Expansion Expansion for folks like me that want the other expansions to weave with each other a bit more seamlessly. I would like this expansion to include:

* More basic items and spells. There are now so many special items in the General Store and Curiosity Shoppe decks that cards are getting too specialized and are often inappropriate for what you really need. I'm not against these, but the ratio is just getting too high now. It is getting increasingly more difficult to get a good old fashion magical sword these days (Taken out of context that sentence is amazing).

* More Dunwich, Kingsport, & (I'm supposing) Innsmouth encounter cards. These could also support some of the concepts of each of the other expansions as well (namely water).

* More Mythos cards that cross with the other expansions so that each expansion doesn't feel drowned out. King in Yellow in Kingsport, etc.

I certainly can't be the only one that thinks this. Ideas?
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Rich Chamberlain
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I've been thinking about this also, but rather than adding more to everything maybe distill it down to a "Best of the Expansions set". Something which takes the better elements of all the releases so far without the need for new boards or rules.

It'll be no use for people who have all the expansions but valuable for people like me who has none and feels overwhealmed by the options.
 
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The problem with that is that it is a huge disincentive for you to keep giving Fantasy Flight money.
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Alex

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I absolutely agree, and I think your suggestions are all good. In fact, I think that an Expansion Expansion is key to the long-term survivability and endless expandability of the AH brand.

I see 3 main problems with the way the game is heading right now:

1) Diluting of the Theme: This is especially true of the small box expansions. They are starting to drown in the sheer amount of stuff actually available for the game. There needs to be more ways to gain Exhibit Items, various status cards, Barred cards and The Next Act Begins Card, etc...

I feel that the way that the designers want to handle this is through Heralds and Guardians, which I do not personally enjoy (but that's personal), but I feel there must be a better, more satisfying way to do this.

2) The "Town" Expansions: the big box expansions have an even bigger problem if possible, mainly when playing with more than one: they add significant management, and table space needs, while adding relatively little to the game.

The Dunwich cards are completely drowned in the mythos deck, ensuring that that town stays usually asleep, while Kingsport (while fun) is of little significance in the overall flow of the game.

For myself, I always try to play with only 1 town board (especially since I have a custom one in addition to the others). It's just too unwieldy otherwise.

3) Balance: that's an obvious concern for any boardgame expansion, but the best we can do is hope for the best (and make houserules if needed).



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Ya know, I've often thought about stuff like that concerning FFG games. I think that IF they ever did something like this, it would be after they are done making expansions for the game (obviously this theoretical one doesn't count) unless they are planning to make more expansions for said game for years to come, though I have a feeling that with Arkham Horror especially, they are soon going to reach their limit for expansions.

As for diluting, I never felt that way (though I've yet to get Kingsport Horror and Black Goat of the Woods). I mean, if you want the traveling egyptian exhibit, you can still use those rules (where you put those cards on top of the deck). But otherwise, I just think of it as "hey, I got an exhibit item, that's cool". Otherwise I just work with what I have access to. I've never been one who seeks out 1 certain item (Elder Sign for example), I just go with what I've got/ got access to. The only "exception" is that sometimes you really need a weapon, and some alien brain case thingy just isn't gonna get the job done, but so far I haven't noticed weapons diluted out of the mix yet (though as I said, I'm still 2 expansions behind).
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All I'd really like to see is:

-New Dunwich mythos cards. Dunwich has gone from being "the threat" to being a far second to Kingsport's threat. Luckily Kingsport's activity will never die down.

-Likwise, more The Next Act Begins! cards. Now we're lucky if we get them, because it means no new gate and a free clue.

-Or instead, some new and simple rule that makes these two things more frequent.

-Ally management, since the vast majority of allies are not in the game, so I'm really lucky if I don't get the compensation" for finding an ally

-New Other World cards, since I'm also lucky whenever I get an encounter that isn't "Other."

Personally I prefer new items. What's the real downside when the basegame items are more sparse? There's more variety, and some expansion items offer comparable effects. Plus it's almost nostalgic when you draw the Sword of Glory or the Ruby of R'lyeh.
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The solutions are not that hard to some of the problems. Not that I'd mind having an expansion like that.

Quote:
-New Dunwich mythos cards. Dunwich has gone from being "the threat" to being a far second to Kingsport's threat. Luckily Kingsport's activity will never die down.

-Likwise, more The Next Act Begins! cards. Now we're lucky if we get them, because it means no new gate and a free clue.


Create 2 decks of mythos cards: one with all the mythos cards from dunwich and the Next Act Begins cards and one with all the others. At the beginning of the mythos phase roll a d6. On 1-4 use the regular deck, on 5-6 use the special Dunwich deck. You could tune the 2 different decks if you feel you get too much from Dunwich (e.g. add more cards from the King in Yellow in the Dunwich deck or only draw from the Dunwich deck on a 6). Note that with only the Dunwich expansion you have a 1/3 chance of drawing a mythos card from the expansion, so a 5-6 is probably the way to go. You could even keep 1 "Next Act Begins" in the regular deck as a surprise.

Note: I'd only do this if Kingsport or Black goat is included. I wouldn't want a regular deck without bursts. And the dilution wouldn't be that bad anyway if you didn't use those expansions.

Quote:
-Ally management, since the vast majority of allies are not in the game, so I'm really lucky if I don't get the compensation" for finding an ally


Use all allies and depending on the number remove 2-3 allies when the terror raises.

Quote:
-New Other World cards, since I'm also lucky whenever I get an encounter that isn't "Other."


Imho this will be hard to fix, even with another expansion. There are simply too many different Other Worlds. I'm glad Innsmouth doesn't add more. The best you can do is create 2/3 Other World decks with 2 of those having a lot of Dunwich / Kingsport Other Worlds and draw from the appropriate deck.



Note that increasing something means you're automatically decreasing something, so it will be hard to keep things balanced for all expansions.

Things I'd like to see:

- More encounters to become members of the cult. Only 3 encounters will let you joining the cult (1 for each relevant location). This is the biggest mistake from black goat if you ask me. All the encounters at the woods and the other 2 locations from black goat should have given you the option to join the cult. Mixed with 30 total encounter cards for each location will keep it rare enough
- More ways to get exhibit items from the Dark Pharaoh
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These are good, but the reason I don't currently use these is that I want official solutions.
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Barry Kendall
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I agree with the concerns; the whole thing's starting to look like a Jackson Pollock painting with stuff splashed on all over the place and some of it not sticking very well.

While I too am a sucker for completeness (I'll probably hold on right up through the Antarctic expansion, if there ever is one--I want to see a Shoggoth come shooting up the tunnel!), I may back off some of the small ones, at least until folks have had an opportunity to play and weigh in.

Table size requirements are indeed becoming a challenge too.

However, better this than no more attention at all from FFG, imo.
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Joe Krause
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I wholeheartedly agree. Lately, when we play, we virtually never leave the "main" map - the odds of gates opening elsewhere are just too small. And when we do go elsewhere, we know what will happen, as the decks are so small. And don't get me started on the minuscule odds of picking up cult member status, an exhibit item, etc.

I own all the small box expansions, but only Dunwich of the big boxes, because of this. I can only imagine things getting worse as you add a second or third sub-map.

If it wern't such an enormous hassle to sort things back out, I'd revert to playing one expansion at a time.
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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kungfro wrote:
All I'd really like to see is:

-New Dunwich mythos cards. Dunwich has gone from being "the threat" to being a far second to Kingsport's threat. Luckily Kingsport's activity will never die down.


Agreed!

kungfro wrote:
-Likwise, more The Next Act Begins! cards. Now we're lucky if we get them, because it means no new gate and a free clue.-Or instead, some new and simple rule that makes these two things more frequent.


I see why you would want this. I think that the Acts are the weakest part of the system and don't play with them. The game has enough timers. If the Acts actually did something other than just lose the game, I might be interested. I don't find any joy in this and it is quite easy for me to play without it.

Still, they should support it as people use it. In fact if they expand the Acts to have more interesting results I would probably be into using them.

kungfro wrote:
-Ally management, since the vast majority of allies are not in the game, so I'm really lucky if I don't get the compensation" for finding an ally


We house ruled this. All allies are in the game in the beginning, when the terror track goes up, three allies leave (or two if you are only playing with two boards). It really makes a huge difference. Allies are so rare and just hard to get that it sucks to draw one from a card and not have them available.

kungfro wrote:
-New Other World cards, since I'm also lucky whenever I get an encounter that isn't "Other."


You fight a monster. Yeah, they should have used new colors for the new boards. That was mistake on their part.

kungfro wrote:
Personally I prefer new items. What's the real downside when the basegame items are more sparse? There's more variety, and some expansion items offer comparable effects. Plus it's almost nostalgic when you draw the Sword of Glory or the Ruby of R'lyeh.


While I think that many of the new cards are great, who wants Milk of Shub Niggurath and Summon Monster when you can't get a spell to actually hurt monsters. Early on instituted a house rule that says you draw one more card than you are supposed to get at the beginning and discard down - extra spell, extra skill, extra common, etc. Even now you can just not get any weapons. While the tomes are great, they clog your draws and don't get me started on the $0 objective cards.
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Morgan Dontanville
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Kwakkie wrote:

- More encounters to become members of the cult. Only 3 encounters will let you joining the cult (1 for each relevant location). This is the biggest mistake from black goat if you ask me. All the encounters at the woods and the other 2 locations from black goat should have given you the option to join the cult. Mixed with 30 total encounter cards for each location will keep it rare enough
- More ways to get exhibit items from the Dark Pharaoh


See now this is what I'm talking about. They should have a card that has the cult involved with the Dark Pharaoh.
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Wouter Dhondt
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Quote:
While I think that many of the new cards are great, who wants Milk of Shub Niggurath and Summon Monster when you can't get a spell to actually hurt monsters. Early on instituted a house rule that says you draw one more card than you are supposed to get at the beginning and discard down - extra spell, extra skill, extra common, etc. Even now you can just not get any weapons. While the tomes are great, they clog your draws and don't get me started on the $0 objective cards.


I agree with that. Personally I removed all duplicate tomes. I don't like them to begin with and it feels right to have them unique. Sure I'll have an easier game against Y'golonac but I don't care. I've also removed 4 tasks (2 from unique, 2 from the common items). I never seem to finish tasks anyway. Maybe I should house rule that you can take another item when you draw a task as starting equipment.

I'm also thinking about removing duplicate spells. 3 copies of one spell is too much. 2 copies I can live with. But this probably depends on the number of investigators.

I tend to do some small changes in the card mix to make it work for me. But I can understand the fact that you don't want to remove stuff. I'm having problems with this myself.

Quote:
See now this is what I'm talking about. They should have a card that has the cult involved with the Dark Pharaoh.


I like the idea of having stuff depending on multiple expansions. They could easily print all the different symbols of the expansions needed to include the card. Say a card where you can join the cult and gain an exhibit item would have both the symbol for dark pharaoh and black goat.
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I wouldn't be surprised if Innsmouth includes some rules tweaks to bring Dunwich back to life. Similar to the way they adjusted the number of players for multiple boards, they could adjust monster spawns for multiple boards.

One very simple solution (which I know isn't happening in IH) would be just a small deck of cards with Dunwich locations. When you're playing with X or more players, and X or more expansion boards, draw a card from this deck whenever a monster would appear. Spawn an additional monster at the Dunwich location shown on the card.
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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kungfro wrote:
These are good, but the reason I don't currently use these is that I want official solutions.


Half of my favorite games are running on unofficial solutions.
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Am I the only one that owns all the expansions but only uses one at a time? I do so for precisely the reason offered by Morgan; to avoid dilution of theme.
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sisteray wrote:
kungfro wrote:
These are good, but the reason I don't currently use these is that I want official solutions.


Half of my favorite games are running on unofficial solutions.

Don't get me wrong. All the games my own (except Agricola and Carcassonne to some extent) operate under house rules. DOOM and Catan essentially had their rules re-worked to be both fair and fun. I would never play them if it weren't for these improvements.

With Arkham I use a couple small thematic house rules, but since I regard Arkham as a "living" game, in such that is has a thriving online community and is still producing expansions, I feel that it should have some designer thought put into fixing these issues before it stops getting any more expansions and dies.

DOOM was never incredibly popular to begin with, but at its most popular, it only received one official level that was uploaded to the FFG site, when the booklet implied that there would at least be a few. In short, I have zero expectations that the designers will reignite the flame and make a second expansion, or even just a couple more online levels or rules fixes. So something official to fix the problems Arkham produces from merely being as thriving as it is shouldn't be such a fantastic wish. I want them to strike while the iron is still hot!
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Gyges wrote:
Am I the only one that owns all the expansions but only uses one at a time? I do so for precisely the reason offered by Morgan; to avoid dilution of theme.


I see the value in this, but I like how unknowable the whole thing gets. I'd like to have it remain unknowable, but with regular access to guns and magic swords and a bit more frequent access to all the other bits.
 
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Gyges wrote:
Am I the only one that owns all the expansions but only uses one at a time? I do so for precisely the reason offered by Morgan; to avoid dilution of theme.


Way too much time wasted to mix in 1 expansion thorougly and then to separate it again. Rinse repeat for every game? No thanks! I have everything (so all but KH) mixed in and will keep it that way.
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Dam the Man wrote:
Gyges wrote:
Am I the only one that owns all the expansions but only uses one at a time? I do so for precisely the reason offered by Morgan; to avoid dilution of theme.


Way too much time wasted to mix in 1 expansion thorougly and then to separate it again. Rinse repeat for every game? No thanks! I have everything (so all but KH) mixed in and will keep it that way.

Seconded. With the exception of League scenarios (when is the next one, by the way?) and my specialized new-player training, I will not remove expansions. Too much work, and I kind of like making use of all these things I've spent money on
 
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I am all for expansion expansions. Heck, I am all for expansions period. Also, At the Mountains of Madness needs a small box expansion. Please.
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I agree. "Arkham Blender", so to speak.
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Alas, I think even a rudimentary business analysis would dissuade FFG from doing this. I bet there is a Vin Diagram on a board somewhere at FFG showing a decreasing number of people owing each subsequent expansion, this the target for an "expansion expansion" is probably a small subset of AH players. So this would probably be a rules change posted on the FFG website (with a list of cards to use) rather than an additional retail card expansion.

I would like to know where their AH endgame is. I can't see another board expansion, but the small box possibilities are endless. I think we will see a larger scale AH-type game with similar themes but a new board and pieces.

I wonder if their analysis shows that big box games sell better than small box expansions. If so, then I bet they will push forward into new ground rather than trying to shore up what they already have.
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Dam the Man wrote:
Gyges wrote:
Am I the only one that owns all the expansions but only uses one at a time? I do so for precisely the reason offered by Morgan; to avoid dilution of theme.


Way too much time wasted to mix in 1 expansion thorougly and then to separate it again. Rinse repeat for every game? No thanks! I have everything (so all but KH) mixed in and will keep it that way.


Our solution is to leave them mixed in and ignore cards with the wrong symbols. Occassionaly this will lead to comicaly long draws on the Other Worlds deck, but otherwise it works fine.

We started going to the "single or maybe double" expansions precisely for the problem this thread brought up. The game was getting unwieldy and the thematic elements were gatting lost.

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jason10mm wrote:
Alas, I think even a rudimentary business analysis would dissuade FFG from doing this. I bet there is a Vin Diagram on a board somewhere at FFG showing a decreasing number of people owing each subsequent expansion, this the target for an "expansion expansion" is probably a small subset of AH players.


Then why do they keep putting out expansions?

My theory, is that if there was the expansion expansion, people with two or three expansions will pick this up first to expand what they already have and then feel compelled to get the rest as they already have cards for the other stuff.
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