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Subject: Two games, completely stomped. What am I doing wrong? rss

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James Turner
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I played two solo games (two Investigators vs. Azathoth) last night, and I got stomped hardcore both times.

The first game was the Salesman and the Researcher, who only got enough clues to seal 1 gate and spent most of the time failing to do anything useful. The Salesman got cursed early, and no one managed to seal a gate in time to help him with a Blessing from the Church.

The second game was Ashcan Pete and the psychic lady. Ashcan Pete managed to kill some monsters and seal a gate, but they both spent most of their time Lost in Time and Space.

It seemed like I was failing all the time, and when I wasn't failing, I was performing maintenance for whatever the game wanted to do. I couldn't get to the gates because I had to keep my Speed up and thus my Sneak wasn't high enough. More often than not, penalties meant I couldn't even roll to avoid negative effects (The Salesman and Ashcan Pete both got Cursed as a result of no roll at all). I kept drawing cards like The Terrible Experiment. The ones that put another time limit on the game. There was no way in hell I could dedicate 5+ rounds to fighting monsters in Miskatonic U streets, so 3 rounds later, hell broke loose, and now there were 8 monsters there that I had to fight... oh wait, no, my monster limit's been reached, so they go in the Outskirts, cycle out from the Outskirts limit, and tip my Terror Track, which is 10 already, causing me (if I recall) to add a Doom Token.

There's no way to close all the gates at once in a two-Investigator game unless you keep getting Gates opening on top of each other. You can't seal 6 gates, because it takes at least 3 rounds to seal a gate, not even counting getting to the gate and collecting enough Clues to seal it. It seems like in a two-Investigator game, you have no choice but to tool up for the final encounter, which wasn't in the cards against Azathoth.

I want to like this game. The encouters are fun(ish, when they're not all forcing instant failure), the theme is great, and... well, I paid good money for this. But in those two playthroughs, I was just dealing with frustration after failure after realization that this just isn't winnable. And yet, I see people winning with 1 Investigator, and I have no idea how they're doing it. I had a hard time even managing to have 5 Clues on one character.

Am I alone in this? Is there something I can do to make this hot rod hum? Because if I bring it to my game group, and it plays like it did last night, I'm afraid it won't go over well.
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brian
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The thing to realize is that Arkham is a great uphill battle. But if you can survive on your climb, it will be easier going on ethe way back down. So your first half is critical in sealing enough gates to give you some breathing room to make the second easier and hopefully go for the win before you have to fight a final battle.

So step one in that is realize not all gates are created equal. Some locationas are more active than otehrs (and I will let you play more to figure out which ones). If you seal these gates early, then you will get a respite everytime those locations are drawn again. For those that are less active, you can get away with just closing them in teh begiining, save your clues for later.

Another step is to realize that no everyone should be going for Clues and diluting what you have. Since you are playing 2 investigators, whoever starts out with the most clues (or closest to the most clues) should race around and collect a set of 5 to go into the OW and seal the first gate. the other investigator can hand back and keep the monsters under control.

If that is still too tough, consider adding a 3rd or 4th investigator to your team. This game is supposed to scale from 1 to 8 but 4 is the sweet spot. Too few investigators, and you are better off gearing up for the final battle. Too many, it's a cakewalk. So 4 is a good mix and really not that hard to run. Then you have more people doing more things. Maybe assign 2 to gatehring Clues and sealing gates while the other 2 run monster duty.
 
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Volker Hirscher
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We always play 2-player, one investigator each. Works great for us. But some games can really be frustrating - I would say, 20 %. You had bad luck it seems. Try concentrating on sealing gates, because you will never success in closing all gates at the same time. Always take one investigator with good fight abilities (and get a weapon for him). Any maybe a little rules tweak: Make rumours only half as hard as they are - they are just two hard for only two investigators.
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jim b
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mavo wrote:
Try concentrating on sealing gates, because you will never success in closing all gates at the same time.

A consequence of this advice, which may not be obvious, is that you should leave the gate open, until you can seal it: if you keep closing gates you can't seal, then if/when they reopen, you get another doom token, the goo's tentacle advances in time, etc.

Better to leave the gate open, deal with the potential surges, maintain the monster population as best as you can, and collect clue tokens and/or elder-signs that will help you seal the gates.

Some goo's make it much harder to seal gates (eg, it takes 8 clue tokens with one goo), and this might change your strategy, but usually sealing 6 gates is the best target.

We always play 2-player with 4 investigators - I think this is a sweet spot, 2 investigators total is more difficult. Even solo, you may have more fun with more investigators (there's more to do during each tick/pulse of the game).
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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One variant that we usually play with (which I believe was suggested by the designer somewhere - at least according to my friend who owns it) - once a gate opens on a location, the location can continue accumulating clue tokens, and if you go to that location, you can choose to encounter either the location (and get the clue tokens) or the gate. Note that if a gate opens *on top* of an investigator, he/she is still sucked through. This makes it a bit easier to get clue tokens and results in less "useless turns" which i find frustrating.
 
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jim b
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cferejohn wrote:
One variant that we usually play with (which I believe was suggested by the designer somewhere - at least according to my friend who owns it) - once a gate opens on a location, the location can continue accumulating clue tokens, and if you go to that location, you can choose to encounter either the location (and get the clue tokens) or the gate. Note that if a gate opens *on top* of an investigator, he/she is still sucked through. This makes it a bit easier to get clue tokens and results in less "useless turns" which i find frustrating.

That's from Richard Lanius' House Hules:

"Rule 4 – Choose to Travel through Gate: Locations with gates do not automatically suck the Investigator through. Moving through a Gate is a choice for the player, unless a Gate opens at a location where an Investigator just happens to be visiting – then they are sucked through as noted in the Rules.

Reason for the House Rule: Enables players more choices and opportunities to have Arkham Location Encounters. My logic for the rule is that the gate is not huge, probably only 12 feet by 12 feet and may even be in the basement of the building. The areas at each location are large - buildings with multiple floors and rooms, or acres of thick woods so there is an opportunity to still have normal encounters in a location even though nasty creatures may be slithering through a gate in the basement below…"
 
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Gordon Adams
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Play with 4 Investigators as you will have a much better chance to progress in this game.

Enjoy
 
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Erin
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I would also re-read the rules after each time you play. It took me quite awhile before I had the rules down fully. Even now I still have to look up things and I have played around 70 games. Also, sometimes you fall badly. I am not quite sure how you are getting cursed so much - I rarely get cursed in the game.

Stats are also a hard thing to find a balance with. Keep the speed up and instead of sneaking past monsters, fight them as you come across them. It keeps the streets clean and avoids terror troubles. Focus on monsters, clues and gates. I will usually do the store stuff in the beginning to get whatever I need. Will take out bank loans to do it too. When I have played with only 2 investigators I tended to have one do more gates and the other more monsters but they did cross over sometimes.

For you first few games, pick your investigators rather than random to get a good mix and get used to the mechanics of the game. Mandy and Michael are a good combo to try.

If you can, play with 4 investigators - the game functions best that way. I play solo with 4 most of the time. If you get a really nasty monster, toss it back in and pick a new one - I allow myself that once per game, usually with a Green bordered monster. When I play with a buddy I don't do this but with just me I am ususally testing out different characters etc.

This is one of my favourite games - don't hesitate to message me if you have questions - I teach this at the local game store because I am the resident expert
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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girlgamergeek wrote:
I would also re-read the rules after each time you play. It took me quite awhile before I had the rules down fully. Even now I still have to look up things and I have played around 70 games. Also, sometimes you fall badly. I am not quite sure how you are getting cursed so much - I rarely get cursed in the game.


+1

I can't tell you how many minor rules I've screwed up in this game, and STILL screw up. A quick read before and after will make you go "Ohhh, we've been playing that wrong."

Also, if it's too hard, maybe add a Herald?

-shnar
 
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brian
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If the game is too hard, adding a Herald will only make it more difficult. You would want to add a Guardian.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Sorry, that's what I meant. I always get those two confused, since they seemed to be added around the same time.

-shnar
 
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JH
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elfrododumbo wrote:

Play with 4 Investigators as you will have a much better chance to progress in this game.

Enjoy :)


My wife and I do this, each playing two investigators, with the first-player token passing between us and not the investigators themselves. It's much less frustrating when someone gets lost in time and space or otherwise delayed when you have a second character running around.
 
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Tim Salay
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the difficulty is increased with just 2 investigators. I do agree with Coltfan though. Have one focus on closing gates while the other one keeps monsters at bay. I fought Nyarolthep this morning with 2 and only closed 2 gates but had 2 rumors squashed. Nyarolthep though was a bit easier for 2 players. In case too many gates open up load up on ol' nyarly with clue tokens. I've soloed 13 games and only got 1 win. Very harsh. But I continue get more of the beatins'.
 
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Craig Stewart
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Silopolis wrote:

I couldn't get to the gates because I had to keep my Speed up and thus my Sneak wasn't high enough.

I kept drawing cards like The Terrible Experiment. The ones that put another time limit on the game.

oh wait, no, my monster limit's been reached, so they go in the Outskirts, cycle out from the Outskirts limit, and tip my Terror Track, which is 10 already, causing me (if I recall) to add a Doom Token.

There's no way to close all the gates at once in a two-Investigator game unless you keep getting Gates opening on top of each other.

I want to like this game. The encouters are fun(ish, when they're not all forcing instant failure), the theme is great, and... well, I paid good money for this. But in those two playthroughs, I was just dealing with frustration after failure after realization that this just isn't winnable. And yet, I see people winning with 1 Investigator, and I have no idea how they're doing it. I had a hard time even managing to have 5 Clues on one character.

Am I alone in this? Is there something I can do to make this hot rod hum? Because if I bring it to my game group, and it plays like it did last night, I'm afraid it won't go over well.


First off, if you have a halfway decent fight, don't bother to evade. Designate one of your investigators as a street sweeper and take the monsters out. Remember, monster trophies can also buy you a blessing.

Next, for a solo or two player game, pull the rumours out of the deck. In low number of investigator games, they are a bit too much to deal with IMO.

Remember, closing a gate (sealing is not mandatory, just helpful) removes all monsters with the same symbol as the gate from the board, including the outskirts. Color Out Of Space harassing you? Close the gate with his symbol and bye bye problem.

Seal the 'high incidence' gates first. Independence Square, The Witch House and a few others are very common for portal activity. Seal them first and suddenly the town gets a lot quieter.

At times, it does seem like the game has a mind of its own and goes out of its way to clobber you. But it is balanced.

Recently, we had it go either way. One game, we were defeated in 7 turns. We could not get a weapon to save our lives and the Ancient One's doom track filled like magic.

A few games later, we had the game beat in four turns. Two player game, lucky with fast return to Arkham on the first round of gates, by turn four we had three gate trophies and none open on the board.

The game requires strategy. Strategy requires knowledge of the game. So you get beaten a few times. It will get better.

Pick yourself a good fighter (Joe Diamond maybe) and a good gate closer and see how it goes. Face off against an easy(ish) Ancient One. Azathoth is a nasty one to start with.

Before you take it to the gaming group, make sure you know the rules very well. And with four players, four minds working towards a common goal, you might see it go a bit differently.
 
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Bob T
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You get a feel for it.
Not a lot I can add, RevGiark etc have covered most of the bases.

Early cards play a BIG part in success or failure. A shotgun or Elder Sign at the start of the game will tip things in your favor. And the spell "Find Gate" is a MUST for games with only 2-3 Investigators.

I've found Sanity is more important than Stamina; the ability to restore Sanity or limit its loss can work wonders.

Luck is more important than Lore in most OWs; and Money trumps all. (Jenny Barnes' Trust Fund helps arm her to the teeth, turns her into a Killing Machine!) Get a Bank Loan and buy weapons asap if your Inv has low money to start with, or try to get a Retainer from the Newspaper.

Use their strengths- Gloria Goldberg has a HUGE advantage in the Other Worlds.

 
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James Turner
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So I played again tonight (4 heroes: Gangster, PI, Professor, Dillettante), and I won. Yig hardly stirred in his bed (nest?) before I managed to seal the last existing gate on the board.

I think I got incredibly lucky this time. I sealed two gates very quickly, and it seemed that every Mythos card wanted to open gates on those seals. The gangster was a fighting machine. He just murdered everything in his path! The star of the show, however, was the PI. H started with a .45, a knife, and a motorcycle, and he had sealed two gates before anyone else really did much of anything. The one turn he spent in the Curiostitie Shoppe, I drew three cards, and all three were Elder Signs.

I had one Rumor: The Southside Strangler, which was easily dispatched. Gates dropped like flies, and there were plenty of Clues to seal them. I kept getting Mythos cards that removed monsters or offered me Clues on certain spaces, etc. I got the Environment that lowers the cost to Seal gates, followed by the one that reduces the Sanity Cost on all spells to zero. In the Other Worlds, I kept getting cards that were like, "Something is happening. If you want to be involved, roll stuff. Otherwise, we cool."

It was nice having a couple of characters I felt could wade into combat and actually succeed. The Dillettante spent the first few rounds in the Curio Shoppe, but she didn't really buy much of anything that anyone needed.

Yig had maybe 4 more Doom Tokens to go before he'd awaken. I refused to fight Cutists, and I only got Lost in Time and Space once. Monster surges with three gates aren't really all that threatening.

Overall, it was fun. It went on a little long, but otherwise, good times.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Silopolis wrote:
The one turn he spent in the Curiostitie Shoppe, I drew three cards, and all three were Elder Signs.


You know you buy 1 on a given visit to the stores, right? Basically, if you draw 3 ES, you "wasted" 2, unless Aschan Pete is in the game.

Quote:
Yig had maybe 4 more Doom Tokens to go before he'd awaken. I refused to fight Cutists, and I only got Lost in Time and Space once. Monster surges with three gates aren't really all that threatening.


Surges bring out monsters = # of gates open or # of investigators, whichever higher, so 4 monsters in your case. Not a huge difference I'll admit.
 
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James Turner
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Dam the Man wrote:
Silopolis wrote:
The one turn he spent in the Curiostitie Shoppe, I drew three cards, and all three were Elder Signs.


You know you buy 1 on a given visit to the stores, right? Basically, if you draw 3 ES, you "wasted" 2, unless Aschan Pete is in the game.


Yup. I was pretty grumpy about it at the time, but I was glad to see an Elder Sign in the first place. That was the main reason the Dillettante was in the Curio Shoppe, but she never found one. It wasn't until she left and the PI moved in that three of them showed up.

Quote:
Quote:
Yig had maybe 4 more Doom Tokens to go before he'd awaken. I refused to fight Cutists, and I only got Lost in Time and Space once. Monster surges with three gates aren't really all that threatening.


Surges bring out monsters = # of gates open or # of investigators, whichever higher, so 4 monsters in your case. Not a huge difference I'll admit.


Good to know. Still, I had maybe 3 surges the whole time. Yig kept trying to reopen sealed locations.
 
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brian
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Silopolis wrote:
and it seemed that every Mythos card wanted to open gates on those seals.

That is the overall intent of what you should be doing: seal so you get some breathing.

However, one word of warning: the decks come collated in order by gate from FFG. So make sure you are shuffling all decks before your first play (or your next one if you haven't given them a good shuffle). Otherwise you might hit a run of the same gate trying to open and things get too easy.
 
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James Turner
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Yeah, I've played three times now, and they've been shuffled each time, but I'm not exactly the world's greatest shuffler. When my wife and I play together next, I'll make her do it. She could almost replace those machines in Vegas.
 
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Russell InGA
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Another thing to consider if playing just two investigators is to just have a Mythos phase every two turns.

With AH there are two challenges:

1) Beating the game.
2) Learning the game well enough to play it quickly so it's enjoyable.

Get 2) down first! (I completely agree with the idea about removing all the Rumors - they are just flat hard!)

---------------------------------------

I think three investigators is a better number than two.
 
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Andrew Clarke
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From my experience, the base game alone with just two investigators is eminently beatable with no house rules.
You just have to realise a few things:
* The only thing that will actually cause you to lose is the terror track. The Doom track literally cannot reach the end if you're playing right (OK, mabye with Yig, but even then it's very unlikely), and having 8 gates open at once is also really unlikely.
* You want to seal the commonly attacked locations (Witch House, Unvisited Isle, Indepedance Square, Woods) first.
* Don't waste time. Each turn should ideally be spent gathering clues or sealing gates. If you can't do either, consider bashing monsters (if there're more than one in a space and you're well armed), visiting the Newspaper, or fishing for Elder Signs at the Curiosite Shoppe.
* If you need clues, the science building is your best friend. You should rarely waste trophies at the church or boarding house, and almost never should you use the River Docks.
* Never close gates without sealing them. Almost never, anyway.
* Mostly try to evade and ignore monsters. Yes, the terror track will build up, but you're usually better off advancing your gate-sealing than trying to slow it down. Only deliberately go for monsters if you can hit several at once.
* There are enough clues around that both your investigators should be clue-hunting and sealing.
* Ignore gates at the Silver Twilight Lodge, the Historical Society, and Hibb's Roadhouse, because those locations are rarely attacked. The Science Building is also rarely attacked, but you need its ability, so that one is worth sealing (it's also the best candidate for closing but not sealing on the board: if you must close and not seal, that's where to do it).
* Careful with rumours. Dealing with them well is quite critical. Learn what they are and how they need to be dealt with. For example, the Southside Strangler should be left in play and ignored. The Terrible Experiment should usually be attacked every few turns to keep it down (by all means clear it if possible, but usually there's a Dhole or something on it you can't kill). Good Work Undone should be paid off as soon as possible.
 
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