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Subject: Arkham Horror not what its posing to be. rss

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Tomas Riha
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Ive struggled with the topic of this post.

To me Arkham Horror is a great game in many ways but not really living up to its greatness in some ways.

To me Arkham is a adventure and propably this is where my expectations are misslead by the game. The game provides alot of content to explore in many different ways you got the characters and their stories, you got the locations and their events, you got the cults to join, allies to meet and ofcourse the other dimensions. All this presents a great rich world that I want to explore and adventure in.

But when playing the game I dont explore the world and I dont get imersed in an adventure. What I do get is resource management and war against a Aincent one.

All my efforts and focus always go towards sealing the gates or getting ready for the final battle. There is so little time to explore the world and not really much reason to do so.

I dont say that this makes Arkham a worse game because its fun but I would like to see more focus on adventure.

I think this deception comes from two things.

First the fact that the mechanisms of how the awakening progresses are so predictable. No matter what I do on each mythos phase a gate opens (ofcourse not on each I know the rules but Im generalizing). Even if I can affect how often the doom track moves by sealing gates in the right locations its still a very predictable mechanism. A mechanism that does away with the "investigator" imersion.

Second is the presentation of the game with all its content and characters. Its really flirting with beeing a RPG. It screams adventure all over the place.

I think a mechanism that would go more in hand with the "investigator" theme would make the game more of what I want out of it. Something along the lines that you have to exlore certain locations and find signs of ocult activities (be it murders, artifacts or what ever). These signs leading you to other locations and eventually towards opening of gates and movement of doom track.

Also uncertainty of which aincent one is behind the myserious events would increase the imersion of beeing a investigator. Having a mechanism that reveals the AO to the investigator as the investigation progresses would be great.

I dont know if Im just babbling or if anyone shares the feeling that the most exciting thing about arkham (exploration of content) is the single thing you do the least and that the game is a resource management game and not a adventure game.

Tomas
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The Grouch
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Try Arkham Investigations.
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V Smith
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Or the RPG
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Jamie Vantries
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TexMurphy wrote:
Its really flirting with beeing a RPG.

Well, seeing as how it's a boardgame version of the Call of Cthulhu rpg, that shouldn't be suprising.

My experience is that if you're just playing the base game (possibly with CotDP too) the game goes slow enough that you can actually spend some time exploring the town.
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Thomas R. Moen
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To main poster:
I understand where your sentiments come from. The game is awful on maintenance... I think your points are valid and I'm sorry to say that I agree. Madness...
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Tomas Riha
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Mr T

Maybe is it so that the high mechanism and the relativly high rule wieght contribute to the sence of the adventure getting lost.

Ive lately come to more and more enjoy lighter games that allow more focus on the theme. Me and a friend talked about weight of games and conclusion was "if you feel you want a computer to keep track of things for you then the game should be a computer game".

Now I dont necessarily find AH that heavy but I think the imersion might be suffering from the rules weight, yes.

Tomas
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Danny Frahm
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I have a house rule which entails an exploration round. This is done before the first mythos card. One round of everyone going to a stable location and having an encounter there. THEN we begin.

Gives us a round of relaxed encounter and story telling to start the game off.
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Sean P
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You can also rule that you can have an encounter at the special locations as well as using that locations special ability. A few more encounters get seen that normally would not have.

Have someone else read the encounter cards without telling the results first. Some cards aren't really written for that, but you can try.

Also, as above, try the Arkham Investigations.
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Cameron Chien
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Tomas, how many games of Arkham Horror have you played? I have probably less than a dozen games under my belt, but the rules are hardly an issue anymore.

Having someone be the GM also can help the experience. They make the game go more smoothly (especially if you have newbies playing) and if you put a little effort into reading the encounters for the players, it adds atmosphere.

It could be that it's just not your cup of tea. Nothing wrong with that, there's a bazillion games out there, and I'm sure there's one that fits your needs more closely.

Cameron
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John H
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You can slow the game down and therefore have a greater opportunity to explore other locations more often if you pull a Mythos Card every other player, instead of every one. We did this in a game with a new player and the Dunwich Horror expansion and it greatly increased our enjoyment of the game.

Also, having everyone chip in and have a job to do (draw location cards, dispense chits, handle small cards, etc) really helps lessen the stress on only one or two people doing those jobs and keeps all players engaged every phase and every turn.

 
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Rauli Kettunen
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RollD6 wrote:
You can slow the game down and therefore have a greater opportunity to explore other locations more often if you pull a Mythos Card every other player, instead of every one. We did this in a game with a new player and the Dunwich Horror expansion and it greatly increased our enjoyment of the game.


You mean every other turn, instead of every turn? Since you only draw 1 Mythos per turn, not 1 per investigator/player.

Man, drawing 1 Mythos every other turn would take much of the difficulty out of the game IMO. You'd have twice as many investigator turns as Mythos phases snore .

Personally, AH is a game about PREVENTING the GOO from waking and destroying much of the world. Thus, winning is done by closing all gates or sealing 6 gates. Hence, the gates are the focus of the game, everything else is a side-show distraction.
 
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Tomas Riha
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@Cameron

Ive got about 10 or so games under my belt and no I dont have problems with the rules. I know them and dont really need to look anything up in the rule book. But still the game is very mechanical.

Its a shame because mechanics (in all games) take away from the imersion. The more you have to think about dice, cards and stats the more it takes away from the adventure.

I really do enjoy the game. Its not that. Its just that its a game that is about something else then it first appeared to be. I mean I dont mind (and actually enjoy) resource management games. As a such AH is great and very tactical and thematic. Its just that I expected an adventure game and as a adventure game I think it falls short because it doesnt focus on the adventure.

Tomas
 
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John H
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Quote:
You mean every other turn, instead of every turn? Since you only draw 1 Mythos per turn, not 1 per investigator/player.

Man, drawing 1 Mythos every other turn would take much of the difficulty out of the game IMO. You'd have twice as many investigator turns as Mythos phases .

Personally, AH is a game about PREVENTING the GOO from waking and destroying much of the world. Thus, winning is done by closing all gates or sealing 6 gates. Hence, the gates are the focus of the game, everything else is a side-show distraction.


Yes, thank you for the clarification, every other turn is what I meant.

We realized before we tried it that it would take a large degree of difficulty out of the game, that was the point. We wanted the extra time to explore areas like the Train Station, the Newspaper, the entirely new (to us) areas on the Dunwich Board, etc. The extra time allowed us to explore the boards and we were not bored, we were happy...odd event in a Lovecraft inspired game for sure.

You use the word 'personally' in your concluding paragraph and that is exactly what we did. We personalized our experience and made the game more into what we wanted. Will we do this all the time? No, but if you are adding new players and new boards/expansions (DH in this case), we found it to be fun to explore a bit.

I am glad you find AH to be everything you want in a game as is, but I am always looking for new ways to expand the enjoyment of a game outside the rules set. Heck, even the designer has a set of 'house rules' that makes it work for him. I encourage others to experiment and share their experiences. Isn't that one of the many cool things about the BGG forums?

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Rauli Kettunen
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RollD6 wrote:
We wanted the extra time to explore areas like the Train Station, the Newspaper, the entirely new (to us) areas on the Dunwich Board, etc. The extra time allowed us to explore the boards and we were not bored, we were happy...odd event in a Lovecraft inspired game for sure.


Train Station and Newspaper are my most encountered stable locations. Train Station because at times you can't reach your destination in another town, so might as well stop at TS, there are plenty of "move to any location in Arkham" encounters on offer there. Newspaper when looking for money (though NP also has its share of move to any location in Arkham encounters).

Just seems odd you'd become bored when gates are popping open left and right adding monsters (thus more things to do), but when there is no pressure, no boredom surprise . With my current combo of everything but KH, I know I have a window of on average 14 turns in which to seal 6 gates or the GOO wakes from the doom track filling. I can tell you, there is no time to get bored , have collect Clues, hit the gates and work for every inch of ground available. Every single turn counts, no time for wasted turns.

As far as rules go, I'm a stickler, a rules-lawyer. I count final combat "wins" as draws in my personal stats, because they don't feel like wins. Only thing really that's been houseruled (apart from playing multiple investigators in a solo game, because, final combat yuk and 1-investigator games would go that route) is Shotgun vs Physical Immunity (and Weapon Immunity). And even that's more on thematic reasons than anything else. To me, if you're not playing by the rules, why bother playing at all, might as well design your own game.
 
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John H
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Rauli,

Quote:
Train Station and Newspaper are my most encountered stable locations. Train Station because at times you can't reach your destination in another town, so might as well stop at TS, there are plenty of "move to any location in Arkham" encounters on offer there. Newspaper when looking for money (though NP also has its share of move to any location in Arkham encounters).

Just seems odd you'd become bored when gates are popping open left and right adding monsters (thus more things to do), but when there is no pressure, no boredom . With my current combo of everything but KH, I know I have a window of on average 14 turns in which to seal 6 gates or the GOO wakes from the doom track filling. I can tell you, there is no time to get bored , have collect Clues, hit the gates and work for every inch of ground available. Every single turn counts, no time for wasted turns.

As far as rules go, I'm a stickler, a rules-lawyer. I count final combat "wins" as draws in my personal stats, because they don't feel like wins. Only thing really that's been houseruled (apart from playing multiple investigators in a solo game, because, final combat and 1-investigator games would go that route) is Shotgun vs Physical Immunity (and Weapon Immunity). And even that's more on thematic reasons than anything else. To me, if you're not playing by the rules, why bother playing at all, might as well design your own game.


Two points.

First, we have never been bored playing AH. I used the word once in my post as a response to your original reply, where you placed a sleeping emoticon in it. To me this represented that you would be bored, or that the game would become boring from lack of Mythos Cards being drawn every turn. We wanted to explore the new board and old locations more often than a normal game would allow. We enjoyed it and I am glad we did it.

Second point; I want to share with others who feel the same way. You have made it clear you are not one to bend the rules. That is fine, but allow others time to share. If these ideas are not your thing, move on, there is no need to argue your point. As much as you may think you are right, so do thousands of others. This is an idea factory, to share, grow and explore. It is not a court room to try and convict.
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John Anderson
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This should probably be in the Variants forum, honestly. There's a reason I don't subscribe to the Variants forum. I only subscribe to General and Rules.

I don't have a problem with people playing the game however they want, but there's a separate forum just for stuff like that.
 
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Tomas Riha
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John,

If I was asking for variants on how to play Arkham then I would have posted a question there.

Now I posted an observation and reflection about my experience with Arkham and hence posted it in General.

Tomas
 
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John Anderson
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Yeah, your original post fit into General, but the thread seems to have turned more into a Variants type thread.
 
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Thomas R. Moen
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TexMurphy wrote:
Mr T

Ive lately come to more and more enjoy lighter games that allow more focus on the theme. Me and a friend talked about weight of games and conclusion was "if you feel you want a computer to keep track of things for you then the game should be a computer game".

Now I dont necessarily find AH that heavy but I think the imersion might be suffering from the rules weight, yes.

Tomas


I have thought about AH being better suited as a computer game too because of the mechanics, unfortunately.
 
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John Anderson
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moonmood wrote:
I have thought about AH being better suited as a computer game too because of the mechanics, unfortunately.
What mechanics? I don't find Arkham's mechanics to be that fiddly, but I guess it depends on what you compare it to. Mythos phase is basically the main "fiddling" time, and all you have to do is drop a gate, monster, and clue, then move monsters. Not that much to do. The rest is mostly just keeping track of your investigator's stuff.
 
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Tomas Riha
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I wouldnt say the rules and mechanics are hard to understand. But its quite a few steps. You got the five phases and each of these have sub phases. Its not hard nor alot to remember just alot of stuff to do. Alot of stuff to do IS a good thing. Dont get me wrong.

Let me compare AH with Memoir for a second. Both are very good games but very different in the aspect I am trying to express.

Memoir is very light in its rules and mechanisms. It can be accused of beeing too light. But it manages to bring out the theme very well. It is extremly imersive. One of the reasons it is imersive is that it is so simple and has so little mechanical squencial work to be done. Play card, give orders, move, fight, take card. There isnt much more to it then that. But it is so light that all the focus of the players gos to theme and tactics.

Arkham is much more full with theme potiential then Memoir is. But its rules and mechanics put a dampning effect on the theme.

One good example is "time to dice roll" in battle. Both games you evaluate how many dice you have then modify it and roll.

In Memoir you look at the unit sheet, the board and the terrain sheet. In Arkham its character sheet, character weapons and monster chit. Its three in both. So this should be equally quick.

But in practice the difference is quite big.

In Memoir its basicly 3, 2 or 1 die modified with -1 or -2. Its so simple that you dont need to look at the sheets.

In Arkham I tend to be looking at the sheet to double check if I moved the slider in the upkeep. So that always gets done. Then I look at the monster to see modifier and to double check abilities. Then I look at my weapons to make sure that all work and none is resisted.

The nature of the four turns not beeing done right away by one player causes me to forget what I was thinking. Ofcourse I dont forget but I need to double check because there can be a good few min between upkeep and movement.

While not hard to execute it does take more focus and forces more looking at sheets then Memoir does. Each time I look at a sheet or a chart (thanks god AH doesnt have battle charts) focus is on something mechanical outside the imersion bouble of the game.

Tomas
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Thomas R. Moen
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Thank you for writing this so neatly up. I can only concur in Tomas' assessment.
 
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