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Subject: A narrow, almost pyrrich victory rss

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Adam
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Tempe
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"We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them!"
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I decided to play a four character solo game yesterday. It had been a while since I had last played, and I did not want to forget the rules. This game was played during the base set alone. I'd never played against Hastur, Shub-Niggurath, Nyralathotep, or Yog-Sothtoh, so I shuffled only those four and Hastur came to the top. My four characters, chosen completely at random, were Bob Jenkins the Salesman, Jenny Barnes the Dilettante, Gloria Goldberg the Writer, and Darrell Simmons the Photographer. The last two were an especially interesting pair as they feature a different version of the same ability, Gloria can chose which of two encounters to have in outer worlds and Darrell can do the same thing in Arkham.

My initial draw for items was a mixed blessing. Gloria started with an elder sign, which, combined with her ability made for a strong chance at an early seal. The down side was that no one had much in the way of weaponry. Darrell had an axe, Jenny had a knife, Gloria had a derringer, and Bob had holy water, great for one encounter, but then it's gone! At least, between Darrell's retainer and Jenny's trust fund, they weren't hurting for money! One possible problem was that everyone started on the north side of town, though this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it allowed me to do some early trading, and get some items to people that needed them. For example, Jenny was the happy recipient of Bob's motorcycle, which really helped make up for her otherwise slow speed. These early turns were also spent taking advantage of our starting wealth at the curiosity shop. Jenny managed to get both the ancient tablet and a copy of the 'King in Yellow' (which seemed ironically appropriate) and got herself up to the eight clues needed to seal a gate very quickly!

I paid a price for all of this shopping, though. I had a three early gates open and then, oddly, rather than more gates, a number of monster surges that drove the terror track up very quickly! The general store closed before I could take advantage of it to obtain better weaponry, and that hampered me for most of the rest of the game.
I did manage to get an early seal at the dark cave and the graveyard, thanks to Gloria's starting elder sign and Jenny's eight clues, and my mythos cards continued to provide more monster surges than new gate openings, so Hastur's doom track filled slowly while the terror track continued to rocket upwards! Thank God I wasn't playing with the 'King in Yellow' expansion!

One thing that kept me distracted was some rumors that I couldn't afford to ignore. The intrepid quartet, while desperately trying to seal gates, also managed to stop the terrible experiment, catch the south side strangler, and stopped the great ritual! During all this, I thought it was summer in Arkham, as there was a Fourth of July parade followed quickly by a heatwave, but Hastur proved to be no respecter of seasons, even in his sleep he was able to cover Arkham in ice during the middle of summer, and the necessity of moving more slowly hampered my efforts as well. There were also, one two occasions, a 'hospital party' and an 'Asylum party' where the four met to heal they shattered minds and bruised and battered bodies, the poorer among them taking grateful advantage of those with more means. While this saved me something in the way of lost clues an items, it did allow the monsters to run rampant.

I eventually managed to find another elder sign and seal 'The Unnamable' which also helped, though by late game the terror track actually managed to hit ten. I was abandoned by all potential allies (none of my characters obtained one throught the entire game) and had all three shops close! In a desperate move, I sealed a gate at the historical society (though I realized it wasn't an optimal place to seal) and then started working on closing gates, praying that I'd be able to manage a closing victory before any more monster surges or gate openings filled in the final three spaces on Hastur's doom track.

As it turned out, there was one more monster surge which added another doom token to the track, leaving just two empty. At this point, Darrell, while following up a lead on a clue at the unvisited isle, was sucked through a gate that opened underneath him into the Abyss. While this was taking place, Jenny managed to return from the Dream Lands through the gate at Independence Square, closing it. A few mythos cards that tried to open gates in sealed locations later, Darrell returned from the Abyss and closed the gate, leaving me with an Arkham that had lost much of its citizenry and all three of its shops, but with a world safe from the horror of the King in Yellow and a new Carcosa! This also saw Darrell in possession of the most gate trophies, making him the First Citizen of Arkham; the local boy had made good! My final score, thanks to the enormous terror track, offset by a lot of unspent gate and monster trophies, was sixteen.

I made several mistakes in this game, that I realized later. For one thing, I did not move monsters on the same turn they appeared with a gate (in those cases where the mythos card would have moved their symbol). I also forgot to give Jenny and Bob their income (from the trust fund and Bob's salary as a deputy, respectively) on a few turns, but that was just distractability and the difficulty of playing four characters at once. One thing I think I did right was making heavy use of the science building for clues, and hanging on to gate trophies as soon as I realized I would need to go for a closing victory.

One question came up, and I wasn't able to find a satisfactory answer in the rules or on the excellent flow chart. When an investigator is driven mad or knocked out, do they lose half their spells as well as half their items? What about their money, if they have any? I chose to play that they kept their money (since the rules didn't mention it as something that was lost) and that they did lose half their spells. I'd appreciate clarification on this if anyone cares to comment.
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Aaron Riggan
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OKLAHOMA CITY
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Yes, if an investigator is knocked out or driven insane, they go to the asylum or hospital and lose half of their items (including unique items, common items AND spells) and half their clue tokens. They keep their money. Only time they lose half their cash is if they're arrested.
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Brian Mc Cabe
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There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why . . . I dream of things that never were and ask why not
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When I use Jenny solo, being unable to remember to pay her off, I placefive $1 bills in front of her at the beginning of the game. Every upkeep, I give her a dollar. On Round Six, I replenish the $5.

You didn't mention having a problem, but, I also place $2 on any retainers. It catches my eye and helps me remember that, as well.

Brian
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Adam
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Excellent idea! I'll do that, next time. Thanks!
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Simon Hebert
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Nice session report Spirit! I just played a game this weak against Hastur, and base game only. I won on a closed gate victory as well.

About your question on losing half of their items, I have another question on the same subject. When you loose half of your items is it half of the sum of allthese items? i.e: If the character has 3 common items and 1 spell. Does he loose 2 items and I choose wich one he discard like half of 4 items so this would be 2 items and I can choose to loose 1 spell and 1 common item or is it by item types so in this case the character would need to discard 2 common item (half of 3 round up) and 1 spell (half of 1 round up)?
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Adam
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Thanks! I'm not sure about the official answer on that, but what I did was count it as half of all total items, including spells, common items, and unique items. I rounded against the characters (e.g. If a character had three items, they lost two). It seemed more in keeping with the theme of the game to make the penalties more harsh. Though this will only encourage me to start playing with Dunwich (for the injury and madness cards) that much sooner.
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Simon Hebert
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All right thanks a lot.
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Andrew Hart
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common items, unique items & spells are treated as just "Items" with respect to the 1/2 rounded down discarding. Thus you can pick and choose what you want to keep & what you want to discard.

Also, rounded down is with repect to what you lose.

Hence, if you have a common item, a unique item & a spell, for a total of 3 items, you only need to lose 1 item.
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Ben Hawks
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Great session report! It sounds like that was a really fun game. I love it when you just get hammered most of the game, but somehow manage to pull off a victory. I sympathize with you about not getting all the rules. I think I've yet to play a game with no rules mistakes, and I've played 7 or 8 times!

One question about your session, though. You said that a monster surge added the third to last doom token. How did that happen? Monster surges don't add doom tokens.
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Adam
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If I understand the rules correctly, once the terror level hits 10, the monster limit disappears, but any time the outskirts limit would have been reached, you add one to the doom track. Hence, the last doom token was added by a monster surge.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Spirit of 70 wrote:
If I understand the rules correctly, once the terror level hits 10, the monster limit disappears, but any time the outskirts limit would have been reached, you add one to the doom track. Hence, the last doom token was added by a monster surge.


Once Terror hits 10, monster limit goes away, so nothing can ever go to Outskirts anymore (and Outskirts are returned back to cup when T hits 10). If Terror is at 10 and Terror would increase, instead of going to Terror 11 (no, AH doesn't go up to 11), you add a doomer.
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