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Subject: If I were to buy Arkham Horror should I get the expansion(s) too right away? If so which one(s)? rss

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Michael Withstand
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So is there any must have expansion(s) when it comes to Arkham Horror?

Or am I better off just playing the base first before deciding which expansion to add.

The shop offers discounts if I were to buy Arkham Horror along with the expansions the more the bigger the discount will be and I'm thinking to eventually buy Arkham Horror so should I jump on the bait and bring one or two expansions along as well?
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brian
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Play the base game first. When it becomes too easy, get an expansion. If you want a Big Box, get Dunwich. If you want a small box, get King in Yellow. Then you can decide from there what else you want.

The only caution is that Arkham isn't really set up to mix everything together. You can dilute too much of you try to mix too many expansions together. It can be done, most certainly, but it is best to only play with 1 or 2 expansions at a time.
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Michael Withstand
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Thanks that's really helpful.
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Michael Withstand
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Well that seems like a very honest insight. Thank you really appreciate it very much thumbsup
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Bern Harkins
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
Play the base game first. When it becomes too easy, get an expansion. If you want a Big Box, get Dunwich. If you want a small box, get King in Yellow. Then you can decide from there what else you want.

The only caution is that Arkham isn't really set up to mix everything together. You can dilute too much of you try to mix too many expansions together. It can be done, most certainly, but it is best to only play with 1 or 2 expansions at a time.


Wow... I must have read ten longish threads on this subject, back before I went insane and just bought everything (which I do not regret).

Brian has here distilled those discussions with remarkable clarity. His advice is sage.

The only thing I would add is that Dunwich adds the much esteemed Madness and Injury decks, which are arguably the single greatest improvement made to the game in any expansion; we use them every game.
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brian
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LordHellfury wrote:
Looking at this mountain of Arkham expansions, I ask myself why the hell did I do that? I dont regret buying them, but I do wonder if it was the right choice. I posit that it was not and should have just played the hell out of the base game until I could play it in my sleep and needed the added challenge that some of the expansions offer.

I had just the base game for a long time and vowed not to get the expansions until I was good and ready. But a good deal came along and I got all of them published to date (which was DH, CotDp, and KiY at the time).

However, hard as it was, I forced myself to keep playing base game only and one expansion at a time to get the most out of each individual purchase. What worked for me (instead of saying play X game before moving on), was to play at least one game with each randomly draw Ancient One and 4 randomly drawn investigators. Once a AO was drawn, it was set out of the draw pile for the next games. Once an investigators was drawn for 2 games, they sat out as well until all the investigators were drawn and then they were mixed back in.

So I had a clear goal of playing 8 games in the base game with a great mix of investigators. When I got to CotDP, I played one game each of the different variations (which I think was 3). When I got to Dunwich, used the same pattern as with the base game, etc.

So it helped curb my temptation to play everything at once and get more plays out of each expansion alone. It was also a fun little exercise.
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Paul Franklin-Bihary
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I beg to differ. Get what you want, and play with it all the time. My friend and I play two characters each with King in Yellow, Pharaoh, Dunwich and Kingsport every time we play. I think the game is remarkably balanced and fun this way. I think the additional layers and options make the game more enjoyable, real, and varied.

That said, definitely learn to play the game with the base game only at first. There is enough quirky stuff going on that it pays to learn the simple version first. Then add in what you want. Most people believe that one big box and one small is the 'max' that should be attempted. I think the more the merrier. I've heard the whole 'too diluted' argument before, but I just don't buy it.
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Adam Tucker
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
The only caution is that Arkham isn't really set up to mix everything together. You can dilute too much of you try to mix too many expansions together. It can be done, most certainly, but it is best to only play with 1 or 2 expansions at a time.


With hundreds of games of Arkham played, most of them with all available expansions mixed in, I completely disagree with this statement.
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brian
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tuckerotl wrote:
ColtsFan76 wrote:
The only caution is that Arkham isn't really set up to mix everything together. You can dilute too much of you try to mix too many expansions together. It can be done, most certainly, but it is best to only play with 1 or 2 expansions at a time.


With hundreds of games of Arkham played, most of them with all available expansions mixed in, I completely disagree with this statement.

I am actually baffled how you "completely" disagree with this. I can see a "partial" disagreement.

So after 100's of games, most played with mixed in with all expansion you completely disagree that it can most certainly be played this way? Hmmm. Interesting.
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John McGeehan
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My name is Watt wrote:
So is there any must have expansion(s) when it comes to Arkham Horror?

Or am I better off just playing the base first before deciding which expansion to add.

The shop offers discounts if I were to buy Arkham Horror along with the expansions the more the bigger the discount will be and I'm thinking to eventually buy Arkham Horror so should I jump on the bait and bring one or two expansions along as well?


I enjoy the base game. However, it has one key problem - it's too easy.

The first few games you play will be a challenge. However, once the players get a hang of the order of play, the focus sliders, skills, navigating the board and locations, scumming the Unique Item deck for Elder Signs (make sure you remember you MUST buy something from the shop if you choose to draw from the deck!), knowing what locations are more unstable than others, etc., you will find that it becomes virtually impossible to fill the Doom track (except maybe against Yig), giving you all the time in the world to seal six gates. Most of the time, it's better to keep a gate open (and deal with the occasional monster surge) than close it without sealing.

The expansions fix that to some extent. One, the big-box expansions have GOOs that almost to a one are harder than every base game GOO (kind of sucks that after playing many of the expansion GOOs, you think "Man, if only I could be facing Cthulhu!" I'd love a "Revised Cthulhu" in some expansion to make him again the terror he is supposed to be). On the expansion front, you can see that there's a lot of...heated opinion...as to whether or not to use one, two, five, or whatnot when playing. Here's my take.

If you're interested in having "more" - especially more Location encounter cards (which are nice to have), more potential items, etc., then by all means mix them all together. The individual boards won't be used as much (i.e. most of the action will remain in Arkham) but you need people who can rove about to the other boards as Mythos cards affect them and Gates open up in those areas. Sometimes I like playing this way, sometimes I don't. The thing is, when I play with everything mixed together the "toughness" comes pretty much exclusively from the GOO, as each individual expansion has less impact on the game (which means you have to be using a big-box expansion GOO, as the base game GOOs (save Azathoth of course) are generally trivial to beat in final battle, while the big-box expansion ones are almost universally brutal).

The other side of the coin is that some of the expansions add their own little touches that make the game that much more brutal, so that you CAN lose - and if you mix all of them together, the odds of any of them affecting things go down precipitously.

Let me use the King in Yellow as an example, since it's generally considered one of the better small-box expansions.

The King in Yellow adds an extra mechanic - the play ("The King in Yellow") is in Arkham, and as you progress through the game, the play progresses as well. If it ever finishes, you lose the game. Right then and there. Done. Presto! How does it progress? Some of the Mythos cards it adds are "The Next Act Begins!" cards, which means you, well, begin the next act. The players, however, can prevent the card from taking effect - to prevent the play from progressing from Act I to Act II, they can add two Doom tokens (ouch!). Of course, the play only has three acts, and there are 6 (I think) "Next Act Begins!" Mythos cards, so players could end up paying these Doom tokens more than once...or they can simply allow Act II to begin. To prevent Act II from finishing and Act III beginning, players must remove two Elder Signs from the board (i.e. unseal two gate locations - triple ouch!). But, of course, if you don't do it, then the next time "The Next Act Begins!" comes up, the play is complete and you lose...but at what cost?

This is a mechanic that makes the game much more difficult, even if you are using the "Permanent Performance" variant where you shuffle all the King in Yellow cards into the deck (our favorite variant if playing just KiY is to alternate drawing a base game Mythos, then a KiY Mythos, etc.). Add in the King in Yellow Herald and you have yourself a game that is much more challenging than the base game, even with the base game GOOs.

Many of the small-box expansions add in little things like this, although I think KiY's has the most "flavor". The thing is, if you shuffle together all the KiY, Arkham, Dunwich, Dark Pharaoh, Innsmouth, etc. Mythos cards, and given that you're probably only going to draw maybe two dozen of them before the game is over, the odds of more than one "The Next Act Begins!" cards, let alone three (required to reach the "Game Over, Man!" Act III) is low - what that means is that the "terror" or "anxiety" that comes from their presence is essentially negated. If you draw a "The Next Act Begins!" you say "Sure, let it begin! It's not like we'll finish Act III!" So you never add those Doom tokens, or remove the Elder Signs. In fact, if you do draw a "The Next Act Begins!" card, you actually would be happy, because other than starting the next Act and moving all monsters, it opens no Gate, adds no Doom token, doesn't change the Terror level. In short, when you mix everything together, those cards become a respite rather than a tough decision.

That's what ColtsFan means by dilution - add too many expansions together and the "flavor" that each one brings is reduced, and furthermore the "increased anxiety" that a given one brings can be negated entirely.

Sometimes I want just an epic game of AH and I shuffle everything together. If I want that epic game to be difficult, I use an expansion GOO. Other times I want a tight, suspenseful game. In those cases I rarely use more than one big-box and one small-box expansion at a time. I generally prefer this way, if only because I hate sorting out the cards afterward if I mix many expansions together, and it gives a real chance of losing the game.

To each his own.
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Paul Franklin-Bihary
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Quote:
That's what ColtsFan means by dilution - add too many expansions together and the "flavor" that each one brings is reduced, and furthermore the "increased anxiety" that a given one brings can be negated entirely.


And this is where I think the 'dilution' is more realistic. If there were this epic evil threat from another dimention, and there were various towns involved (Dunwich and Kingsport and Innsmouth), and there was a wierd play being produced in town and a visiting exhibit of antiquities in the museum, the reality of the situation would be that even 8 people couldn't deal with everything, but it all would have a small impact on the adventure. This is why the 'dilution' arguement doesn't stand with me. This is the way it should be.

I understand that, to really get the flavor of each expansion, including others reduces the effect of each one. And I understand that some people like to have one expansion really flavor the game. To each his own indeed. However, the game still works, and works well, if you mix everything in. It works REMARKABLY well when it seems as if it shouldn't. (In our games, the King in Yellow cards ALWAYS seem to come up, even though the odds make it seem as if they should not.) So it all comes down to personal preference.

Being that your initial post is about value for your dollar, I'm saying that you WILL probably want to play with one or some or all of the expansions someday. So get a couple, shave a few bucks off of each. If you like the game, you are almost guaranteed to have made a good investment!
 
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Michael Withstand
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The shop owner hasn't replied in 2 days to my quotation request. Perhaps he's kind of pissed I'm only going to order the base only.

If I found the base to be too easy in time I would definitely order an expansion preferably one of the big one.

But seeing how my email hasn't been replied to yet umm maybe he's selling at a loss

Edit: I think the retailer doesn't have the base in stock and the other retailer doesn't have the base as well. though only one was courteous enough to message me back to tell me that. They've got all the expansion though but no base.

I might postpone buying this for the upcoming Ramadan holiday so no new board game for the coming holiday sigh. Oh well holding on to money feels good too

There's no point in ordering online since shipping alone would take weeks(3-5 weeks)


Edit: Emailed the guy again to ask possibility of ordering AH for Christmas but he replied(this time) THERE'S STOCK. Wohooo!
 
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Adam Tucker
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
tuckerotl wrote:
ColtsFan76 wrote:
The only caution is that Arkham isn't really set up to mix everything together. You can dilute too much of you try to mix too many expansions together. It can be done, most certainly, but it is best to only play with 1 or 2 expansions at a time.


With hundreds of games of Arkham played, most of them with all available expansions mixed in, I completely disagree with this statement.

I am actually baffled how you "completely" disagree with this. I can see a "partial" disagreement.

So after 100's of games, most played with mixed in with all expansion you completely disagree that it can most certainly be played this way? Hmmm. Interesting.


"but" is a logical connective, and more specifically a conjunction, only one of the sentences connected by the conjunction need be false to make the entire sentence false. Furthermore, even just that sentence was not the only sentence quoted, the entirety of the statement is still much broader than that particular sentence. A rough summary of the idea communicated would be "Due to dilution and game (and expansion) design, Arkham Horror is best played with 1 or 2 expansions, and not worth playing with all the expansions mixed in."

All mentioning "It can be done, most certainly, but ..." is reinforce the notion that Arkham Horror plays very poorly with all the expansions mixed it, while conceding that it is theoretically possible (which, seems to already be known by the OP), unlike some other games.

If I were to re-write your statement, in a manner I found more accurate, it would be something along the lines of:
"Arkham Horror is surprisingly adaptable, while some portions of expansions are Herald or Ancient One specific, the vast majority of the content in each expansion can used (or left out) when playing with parts (or the whole) of other expansions, to as great or little degree as you like. Some players complain about dilution from mixing multiple expansions, but this is only with regard to theme and the pressure of a specific mechanism in any given expansion, but the threats from every expansion will be felt, the combined effects from the inter-dependencies of expansions will more than make up for any loss of pressure on any 1 specific expansion mechanism, and the threats coming at you from all sides, never knowing just what is the greatest threat to waking the Ancient One, seems much more in fitting with the general theme. You can play with just one or two expansions at a time to be sure, and I would say it would be not only fun, but useful to do a few times with each of the expansions (perhaps once or twice when first playing with each expansion, and then revisiting the expansions every once in a great while later); however, the vast majority of the time, you will probably want to keep everything mixed in. Additionally, keeping everything mixed in should speed up set and tear down, and get the most value in terms of enjoyment out of the expansions."

 
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Sean P
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To get back to the actual topic, I agree the base should take care of you for awhile. The biggest drawback after a few plays was that there were only about 8 encounter cards for each location. It doesn't take long to get to a point that you're repeating encounters. I think the Dark Pharaoh expansion does well to help that at a relatively cheap cost. Then I'd go with Dunwich, then King in Yellow next, Kingsport, Innsmouth, then Black Goat. (Sadly, I'm waiting for my FLGS to get more copies of Lurker, but I'd probably put it before Black Goat anyway).
 
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sonny sonny
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i agree that AH is totaly playable (and fun!) just with the basegame. for the first expansion i would strongly recommend innsmouth horror.

i also own dunwich, but since we have innsmouth we never used the dunwich board again. as many people say here, the special things in dunwich is madnesses/injuries and i personally don't like them much. they are a nice idea, but they make running out of stamina/sanity a very little threat (wich it shouldn't be!). actually it's sometimes beneficial because you get healed for free. the dunwich board itself offers nothing really exciting (it can often be ignored). the only other noticeable addition is gate bursts, also for arkham locations.

innsmouth has personal stories, and the deep one rising track. the stories aren't a big gamechanger, but make playing the characters much more fun. and the deep one rising track takes care of the fact, that the game becomes boring after you've sealed a few locations. i like that alot. dunwich also tried to solve this problem, with gate bursts, but it didn't really succeed. innsmouth (like dunwich) also adds location cards for arkham, wich was the main reason for me to get the first expansion. innsmouth also includes 2 heralds, providing an easy way to add difficulty, if you want.

i don't like the small expansions because it makes little sense to use them together with another expansion and i don't like having to sort my decks each game.
 
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Where is dilution found the most? I presume the mythos deck? Or the other world deck too? Or in other decks, like items? Locations? Monsters maybe?

I could see myself keeping the mythos and the other world deck, and the monsters 'clean', but not much else.
 
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brian
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uXses wrote:
Where is dilution found the most? I presume the mythos deck? Or the other world deck too? Or in other decks, like items? Locations? Monsters maybe?

I could see myself keeping the mythos and the other world deck, and the monsters 'clean', but not much else.

Mostly the Mythos deck as that is where the majority of the flavor is found for each expansion. That is the main driver behind the KIY Act cards. Second most would probably be the OW. You are going to draw the color even more often than the actual location so you get stuck with a lot of "other" encounters. Finally, you will see it in the Arkham locations as some of the theme is picked up there as well. Dilution here being more with CotDP as those are the places to find Exhibit Items that are needed to require some Mythos.
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Yeah... I checked my Black Goat cards and cardwise, most of that seems to be in the location deck because that's where you can join the cult.

I guess the other big part of that expansion is basically playing with the Herald.

Locations having flavor is maybe a bit unexpected. Ah well.

At least the item/skill/... decks seem clean enough?
 
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uXses wrote:
At least the item/skill/... decks seem clean enough?

Right, but the dilution comes there in the fact you have more cards so less chance to pull Elder signs. But those decks are less impacted I think - or at least for the better. Most expansions, though, introduce their own small card decks and add very little or nothing at all to existing decks.
 
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letsdance wrote:
as many people say here, the special things in dunwich is madnesses/injuries and i personally don't like them much. they are a nice idea, but they make running out of stamina/sanity a very little threat (wich it shouldn't be!).

Unable to use a hand for combat for the rest of the game, or cannot have more than 4 clue tokens for the rest of the game are "very little threat"?
As opposed to losing half your stuff (which could mean nothing, and you could even easily use to your benefit), a random, all but guaranteed to be permanent effect (and if you spend time trying to get the encounter to remove the effect, it's time you're not spending sealing gates) is a much larger threat.

letsdance wrote:
actually it's sometimes beneficial because you get healed for free.

Sometimes this benefit does out weigh the cost of the permanent debilitation the investigator gets.

letsdance wrote:
the dunwich board itself offers nothing really exciting (it can often be ignored). the only other noticeable addition is gate bursts, also for arkham locations.

Ignored other than the gates that open up there, the monsters that come out (unless you're okay with the Dunwich Horror showing up and adding more doom tokens), the clues that start up there (and any more that show up from gates), and occasionally Harney Jones' Shack

letsdance wrote:
innsmouth has personal stories, and the deep one rising track. the stories aren't a big gamechanger,

Actually they tend to help balance out the pre-Innsmouth characters a little bit better (a few seem to have still got the shaft: Vincent, Gloria; and others seem to have been over or under-valued; and some are just silly, like the 4, 5, or 6 on the doom track fails, that probably should have been 7, 8, or 9).

letsdance wrote:
but make playing the characters much more fun.

For most of the characters, yes; for Tommy Muldoon and Silas Marsh, not so much.

letsdance wrote:
and the deep one rising track takes care of the fact, that the game becomes boring after you've sealed a few locations.

The game might have a lull at any point in the game (multiple investigators getting delayed, hemmed in by monsters and/or lost in time and space can easily do this), but the game is only boring after you've sealed a few locations with just the base game (or maybe just CotDP). More unstable locations, gate bursts, other ways to get doom tokens or other threats to the Ancient One awakening all help to alleviate this "issue".

letsdance wrote:
i like that alot. dunwich also tried to solve this problem, with gate bursts, but it didn't really succeed.

Again: more unstable locations, gate bursts, other ways to get doom tokens or other threats to the Ancient One awakening all help.

letsdance wrote:
innsmouth (like dunwich) also adds location cards for arkham, wich was the main reason for me to get the first expansion. innsmouth also includes 2 heralds, providing an easy way to add difficulty, if you want.

Full disclosure: there is a freely downloadable Herald for use with the Dunwich Horror expansion (there is one there for Curse of the Dark Pharoah as well).

letsdance wrote:
i don't like the small expansions because it makes little sense to use them together with another expansion

They work just fine mixed in with other expansions.

letsdance wrote:
and i don't like having to sort my decks each game.

You could use the technique of discarding cards that have an icon for an expansion that you're not using - a little bit fiddly (for an already fiddly game), but it works fairly well.

In general, the consensus on this site has seemed to be:

Dunwich
Innsmouth
KiY
BGotW
Kingsport
CotDP

Dunwich tends to be more recommended as a first expansion over Innsmouth due to the Madness and Injury cards and extra cards for the Common Items, Spells and most importantly Unique Items.

Lurker at the Threshold is too new for me to comment on this site's consensus (I'm not sure how many have played it, and I haven't seen much in the way of comments relative to order of preference vs. the other expansions).
I think it will end up above BGotW, and possibly almost as recommended, if not more so, than KiY.
The relationship cards are a nice boost for the investigators, but they also make getting devoured have a more meaningful permanent impact, which I think is a good thing (and maybe they should do more in that vein in their next expansion).
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Bern Harkins
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tuckerotl wrote:


letsdance wrote:
but make playing the characters much more fun.

For most of the characters, yes; for Tommy Muldoon and Silas Marsh, not so much.



Have to mildly disagree on one point... with the right attitude, Tommy Muldoon's personal story is an absolute riot to play. Devoured for the win? I love this game...
 
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I prefer having the injury/madness cards, they do make the game easier in most cases but they also had some more story flavor to whats going on. Being the guy thats so paranoid that he wont trade with the others makes having been driven to insanity all the more memorable.

I used to be the in the camp that said use everything for the "full experience" but I later shifted to wanting 1 or 2 expansions and a much more thematic ride. Mythos deck gets diluted as well as the locations and whatever random threat becomes biggest (vortex, Dun monster etc.) usually doesnt reach a very big potential.

Nothing wrong with everything and the kitchen sink approach, but it leads to a very random experience, sometimes brilliant due to the scope but often disapointing due to the erratic flow.

I would say mortage your house and get them all! Failing that, they are really all good in their own way. The trend here is to recomend them in an order that improves the base game (irregardless of if you include the rest of it for that session).

Just my personal opinion but my most enjoyable games tend to be the ones where I pick an AO and Herald to suit a theme and then add in the expansions that capitalize on that choice. Also leads to VERY diffrent experiences from game to game. AH is lovely in just how much of it can be randomized, you can pick a theme and play the same thing twice with random investigators and have a totally diffrent experience depending on what crew you drew.

As to what order of collecting them makes the most sense, then Brians post at the start was right on the money in my opinion.
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injuries/madness: yes, there are bad ones, but as often they don't really matter at all. but more often, being healed is more important. it saves you a full round and it also saves you money (that you might not even have).

ignoring dunwich board: i've had games were no gate opened in dunwich, even if you get 1-2 it's not big deal really. monsters are flying or not moving too often (this mix seems to be better with innsmouth) to get enough there to awaken the DH. of course it can be different, but in our games we usually sent one player to DH who spend all of the game there, and the rest stayed in arkham. there is much more movement with innsmouth.

personal stories: i'm not so condifent that they balance the characters better. some do, some don't. it seems random to me.

gate bursts: they are just too rare to really matter. usually get about 1 per game (and that is after i have sorted out other mythos cards to increase the chance for gate bursts by about 15 %). of course it can have a deep impact, if it hits you when you had victory in sight. but it does in no way change the fact, that after a few seals in important locations the doom track moves very slowly and you have much time.

downloadable heralds: yes, but i don't like downloaded and self-printed stuff. i never use it.
 
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David Gardner
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I'm getting back into this game once again -- like Magic the Gathering, it comes and goes over the years -- great games keep coming back to us....

I have developed my own Randomizer for setup-and-play of Arkham as I may have conveyed in a previous thread. Anyway, if it's of interest to anyone, it's a d20 roll:

1-5. Play Base Game
6-8. ... Base Game plus one small expansion
8-9. ... Base Game plus two small expansions
10-14. ... Base Game plus one big-box expansion
15-16. ... Base Game plus one big-box and one small expansion
17-18. ... Base Game plus two big-box expansions
19. ... Base Game plus one big-box expansion and two small expansions
20. ... Buy another expansion (!)

I don't mind sorting/re-sorting components to "clean up the game" each time prior to a new session. For us, Arkham is worth it, especially since it's quite a long game for us to play each time anyway.

My question: When Brian and others play base game plus just one or two expansions, do you typically only play the Great Old Ones and Investigators included with the expansions you're playing? Or, by contrast -- for those who own lots of expansions -- do you tend to mix in all Investigators and all Great Old Ones as a thick timeless stack and randomize from those when, say, you play just base game plus one expansion?

I can see it either way. I'm just curious what "best practice" is here, particularly those who like me (and Brian, etc.) favor "flavor over massiveness."

And, related: If you keep a thick timeless stack of Investigators and Great Old Ones -- how do you approach Heralds... do you tend only to play them if they're part of the expansion you're playing, or do you have some other facility for including them (or not) in a random given game of Arkham?

I'm happy that this posting will reawaken this thread, as methinks it's a very useful one to all players of Arkham Horror.
 
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Tim Hale
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I don't have enough expansions to have "too many" just yet (just Dunwich, Dark Pharaoh, and King in Yellow), but when I do, I plan on using any and all Heralds, Investigators, and Ancient Ones, chosen at random. The Investigators are really fun, so closing off a certain set seems silly to me, and leaving out certain AOs doesn't seem right! Some Heralds, of course, can only be used on certain boards, but that's something I'm okay with (and I add them to the mix when using that board).
 
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