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Subject: The Danny Variant Set rss

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Danny Stevens
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I have assembled a collection of variants to the base game which I believe give play a better flow, increased thematic play and reduced play tedium. These variants are assembled together here as a single, functional variant.

I am having ongoing play tests of this collection and have tested it enough to put this up as a thread in the Variant area of the forum. The source of these variants can be found in two other threads, Changing the Flow of the Doom Track and The Game End.

Links to play test sessions at the end of the post.

Storm Knight's "Gate, Surge and Doom" Variant

Mythos deck gate placement:

at a location with no gate, place a gate and a monster as usual, but DO NOT add a Doom token.

at a location with an active gate, [edit]add a Doom token. If the number of active gates is more than the number of sealed locations add a monster otherwise there is a monster surge.[/edit].

at a sealed location, do not place a gate or doom token, but perform a monster surge as per the normal rules. (This represents dark forces mobilizing in direct response to your investigator's efforts).

Danny's "Terror Track Doom Boost"

When the terror track reaches 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10 add 1 doom token.

Purple Paladin's "Follow Leads" variant

[edit](Created a thread for this variant)[/edit]

If a clue is to be placed in a location where a gate is open then put it on the street. Clues on streets are called "Leads".

There can only ever be one clue on a street so if you are adding a second clue discard it.

During the Arkham Encounter phase players in the street with a lead must make a luck check to "follow" it. If successful then roll D20 and check the following table. If a location is given then remove the lead and place two clue tokens at the location, or add a new lead outside that location if there is an open gate at the there. Otherwise move the lead to an adjacent street as indicated. Remember that there can ony be one lead per street location.

1. Lead moves - follow white arrow
2 Bank of Arkham
3 Arkham Asylam
4 Graveyard
5 Witch House
6 St Mary's
7 Administration Building
8 Library
9 Docks
10 News Paper
11 Train Station
12 Diner
13 Police Station
14 Magic Shop
15 Church
16 Boarding House
17 General Store
18 Curiosity Shop
19 Silver Twilight Lodge
20 Lead moves - follow black arrow

Guillaume Zork's "Final Crisis" variant

Images for the cards available in The Game End thread.

Minor change: When a player "victory" leads to the Final Crisis the original variant called for a removal of a random number of doom tokens. I changed this to a constant number instead. Guillaume agrees with the change. I also wrote the explicit rule for what happens to clue tokens when a chapter is closed or skipped.

The game always ends with a Final Phase which completely replaces the standard game ends. The Final Phase represents the desperate investigation into all plots of the Ancient One. To win, investigators must close one chapter for each token on the doom track.

The game enters the Final Phase in 3 cases:
1. The Ancient One awakens. The doom track is filled, if necessary.
2. Investigators ahve placed a sixth seal. The doom track is not filled, and 3 doom tokens are removed from the track.
3. Investigators have closed all gates and possess the same number of gate trophies as investigators. The doom track is not filled, and 6 doom tokens are removed from the track.

Shuffle the chapters (if the plot cards from the Ancient One are not in play, removed the 3 "Hideous Plot" chapters). Draw open chapters equal to the number of players divided by two, round down.

[edit]The "Battle Begins" instructions for the Ancient One, where they exist, are not executed unless the Doom Track is full.[/edit]

When the game enters the Final Phase, the turn stops and a new turn starts. Each turn consists of an upkeep phase, a movement phase, an encounter phase (instead of investigator combat), and the attack of the Ancient One. If epic battle cards are used, they are drawn just after the movement phase and can change the order of the encounter phase and the Ancient One's attack. If the card instructs the player to draw a plot card, it is ignored and the turn continues as normal.

During the encounter phase, an investigator may do one of two things:
Encounter: If the chapter has an action, the investigator may complete the task and place a number of clue tokens on the chapter equal to the number of successes. If the chapter has a cost, the investigator may pay it as many times as they are able.
Skip: The investigator may skip the chapter by returning it to the bottom of the deck and opening a new chapter from the top. All investigators from the previous chapter will be placed on the new chapter. Any clue tokens that are built up on the chapter are lost.

Once a chapter has a number of clue tokens equal to the number of investigators, the chapter is closed, returned to the bottom of the deck, and a doom token is removed. If the number of clue tokens is enough to remove multiple doom tokens then do so. The investigator that closed the chapter will open a new chapter from the top of the deck, and all investigators from the previous chapter, and any excess clue tokens, will be placed on the new chapter. The investigator opening the chapter may encounter the chapter immediately, but may not skip it (until their next turn).

When the Death Blow chapter opens, no new chapters can be opened, although currently open chapters can still be closed. In this chapter, the encounter is resolved as the standard Final Battle against the Ancient One.

Danny's Extra to the Final Crisis

Azathoth

Normal game end is either that the players win or they just lose if Azathoth awakens. That means Azathoth has no attack as such. Using the Final Crisis variant with Azathoth should work as follows.

If any player is forced onto the Death Blow card then the game is over, the players are all devoured. Note that this means with a player "victory" all may still be lost if there are any doom tokens to be dealt with.

Azathoth's attack is via the shrill piping of his servitors. Each player must make a horror check - D, where D is the number of doom tokens on the track, or lose 1 sanity.

Two extra cards

The Guardian

Action: Encounter any single creature on the board (with horror check) and defeat it to add 1 clue token per success and keep the trophy. Suffer normal combat stamina losses if you fail. Ignore special outcomes and ignore the endless property.
Special: If no monsters are left in play you may automatically close this chapter. You must evade one creature from the board to skip this chapter, failure means the chapter is encountered.

The Face of Fear

Cost: your character is devoured to close this chapter.
Special: Must make an evade check -D to skip this chapter, where D is the number of doom tokens on the track, failure means the chapter is encountered. Closing this chapter removes two doom tokens.

Notes

This variant collection moves the pressure of doom token build up, and of monster surges and the terror track, until late in the game. It sharpens the danger of letting the terror track get to high. The Final Crisis system makes the end of the game much more climactic and again pushes players to behave more thematically during the course of play. These changes together produce considerably more thematic tension and game play for Arkham Horror.

Without these changes it can be in the players interest to leave open gates open, a passive strategy, and even ignore monsters except where they get in the way. With the variant it is very much in the player's interest to close gates, keep the monster population down and gain trophies. Sealing the gates is less common and usually reserved until a bit later in play and for those gates that occur most often. The "Follow Leads" variant adds to this by bringing out slightly more "street action" and encounters in locations that often would not be visited for their encounter effects. The increase in clues available is marginal.

A further variation

I always felt that the "cultist" monsters should somehow do something to help the Ancient One. True, each GOO may have a special rule about cultists but that doesn't quite hit the mark for me. Given that this variant set pushes doom token pressure further back in game time, and gives players a positive (close gates) rather than a negative (leave 'em open) action to take to play well, I thought it might be good to add one more.

The rule is that when a cultist is going to move from one street location to another, and if they are in the same location as a "lead", then instead of moving they perform a ritual that adds one doom token to the doom track. Do this for every cultist in the same location as a lead on the turn. Obviously you need to be playing with Purple Paladin's "Follow Leads" variant.

[edit]I have added a behaviour for witches as well. If a witch starts a move on the same street as a lead she does not move. Instead find the nearest cultist that is not also in a street with a lead and move it to the witch. If there are choices to make about equally distant cultists or multiple witches competing for a cultist then the current first player decides.

In the base set Witches and Cultists never move at the same time, but should some expansion or variant bring it about then the Witches act first.[/edit]

[edit]2011/07/26 - The witches and cultist expansion is only to be used with ancient ones that mention cultists as worshipers[/edit]
[edit]2011/08/17 - played witches and cultists with the revised monster surge rule. Its pretty good. I had one witch at a lead an two cultists wandering the board and immediately had to dispatch the gangster to take the witch out and follow the lead, otherwise I could see the cultists building up a two doom token coven.[/edit]

Now the players have a reason to really clear leads up and hunt down cultists. Imagine if a couple of cultists are sitting on leads and The Festival is in play!

I have not yet play tested this extra variation, and I wont until I have completed testing the initial variation set.

[edit]2011 08 14 Just discovered that "The Battle Begins" event on the Ancient Ones card should not always execute. If the players go into final crisis with only one doom marker left then its obvious they should not all be devoured and lose the game for not having enough clue tokens or whatever. So I added the rule that "Battle Begins" only happens if the doom track is full at the start of the final crisis.[/edit]

Current Play Test Sessions

Base Game Stormnight Variant and Others

The Black Man and the Danny Variant Collection

Four Player Danny Variant Set vs Yig

[edit]2011 08 17 Adjusted the monster placement when opening an already active gate so that a monster surge occurs unless the number of active gates is more than the number of sealed locations.[/edit]

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Danny Stevens
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The Danny Variant Set and the Dunwich Horror

When playing the Dunwich horror expansion the Horror itself should always add 1 doom token instead of moving, rather than rolling the dice as described on the monster counter.

Following leads on the Dunwich board uses the table described for Dunwich in the Purple Paladain's Follow Leads variant thread.

Abhoth

For Abhoth do not place a Child of Abhoth during a monster surge. Instead place a Child of Abhoth onto a gate in addition to the other creatures when the mythos card calls for a gate where there is already an open gate.
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Cheshire Katz
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This is fantastic. Thanks a lot!
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Danny Stevens
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Following Leads in Innsmouth

There is a follow leads table for Innsmouth now in the Purple Paladin's "Follow Leads" variant. Also a tidy up of the rule. If there is no adjacent street to a location then it cannot generate leads.
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Airborne XO
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Hi Danny,

Just to let you know we playtested the 'Danny Variant' last night in a four hour game with the base set, Dunwich Horror and the King In Yellow (less the mythos cards, herald and blight rules from the KiY expansion).

The AO was Shudde M'ell (why I am I always tempted to say shoddy Mel?) and there were four players (Jim Culiver - me, Joe Diamond, Darrell Simmons and Maria Lambeau). All of these were picked randomly for flavour.

I printed up some versions of the cards mentioned above:

Sheet 1

Sheet 2

We also played with the above noted Doom, Gate, Surge variant and the Leads variant. Overall we used leads twice to add clues to the board (once in Dunwich and once in Arkham) which were okay and we liked. We got tanned by creatures a few times (damn magical immunity).

We found that the new rules made it much easier for us against Shudde M'ell as there was only one monster surge in the whole game leading to only one rubble token at the library. Doom track had gotten to 9 and the terror level was still 0 when we put our sixth seal on. This variant seemed to relieve pressure rather than add to it - we had repeated gates trying to open on the witch house which led to most of the doom tokens being added.

We then played the Final Crisis Variant removing 3 tokens (leaving just four) we won by closing the chapters sacrifices, past glories, The guardian and Dark Magics (having skipped Men in shadows and Blood brothers).

Really liked that end to the game, would have liked to have 3 active chapters with the four players for a bit more variation. You mentioned in the other thread only doing this when the AO awakens, I don't agree. With the ability to skip chapters it shouldn't matter if you don't have enough clues, items, etc...if death blow comes out straight away then at least you get to complete two chapters before you have to fight a greatly weakened AO (say you fight X AO whose doom track is 11 at the end of play, you have to chance to remove 5 of those doom tokens unless your really unlucky and get two chapters that no one has the ability to solve!).

Just saying a balanced party that saves trophies and tries to 'collect' things as they go should not have any real trouble. And if you do lose the occasion game when you should have won, hey-ho its an AO after all! I would like to see a few more chapter cards (maybe with the addition of another death blow like card).

I think leads has a lot of potential to be a little deck of cards, a little more thematic, with things like building in set piece monster attacks and add more clue tokens to add to the narrative. I am tempted to make a couple of decks for the base game and Dunwich which are the only board expansions I have.

Just my thoughts, feel free to ignore them :)

Cheers, Hal
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Danny Stevens
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Thanks Hal, that's a very useful test. My play tests seemed to get more monster surges than yours seems to have, although less than in a normal game to be sure. Interesting.

The start of battle thing came up because we had a quick session where the players ended the game by closing all gates really quickly, but there were no clue tokens left and we all got devoured with only one doom on the board. That just felt really wrong. Maybe its fair enough and we should have picked up some clues prior to closing the last gate, at least one of us should have.
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Guillaume Zork
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Airborne: I am glad you liked the game end variant. Your cards are nicely done. Can you send me the eons ?

Danny: I am not sure I understand why you got devoured. You were playing against Nyarlathotep ?
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Danny Stevens
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amikezor wrote:
Danny: I am not sure I understand why you got devoured. You were playing against Nyarlathotep ?

Yes, sorry I forgot to say.
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Danny Stevens
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Just played a solo game where the investigators only sealed gates in locations that rarely get gates. Particularly Historical Society etc. where the base set only has 2 mythos cards for each. That means if you close and seal one of those there is only one other card in the mythos deck that will cause a monster surge. Its not a slam dunk that these will come out early enough for you but its reasonably likely that you wont have to seal the biggies like Independence Square.

The result is that you can be fairly sure of minimising monster surges and the terror level in most games.

Reducing monster surges early in the game is one of the attractions of the Storm Knight part of the variant set. On the other hand if too few ever happen a lot of tension can be lost. I have a number of revised mechanisms in mind but I will have to test and tinker a bit to get the balance right without introducing any extra fiddling around for the players.
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Danny Stevens
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Edited the variant rules. When a gate opens where there is already an active gate add a doom token. If the number of active gates is more than the number of sealed locations add a monster, otherwise there is a monster surge.

This is in keeping with Storm Knights intent to have monster surges occur later in the game and the idea that, as the players are more successful the mythos kicks back a bit harder.

With surges only happening when sealed locations are hit, as noted above, it is possible to limit monster surges to very few. That can take a lot of tension out of play. By linking monster surges at active gates to the number of sealed locations there are then as the players are more successful the surges get more frequent.

The players could, of course, try to close all the gates without ever sealing them, but doing that is quite hard and the tension should be high enough.
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Chris Poor
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Hal,

Could you post hi-res versions of these card images? The ones here don't appear clear enough for printing.

Crispy
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Chris Poor
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I spent some downtime at work with Strange Eons and made scenario - type cards for the StormKnight, Gambler and Follow-the-Leads variants. I uploaded them to the gallery, so if they are approved, I hope folks will look at them, give feedback, and print and use them if you like.

Crispy
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