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Arkham Horror» Forums » Variants

Subject: 2 player, 2 investigators double turn variant rss

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Damon Asher
United States
Jefferson
MA
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This is a variant my wife and I like to use. In a two-player game, especially with an expansion board included, it is very hard to keep ahead of the gates, mainly because one is coming up for every two player-turns. This tends to make the two-player game focus more on gearing up for battle with the AO, which is not my favored way to play Arkham Horror. The consensus seems to be the game is best 4 player, and I think a big part of that is the pacing feels right.

One way to achieve the pace of the 4 player game with 2 players is for each person to play two characters. However, I find keeping track of two characters to be a bit of a hassle and counter to immersion. I prefer the idea of doing something similar to what Middle-Earth Quest does with its two-player game, namely give the heroes 2 turns for every "evil" (i.e. Mythos) turn. You could accomplish this by just taking two hero turns for every Mythos phase, but I really like the uncertainty introduced by mageith's variant where a die roll determines whether a Mythos phase occurs. The problem with that is that a string of aberrant rolls can make the game much too easy or too hard.


Here is a proposed 2-player variant that approximates the pacing of a 4-player game and maintains some uncertainty about the occurrence of Mythos phases (without letting Mythos phase occurrence deviate too far from 1 every other turn).

Setup

Each player takes one investigator and sets up as normal.
For determination of monster limits, monster surges, gate limits, and most other purposes, the number of players is considered to be 4.

Arkham monster limit = 7
Outskirts monster limit = 4
Monster surge = greater of # of open gates or 4
Open gates to awaken AO = 7

For final battle with AO, number of players is considered 2.

Gather a collection of 12 tokens of some sort, 6 of one "bad" color and 6 of another "good" color (poker chips work great) and place them in a bag.

Gameplay

Game phases proceed as normal EXCEPT:

When it comes time for the mythos phase, the start player draws a token from the bag. If it is the "bad" color, a mythos phase occurs. If it is the "good" color, the mythos phase is skipped entirely this turn. Set aside the drawn token.

After 10 tokens are drawn, return all of them to the bag.

This assures that 4-6 Mythos phases will occur every 10 turns.

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Håkon Skappel
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Kristiansand
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My brother and I tested playing 2-player with one investigator each, and found that the double turn thingy really makes the thing too easy. We did not randomize the double turn occurence, but that would not have made much of a difference unless it had really gone "against us" and given us significantly more than 50 % mythos phase per roll/draw.

While getting to split the items and clues between only two characters is definitely beneficial, the break point is the journey through the OtherWorld locations. With 2 turns on the same investigator per mythos phase, the investigator is almost already out of the portal again when the next mythos card is drawn. If the new gate hits an elder sign or an existing gate, the math is pretty obvious that once both investigators feel confident about doing gate runs, the board will empty of gates pretty quickly, and if they alternate on gate runs before that, there is no risk of gate-flood in Arkham. With the chance to kill monsters underways to the next gate, monsters getting sucked into the closing gate etc, you are also pretty safe against the Terror Track increasing by any significant amount.

Randomizing the occurence of the mythos phase should be done in a way that makes the phase occure more than approx 50 % of the time IMO. Perhaps 4 good and 8 evil tokens in the bag, refill when 10 are drawn?
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Conan McNamara
United States
Brunswick
Maine
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Lately for solo games I've used two investigators, having them take two turns in-between drawing a mythos card. I only do one upkeep phase per mythos card. (upkeep->move->encounter->OW encounter->move->encounter->OW encounter->mythos).

It works very well.
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Jim Kiefer
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Fremont
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Yes, it's very important to skip the Upkeep phase to keep it balanced and difficult.
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Håkon Skappel
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Kristiansand
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Skipping upkeep when skipping Mythos sounds like the right tool. Will have to try to get my brother to test that version Much easier to experience mishaps in OW locations without the upkeep to get your mojo back, so the automatic "close at least 1 gate per mythos phase"-effect will hopefully go away.
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C F
United States
Missouri
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For 2 player, I'm thinking maybe roll a d6 right before the Mythos Phase. A 5 or a 6 means you get to skip it this time. That's a 66.6% chance - a sweet spot between half the time (too easy) and every time (too hard).

That seems to be the easiest to remember and fits into the 5-6 mechanic of the game. Rolling right before the Mythos Phase also gives you an element of surprise where players are still preparing for the worst and can sigh in relief when nothing bad pops out.

Going to try in my next game and let you know how it works.
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C F
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Played a 2 player game last night with my son using the variant I mentioned above. It went very well. We weren't able to finish the game, but it felt enough to get a feel that skipping the Mythos Phase on a 5 or 6 roll works great.

I made some stupid mistakes early on by trying to to take out a gate before I was strong enough, and then trying to go back too quick 2-3 more times. I spent about half my game at the Asylum without getting much accomplished. My son did much better though, he built up for the first 15 turns or so until he was strong enough to tackle 2 guarded monsters and seal a gate all on his own. At that point we only had 2 gates left - one of which was unguarded completely.

We were at about level 2 terror level at that point, with 3-4 doom markers on the AO. Things were starting to feel desperate at the end, but still possible.

Overall, the game felt pretty balanced. Hard, but not overwhelming.

I also think this variant could be fit to games with even more or less players:

1 Player: No Mythos on 4,5,6
2 Players: No Mythos on 5,6
3 Players: No Mythos on 6
4 Players: -
5 Players: Extra Mythos on a 6
6 Players: Extra Mythos on a 5,6
...
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Steve Whitlock
United Kingdom
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Hi Conan, I like the look of your variant - do you keep everything else the same i.e. you don't apply gate/monster etc limits as if there were 4 players?
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Eric Bergeron
Canada
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I use something like that but I changed the following.

Have 2 encounter in Arkham but not in OW per turn, that way closing gate still take 2 turn.
On 5,6 still get the mythos and monster mouvement but no Gate opening.

That way you still get to experience more of Arkham. I also allow do an encounter at the location before using the special ability, that way going to hospital or asylum is more interesting when you have only 1 sanity or stamina left.

I also remove the tomes from the both unique and commun object, we can try to get these at the library or school with a 5,6 or get kick out to the street and get a monster.

I did the same with mission and task and can get them (1 at the time) at the Hibb's Roadhouse, news paper, historical society or St-Erasmu's House, 5 or 6 or get kick out to the street and a monster.

I felt these cards belong in another type for decks.
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