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Arkham Horror» Forums » Variants

Subject: Variant to strengthen narrative rss

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Doc Corvid
United Kingdom
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Hi guys,
My first thread here, although I've been a lurker on the threshold for a long timeninja

Although I like the storytelling potential of AH, I felt that I spent a lot of the game running errands to keep the monster numbers down etc, right from the get-go until the eventual demise of either my team or the Great Old One.

To change this, I came up with this variant. Sorry if it's something that's been posted already but I haven't seen it anywhere else.

First, before drawing the first mythos card of the game, each investigator has a single encounter in their starting locations. It's a small change but I find it adds a lot to the feeling of being at the beginning of a story.
Also, players who want to take advantage of the special action at a location have to have an encounter there first, then take the special action. This rule doesn't apply to the hospital or the asylum.

Now, here's the main change to the rules. When drawing a mythos card in the original:
Empty location = gate, monster and doom token
Gate on location = monster surge
Elder sign = nothing

My variant is this. When drawing a mythos card:
Empty location = gate, doom token but NO MONSTER
Gate on location = monster
Elder sign = monster surge

PROS: I find the difficulty in terms of monsters ramps up as you get closer to sealing seven gates. Also, there is more time to explore the board and have encounters at out-of-the-way locations. Overall, more encounters plus increasing monster numbers equals more of a narrative structure climbing to a climax.

CONS: Fewer monsters makes the terror track absolutely a non-issue, and the yellow king-type GOO (From the vanilla game, I forget his name) no trouble at all if you just try to get him to wake up as soon as possible. Also, the game is easier. I have only lost one game in this variant.

So, what I want to ask is this: How do you guys feel about sacrificing difficulty for narrative? I think the theme is a huge strength of AH, and I didn't feel like I was enjoying it as much because I spent every turn just trying to control monsters, get items and close gates. On the other hand, it's not as challenging.

TL/DR: There's more of a story in my variant but it's easier. What do you think?
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Tiago Perretto
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My thought in the matter ir simple: Arkham Horror is a board game, not a role playing game, and need to work as such.

The text in the cards are flavor text that introduce a test/challenge/situation.

The players use characters, ok. But there is no need to interpretation nor is required (the nun may, if the player wants, never enter South Church for the whole game after she leave it, for example).

So, as narrative goes, tough fun when happens, isn't the point. In Trails of Cthulhu or Call of Cthulhu, it is the point.

Therefore, considering AH as a board game, it's point is the challenge to defeat the Ancient One. If a variant made the challenge easier, I probably wont be behind it. If it makes the challenge tougher, I will, more times than not, like it, as this approaches the core of the Mythos tales.

For me that's the way AH must work: as a fun game.

With that said, if you variant makes the game more fun for you and the ones who play with you, then kudos for you!

For me would lessen the fun of the game.

Regards,

** edit: mistakes, always.
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Edmond
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tiagoVIP wrote:
So, as narrative goes, tough fun when happens, isn't the point.


tiagoVIP wrote:
If it makes the challenge tougher, I will, more times than not, like it, as this approaches the core of the Mythos tales.

(my emphasis added)

So, which is it, narrative/theme matter or not?

I like your variant. I think I would find it makes the vanilla game too easy, but using it with Innsmouth might be kind of cool.
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Damien
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I think this is just the same as the stormknight's variant...
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Tiago Perretto
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WrongWrongWrong wrote:
tiagoVIP wrote:
So, as narrative goes, tough fun when happens, isn't the point.


tiagoVIP wrote:
If it makes the challenge tougher, I will, more times than not, like it, as this approaches the core of the Mythos tales.

(my emphasis added)

So, which is it, narrative/theme matter or not?


It helps, but it is not the point. If someone wants to act like the investigator, cool, go ahead, if this is more fun to you.

It happens that a tougher challenge is more in tune with the tales, but a tougher game, for me, is more fun to beat (and a little less painful to lose), and that is the point of a game like AH: to be a fun game.

But if a tougher game would translate into a worst game, I wouldn't apply it, even if got the game closer to the tales.

Regards,
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sonny sonny
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the problem with your suggestion is, that there is absoluetely no benefit in sealing any gates early. i would always wait until the investigators have at least enough clue tokens for 6 seals and then seal them as quickly as possible.
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Doc Corvid
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Thanks for the feedback everyone, it's interesting to see the different reasons people play the game. For me, the crux of this variant is that it sacrifices challenge for narrative. The theme is a huge part of AH's appeal to me, and like I said in the OP I found I didn't get enough of it just running around wildly trying to kill monsters and close gates the whole time, starting from the very first turn.

However, I'll try again with the original method and compare more closely.

As for sealing gates early, I tend not to hoard clue tokens just because I never know when I'll end up spending them to save an investigator!

One remaining advantage of sealing gates is to stop other gates opening in that location, and thereby postponing the awakening of the GOO because of a full doom track. Also, because monsters only appear when a second gate tries to open in a location, there are generally fewer monsters in the area so the monster surges aren't too much of an impediment. It also mitigates the game getting easier as you progress.

Is this the stormknight variant? What a coincidence, I'd heard that variant referred to before but hadn't looked it up.

I should also probably mention that I play this game almost exclusively solo, which is part of the reason I go for more of a role-play style. I use it pretty much as a single-player role-playing game.
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