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Subject: Some thoughts after our first two months with Arkham Horror rss

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Hector Bravado
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After a lot of research, I requested and got this one for my birthday. It's become the focus of at least one night every weekend, where we usually play with 3-4 people.

After a few dry runs by myself on a sick day, I folded in the immediate fam and we pretty much have it down, although sometimes we're still finding stuff we weren't doing right. (Ex: a two-player game with my GF's 17-year-old son where we spawned something like 37 monsters on the board by game end, overlooking the "Ancient One awakes if there are double normal monster limit present on the board" condition.)

Overall, it's been a pretty fun ride. We've won a majority of of our games, all except one by sealing six gates. The "closing all gates" thing always looks nigh impossible; how the heck are you supposed to account for all the new gates popping open while you adventure in the Other Worlds? That plus the fact that new gates will drive up the doom track seem to make the "seal gate" win the most logical objective.

That being said, this feels like the kind of game where you sacrifice strategy depth for the sheer fun of dealing with everything the board throws at you. This is the best and worst thing about the game, and our preferred method of winning: I have noticed that right around the fourth sealed gate, a lot of the tension drains out of the game. The doom track goes to a virtual standstill and the horror track is easily managed, leaving most of the characters to futz around the board while our designated gate closer(s) assemble(s) the necessary resources for the last few gates. This turns the last hour of gameplay into sort of a boring slog, making the phases and tracking all the various rumors, items and environment cards seem more like work than play. Sometimes a nasty rumor card can keep things interesting, but in our 3-4 player game, the end can be a bit dull.

However, this didn't seem to be the case on Sunday, when my GF and I played a two-investigator game (Harvey Walters and Dexter Drake) vs. Nyarlathotep. After getting three gates sealed, we hit a few nasty bumps that prevented us from defusing the rumor card that doubled the Mythos cards at the end of a turn. A few monster surges later, our terror track had gone haywire and we were face-to-face with Nyarlathotep, who we were thankfully able to just clobber thanks to a blessed and well-armed Drake coupled with Walters' hellacious spell-throwing ability. It was razor's edge up to the end, and a nice departure from previous victories. It's good to think that there's still richness and variety left in future games; perhaps moreso now that we have the Lurker at the Threshold expansion.

Any thoughts, insights or rebukes are welcome...happy holidays and ripping good gameplay to all!
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Athos
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The expansions add new Mythos cards that have 'gate bursts'. This will open gates even where they have been sealed. That should make things more interesting for you. Also re-read the rules to make sure you are doing everything correctly. You may be getting something wrong that is making the game too easy for you?
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Jerry Martin
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You do seem to have at least one thing wrong. The monster limit IS the limit any monsters beyond that go to the outskirts. Then once that "fills up" move the terror level and clear the outskirts.

Don't worry about making mistakes. This game is about playing it and little mistakes aren't a big deal.
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Jack M
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On the topic of winning by closing: It doesn't happen often, but it does happen, particularly when you already have 3 or 4 seals down, one gate open, and the mythos deck keeps banging on your seals. Tibs keeps a statistics report where everybody can post their games, so you can check that out here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AliZyklaTCWzdEs...

You'll see that with 3 investigators, victories by closing account for 7% of the games, and that number increases to 12% for 4 investigators.

The intensity of the game loosening up after 3 or 4 seals is down is a common complaint about the base game, but this is completely turned on its head in the expansions. Most of the expansions have gate bursts, which break the seal. Two of the big-box expansions have unstable locations on their board, and all 3 of the expansion boards have other ways to lose. Kingsport can open rifts, which spit out monsters and doom tokens as they move. Dunwich can awaken the Dunwich Horror, who adds doom tokens. Innsmouth has the Deep Ones Rising track, where if that fills, the GOO awakens (and every time a gate is prevented from opening by a seal, it gets a token). King in Yellow adds the Act deck (Miskatonic has an updated version of it too), which is just another way to die. Lurker at the Threshold gives you new gates with special abilities (such as moving into the streets, where it can't be sealed).

So, with an expansion or two, your (valid) complaint about the game being too easy after a certain point vanishes, and when using more than that (or even all expansions), that gets turned on its head, and the game gets MORE frantic as it gets later.
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Hector Bravado
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@Athos: Yes, I've noticed the "gate burst" in my quick read of the Lurker expansion. You're right, that should definitely spice things up.

In a few of our earlier games, we were illegally fishing for Elder Signs by pulling three items at the Curiosity Shoppe and not buying any of the three. We've discontinued that and are still winning quite handily. I'd say we're pretty proficient with the rules overall, although the forums are still helpful with some of the finer points.

Thanks for the response!
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Chris Lawson
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Syvanis wrote:
You do seem to have at least one thing wrong. The monster limit IS the limit any monsters beyond that go to the outskirts. Then once that "fills up" move the terror level and clear the outskirts.

I suspect the comment "Ancient One awakes if there are double normal monster limit present on the board" applied to the following situation.
Quote:
If the terror level reaches 10, the town of Arkham is
overrun by monsters and the monster limit is completely
removed from the game. There is no longer any limit on
the number of monsters that can rampage through town.

and
Quote:
Terror Level 10 and Too Many Monsters
The Ancient One also awakens if the terror level has
reached 10 and there are monsters in play equal to twice
the normal monster limit.
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Hector Bravado
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Syvanis wrote:
You do seem to have at least one thing wrong. The monster limit IS the limit any monsters beyond that go to the outskirts. Then once that "fills up" move the terror level and clear the outskirts.

Don't worry about making mistakes. This game is about playing it and little mistakes aren't a big deal.


Maybe I wasn't clear enough; we had enough surges so that the outskirts kept rapidly filling up and drove the Terror Level to 10. After that, everything goes onto the board, right? In a two-player game where the terror level has been reached, ten monsters would wake up the AO, I think...

Thanks and happy holidays!
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Hector Bravado
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jack21222 wrote:
On the topic of winning by closing: It doesn't happen often, but it does happen, particularly when you already have 3 or 4 seals down, one gate open, and the mythos deck keeps banging on your seals. Tibs keeps a statistics report where everybody can post their games, so you can check that out here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AliZyklaTCWzdEs...

You'll see that with 3 investigators, victories by closing account for 7% of the games, and that number increases to 12% for 4 investigators.

The intensity of the game loosening up after 3 or 4 seals is down is a common complaint about the base game, but this is completely turned on its head in the expansions. Most of the expansions have gate bursts, which break the seal. Two of the big-box expansions have unstable locations on their board, and all 3 of the expansion boards have other ways to lose. Kingsport can open rifts, which spit out monsters and doom tokens as they move. Dunwich can awaken the Dunwich Horror, who adds doom tokens. Innsmouth has the Deep Ones Rising track, where if that fills, the GOO awakens (and every time a gate is prevented from opening by a seal, it gets a token). King in Yellow adds the Act deck (Miskatonic has an updated version of it too), which is just another way to die. Lurker at the Threshold gives you new gates with special abilities (such as moving into the streets, where it can't be sealed).

So, with an expansion or two, your (valid) complaint about the game being too easy after a certain point vanishes, and when using more than that (or even all expansions), that gets turned on its head, and the game gets MORE frantic as it gets later.


Great response, thanks. I'll keep an eye out for the possibility of straight "gate close" wins when the scenario you describe emerges. Sometimes we get really fixated on clue tokens and elder signs and are maybe missing the opportunity for those wins.

In the meantime, we'll spend some time with the Lurker expansion we just got in search for, as you so aptly put it, more ways to lose! Cheers.
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Vernon Evenhuis
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Your end game boredom will never happen again if you pick up Dunwich Horror and/or The King in Yellow. Dunwich adds in 5 more unstable locations, so sealing a few doesn't always help. KiY adds a "timer" built into the Mythos deck that will encourage you to get things done quick or risk some extreme nastiness. Enjoy!
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Hector Bravado
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@White Night: Great suggestion, thanks!
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Chris Gunn
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Most expansions will add to the difficultly of the game (minus Lurker at the Threshold). I guess it's all about finding the right combinations.

I've had good success with Innsmouth Horror and KiY to supplement mythos/encounters/items ect. The new Ancient Ones are more difficult (one will stalk a player through out the game, finally devouring him) and the deep one track causes a shift in focus towards the end of the game. If a gate attempts to open on a sealed location, a token is added to the deep one rising track. With more sealed locations the track will rise quicker, leading into awakening the ancient one unless you can clear the track before it fills. This, coupled with the herald cards, adds a bit more spice to the game..
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Hector Bravado wrote:
In a few of our earlier games, we were illegally fishing for Elder Signs by pulling three items at the Curiosity Shoppe and not buying any of the three. We've discontinued that and are still winning quite handily. I'd say we're pretty proficient with the rules overall, although the forums are still helpful with some of the finer points.


You can also add a house rule to draw only two items, must buy one, or draw one item, buying optional.
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Jade Youngblood
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The base game is brutally easy for experienced gamers imho, and it does tend to drag on and become obvious in terms of the outcome. This game requires either Dunwich or Innsmouth to really hit it's stride. It ramps up the feeling of overwhelming desperation and you really feel like everything is against you. We usually win by seals. Things have to work out in your favour to win by gate closing which for me has happened, but is a rarity.

I've never lost playing the base game. I have a losing record vs the expansions.

Expand your game and feel the power of the dark side! Either Innsmouth or Dunwich is all you need to get the proper experience.
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