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Elder Sign» Forums » Variants

Subject: Mythos Expert Mode: A moderate increase in difficulty rss

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Micah Hainline
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Many players will find after one or two plays through the game that it is fun but not very challenging. These rule changes keep the heart and spirit of the game the same, but create a moderate increase in difficulty.

All game elements are the same except for the way Elder Signs are used. When a player earns an Elder Sign by any means, the player takes the Elder Sign just like any other item. At this point, the Elder Sign has no effect on sealing the Ancient One. At any time during the player's turn (including immediately after acquiring it) the player may complete a task to apply the Elder Sign. The task has a cost of one sanity, one stamina, and one Elder Sign, and may be performed only once per turn, though the player may take other actions that turn as well, including completing stories. The Elder Sign is now placed by the Ancient One, and works exactly the same as in the original rules.

When fighting the Ancient One the players must now make successes equal to two times the number printed on the card, but every Elder Sign already applied to the Ancient One immediately counts as one success.

Take Nyarlethotep as a example. He has an 11 printed on his card. Player 1 acquired 4 Elder Signs over the course of the game, and applied 3 of them (paying the sanity and stamina cost each time). Player 2 acquired one and applied one. Unfortunately, at this point Nyarlethotep awoke. The two players must make a combined number of successes equal to (2 x 11) - (3 + 1), or a total of 18.

These rules stay true both to the Mythos and to the heart of the game itself, while increasing the difficulty enough to be fun for more experienced players.
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Jon Ben
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Character death is pretty meaningless so why would causing more of it make the game harder? Maybe I'm missing something.
 
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Micah Hainline
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Or maybe I am. In all the games we played everyone tried pretty hard to make sure their character survived, but perhaps that isn't particularly good strategy. Perhaps then the following rule change as well:

Player death is permanent.

Any thoughts?
 
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Andrea Pasquinelli
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In my games,when an investigator die, i add 2 doom tokens to the doom track, so all players try hard to make their character to stay alive
 
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Mark L
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I think this is an interesting idea. I'm not convinced by most of these attempts to make Elder Sign more challenging, as I think most of them just make it more complicated for little benefit. But this one is pretty straightforward.

The only difficulty I see is in keeping track of how many successes you need in the final battle. In the original rules, you simply remove one doom token every time you get a success and when they're all gone, you win. In this variant, you'd need to keep track some other way.

Personally, I think there's a very simple way to increase the challenge, as I've pointed out elsewhere; move the clock more than 3 hours at a time. This makes the doom track fill up more quickly, gives the players less time to deal with "at midnight" effects before they get hit by them, and causes the Ancient One to attack more often in the final battle. And you can easily adjust it to your liking; 4 hours or 5 or 6, according to how challenging you want it to be!

Also, disallowing the purchase of Elder Signs -- or at the very least the final Elder Sign -- is another simple way to (slightly) increase the difficulty.

But this variant could work in concert with those, which is nice.

As for character death: while it's true it's not that much of a setback, it can be annoying to lose your accumulated trophies and items. And you do add a doom token to the track every time a character dies. But I think Andrea's suggestion of adding 2 doom tokens (instead of 1) sounds good; it would certainly make a character's death more of a blow to the group.
 
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Micah Hainline
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We kept the rule changes simple by design. We switched from playing Arkham Horror because some of us didn't care for all the complexity, and no one wanted to give up what we liked about the game just to make it harder.
It also turned out to be really difficult to change some game mechanics without skewing play in some way or another. If you just speed up the addition of doom tokens, then people won't even try to collect Elder Signs, they'll just beef up for the final battle. It was tricky finding a balance! Now it's not either/or. Even if you do intend to fight the final boss, it's still advantageous to collect and apply the Elder Signs. It keeps things interesting.

I liked the feedback and suggestions so far!
 
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Mark L
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micahhainline wrote:
If you just speed up the addition of doom tokens, then people won't even try to collect Elder Signs, they'll just beef up for the final battle.


I've tried the game with a faster clock, and found it did make it tougher, but I haven't seen that tactic tried! In my experience, increasing the speed of the clock to 4 hours made the game more difficult, but not so hard it was unwinnable.

Does "beefing up" like that actually work? It seems to me that advancing the clock more quickly will make the final battle tougher too, as the Ancient One will get to attack more often.I guess it would be different depending which AO you get...

Nevertheless, I like the idea of making Elder Signs significant in both phases of the game. I don't like the awkwardness of needing some extra way to keep count of how many successes you need to win, but it's not that big a hassle!
 
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