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Subject: In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming rss

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Michael Downey
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I recently played a solo game of Arkham Horror, which I am a big fan of for several reasons, but especially for the theme. To get psyched up for my struggles vs the impending horror, I read a few Lovecraft stories while my kids played in the sand box - The Rats in the Walls and The Dunwich Horror Bolstered by Dr. Armitage's defeat of the Horror, I was ready to begin my struggle.

I decided to play with 4 random investigators, and drew:
Amanda and Jenny each started with an Elder Sign (!!), I have a good mix of weapons and skill cards, and I am feeling pretty good at the start of the game.

It's time to look into the stirrings of an Ancient One...
GROAN. I'm not sure that there is a good Great Old One to fight, but I am not so excited about Cthulhu Himself. I'm not too concerned about the Innsmouth Look of the cultists, but having all sanity and stamina maximum reduced by 1 is tough. The one good thing with having starting characters with sanity/stamina scores of 5's and 6/4's is that I don't have anyone who was a 7/3 reduced to a 6/2.

I get my first gate, and have 2 monsters released into the street by the Sheldon Gang. I still feel pretty confident with and I start by collecting some clues before they disappear, and Jenny is lucky enough to be able to purchase another Elder Sign at the Curiosity Shop. WOW.

A few turns go by and things begin to sour immediately. Jenny is traveling in an Other World setting up for some gate-sealing action and goes insane, being trapped in Time and Space. I get 2 monster surges in succession - at the time I thought that this was great, no doom track, but the terror level goes up because of the monster population. Joe is resting quietly in the sanitarium after an encounter with some kind of unspeakable horror from another world. 2 investigators incapacitated, monster rampaging through the streets, and Cthulhu is rolling over in his sleep thinking about having me for a snack. Sounds about right.

After a turn or two of trading equipment to insure that my investigators were able to concentrate on their roles, I was all set to get back in the swing of things. Joe and Bob would hunt down the monsters, while Amanda and Jenny traveled through the gates to close and seal them. Jenny would also continue to check out the unique item shop. With her $1 gain every upkeep, she was a great person to keep looking for magic weapons and tomes (and hopefully Elder Signs). And with her low speed, she was much better suited for Other World movement, than within Arkham.

Finally things seemed like they were going my way. Mr Nasty's Doom track was staying around 6 (out of 13), I had 4 gates sealed with Elder Signs, an unused Elder Sign card in my inventory, and my monster hunters were keeping the population down and getting more trophies.

My next Mythos card was a rumour:

This is kind of a cool card. A pile of monster trophies waiting for me to pick up, but I didn't need to evade if I wanted to avoid them. Or so I thought. After knocking out a few easy monsters, I was left with several with high horror check modifiers, and high sanity damage for failing. Plus a few of them were nightmarish, meaning I had a guaranteed sanity damage for fighting them. Bob and Joe were both a little crazy from the horrible beasts that they had been putting down, and Amanda and Jenny were busy on their gate missions. Not the end of the world. I probably would not PASS the rumour to get the extra skills, but I had a pile of trophies that I would be able to trade in for some blessings and allies to help finish wrapping up the game.

Things never quite seem to work out according to plan though. Joe was unlucky with an easy encounter and got to have another visit to the sanitarium, and Jenny lost a fight to a Shoggoth in an Other World encounter, being trapped in Time and Space yet again. Meanwhile, Bob was down to 1 sanity as well, leaving me with Amanda as the only investigator in good shape. Even with these happenings, I was still feeling pretty confident. The terror track was on 1, there were 4 sealed gate locations, and 4 open gates. With only 6 horror tokens, it looked like I could take my time getting to 6 sealed gates without any concern of the Ancient One breaking free.

Jenny had a lucky Other World encounter, letting her find the way back to Arkham her first turn in the Other World, setting up my final Elder Sign, and my 5th sealed gate. Then Amanda was able to pick up a few more clues, pushing her to 6, and prepared to find a gate that she could sneak in.

Unfortunately, the monsters from the experiment grew out of control, spilling the 8 monsters into the streets, and raising the terror from 1 to 10 instantly.


Amanda got more clue tokens in an Other World encounter, increasing her already large stack. All I had to do was get her through the gate, seal it with 5 clues, and Cthulhu would be remain trapped in his prison.

But then...the unthinkable! A monster surge had monsters pouring out of every gate. The outskirts were already full, and with all the monsters already on the board I went well over the 2x the monster limit required to wake the Great Old One. One movement away from sealing the last gate, and Cthulhu wakes up because the terror level!

Armed with the most high-tech weaponry and the most mysterious arcane weapons available, my mighty team of investigators prepared to do battle with the freshly awakened doom. While it was a monumental effort, some things are not meant to be seen by mortal eyes. What can you truly do when confronted with eldritch things older than time? I would apologize for not preventing the escape of Cthulhu, but when the stars are aligned, there is little that mortal man can do. Besides, you will all be devoured soon anyway, so there is little point in apologies...

DEFEAT


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Scott Giles
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Not sure if it would have made any difference, but from where I sit, it says remove one from sanity OR stamina.. That gives you double the amount of turns to defeat him.
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J Boomhower
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Thanks for the excellent session report! Somehow, and I didn't think this was possible, I want the game even more now. Arkham exists in a special place for me where even the negative reviews (or not so positive reviews...I'm looking at you Shut Up & Sit Down) make me want it. Onward to Insanity!
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Michael Downey
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Quarthinos wrote:
Not sure if it would have made any difference, but from where I sit, it says remove one from sanity OR stamina.. That gives you double the amount of turns to defeat him.


There are 2 different effects - the first is that all investigators have max stamina and sanity reduced by 1 while Cthulhu is the GOO that you are trying to keep from waking up. That drops your total combined stamina/sanity from 10 to 8

The second is what you are referring to - during the fight with the ancient one, Cthulhu's attack is that he reduces the maximum stamina OR sanity by 1. Which means that after 6 rounds of combat, every investigator will have been reduced to a maximum sanity and stamina of 1 (8 starting combined stats, reduced to 2 combined stats).

Since you have to score a number of successes based on the number of investigators to remove a doom token, that leaves me with 13x4=52 successes in 7 turns of combat to defeat him. Of course, he adds a doom token every turn, which adds 4 more successes needed to defeat him. If it takes me all 7 turns, it adds another 28 successes needed, or a total of 80 (well really 76 because he adds the doom token after his attack). I did have him down to 2 doom tokens before my team was devoured. With his -6 fight modifier, he is tough, but definitely not unbeatable. It turns out that the dice gods are really just another type of elder thing, so it is obvious who they truly serve.
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Joe Pilkus
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Downey makes an important point ~ Cthulhu reduces your MAXIMUM, vice CURRENT Sanity or Stamina. Thus if your MAXIMUM Sanity and Stamina are 6 and 4, reduced to 5 and 3 because of Big C's Dream of Madness effect at the beginning of the game, but CURRENTLY at 4 and 2, each round the MAXIMUM of either Sanity or Stamina is reduced.

Thus, first round...5 and 3 reduced to 4 and 3; second round 4 and 3, reduced to 3 and 3; third round 3 and 3, reduced to 2 and 3...etc.
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The Last Bert
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Great session report, thanks! It's nice to hear about the investigators failing as well as succeeding.

Your starting set up looked really strong (mainly all those elder signs!), but it just goes to show that sometimes the wrong combination of encounters and mythos cards can cause a real problem. Personally I think The Terrible Experiment is the worst rumor card in the base game. There's a good chance there will be a monster show up that you can't defeat, and the fail condition is likely to cause the Ancient One to awaken, or certainly bring it very close.
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