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Subject: Tales of the Manic Shoeshiners rss

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Mike van Schijndel
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The misadventures of the Manical Shoeshiners

Herein lie the misadventures of the Manical Shoeshiners, that sorry bunch of strangers that were thrown together by fate to somehow save the whole of existence. Their tale is a tragic (and often humiliating) one. Read on but pay heed: this story may just break your mind..

Last night we played a game of Arkham Horror. We used the basic game plus the Dunwich Horror expansion and the revised Dark Pharaoh expansion. We played the following characters:

Michael: Monterey Jack the Archeologist
Menno: Michael McGlen the Gangster
Herman: Harvey Walters the Professor
Christian: Dexter Drake the Magician
Mike: Marie Lambeau the Artist

The Ancient One for tonight was Yog-Soggoth. He is a mean bastard. Every investigator Lost in Time and Space is immediately devoured. Also, he is a nasty fighter with tons of health and a -5 combat rating. We were really not at all interested in fighting this guy! Still, spirits were foolishly high when we started the game at around 19:00.

In the following hours our spirits would be withered, broken and crushed until there was nothing left. It all started with Michael McGlen who rushed (speed 5) to investigate an old building in Arkham. He fell off some stairs and had to draw an injury card resulting in a broken wrist which made it impossible to wield two-handed weapons. His shiny tommy gun was useless, which was bad enough but the next turn to add insult to the injury he found a fantastic two handed weapon. Curse his bad luck!

A portal opened in the Historical Society unleashing a horrible Dimensional Shambler. This creature was especially deadly since it's combat damage would result in being sucked into Lost in Time and Space (which meant the investigator would be devoured instantly because of Yog-Soggoth's power). Dexter Drake was overwhelmed by zombies, breaking away the last vestiges of his sanity, sending him directly to Arkham Asylum. Meanwhile, the three gates that had opened were repeatedly causing monster surge after monster surge, unleashing large numbers of ghoulish creatures on the streets of Arkham. The terror level had already reached 6 in as many turns by all sorts of bad luck. We knew we were doomed...

Mary Lambeau was cursed while visiting the Witches House although she managed to stave off the curse the following turn. Dexter Drake recoved from his stint in the asylum and started gathering clue tokens. He unearthed some ancient magicks which caused a planetary aligment which would greatly assist our spellcasting for the next couple of turns (no cost for casting spells) which would basically be our only bit of good luck in the entire game.

Meanwhile old Harvey Walters had wondered off to Dunwhich to investigate the quant little village. He was assaulted by a pair of Dark Young and managed to flee to Wizards Hill where previously one of the other investigators had closed a gate and left a seal. This meant he was safe, but with 1 sanity and 1 stamina and low stealth statistics, he was also effectively trapped. The rest of us were all busy in Arkham so Harvey spent a lot of time just exploring the Wizards Hill, eventually causing the Dunwhich Horror to awaken!

Marie Lambeau was on a killing spree and killed five monsters in two turns. For every monster she cut down, two more appeared. The streets of Arkham were getting more crowded by the hour and some particularly viscious monsters were draining the investigators sanity and stamina from a distance. Dexter Drake and Michael McGlen led a valiant charge to clear the streets of these threats and managed to kill many monsters, but for every tentacled nightmare they destroyed, three more seemed to burst from the gates at the Historical Society, the Unnamable and the Woods (we were very, VERY unlucky, pretty much all our mythos cards were drawn with these locations on them which caused monster surge after monster surge).

A truly disastrous turn followed: first, dark forces caused the dead to rise and our trophies turned against us. We all had to fight a random trophy. The gangster Michael McGlen was driven manic by their horrors (madness card). The Archeologist Montery Jack shared his fate and had seen too much horror. His sanity had crumbled to nothingness (Michael had chosen two madness cards: Claustrophobia and Scyzofrenia which caused him to lose two sanity each turn). Jack was wheeled off to Arkham Asylum and never seen again. Meanwhile, Dexter Drake traveled through a gate to Yoggoth where he stumbled on to a severed head on a rusty pike which screamed the portentous words: "You'll never return home!". Alas, this proved to be correct: shortly after the Magician Dexter Drake was swallowed by Time and Space (devouring him in the process).

Two new allies joined the cause: Wilson Richards (Michael) and Kate Wintrophe (Christian). Since poor Harvey Walters was still stuck at Wizards Hill the remaining allies attempted to drive away the pair of Dark Young and succeeded! On his trip back to Arkham Kate Wintrophe stopped by the train station where she was offered the services of a shady shoeshine which knew more about the dark secrets of Yog-Soggoth than the rest of the group combined (she received five clue tokens!). The heroic servant quickly ran away and left her bewildered as to why he shared this information in the first place. Could he be Yog-Soggoth itself, toying with the investigators? One would suspect so...

We all knew it: the end was soon approaching: the streets of Arkham were filled with monsters after maybe a dozen bloody gate surges, all at the Unnamable, the Historical Society and the Woods! The investigators decided to prepare for the inevitable attack of vile Yog-Soggoth and started to collect gate trophies (we would need them to combat the anient one effectively. Investigators without gate trophies would be - yep, you guessed it - devoured!). To get a marker, Wilson Richard closed off a gate to the city of the great race, condemning Michael McGlen who was exploring that city to being trapped and lost in time and space. The brave gangster was devoured...

Poor old Harvey finally escaped from Wizards Hill and entered Arkham which he barely recognized after being away for so long. The streets were overrun with great horrors and almost everyone had left town. After seeking refuge in an old guesthouse and spending the night there he was trapped in the Dreamlands and never seen again. Just his luck! An aspiring athlete (Rita Young) took his place but already the streets of Arkham were getting swamped with monsters. The terror level maxed out and after a final, crippling monster surge there was no escape: we had to conront Yog-Soggoth!

Wilson Richard was the only one with a gate trophy so the rest of the investigators were immediately devoured. Brave Wilson tried to assault the Ancient One but all hope was lost. He didn't even managed to cause a scratch... Resistance was futile. Existance was swallowed up and crushed.. Everyone dies! And Yog-Soggoth is victorious... Again this blasted game beats us!!!

******

Wow! We had fun but after tonight I am finally convinced this game is evil.. It wants you to die, slowly, painfully in the most humiliating way possible.. Everything that could go wrong, went VERY wrong.. Especially the gates popping up on the same three locations was horrible: it caused so many monster surges that the terror level quickly went through the roof.. Also, out of the original investigators only Mary Lambeau managed to survive long enough to confront Yog-Soggoth. The rest had all fallen to madness and injury.. or worse..

In hindsight, there was really not a whole lot we could have done about it.. Yog-Soggoth is a mean bastard with his Lost in Time and Space devouring thing.. Also, next time we will probably play without the Pharaoh herald, since the constant sanity loss on unique items and curse cards on exhibit items was crippling..

Still, we had so much fun!

And that creepy shoeshine guy delivering us clues, while were all running around half mad.. I am convinced that was just Yog-Soggoth.. Toying with us!!!

Oh, next time we will win.. won't we? We cannot lose again!! Can we??devil

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Jay Noble
United Kingdom
Newbury
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As someone who has never played Arkham Horror (although I recently picked it up second hand), I enjoyed reading your report, and look forward to when I can find the time to learn / play the game.

Good work, and better luck next time!
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Mike van Schijndel
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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Hi Jay!

Thanks for your kind words!

Yes, it is a fantastic (although slightly masochistic) experience. Completely random and evil but always an adventure!

Best of luck with the game! I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!

Mike

BTW: I read your recommendating on Pandemic.. I should really check that game out some day!
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Mike van Schijndel
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Oops! Of course, we were fighting Yog-Sothoth.. Not Yog-Soggoth!
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