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It's funny, you live here but never really visit any of these places


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#1 Wolfgar

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 05:36 PM

In your games, what locations do you hardly ever go to? Expansions can count to if you wish.

 

In the base game, no one in my group ever seems to go to the train station, which I suppose makes sense, since it's not that useful a space if there are no other boards. Another is the River Docks. No one ever goes there, either for encounters OR to use its special abilities.



#2 Julia

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 06:42 PM

Train Station is always a good place to go. Often you get a free ride from Bill, and could be useful to avoid losing time with nasty monsters having a picnic in the streets.

 

From the main board, we rarely have encounters at the River Docks, agreed. From the expansions... very, very, incredibly rarely we climb the Kingsport Head (simply you loose too much time) and very rarely we have encounters in Innsmouth's stable locations. Actually, we tend not to have encounters in Innsmouth at all, if possible


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#3 Wolfgar

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:14 PM

I've played my Kingsport board all of once, and I think I made it up the Kingsport Head largely by accident, where it just turned lucky for me to go that direction.


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#4 Jake yet again

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 04:58 AM

The problem is usually one of time. In many games there isn't enough time to go exploring and there's often something more productive to be done, such as killing monsters, shutting gates, buying goodies or even scoring a little free healing at the Asylum / Hospital. Occasionally you'll dive into one because you can only make half the trip to your destination. The River Docks - being the only stable location on that street - benefits strongly here.

 

There have been several attempts to make stable encounter locations a little better. A common variant is for investigators to get an encounter in their home location before the first Mythos Phase. This certainly means you'll see more of the main board stable locations, although stable locations in Dunwich / Innsmouth still won't see much action, unless you use the 16 Common Investigators expansion, which has investigators starting on the expansion boards. Gate Burst Mythos cards occasionally add clues to stable locations, the Arkham Nightmare requires sleeping in stable locations to enter the Dreamlands which means you'll have more reason to visit them, although it won't help when you have multiple choices of stable locations. Leads, the Terror Track and the Music of Erich Zann cards from Lovecraft Country also incentivise the players to explore stable locations.


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#5 The Professor

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:47 AM

Wolfgar,

 

     As I play with all expansions, including the Guardian Hypnos, there's a much greater chance of my Investigators visiting every location, including the stable locations ~ the Clue tokens are the draw for them, but often they're rewarded for their efforts.

 

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Joe


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#6 jgt7771

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 11:54 PM

The Top 5 Unvisited Locations (that aren't Islands) in Arkham Horror:

 

(5) Harney Jones' Shack - Only visited if someone in Dunwich is too hurt (or too broke) to trek to Arkham, but not hurt enough for a free trip to the Hospital/Asylum.

 

(4) The Kingsport Head - I realize that's three separate locations, but they are all equally undesirable.  The only time anyone ever visits the white Kingsport neighborhood is when they get tossed up there involuntarily by cards.

 

(3) Darke's Carnival - Only visited in extremely rare occasions as a resting place, and someone is tired of the Bishop's Brook Bridge.

 

(2) Dunwich Village - See Darke's Carnival.  This one is simply less attractive as a resting place because Investigators in Dunwich never seem to have $4, but they often have $1.

 

And the least visited Location in Arkham:

 

(1) River Docks - No one EVER uses their trophies for cash (not even to quash a Rumor).  If you need a safe place to stop, all the adjacent neighborboods have better sanctuaries (Library, General Store, Newspaper, etc.); if someone's too slow to get to anywhere but the Docks, they just stay in the safe place they're already in, and get someone else to move faster.  Only Silas ever uses the River Docks to get the hell out of Innsmouth, and more often than not, he goes to the Island for a Clue.


Edited by jgt7771, 20 April 2014 - 11:54 PM.

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#7 Jake yet again

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 04:05 PM

Harney's gets used for its supplemental ability, but no-one has an encounter there. Same could be said of the hospital and the asylum though.

 

River Docks. It's halfway up the board. A slow-ish character who cannot reach their destination and wants to play it safe destination might duck in there, especially if the other locations both have gates on them. The special ability is almost never used, except in dire emergencies.

 

Kingsport Head. It's too damn tough to climb! At least five turns out of the game to get a modest benefit (and that presumes you don't fall down part way up) No thanks! They made it easier to climb with MH, but it's just not worth the trouble.

I think there are a couple of scenarios that put a bad guy on the top of the Head who keeps chucking monsters down the hill like Donkey (King) Kong, which makes the climb a little more worthwhile.

 

Village / Carnival - mostly obsolete. If you're planning on staying on Dunwich duty, they're better than BBB because you can't get sent home, but even then you'd usually prefer to score the healing at Harney's. The Carnival ability can be profitable if you're blessed, but is pretty slow and unreliable as a method of making money and the shop might see use when the Terror Level is too high;  using a special location ability means that you'll never see an encounter there though.


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#8 Steve-O

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 08:43 AM

In our group, we hardly ever go to the bank. Not even for bank loans. Maybe everyone's just too focused on the mythos horrors.

It's a shame, too, because IMHO the bank has some of the most hilarious themed encounters in the game.

#9 Wolfgar

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 06:15 PM

It's true. I can't remember the last time we went to the bank for anything.



#10 Rapier

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:33 AM

I always found this was a problem of pacing in AH actually - characters have no turns to waste, and can travel easily to where they want to go.

I've always felt that if they wanted to make the stable locations more desirable they mainly needed to slow all the characters down. Speed 3 characters after the early clues are all gone, are much more likely to visit these places on their way past.

Similarly traveling from the Arkham board to the other boards is fairly trivial - therefore the locations on the other boards would need to be more attractive to get them seeing use.

 

The other option would be to make it so that you do have turns to waste - maybe in the early game but that would be quite a large revision to the game - Kingsport actually does a really nice job of making the stable locations relevent - a similar thing for the other boards (on a less urgent scale) might have been nice.

 

 

Edit: hah, forgot to actually answer the question.

The riverdocks has got to be the least visited location, less than any of the stable locations on the expansion boards even, which probably (all together) get used once every other game. River docks I think gets used once every time a new player starts - and then quickly forgotten about.


Edited by Rapier, 14 May 2014 - 08:36 AM.


#11 Julia

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:59 AM

A good way to enhance movements among the boards is to provide the River Docks with Falcon Point's boat charter ability, allowing people there to travel to or have another investigator arriving in from any aquatic location on exp boards. In this way, 3-speed characters could still be good at moving in and from Kingsport / Innsmouth and you have more options to control everything


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#12 Wolfgar

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 04:16 AM

Generally I feel this is a flaw in Arkham in that it is usually better to simply not do anything than take encounters; at best many are a waste of time and at worst they can be the reason you lost the game, and yet I feel they are supposed to be the core of the Arkham experience. If I were to change things about the game it would be:

 

1. Make encounters at stable locations more beneficial. Encounters where something bad just happens to you, no roll and no chance at one. Frequently, it doesn't even make sense: I get a roll if I find out I've been washing my face in human blood, but a spooky ink stain is just too much for me to even hope to resist? Poppycock. If a location has a secondary benefit, then it can retain a few purely negative encounters, but even these should have rolls. Stable locations with no secondary function should be purely beneficial, have very small chance of a negative encounter, or not exist.

 

2. Make an encounter mandatory at a location even if you use it's special ability, and then move using location special abilities to the end of the movement phase, which is what happens in 90% of my games anyway.

 

3. Have street encounters, which should be mostly bad: You get mugged, you get run over, you get arrested for loitering, a monster ambushes you, a flyer ambushes you, a monster creeps closer toward you, whatever. It makes monster hunting more dangerous and removes the urge to just chill in the street instead of having encounters. If you get moved to the street by a location, guess what? Street encounter!

 

4. Unstable locations require you to pass a successful encounter to receive a clue, instead of it being a sure thing. Unstable locations should be 90% bad results, with a few high risk/high reward scenarios.

 

5. Other World encounters should be where the gloves come off. If I have a better chance of walking out of the Abyss with my Sanity intact than South Church, I think we messed something up.

 

That's just a personal opinion though, and I'm not sure I'd want to deal with rebuilding the game from the ground up.



#13 Julia

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 04:46 AM

Wolfgar, I take your points and your view of the game. Allow me to debate them, though :) At least on those that are substantial (for me):

 

1. Unstable vs Stable locations. Many people tend not to see this in the proper way. There are two different things that should be considered. What happens in a locations, and something we can call "extra effects". For the first point, all locations are alike. All locations (both Stable and Unstable) offer investigators rewards of a certain kind (represented by the two circular icons on the bottom of the location, on the board). These rewards require investigators to pass an attribute test in order to gain some of them, unless, in some specific cases, you can automatically have them by paying the just price. There are no safe places in Arkham, and I don't see why Stable Locations should have a benefical effect. Then there are the "extra effects": unstable locations grant you a free clue (or more) in case there is any on that location when you finish the movement there, and are suitable of gate openings. This thematically can be explained: unstable locations are the most dangerous places in Arkham, so, investigating them allows a bigger reward (the clue) and could result in something horrible. Additionally, some unstable locations have benefical effects most of the times (Inner Sanctum at the STL for example).

 

4. Clues. Clues are the most valuable resource in Arkham and are the key to the game. If a roll was required to get the clue, then the whole structure of the game would crumble to dust because turns would be lost hoping in the right results to be rolled. The game is really spot on on this point: Eldritch requires rolls for clues, but clues have a different impact on the final outcome of the game. Id est: you need a lot less to pass the mysteries, while Arkham requires a minimum of 30 clues / game to be won. Having a check to be passed for this would make the game impossible to win.

 

5. Not so sure what's the problem in having the Sanity damaged after an encounter at the South Church and not in the Abyss. Additionally, yellow-coded OWs are those that hit Sanity; Abyss is blue + red, so I expect my Stamina and my equipment to be damaged by the journey, not my Sanity. In general, all Arkham is endangered and the fabric of reality tore apart, so you can be pushed to the verge of madness even in your ordinary life. That's what makes HPL stories interesting, I think.

 

So, yeah, sometimes it's safer to stop in a street area. But you can be hit by flyers. Or suffer extra penalties due to the stirring in slumber power of the AO. Or you can have nasty environments slowing you down furthermore. And so on.

 

Just my two cents, anyway :)


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#14 Steve-O

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 12:42 PM

I can appreciate both Julia's and Wolfgar's PoVs on this. I've often thought along similar lines to each of you, at different times. I agree that encounters are the heart and soul of AH. But I also find a certain amount of (perverse) pleasure in having bad things happen to my investigators. It makes things darker and moodier. It also makes the game harder, and AH should be hard to win, IMHO.

I don't have too many house rules, but the ones I do are generally geared towards keeping it hard as I learn how play better myself. I want this game to kick my ass 8 times out of 10 :P
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#15 Wolfgar

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 01:04 AM

1. If Stable locations don't have mostly beneficial encounters, that is encounters where a gain is possible, ther eis no reason to take encounters in those locations. Why waste my time screwing myself over? It disincentivizes the player away from interacting with the core of the game. That's bad.

 

I also find the symbols to lie. South Church supposedly gives Sanity, but no beneficial encounter in South Church provides Sanity in the base game. The Library is marked with Spells, but only one encounter in the Library gives spells in the base game - you are just as likely to gain money or Clue tokens. It's fairly random.

4. It would lead to having to have more encounters at unstable locations, which are supposed to be harrowing. Whether it would render the game unbeatable or not is debatable.

5. My problem with is thematic. The Abyss is a terrifying other world home to ghouls and dark young. So I can walk through the lair of cannibalistic humanoids and not really suffer any ill effects Sanity wise, but a spooky statue makes me lose Sanity, automatically, no hope of save? It's the strange cognitive dissonance that genuinely alien and terrifying locales are nothing, but spooky ink puddles just stop you cold. It's weird.



#16 Julia

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 02:12 AM

1. There are still many reasons to have encounters at stable locations. You don't want to risk staying in a street area because of the Flyers or Mythos effects or whatelse. You don't want to risk staying in an unstable locations and being sucked eventually in an Other World before you have enough clues to seal. You want to risk to get that extra resource you could need. Encounters at the Curiosity Shoppe could give you Unique Items. Most of the encounters at the Train Station allow you to gain items or to have a free ride somewhere else. Encounters at the Newspaper could give you a Retainer. And you won't get any of these staying in Street Areas or having encounters elsewhere. I don't see this as screwing my time, and I don't see as detriments / bad stuff happening. Clearly, there are some risks related to this because the power of the Mythos corrupted and infiltrated everywhere. But it has sense. It'd be thematically absurd (to me, at least) that moving half a mile in the same city could result in passing from Hell on Earth to an idylliac situation with everything "normal". As for the Church: there is one encounter in the core game that allows you to regain sanity (you need to confess your sins and pass a Luck check). One encounter Blesses you. And one encounter allows you to remove one doom token to the doom track. I'd not say it's not worth a visit, especially if you play Darrell and you're given a choice between two encounters.

The real point is that most of the time you focus on clues and have less time to explore other locations, but really most of the times it could be worth trying.

 

4. You cannot focus on having more encounters at unstable locations (not to mention that this would skew the ratio between stable vs unstable locations even more) to get the clues because it's not said that the clues you see this round will be there even in the following round. The game would become unbeatable (if you want, I can do the math and show you proof of this; it's not an opinion, it's a fact, so no debates on this point) and more important it would become a different game. Arkham is about risk management: I have these resources (items, sanity, stamina) and I need to consider these elements to obtain this result. If we introduce the luck factor in gathering the most vital resource of the game, we have another game. Eldritch works dfferently under this point of view, but it's actually another game: unless you have a Mi-Go flying around or other very few annoying effects, clues that are on the board stay put, and you need only a few to win the game.

 

5. I take your point on this one. Still, feeling not at ease by looking at a statue is kinda lovecraftian. Don't know, really. I see remaining Sanity as a measure of your endurance to difficult situations. Sometimes something hurts us more than we expected, some other times this doesn't happen. But if you want, you can houserule that whenever you stay in an OW, you automatically loose a point of Sanity during the Upkeep, tore out by the alien landscape (but good luck in R'lyeh)


Edited by Julia, 16 May 2014 - 02:13 AM.

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#17 Steve-O

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 09:19 PM

My problem with is thematic. The Abyss is a terrifying other world home to ghouls and dark young. So I can walk through the lair of cannibalistic humanoids and not really suffer any ill effects Sanity wise, but a spooky statue makes me lose Sanity, automatically, no hope of save? It's the strange cognitive dissonance that genuinely alien and terrifying locales are nothing, but spooky ink puddles just stop you cold. It's weird.


I take your point on this one, but I've always been one to rationalize the theme as much as possible. Sanity loss appears to be a measure of things that make you uneasy, scared or frustrated. Cannibalistic humanoids are dangerous, sure, but they still drop after I spray them with my little friend, Tommy. On the other hand, that weird statue seems to follow me with its eyes... And every time I look away, I see it move in the corner of my eye... That's the sort of thing that gets under your skin and you're not really sure what you can do about it.  Would shooting the statue with my tommy gun help?  Maybe, but would it kill whatever is causing the hallucinations (if that's even what they are?) Who can say?

 

Sure a strange alien landscape would be offsetting when you first arrive (especially if you're not entirely sure how you got there), but people can adapt to all sorts of horrendous circumstances given time. After wandering around the Abyss for a day or two (time being somewhat abstract in this game), I can imagine a person would have reconciled themselves with the fact that they're here now.  Hmm, what's around this corner? Oh look, more jagged black rocks.

Would they still be concerned about their surroundings? Sure. Would getting home be a priority? Absolutely. But they wouldn't be quivering in fear merely at the prospect of being in this alien locale anymore. Maybe if they were being repeatedly ambushed by weird monsters and crazy architecture, but that's dependent on specific encounters. If the person managed to weave their way through the Abyss without running afoul of too many active threats, I could see them getting out relatively unscathed.

As for the ink puddle, well that clearly depends on what it's a picture of.

 

You may say I'm just making excuses for the encounters.  You wouldn't be entirely wrong, either.  IMHO, it's a matter of perspective. The game asserts that this ink puddle forms a picture so horrible that it drops my sanity, no chance to resist. I, therefore, imagine that whatever the image being shown to me is, it must be downright nervewracking.  Like, maybe it's a picture of me being gruesomely cut down by a psycho leaping at me from behind, and then I realize the picture places me in the same room I'm in right now!  OMG! Spin around! Sanity loss! Argh!


Edited by Steve-O, 16 May 2014 - 09:20 PM.

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#18 Julia

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:54 AM

As for the ink puddle, well that clearly depends on what it's a picture of.

 

A pretty butterfly.

Some nice flowers.

Clouds.


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#19 The Professor

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:10 PM

 

As for the ink puddle, well that clearly depends on what it's a picture of.

 

A pretty butterfly.

Some nice flowers.

Clouds.

 

 

Ha! Yeah, right!  :lol:  Next you'll tell me I can ride a unicorn to Dunwich...


Edited by The Professor, 17 May 2014 - 01:10 PM.

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#20 jgt7771

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:20 PM

I love Horror Movies.  I didn't always, spooked the crap outta me as a kid, but after searing a few Nightmare of Elm Streets into my brain, I finally figured out the point (for me at least).  So now I can watch what is currently affectionately known as "gore porn", where the blood and ichor piles up like sandbags, and giggle my demented head off.

 

But then, over here, comes this movie series called Paranormal Activity.  What is that?  Shadows in a suburban house.  Random knocks.  White noise for a soundtrack.  So then I go home and the darkness of my OWN BEDROOM freaks me out?! :blink:

 

Not quite off topic, but perhaps barely tangent to it. :P


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