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#1 SeraphElessar

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 12:00 PM

Hey everyone,

I've been thinking for a while about which portions of the game and the expansions really need to be separated out.  This stems from a thought that we had during a game.  We don't have to be using the whole Lurker expansion in order to use the relationship cards.  We could use the personal mission cards without any additional game boards at all.  So I've spread everything out all over the living room floor (hopefully not for too long so as to not annoy my wife too much) to try and determine which bits to keep separate and which bits to keep together.  I'm trying to figure out whether this will work without breaking the game by making it too easy, too hard, having contradicting cards, etc.  If you've tried to do this before I would very much like to know your experiences.  I'll list the things below that I would like to keep together.  Feel free to comment, debunk, recommend, etc.

I've done some forum searching for info on this, and I found some info on doing this with some card types, but nothing too extensive on the subject.  I apologize if I have missed something.

GOOs - I would like to keep all of them in one pile so that no matter what boards we are using we could potentially face any of the GOOs.  One potential problem I have considered with this is for things like Atlach-Nacha's stipulation regarding Leng Spiders.  The Leng Spiders would have to be in the cup for that game as well.  However, if the next category below works out this won't be a problem.  My point though is that if all of them are together, they may require that other things be combined as well.

Monsters - I want to throw all of the monsters into a single cup (excepting spawn, masks, and the dunwich horror of course) for all games.  I think that this would allow us more variety in the monsters we encounter.  The forum post that I found on this one though suggests that this will make the game much harder because the monsters from the expansions are mostly tougher.  How much tougher?  Does it make the game impossible to win?

Investigators - Same thing here as with the GOOs.  I want to be able to pick from any of the investigators no matter what expansions I am using.  Unfortunately I forsee the same kind of problem as well, where some investigators start with items that are only in their particular expansion's set of item cards.

Common Items, Skills, Spells - It seems like I could just keep all of these cards from all of the expansions together, and use them all for any type of game.  Does this pose any problems?

 
Unique Items - Same thing here as with common items.  However, this would mean that there are more than 4 elder signs.  I suppose I could have them all in there, but only allow 4 of them to be used during the game.
 
Allies - Obviously I would need to pick a random 10 when the game starts to be the ones to play with, but that shouldn't be a problem.
 
Madness, Injury, Personal Story, Relationship - These seem like they can be used in any game type without any problems.
 
Encounter Cards - Encounter cards that are for locations that are on the smaller boards obviously need to stay with those boards, but the cards for all of the locations on the base board seem like they can all go together.
 
Mythos Cards - These seem like they need to be kept separated, since they deal with locations that are on the expansion boards.
 
Other World Encounter Cards - I feel like these can be all put together, because if the card references a location that isn't in the game you can always just read the "Other" section.


#2 Vylanis

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 06:11 PM

What I combine:

I always play with Relationships and Personal Stories.  I just really like the added complexity from the Personal Stories, and they're close to balanced (i.e. the threat of failing them works against you almost -- but not quite -- as much as passing them favors you.)  Relationships are all positive, so they're not so much balanced, but they're a small thing and encourage cooperation.  I also almost always play with Injuries and Madnesses, even if not using Dunwich.

I keep all Investigators and Ancient Ones in play all the time.  It does, however, mean that sometimes you draw, say, Daisy and need to go digging through Kingsport for a copy of Livre d'Ivon even though you're not playing with Kingsport.  It also means that sometimes you get Ancient Ones that boost monsters that are not in play, but that actually happens already, as some Ancient Ones actually boost monsters not found in their home expansion.

What I don't combine:

As for monsters, I separate them. They are a lot harder. In a base game, it doesn't matter that much (monsters are just not that big a deal), but when you're playing with a challenging expansion or two, this just makes it worse. On the other hand, if you're playing with Innsmouth or Dunwich they're supposed to be pretty bad anyway.

For investigator cards (Common Items, Unique Items, Skills, Allies, Spells), I separate them out.  You could leave them all in -- it does work -- but it really weakens the thematic feel of each expansion, particularly the small expansions.  I want to get King in Yellow stuff when playing KiY, and Egyptian-themed stuff when playing CotDP, etc.  I wouldn't worry too much about >4 Elder Signs -- your Unique Item deck will be so thick you're not likely to see one of them, let alone 5, during a game.  I do sometimes consider leaving in the Lurker spells -- I love the ability for characters to help each other out when it's not their turn -- but generally don't.

Encounter and Other World cards are much the same as the investigator cards -- you could leave them in, but at a major cost in thematic feel, even worse than with the investigator cards.  Also, they frequently refer to things that may not be in play (Cult Memberships, Corruption), places that may not exist (secondary towns or even Other Worlds), or grant completely useless rewards (Rail Passes) if you're using them without their home expansion.

Mythos cards are really the only thing that absolutely has to be separated out; otherwise, you're really playing with the expansion.



#3 Bravo McWilley

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 02:39 AM

I know this has been said before and is actually mentioned somewhere in the rules for one of the new expansions.....

Combine everything and when you pull any card, simply just check the expansion symbol on the card. If it does not match the currently "in play" expansions discard it and draw again. Simple, effective and does not clutter up your wife's floor!

That said, my group is an "All IN" group and if we want a thematic game of some sort we do the above. We use all cards and have not had problems. Also, we tend to win more time than not, currently 4 wins, 2 loses in last 6 games. This is without MH though which can dilute the expnasions quite a bit, so i am really looking forward to seeing how we fair with MH in.

All monsters are always in. I like that there are tougher monsters, that sometimes just can not be beat. And since monsters are the ONLY thing without expansion symbols (probably because it makes no difference which expansion they get played with), this solves that issue nicely.



#4 SeraphElessar

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 10:03 AM

Thanks to both of you guys for the info!  This definitely gives me a great place to start in my experiments.  I'll post back later with how it goes once we get a chance to try things out.



#5 Cabello

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:22 AM

 For us we use all the monsters, items, relationships, madness/injury, stories, investigators, GOOs, basically everything except for the location cards, mythos cards, and boards of whatever we are not using atm



#6 Taurmindo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 05:28 AM

hey SeraphElessar,

just want to point out that you play the game with 11 allies, not 10. not sure if typo or if you got it wrong, just correcting for correctness sake.



#7 SeraphElessar

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 12:54 PM

 Ah, yes.  Thanks for that.  :-)



#8 Master Fwiffo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:48 PM

Cabello said:

 For us we use all the monsters, items, relationships, madness/injury, stories, investigators, GOOs, basically everything except for the location cards, mythos cards, and boards of whatever we are not using atm

Same here.  I struggled with it for awhile, and finally decided that if I want to keep it Thematic, the location and Mythos cards are all that are really needed.



#9 Wolfpack48

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 09:50 AM

I've been away from AH for awhile and recently returned and having a blast with the game -- lots of fun figuring out the right mix for each expansion and bringing out the themes and flavors.  Here's what I have been doing:

 

Mythos Cards -- mix together, but use the dilution fixes listed here on the forums based on the expansions picked -- been using Avec's

 

Gate Cards - Complete replacement of the cards with the expansion(s)

 

Location Cards - Complete replacement of the cards with the expansion(s) then going to base AH if needed

 

Unique Items, Spells and Common Items - Keep decks separate and allow investigators to pick which deck to go to.  I usually do a mix of items for the initial setup based on the base game to expansion ratio.  I like to keep these separate because they make a real difference in bringing out the expansion flavor.

 

Allies -- I shuffle in the expansion being used, then draw the number of allowed allies

 

Investigators -- Mix them all in

 

GOO -- Mix them all in, but sometimes pick one based on the expansion theme

 

Monsters - mix all except Mask and Spawn.

 

Finally getting Miskatonic this week, and playing Innsmouth for the first time this Sunday.  Love this game.  :)


Edited by Wolfpack48, 25 July 2014 - 08:36 PM.


#10 Julia

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 05:58 PM

Enjoy Innsmouth, and congrats for getting Miskatonic! It's the perfect topping of a perfect cake :)


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#11 The Professor

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 08:48 PM

Seraph Elessar,

 

     I don't separate anything out, as much as better control how everything is used, as I play exclusively "all-in" games (using every aspect of every expansion) with four Investigators.  Of course, if you play with more or less than four Investigators, your mileage will definitely vary.

General Guidance

Mythos 0 - Turn 4: As you put into play the Mythos card, only place gates in Arkham. Ignore Double-Doom cards and Rumors. If you reveal an expansion board Gate location, resolve everything else...Monster Movement, Clue token, and Headline/Environment. Starting on Turn 5, play each Mythos card, as normal, revealing Gates anywhere on any board.

 

Rationale: In this way, you should, based on the percentages for each Gate opening, have 2-3 Gates open in the first four Turns, instead of 4-5.

Rumors: Reduce the # of tokens, as if you were playing with two Investigators for Rumors such as Nightmare Pool, but for The Key and the Gate, consider 4 Investigators in play.

 

Rationale: Rumors should be difficult to pass, but not impossible, given the great distances Investigators must travel when all boards are in play.

Maximum # of Gates: 10.

 

Rationale: There are 20 Unstable Locations across the four boards. Ten open Gates represents 50% of all of the locations with the potential to spawn a Gate.

Maximum # of Monsters in Arkham and the Outskirts: 5.

 

Rationale: As with Rumors, above, playing as if you had two Investigators would warrant a Maximum # of Monsters in Arkham at 2 + 3= 5 and for simplicity, I've used the same value for the Maximum # of Monsters in the Outskirts.

Expansion Changes

Curse of the Dark Pharaoh: No changes (I currently have incorporated both the original and the new version, so play includes both "Barred from Neighborhood" cards and Patrol Markers).

Dunwich Horror: No changes

The King in Yellow: No changes

Kingsport Horror: Apply a Rift Marker/Token to the Rift Track only when a new Gate opens on any board, including Gate Bursts. Optional: As the Rifts occur over the town of Kingsport, place the newly opened Rift at the location designated by the last placed Rift Marker/Token on the Rift Track instead of at the Gate location on the Mythos card.

 

Rationale: Performing "Rift Duty" can prove boring for most Investigators. At least having a potential combat in Kingsport should make things interesting. Also, Rifts opening in Kingsport, is the very premise of the expansion...these tears in the fabric are happening over this coastal city.

Black Goat of the Woods: No changes

Innsmouth Horror: Place a Deep Ones Token on the Deep Ones Rising (DOR) Track only when a monster enters a vortex. Additionally, once the DOR Track is full, add a Doom Token to the Doom Track instead of automatically awakening the Great Old One. This happens during every Mythos Phase while the DOR Track remains filled.

 

Rationale: Similar to the Rifts in Kingsport, the DOR Track should not be the focus of the Investigator's skills and abilities, but there are times when they may need to travel there and deal with the situation. The DOR Track should not serve as a 2nd Doom Track.

Lurker at the Threshold: You may not use the Power tokens as Clue tokens when the card is exhausted. Thus, if an Investigator takes a Blood Pact, exhausts the card and sacrifices 3 Stamina to receive the 3 Power tokens, place them on the exhausted Blood Pact card. During the next Turn's Upkeep Phase, refresh the Blood Pact card, allowing the Investigator to use the Power tokens.

 

Rationale: Given the currently accepted rule, it's far too easy to exploit the Lurker.

Miskatonic Horror: No change

That's it ~ a few tweaks and I can tell you that it works very well. Again, Arkham Horror isn't about winning, it's a about the story, the theme. As I've said many times before, "it's about the journey, not the destination." If I can maintain a win rate consistent with the average based on 10,000 games on Tibs' spreadsheet, while enjoying the game that much more, great!

If you have any thoughts or comments, please let me know.

Cheers,

Joe/the Professor


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#12 Wolfpack48

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:28 AM

Like those house rules Professor -- question on keeping expansion gates from opening on the first 4 turns -- do you find that makes the games more winnable/easier?  Does it counter getting overwhelmed by gates and really balance stuff out?

 

I could see how making the Deep Ones Rising track only add a doom token would really ease the tension of the game.  Does it really kill the game to play using the baseline rule of allow the GOO through?



#13 The Professor

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 09:09 AM

Wolfpack48,

 

     Thanks for the questions.  I've played more than 100 games, and over time, added expansions, to where I now play with all of them.  Given the fact that I always play with four Investigators, these House Rules suit those games. 

 

     Let's start with your first question about the rules making the game more winnable/ easier (and "Does it counter getting overwhelmed...?").  You can always have a bad run of Gates open in which they're all in Arkham and the special rule doesn't apply...but at least your Investigators start in Arkham and need not worry about traveling great distances, while trying to accumulate enough Clue tokens.  In short, it balances the chaos across the boards.  Have I lost? Absolutely!  But my instincts tell me that the game would prove more deadly and I would rack-up far more losses without these rules in place.

 

     Regarding your second question, regarding the "baseline rule to allow the GOO through?" I'm a big fan of the Deep Ones Rising Track, but I'm not enamored with any secondary game mechanic causing that much mischief.  So, while I'll certainly add another Doom Token to the Doom Track, immediately awaking the GOO is not something I can defend as a Game Developer and Play-tester.

 

     Good luck with your games, and if you incorporate any of my suggestions, please circle-back with me and let me know how they work for you.

 

Cheers,

Joe


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#14 Wolfpack48

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:21 AM

Hey, just a report on our first Innsmouth game.  It was Hank Samson, Agnes Baker, Patrice Hathaway and Finn Edwards vs Cthulhu and no herald this first time around.  We used the personal stories, Innsmouth Look and the following house rules:

 

Hidden gates

Gates not filling the entire location -- clues remain and option to interact with location or gate

No doom at game beginning and one turn of interaction with starting location before first Mythos draw (and gate/doom)

No expansion gates, rumors or double dooms on first 4 turns

Deep Ones Rising does not bring forth GOO (more on this later)

Our own house rule: you can combine clue tokens to seal a gate but both investigators have to go through the OW and be in the same location at the same time during the gate seal.

Our own house rule: Single horror check if you encounter duplicate monsters together

 

We actually had a really easy time of it with a technical win of 6 sealed gates at a doom track of only 5, terror only at 1 and DOR at 5 (later Rumor draw pushed it up, but we were lucky with our die rolls during Mythos phase)

 

Part of this is luck, some house rules, but I also think we are just getting better at the game, especially coordinating between players rather than just 4 soloers.  Some other huge factors -- we drew 2 elder signs right at the beginning, didn't have too many monsters in Innsmouth, and disappointingly only one Deep One draw!

 

I will say the new investigators in Innsmouth are pretty darn powerful -- Patrice especially with her ability to share clues, but all of them feel so much more balanced that the original set.  We're already saying that we can't re-use this same group in our next set of games so we don't get too attached.   :)

 

We discussed the DOR track, and are thinking it might not be a full GOO early arrival, but it could also be pretty bad -- we're thinking maybe 3 doom tokens and a terror level raise of 1 per DOR token, so 6.  We won before we got the track filled, but were thinking we should be sweating it a little more.

 

In our first 4 turns we only drew one expansion gate, so by turn 5 we were dealing with 3 gates in Arkham.  We later got 2 gates in Innsmouth, one of which we closed but did not seal and one in Yha that was a pain to get to ($4 to travel there) but managed to seal to help win the game.

 

The one rule we scrogged this time around (we always seem to get one) was using more items in a single round than hands available.  This probably happened twice and I think investigators might have been in a bit of hot water if we had done this correctly (pulling in spells after a failed combat check).

 

I think the biggest disappointment was the lack of thematic monsters on the board -- we only drew 2 total expansion monsters.  I am toying with making a custom monster bag for each scenario, really skewing to things that make sense for the expansion theme.  

 

A good win, though, and a fun time -- next week is Kingsport + Lurker!


Edited by Wolfpack48, 28 July 2014 - 10:30 AM.


#15 The Professor

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:24 AM

Wolfpack48,

 

     Savor the wins!  It appears as though you could do no wrong, with a pair of Elder Signs and Patrice on the case...all good news from th outset.

 

     Again, glad to see some House Rules in play...great job and congratulations!

 

Cheers,

Joe


Edited by The Professor, 28 July 2014 - 10:25 AM.

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#16 Wolfpack48

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:56 AM

Wolfpack48,

 

     Savor the wins!  It appears as though you could do no wrong, with a pair of Elder Signs and Patrice on the case...all good news from th outset.

 

     Again, glad to see some House Rules in play...great job and congratulations!

 

Cheers,

Joe

 

Thanks Joe,

 

Yeah it's not often that everything goes your way in AH!   :o  One event that was a lot of fun was the Federal Corruption card that basically cleared all the clue tokens off the board -- many groans heard, especially since we had the case track in Innsmouth almost filled.

 

And the personal stories really add quite a bit of flavor as well -- we'll be using those from now on.   :)


Edited by Wolfpack48, 28 July 2014 - 11:38 AM.


#17 The Professor

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:08 AM

Wolfpack48,

 

     There are bad Mythos cards and then there are really bad Mythos cards.  Again congrats ~ I love the Personal Stories!

 

Cheers,

Joe


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