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House Rules? Are they Common?


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#1 blackshirt

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 09:17 AM

Hello Everybody! My lovely girlfriend just purchased me this game, (After seeing me stare at it in a window everytime we walked by the local comic shop) for my birthday! I spent the day reading all the rules and played a mock game by myself so I can show my friends and we can engage in a good game. I was finally able to get some people together for a game, it was slow moving at first but once everyone understood the rules things went smoothly. 

Now a particular friend of mine, a loud one. Was always challenging certain rules and trying to omit or add new ones that he deemed fair. Some of them I agreed with just to streamline the game a little better, and some because they just added some fun without taking away from the game. After the game we discussed it and someone commented "This game is made for house rules". 

Now personally I disagree with this as the rulebook I found to be extensive, alebit sometimes confusing but it works. My friends are wanting more house rules to the game, personally I don't really care but they are my friends and if I don't add some house rules they won't play. 

My question is just as the topic says! Does anyone play with some house rules? or are they something we should not even talk about? If anyone does have some house rules I would like to hear them, I am hoping they are more refined than the house rules a bunch of new players came up with. Please keep in mind I am new to this game and have yet to get any of the expansions, so I would appreciate not throwing too much my way haha.

Thank you for your time! 



#2 The Professor

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:02 AM

The short answer is "Yes" ~ a number of people have devised House Rules suited to their taste and style of play.  I would HIGHLY recommend that you play the game a dozen times before you even consider making your own House Rule or 'borrowing' one from another Arkhamite.

Either way, Welcome to the Carnival


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#3 Wolfgar

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:10 PM

Yes. We use a fair number of houserules for our game. Most folks seem to. I'll add the game works just swell without them, but sometimes things can be tweaked for individual approval.

In our game:

Investigators are chosen rather than randomly determined, which seems pretty common as far as I can tell. I only get to play once a week (once every few weeks now); i don't want to be saddled with Dexter when I do get to play. I have been thinking about changing it back, at least for me, since I tend to get more mileagle out of most characters and I think I can show off the advantages to most investigators. Well, except Dexter.

 

When drawing skills, we draw three skills and pick rather than just drawing one from the top. Skills are already really rare in the game, and we were gertting far too many "dead" skills - Skills that were just useless for the Investigator, like Expert Occultist for Hank Samson. The only real impact is with Amanda, and no one plays her anyway.

 

We've changed a few of the weapons around, largely for thematic reasons. The carbine basically functions as a rifle now, for instance. Most of the one use weapons go to one handed as well, which isn't much of a change overall.

 

Gate Bursts just work as Gates opening. The problem is we just don't quite have the time to back and forth with the game, so Gate Bursts have become a no-go in the mean time. We've talked about bringing them back once we get play time down to an acceptable limit, but normal play can take three or four hours, and the Gate bursts can add another hour to that. We just don't have the time to keep them.



#4 Manishtusu

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:05 PM

They are pretty common, yes. What did your friends suggest? Arkham is a very complex game, so it's easy to upset the balance. 

My team mostly plays by the rules, except for the allies. They aren't returned to the box, but each time the terror level rises, 3 are removed from the game. I'm thinking about limiting this though, by selecting 11 as stated in the rulebook (well, some of them) and allowing encounters to give you allies that haven't entered play. Another houserule I've encountered was giving an injury/madness card every time an investigator was knocked unconscious / driven insane. It's fairly limiting and the guy who's crazy brain birthed the idea also had another nasty one up his sleeve - you not only have to roll a success to remove a toughness, as usual, but also to soak up the monster's stamina damage (1 point per success). He called it 'hard combat'… 

Choosing investigators is also a sensitive point, since we only get to play once a week if we're lucky - and drawing a weak investigator can ruin the  whole gaming experience (like getting stuck with Vincent for 5 hours). Another solution we tried was drawing 2, choosing 1. The rulebook says nothing about having to choose characters randomly by the way, so it's all fair and square. But I do feel a bit guilty if I'm allowed to choose a whole team, things get pretty desperate then… for the Great Old One. Then there is the *veto right* against the GOO, as in: 'No way we're playing against Atlach-Nacha, we don't have 7-8 hours for a single game!' Point is - it's a game, so it's supposed to be fun above all else. 



#5 kilrah

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 11:16 PM

I think the game DOES benefit from houserules, but be careful what you do. For me I changed the follwoing stuff:

* Added 3 cards to the mythos deck that say you gain the favour of Bast if applicable (additional 'the Story continues cards for that specific purpose')

* Added 2 cards to the mythos deck that say that your debts with the dark man come true

Both specifically fight dilution that was not addressed with Miscatonic.

 

House rules:

* All allies are in play from the start, but only 11 are available from the boarding house. Discard 1 from the boarding house and 3 from the remainders each time the terror level increses.

* Have both the cards from the old and the new dark pharaoh expansion in the game for the encounter cards and for everything else where they are not identical between version. Conditions like Tainted are selected accoding to the card symbol (old or new) that caused the condition, where MH cards are considered to belong to the new version.

Both add variety

 

Additional House rules:

* First gate doesn't place a doom token

* Overture only comes into play when first environment is revealed

Make the game slightly easier as it got a bit out of hand with all the additional boards and gate bursts.

* In Kingsport place a Monster on the indicated location if the Rift track for that combination of symbols is already full.

To make Kingsport a bit more exciting.



#6 Julia

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 11:31 AM

kilrah said:

To make Kingsport a bit more exciting.

In case you want to spice up a little the things in Kingsport, you can play with this creation of Avi's twisted mind (we all miss you so much :mourning: ) :

As for the house rules, yeah, some of us use houserules, but I strongly suggest to understand the game properly before making any twist to the rules. I know sometimes it seems hard because the board shows no mercy, but really, the game is awesome, and it's in fact not so difficult to beat if played properly (for instance, Skills are very rare because they are very strong; I'll certainly discourage the "draw three, pick one" houserule suggested; I could accept a "draw two, pick one" only for 1 or 2-investigator games, but generally speaking, 1 or 2-investigator games are not particularly interesting per se, so it doesn't really matter)


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#7 CrusherJoe

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 04:58 PM

We have quite a few house rules, most of which I got from studying the game before and after I first got it, and then some I thought of myself.  We lose most of the time, so it's not like it's actually making it easy on us.

We've cherry picked investigators and done the blind choice, and then settled on "chose three blindly and select from those three."  Honestly, if it's going to be a tough game, I don't mind them cherry picking their favorites.  They've yet to win enough to realize who the best Investigators are. 

Choose to travel through a gate.  You can be in a space with a gate and not go in, having an encounter instead; the gate is monster sized, not city block size.  That said, a moving gate from LatT or a vanilla gate opening in an investigator's space forces them through, no whining.  After getting an explored token though, doing ANYTHING other than closing/sealing loses that explored token.  But you can sure wait on an item or help from another player if you just want to hold off.

A new guy at my table said he played back home with gate tokens face down until jumping in.  We were iffy on that, but may try that later.

Monsters gatesquatting get sucked into a closed gate, regardless of gate symbol.  The relief has been palpable, which tells me that the game is doing it's work in being tough.  It'll still be tough after we exhale. 

There's a Rulekeeper, which is me; less work than a Gamemaster, but frees them up to strategize.  I do most of the card reading, unless I have an Investigator, then someone else reads mine to me.

I stop reading at the choice to make, or the check required.  It's a beautiful thing.  "There's an old man on the bench making noises.  If you talk to him…"  and then I stare at them.  Gamers new to AH look at me like I'm kidding.  I'm not.  The gang has gotten the hang of trailing off at the right moment when card reading falls to someone else as well.  I dig the anxiety. 

Simultaneous upkeep.  Just makes good sense in so time consuming a game.

You can draw again if you get a task or mission on starting posessions.  Last game or two, somebody has kept the card.  Actually, missions rarely make it into play at all. 

Spellcasting has come under discussion and Jacob Busby's homemade Institution "the Eye of Amara" that affects magic use will get some play soon.  Without it, the Guardian's properties would've been house rules, just to see how it works.  You can find it in the fan made section here on this board, and Jacob was kind enough to post it again, in my spell related thread over on boardgamegeek.com

It hasn't come up yet, but I don't think Darrell should be able to use his special ability in the Silver Twilight Lodge.  It's a Secret Society and a believeable blind spot in his street savvy.  If you're Darrell with a membership, you get the encounter drawn.  But the right pieces have to be in position for it to even come up.  He's in the top winning Investigators so I like having a tiny ***** in the armor.

And I'll get derided for this, and I know all the evidence as to why it's this way in the rules:  But if you are under the rumor "The Terrible Experiment," and you just happen to get the Flute of the Outer Gods and drop what you should be doing (stopping the Ancient One) to make it over there and lose the item in it's one time use, then absolutely Gabriel, BLOW THAT HORN.  The feeling of hope at the table at that modest accomplishment just means more hope to get crushed later.

When we win more than we lose, I'll dial back some of that, and maybe the house rules will mean making things more difficult.  Especially the Terrible Experiment and the horn. 



#8 Wolfgar

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 08:14 PM

We also took Missions out, as they mostly seemed to add little to the game but dead cards.

 

Sadly, we haven't found skills to be all that powerful. In fact our draws are still pretty dissappointing even now.



#9 Julia

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 09:08 PM

Wolfgar said:

We also took Missions out, as they mostly seemed to add little to the game but dead cards.

 

Sadly, we haven't found skills to be all that powerful. In fact our draws are still pretty dissappointing even now.

Uhm, may I ask you which expansions are blended in your deck? I mean, base game skills are okay-ish, but as soon as you start having Ancient Language, Credit Rating, Martial Arts, Mythos Lore, Endurance and so on, they could really be game breaking. Especially with certain characters, of course, but as general rule Skills are evaluated to cost like the most expensive Unique Item for a reason :)


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#10 Manishtusu

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 07:46 AM

Base game cards are OK, but Kingsport/Dunwich skills can be extremely potent. Auto success on horror checks, anyone?

I have yet to see enough missions to make a final judgement (recently bought Dunwich as my last big box expansion, yes, I know it's a wierd choice to do last :-) ), the tasks I have seen however, were very useful. They give a certain structure to your team's exploration choices and also give you a little something extra for your time. Well worth it, if you ask me!

A question to the veterans: do you allow investigators to use Summoning Glass from CotDP on High House? Seems unreasonable to me to not include it.



#11 The Professor

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:47 AM

If memory serves, you can use Summoning Glass on the High House

Also, I allow Tasks and Missions to be "discarded" if selected as part of the Starting Possessions. 


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#12 Julia

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:22 PM

The Professor said:

If memory serves, you can use Summoning Glass on the High House

Sorry, Joe, but nope, you may not. FAQ, pag 17 (emphasis mine):

Q: How does Summoning Glass work with other situations that affect Location Special Abilities? Can you use closed locations? Can you use locations closed by Tsathoggua [DH] when he is the Ancient One? Can you access the Strange High House (location) [KH]?
A: You may still use the location abilities if closed, including those closed by Tsathoggua’s Malaise power. You cannot use the Strange High House.


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#13 Wolfgar

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:25 PM

Well Julia, currently we have Dunwich only. Most of the skills you mention aren't in the mix.



#14 Julia

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:45 PM

Wolfgar said:

Well Julia, currently we have Dunwich only. Most of the skills you mention aren't in the mix.

Ok, this has sense, the most powerful skills come with Kingsport. Nonetheless, Dunwich skills are quite strong: skills from the core set usually give you a +1 and allow you to roll two dice / clue spent, while Dunwich skills grant you an upgrade to the number rolled: Grapple is much more interesting than a +1 Fight, and so on. And you have Mythos Lore.


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#15 The Professor

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:32 PM

Julia,

     I'm glad you pointed that out, because I almost wrote, "I believe Julia found out that you can use Summoning Mirror on the High House!"

     That would have been embarrassing…avergonzado_triste

 


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#16 blackshirt

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:17 AM

Hey all just kind of reviving this with a follow up question. Just curious if there is anything in the rules about two investigators on the same street or location can team up and combat the monsters together. If there are no official rules are their any house rules people have use to be either effective and or fun?

#17 Julia

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:21 AM

blackshirt said:

Hey all just kind of reviving this with a follow up question. Just curious if there is anything in the rules about two investigators on the same street or location can team up and combat the monsters together. If there are no official rules are their any house rules people have use to be either effective and or fun?

The point is that you combat monsters during your movement phase, not someone else's, so no way you can team up wth someone against a monster, because you may not mix two different investigators' movement phases. The only thing that you can do is trading before starting combat: so, if a new investigator enters the area where some nastiness from the distant stars lurks, and he sees one of his buddies there, he can ask him some good weapons before the combat starts.


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#18 blackshirt

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:45 AM

Ahh well that makes perfect sense. Combat always occurs during the movement phase? Not during the Mythos phase whenever the monster moves? Because the situation that I got in was that two investigators ended on a street to trade some items and then a monster moved to the street area. So from what I imagine nothing would happen until the movement phase of whatever investigator goes first. Just looking to clarify.



#19 Julia

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:14 AM

Yeah, exactly. Monsters movement has nothing to do with combat. Monsters move as consequence of the Mythos card being read, during Phase V: Mythos phase, while investigators have to deal with monsters during their (= investigators') movement, that happens during Phase II: Movement. So, in case a monster arrives during the Mythos phase in a place where one or more investigators are, you don't have to deal with it until the next movement.

Hope this helps :)


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#20 blackshirt

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:46 AM

It helps a lot! Thank you for your prompt replies Julia! As time goes on I'm sure I will have more questions!






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