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First game - with expansions, and which ones?


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#1 azazel1

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 12:01 AM

So, I'm just arranging to play AH for the first time with friends - none of us have played before (though I have watched the You-tube guide, and frequented these forums.) As it was a birthday gift, I've ended up with Arkham Horror, Dunwich Horror and revised Curse of the Dark Pharoah.   My question is - for our first game, should we just use the base set, or one or both of the expansions?  We're suffiently old enough to deal with complexity, but don't want to get lost in lots of rules if too much complexity makes for a bad experience.  As an extra question, I've also got the option of getting Lurker at the Threshold, or Black Goat of the Woods - would either of these enhance the first game experience, or would it be better to get another Big Box first?



#2 Julia

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 01:39 AM

Arkham is quite a complex game, not only because of the amount of rules you have to deal with, but also because it's a good strategic game that requires some time to be mastered. Expansions not only add fun and variety to the game, but they also add complexity in term of strategy. So, my suggestion is: go with the base game, for a while, until you win consistently and you've got the basics (which means knowing what places are more dangerous, how to spend your clues, how to deal properly with monsters, which skills are more useful where, and so on). Then, consider adding something (Pharaoh for the theme, Dunwch if you want to have a bigger board). As for Lurker vs Black Goat, certainly Lurker is a much more interesting expansion (Black Goat has some dynamics that never enter play unless you play with the Herald, and that Herals IS brutal).

A wise man once said: enjoy the ride. One step at the time it's the best way to go. For me at least :-)


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#3 azazel1

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 01:47 AM

Ok, thanks for fast response there!  I'd heard that Dunwich added some mechanics that 'improved' the base game, but if this actually meant 'improved' in the same way that all the expansions make for an improved experience, I'll try the base game first.



#4 Julia

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 02:05 AM

Well, if you want to, you can incorporate from the Dunwich Horror set Madnesses & Injuries, that in some ways complete vanilla Arkham without spoilering the expansion too much!


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#5 Wolfgar

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 07:19 AM

I reccomend the base game first, but once you get comfortable with it most of the additional elements are good.



#6 Manishtusu

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 08:16 AM

I would also recommend just the base game first (injury/madness system should be implemented though), to get the hang of the foundations of Arkham Horror. Dunwich board itself is the easiest to incorporate imo - it's basically a bunch of new locations and the vortex mechanics. My first game ever was base+DH, playing with 2 other rookies and we had no trouble using it (not with the DH board at least, we certainly twisted the rules without knowing it). CotDP won't complicate your game too much, you only get a new 'location' (ancient whispers) that you have to move every third mythos, on average. And a bunch of new mythos, encounter and investigator cards.

Lurker gives you more than the Goat, which has, as Julia said, no proper way to integrate it's core mechanism besides the nasty herald. The Lurker herald itself can make the game much easier (exploitably so), which is good if you draw a combination of a really bad team against a truly eldritch GOO (Glaaki comes to mind from Dunwich Horror, he's arguably not that hard, but come on, playing against him is like getting your mind flayed). 



#7 Wolfgar

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:50 PM

I hope this isn't too spoilerific, but in my opinion some of the Arkham encounters benefit from the expansions, and become a bit more balanced as a result. If I were playing I might consider adding in

 

1.) The Dunwich Madness and Injury cards.

2.) The Dunwich investigators. They are all good, but I don't think any are too good. Well, maybe Jacqueline.

3.) The Dunwich Skills, Items, and Spells.

4.) The Arkham Encounter Cards and Other World Cards.

 

Leaving out:

1.) The Dunwich Board itself (Arkham is enough to deal with first few plays)

2.) The Dunwich Gate Markers (Not needed)

3.) The Dunwich Ancient Ones (the base are suitable challenge and more straightforward  for the first few games)

4.) The Dunwich Allies

5.) The Dunwich Monsters, which tend to be nastier than base. (Includes the Colour Out of Space. **** that thing.)

6.) The Dunwich Mythos Cards, which adds Dunwich locations (not really relevant) and Gate Bursts (a pain to deal with in your first games).



#8 Julia

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 08:26 PM

Wolfgar said:

I hope this isn't too spoilerific, but in my opinion some of the Arkham encounters benefit from the expansions, and become a bit more balanced as a result. If I were playing I might consider adding in

That's a good breakdown, Wolfgar!

The only thing I feel to say is that maybe he should leave out for the first games Dunwich small cards for a simple reason: they are a load, and they change a little the balance of the game (Elder Signs are considerably more diluted), so probably the game is a little more streamlined and easier without adding the cards from Dunwich since often,  during the first games, the "I need an Elder Sign" card is played. Same stuff for certain encounters in certain locations.

But still, everything is modular, so indeed, some components from Dunwich can be played with vanilla Arkham only, exactly as Wolfgar has said :)


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#9 Manishtusu

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:17 PM

I concur! A certain book can be just as powerful as an elder sign, even more so if you play your cards right (that is, going for a victory by closing all gates). I'd also add Marie to the list of very powerful investigators. Other than that, Wolfgar pretty much covered it all. Allies may be added though. 



#10 Wolfgar

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 05:01 PM

Most of the Dunwich Allies can only be picked up in Dunwich locations, and you can only play with 11 Allies total I believe. Removing Arkham Allies removes reasons to have encounters at Arkham locations, so personally I say stick with the base.

Marie is a good character, Marie is not a critical character like Jacqueline. Jacqueline means a good number of Rumors and Gate Bursts just Go Away, purely by being there; anything she contributes beyond that is gravy. My group refuses to play Innsmouth or with Gate Bursts unless Jacqueline is there as a security blanket, the big babies.



#11 Manishtusu

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 12:51 AM

Devil's Reef bursts are soo much fun! ;-) But yeah, J. tends to save the day! Unless you draw an even worse mythos. That's the only reason she's not on the bench with Patricia. 



#12 azazel1

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:23 AM

Awesome feedback guys, thanks very much!  I'll proffer the suggestion of base game plus Dunwich extras (but not the board) as a starting position - I'll try to play it as an RPG-boardgame, so the characters will most likely be picked on the basis of the artwork (or for the sociopaths, who seems to have the biggest starting gun..)  Once we actually agree on a date to play, I'll feedback how it went.



#13 Julia

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:57 AM

Good luck with the game, then!


We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
Custom Arkham Horror material / Arkham Horror Advanced Players League

#14 Wolfgar

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:12 PM

Hope it goes well.



#15 azazel1

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 03:30 PM

So, finally got to play, as per suggestions we went with base game, plus Dunwich Investigators and the madness/injury cards,facing off against Azathoth, using the 'one page' guide from UniversalHead. For the first game, being guys, we all went with the 'hero' types, (Soldier, PI, Gangster and Handyman) which meant that cultists fell like flies but we struggled with anything involving using your brain or magic :-/  We thought we were doing fine until the 'Great Ritual' rumor was failed, which threw a wall of gates at us (we had only sealed 1) and we lost from 7 gates being open.  Second game we drew investigators randomly, and with a much more balanced team we also managed to pull 3 elder signs, which contributed to our winning with 6 seals.  Everyone had a great time, and we appreciated the input we had here!  Next game will be with a different AO - any suggestions now we have a feel for the rules?  (Not yet fully conversant with high/medium/low threat areas, guess that comes later.)



#16 Julia

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 03:55 PM

A good second AO to play against could be Nyarlathotep (if you want to try playing with Mask monsters and probably going to fight Final Battle) or Cthulhu (long doom track allowing you time enough for sealing, but harder in Final Battle AND with certainly a bigger impact on the game than Azathoth or Nyarly)

Well done for your first victory! I love the sight of six seals early in the morning, in Arkham skies


We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
Custom Arkham Horror material / Arkham Horror Advanced Players League




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