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Footprints in the dust (session disasters)


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#1 Julia

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 05:09 PM

KH, IH, MH in play, Quachil plus Dagon & Hydra against Gloria, Jim, Charlie, Joe and Silas. Not really strong characters but with some potential. First point of my strategy was to protect Charlie and have him passing his PS, so that Dagon would be neutralized. Then I had Silas last in line, so that I was pretty sure five seals were enough to win the game, being the sixth gently offered by Silas' suicide.

 

The game started awfully, with Independence Square and Witch House opening during set-up. The next two Mythos were Independence Square and Strange Sightinings. I made a major strategical error, believing Charlie could have been quick enough in passing his PS so that Dagon wouldn't have been a 2-clue problem, but the Encounter at the Newspaper had Charlie to be sent to the street, one round lost, one monster surge more and voilà, plus one terror, Jim forced to discard his fifth clue (couldn't care the less because the moving gate moved, plus he had an ES), and Silas' and Gloria's resources followed. Fortunately Gloria was the First Player, so that the Strange Sightings offered her a good clue replacement to seal the Witch House, but Silas was returned with one clue less on the Kadath gate on Independence Square and a Dark Young guarding it. In the meantime, Joe was sucked into the Underworld at the Unvisited Isle.

 

Then: Jim closed the gate in the Downtown, passed the ES to Charlie to give it to Joe and entered Independence Square, to get rid of the Dark Young and help Silas closing. The mariner used Illuminated Manuscript and gained the final clue, but Jim was forced to Kadath, and after a fruitless journey ended LiTaS.

 

Three seals on the board, half the doom track full, but Gloria started feeling Quachil on her back, Jim was out of the game too much, a rift opened in Kingsport and then... Evidence Destroyed. That Y'ha-nthlei game was the last thing I needed, no clues on the board, and the DOR becoming more and more menacing.

 

I planned a desperate action: Charlie + Gloria in Kingsport to fix the open rift, Joe diving into the Esoteric Order of Dagon like there was no tomorrow, Silas moving to Y'hasomething to save Arkham's life while Jim was till trumpeting in the LiTaSsic void.

 

Still I had a chance to win, but the Mythos deck was restless and heartless and Innsmouth was invaded.

 

So, Jim finally returned and tried to stop the horde diving into the ocean in Innsmouth, surviving the first surge, but not the second from Dagon. The Dark Druid had all his lovely creatures move on black, and the DOR hit 5.

 

Joe returned and sealed Dagon, Silas returned and sealed Y'hanthlei, and the next Mythos opened a gate at the Graveyard.

 

The only chance was that Silas gathered the three clues required for committing fruitfully suicide, so he went to Kingsport, grabbed two of them and used Press Pass to gain the third, and then was driven insane by the infernal pupils of Principal Miles.

 

If the next Mythos opened a new gate, he'd have a chance in the Upkeep to pass his PS and win the game by sealing gates. Sadly, the next Mythos was Independence Square. The DOR filled, and the final combat was a slaughter.

 

_______________________________________________________

 

And then the rematch. Same investigators, same AO, same everything. Different sequence of Mythos, of course: the set-up Mythos cards were Esoteric Order of Dagon AND Esoteric Order of Dagon. The next one Devil Reef, and then Marsh Refinery. A total mess, that Joe, tag working with Jim and Silas, were able to solve in quite a short time. After passing the Innsmouth Plague, the game went smooth for a sealing victory in 11 Mythos. Vengeance was served :)


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#2 The Professor

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 09:30 PM

Julia,

 

     That was quite a first game.  I could feel the tension thousands of miles away.  ;)   I've got to hand it to you, though, that's an impressive second game, ending after only 11 Mythos cards. My new favorite location: Y'hasomething!

 

Ciao,

Joe


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#3 Julia

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:18 AM

I've got to hand it to you, though, that's an impressive second game, ending after only 11 Mythos cards.

 

Hit it hard, hit it fast, hit it strong. And the lesson learned from the first 5 consecutive games with Dagon & Hydra: beware of the +1 terror you most certainly will have before turn 4. It happened in every bloody game.

 

The next one is Nyarlathotep, with George in the mix. Ugh. It's like facing three Heralds :)


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#4 jackman51

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:40 PM

Innsmouth with both heralds and no Guardian--I am indeed impressed. I don't look forward to starting a game two steps in the hole on the DOR track. I don't have Miskatonic so not sure how that affects the equation but I'm not far enough along in experience that with two heralds I wouldn't want at least one Guardian too. Silas to me is awesome with his mobility and personal story success ability though.

 

It does seem that I will have to step up the difficulty for myself a bit since I have just recently completed three Base + Innsmouth

games with four investigators and won them all fairly comfortably though the one with Zhar could have been a defeat if just one more turn had produced another open gate. I'll next incorporate KH and maybe a Herald and Guardian and see how well I can handle it with four heroes. Maybe I'll even play without Silas :)



#5 Julia

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 02:11 AM

Yes, Innsmouth can be brutal, and Miskatonic... well, let's say that Innsmouth before Miskatonic is a beautiful flowery meadow :laughter:

 

Congrats for passing four games with Innsmouth in row! Definitely, you're ready to boost the challenge!

 

In the meantime, Nyarlathotep with Dagon and Hydra were sent back to the Ancient Egypt (victory by closing gates in 6 turns with the doom track stuck at two doomers). The next in line is Cthulhu!


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#6 jackman51

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:03 AM

Wondered why Miskatonic made Innsmouth tougher until I took a look at this very excellent thread.

 

http://community.fan...ilution-solved/

 

40 percent of the Mythos Cards opening gates in Innsmouth! Yep that would be a pain. Kingsport dilutes it a bit but of course creates a whole new set of problems



#7 Julia

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:57 AM

Yes. MH introduced Mythos cards with an alternate gate opening in order to counter the dilution of very big Mythos decks. Additionally, there are some double doomer non-rumor Mythos cards, so that the doom track could accelerate a lot. Plus, some of the environments are absolutely nasty, like Snow Drifts (IIRC) where you are forced to stop after you enter a street area, and so on. Really, the Mythos deck is *difficult*. Love it :)


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#8 Fake Ghost Pirate

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 11:24 PM

11 turns? Who had the "Dust Deck" the 2nd time around? I've never had the initial 1st Player survive a whole game against Q-U. Never.



#9 Julia

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 01:43 AM

Point is that Dust Deck n.1 and n.2 have a card allowing you to reshuffle the deck, so that the already drawn cards return in the game. If you're a little lucky, 11 turns are not that difficult to reach. Still, in both QU games I had the First Player devoured. In the second one, Gloria was devoured immediately after sealing the Unnamable (quite a nailbiter: she was sucked through a gate with only one clue but with Visions, and four cards in the last Dust Deck. So after she sealed, she had only the "you're devoured card" waiting for her)


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#10 jackman51

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 02:19 PM

'Course if you're unlucky they can die I think in only three turns. Gonna get a friend who's good with math to figure what the average number of turns you can expect to live since I never bother playing clues to prevent the card draw--just start a new investigator when it happens. In my game Agnes got devoured at the start of turn 8.

 

Just played a game similar to your set up Julia in that I faced The Dusty AO and played with both Heralds as well. No Guardians and no other cards from any sets other than Base and Inns. Several other differences  in that I only played with Innsmouth board and with but 4 investigators (seemed fair with less ground to cover). The investigators themselves were Kate, Michael McGlen, Gloria, and Agnes all randomized. Wasn't sure about Kate's ability here as you start with two pips on the DOR and was always worried about her tripping more.

 

I didn't really write down what happened but generally speaking there was immediate pressure in Innsmouth since 1st turn Gates were Marsh Refinery and Unvisited Isle with monsters being dumped in Innsmouth Shore from a Mythos card. By turn 2 another gate opened in the Esoteric Order. Nevertheless Agnes was well armed from starting equipment and first turn trades at the Bank --two Withers and a Rifle along with a Mist so after passing her loan money off to Gloria for hopefully exciting card draws in the Curiositee Shoppe--she headed off on the train to the bus depot to intercept tornado seeking beasties. Unfortunately despite cycling through 18 cards between two people only one Elder Sign appeared before Gate pressure forced abandonment of the effort to get more.  Kate got stuck early on with some bad luck trying to close a -3 Gate--took 3 three dice rolls and the sole terror increase took away two much  needed 5th clues just when two other gates were ready to be sealed. Nevertheless the DOR track was firmly under control--all monsters were intercepted before they hit the vortexes, most of them by Agnes before her demise and then by Michael on his way toward sealing the Refinery. Despite the fact that at times there were 7 monsters in the Arkham streets the terror level only rose to 1 by turn 12 since Michael had accomplished his Personal story and few Physically Immune creatures were encountered.

 

Yet all of this was hard on the investigator's Stamina and/or Sanity so yet another turn was lost healing themselves. Couple that with the fact that Gates were opening in three pretty quiet areas--Marsh Refinery, Hibbs Roadhouse, and the Historical Society all by turn 10 it became too much to keep up with. There were just not enough monster surges instead of gate openings--I think only 1 maybe 2--that the Dust Mite woke up and killed us all. Three investigators were in the OW with clues enough to seal but the game ended with only two gates actually shut down permanently.

 

What's cool about this game and almost no other is that I still was close to victory even despite the rumor Plans in Motion and Evidence Destroyed popping up--a feeling of strange exhileration even in defeat that makes you want to try again to put things right--to avenge your dead comrades. The elegant complexity and numerous desperate options and reversals of fortune, both good and bad, makes this game a never ending source of thematic and gameplay delight.

 

Hmmm....now that I think about it maybe I should have gone to the Science Building and sat on it for a while until I drew that Gate closing experiment encounter. I did have the Dragon Eye after all...hmmm... next time... :D


Edited by jackman51, 21 September 2013 - 08:35 AM.

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#11 Julia

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 02:35 PM

Tense game, uh? 4 investigators are certainly a good compensation for the Kingsport board absence; problem is the way Mythos decks are composed. Innsmouth Mythos open gates only in Innsmouth, so that the action is somehow twisted there. Plus, there is no way you can have gate bursts in Arkham. So, two structurally different games, I think.

 

You're right, Kate can be a problem with the DOR. Without Innsmouth, Kate was often sent to high-freq locations to offer some respite; now it's the opposite :laughter:

 

I'm glad you liked the experience, though :)


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#12 Schwaig

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 07:21 PM

'Course if you're unlucky they can die I think in only three turns. Gonna get a friend who's good with math to figure what the average number of turns you can expect to live since I never bother playing clues to prevent the card draw--just start a new investigator when it happens. In my game Agnes got devoured at the start of turn 8.

 

[...]

 As I read your post I was right into that question as well.

 

So I wrote a little program in R to simulate the draws of the different dust decks until one's investigator is devoured.

Here is the result:

Dustdeck_probability.png

I ran the simulation 10,000 times, so if you divide the numbers of "Count" by 100 you get the percentage values. 

Still this is only a brute-force approach and it may vary from simulation to simulation, but I don't know if it is possible to calculate the probabilities exactly using another method because the reshuffle-cards from the first and the second deck are a bit nasty, I guess.

 

So in your case with Agnes fallen to dust in turn 8 it's quite okay I think, the mean value of my simulation is around 9.


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#13 jackman51

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 01:04 AM

Thank you Schwaig for this. I didn't think I was unlucky in this respect and indeed sort of sensed it was coming about then and was able to transfer all gear away from her. Michael, the next target , was already into the second deck by the time the seventh gate opened on turn 12. I  still generally think it not worth the clues to prolong this though I suppose that might be situational. If Ash was sitting with an explored marker ready to close or seal a critical gate maybe I might have reconsidered for a turn.

 

Perhaps also if the investigators decided immediately to prepare for the Dusty AO and say Joe Diamond was first player and was piling up clues it would be worth the clues to buy another turn or more-not sure there. But as I read on these forums and on BGG most of you believe that confronting the AO and winning should be considered a drawn game and I tend to concur. So I guess only rarely would I try to save the investigator with clues.

 

What also interests me is the probability of three low frequency gate locations opening in 10 turns? Right about there I felt the game was nearly irrevocably lost.


Edited by jackman51, 27 September 2013 - 11:39 PM.


#14 Julia

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 01:53 AM

Schwaig, thanks for running the simulation, it's totally awesome ;)

 

Jackman, I totally agree with you. There are some situations where spending the clues could be a good option (like about to return to Arkham with an ES), but in general, drawing cards is much more benefical than wasting resources


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#15 Schwaig

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 06:29 AM

Thanks to you :)

 

[...]

 

Perhaps also if the investigators decided immediately to prepare for the Dusty AO and say Joe Diamond was first player and was piling up clues it would be worth the clues to buy another turn or more-not sure there. But as I read on these forums and on BGG most of you believe that confronting the AO and winning should be considered a drawn game and I tend to concur. So I guess only rarely would I try to save the investigator with clues.

 

What also interests me is the probability of three low frequency gate locations opening in 10 turns? Right about there I felt the game was nearly irrevocably lost.

I totally agree that most times it is not necessary to spend clues to avoid the inevitable. As soon as you are at deck 3 you will try to safe all the gear that can be safe and that's it. Sometimes, if a seal is in reach or you have a weaker investigator that should be devoured instead you may make exceptions.

 

Regarding the gate probabilities: 

According to the mythos cards list found at arkhamhorrorwiki.com you have 287 mythos cards if you use all expansion sets. There are - for example - 6 cards that open a gate at the Historic Society and another 1 card that lets you decide if you want to have a gate at HS or at Devil's Hopyard (not sure about this, it seems to be a mythos card from MH). Thats about 2.4% (or 2.1% if the alternate gate card does not count for you) probability, although this may vary as well if you have to reshuffle and some rumors have already been removed etc. But you have a basic idea. 

 

But I like the games that strike you with these kinds of unlikely events, even if your team gets ripped apart. Recently we played a game against Yig with Tulzscha and the Lurker as heralds and we had 3 gate burst cards that removed a seal from Arkham. Haven't calculated that yet. :D 

I really should start to take notes and write some session reports to you.


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#16 jackman51

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 08:27 AM

Oh for sure on the luck elements being fun. Overall my luck in that game I think was below par but I can't say I didn't have some great luck moments too. Like for example when Michael finished sealing the Marsh Refinery there were a total of 5 clues waiting on the Devil Reef and Yth (yes Julia...something...I hate spelling that one out too-lol) . Michael went to get them immediately and when he picked the ones up on Yth he drew the Encounter that sent him through a Gate back in Arkham. When in the OW phase he draws a card that sends him right back to Arkham and I'm thinking My God it's my wet dream. I'm home right away with 5 clues on an explored gate. But of course the game would have none of it since during the next mythos phase one of the few monster surges occurred-maybe the only one that game- -and as it happened filled the outskirts and because of the herald cost everyone  a clue. The Gods giveth and taketh away sometimes right away.

 

But back to eating some cheese with my whine.


Edited by jackman51, 21 September 2013 - 08:39 AM.

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#17 Julia

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 11:33 AM

and another 1 card that lets you decide if you want to have a gate at HS or at Devil's Hopyard (not sure about this, it seems to be a mythos card from MH).

 

Correct. In MH there are some cards with alternate gate openings to counter the dilution problem in the Mythos deck. Hence, in this case, if the Dunwich expansion board is in play, the gate opens at Devil's Hopyard; if you're not playing with the Dunwich board, the gate opens at the HS instead (same stuff for all the dual opening on MH Mythos cards)


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#18 Julia

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 11:33 AM

But back to eating some cheese with my whine.

 

Pun of the day. Kudos, sir!


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#19 AnsePNeville

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 02:29 AM

Even now this can be merely a brute-force method also it can vary greatly coming from simulators to be able to simulators, on the other hand have no idea of when it is easy to calculate the possibilities exactly utilizing another method because the reshuffle-cards from the 1st as well as the next outdoor patio certainly are a tad awful, I reckon that.



#20 Schwaig

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 02:47 AM

Sure, you can always question how random 'random' really is. 

But I still can't think of a method to calculate this, so I think a simulation with a high number of rounds is the best way to get an idea of the probabilities.






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