Two of Richard Launius' house rules that I love:
"Rule 3 - Gate Locations Unknown:All gates are placed face down on the board rather than face up. With this rule, the gate is only revealed when an Investigator goes to the location and travels through it. At the point an Investigator enters the location and announces they are traveling through the gate, flip the Gate over and the Investigator immediately moves through it. (This rule works best with Rule 4, below.)
Reason for House Rule: Creates mystery and makes the game even more interesting. No longer can any players rush their Investigator to a Gate because they know it is the Dreamlands and they feel more comfortable about traveling to that location than the Abyss. This rule does make the game a little more difficult, but the trade-off is it creates a lot of dialog and role-playing with a creative crowd.
Rule 4 – Choose to Travel through Gate: Locations with gates do not automatically suck the Investigator through. Moving through a Gate is a choice for the player, unless a Gate opens at a location where an Investigator just happens to be visiting – then they are sucked through as noted in the Rules.
Reason for the House Rule: Enables players more choices and opportunities to have Arkham Location Encounters. My logic for the rule is that the gate is not huge, probably only 12 feet by 12 feet and may even be in the basement of the building. The areas at each location are large - buildings with multiple floors and rooms, or acres of thick woods so there is an opportunity to still have normal encounters in a location even though nasty creatures may be slithering through a gate in the basement below…"
But I need advice!
I also play with the Lurker At The Threshold Expansion, and some of those gates move like monsters. But if they are face down on the board then I can't tell if they need to move during the Mythos Phase. The only thing I can think of that might work, I could put the appropriate dimensional symbols on the backside of the gate markers, so if they're on the board I'll know which ones move... but once I make the association of which symbols coincides with which OW, that still ruins the mystery that this house rule creates (which I love).
Anyone else run into this dilemma that has a good alternative?
[Side note: I play that if any investigator uses a spell or unique item that allows them to choose which gate or Other World they want to visit, all Gate Markers on the board are turned over (conceivably the magic of the spell or item would let them discern which gate leads where). This also makes it so you don't choose to visit an OW that doesn't have a gate to/from it, meaning you'd be lost in time and space when you tried to return. BUT, any gates that open after that spell or item is used go face down like before]