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A Subs Modification for Allies


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#1 SemiAddict

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:46 AM

If you have all the board expansions but sometimes don't want to use all of them (maybe you have fewer players than usual), what portions of the missing expansion(s) do you leave out?

 

The rules seem to be pretty liberal on this subject, basically saying that it's fine to use parts of an expansion, but not all of it.

 

Some changes seem to be pretty obvious: it doesn't make much sense to keep a missing expansion's Mythos cards, since they will constantly be referring to unavailable locations; if you're playing without Dunwich or Kingsport, of course you need to remove the gate markers for their Other Worlds; but virtually all items are usable in any game, and I suspect that pretty much everyone who has Dunwich always uses the Injury and Madness cards.

 

When it comes to Allies, however, the situation is unique.  Obviously, the simplest way to deal with them is not to include those from a missing board expansion in the deck when you select the 11 availables during Setup.  Though reasonable, this solution may not be particularly desirable, especially if you'll be missing all those wonderful Kingsport Allies.  The problem with keeping them in the deck, of course, is that the overall probability for your Investigators to gain Allies will be significantly reduced without the chance to have encounters at the locations that reference them by name.  Following is a (highly unofficial) procedure we've been using to cope with this dilemma.

 

All Allies from the missing board expansion (hereafter referred to as Homeless) are included in the random draw during setup.  When the players review the 11 choices to see which ones are available, the number of Homeless  is noted (if no Homeless  were drawn, there is no need for this modification) and a number of additional Allies equal to the number of Homeless is drawn from the remaining unchosen Allies.  These additional Allies are called Subs (note that if other Homeless  are drawn in this process, they must be replaced by drawing other Allies whose home boards are being used in the game).  These Subs are kept in a stack on or near the Arkham board, and any player may look at the stack at any time.

 

After starting the game, the usual rules for Allies apply, except that whenever an Investigator has an encounter referencing a Sub by name, he may obtain that Ally by whatever means the encounter specifies.  Whenever this occurs, a random Homeless Ally is removed from the deck of availables and is returned to the box (with the deck of availables reshuffled).  The Sub has now permanently taken the place of that Homeless in the group of 11 availables for the game. 

 

Similarly, if an Investigator gains a Homeless Ally by means of any normal game effect (items, encounters, Boarding House, etc.), a random Sub is returned to the box, and the Homeless Ally obtained cements its position in the group of 11 availables.

 

Game effects that enable Investigators to obtain Allies that have been returned to the box (for example, Charlie Kane's (KH) Connections ability or The Bureau's (MH) Protective Custody feature) do NOT  apply to Subs or Homeless that have returned to the box as a result of this modification--such effects apply only to Allies returned to the box by normal game effects.

 

Allies from either version of The Curse of the Dark Pharaoh expansion do not suffer from a significant drop in their probability of being obtained when any expansion boards are missing.  Therefore, they may serve as Subs  but not as Homeless.


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#2 The Professor

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:20 AM

SemiAddict,

 

     That's an interesting Variant you're presenting.  Admittedly, as there's much to track in an all-expansion game anyway, so my Variant for Allies is much simpler.  Also, as you play games with different expansions, yours definitely accommodates the fact that particular Allies wouldn't appear.  I like it...the only thing you'll have to remember, unless you're playing with particularly strong players is which the Homeless allies are readily apparent.

 

     Otherwise, I would only suggest that you take your time with each of the expansions and savor each one as if a completely different item from the menu.  As you have but 4 posts, I can't gauge your familiarity with the game.  It's base board is fabulous, but over time you will appreciate each of the expansions and many in combination.

 

Cheers,

Joe    


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#3 Dr.Faust

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 04:56 PM

I make it simple:

 

If an Encounter states that an Ally is met, if said Ally is availaible, I take them. I first dig through the 'Not Included' deck so that I can't see which Allies are in the game deck and then if they are not in there, I will THEN dig through the actual 11-Card deck.


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#4 DaddyHawk

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 05:32 PM

Neat alternative. Do you remove one card from the in-play ally deck if you do find the required ally among those not in play? And do you stop searching if/when the 11 card deck has been expired (i.e. 11 allies in play or "removed from the game")?

 

On a side note, players are permitted to see the 11 allies that will be in play before starting the game, so your step of trying to avoid searching through the in-play deck seems unnecessary.


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#5 Pseudonym

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:24 PM

I play in a similar way to Doc Faust here, with one addition. When terror increases, I remove one random ally from the 'in-game' deck, and two random allies from the 'not-included' deck from the game completely.



#6 The Professor

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:33 AM

Akin to both Dr. Faust and Pseudonym, I keep the standard 11-card deck of Allies in the card holder and the balance of the cards near Ma's Boarding House.  You may always may take the Ally, like Ruby Standish lurking around the Silver Twilight Lodge if she's available.  When the Terror Level goes up, one Ally from the card holder and two Allies from the deck by Ma's Boarding House are returned to the box.


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#7 Dr.Faust

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 04:46 PM

Neat alternative. Do you remove one card from the in-play ally deck if you do find the required ally among those not in play? And do you stop searching if/when the 11 card deck has been expired (i.e. 11 allies in play or "removed from the game")?

 

On a side note, players are permitted to see the 11 allies that will be in play before starting the game, so your step of trying to avoid searching through the in-play deck seems unnecessary.

 

Didnt know the bit about being able to see the Ally deck--I like the mystery of the draw but if I get to freely pick who I get... -eyes Pickman-

 

As for my methods, basically when the Terror level increases, I discard from the actual Ma's Boarding House deck. Never am I allowed to select from the other cards on my own, so they don't get used unless specified by an encounter--this also means they  are always 'available' even if the Terror Level is at maximum, though the only way to access them, again, is by getting their encounter and passing.

 

If one from the 'Extras' deck is used or discarded they ARE sent to the box, like any other used/discarded Ally and THEN become unavailable, even through the power of Encounter.

 

As for removing cards when one is taken from the Extras, no, I leave the Boarding House deck alone. Essentially, they are the 'always buyable' so I see no reason to detract from that section just because an encounter says a character not in the deck is in town. Thematically, it makes sense:

 

Pickman may not be staying in Ma's Boarding House but that doesn't mean he couldn't be passing through Arkham to hit up the cemetery with his ghouls buddies, you know?


Edited by Dr.Faust, 20 February 2014 - 04:47 PM.

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#8 DaddyHawk

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:16 PM

Didnt know the bit about being able to see the Ally deck--I like the mystery of the draw but if I get to freely pick who I get... -eyes Pickman-

 
Lol...but not quite. The 11 are selected at random, but players are allowed to know which ones will be in the ally deck: 
From the Determine Allies rule: "...only 11 total Allies should be used in each game. When preparing the Ally deck, shuffle it and deal out 11 cards faceup... Players may examine the allies to see which ones will appear. Then turn the Ally cards facedown and shuffle them again."
 

As for removing cards when one is taken from the Extras, no, I leave the Boarding House deck alone. Essentially, they are the 'always buyable' so I see no reason to detract from that section just because an encounter says a character not in the deck is in town. Thematically, it makes sense:
 
Pickman may not be staying in Ma's Boarding House but that doesn't mean he couldn't be passing through Arkham to hit up the cemetery with his ghouls buddies, you know?

 
I like your reasoning: 11 are essentially living in Arkham, and the others are visiting occasionally. My comment/criticism/feedback is that when the terror level increases, only one potential ally becomes unavailable, but many others remain, and many still remain available after the terror level reaches 10.
 
I believe that the base game having exactly 11 allies was no accident: remove one from the game per level of the terror track, with only one remaining after TL10. This adds an additional significant consequence for each point the TL rises. By adding allies from expansions to the ally deck, the consequence becomes less significant, therefore the "determine allies" rule was added. I do like the idea of not removing some allies from the game before you even start, but there needs to be a way to add this significance back into removing allies from the game as the TL rises. Pseudonym and The Prof came up with a solution that works and keeps it fairly simple.

 

Something to think about: by having other allies available in an Extra deck, when given the opportunity to choose an ally, you potentially have more options than in an other game that stuck to the "determine allies" rule. (As an example, let's say there are 4 allies currently held by players, all taken through encounters from the Extra ally deck. You then buy one from Ma's. You still have a choice of 11 instead of what should be 7.) Additionally, you have the possiblity (though remote) of having more than 11 allies in play at the same time. One could argue this makes the game easier ;)



#9 Dr.Faust

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 08:16 PM

Erm, Hi, my name is Faust. I don't think we've met, Hawk. I'm the guy who DOESN'T like losing to the game. Pleasure to meet you! :P


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