Are we supposed to use all the expansions everytime we play? We tried the first scenario Saturday night with just the base game, and were drawing vampires left and right, plus got hit with the terrible experiment on the 5th mythos, and 3 monster surges in that time as well (it was ugly, and the game beat us pretty quickly after that). I'm trying to figure out if a) we should have all that other stuff taking place Innsmouth, KiY, Pahroah's Curse while trying to deal witht he scourge of the vampires. Also, are we using personal stories every game too? We didn't play with them originally, but looking over the original league rules it looks like they are allowed.
FYI, it was an 8 player game, so the terror level was ramping up quickly as well. At one point half of us were at St. Mary's Hospital, and John Legrasse was our first investigator to run away (damn him!)But between Zoey and Amanda my wife and I were able to take down 9 monsters from the first monster surge, including 2 zombies, 2 vampire cultists, a Dhole and a chtonian. Too bad we blew all of our karma on the second turn of the game.
Yes. You're supposed to use all expansions and all components except for the Kingsport Board components (i.e. the Kingsport Board, encounters *in* Kingsport, mythos cards from Kingsport, and Other World Encounters from Kingsport— all other Kingsport components should be used). If you want, you can use less (but you'll be doing so at your own peril). Your monster cup was probably too thick with undead and cultists. Adding in the other expansion monsters will dilute this to a certain extent (and you'll *definitely* have fewer undead to deal with).
I actually like Terrible Experiment (usually)... It's an easy way of getting monster trophies, plus it's a good rumor shield.
I don't really understand how you had half your team in the hospital (I hope you weren't charging at Dracula).
I blew through the first scenario pretty easily with a five investigator team. Hrm... I have *no* idea why you picked Amanda ;'D she's pretty much in all the investigator pools as cannon fodder. Eight player team, ey? Hoo... Well... You should be playing two extra boards, so it should only count as seven players ;') that gives you a *little* terror buffer. Plus DH/IH allows you to have an extra gate on the board (if you still have problems controlling the gates, you could always hold on to Fire of Asshurbanipal after you come across it— although personally that wouldn't be an item of choice for me, but, I am playing smaller teams— I'm trying to play five player minimum so I have an understanding of what larger teams are going through— I don't think smaller teams will be able to beat many of these scenarios, but that's fine— after all :') I built these with the understanding that team size could be grown and shrunk).
Eight player teams will be a bit difficult at times, but it was my opinion (and still is) that high number of investigator teams make for an easier game if played properly (gate blitzing and proper resource sharing and acquisition) than low number teams. An eight player team can be a bit punishing in case of an error or really bad luck, but, um, just send a kamikazee mission (a well equipped fighter) onto an early game gate surge (if there's only one or two gates open when it happens). You can even deliberately let the last monster knock you out if you don't want to get sucked into the gate (just don't use your weapons against it— I'd actually probably advise against kamikaze tactics (if you think you can get by a stack)— it'd probably be better to give Norman Withers the Elder Sign, try to take out either the three stack or the four stack (if the stack split, which is far more likely)— whatever you think him capable of, then have him Find Gate out the next turn and use his built in greater banishment to slice off some of the remaining monsters). Heh... Speaking of kamikaze, last game I actually pulled off a Flute of the Outer Gods/Milk of Shub combo (I bought Flute because I thought it might potentially come in handy, and I had enough characters that money wasn't an issue— I was *so* glad when I got milk, the terror level was at five). Last game (scenario two) was a desperate struggle (you'll see tomorrow, scenario three will be difficult, but, not tense in quite the same way as scenario two— it won't crush you for making a certain kind of mistake). And... Well... You'll see. I was so desperate to finish scenario two, I allowed one of my investigators carrying an item I wanted to carry to the next scenario to be devoured to seal a gate with an Elder Sign (he was at 1 stam 1 san).
I'm going to give you a strategy tip on team selection below, so, please ignore it if you don't want to read it. And tucked away in the center paragraph I'm going to give a hint about how to deal with Dracula (if you haven't figured it out yet).
Wendy, William, Norman, and Zoey start with 3+ clues (and an elder sign). That's nearly enough to seal most of your gates from the start. Jacqueline is a great game controller (she'd definitely be essential for an eight player team— and in my opinion, any team larger than three, i.e. any team that would be very unlikely to win by final combat). Mary, is, well, Mary :') and Carolyn and Dexter pair together pretty well (since Dexter can dump his spells over to her, and potentially become a great spell caster as well). I can't say for certain yet whether this is the best eight player team for the first five scenarios, but, just for the first scenario, I'd say these are the best characters. Gloria's good, but, she's not quite good enough (although I *might* consider swapping her with Dexter since her stats are a little more fit for fighting (she essentially has two more points than him there, but being able to start with a guaranteed shrivelling can really come in handy). It would depend on the scenario I think. Hrm... Now I'm not sure anymore ;'D But I do know I probably wouldn't play Diana with an eight player team (too hard to control the terror track so that she'll only get five or six clues from it, but not ten, and other than that, she's not so great without a dragon's eye) unless I was willing to orient the team around her Mole ability. Twilight Darrell :')
You can dodge Dracula with Wendy, or a Patrol Wagon if you're willing to devote one investigator to the task. It's not the most glamorous job, but it significantly reduces his threat. If Wendy does it, you can theoretically arm her properly and have her do some street sweeping as well (although that could be a bit difficult since there are no cultists or maniacs— she'd need crosses or an ally). Normally I'd just have her squat (but since I assume you have eight live players, that might be a bit dull, so a sub-optimal strategy, but more sociable strategy would be giving her Mary's and Zoey's crosses, and two +4 (or ideally some X handed weapon, or a bullwhip, or a +5 reloadable weapon). Of course, once you have her bring down Dracula from the sky, you don't have to worry about him flying down on anyone else until he moves twice more. So ::shrug::
But yeah. Amanda? No ;') Play her if you *have* to (as a devouring replacement character), but don't *pick* Amanda ;') I included her in the investigator pool for her weakness, not for her strength. ::Shrug:: I can't honestly say I'm certain this will *always* be true (since Lola won't be available until the fourth segment of the scenarios). It's possible I missed something in the scenario designs (and you should definitely consider if she'd be appropriate for one or the other) buuuut, I generally just considered her as cannon fodder...
I need to spend all of tomorrow working on my portfolio (what I should be doing now instead of this— well, that or sleeping). I will post the scenario on Friday (or possibly very late Thursday night).