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CRITICISMS AND HOUSE RULES/FIXES


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#1 Pulsar

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:12 AM

I would love to hear what criticisms and fixes/house rules people have come up with for this game, especially who have played this game a dozen times or so.

Please include manners and courtesies of game play (such as announcing turns, placement of tokens in certain ways, etc.) that clarify game play or make certain rules easier to follow.



#2 Tibs

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:17 AM

One of my criticisms is that deliberately corralling the game into final combat is too easy to do. The expansions do a bit to fix this (particularly Kingsport and Innsmouth), but I use house-rules that make final combat more difficult when there are fewer seals on the board when the AO awakens. Any rule that puts off gearing up until the last few turns is one I'm interested in.

Another criticism is that certain expansion mechanics get diluted when too many mechanics are combined.

Finally, I'm working on a variant that restricts certain investigators from receiving certain items, skills, and relationship cards at the start of the game. Essentially, investigators won't receive cards that are thematically dissonant with their character profile.



#3 Julia

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 11:07 AM

Tibs said:

Finally, I'm working on a variant that restricts certain investigators from receiving certain items, skills, and relationship cards at the start of the game. Essentially, investigators won't receive cards that are thematically dissonant with their character profile.

Just a curiosity of mine: will Mary be allowed to read only King James' bible?


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#4 avec

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 11:37 AM

Our group loves having encounters. We introduced several house rules so we'd have the opportunity to get a wide variety of encounters each game.

We changed the Admin Bldg and the Magick Shoppe so you can draw three cards instead of two.  It brings them more in line with the Curiositie Shoppe and the General Store.  

We changed River Docks so you spend 3 toughness of trophies to receive $4.  The thinking is that anyone with 5 toughness of trophies will always go to the Science Bldg.  But if you only have 3 toughness of trophies, you might not anticipate getting two more.  In that case, the River Docks becomes a reasonable option.  

We gave Velma's Diner a special ability where you can spend $2 to gain 1 Stamina or 1 Sanity.  You can do this up to 3 times per turn (i.e., spend up to $6 to recover 3 Sta or San, split however you like).  Often, people need both San and Stamina, so the Diner occasionally serves a purpose.  To balance it out, it works less efficiently than either the Hospital or the Asylum (where $2 restores you to full).

We also have people draw an encounter card and use a location's special ability.  However, when an encounter is redundant with the special ability (for example, a sale takes place at the Curiositie Shop), the player must choose between having the encounter and using the special ability.  Also, you can't use the special ability if you get delayed, or if the encounter says that the location is temporarily closed (e.g., the Shop is closed, or Sherriff Engle is not at the Police Station).  Just for fun, we also said that you cannot become Deputy if the encounter implies that Sherriff Engle doesn't trust you.  You have to wait and draw again next turn.  Also, some encounters move you to the street, which means you can't use the special ability.  

Each Other World has only one area.  During the Encounters Phase, you must survive three encounters in a row with no Upkeep Phase between them.  You are at -1 to all skill checks while in another world.  Also, you can have at most one green encounter per turn.

Having the extra encounters does slow things down a little, but it doesn't make the game any easier.  And like I said, a good encounter is lots of fun.  



#5 Avi_dreader

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 11:47 AM

Tibs said:

 

Finally, I'm working on a variant that restricts certain investigators from receiving certain items, skills, and relationship cards at the start of the game. Essentially, investigators won't receive cards that are thematically dissonant with their character profile.

 

 

Ooo...  That sounds kind of fun.  Or you could just play around with random vs. fixed items for characters.  It'd be really cool if starting equipment suited investigators even more.



#6 Tibs

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 12:10 PM

Well I'd prefer not to mess around with with the investigator sheets. Plus, "fixed" means a specific item, rather than a narrow group. "Semi-random" might be more appropriate.

Here are the investigators who can start with the King James Bible:

  • Amanda Sharpe
  • Bob Jenkins
  • Vincent Lee
  • Jim Culver
  • Rita Young
  • Daisy Walker
  • Agnes Baker
  • George Barnaby
  • Hank Samson
  • Norman Withers
  • Roland Banks
  • Tommy Muldoon
  • Anne Sanders
  • Cindy Taylor
  • Paul Johnson
  • Paula Shier

Sister Mary is not on the list because she does not start with any random common items.



#7 avec

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 12:11 PM

Avi_dreader said:

 

Tibs said:

 

Finally, I'm working on a variant that restricts certain investigators from receiving certain items, skills, and relationship cards at the start of the game. Essentially, investigators won't receive cards that are thematically dissonant with their character profile.

 

 

Ooo...  That sounds kind of fun.  Or you could just play around with random vs. fixed items for characters.  It'd be really cool if starting equipment suited investigators even more.

 

 

I suppose you could let investigators trade items of the same type before the game begins.  That is, two investigators could agree to swap a common item for a common item, or a skill for a skill, etc.  You'd have to agree to do it for thematic reasons, not tactics.  

You could also say that they can't swap fixed starting possessions.



#8 luckycharms94

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:10 PM

One of my biggest problems with the game is how easy vanilla Arkham Horror is. While it may seem rather difficult at first, it got very easy for me very quickly. The only way to improve the difficulty was A) use house rules or B) buy an expansion (which is what i did).

Another thing is that in some situations, the game really drags. In AH, there are 3 main things to do: 1. Pick up clues, 2. Close gates, 3. Kill monsters. When there are an absence of these things (it happens more often then you think, with one new gate/clue/monster a turn and several investigators to handle them), there's really nothing to do except wander around listlessly, hoping for an interesting encounter. However, this usually only happens with vanilla AH, expansions get pretty hectic.

A third thing that bothered me initially was the fact that luck is a major game mechanic. I'm a big fan of tactical, strategic, war games (War of the Ring FTW) where  you win if you're good and you lose if you're bad. Here, you could be a gunslinging spell-wielding monster-crushing badass who has taken some heavy damage from a shoggoth and your down to one stamina. You decide to hide out in Velmas Diner, draw an encounter, and BAM your grizzled veteran monster killer gets sick from some food poisoning, loses a stamina, goes unconscious, and loses half his possessions.

 

 

 

 


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#9 avec

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:16 PM

luckycharms94 said:

A third thing that bothered me initially was the fact that luck is a major game mechanic. I'm a big fan of tactical, strategic, war games (War of the Ring FTW) where  you win if you're good and you lose if you're bad. Here, you could be a gunslinging spell-wielding monster-crushing badass who has taken some heavy damage from a shoggoth and your down to one stamina. You decide to hide out in Velmas Diner, draw an encounter, and BAM your grizzled veteran monster killer gets sick from some food poisoning, loses a stamina, goes unconscious, and loses half his possessions.

The same is true of blackjack and poker.  On one hand, it's all just luck of the draw.  Even so, good players tend to win more often.  You learn to play the odds.



#10 Avi_dreader

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 04:41 AM

luckycharms94 said:

A third thing that bothered me initially was the fact that luck is a major game mechanic. I'm a big fan of tactical, strategic, war games (War of the Ring FTW) where  you win if you're good and you lose if you're bad. Here, you could be a gunslinging spell-wielding monster-crushing badass who has taken some heavy damage from a shoggoth and your down to one stamina. You decide to hide out in Velmas Diner, draw an encounter, and BAM your grizzled veteran monster killer gets sick from some food poisoning, loses a stamina, goes unconscious, and loses half his possessions.

I don't view luck as a major game mechanic.  I view risk management as a major game mechanic.  The difference is consistently winning or consistently losing ;')



#11 avec

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 05:55 AM

If you haven't checked out Pulsar's posting history, you may want to

Avi - risk=luck and both can be managed



#12 Krawhitham

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:00 AM

Pulsar said:

I would love to hear what criticisms and fixes/house rules people have come up with for this game

Right, trying to get this back on topic :P

First off, here are some suggested house rules from Richard Launius, game designer: 

http://new.fantasyfl...se Rules RL.pdf

Here are the House Rules that I play with (concocted through reading the boards and through playing the game under the influence of several whiskey cards):

At the start of the game each investigator has an encounter at their starting location. This is aimed at increasing the number of Arkham encounters a player will have during a game (because once gates open & monsters are rampaging you spend more time on those than anything. Skills sliders are set before the encounter, but are not adjusted after the first mythos card.

Sister Mary's Blessing: Sister Mary can use clue tokens to re-roll the dice when she loses her blessing. She start with no clue tokens and is no fun to play if she loses her blessing early on.

Curses: Instead of rolling a 1 to get rid of curses in the upkeep phase, the player needs to roll a 6. No actual difference to the game with this one, but it just 'feels right' that the only way to rid yourself of a curse is to suceed via rolling a 6.

Whenever there is an encounter/event where the text is open to interpretation (so basically every game), try to work out what the game intended to happen and don't try to exploit every situation to make it easier for yourselves. If there is no logical/thematic outcome then simply decide what the outcome should be and stick to it every time it happens.

Winning is only worth it when it's a challenge - sometimes you will lose at this game.



#13 Pulsar

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:12 AM

Tibbs, I've imagined exactly that kind of streamlining (in your third point.)  Really glad you're experimenting with that.

Avec, indeed risk and luck are two sides of the same devil, mon ami, tu me regarde bien.   Consider however that my character allows me only to do that which is thematically in alignment with it.  Not that you'd disagree with this, but risk/luck management tactics without conduct based solely and realistically on theme lacks involvement, if not outright kills it, and does not a game make.



#14 avec

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:27 AM

Pulsar said:

Not that you'd disagree with this, but risk/luck management tactics without conduct based solely and realistically on theme lacks involvement, if not outright kills it, and does not a game make.

From what I've seen, it lots of games makes.  Poker and blackjack, not to mention most Euro games, where the theme is often added as an afterthought. 

Arkham Horror's theme is a big reason why it's great.  But most sessions of AH are too random to translate into good short stories.  Which is as it should be.  It's a board game, not a toolkit for creating short stories.  

By the way, why are you interested in discussing house rules for every single game that FFG makes?  Have you even played all those games?



#15 Tibs

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 11:07 AM

On the contrary: using Arkham's random independent occurrences can produce a great story if you use a little bit of artistic license.



#16 EcnoTheNeato

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 11:21 AM

I LIKE TO PLAY WITH A FREE-FORM MOVEMENT PHASE THAT ISN'T LIMITED TO "TURNS" STARTED BY THE FIRST PLAYER



#17 Avi_dreader

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 11:36 AM

avec said:

 

If you haven't checked out Pulsar's posting history, you may want to

Avi - risk=luck and both can be managed

 

 

Risk involves luck, but they aren't equivalent :') No one would ever say get that risky four leaf clover.  Ex-English Major Man strikes again, HUZZAH!

Yeah, I'm aware of Pulsar, but I don't really care.  It's an interesting thread.



#18 Pulsar

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 02:23 PM

Avec, we do disagree on what a game makes.  I meant a game that's intriguing to me.  Poker, backgammon, chess, these bore.  It's subjective.

 



#19 Pulsar

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 02:39 PM

Ah, okay, I see the problem.  My attempt to consolidate veteran players' assessments of unworkable rules in the same place, alongside their attempted fixes, is somehow not kosher.  And although fine veterans of specific games, such as yourselves, are using it for exactly what I intended, well-intended, a clear, purposed thread, even for games I've never played or are yet to be born—which would head off a lot of timewasting and confusion for players like me, searching the forums for exactly this information—is somehow not cool.

And I think I've figured out why.  While writing messages, my points here go up 5, or not at all,  But if I post a new thread in a new game, it goes up ten.  And because I must have nefariously joined this community just to crack what is, I must admit, a somewhat counterproductive point system (as it encourages more spread-out threads, the opposite of what needs to happen in these forums), I must be gaming the system.

Well thank you, Avi, I don't care either, and I'm really glad people are using the thread in games I'm interested in.  It's already helping me make decisions as to what to buy and what to wait on.  I think I'll bow out now, and just read.  Wait, right after I post something on the Collectors' page.



#20 Julia

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 02:46 PM

Avi_dreader said:

Risk involves luck, but they aren't equivalent :')

Risk involves luck, unless you start from Australia. Then it's pure math ::laughing::


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