Yesterday, I played my first game using the DP Herald with AH + CotDP and Azathoth as the AO.
The game was really exciting but took me almost 6 hours to finish and went over 20 rounds.
I was quite lucky to draw several good investigators: Joe Diamond, Mandy, Gloria, and Ashcan Pete. It started reasonably well and I was able to seal two high-frequency gates early in the game (using one Elder Sign). I was less lucky with my early monster draws, many of them being too tough to take on until late in the game.
This is where I noticed one aspect of the DP Herald I hadn't realized when initially skimming over its abilities:
Trading Unique Items seems to be quite a bad idea, since gaining one causes sanity loss every time! Did I interpret this correctly?
So, I was reluctant to make any trades ending up with a pretty suboptimal item distribution.
Then the first rumour hit: The Terrible Experiment. While Joe and Pete fought this flood of monsters, several monster floods occurred at the Unvisited Isle. The terror level started to rise. When I managed to win the rumour after four turns, the boost from the new skills was very welcome.
That was when I noticed a second interesting aspect of the DP Herald:
When Gloria got cursed because of an Arkham Encounter, she only had one Health left, so she became unconscious at the start of the next upkeep phase and was transferred to the hospital. Apparently, as long as she was cursed, there was absolutely no chance to regain consciousness, since she could no longer have any encounters. Is that correct?
So, I went to the Church praying for her (i.e. gaining a blessing) to wake up. I guess I should call myself lucky because I only found a single Exhibit in the game (which promptly caused Joe to get cursed).
The real fun started, though, when I got the next rumour: Disturbing the Dead. Since I had traded my gate markers to help cursed investigators, it took me too long to close another two gates before the rumour reached its conclusion (aided by several monster floods), cursing everyone. Gloria again ended up in a coma at the hospital, but at least by then I had collected enough monster trophies to remove the curses.
I almost lost at this point because with the monster limit gone, first three maniacs escaped from the Asylum, then the turn after I had another monster flood, letting loose a total of 13 monsters in Arkham - one less than double the monster limit! Luckily this was caused by the Manhunt in Arkham!, so the net effect was that more monsters disappeared.
At that point I had sealed five gates, the doom track was at 10 and Mandy entered the gate to Yuggoth when the Mi-Go saved the world from annihilation by making her immortal. While her body was devoured, she closed and sealed the gate as a parting gift to her mortal fellow investigators.
In this game I had drawn a total of four rumours, had six monster floods, a gate would have turned up six times on the Uninvited isle and one investigator became Harried for the first time. Pete joined the Silver Twilight Lodge but was unable to ever make use of it. The Dark Pharaoh Mask turned up once but was immediately sent to the Outskirts.
In the end it was really sheer luck that allowed me to win. This was definitely a lot more difficult than I initially expected.
Next I'll try to beat Yog-Sothoth with the DP Herald.