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"It means 'infinite', fool!" (Session Report)


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#1 Nun of your business

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 05:19 AM

So… we went a little crazy, as a group, and decided to merge our funds and make our lives a little more difficult. Given that our local game shop was having a 20-50% sale on board games, we grabbed Dunwich Horror and Curse of the Dark Pharaoh on the recommendations of pretty much everyone here. Thanks a lot, guys. :P

Scampering back to our usual local, three of us decided we would press forth with the so-called horror in Dunwich, and also test the mettle of this “Pharaoh” person, of whom we had heard so much.

Sadly enough, neither of these expansions played much of a part in our complete and utter annihilation.

Things started off well enough, and after a cursory overview of the AH for our new player and a slightly more in-depth reading of the new stuff, we decided to maybe not have Nyarlathotep’s Avatar in the mix right off the bat, as we were already dealing with a bunch of new stuff to keep track of. (Yes, yes, we were big sissy scaredy-cats). We were kind of enchanted by the Ancient Whispers mechanic, though, but only one of our 6 encounters ended in a successful yoinking of an exhibit item (Tablet of Bast).

I thought it might be fun to try all new investigators, but since one of us there hadn’t played yet, we mixed everybody into the loop. I pulled Mandy “Honey, Your Top Button’s Come Undone” Thompson, and my friends got Kate Winthrop and Rita Young. I can count on two fingers the amount of times I remembered to use Mandy’s special ability. Grrrrr.

So, the big bad of our session was Azathoth. We pulled his card, and our newbie friend Gavin (Kate W), who had been going through the cards playing “spell-checker” (really, Mr. Wilson Richards? You own a “mororcycle”?) laughed and said: “Look, they even printed the ‘8’ sideways on its combat rating…” *reads a little more* “Son of a monkey!”

So, no fooling around with this guy. Seal gates and ensure he doesn’t wake up because we were all addicted to the breathing thing.

Only we did fool around, a bit. We pulled some lucky encounters (3 clue tokens? Thank you!) and items (two Elder signs? Unheard of!), and got four awesome seals in early, and then made something of a game (ha!) of tracking down the Ancient Whispers token, trying to see who would rustle up an exhibit item first. Surprisingly tricky, those encounters…

We drew an encounter that placed a patrol token in the Rivertown streets and I got myself arrested there by failing my sneak check (Mandy? Remember your special ability? No?). A few turns later, a Rat-Thing wandered into the same neighborhood.

Gavin: What happens to the monster?
Me: Um…*reads through rules* Nothing? Apparently?
Gavin: I don’t buy it. They’ll arrest you but they’ll give the giant rat-monster a free pass?
Amy: Good evening, Mr. horrible rat-thing! Off the general store are you? Certainly you’ll be wanting some fine cheese. Off with you then, you rapscallion!
Me: Yeah, it does seem a little weird…
Gavin: Patrols kill monsters. All those in favor? *raises hand*
Amy: Aye! *raises hand*
Gavin: So moved.

The patrol killed off 5 monsters before the terror level changed. We’re looking in on that house rule. (I really think it all started because Gavin saw a way to kill off the rat thing without losing his sword, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Anyway, we turned in the Strangler after losing one ally (Duke! No! [I was loathe to use up my five tokens, but we were already at 5 sealed gates, doom track of 6, terror level of 1, and only 4 gates open]), and we had Dunwich pretty much under wraps. The silly place had three sealed gates, and the Dunwich track only had one token on it. After reading the Dunwich Horror cards, Amy was insistent that we keep that village clean, so that young Mr. Whateley never had a chance to rear his ugly, um, head. (The whippoorwill Mythos card was a nice touch, FFG game designers! Kudos!)

We had decided to keep the Pharaoh and Dunwich Mythos cards in their own separate pile (same with the OW encounters), and rolled a d6 when we drew them. 4-6 we pulled one of the new cards, 1-3 the original AH cards. It seemed to split them up pretty evenly and then it was less separation when we cleaned up.

So, 5 sealed gates, Rita well on her way to sealing the sixth, and of course our old friend, the horrible and much discussed “No One Can Help You Now” shows up.

A few disastrous monster surges later and Rita (camping out at the Wizard Hill gate, desperately hoping for a change in the weather) is sent to St. Mary’s with some Hearing Loss (either that or a Back injury) and then three Gate bursts (Aha! Forgot about that possiblity, did you investigators?) later we’ve lost the game as the seventh gate opened.

And I looked, and beheld a pale horse: and his name that sat upon him was Azathoth, and Hell followed after him.

A great disappointment.

I would have really liked a win to be our introduction to Dunwich and the Pharaoh, or at least one of those expansions to be the cause of our doom, but that @%$! “NOCHYN” card just did us in.

Still, I’m excited to get a chance to interact with both expansions again, and soon! Thanks so much for the suggestion, guys!
 



#2 Tibs

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 02:46 PM

Woof… leaving out the Dark Pharaoh herald was a good idea for a first-time Dark Pharaoh game… but you shouldn't have used any expansions at all if you were showing the game to a newbie! Expansions add too much stuff. Better not to inundate them with all that.

Azathoth was probably a good AO to counter that, since he is simplest to play.

And nope, the monsters find some way to hide from neighborhood patrol. The two tokens do not interact, whatsoever. Your sword was indeed at risk.

Nun of your business said:

So, the big bad of our session was Azathoth. We pulled his card, and our newbie friend Gavin (Kate W), who had been going through the cards playing “spell-checker” (really, Mr. Wilson Richards? You own a “mororcycle”?) laughed and said: “Look, they even printed the ‘8’ sideways on its combat rating…” *reads a little more* “Son of a monkey!”

Yyyyyep. Also, good to know about that "mororcycle" misprint. That's another shred of evidence for the "next-to-finished" accidental reprint made on Dunwich.



#3 Nun of your business

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 06:16 PM

Tibs said:

 

Woof… leaving out the Dark Pharaoh herald was a good idea for a first-time Dark Pharaoh game… but you shouldn't have used any expansions at all if you were showing the game to a newbie! Expansions add too much stuff. Better not to inundate them with all that.

 

That's very sound advice, but our Gavin has been one of our DMs on and off for the last few years, so we were pretty sure he could handle it. :P Still, I was so worried about helping folks suss out their own stuff, I pretty much forgot about Mandy's special abilities. I think if I had actually been on my game, we might have squeaked through with a win.

C'est la mort.

 

Tibs said:


 
And nope, the monsters find some way to hide from neighborhood patrol. The two tokens do not interact, whatsoever. Your sword was indeed at risk.
 
 

 

 

That was what I could make out from the rule sheet, but Gavin, veteran DM that he is, seems to have the same disease I was (am?) suffering from when I first started. I even argued that the monsters maybe had a way to hide from the patrol, as suggested (The investigators are maybe touched by the otherworldly in a way that the common men of the patrols aren't? They can't make the same connection that the investigators can?), but he pooh-pooh'd that idea, saying that if you dodged the patrol on a street with the monster, but then didn't evade the monster (or didn't wish to), you'd still have to fight it  with the patrol standing by, smoking and taking bets.

We talked about it at our Pathfinder game tonight and he suggested the following, as he figured the patrol killing off all the monsters was too great of an advantage for the investigators:

"Monsters that move into a street containing a patrol token are returned to the cup. The patrol token itself is then removed from the board as if the terror track had increased by one, as the encounter has convinced the vigilantes that the investigators are actually on to something."

He said that felt better to him, thematically, and didn't give the huge advantage to the investigators that having a Patrol token automatically remove all monsters that moved into them from the board did.

I dunno. Does this seem like it's too far removed from the intent of the Pharaoh's designers? I don't have any problem playing as rules are stated, but if he's playing, I wouldn't be adverse to using this as a variant. I think AH is super fun as a solo game, but I find it infinitely more enjoyable playing with others, so I'll gladly concede this to have another warm body at the table.

Thanks so much for responding, Tibs!

 

 

 

 

 



#4 jgt7771

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:27 AM

“We’ve got to catch this guy! I will not have my streets paved the corpses of strangled puppies, dammit!”

Great story! Next time, shuffle your Mythos deck for a half hour, so all those Gate Bursts don’t end up together. Very pleased that Rita had a chance to use her Special Ability, even though things have to SUCK to get to that point. I like that Amy felt the compulsion to keep the village clear: my hero!

Dunwich likes and dislikes?

As you may have already read, I’m a confirmed one-big-one-small expansion player. Without adding anything else, DH-DP games could sustain you for months while your wallet recovers in the Asylum. (Although I do agree with Tibs that a few DH-alone and DP-alone games are a good idea, just to get that pure undiluted experience.)

Mandy having an off day? First time I ever played Monterey Jack, I kept forgetting to draw extra cards! Eh, not your fault…the Nuclear Chaos was in yer head.

Advice: the first time you play with a Herald, play with the King in Yellow, if you can. He makes the best first impression of Heralds. Of all the Heralds available, he’s still the most interesting and fun without being an unreasonable brute. It takes a real masochist to appreciate the Dark Pharaoh Herald. (I can’t stand him, and refuse to play with him.)

I could understand an angry mob of the Neighborhood Watch stomping down a Rat-Thing, but pitchforking a Dhole or the Flying Polyp? Not a chance in hell. Kudos to Gavin for his clever negotiating, but THIS…IS…ARKHAM!!! (I am amused that your revised House Rule makes the Patrols act very much like the Agents from the Feds Institution in Miskatonic Horror. Did Jacqueline the Psychic help you come up with that?)

Free cheeseburger for the use of “yoinking”!
 


What was that noise?

#5 Nun of your business

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:23 AM

jgt7771 said:

“We’ve got to catch this guy! I will not have my streets paved the corpses of strangled puppies, dammit!”

Great story! Next time, shuffle your Mythos deck for a half hour, so all those Gate Bursts don’t end up together. Very pleased that Rita had a chance to use her Special Ability, even though things have to SUCK to get to that point. I like that Amy felt the compulsion to keep the village clear: my hero!  

Thank you! I may have lifted a page or two from your reporting style. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

And Amy's kind of my hero, too. She had poor Rita using up more dollars on that train to get those Wizard Hill monsters than we spent on dinner that night.

Still, I kinda had this morbid urge to let just two more beasties hit the vortices just see Elephant-wormball Whateley show up. I was just so darned curious!  :P

jgt7771 said:


Dunwich likes and dislikes?

Hmmm… having played only one game with the Dunwich expansion I don't cojure I have a fantastic feel for it yet. I will say that I think the Madness and Injury cards are a fantastic addition (although Ames simply refused to touch them at first, even given Rita's ability.  When she finally thought about all the good gear she had, though [a max 6 speed and a mororcyle?] she relented).

I was excited to see Carcosa show up (I always hear Neil Gaiman saying it, as per his "A Study in Emerald". Yeeee!), as well as Another Time. I was hoping to see some OW Encounter cards specific to time travel, but if they existed, we didn't see them. :(

A few of the Mythos cards that popped up that were Dunwich specific were also fun call-backs to the story.

I think you and Tibs do have a point, though. Less for confusion's sake, and more for a "richer" Dunwich or Pharaoh experience, we should have just limited ourselves to one of them. (But we had them BOTH! And we were weak.) There were so many cards and mechanics we didn't really get to use. Nobody drew a task or a mission, none of us recieved a benefit card, we hardly saw any of the Pharaoh accoutrement. Nobnody even had a chance to join those crazy woods bandits. (Although, ha ha! I got arrested by a patrol!)

So yeah, kinda the same complaint I had with the base game: I spend so much time having to kill monsters and close gates, I never get to go any place nice anymore! 

jgt7771 said:


 

Advice: the first time you play with a Herald, play with the King in Yellow, if you can. He makes the best first impression of Heralds. Of all the Heralds available, he’s still the most interesting and fun without being an unreasonable brute. It takes a real masochist to appreciate the Dark Pharaoh Herald. (I can’t stand him, and refuse to play with him.)

Thanks! I'll definitely keep that in mind. (Gavin has a tendency to like to make things hard for himself. I think it was almost better for him that the Big A won the first game. Now it's personal!)

jgt7771 said:


I could understand an angry mob of the Neighborhood Watch stomping down a Rat-Thing, but pitchforking a Dhole or the Flying Polyp? Not a chance in hell. Kudos to Gavin for his clever negotiating, but THIS…IS…ARKHAM!!! (I am amused that your revised House Rule makes the Patrols act very much like the Agents from the Feds Institution in Miskatonic Horror. Did Jacqueline the Psychic help you come up with that?)

There may have been a hotline called. :P

We're still kind of working our way through the rules and the game and the strategies and the terror. We've always been a very "house rule-y" group with our RPGs, but I don't know how well that will tranlaste into our AH experience, or even how necessary it is in the first place. People here have already helped me curb my RPG tendencies, or rather, for accuracy's sake, redirect them, and I'm pretty sure that's the side of the fence we'll end on; keeping the rules "as is" and just having a fun time inventing the why. 

And thanks so much for the hamburger! And the response! :)
 



#6 Walk

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:30 AM

jgt7771: You took the words out of my mouth on the Feds, although I would like to point out that the suggested house rule actually makes the Patrols more effective than the Feds (how those knucleheads ever manage to take on the Deep Ones, I have no idea….).  Also, since it's the latest print of Dunwich we're dealing with, Jacqueline is technically a phychic, not a psychic.



#7 Nun of your business

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:28 AM

Just out of curiosity, what do the feds do? (In Arkham Horror, of course. Everyone knows in real life the Feds run around covering up extra-terrestrial encounters and putting fluoride in ice cream sundaes.)



#8 Tox

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:34 AM

Nun of your business said:

Just out of curiosity, what do the feds do? (In Arkham Horror, of course. Everyone knows in real life the Feds run around covering up extra-terrestrial encounters and putting fluoride in ice cream sundaes.)

 

Players can spend something (clues, I think) to put Fed tokens down on the board. More than one token can be on the same space. If a monster moves into that space, if its toughness is equal or less than the number of Fed tokens, you remove the monster and a number of Fed tokens equal to its toughness. If its toughness is higher than the number of Fed tokens, you feed the monster the Fed tokens :P

Yeah, Feds kinda suck when on the board..,



#9 Nun of your business

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:59 AM

Tox said:

Nun of your business said:

 

Just out of curiosity, what do the feds do? (In Arkham Horror, of course. Everyone knows in real life the Feds run around covering up extra-terrestrial encounters and putting fluoride in ice cream sundaes.)

 

 

 

Players can spend something (clues, I think) to put Fed tokens down on the board. More than one token can be on the same space. If a monster moves into that space, if its toughness is equal or less than the number of Fed tokens, you remove the monster and a number of Fed tokens equal to its toughness. If its toughness is higher than the number of Fed tokens, you feed the monster the Fed tokens :P

Yeah, Feds kinda suck when on the board..,

LOL!  Thank you for explaining, Tox!

Seeing the way that the Feds work, I'd definitely say that the house ruling is overpowered. I'll pass that along to my fellow investigators when next I see them. I think we'd all be happier to preserve game balance, even at the expense of something not being "quite right" thematically.

I now have a little song running through my head, and the lyrics are something about feeding feds to Elder Things.






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