And we won both times. The first game, four Investigators, took six hours. It got smoother as we went along, and my guys grasped the mechanics pretty quickly. The second game, with six Investigators, took three. I didn't run an Investigator, I just called out the mechanics and shuffled.
I don't think we did anything egregiously wrong, and I've found some things that do need to be tweaked for next time. I think we hit on some simple strategies that paid off. People chose jobs of Monster Killers or Gate Closers, and actually didn't get in the way of each other--nobody took clues if they weren't near five, left them for the Investigators that had plenty. People with money high-tailed it to the Curiosilty Shoppe. Both games had a deputy running pell mell dispensing hard justice. Without knowing the percentages (brought up by Full Doom Track a few days ago) we'd sealed the right gates early, and that counted a lot in our favor. We never had a rumor that made us groan. The Professor would just eat a horror roll like it was a side item with his Chinese at the food court.
I think my favorite part was the Professor, fully deputised and swinging a sword, waltzing out repeatedly to take down the Horrible Experiment stack at Miskatonic University.
The first game felt like an achievement, considering the reputation the game has. We had Azathoth so I didn't have to learn Final Battle stuff yet. The second game, everyone agreed that the cards were kind. Ithaqua was AO, but a couple of times we had police sweeps and at times, literally no monsters on the board. I forgot to release two monsters per gate, but they'd have been picked up by the Mythos cards.
I do have some questions: I've hurt my brain looking at dates on documents and links, because I've seen both ways of this. Do Blessings have an upkeep roll? I'm assuming Cursed would have the same answer.
I reshuffled everything, everytime. Was there anything I should've NOT reshuffled? I read somehwere about Unique Items going to the bottom of the deck and that implies to me NOT shuffling that stack.
Online, I've found Tibs's Unofficial Changes and I like the idea of going to eight sealed gates. If we win a third time against an AO that really changes the game (Cthulhu, Hastur), I may do that. I can't get an expansion yet, but I found someone's mods to bring gate burts, etc. into the core game. So I may look into that as well. Right now, by hitting the right strategies, my palyers don't think the game is easy, but they do think it's straightforward.