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Too hard to win?


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#1 Kallabecca

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:32 PM

Just got into trying this game with a friend this past weekend and after 4 games we didn't win any. The first 3 we lost in each case because the number of gates that opened was too many (we were just running with 1 investigator each). The final game was far closer as the Old One woke up and we got it down to just 2 doom tokens before it devoured the party (running 2 investigators per player for a total of 4).

It seems that the gates open far too often and far too quickly for just 2 investigators to deal with as we couldn't get enough clue tokens fast enough to go into the gates and not just close them, but seal them up because gates would open and swallow the clue tokens or clues would spawn where open gates were and vanish.

The other problem we were having with just 2 investigators was that monsters were spawning too fast to be beaten down quick enough to avoid the outskirts from getting full and raising the Terror level. Which killed off allies from Ma's and shut down the item shops, not that we were getting any money to buy anything.

Any recommendations?



#2 CrusherJoe

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:58 PM

"You need more Investigators," will be the general consensus.  But I'm about where you are, with only a few more games played than you and we've YET to win one.  Legally.

We aren't strategizing like we should, and 'm realizing there are some go-to tips that any group should be utilizing.  I'll let others pop those in, since I'm still a little unsure on my feet.

I think four Investigators is minimum, so running two each without having to reach out to other flesh and blood human.



#3 The Professor

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:37 PM

First, "Wecome to the Carnival!" as we say around here.  Hopefully, you're enjoying the game, even if you haven't racked-up any wins, yet.  This game is all about the journey and not necessarily the destination.  Second, as to your question ~ "Too Hard to Win?"  The answer is 'no' but will take some time to get used to the board and the strategies for winning.  As you're playing with only the Arkham board (and no expansions) you want to focus on one thing, in multiple parts…grab clues, head for the gates, seal them when you return to Arkham.  

Now, too nuance that answer a bit more, I offer the following.  As CrusherJoe pointed out, you need to have more Investigators…I've played over 100 games and nearly all of them with 4 Investigators, whether with others or solo play.  You need a fair number to be able to cover the board, clear monsters, if necessary, and keep them moving in, through, and out of the gates at a brisk pace.  Most people, and my friend Julia who is the Queen of Arkham would agree, focus on having one, if not two Investigators returning to arkham in the first few rounds ready to seal a Gate or two.  One thing you'll want to do is focus your attention on those Gates which have a higher percentage of opening based on the number of Mythos cards dedicated to these locations…these locations are not created equally or more precisely, not distributed equally.  for instance, there are far more Woods cards than Hibb's Roadhouse.  Concentrate on the Woods and the few other high-probability locations, seal them, then you can enjoy a few turns having encounters. 

Mark my words, in a few games, you'll find that you can't lose…not that you won't have losses due to unforeseen circumstances or bad rolls, but you'll be much better equipped to handle the board and you'll see your win ratio increase over time.  Stick with it and it will easily become one of your favorite games.

Cheers, Joe/the Professor 


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#4 Embery

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

The Professor said:

 …Julia who is the Queen of Arkham…

Cheers, Joe/the Professor 

 

::Kneels::

Long live the Queen, Long live the Queen! May her judgement be swift and righteous! Long live the Queen!

 

 

 

Sorry, couldnt ressist. But dont take me wrong, i tottally agree with this quote. For me as newbie it feels like Julia is the Queen of Arkham. And Tibs - King of Arkham. :)

 

 

 

I usually go with 3-4 investigators myself. for me it is optimal if i play alone or with others. As Proffesor already told you, with 3-4 investigators you can cover more ground.



#5 Julia

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:38 PM

::laughter:: thx guys for the affection.

Kailabecca, The Professor and CrusherJoe hit two very important points. First of all, the number of investigators. The game scales up and down very well, but games with 2 investigators are very different from games with 6. Games with less investigators tend to finish in Final Battle, and Final Battles are easier if only few investigators are in play. On the other hand, if you play larger parties, then it's easier to score sealing / closing victories. And clearly, if you know you're going to FB, then you'll play in a certain way, while if you're going for a sealing victory you need a different strategy.

A good number of investigators to start with is 4, as my friends suggested in the above posts. This should grant you a certain freedom of action, and, in case you have to face the AO in final battle, it won't be impossible to win. Then, when you're done with the basics, you can try bigger or smaller parties.

Remember this: the game is coop. It's better if you plan the strategy for the whole turn in advance, during the Upkeep, trying to decide who's going to dive into gates, who's responsible for cleaning the streets, who's on for clue hunting.

When the game starts, look at the starting resources. Focus on clues: investigators with the most starting clues are those who are asked to gather other clues as soon as possible: after the initial Mythos card (the so called "Mythos Zero"), there must be two clues on some location of the board. Send there the investigators with most clues, so that hopefully he can have the 5 clues very soon.

Remember the game is about sealing gates, not chasing monsters: kill the monsters when you need it, or when you can without screwing the general strategy of the turn. Don't enter a gate unless you have enough clues to seal it. Don't waste clues on skill check, unless they are vital for your character to survive (like encounter saying: "pass the XY check or lose all your clue tokens" or similar stuff), and beware: there are tons of clues on the board when you start, but they are gone very very soon, and then you can suffer clue paucity, so pay attention to this!

Plus, as The Professor said, not all locations in Arkham are plagued by gate openings with the same frequence: 4 are particularly nasty, 3 are medium frequency locations and 4 present only a few Mythos cards hitting them. So, as soon as you have enough clues, try to seal the higher frequency ones: this would allow some turns of respite during the game.

And be sure you follow carefully the rules about phases: if played correctly (common mistake when you start playing: you arrive on a gate and enter there during movement. Wrong. You enter during the Encounters Phase, hence people moving after you can reach your location on the gate, toss you some powerful stuff and then do one step back without entering the gate) they can offer you greater strategical options.

I won't spoil any further the strategy for beating the base game now, unless you ask.

Let us know how it goes!

JULIA

 


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#6 Judgement Dave

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:45 PM

Sorry for the verbosity…

Kallabecca said:

Too hard to win?

Oddly I nearly started a thread asking if I was doing something wrong as my wife and I have just started playing at Christmas and the first 3 games were all won by 4 investigators getting 6 sealed locations.

The only reason I didn't is that looking at how we won I thought that good luck had played a massive role (or maybe that shoulkd be 'roll') and they could easily have been losses without that good luck…

The first game had 'Mandy' (or is it 'Amanda') who I later learnt is the most succesful investigator (her reroll ability is very very useful) and I think the other 4 investigators were in the top 10. Not all GOOs or investigators are created equal, and the investigator selection against Azathoth probably helped. (I had read the threads on here and BGG about beginner games, and Azathoth or Yig were recommended.i.e. a win by luck on investigators vs an easier GOO.

The second game we picked the investigators at random against Ithaqua (picked as beginner threads suggested a good 2nd or 3rd game GOO).  Loads of gates come up at The Witch House meaning several bursts, but we'd had about 5 flying monsters come up who were all 'stuck' in the sky (why leave an investigator in the streets?) so the bursts mainly hit the outskirts. Consequently we had little trouble moving about to the gates. Pure luck on gate location and the 'stuck' fliers. i.e. a win by luck on monster spawns and gate spawns.

The third game we picked investigators at random against Shub-Niggurath (picked at random) and had a similar experience to game two. Only this time it was Independence Square that kept getting gates and it was fliers stuck in the sky helping keep most of Arkham monster free, but static (yellow border) monsters. At one point we had 5 monsters at Independence Square with 4 of them being static. i.e. again win by luck on monster and gate spawns.

Of course, this weekends game saw us pick investigators and GOO at random and face Hastur. We put up a brave showing but finally got our asses handed to us… It was great. With this game one of the big factors seemed to be that 2 of the characters were low sanity (max 3) and three times one of these low sanity characters had just closed a gate and was on 1 Sanity when the Mythos card opened another gate on them - straight back into another world without any chance to recouperate… This was the first game to see us use Lost in Time and Space, and, boy, did it get used. i.e. Loss partly by bad luck on gate openings.

 

Now I know the card decks had all been shuffled like mad (with a new game I'm almost paranoid about not shuffling this and distorting the initial game experience) and I spotted 2 minor rules I'd mishandled in the first game (though they didn't affect things - e.g. I forgot to remove allies as the Terror Track rose, but we never got any allies in that game other than starting with 'Duke').

I think it is just the way it goes. I know that in my first three games luck had a very big role in getting the wins. I feel that very bad luck on a few occasions helped us lose game 4. It could easily have happened the other way round with 3 losses and 1 win though…

Kallabecca said:

It seems that the gates open far too often and far too quickly for just 2 investigators to deal with as we couldn't get enough clue tokens fast enough to go into the gates and not just close them, but seal them up because gates would open and swallow the clue tokens or clues would spawn where open gates were and vanish.

The other problem we were having with just 2 investigators was that monsters were spawning too fast to be beaten down quick enough to avoid the outskirts from getting full and raising the Terror level. Which killed off allies from Ma's and shut down the item shops, not that we were getting any money to buy anything.

As others have said: try 4 investigators (2 each).

For our fourth game we also introduced the house rule that fighting does not end movement - which I think may help with ensuring you can clear the odd monster and still make it to a clue before it gets destroyed by a gate spawn.

As not all investigators or all GOOs are created equal, I'd even consider handpicking a couple of more 'winning' investigators and 2 random (so as not to make it too easy) and picking Azathoth, Yig or Ithaqua as the GOO.

BTW the stats for investigators and GOOs are here: https://docs.google....&hl=en_US#gid=6

 



#7 Judgement Dave

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:50 PM

Julia said:

Plus, as The Professor said, not all locations in Arkham are plagued by gate openings with the same frequence: 4 are particularly nasty, 3 are medium frequency locations and 4 present only a few Mythos cards hitting them. So, as soon as you have enough clues, try to seal the higher frequency ones: this would allow some turns of respite during the game.

I'd assumed they were probably equal and it was just pure luck having many gates in one location on two of my four games (as described above). I'm a litle disappointed to hear that some locations aren't hit much.

Do any of the expansions (official or unofficial) help even out the spawns for base game locations?



#8 Julia

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:24 AM

Judgement Dave said:

I'd assumed they were probably equal and it was just pure luck having many gates in one location on two of my four games (as described above). I'm a litle disappointed to hear that some locations aren't hit much.

Do any of the expansions (official or unofficial) help even out the spawns for base game locations?

Honestly, I never did the math, so I can't really tell you of what the odds that a gate opens at the XYZ locations if you play with exp A or A+B or B+G are (maybe Avec did; check the reference material subforum) It really depends on the expansion combo you play with (for instance, Innsmouth Mythos open gates only in Innsmouth, and this clearly makes less likely a gate to appear in locations on the main board; if you play an "all expansions in" game without adding Miskatonic Mythos, then it could happen than one of the expansion boards has no activity at all).

Anyway, generally speaking, decks were designed to keep this sort of equilirbium regardless of the number of expansions you playing: Independence Square is a dangerous place, while The Historical Society is kinda tranquil. Plus, IIRC, there are no gate bursts on low freq locations


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#9 eiterorm

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:36 AM

There are three ways you can win the game:

1. By final combat

2. By sealing gates

3. By closing gates

Some Ancient Ones are easier to defeat in final combat, and some are easier to defeat by sealing gates.

If you're aiming at winning the game by final combat, prepare for whatever it says on the Ancient One sheet. And try to bless all your investigators and collect (the right) spells, common items, unique items, allies and skills. Also, clue tokens can be very useful in the final combat. Clue tokens give you extra dice to roll in a check, not the ability re-roll failed dice. So, if all your dice are successes, you can add more dice, and thus have the opportunity to roll more successes, by spending clue tokens.

If you're aiming at winning the game by sealing gates, collecting clues and sealing the gates is paramount. You need to distribute the clue tokens so that the investigators which are to seal gates have enough clue tokens. Clue tokens are a limited resource, so spend them wisely. Also, clue tokens in a location disappear when gates open, so make it high priority to visit a location if there are several clue tokens there. Not all locations have equal probability of a gate opening. If gates open at Independence Square, Unvisited Isle, The Witch House or Woods these gates should have higher priority. If you're not able to seal a gate in one of these locations rightaway, it may be better to leave the gate open until you are able to seal it. If another gate opens in the same location, the result will be a monster surge, in which case you don't add a doom token to the doom track.

Victory by closing gates doesn't happen too often, and it doesn't depend much on the Ancient One. It's mostly an opportunity which presents itself now and then, depending, among other things, on where and when gates open.

If you wish to win by sealing gates, playing more investigators should help. I usually play four investigators, and I have no trouble winning. But your goal during a single game may change, though. If you try to win by sealing gates, and realize it's not going to happen, you should start preparing for the final combat.

There's a lot more that can be said, but this should cover the basics. You'll learn a lot just by playing the game a few times.

 

Julia said:

When the game starts, look at the starting resources. Focus on clues: investigators with the most starting clues are those who are asked to gather other clues as soon as possible: after the initial Mythos card (the so called "Mythos Zero"), there must be two clues on some location of the board. Send there the investigators with most clues, so that hopefully he can have the 5 clues very soon.

…unless you're playing with Innsmouth. =P (or possibly some other expansion) Evidence Destroyed! is always a great way to start a game. No clues plus a gate at Y'ha-nthlei. ^__^

 

Judgement Dave said:

I'd assumed they were probably equal and it was just pure luck having many gates in one location on two of my four games (as described above). I'm a litle disappointed to hear that some locations aren't hit much.

Do any of the expansions (official or unofficial) help even out the spawns for base game locations?

Adding small box expansions will slightly reduce the probability of gates spawning at high tier locations (Independence Square, Unvisited Isle, The Witch House or Woods), and will slightly increase the probability of gates spawning at low tier locations (Hibb's Roadhouse, Historical Society, Science Building or Silver Twilight Lodge). Adding more small box expansions will increase the effect, but the probability of a gate spawning in a high tier location will still be much higher than that of a low tier location. Adding the Innsmouth and/or Dunwich expansion board will increase the number of unstable locations, and reduce the probability of a gate opening in a sealed location. If you want to do the math, you can check out this list.



#10 John Bua

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:44 PM

I lose way more than I win, but I still have fun.



#11 Full Doom Track

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:47 PM

I won't add more to the advice already listed in this thread because I feel that you're on solid ground there.  But I will take a moment to type out the gate opening odds if you are using ONLY the core set.  This gives you an idea of what locations are priorities to seal and what locations can wait.  If you seal a high priority location there is a good chance of clue tokens dropping there later in the game which are 'safe' from a gate opening over the top of them and destroying them.

Core Set Mythos Card Total: 67

 

Tier #1 Locations: 14.9% chance for gate to open

Woods (10 Cards)

Unvisited Isle (10 Cards)

Independence Square (10 Cards)

Witch House (10 Cards)

These locations are easy to map out because they lie at far north, south, east and west sides of Arkham.

 

Tier #2 Locations: 9.0% chance for gate to open

Black Cave (6 Cards)

Unnamable (6 Cards)

Graveyard (6 Cards)

These locations are near the east and west edges of Arkham with 2 lying next to each other on the eastern edge.

 

Tier #3 Locations: 3.0% chance for gate to open

Historical Society (2 Cards)

Science Building (2 Cards)

Hibbs Roadhouse (2 Cards)

Silver Twilight Lodge (2 Cards)

Again found at N, S, E & W edges of Arkham but not as easy to spot unless you're familiar already with T1/2 locales.

 

1 Stars are right Mythos card which forces reshuffle.

 

Bear in mind these are odds at the BEGINNING of the game before you put the FIRST mythos card into play.  The odds begin to CHANGE as turns progress but following these basic guidelines for odds works quite well throughout a game.  If you draw "The Stars Are Right" and are forced to reshuffle the MD then, of course, those odds are reset to the above values.

 

The BEST advice I can give any new player who is struggling to win with the core set is this:  Save your clue tokens for gate seals.  Come "hell or high water" (and you know it will), let your investigators take the beating and use those clues only to seal.  Also, there are a LOT of things you can do on the Arkham board from shopping to having encounters fishing for money to gaining allies to becoming a police officer to many more.  Don't be distracted by them.  If there are loose clue tokens on the board, go get them ASAP!  Once an investigator hits 5-6 go in a gate and seal it using the above odds to choose the highest tier gate to seal first.

 

Lastly, my shameless plug.  I run a segment of my show called "New Player Stratagem" which you can find segments in episodes 2 & 3.  You may find that information useful.  Check out the podcast at:

fulldoomtrack.podbean.com

 

Good luck and I hope this helps!



#12 Nidhögg

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:12 AM

Sometimes it really feels to hard to win. Like my last game with Innsmouth…

First Mythos I drew was Evidence Destroyed! All clue tokens on the board(s) where discarded :P

Then the Innsmouth board whent insane with gate openings and monster surges…

The Deep One rising track filled up in no time…

Then I was crushed by Cthulhu…

*Sigh*

But it's nice to see something happen in Innsmouth for a change ;)



#13 Julia

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:59 AM

::laughter:: yeah, Innsmouth can really be brutal :-) By chance, are you playing also with the Miskatonic Mythos in? There is a marvellous Mythos hitting all aquatic locations so that the "Innsmouth invasion" suddenly becomes a glass of cool water (still aquatic, though)


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#14 Nidhögg

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:29 AM

Julia said:

::laughter:: yeah, Innsmouth can really be brutal :-) By chance, are you playing also with the Miskatonic Mythos in? There is a marvellous Mythos hitting all aquatic locations so that the "Innsmouth invasion" suddenly becomes a glass of cool water (still aquatic, though)

No, MH is the only expansion I havn't bought yet.



#15 Julia

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:38 AM

Nidhögg said:

No, MH is the only expansion I havn't bought yet.

;-) You'll see then :-)


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#16 Kallabecca

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:11 AM

Thanks everyone for the advice. I'll try and put it to use should I ever play again (I don't own AH and don't have a ton of free time between work and school).






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