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fealthas

AH Questions from an EH player

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Hi

 

I am thinking about buying Arkham Horror since I just can't get enough of Eldritch Horror and sadly it probably will be a long time now before the next expansion for EH.

 

I have a few questions:

 

I have read AH is more like an RPG.

How so?

 

When I read about AH it appears to be a very random game (not much control) compared to EH.

Is that a correct observation?

Edited by fealthas

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Fealthas,

Other EH player's will be along shortly, especially Julia, who is equipped with a significant level of experience in both games to provide additional information.

What I can tell you is that AH is much more intimate as you're transiting your Investigator from one location in a small town to another. The increases in abilities, albeit small have a potential huge impact on play. Unlike the globe-trotting nature of EH, AH feels more like an RPG most notably because of the interaction between and among the Investigators, which by my read of EH seldom occurs in that game.

I'm one of the folks who has played well over 100 games, it's the best co-op and solo game I've seen on the market for this pairing in a decade, and as a 35-yr role-player, I can definitely attest to its RPG qualities.

Cheers,

Joe

Edited by The Professor

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Hi, and welcome to this board.

 

I do play both games, I've been playtester for both the expansions Eldritch had so far, and I won the last two leagues for Arkham Horror organized by Edge Entertainment (just to give you a resume of my background).

 

First of all, Arkham and Eldritch share the same setting, but are two really different games. Sure, there's always an Ancient One that wants to wake up and you need to seal away before it's too late. In Eldritch Horror you do this by solving mysteries, here by sealing six gates. There are some mechanics that are similar, but the overall gaming experience is rather different. If I have to compare the two, I'd say Eldritch is more on the lighter side, while Arkham is a heavier game.

 

Arkham can be played as an RPG-like boardgame: the narrative aspects and the theme are very strong, and the way the boardgame is structured invites player to write a story and so on. Most of the people who play this way get also slaughtered quite often: the board is unforgiving, the Mythos deck can be brutal, and the true nature of Arkham is a heavy strategic game. If you play the game as an RPG, then it'll appear as a game you cannot have control of; if you play it as a strategic game, you'll end up winning most of the times. Some of the "older ones" here posting (or that posted in the past) were able to reach rather a good win-loss ratio with Arkham (>75%), to prove that strategy wins over luck / randomness. Arkham provides many patterns that, once understood, grant you to plan in advance several rounds, while this element is somehow missing in Eldritch Horror (that's why I'm saying Arkham is heavier): for instance, there are locations in Arkham where it's more likely for gates to appear, while the distribution of gates in Eldritch is totally random. So that in Arkham you can choose when to close which gate in order to trigger that [CONSEQUENCE] and you know that that exploring that OW is difficult / easy on that stat / equipment and so on, so you can actually choose who to send where, while Eldritch OWs are completely random (you draw a card from the deck and you resolve it). So far, core game EH was closer to Arkham for some points (go there to trigger this effect, go there to gain a spell, then finally solve the mystery); Forsaken Lore resulted in the game becoming too random (different types of checks with heavier modifiers made very difficult to choose who to send where), while Mountains of Madness finally returned the game to a more strategic dimension, thanks to the Antarctica sideboard, where each location gives you different options about things to do.

 

So, the answer is: if you like boardgames with a high-strategic value (and a huge replayability), a good lovecraftian theme and a minimal impact of luck, then, yes, Arkham Horror is certainly worth getting, but expect a game different from Eldritch: strategies that work on Eldritch do not work with Arkham.

Edited by Julia

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(re-reading the post, I'd like to highlight that there are several nuances between "going all RPG" and "going all strategy": these are the opposite sides of the spectrum, and there are some intermediate levels where you can RPG the game with an eye on strategy and always have fun. My friend Joe is the living proof of that, he always has a more "RPG approach" but this doesn't mean he has a win-loss ratio of 0%. I entered my above comment since many come to Arkham saying "ok, I have to get that thing, so I'll burn all my resources in the attempt. Storywise could work, but strategically speaking is not the best move)

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They are both great games that share the same core mechanics, EH did refine the system and includes several clear improvements over AH. The AH game can also be a bit clunky in places.

The reason why EH hasn't replaced AH on gaming tables around the world is because an awful lot of the immersive elements didn't make it into EH.

In EH you can heal anywhere, in AH you need to make it to the hospital by sneaking/fighting through monster infested streets.

In EH monsters are largely stationary, in AH they move using different types of movement. My favourite is flying monsters who take off to the sky on their first movement and will swoop down on any investigator who ends their turn on a street location.

When investigators start losing the game and the terror level rises the shops close and the allies start leaving town.

The game builds up a much stronger narrative, each session of AH will tell you a story.

Both games are worthy of being played.

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Thanks for the replies.

All very helpful.

 

More strategy, more atmosphere, minimal impact of luck... you make it sound like AH is even better than EH.

 

Now I can't wait to try it out. :)

 

Are there any expansions one should avoid?

 

I have heard the Dunwich Horror and the King in Yellow are the best to start with.

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Thanks for the replies.

All very helpful.

 

More strategy, more atmosphere, minimal impact of luck... you make it sound like AH is even better than EH.

 

Now I can't wait to try it out. :)

 

:) Just beware, it has a steep learning curve. The first plays can be quite dfficult / long until you figure out how to deal with everything. But it's worth the value, I think. Anyhoo, just to give you an appetizer of the theme:

 

Sitting by the dock, you freeze in silent horror as something slowly rises from the water. You cannot make out what it is, but judging by the number of stars it blots out with its bulk, it is considerably bigger than a whale. After an eternity, it slowly sinks beneath the waves once more. Lose 1 Sanity.

 

 

Are there any expansions one should avoid?

 

I have heard the Dunwich Horror and the King in Yellow are the best to start with.

 

Expansions to avoid: none. For a reason or another, they are all worth getting. But you score a good point by saying that Dunwich and King in Yellow are probably the best to start with.

 

Just remember, before adding components: it's better playing a few games with core set only, to understand properly what to do and how to do it. It's an epic journey, tho :)

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I just wanted to note that there is still very much a lot of luck involved. The Mythos and encounters you have are mostly outside of your own control as well as monster movement and (obviously) die rolls.

 

The good thing about Arkham Horror is that the more you get to know the board itself, the more you come to realize what sort of options you have available to deal with what the board is throwing at you.

 

And behind the scenes, there is a lot of math and probability at work. Certain locations are more dangerous than others, certain gates are easier to close, understanding when is a good time to gear up and stand your ground against the AO vs. winning through other means.

At first glace, I think a lot of people think Arkham is more "luck-based" than Eldritch, but once you understand what is going on, I don't think it is so.  But, both games do have their "frustrating" moments.

Personally, I just think the story is better because it feels more personal. Small town, small people, personal story motivations (expansion component), BIG stakes. I think it makes for a much better story that the world at large is not aware of the other-worldly trouble awakening in small-town New England.

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When investigators start losing the game and the terror level rises the shops close and the allies start leaving town.

 

More often than not, I always assume the Allies are dying. Some of them could be running away, but I think an untimely death or two fits with the rising terror levels. :)  Especially when the terror increase is a result of a serial murderer or strange disappearances etc. :o

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