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Edvando

My First Impressions on Arkham Horror: The Card Game

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Hello fellow investigators!

 

I wanted to share my first impressions on the Arkham Horror: The Card Game. The good, the bad and the ugly. I want people to also share their thoughts on the aspects below so we can have a productive discussion =D. I play all the FFG LCGs (CoC, Wh40k, LotR, WhIn, SW, GoT, NetR) and other card games online and offline (magic, yugioh, hearthstone, faeria, M&M, etc). So i really love cardgames and their design.

 

I´m going to put number on each impression to make the reference easier. The impressions are in no particular order.

  1. I really like the travel/location mechanic compared to LotR. You feel more like exploring. There is a lot of open space there, with new locations appearing from the encounter deck and/or agenda, maybe even player created location like "Safe Refuge" or "Behind the Corner". You can have maybe more then one version of the same location, so you not exactly sure what will happen. Or some location can have some test to enter (like do a "punch" test to deal with a locked door).
  2. Each location can have 2 texts; one in front (before entering the location) and one behind (after you enter), which helps a lot the design space.
  3. I don´t like that in the first adventure, if you know what each location do, you can split the party accordingly (one does meat dmg, the other does mental dmg. One has a easy investigation check, the other has a hard). I hope next adventure we don´t have the name of the location in front of the card or that we have more then one version of the same place. But maybe that is good, so player knowledge comes in play if you know the adventure.
  4. Deck size is 30 cards plus the unique helpful card, unique weakness and a common weakness, total 33. So you probable can put 2 copies of each card in you deck, similar to hearthstone. The heroes comes with basically a "legendary" card, which is a cool way to introduce special rarer more powerful cards. You start with 5 cards in hand. In normal play maybe you buy 10-12 cards? So you have +-50% more or less of seeing you legendary card. 
  5. The legendary cards are POWERFUL, compare the .45 automatic with Roland pistol. Roland's cost 1 less, does similar things, but somewhat consistently gives you +4 attack instead of 1. This is a cool way to make each hero more unique, but also means sometimes you can find you super card in your opening hand, which makes the game a lot easier (like starting with Stewart of Gondor does in LotR).
  6. I think there is 6 "factions" in the game plus neutral cards. Blue (guardian), Red (survivor), Yellow (seeker), Green (Rogue), Purple (???), Gray (Neutral).
  7. I find it weird that the game indicates that 1 core box = 2 player, 2 core boxes = 3 players, but the games is up to four players. Maybe there is a lot of overlap between the investigators decks.
  8. The action mechanic is very similar Netrunner. The game is a race against the agenda. You want to maximize the efficiency of you actions. So you probable don´t have much time to gather resources or cards.
  9. I hope they address the snowball nature of cooperative games, like LotR had. In that game, sometimes you lose before you drew cards (like you revealing 3 trolls at once, or treacheries that kills a hero, both things that can happen at setup) or got location locked (revealed so much locations that you cant progress) or got slaughtered (reveled tons of enemies when you couldn't deal with then). In that game, the first and second turns were monumental to set the pace of the game. Also, every time locations/enemies appeared, the best was dealing with then ASAP. Even keeping one enemy alive was horrible. Losing one hero also probable meant defeat, cos you lost one resource per turn plus their action. Basically, if you had a incredible first/second turn, you won. If you had a horrible first/second turn, you lose. And when you begin losing, you lose faster and harder. Also when you begin winning, you win more and more easily in LotR.
  10. Monsters can snowball the game. If you draw a strong monster and don´t have a way to deal with him, you probable going to have to waste one, maybe two, actions every turn to evade. If you somehow get 2-3 monsters in you location, you screwed. If you good in fighting, you pretty easily kill most monsters on one or two hits, so they are dealt permanently, which makes the encounter easier, while evade means you have to evade again.
  11. I like they did a anti-snowball mechanic in that after the first part of the adventure pass, all the monsters and bad **** in the game goes away too. Means that you can evade, investigate and then run to the next part of the adventure without needing necessary to kill everything. Not sure it will happen in the next quests.
  12. I like that there is cards that are comeback mechanic like the Rabbits Foot or the event that when you failed, you get 2 clue tokens. In LotR there was a **** tons of cards that were of the "win MORE" type which are generally bad. I like when there is cards that helps you get out of bad situations, instead of winning more.
  13. Most cards are not permanent buffs. Most has some condition to go away (baseball bat) or ammo (flashlight) or one time use (stray cat). That means less snowball from the player side. In LotR you had a ton of incentive to play mostly permanent buffs like allies/attachments. That meant that if you lucky, you could get tons of Permanent stuff on the board and steamroll the encounter with a army of allies or equipment. This not true anymore. You probable play what you need to deal with whats on the board or that you expect to see soon.
  14. Also you have only one "slot" for each type of permanent buff, including only one ally. Helps with the army of allies/equipments problem.
  15. Getting more cards/resources seems hard. You only get 5 card/resource starting and plus 1 card/resource per turn, unless you use a action. One action equal 1 card or resource. Actions are valuable. They had a card that gave you 3 resources for free, but that is basically net 1, since you used 2 things to get 3 (you spend 1 action and 1 card). Since card and resources has equal value, probable there is a card that let you draw 3 cards that cost 0.
  16. Hard resources means less design space for cost. I guess that this game will have similar problem with LotR where most of the viable cards are 0, 1 or 2 cost. Probable you will have 2-4 cards that cost 3 or more in your deck, the rest are 0-2 costed cards.
  17. I also thing that drawing cards is fun, so i like mechanics similar to Star Wars where you refresh your hand, instead of drawing a measly 1 card each turn.
  18. One of the things i liked in LotR was the "shadow" mechanic. Every time a enemy attacked you draw a encounter card and resolve a special "shadow" effect that could maybe let the enemy attack again, or attack stronger, or run to the staging area, etc. Here you take one chaos token which is a static effect (buff or scenario effect), which is less interesting.
  19. Personaly I don´t like the "levelup" mechanic. It means there is the same card with different level. It means some things: A) Means if the card is a binder card (cards you will probable never use) not only you waste that card, but you also waste the levelup versions of that card. B) Less variaety of cards in the core/packs, since you have the normal version and the leveled version C) Most likely some cards are have good normal version, others will only have viable upgraded versions. So one of the other version can be a binder card.
  20. As in LotR, probable there is a lot of wasted cards if you buy 2 cores, because all those encounter cards duplicates are not that useful.
  21. I think monsters are interesting. You can fight then, evade, throw stray cats in their direction, use magic to kill then (blinding light). They have 5 spaces (attack, health, evade, text, damage) and since the game has 4 atributes and 2 health mechanic (meat and horror), you have enemies that attack using other stats (like a ghost that you punch then with willpower), of incredible powerful monster with 6-8 attack that you dont want to fight, but that does supportable dmg (like 1 meat and 1 horror). The keywords show where also interesting like Prey (they go after some specific investigator), Hunter (they chase you across locations).
  22. Chaos token mechanic is interesting. I would prefer it to be dealt like the shadow effect in lotr. But I must admit that it adds another layer of design and save space on the cards. The special tokens have different meanings in different quests, maybe cards or monsters can change the meaning of the token, tokens can be removed or added cos of encounter/player card effect/because of difficult level of the scenario.
  23. Chaos tokens feel fiddly. Having to repeatedly get a token, throw in the bag, get another, again, again and again sounds annoying. Also, it is possible to get the "automatic fail" and/or -4 and/or special super bad Special token several times in a row.

I will post more when I think or find more. Overall, im super exited to play the game!

Edited by Edvando

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There is five not six investigators. And five classes. We've known this since game was announced. I don't get all the whining about chaos tokens. FFG likes tokens. This is not earth shattering news to anyone. I like the more visceral approach of sticking your hand in the bag. I might replace the bag with the FFG tentacles dice bag however.

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There is five not six investigators. And five classes. We've known this since game was announced.

 

Hum, that probable mean that the green cards are the Rogue cards. So the "factions" are:

 

Blue (guardian), Red (survivor), Yellow (seeker), Green (Rogue), Purple (???), Gray (Neutral).

 

Purple cards are magic type of cards as can be seen in the blinding lights and other cards that you can see from afar in the news article.

 

 ahc01_blinding-light-pip-callout.png

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To be honest im big fan of dice and draw every time chaos token can be annoying but in same time that mechanic bring some new ideas and some new oprions so I buy it. Is remaind me some? Time stories mechanic so I know it can be very wide variety from story to story

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you're not FEEDING the cat to them... Cat's are (in lore) rather supernatural, so i assume the cat leads them away, scratches the hell outta em.. something like that. i've seen a city cat fight off 3 big junkyard dogs.. a ghoul is nothing compared to that..

 

Also, can i get some **** props to FFG for the AMAZING art style. I for one am glad they got away from their more common art throughout arkham, and i'm loving that Purple symbol.. holy hell, i haven't been this excited since they announced the Carcosa expansion for EH. ^_^

 

i'm on the fence with the chaos bag.. i gotta play a game to tell you if i like it or not.. i do like that search through the bag feeling though.

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This game seems great! I'm really excited for it. That being said I'm not a fan of the chaos bag. it seems very clunky and there's the potential of loosing components. I'm not sure how many different items are in the bag but I wish they could have used a custom D20 rather than the chits in the bag approach.

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This game seems great! I'm really excited for it. That being said I'm not a fan of the chaos bag. it seems very clunky and there's the potential of loosing components. I'm not sure how many different items are in the bag but I wish they could have used a custom D20 rather than the chits in the bag approach.

 

I think you are right about the bag being a bit clunky, but think it has a couple of really cool aspects as well.....

 

1)  Thematically, I think that searching through a bag blindly has a lot more flavor...similar to blindly groping in the dark, which seems to fit the Arkham setting.

 

2)  Mechanically, I think this leaves some room for cards that change the content of the bag, thus affecting your chances for success

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My thoughts are solely based on the Team Covenant video due to me not being able to have played it myself. 

 

From what I see the game looks interesting and it looked like they had a lot of fun playing the game, which is a great advertisement for the game. But personally I felt like it might not be my game. I would like to play a Coop LCG, but never started LotR LCG because I felt like I was too far behind when I got interested in it. (Thats a problem regarding LCG for me in general, I tend to pass on the games if I didn´t jump in on the ground floor). But mechanically I wished this game would be more similar to LotR. These are the mechanics i don´t like with AH LCG:

 

1) The RPG mechanic. As mentioned above for me it wastes card slots in the game. We get the same artwork for multiple versions of the same card and don´t get a different effect.

 

2) I read somewhere that the deck size is 30+ one of cards and the card limit is 2 of the same card. I would much rather have a 3 each limit, even in a 30 card max size deck. I really like consistency in card games and one offs really annoy me enough in hearthstone. If you only see your key cards in 35% of the matches it makes for a bad game. I feel this might be even more true for COOP games, depending on the difficulty level you probably loose the scenario if you don´t see your key cards early on.

 

3) It looks like, once you played a scenario you exactly know where to go with which characters/what will happen on reveal. That will lessen the enjoyment of repeating a scenario.

 

What I do like about the game:

 

1) The artwork is amazing.

 

2) each character looks like to be very different.

 

More will probably come after I was able to play the game when it releases.

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The various difficulty levels change the contents of the chaos bag so using dice wouldnt be very feasible unless every difficulty level had an amount of tokens equal to the number of faces on a particular die.

I guess you could just fill extra sides with blanks or something and reroll them but that seems lame.

Edit: There is absolutely going to be a lot of wasted cards when you buy a second core set. A hundred of the cards in the box are for the scenarios alone and you will never need a second copy of those (unless you damage or lose one or something).

Edited by FellintoOblivion

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never started LotR LCG because I felt like I was too far behind when I got interested in it. (Thats a problem regarding LCG for me in general, I tend to pass on the games if I didn´t jump in on the ground floor). But mechanically I wished this game would be more similar to LotR.

LotR is at least possible to catch up with. Their ideas will run out, but they'll continue to print it. It's more like a traditional board game with expansions in that respect. Having AHLCG use its own mechanics is preferable to it being a carbon copy of LotRLCG. Every LCG has a slight twist on known mechanics, and some new things.

 

 

1) The RPG mechanic. As mentioned above for me it wastes card slots in the game. We get the same artwork for multiple versions of the same card and don´t get a different effect.

 

I like it. I don't see how it wastes slots, as you're just using one of a skill/sorcery/power/whatever, and replace it when the character gains experience. Rather than having an ever-growing deck you optimise it with just the most powerful versions available to you. I think it's an interesting mechanic. I assume you can also spend XP on new skills every now and then, but the deck growth happens only occasionally.

 

 

2) I read somewhere that the deck size is 30+ one of cards and the card limit is 2 of the same card. I would much rather have a 3 each limit, even in a 30 card max size deck. I really like consistency in card games

 

Two of 30 is the same percentage as four of 60 (MtG, pre-LCG FFG card game versions), and higher than three of 60 (AGoT minimum deck size). In this game you shuffle your deck when you reach the end, so I don't think the lower minimum deck size is going to be a problem. Besides, it's a different game. The LCGs were really starting to blend together ;)

 

 

3) It looks like, once you played a scenario you exactly know where to go with which characters/what will happen on reveal. That will lessen the enjoyment of repeating a scenario.

 

This is always the case with games where you have no keeper/GM/referee/DM, but instead play against an NPC deck. But in LotR there are cards you don't necessarily encounter the first time you play a scenario, so it still feels different when you try again. There are also branching quests, sometimes more than two choices, so it could take a few playthroughs to know everything. These are all things people worried about with LotR, yet it's one of FFG's bestsellers.

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The various difficulty levels change the contents of the chaos bag so using dice wouldnt be very feasible

Ah I didn't realize the difficulties changed the contents of the bag. how many difficultys are their in the game if it's jut two providing two different dice wouldn't be a big deal if it's 3 or more I get it. I also get that this allows them to change what's in the bag per scenario or with expansions which is a nice option.

I haven't played the game just watched a video of it and this is the only aspect that I wasnt really a fan of. The rest of the gameplay seemed fantastic!m

Edited by Tromsicle

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Different scenarios could add/remove tokens for environment changes (set in a swamp - remove the highest bonus), Great Old Ones could add "bomb" tokens to the bag which may be removed once pulled (instant damage, madness effects, Gwyneth Paltrow's head, extra encounter card draw and so on). It's like rolling dice where the number of sides change from roll to roll. You get none of the problems involved in making a fair d11 either.

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It's like rolling dice where the number of sides change from roll to roll.

Its an infinity sided die!!

"If I rolled it anything could happen! Our faces could melt into jelly! The world could turn into an egg! Or you could just roll an 8, who knows?"

-litle shout out for Gravity falls...RIP

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never started LotR LCG because I felt like I was too far behind when I got interested in it. (Thats a problem regarding LCG for me in general, I tend to pass on the games if I didn´t jump in on the ground floor). But mechanically I wished this game would be more similar to LotR.

LotR is at least possible to catch up with. Their ideas will run out, but they'll continue to print it. It's more like a traditional board game with expansions in that respect. Having AHLCG use its own mechanics is preferable to it being a carbon copy of LotRLCG. Every LCG has a slight twist on known mechanics, and some new things.

 

 

1) The RPG mechanic. As mentioned above for me it wastes card slots in the game. We get the same artwork for multiple versions of the same card and don´t get a different effect.

 

I like it. I don't see how it wastes slots, as you're just using one of a skill/sorcery/power/whatever, and replace it when the character gains experience. Rather than having an ever-growing deck you optimise it with just the most powerful versions available to you. I think it's an interesting mechanic. I assume you can also spend XP on new skills every now and then, but the deck growth happens only occasionally.

 

 

2) I read somewhere that the deck size is 30+ one of cards and the card limit is 2 of the same card. I would much rather have a 3 each limit, even in a 30 card max size deck. I really like consistency in card games

 

Two of 30 is the same percentage as four of 60 (MtG, pre-LCG FFG card game versions), and higher than three of 60 (AGoT minimum deck size). In this game you shuffle your deck when you reach the end, so I don't think the lower minimum deck size is going to be a problem. Besides, it's a different game. The LCGs were really starting to blend together ;)

 

 

3) It looks like, once you played a scenario you exactly know where to go with which characters/what will happen on reveal. That will lessen the enjoyment of repeating a scenario.

 

This is always the case with games where you have no keeper/GM/referee/DM, but instead play against an NPC deck. But in LotR there are cards you don't necessarily encounter the first time you play a scenario, so it still feels different when you try again. There are also branching quests, sometimes more than two choices, so it could take a few playthroughs to know everything. These are all things people worried about with LotR, yet it's one of FFG's bestsellers.

 

don´t get me wrong, i wouldn´t want a simple reskin of lotr either. I loike each lcg being different from each other. 

 

You also misunderstood me a couple times. Sorry for not stating clearly what I meant with wasted card slots.

 

1) I didn´t mean wasted card slots in a deck, but in an expansion. A card that simply is an upgrade over an existing card for me is a card slot waste in the base set or an expansion. I much rather have a card that has a different ability/function instead of multiple versions of the same card. You could also argue that this is lazy design. But i´m not going there because I thing t is probably a even bigger nightmare to balance multiple version of the same card against each other and the scenario difficulty.

 

2) i didn´t said that 30 cards would be a problem regarding decksize. I said that with the one ofs you would find your key cards not often enough. I like the small decksize bu i would love to include 3x a card.

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There are four difficulty levels, each of which changes the contents of the bag as well as what some of the special tokens in the bag mean.

 

2x in a 30 card deck is higher consistency than 3x in a 50 or 60 card deck, at least by a little bit, and you can spend actions to dig for cards if you want.  Plus, the initial mulligan sees a higher percentage of the deck compared to a 50-60 card game.  So yeah, I expect card consistency to be pretty good.

 

Same with someone mentioning the resource "problem" with LotR, you can spend actions to get resources in this game so if you have some expensive cards you can afford to play them.

 

With Blinding Flash as our only example of a leveled card so far (I think), it seems like the higher level version isn't necessarily automatically better.  Blinding Flash Level 2 does 2 damage instead of 1, but it also has harsher consequences if you fail because you take a Horror that the Level 0 version doesn't have as a consequence.

 

My impression so far is that this looks like a lot richer system than Lord of the Rings and that FFG has learned a lot from that game about how to do a better co-op this time around.  I'll be buying 2xCores as soon as they come out and can't wait to try out the game.

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I didn´t mean wasted card slots in a deck, but in an expansion. A card that simply is an upgrade over an existing card for me is a card slot 

 

This game has a design where variant cards at different levels are part of the mechanics. Forget the three copies per card, because the designers have something new in mind for this one. I'm sure the game is balanced towards having max two of any uniquely named card, so it'll be fine :)

 

And like I said, the chance of drawing a card you have two of in a 30-card deck is EXACTLY THE SAME as four copies in a 60-card deck. Which you don't have in ANY other LCG - the chances to draw any card from a freshly shuffled deck is actually higher than every other LCG if you have two copies.

 

(I'm sure people used to MtG complained when FFG's LCGs started having three of each as the limit, rather than the four of each they're used to. Yet Commander format prevails, where you're not allowed any duplicates. There are options for all sorts of players, even within one game!)

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Blinding Flash Level 2 does 2 damage instead of 1, but it also has harsher consequences if you fail because you take a Horror that the Level 0 version doesn't have as a consequence.

With great power comes great sanity loss. That was a thing in the Call of Cthulhu RPG too - most spells/rituals are just a description of what happens, and you choose when to use it. But the costs were usually some amount of sanity, which is a finite, non-replenishing resource. I think the AHLCG system may actually be a tad lenient in that respect, because the madness may not surface right away, and it can be held off in the next adventure.

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I only play Netrunner and the identities i play most are the 40 card decks. 3 copies in a 40-card deck has a higher probability than 2 copies in a 30 card deck. So your statement that every other lcg has 60 card decks is just plain wrong. I thing ashes lets you put 3 copies of a card in a 30-card deck.

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