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MaximusFlavius

You'll need to Reach after these Elusive bits of Knowledge

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What is Arkham Horror LCG trying to do?
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[i have purposefully written about this BEFORE playing the game, I'm writing this as a what is expected/hoped for type post.]

I'm interested/excited about the release of this game, and want to talk about what Fantasy Flight seem to be saying it aims to do, on it's website, in its previews, etc. Take this example of what a preview wrote on this card-come-RPG game:

"Each game, each scenario, allows you to adventure into mystery and the occult. But your investigations in the Arkham LCG® don't necessarily end at the completion of your adventure. As likely as not, they'll reveal new layers of a larger mystery that slip and slide away from you as you attempt to grasp them. You won't be done yet. You'll need to reach after these elusive bits of knowledge, setting out upon new adventures… While you can enjoy Arkham LCG as a series of isolated adventures, the core (and recommended) experience of this game is campaign play." ('Uncovering the Truth - Campaigns and Your Adventures in Arkham Horror: The Card Game' (07/09/16) https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/9/7/uncoveri...)

Now as with many of FFG preview statements, you need to expect hyperbole advertising, or to put it kinder, thematic, if dramatic, overstatement. So when I read, "so we warn you to be careful what powers you might summon out of your Arkham adventures… for you should beware that which you call up, lest you might not be able to put it down." ('Mystery, Murder, and Madness How the Forces of Evil Advance Their Sinister Agendas in the Arkham LCG®', 30/08/16, https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/8/30/mystery...) Well I think it comes with the territory. I'm not complaining, actually I end up wanting more, more, more! If only more board and card game companies/publishers were as inventive, creative, and hey I'll say it: generous! Because isn't it great to read the supernatural kind of thematic statement that proclaims: "After all, the truth can be terrifying—profoundly terrifying. You may find the ground figuratively opening beneath your feet, as the reality you thought you understood is shown to be but a small part of the universe, and you may even find yourself dragged deeper into this frightful abyss…" ('Uncovering the Truth' URL above.)

Enough to even make True Detective's Rusty Cole proud! (Well almost.)

Okay to get to the point of what I'm talking about. It's about the campaign side of the game. I'll let FFG explain again, from the 'Uncovering the Truth' preview:

"Each game, each scenario, allows you to adventure into mystery and the occult. But your investigations in the Arkham LCG® don't necessarily end at the completion of your adventure. As likely as not, they'll reveal new layers of a larger mystery that slip and slide away from you as you attempt to grasp them. You won't be done yet. You'll need to reach after these elusive bits of knowledge, setting out upon new adventures… While you can enjoy Arkham LCG as a series of isolated adventures, the core (and recommended) experience of this game is campaign play."

Isn't that fantastic? At least as a game intention? [FFG seem to be shortening the game name to: Arkham LCG.] So before playing Arkham LCG I want to focus on this, play the game, watch it unfold, see the mechanics at work --- AND look out for any sense of MYSTERY that is evoked by the game. So I'll take my dictionary meaning here, "Something that is difficult to understand or explain". Now by that I hope it doesn't mean I'll be questioning WTF was the point of that card, or why did the adventure make that turn in the story, etc. What I'll look for is: whether the game possesses a mystery and compels me to explore it. To be honest BECAUSE this is a Lovecraft game, I really don't mind if I "solve" the mystery or not. It's that sense of mystery, that experience of it, that is compelling. By which I'd also like to add, mystery isn't just: What's going on? Action - Action - Action - oh it's because of a Great Old One - Action - Kill it - The End (Or more likely get Devoured - The End!)

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Now I'm not doing the No Man Sky hype thing here, putting all hopes and dreams into a game, that's a route that can only disappoint (by which I mean the PC/ps4 video game). I don't think creating a sense of mystery is entirely difficult, though I stress I mean this, contextually, within the bounds of a card game. I don't think it's impossible. Particularly since I already know what great work FFG have put into the delivery of therein other games. Whether that's The Lord of the Rings LCG, or Eldritch Horror, or Netrunner and so many more. I really enjoy the hints within the snippets of card text, the continuation <---> connection in the card art, often so well done by FFG.

But hey, when it comes to revealing layers of a larger mystery, I'm sure there will be enough ambiguity for the imagination to go wild. Make up stuff, fill in the gaps. That's fine too. But to go back to the FFG quote above (and where I got the title of this post from) when it comes to the statement about needing to reach after elusive bits of knowledge, I almost think that they've scandalously taken hyperbole too far. That they are making the campaign process WAY more tantalising then it could ever be! Knowledge? Knowledge. Knowledge!

No, no, surely not. FFG couldn't really be actually telling us something, something actually occult about the Cthulhu Mythos, Yog-Sothothery, and so on. Could it…?

No. "Of course not," after all the FFG previews give mostly mechanical and card based examples in the previews. For example they talk about how in a scenario you might decide to burn your house down, 'cos of that damned crazy (now infamous) 'Study' (hang on, what card was it? Oh yes Core Set, 111). Then in the next scenario, that location, that card I suppose, won't be in your game. That's what FFG mean by campaign progression don't they? They give card based examples, and yes you'll say obviously, of how the game works. This is hardly telling me something about the occult, now really, come on, let's get real here.

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Though…

The 'Uncovering the Truth' preview does say: "Your investigations don't just change Arkham; they also change you. You might gain greater insight into the nature of the mythos." Now you're talkin'! Hm, but it does continue to say, "You may develop phobias. You may be crippled. You may be devoured." Okay standard fare, (and obviously within the horror theme, which is cool) though it makes me question the previous thing about insight into the mythos, does that just mean learning a spell? (i.e. gaining that card.) Or gaining a card thematically connected to the mythos?

Hm, so hang on, so what types of elusive bits of knowledge were being referred to in the quote above? What are we talking about here? What kind of knowledge can be passed on through the games card mechanics? Does the knowledge = a card? Or any number of cards, that you can put in your deck, between each scenario? Hm… So the knowledge in game terms is deck expansion, or character progression in that RPG sense. Possibly.

Probably.

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Now, what I do kinda mull over is whether the phobia, the crippling, the hospital debts, your characters compulsion to read the Necronomicon -- all these things! -- in themselves are hints at meanings of the mythos we (may) often ignore. I suppose a kind of "the gore is the essence of the nature of horror," kind of philosophy. This is the kind of philosophy that says: you need to get out from under the bed sheets and look at the horror! Or you'll miss what's hidden behind the mystery and gore. But that seems entirely irrational and couldn't have anything to do with anything Lovecraft related… could it? ;-) Or perhaps that isn't so irrational after all…?

Also, as the preview for Dunwich Legacy says: "What secrets lie behind the sealed doors of Miskatonic University? Just how sinister are the gangsters that run Arkham's Clover Club? What do the disappearances of Professors Rice and Morgan have to do with the events of Dunwich, several months back?" (https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/9/9/the-dunw...) Which says to me that the campaign elements of the game, lie in discovering unknown (cards) that your character comes across in the story/game, like in RPG development, and that as you play games over many adventures, through the campaign the game let's you experience mystery through learning about how a card works in your deck. How a card applies in an entirely new senario, and so on.

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Okay, so what do you think? Perhaps I'm not saying much here at all. It's a game, that's all in the cards after all. Am I thinking what you're thinking? Probably not. What do you think Arkham LCG is trying to do?

[Plus, this is a trivia type question: is at a new thing since Eldritch Horror, but is it a new creation of FFG to reference a Dr John Dee translation of the Necronomicon? I haven't come across that in the mythos literature before.]

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[Plus, this is a trivia type question: is at a new thing since Eldritch Horror, but is it a new creation of FFG to reference a Dr John Dee translation of the Necronomicon? I haven't come across that in the mythos literature before.]

 

Really? The John Dee Necronomicon is referenced a lot by Lovecraft in his stories (well, as much as any Necronomicon is referenced). In fact, the relative worthlesness of the John Dee translation is what led Wilbur Whateley to his death at Miskatonic University, as he was trying to steal their Necronomicon to make up for how crappy his John Dee edition was.

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@Gaffa yunno what? I'm embarrassed to have written that now, I've had a look at "The History of the Necronomicon" and it is right there! I guess with Dr John Dee's guessed association with the Voynich Manuscript I made some kind of leap in my mind to exclude the Necronomicon - I only noticed it in Eldritch Horror when playing the other day. And I thought to myself "ah there's an interesting connection." Makes no sense why I forgot about it in HPL's work, hey hum.

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I think a lot of the story will come from the two story decks you will use each scenario (agenda and plot decks). That is where I hope a lot of the meatier part of the story telling will come into play.

Yes, most definitely. Plus I think it's great that FFG have thought to enhance this, in the visual sense, by making them look like two halves of a open book when placed side-by-side.

There's a pic of that here, scroll down a little: https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/8/30/mystery-murder-and-madness/

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[Plus, this is a trivia type question: is at a new thing since Eldritch Horror, but is it a new creation of FFG to reference a Dr John Dee translation of the Necronomicon? I haven't come across that in the mythos literature before.]

 

Really? The John Dee Necronomicon is referenced a lot by Lovecraft in his stories (well, as much as any Necronomicon is referenced). In fact, the relative worthlesness of the John Dee translation is what led Wilbur Whateley to his death at Miskatonic University, as he was trying to steal their Necronomicon to make up for how crappy his John Dee edition was.

 

 

what confuses me, is that Wilbur found it so hard to find a Latin copy of the book, but in "The Haunter of the Dark" the Starry Wisdom Church has a Latin Version of the Necronomicon, Unassprechlichen Culten, and a bunch of the other banned books. Blake has read these, although some of the books there he didn't read. How was it easy for him to find it, but hard for the son of Yog-Sothoth?

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Time difference? Maybe Wilbur couldn't be bothered to travel to Providence. Perhaps, most likely Nyarlathotep (The Haunter of the Dark being his Mask) Did not want him to find that particular copy.

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It's only identified as a Latin translation. Whately is specifically after the Wormius translation. Both may be in Latin, but different translations can be very different from each other. That goes double when the translations include poetry, as the Necronomicon does. 

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- o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o -

What is Arkham Horror LCG trying to do?

- o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o -

[i have purposefully written about this BEFORE playing the game, I'm writing this as a what is expected/hoped for type post.]

I'm interested/excited about the release of this game, and want to talk about what Fantasy Flight seem to be saying it aims to do, on it's website, in its previews, etc. Take this example of what a preview wrote on this card-come-RPG game:

"Each game, each scenario, allows you to adventure into mystery and the occult. But your investigations in the Arkham LCG® don't necessarily end at the completion of your adventure. As likely as not, they'll reveal new layers of a larger mystery that slip and slide away from you as you attempt to grasp them. You won't be done yet. You'll need to reach after these elusive bits of knowledge, setting out upon new adventures… While you can enjoy Arkham LCG as a series of isolated adventures, the core (and recommended) experience of this game is campaign play." ('Uncovering the Truth - Campaigns and Your Adventures in Arkham Horror: The Card Game' (07/09/16) https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/9/7/uncoveri...)

Now as with many of FFG preview statements, you need to expect hyperbole advertising, or to put it kinder, thematic, if dramatic, overstatement. So when I read, "so we warn you to be careful what powers you might summon out of your Arkham adventures… for you should beware that which you call up, lest you might not be able to put it down." ('Mystery, Murder, and Madness How the Forces of Evil Advance Their Sinister Agendas in the Arkham LCG®', 30/08/16, https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/8/30/mystery...) Well I think it comes with the territory. I'm not complaining, actually I end up wanting more, more, more! If only more board and card game companies/publishers were as inventive, creative, and hey I'll say it: generous! Because isn't it great to read the supernatural kind of thematic statement that proclaims: "After all, the truth can be terrifying—profoundly terrifying. You may find the ground figuratively opening beneath your feet, as the reality you thought you understood is shown to be but a small part of the universe, and you may even find yourself dragged deeper into this frightful abyss…" ('Uncovering the Truth' URL above.)

Enough to even make True Detective's Rusty Cole proud! (Well almost.)

Okay to get to the point of what I'm talking about. It's about the campaign side of the game. I'll let FFG explain again, from the 'Uncovering the Truth' preview:

"Each game, each scenario, allows you to adventure into mystery and the occult. But your investigations in the Arkham LCG® don't necessarily end at the completion of your adventure. As likely as not, they'll reveal new layers of a larger mystery that slip and slide away from you as you attempt to grasp them. You won't be done yet. You'll need to reach after these elusive bits of knowledge, setting out upon new adventures… While you can enjoy Arkham LCG as a series of isolated adventures, the core (and recommended) experience of this game is campaign play."

Isn't that fantastic? At least as a game intention? [FFG seem to be shortening the game name to: Arkham LCG.] So before playing Arkham LCG I want to focus on this, play the game, watch it unfold, see the mechanics at work --- AND look out for any sense of MYSTERY that is evoked by the game. So I'll take my dictionary meaning here, "Something that is difficult to understand or explain". Now by that I hope it doesn't mean I'll be questioning WTF was the point of that card, or why did the adventure make that turn in the story, etc. What I'll look for is: whether the game possesses a mystery and compels me to explore it. To be honest BECAUSE this is a Lovecraft game, I really don't mind if I "solve" the mystery or not. It's that sense of mystery, that experience of it, that is compelling. By which I'd also like to add, mystery isn't just: What's going on? Action - Action - Action - oh it's because of a Great Old One - Action - Kill it - The End (Or more likely get Devoured - The End!)

- o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o -

Now I'm not doing the No Man Sky hype thing here, putting all hopes and dreams into a game, that's a route that can only disappoint (by which I mean the PC/ps4 video game). I don't think creating a sense of mystery is entirely difficult, though I stress I mean this, contextually, within the bounds of a card game. I don't think it's impossible. Particularly since I already know what great work FFG have put into the delivery of therein other games. Whether that's The Lord of the Rings LCG, or Eldritch Horror, or Netrunner and so many more. I really enjoy the hints within the snippets of card text, the continuation <---> connection in the card art, often so well done by FFG.

But hey, when it comes to revealing layers of a larger mystery, I'm sure there will be enough ambiguity for the imagination to go wild. Make up stuff, fill in the gaps. That's fine too. But to go back to the FFG quote above (and where I got the title of this post from) when it comes to the statement about needing to reach after elusive bits of knowledge, I almost think that they've scandalously taken hyperbole too far. That they are making the campaign process WAY more tantalising then it could ever be! Knowledge? Knowledge. Knowledge!

No, no, surely not. FFG couldn't really be actually telling us something, something actually occult about the Cthulhu Mythos, Yog-Sothothery, and so on. Could it…?

No. "Of course not," after all the FFG previews give mostly mechanical and card based examples in the previews. For example they talk about how in a scenario you might decide to burn your house down, 'cos of that damned crazy (now infamous) 'Study' (hang on, what card was it? Oh yes Core Set, 111). Then in the next scenario, that location, that card I suppose, won't be in your game. That's what FFG mean by campaign progression don't they? They give card based examples, and yes you'll say obviously, of how the game works. This is hardly telling me something about the occult, now really, come on, let's get real here.

- o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o -

Though…

The 'Uncovering the Truth' preview does say: "Your investigations don't just change Arkham; they also change you. You might gain greater insight into the nature of the mythos." Now you're talkin'! Hm, but it does continue to say, "You may develop phobias. You may be crippled. You may be devoured." Okay standard fare, (and obviously within the horror theme, which is cool) though it makes me question the previous thing about insight into the mythos, does that just mean learning a spell? (i.e. gaining that card.) Or gaining a card thematically connected to the mythos?

Hm, so hang on, so what types of elusive bits of knowledge were being referred to in the quote above? What are we talking about here? What kind of knowledge can be passed on through the games card mechanics? Does the knowledge = a card? Or any number of cards, that you can put in your deck, between each scenario? Hm… So the knowledge in game terms is deck expansion, or character progression in that RPG sense. Possibly.

Probably.

- o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o -

Now, what I do kinda mull over is whether the phobia, the crippling, the hospital debts, your characters compulsion to read the Necronomicon -- all these things! -- in themselves are hints at meanings of the mythos we (may) often ignore. I suppose a kind of "the gore is the essence of the nature of horror," kind of philosophy. This is the kind of philosophy that says: you need to get out from under the bed sheets and look at the horror! Or you'll miss what's hidden behind the mystery and gore. But that seems entirely irrational and couldn't have anything to do with anything Lovecraft related… could it? ;-) Or perhaps that isn't so irrational after all…?

Also, as the preview for Dunwich Legacy says: "What secrets lie behind the sealed doors of Miskatonic University? Just how sinister are the gangsters that run Arkham's Clover Club? What do the disappearances of Professors Rice and Morgan have to do with the events of Dunwich, several months back?" (https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/9/9/the-dunw...) Which says to me that the campaign elements of the game, lie in discovering unknown (cards) that your character comes across in the story/game, like in RPG development, and that as you play games over many adventures, through the campaign the game let's you experience mystery through learning about how a card works in your deck. How a card applies in an entirely new senario, and so on.

- o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o -

Okay, so what do you think? Perhaps I'm not saying much here at all. It's a game, that's all in the cards after all. Am I thinking what you're thinking? Probably not. What do you think Arkham LCG is trying to do?

[Plus, this is a trivia type question: is at a new thing since Eldritch Horror, but is it a new creation of FFG to reference a Dr John Dee translation of the Necronomicon? I haven't come across that in the mythos literature before.]

I think the LCG has at it's core one goal:  Make you give them your money.  In truckloads.  Based on posts like yours I pretty much see a lot of success for them!

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