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rlpowell2

New players: doing something wrong?

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Me and my group are playing The Night Of The Zealot on Standard.  We have co-op experience.   We just finished The Midnight Masks.

Mostly, it was fine, and I think we did OK overall, but clue collection was *brutal*.

We played with Roland, Agnes, Wendy and Skids, so our highest Books was 3.

The Miskatonic card had 8 (2 x # of players) clues on it, at a shroud of 4, and you could get a victory point if you cleared it!, and we were just like, *there's no way*.   We didn't even try.

By the end, we had only managed to draw 3 cards from the Cultist Deck, and one of the 3 was, like, one turn before we finished.

So my questions:

1.  Is it just absurdly stupid to play without Daisy?  If so, why are the two suggested first characters Roland and Wendy?

2.  Is it possible we're fundamentally missing something about clue collection?

Thanks!

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It can be challenging to play without a seeker, especially if your card pool is just the core set.  It can also be challenging to play without a guardian, especially if you just have the core set.  Things get a little easier if Roland's deck is built more for his investigate side than his guardian side.  That's especially true if Skids can pick up some of the handling of monster portion.

My group has a lot of card game and co-op experience.  Night of the Zealot crushed us hard the first few times as well.  It takes a bit to learn the flow of the game and what can work and what cannot.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that deck design has to be done with what the rest of the group has selected.  If you don't have a Seeker, you are going to need more Flashlights, Perception and class specific clue gathering cards (Drawn to the Flame, Look What I Found, Evidence) than if you had a Seeker. 

The game has started to address this as time went on with more clue gathering cards across the board as well as investigators that can investigate well outside of the Seeker class.

Edited by Jobu

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You can get those clues in other ways. Roland, especially, can get clues when he kills a monster. Spawn a monster there, get Roland in, kill it, find a clue. More clues with Evidence. Alternatively, Drawn to the Flame, which Roland has, finds two clues without a test. Look what I found can work if you only barely failed.

THen, there's ways to boost your stats or make clue-finding easier. A flashlight, which several of you should have in your decks, lowers the Shroud value to two, which makes it doable. Then, there's an entire list of Seeker cards which help, which Roland should have in his deck: Dr. Milan and Magnifying glass both add +1 intellect, hyperawareness allows you to spend resources to boost your stats, Working a Hunch also just finds clues without a test. 

In a pinch, sometimes you just have to pitch enough cards to get +4 intellect, which is doable. Perception, Working a Hunch, Look what I found, Perception, Unexpected Courage all add +2. 

Also, in Midnight Masks, you are not supposed to find all the cultists. You are supposed to find some, then get out before the timer run's out. Basically, it's a tutorial teaching you about when to cut and run, which could well be important in the future. Two or three is entirely enough, especially on your first try.

And finally, in four players, it will be very hard to clear a location entirely without a dedicated clue gatherer, yes. There's other ways to get XP.

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3 hours ago, Eldan985 said:

A flashlight, which several of you should have in your decks, lowers the Shroud value to two, which makes it doable.

Just a note, it lowers it by 2.  Everything else Eldan said was spot on.

I've never gotten all the cultists.  4 was our all-time best.

Also, I want to congratulate you on successfully using Intellect (the book) to investigate.  That is not a joke, or me being patronizing.  Every group I have ever introduced to the game, I have gone over it explicitly telling them what each skill is and that Intellect is the one they'll use to investigate.  2 scenarios in, it comes out that they've been using the wrong skill.:rolleyes:

I feel like Wendy is better with fewer players, although @Soakman would be a much better resource for character analysis than I.  As Wendy is my usual main, I never approached The Night of the Zealot without her... until I decided to try out Akachi.  It wasn't until the second mission that we realized what we'd done: Akachi (mystic), Yorick (survivor), and Jenny (rogue).  None of those characters has a investigation (intellect) skill higher than 3, and only Jenny has access to any seeker cards (and she'd gone with guardian weapons).  It got messy.  That is the group, though, that got 4 cultists.  I got my Shriviling (level 3) out and raced around the board destroying doom-catchers (those stupid acolytes and wizards that garner their own doom), while the other 2 found clues and parlayed.  We advanced and almost got our most desired outcome.  Instead, we were 1 turn away from a TPK and chose the Lita option.

That to say, the initial campaign is rough.  It isn't made easier by not having a seeker, but it is doable.  Remember that characters that are at the same location can each commit any one card for its skill icons on another player's test.  The player him/herself can commit as many as they wish.

Edited by Duciris

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If this was your first play, 3 cultists is not a bad number. 4 is a reasonable target for success, and sets you up fairly well for the next scenario. It's really a push-your-luck scenario, where you try to get as many cultists as you can before midnight, but aren't necessarily expected to get them all. It can be done, but generally by more experienced players with tuned decks. People have definitely done worse on their first time out. (Although looking again, I saw you got the last one very late, so I'm not sure if you actually put that one -- or any of them? -- in the victory display.)

It's also worth noting that the scenario has more clues available than you actually need. It's supposed to be a difficult location to clear (thus the VP). Not all VP locations are created equal. Miskatonic has a beneficial ability; Meanwhile, Graveyard has the same number of clues with only 1 shroud, but a harmful Forced ability.

Remember also that you can commit intellect icons to investigate tests to increase your odds of success, and Flashlights drop the shroud to only 2.

You'll find as you play more scenarios that there are many scenarios that allow for varying degrees of success like Midnight Masks does, in various ways. Some of the game's replay value comes from trying to better your performance. :)

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Thank you for all the great advice!

If I recall correctly, we *drew* 3 cultists, but only nabbed 2 of them.  Plus the hunter (Lita Chantler really helps :D).

I thought that any player could always commit a single card to another player's skill test; is it really only at the same location?  That would make things harder.

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Oh, I was taking that to mean that it reduced any shroud value to 2.  But, because it starts at 4, the reduction of 2 is 2.  Der.

Hey, @rlpowell2.  You know about the different resources for the game, right?

  • ArkhamDB.  There are different deck-lists and you can view all of the cards.
  • CardGameDB.  Same as above (but for some reason I like the other one better).  They also have everything for all the other LCGs.  There are also good rules FAQ discussions.
  • FFG's QR pages.  They're all the same URL, just change the last 2 values to whatever pack you're looking for.  So, the core set is http://ffgapp.com/qr/AHC01.  If you wanted the Dunwich cycle, it's -02 through -08.  And so on.
  • Arkham Chronicle - A good source for a breakdown of product and characters.

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The rulebook suggests Roland and wendy because they have no overlapping cardpool.

For your first play with four investigators and no seekers, i think you did really well. I prefer Flashlights for investigators with low intellect and little to no means to boost it. On locations with shroud 2 or less flashlight pretty much guarantees success

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First time midnight masks 3 cultists is actually quite good my first three times were as follows: 0, 1, 1 so don't feel bad.  Also as has been said getting all 6 is even with all the new cards is still very challenging.  Also midnight masks is a marked increase in difficulty from the gathering so that feeling is also normal, on standard with more cards and possibly a dedicated seeker getting all 6 should be possible, but it is in no way easy so keep that in mind for your future play thru's not every scenario can be accomplished especially the first time.

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14 hours ago, rlpowell said:

I thought that any player could always commit a single card to another player's skill test; is it really only at the same location?  That would make things harder.

Only if they are at the same location I'm afraid. From the Rules Reference, Skill Test Timing step 2: "Each other investigator at the same location as the investigator performing the skill test may commit one card with an appropriate skill icon to this test."

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I have only played Midnight Masks a handful of times. I'm not a perfectionist so I think the most cultists I ever got were 4, maybe 5. All of the advice here is good, particularly Eldan's. You can find ways around having a low intelligence stat, but it can be limited by what card pool you have available. Either way, with a core, as mentioned, you should pretty much always have 2 flashlights in your deck. It's important to familiarize yourself with cards that your character can take so you know what options you have available. 

With 4 investigators, you're going to need to rely on more than 1 investigator nabbing clues because, in general, you will need more of them. This can get tricky if you don't leave room in your decks for this. Roland should have no issues really, Agnes has rite of seeking (if you have that pack, it is pretty essential for mystics and is available in one of the Dunwich packs), Wendy and Skids should both have 2 flashlights each and possibly some of the skill cards mentioned. Don't be afraid to use Wendy's ability if you fail at a token pull when investigating, and use Look what I found! and Lucky! to help.

I don't have a lot to add here that hasn't been said.

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10 minutes ago, Raahk said:

Also: Look what i found works every time on locations with shroud 2 or less (except when you pull the tentacle token or some other special token shenanigans happen ...)

It works even when you pull the tentacle, because an auto-fail sets your total skill value for the test at 0, so you fail by the difficulty. Note that Flashlight also helps a lot with investigating such locations: you can only fail if you pull the tentacle (or otherwise get an auto-fail), because your total skill value cannot be negative.

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On 6/18/2018 at 10:13 AM, Duciris said:

Also, I want to congratulate you on successfully using Intellect (the book) to investigate.  That is not a joke, or me being patronizing.  Every group I have ever introduced to the game, I have gone over it explicitly telling them what each skill is and that Intellect is the one they'll use to investigate.  2 scenarios in, it comes out that they've been using the wrong skill.:rolleyes:

 

It really *does* seem like brains is what you'd use to investigate.  -___-  We've had to correct ourselves on that several times. 

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Something else to note, which may have been mentioned, is that you'll come to realize that Arkham Horror scenarios aren't always meant to be optimally won. Yes, it can be fun trying to get there, but they aren't designed with 'doing all the things' as the goal post. Remember that these scenarios make up a story and win or lose (with notable exceptions), you will continue to press forward. Sometimes the goal is honestly to just do the best you can and accept the fact that you simply cannot save everyone/kill everyone/figure out all the things. 

And sometimes, if you do really well on a scenario, future scenarios may strike back even harder to put you back in your place. Sometimes it can actually make your journey harder the more successful you are. Yes, it pays off in experience, but sometimes you have additional evil tokens added to the chaos bag, fluctuating doom, or even more enemies thrown at you.

The true test of a group's success is if they can defeat the final scenario in a campaign. Everything else was just a horrible, madness-fueled, tentacle-infested nightmare along the way.

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10 hours ago, Soakman said:

The true test of a group's success is if they can defeat the final scenario in a campaign. Everything else was just a horrible, madness-fueled, tentacle-infested nightmare along the way. 

Well spoken.

 

Only open the spoiler when you have had some very very bad campaign run throughs ...

 

Though sometimes you dont make it to the last scenario ...

Edited by Raahk
figuring out how spoilers work

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This is true, it also makes for some fun stories when everything doesn't go perfectly, if you want to hear some go to the BGG forums and search for confessions, where people explain something they did their character would "regret" it has some really funny reads just an FYI

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