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awp832

A Community Strategy Guide

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Introduction

Sometimes I read through the pages and it breaks my heart to know that some people are getting turned off to the game (whether it is a particular mission, or generally) because of difficulty.   And even if that is not the case, I think most everyone is always looking to improve.   I had this idea for a community based strategy guide.   I don't want this to be me speaking from the pulpit.  Everyone should feel welcome to talk about anything related to Arkham LCG strategy at all.  It can be as grand or as small as you want.  You can be brief, or long winded.  It can be about deckbuilding, or about things to do during play.  Could be about a single card, a single character, a campaign, or just general.   It can be advice from your experience, it can be theorycrafting, it can be a question.    Feel free to respond to what others may have said...  but if you disagree, please provide a reason why you think so.   I think it would be a great help though, if we followed a few simple guidelines.   

"Rules"

Here's what I'd like from contributors.   It would be wonderful if these were bolded, for easy reference.

1. Clearly state your topic.
2.  Clearly state the game mode to which you are referencing.   If you always play on a specific difficulty mode, than everyone needs to know that this is the sort of game you are playing, so we have a frame of reference.  Let us know if this is for stand-alone mode, or specific to 4 player, or 2 player.  
3.  Please try to keep everything spoiler-free,  or if that is not possible, use spoiler tags.

 

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How to use a Flashlight.
Game mode:  Hard.    Player Count:  Any


I just wanted to start off with How to use a Flashlight.  The flashlight is a tool that can be used by any investigator, and is a reasonable choice even for investigators who have a low Lore value.  The flashlight deserves some consideration in almost any deck.  The specific reason that the flashlight is so good, is that lowering the shroud value of a location to 0 means the investigator automatically succeeds at their investigation attempt, unless they draw the auto-fail token.  The primary purpose of the flashlight then, is investigating locations with a shroud of 2 or less, and getting a nearly guaranteed success.  

I know it can be tempting to use the flashlight on a 4 or 5 shroud location, thinking that you are "getting more" out of it, or that you could probably succeed on shroud locations of 1-2 anyway.  In my experience, it's far better to reserve your flashlight for 1-2 shroud locations only.  Easy clues from shroud 1-2 locations that you dont have to spend cards/resources on lets you save those cards/resources to deal with higher shroud locations.  So for example,  if you are at a 1-2 shroud location and you can give yourself a +2 bonus with Higher education, or use the flashlight... use the flashlight to reduce the shroud to 0.   If you are at a 3+ shroud location and want a +2 bonus, you should use Higher Education if you can, preserving your flashlight charges for later.

Another great thing about the flashlight is that it can be used just as effectively by characters with low lore value.   Particularly if those characters have little competition for hand slots, such as Akachi Onyele.  Lowering the shroud to 0 is the same for Akachi as it is for Daisy,  so Daisy benefits less from her 5 Lore here.

If you are playing on a team and you know your allies are running flashlights,  you may want to leave shroud 1-2 locations available for them to use them on.   If you are playing a Seeker, it's your job to go after the higher shroud locations, and allow your team with flashlights to take on the easy shroud locations.   Much like it's the job of the Guardian to go after the toughest monsters, and leave the weaker monsters to generalist characters.

Finally, the flashlight is a tool in hand-slot manipulation.  Sometimes you want a handed-item in your discard pile so you can get it  back, especially with characters running Scavenging, or someone like William Yorrick.  The flashlight can be played to force a hand-slot item in play into your discard pile (such as another flashlight with no charges, or a weapon card for Yorrick that is out of ammo) so that it can be retrieved... so long as you have both hand slots occupied.  Flashlight retrieval can be very handy on many characters, especially Wendy, William Yorrick, Minh, and Rex (with Scavenging).   Costing a hand slot is a bit of a double-edged sword though, so you may not wish to include Flashlight on characters who are planning to primarily use 2 handed weapons.

That's all I have to say about the flashlight.  Go bust the mythos!

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Don't have anything to contribute myself (yet) as I'm far more likely to be using this advice rather than giving it out but just wanted to say thanks for creating this thread, I think it's a great idea. ?

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Play the Board, Not the Deck

This is something that I see a lot of new players, including myself making.  There is a temptation in the game early on to do things such as draw cards or pull more resources at every opportunity, if I am this good withe these cards, I will be even better with more cards.  While this is a good strategy when there is literally nothing else to do, most of the time its better to reveal a new location or get some more clues.

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How much dedicated roles do i need?
Game mode:  Normal    Player Count:  Four

So, i am by no means an expert in this game and had recently a revelation how to play this game with four players. This might not even be news for you.

Most of the time when playing with 2 or 3 players we relied on one seeker to gather all the clues and maybe even one dedicated guardian to kill of all the monsters. In theory that sounds like a neat idea and works most of the time in a 2 or 3 player game. Though when playing with four investigators, oftentimes one investigator wound up doing nothing useful and was waiting for their moment to shine and fulfill their role (like a dedicated guardian waiting for an enemy to appear) only to find himself sitting at the wrong end of the map when the enemy appeared on the other side engaged with another investigator. At the same time the dedicated clue gatherer ended up being so busy collecting clues (because there are so much to be gathered) that there is practically no time to play any assets that don't directly let you gather more clues. And in the end the seeker turned out to be too slow and we lose the scenario. Again. And yet again.

So here is the solution: We figured that for a four investigator game it is best to have multiple investigators fulfill multiple roles at the same time (i.e. each investigator having their own reliable (!) clue gathering capacity, be it with "Flash Light" or something similar like "Look What I Found", or have some minor fighting capabilities since the guardian cannot keep you safe through the whole game). This has improved our game and our game experience in a decent manner.

Answer: The less the better

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17 hours ago, Raahk said:

How much dedicated roles do i need?
Game mode:  Normal    Player Count:  Four

So, i am by no means an expert in this game and had recently a revelation how to play this game with four players. This might not even be news for you.

Most of the time when playing with 2 or 3 players we relied on one seeker to gather all the clues and maybe even one dedicated guardian to kill of all the monsters. In theory that sounds like a neat idea and works most of the time in a 2 or 3 player game. Though when playing with four investigators, oftentimes one investigator wound up doing nothing useful and was waiting for their moment to shine and fulfill their role (like a dedicated guardian waiting for an enemy to appear) only to find himself sitting at the wrong end of the map when the enemy appeared on the other side engaged with another investigator. At the same time the dedicated clue gatherer ended up being so busy collecting clues (because there are so much to be gathered) that there is practically no time to play any assets that don't directly let you gather more clues. And in the end the seeker turned out to be too slow and we lose the scenario. Again. And yet again.

So here is the solution: We figured that for a four investigator game it is best to have multiple investigators fulfill multiple roles at the same time (i.e. each investigator having their own reliable (!) clue gathering capacity, be it with "Flash Light" or something similar like "Look What I Found", or have some minor fighting capabilities since the guardian cannot keep you safe through the whole game). This has improved our game and our game experience in a decent manner.

Answer: The less the better

I think you’re right, to an extent. Having a primary job your character is good at is much more useful in higher player counts, but it’s best to have a secondary job you can do while your primary job isn’t needed. While dedicated killers like Mark or Zoe can be really useful, I find it helps if they can help with healing/support in their downtime as well.

Dedicated ‘cloovers’ like Rex are in a better spot, as clue gathering is rarely unwelcome, but there are some scenarios where it’s not central, or where you gather clues in ways other than investigating. So again, being able to pitch in with other stuff can be necessary, even if it’s just mobility, getting round the map and seeing what’s out there, doubly so with the Explore mechanic of Forgotten Age.

So, my opinion of a perfect four player team is something like this;

- A dedicated monster whacker (for the Munchkin Cthulhu fans out there) who dabbles in healing or other support

- A dedicated ‘investigator’ for gathering clues, ideally with some combat or tricksy options in their deck, but not necessarily

- A couple of ‘flex’ characters, Mystics are great for this, they can tool up to do anything, provided they can find the right spells in their deck. Spell-slinger Daisy almost fits here, but she’s probably more on the ‘investigator’ end of the spectrum, but with better access to more tricks than most Seekers. Survivors and Rogues can be built to focus on other areas, like being a dodge tank, for managing enemies without necessarily killing them, but at least one of these flex characters, ideally both, should be half decent at clue gathering, and at least one should be decent at enemy management, either by dodging/tanking or killing stuff.

I think that’s about right, but I also wonder whether the ideal mix changes with campaigns. My play group has been really successful on our blind play throughs, until we hit Forgotten Age, where we’ve only had one decent resolution out of 4 scenarios! So I think our mix of fighters may be off currently, enemy management has been more of a problem than previous campaigns.

Interesting topic, thanks @Raahk!

Edited by General Zodd

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Basic Weaknesses. All difficulties.

This might be obvious.

When a Basic Weakness comes out early on and goes into your threat area, deal with it immediately. Use  the two actions or confront the enemy, whatever, asap. I used to leave them around for a while especially Psychosis, after all, I wasn't being attacked...see where I'm going with this...

Once the game gets past midway, time accelerates, if you have a Basic Weakness hanging around, it will come back and haunt you and later on in the campaign/s, you may have a couple. Do yourself a favour, deal with them one at a time. ?

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On Friday, August 03, 2018 at 9:33 AM, Raahk said:

only to find himself sitting at the wrong end of the map when the enemy appeared on the other side engaged with another investigator.

Heres a good tip, resist the urge to split up. Especially if you only have one dedicated slayer. You shouldn't be spread out further that having everyone on one or two locations. If you're running 2 slayers and 2 cloovers then you can split the party 50/50

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On 8/7/2018 at 2:24 PM, bern1106 said:

Basic Weaknesses. All difficulties.

This might be obvious.

When a Basic Weakness comes out early on and goes into your threat area, deal with it immediately. Use  the two actions or confront the enemy, whatever, asap. I used to leave them around for a while especially Psychosis, after all, I wasn't being attacked...see where I'm going with this...

Once the game gets past midway, time accelerates, if you have a Basic Weakness hanging around, it will come back and haunt you and later on in the campaign/s, you may have a couple. Do yourself a favour, deal with them one at a time. ?

This is a decent rule of thumb, but as you gain more experience as a player you start to develop a sense of when you have to immediately address the weakness and when you can ignore it. I’ve played a handful of scenarios where I’ve ignored the weakness for almost the entire scenario and had a successful outcome.

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Should I use the Backpack?
Difficulty:  Any
Player Count:  Any


I sort of have this thing with the Backpack card.   It's a 2 cost asset that takes up your body slot and maybe draws you 3 cards?  Or maybe it doesn't.  Cards that are not technically speaking in your hand can be a big advantage (like with Stick to the Plan)  because you can essentially have a bigger maximum hand size.  You really would like to get the maximum benefit out of the backpack when you play it,  so you'll want roughly 50% of your deck to have the Item or Supply traits.  This sounds difficult to do, but really it's not as bad as you might think.   Go through some of your decks you've already made and count how many cards have the Item or Supply trait.   It's often around 10.   The backpacks themselves are items, so that's 12,  meaning you probably only need to put a few more items in your deck to make the backpack a all around pretty good deal.  I find this is easiest to do with Guardians, because they tend to play a lot of Item cards (weapons) as well as really liking the Supply trait as well (Extra Ammunition).   I used it to some very nice effect with Leo Anderson, packing in some rogue cards (liquid courage, Contraband, Lucky Cigarette Case or Decorated Skull) to round out the set.   He might be the best backpack user.  

The backpack can even fetch Signature items, if they apply.  Incidentally, both of Finn Edwards' Signature items are backpack ready,  allowing him some very nice deck acceleration with the backpack.  Roland's .38 Special, Zoey's Cross, and Jenny's Twin .45s can all be put in the pack as well.  Since Signature items are often some of the most powerful cards in your deck (especially early campaign without much experience), it can be well worth it.  

I admit that I've not tried a pack-Yorrick  build,  but he could get some good value out of this, because he can use up everything in the backpack and then play the backpack again from his discard pile, triggering it again.  Really anybody with Scavenging tricks could pull something like this.  

Backpack is really a very fun card,  with some great potential, which will always continue to grow as we get more items/supply cards as player cards.  I encourage everyone to try it!   Oh...  just don't lose it prematurely to pushed into the beyond or something.

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On 8/23/2018 at 10:26 PM, awp832 said:

Should I use the Backpack?
Difficulty:  Any
Player Count:  Any


I sort of have this thing with the Backpack card.   It's a 2 cost asset that takes up your body slot and maybe draws you 3 cards?  Or maybe it doesn't.  Cards that are not technically speaking in your hand can be a big advantage (like with Stick to the Plan)  because you can essentially have a bigger maximum hand size.  You really would like to get the maximum benefit out of the backpack when you play it,  so you'll want roughly 50% of your deck to have the Item or Supply traits.  This sounds difficult to do, but really it's not as bad as you might think.   Go through some of your decks you've already made and count how many cards have the Item or Supply trait.   It's often around 10.   The backpacks themselves are items, so that's 12,  meaning you probably only need to put a few more items in your deck to make the backpack a all around pretty good deal.  I find this is easiest to do with Guardians, because they tend to play a lot of Item cards (weapons) as well as really liking the Supply trait as well (Extra Ammunition).   I used it to some very nice effect with Leo Anderson, packing in some rogue cards (liquid courage, Contraband, Lucky Cigarette Case or Decorated Skull) to round out the set.   He might be the best backpack user.  

The backpack can even fetch Signature items, if they apply.  Incidentally, both of Finn Edwards' Signature items are backpack ready,  allowing him some very nice deck acceleration with the backpack.  Roland's .38 Special, Zoey's Cross, and Jenny's Twin .45s can all be put in the pack as well.  Since Signature items are often some of the most powerful cards in your deck (especially early campaign without much experience), it can be well worth it.  

I admit that I've not tried a pack-Yorrick  build,  but he could get some good value out of this, because he can use up everything in the backpack and then play the backpack again from his discard pile, triggering it again.  Really anybody with Scavenging tricks could pull something like this.  

Backpack is really a very fun card,  with some great potential, which will always continue to grow as we get more items/supply cards as player cards.  I encourage everyone to try it!   Oh...  just don't lose it prematurely to pushed into the beyond or something.

I think Backpack is fun but not that great. With roughly 50% asset mix, some napkin math is you're only at roughly 80% to get at least 2 cards and 66%~ chance to get three cards from it. Doesn't seem very worth it for me since your assets likely also include allies, etc which will diminish value even further. Someone else can run the numbers or a simulation to see if it's worth it but I was already being generous in my estimates by just by doing sample with replacement for the items.

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You're definitely not going to be just throwing the backpack in to your deck, that's for sure.   It takes some careful deck crafting to get the most use out of the backpack.   Although, don't forget you can also take Supply events which include the likes of Emergency Cache, and Extra Ammunition.    You can also stack the odds in your favor with your mulligan,  choosing to throw back item/supply cards and keep non-item/supply cards for your opening hand.

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Hard. 1 Player / 2-Player. Card choices and cost curve.

I've found that card choices vary wildly in difficulty modes and player counts. I play typically solo or duo. Cards costing so and so much in one player count will or will not work, and certain cards make, break or fail completely depending on player count too!

 

Here are some examples:

Working on a Hunch and Fieldwork are favourites of mine in solo, but they fail to perform reliably in Duo! Reason: Doubling the player count doubles the clues on each location, this doesn't slow down the team as a whole (assuming everyone is doing their thing) but a single investigator only has so much "bank" for beating certain challenges. A Roland solo with Working on a hunch might run through two locations, completing one location with Working on a hunch, the other by killing an enemy there, in Duo this technique yields exactly the same number of clues, but half the actual progress. This slowdown in turn makes it harder to get consistent use from Fieldwork. In solo if I encountered a 2-clue location, i'dd grab one clue with the bonus from Fieldwork, and the other clue via Working on a hunch. With double the players and double the clues that strategy falls apart. The issue can be dealt with by using more of the same cards but playing both Working on a hunch in the same round will severely limit your future choices due to the steep total resource cost.

On the other hand, some cards that have limited use in solo become far more helpful in Duo, Rite of Seeking for example might be considered overkill in Solo, due to the number of 1-clue locations, obviously it's absolutely perfect for 2 player!

As a general rule cards that give "reach" in a given test-type (I.E, specializing) are good in duo, being characters who complement each other is important and ideally the responsibilities can be split (One fighter, one Cluehound). If the player number becomes larger then Duo these rules again break down, since the sheer volume per location will now be greater than what any one character can manage! Rite of seeking might clear 3 locations in Duo, but it covers at best 1.5 locations in 4 player!

 

Aside from player count, there's also difficulty. Difficulty is far more involved in card choices than it would seem at first. I've found that the "sweet spot" for test difficulty in each mode alters greatly the viable cardpool. The sweet spots are: Easy (-1), Standard (-2), Hard (-3), Expert (-4). The sweet spots are the number you can (usually) aim for to beat a test by. The sweet spot will flex and change depending on exact circumstances (The skull for example often has a swingy penalty, the sweet spot can never be lower then the skull modifier). The sweet spot then alters what can be considered a viable card or investigator.

In standard you can reasonably beat tests with minimal trouble with a stat of 3 (Skidds o' Tooles's combat stat for example), thus investigators with that number in several stats are flexible and can complete a variety of tasks routinely. In hard the sweet spot is one higher, you'll want a base stat of 4+ to pass routine tests without dedicating cards and resources in multiples to pass them, what you did in standard for 1 card will now cost 1 card and 1 resource, or 2 cards, you can see how this sort of extra expense would spiral out of control. This is also why testless cards can be incredibly important, Working on a hunch might seem like a bad trade for just a single clue on standard, but on hard using this kind of card to bypass a difficulty 3 or 4 investigate check can be important. Note that investigators with middling stats can still do those types of tests but you need to rely on some tricks to do so, harder difficulty modes basically sharpen each investigators's identity. Whereas Skids is flexible in Standard, and can be built as a monster hunter, the same strategy will not work in Hard.

In harder difficulties the ability to pass a test grows in importance, perhaps because each test requires significantly more of your resources, thus the need to secure success becomes greater, to ensure that you don't have to double down on costs when tests fail. The survivor faction used to be a little lacking in flavour for me when I played at first on standard only, these guys fought worse then other fighters, and got less clues then other clue-hunters, but they grew to become my favourite faction in hard because of their ability to strongarm "near-success" into actual success, thus where others were simply failing tests (or paying through the nose for them) this faction was finding success without overspecializing.

 

Finally there's the cost curve, something invisible that takes a bit of time to learn and adapt to. The cost curve represents what you can afford to play in a game. It'd take too much text to explain it in good detail, and know that cost curves vary between characters, factions and decks. But, these general rules apply:

A 1 cost card is easy to get into play, but note that if you have multiple low cost events then you main cards might be slowed down and your ability to pass tests via talent use might be hampered, deck slots are hard to find though so overdosing on 1 cost cards is unlikely. You can probably fit 6-9 1-cost cards at no risk to the average curve.

A 2 cost card is an investment! The more assets and events at this cost you have  in a deck the more they will slow your major investments down. If you have 6+ 2 cost cards in a deck you can expect to have trouble paying for talent use, weapons and major allies. 

A 3 cost card needs to be very important to you to warrant a slot, these are investments and should accomplish something valuable or be useful for an extended time. If you fit 4-6  3 cost cards in a deck you'll probably not be able to afford 4-cost allies or weapons for 2+ rounds.

A 4 cost card is a centerpiece card, something that props up your role and fuels it, granting permament benefits, single handedly completing goals or completing scenarios outright (The way Rite of Seeking is the major clue-tool for Mystics for example). If you play a 4 cost card you can expect to be locked out of 3+ cost cards for 3+ rounds, so don't play a luxury card like Beat cop if it would prevent you from having a Machette.

A 5+ cost card is the literal ubercard, build a deck around it, all the other cards pay heed to this king of cards. This card will push out all the luxury stuff that costs 3-4 and clamp down on your array of 2-cost cards. Stay cheap or you wont be able to pay for this thing when you finally draw it.

The cost curve has less to do with how big a card you can play than how many in sequence you can play. Playing X expensive cards at one point means that you wont be able to play Y expensive cards when you really need them, if you play cards like Backstab then you need to pre-allot the cost to them.

That is all for now.

 

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On 7/29/2018 at 7:03 PM, awp832 said:

 The specific reason that the flashlight is so good, is that lowering the shroud value of a location to 0 means the investigator automatically succeeds at their investigation attempt, unless they draw the auto-fail token. 

I wasn't aware of this. 

Tried to find the rules foundation for this statement, but I failed. Can you please help me out? 

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on page 15 of the rulebook it explains that after all modifiers (positive and negative) have been applied to a skill check, the result can not be less than 0.  Investigators succeed at a skill check if they equal or exceed the difficulty of the skill check.   Therefore if you reduce the shroud value of a location to 0 with a flashlight (or by other means), the result of your token pull will always leave you with at least 0,  enough to pass the skill check assuming you did not draw the auto-fail token.

Edited by awp832

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The auto-fail token is also treated as lowering your result to "0" for purposes of needing a value on certain checks, along with the caveat you can never pass the check.  

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