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Hesitating to buy this because FF refuses to scale their games better with lower player counts

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I play mainy solo and sometimes in a small group. 

Getting big groups of people together is tough these days with everyone having kids, dogs, cats, jobs whatever....

I have noticed that for some reason, FF refuses to incorpare special rules for low player counts to compensate for the few amount of investigators. 

Some examples:

Eldritch Horror - One investigator is almost impossible, you get one extra clue with the revised rules but that's it. What about movement? You can't cover nearly as much ground as four gators, or two for that matter. How am i supposed to handle a portal that spawn on the other side of the map? 

Mansions of Madness - Same problem as above. Getting around the map is tough with lower player counts. Enemy health is lower but if i can't get to them in time, how does that help?

AH:TCG - Maps are alot smaller so moving around the locations is not as tough solo, BUT the game is still designed around each investigator being good at something and bad at something else. Playing with two gators they can compensate each other. You loose that with solo play and nothing to compensate for it.

In Descent: Journey in the dark they have a rule that says if you are playing two players, the hero player should control two heroes and get a free action that can only be spent on attacking. Why can't we see somethng similar in the Arkham games? 

Edited by neo_nille

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I also play games almost 100% solo.  I also own all the games you list, except for Descent, and your points about difficulty for a single investigator are valid.  But my response has been simply to control more than one investigator.  

For Eldritch Horror I tried with a variety of investigator counts (1, 2, and 4) and ultimately settled on 4.  This is a lot to keep track of and ideally I'd go with fewer; in particular 3 may be a better if I use either the official revised reference cards (or one of the community created alternatives).

I haven't much played Mansions of Madness (just didn't click for me), but when I was playing it I also controlled 4.  In this case there is the issue of hidden motives when people go insane; I just house ruled to stick to the ones where the insane investigator isn't actively working against the others.

For AH:TCG  (my current favorite game) I've played controlling both a single and two investigators, with a preference for controlling two. Yes, information is shared that normally shouldn't, so this isn't "rules as written". But most importantly I get to have fun. 

I've also played Arkham Horror (2nd edition) in a similar fashion, varying from one investigator up to five.  Totally enjoyed it.

 

So, bottom line, while FFG could incorporate rules to make a solo investigator to compensate for one investigator having to it all, because these are co-op the alternate is to just control more then one.  I find that while one investigator can best capture the Lovecraftian "doomed to fail but will go out trying", working with two still captures a large part of that feel, as in "we will still likely fail, but maybe against all odds one of us will make it out".

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It does scale very well to low player counts. We played a game Sunday where the player count slowly dwindled as people drifted away to catch their flights. If anything, it was easier to manage with fewer players than the six player game we played Friday evening.

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On 10/20/2018 at 4:44 PM, Radix2309 said:

Arkham LCG works fine in single. It just means you have to adapt in different ways.

Agreed. Various player counts are each viable at every difficulty. You just have to plan your deck differently. You obviously can't (nor should you be able to) specialize in solo the way you can as one of four players.

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4 hours ago, BD Flory said:

It does scale very well to low player counts. We played a game Sunday where the player count slowly dwindled as people drifted away to catch their flights. If anything, it was easier to manage with fewer players than the six player game we played Friday evening.

Exact same results.  I'm going to try a solo game start to finish tonight, trying to see if this plays as well with 1.

We were playing the LCG & 1 of our number had to leave, so the 2 of us played our same characters (Norman & Jenny) and the other chose someone else (Yorick to Tommy).  Norman can teleport, so once they left I jumped about the board and hunted down the Umôrdhoth mission set (I'll not mention the specifics until sometime after the game releases).  By the time my fighters left, I had purchased a +5 Str Tommy Gun.

When they left (we were all in the same or adjacent spaces), I had each character trade me their non-signature possessions.  That's the piece that I'm concerned about, I had a ridiculous gun & and a spell that added 2-3 dice to the attack with all of the remnants (8-ish) Tommy had picked up from killing & warding.  It makes for a potent character.

On the scaling, there are 2 timers to the game.  First, there is a rumor deck that I believe ends the game when it runs out.  (I'll check all of this tonight)  There are 2 Rumor tokens in the bag (for at least 3 of the 4 scenarios) and there are 14 tokens total.  Each player draws 2 tokens, one-at-a-time, during the Mythos Phase (phase 4 of 4).  Last, there are 13 Rumor cards in the bag.  So, 7 player turns per bag & 6 times through the bag to draw the first 12.  Then, any of the next 7 player-turns can be the last by that clock.  That's 42 player-turns before sudden death, assuming that nothing adds to the bag or causes you to draw more tokens.

Minimum number of rounds per player count:

  • 42 Rounds   1-Player
  • 21 Rounds   2-Player
  • 14 Rounds   3-Player
  • 10 Rounds   4-Player
  • 8 Rounds     5-Player
  • 7 Rounds     6-Player

The second timer is Doom.  Doom isn't as easy to gauge.  Doom hastens the end when it is place upon the Scenario sheet, but what adds it is dependent on 2 factors: what cards are in the Codex (which give instructions how they add to doom and if you would add Doom to a neighborhood that has an Anomaly it is instead added to the Scenario sheet.

Quote

Throughout this scenario, the investigators will need to manage the doom across the city. After all, whenever a single space has three doom or there is five doom spread across a neighborhood, an anomaly is placed in that neighborhood.

https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2018/10/19/terror-from-beyond/

In the Umôrdhoth Scenario, doom is added to the Scenario sheet every time the Reckoning token is drawn from the bag (1 in the bag), but that is not what happens for the 2 previewed in the above link.  So predicting Doom isn't as easy as predicting Rumors.  Also, that is only for Scenarios that have card 2 in the Codex, which it is in Umôrdhoth, Cthulhu, & Azathoth, but may not be in the other one.

ahb01_card_gen-codex_anomalies.png

There is an additional scaling factor dependent on number of players: enemy health.  Just like the LCG, big-bad health is dependent on number of players as are some of the monsters that roam the city.

TL;DR

I think the scaling is (substantially) better than Eldritch Horror.  I am actually surprised at how much I enjoy playing it.  It's smooth and you can almost always use your turn to pursue your ends - sometimes you miss an attack or don't do enough damage to a monster engaged with you & you can only attack once, but you can evade or focus (permanently improve any of your skills by +1 to a maximum or +1) when you do miss.

Edited by Duciris
I was wrong

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1 hour ago, Duciris said:

On the scaling, there are 2 timers to the game.  First, there is a rumor deck that I believe ends the game when it runs out.  (I'll check all of this tonight)

Correction: Drawing from an empty Headline deck doesn't end the game. It puts doom directly on the scenario sheet. You'll lose eventually if you just ward doom and stall the game, but it's not like Eldritch where you know exactly how many turns you have left.

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23 minutes ago, rsdockery said:

Correction: Drawing from an empty Headline deck doesn't end the game. It puts doom directly on the scenario sheet. You'll lose eventually if you just ward doom and stall the game, but it's not like Eldritch where you know exactly how many turns you have left.

Ah, thank you!

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By the way, I can confirm that the Yog-Sothoth scenario also has card #2 in its codex. The rulebook does say that not every scenario needs to use anomalies, but that's likely just future-proofing. For instance, maybe the Shudde M'ell scenario will have you drop the white token* on locations with too much doom, marking them as destroyed irrevocably. Or maybe the Syzygy scenario won't have any doom or gate burst tokens in the bag and will instead add doom directly to the scenario sheet on a reckoning, as the stars drift ineluctably into alignment.

*For those who haven't played 3e, the white token is a double-sided token that serves different purposes in each scenario, much like the Edlritch token in Eldritch Horror.

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3 hours ago, Duciris said:

In the Umôrdhoth Scenario, doom is added to the Scenario sheet every time the Reckoning token is drawn from the bag (1 in the bag), but that is not what happens for the 2 previewed in the above link.  So predicting Doom isn't as easy as predicting Rumors.  Also, that is only for Scenarios that have card 2 in the Codex, which it is in Umôrdhoth, Cthulhu, & Azathoth, but may not be in the other one.

ahb01_card_gen-codex_anomalies.png

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On ‎10‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 9:24 AM, neo_nille said:

I play mainy solo and sometimes in a small group. 

Getting big groups of people together is tough these days with everyone having kids, dogs, cats, jobs whatever....

I have noticed that for some reason, FF refuses to incorpare special rules for low player counts to compensate for the few amount of investigators. 

Some examples:

Eldritch Horror - One investigator is almost impossible, you get one extra clue with the revised rules but that's it. What about movement? You can't cover nearly as much ground as four gators, or two for that matter. How am i supposed to handle a portal that spawn on the other side of the map? 

Mansions of Madness - Same problem as above. Getting around the map is tough with lower player counts. Enemy health is lower but if i can't get to them in time, how does that help?

AH:TCG - Maps are alot smaller so moving around the locations is not as tough solo, BUT the game is still designed around each investigator being good at something and bad at something else. Playing with two gators they can compensate each other. You loose that with solo play and nothing to compensate for it.

In Descent: Journey in the dark they have a rule that says if you are playing two players, the hero player should control two heroes and get a free action that can only be spent on attacking. Why can't we see somethng similar in the Arkham games? 

So, solo play.

I was playing Veil of Twilight last night, and I thought I'd try out Dexter Drake for my solo attempt.

Game I

  • I moved out of the starting location & Warded.  I removed 1 doom & had a lackluster encounter.  Turn 2, I moved and encountered a monster I wasn't going to outrun.  2 rounds later, I killed her (taking some damage).  In that time, another monster spawned, so instead of having my second encounter, a Lupine Thrall engaged me.  It has 4HP, and the dice did not cooperate.  It had 3 damage on it before I died.

Game II

  • Tried out his other starting item which net me 2 Spells and a Focus Limit of 2.  Shorter game.  Fewer encounters.
  • Between the 2 starting monsters, I could not get an encounter (which is where you get items/spells/allies/other bonuses).
  • Less than 10 minuets.  Only the Doom & Headline decks were touched.

Game III

  • Goodbye Dexter, hello Michael McGlen.  Strength of 4, starting weapon of +4 Strength during attacks; choose the asset that lets me intimidate when I take the Resource action which gets me the normal $1 plus, if I roll a 5 or 6 on 4 dice, $2 more.
  • I start by murdering each starting monster that had been giving grief to Dexter.  After that, it was mostly run around and complete the scenario.  Every now-and-again I'd have to take out an Anomaly (which are caused by too much doom in a neighborhood).
  • I have an amusing antidote as to how I won this game but I don't want to ruin peoples exploration of it, so I will save it for a few weeks.
  • Also, I never rolled a 1 on my Dark Pact reckoning roll, but there are 6 Dark Pacts in the game and although their totality is fairly disparate, they are insanely brutal.  Take Dark Pacts at your own risk!

I think the game scales down to 1 just fine, but you may be limited on whom you play.  I play a lot of solo games and will tell you that I often play as 2 characters when I do.  I did this experiment of 1 to give a response to the OP.  I think you need someone who can fight out of the gate (which I believe to be at least Jenny, Michael, Agnes, & Tommy), otherwise you're too prone to being bogged down by enemies to do encounters.

Know that when you take an action to Evade, Attack, Ward (remove Doom), Research (move Clues from your character (that you already gained) to the Scenario Sheet (which is how you advance the scenario)) you do as much as you get successes.  So when McGlen is boxed in by 2 monsters with 2HP & 1HP each and he shoots at them with his Chicago Typewriter, he can kill both monsters with at least 3 successes.

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52 minutes ago, Duciris said:

So when McGlen is boxed in by 2 monsters with 2HP & 1HP each and he shoots at them with his Chicago Typewriter, he can kill both monsters with at least 3 successes.

 

I'm betting you are correct as you seem to have played the game quite a bit at this point, but at the Arkham Nights demo, this was not how fighting was treated at my tables. I was in this exact situation (McGlenn with 3 monsters engaged with him) and was told that I could only use the fight action once and each monster would require a separate fight action.

Warding and researching did count total success when handling tokens, and evading does allow you to evade multiple enemies, but for fighting this is what was explained to me. I kind of liked it because it made evading feel worthwhile as you can shake multiple enemies at once.

Not that I doubt you, but are you sure? I've never had the chance to look at a rulebook yet.

Edited by Soakman

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2 minutes ago, Soakman said:

I'm betting you are correct as you seem to have played the game quite a bit at this point, but at the Arkham Nights demo, this was not how fighting was treated at my tables. I was in this exact situation (McGleen with 3 monsters engaged with him) and was told that I could only use the fight action once and each monster would require a separate fight action.

Warding and researching did count total success when handling tokens, and evading does allow you to evade multiple enemies, but for fighting this is what was explained to me. I kind of liked it because it made evading feel worthwhile as you can shake multiple enemies at once.

Not that I doubt you, but are you sure? I've never had the chance to look at a rulebook yet.

I am 100% not sure.:P

I may have extrapolated that you take the worst (for you) modifier among the monsters and that's what you test against, from the evasion test.  I'll check the rules when I get home (unless FFG releases them sooner).

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34 minutes ago, Duciris said:
  • I have an amusing antidote as to how I won this game but I don't want to ruin peoples exploration of it, so I will save it for a few weeks.

I think I know what happened. I pulled the exact same thing with Wendy at Arkham Nights, if you're talking about what I think you are...

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55 minutes ago, rsdockery said:

I think I know what happened. I pulled the exact same thing with Wendy at Arkham Nights, if you're talking about what I think you are...

You had every Ally in the deck with Wendy?

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Also, I forgot that if you evade a monster, you gain an extra action.  I'm going back and playing another scenario with Dexter Drake solo.  I screwed up and forgot that part, I'll take another whack at it (although I think I'll do the recommended starting setup (Azathoth) and read all of the rules).

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8 hours ago, Soakman said:

I'm betting you are correct as you seem to have played the game quite a bit at this point, but at the Arkham Nights demo, this was not how fighting was treated at my tables. I was in this exact situation (McGlenn with 3 monsters engaged with him) and was told that I could only use the fight action once and each monster would require a separate fight action.

Warding and researching did count total success when handling tokens, and evading does allow you to evade multiple enemies, but for fighting this is what was explained to me. I kind of liked it because it made evading feel worthwhile as you can shake multiple enemies at once.

Not that I doubt you, but are you sure? I've never had the chance to look at a rulebook yet.

Attack Action, 405.5

Quote

If you are engaged with multiple monsters, you can attack only oe of them and you apply only the attack modifier of the monster you are attacking.

?

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How about the codex card objectives? Those are the way to progress and ultimately win the scenarios, right? I've only seen one of those cards but that seemed to have a static number of clues (3) required to progress. Do the other codex card objectives scale based on the number of investigators?

And like neo_nille above, I am also interested in hearing about how movement works here. EH with low investigator counts was sometimes very unforgiving in this regard as you could end up with a game ending rumor on the other side of the world with not enough time to get there.

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Tried solo again with Dexter Drake (Veil of Twilight scenario).  It was close.  Starting without much by way of fighting is tough but doable.  I was able to reach a different conclusion that I did with McGlen.

Movement.  It hasn't been too bad.  In the Dexter Drake mission, there were a lot of Gate Bursts and Anomalies, which necessitated Doom management (lest the excess Doom advance the story).  It too was tough but doable.

ahb01_sheet_echoes-of-the-deep2.png

The back of the Echoes of the Deep scenario card (from Terror from Beyond article) shows the board setup.  The farthest distances I can see from this one require 7 movement points to get across.  Movement is 2 spaces & you can go an additional 2 for a dollar each.  To cover that distance you need 2 turns and $3.  It's manageable.

There are spells and items that allow you to move farther.  Both Tommy & Norman can start with 1 (if they so choose).

The Codex requirements do not change based on number of players, although the health of some monsters do.  The Codex requirements (Doom & Clues) are more dependent on the chaos bag than the number of players.  As I've noticed it, clues & doom appear at relatively the same number of player-turns regardless of player count.  You'll draw the same number of clues over 7 player-turns (the usual starting size of the chaos bag Mythos Cup) regardless if you have 1 or 3 or 6 players.  You can also draw the same number of encounter cards.  If you're looking for the clue that got added to Miskatonic University, it's somewhere in the top 3 cards.  If you have 3 players and you're all on it, you can find it in 1 round (3 player-turns).  If you have 1 player, you can find it in 3 rounds (3 player-turns).

The main difficulty of having a low player count is needing to do all things well.

Because they haven't released a Rule Book, I'm adding the player reference card on the Rule book? forum.

 

 

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7 hours ago, AstroChicken said:

How about the codex card objectives? Those are the way to progress and ultimately win the scenarios, right? I've only seen one of those cards but that seemed to have a static number of clues (3) required to progress. Do the other codex card objectives scale based on the number of investigators?

They do not, nor should they. Since doom, clues and actions all scale per investigator, scaling the codex objectives in addition to that wouldn't be scaling at all -- it'd just be making things easier for small groups. As it stands now, you may need more rounds to achieve the codex objectives with fewer players, but roughly the same number of investigator turns. Since the frequency of mythos effects is tied to investigator turns (not rounds) as well, objective-scaling is baked into the game system.

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14 hours ago, BD Flory said:

They do not, nor should they. Since doom, clues and actions all scale per investigator, scaling the codex objectives in addition to that wouldn't be scaling at all -- it'd just be making things easier for small groups. As it stands now, you may need more rounds to achieve the codex objectives with fewer players, but roughly the same number of investigator turns. Since the frequency of mythos effects is tied to investigator turns (not rounds) as well, objective-scaling is baked into the game system.

Gotcha. That's not an issue then. Thanks.

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