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Pankurucha

Let's Talk Strategy

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My group has played Arkham 3e twice now.  Both games were with three players and both used the recommended starting scenario "Approach of Azathoth."  In both games we were completely overwhelmed towards the end of the game and I'm looking for some recommendations and discussion of some good strategies to be successful in Arkham 3e.

In game one we had Agnes with Storm of Spirits, Daniela with wrench, and Muldoon with motorcycle.  We did a lot of stumbling in this game because we were learning the rules as we played.  Muldoon pretty quickly got bogged down with monsters and spent most of the game fighting and not much else.  Daniela did a decent job warding doom but was completely stopped trying to research due to bad dice luck and low Observation skill.  She didn't get to do much with the wrench so it felt a bit wasted.  Agnes was a total badass.  She was our number one doom warder and researcher that game and managed to find a Silver key so she was re-rolling the most important rolls she needed to make every turn.  Unfortunately even with those advantages we quickly fell behind and in the end we were "Pandemic'd" when we drew three gate bursts in a row during the mythos phase and two of them hit open anomalies and there was nothing we could do at that point to stop it.

The second game we played Norman with Precious Memento, Agnes with Flesh Ward, and Daniela with Ace of Swords.  This time we were aggressively going after doom out of the gate and managed to do well through the first 2/3rds of the game.  Unfortunately our lack of a dedicated beat stick character ended up biting us in the tail.  Agnes and Daniela both got bogged down with monsters while trying to close an anomaly and Norman became the sole warder/researcher for a few turns and that ended up destroying us.  We were one clue away from stopping the ritual on Codex card six when a gate burst hit us and placed enough doom on the scenario sheet to add codex cards 8 and 9 and after that we never recovered.  In the end we had three open anomalies on the board and just got flooded with doom until we lost.  In the second game we could at least see victory on the horizon but still got overwhelmed.

But onto strategy - anyone know some good investigator team synergies?  Both Agnes (at least with Storm of Spirits) and Norman with his Memento performed well overall but other than that I am at a loss.  It seems like having a dedicated monster slayer is really useful as well but it limits that player's ability to do anything else.  Daniela seems fairly middle of the road to me.  Her mobility and general well-roundedness are great but her limited Observation limits her research ability which hurt us overall.

Also, it seems like if you are engaged with multiple monsters at once then trying to evade them first is the best option, then attack or move on once the results of the evade are in.  I suppose it would depend on the type of monsters you are engaged with but since you can only attack one monster a turn attacking first seems like a good way to limit your available options.

What other thoughts or ideas do you have for being successful at this game?

 

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I have found Azathoth to be the most difficult.  And straightforward, I guess.

There's some luck in getting the right gear, but generally you need to keep doom in-check but not eliminated.

I find 1 monster-slayer per pair of investigators to be good.  If you keep them balanced, they will have turns where there are no monsters on the board, and they will rarely not be able to have an encounter (as they won't be swarmed).

From memory: Withers is a fantastic teleporting fiend, Muldoon is really good at mobile-monster-mashing, McGlen is reliable at monsters (and either becomes better at that or can purchase anything depending on asset choice), Lambeau is all about efficiency (and is wasted in solo), Thi Phan is excellent at clues and doom, Rex isn't good up front but if you can stay alive while he builds his Focus tokens he becomes really strong.

Anomalies.  Keeping anomalies from spawning is great (and not drawing from the Mythos Cup is too, as long as we're talking about things that won't happen).  Once an anomaly spawns, you need to address it.  If you have multiple, you need to prioritize.

  • Know your encounter discard pile.  What neighborhoods are in it, what neighborhoods were placed back on the bottom of the deck the last time you Gate Burst, what location(s) and what quantities of doom are on those cards?  If you know that both of the Downtown cards have been drawn but the Uptown card that keeps putting 2 doom on Hangman's Hill is in there, go to Uptown first.  If a Gate Burst is drawn again, forget about Uptown and worry about Downtown because Hangman's Hill is farther back in the deck and those 2 Downtown cards are coming up next.
  • All of the Anomaly Encounter cards help you clear doom (if you pass).  How much is dependent upon how much is in your space.  If there is 0 doom in your location, you'll be able to clear 1 doom in another location in your neighborhood.  If there is 1-2, you'll probably be able to clear 2 from your location and gain a remnant.  If there is 2-3, you'll probably be able to clear all of it (or nearly) and gain a remnant.  The penalties all go up by quantity as well, usually up to 2 horror or becoming cursed.
    • Using that knowledge, you can (hopefully) move into the neighborhood and clear all of the doom from that location, then have an encounter and remove doom from a location that has only 1, so on your next turn you can move in and clear that.  It only has you lose out on 1 encounter and 1 additional pass through the Mythos Cup while the Anomaly is open.

Remember that unlike 2nd edition, you can trade clues in this game.  Everyone in the same space (location) can trade any quantity of items, allies, spells, money, remnants, and clues (but not talents, health/sanity, focus tokens, or dark pacts) with everyone else if 1 person takes the action.  I believe that you can trade starting equipment (or discard them if given the option), although I haven't found any proof/disproof of this.  So, pass off all the clues those with low Observation have to someone who can Research multiple (successes, not actions) each round.

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1 hour ago, Duciris said:

 

  • Know your encounter discard pile. 

Remember that unlike 2nd edition, you can trade clues in this game.  

Thank you for the advice!

I think McGlen and Thi Phan will definitely have to come into play soon.  I want to cycle through all the investigators at some point but those two are on top of my list right now.

"Know your encounter discard pile"  This is something we definitely need to get better at and is probably the reason we got blindsided in both the games we played.

And trading clues is something I had overlooked before now.  That will make things a bit easier next time we play.

Utilizing the anomaly deck encounters as part of a Doom mitigation strategy is something we'll have to do as well.  I noticed that the encounters were removing Doom most of the time but I think we were still in a 2e mindset and expecting something more random.  Note to self: the anomaly deck is not the Otherworld encounter deck and has more of a purpose in the strategy for this game.

Excellent advice. 

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Something else that surprised me is that the Observatory in the Miskatonic University District often will let you remove doom from any space if you pass a test. Consider stopping by if you have nothing else nearby to do or if you need to desperately remove a doom across the board. I almost always try to have encounters at the Observatory when trying to pick up clues in that neighborhood as well for the same reason. 

Note that Miskatonic University is not always a neighborhood in the scenario.

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Keep in mind that synergy amongst investigators and abuse (yes, you read this correctly) of your abilities (cards and stuff) is key to winning the game. Also, there's a bit of luck involved in Azzie: in the end, finding the red and blue token immediately or as last tokens on the board changes how difficult the scenario is by a lot (especially if you run few investigators)

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5 hours ago, Julia said:

Keep in mind that synergy amongst investigators and abuse (yes, you read this correctly) of your abilities (cards and stuff) is key to winning the game. Also, there's a bit of luck involved in Azzie: in the end, finding the red and blue token immediately or as last tokens on the board changes how difficult the scenario is by a lot (especially if you run few investigators)

Not planning around our investigator abilities was something we definitely did in our first game.  I think we'll have to be careful to make sure we are picking the correct character options relative to the other investigators in the party going forward. 

I keep thinking that the luck can be mitigated in Azathoth's  scenario with good game play choices but this scenario swings wildly based on a lot of factors outside of player control.  Even if you are trying to anticipate the scenario and create a good board state for the upcoming events it can still go bad.  It's an interesting challenge.

18 hours ago, Soakman said:

Something else that surprised me is that the Observatory in the Miskatonic University District often will let you remove doom from any space if you pass a test. Consider stopping by if you have nothing else nearby to do or if you need to desperately remove a doom across the board. I almost always try to have encounters at the Observatory when trying to pick up clues in that neighborhood as well for the same reason. 

Note that Miskatonic University is not always a neighborhood in the scenario.

I am hoping to play a different scenario on Wednesday and I will definitely keep this in mind if Miskatonic shows up.

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On 11/5/2018 at 5:17 PM, Pankurucha said:

... when we drew three gate bursts in a row during the mythos phase ...

Is that even possible?

Remember you shouldn't return the tokens to the cup/bag until all tokens get drawn.

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58 minutes ago, Zsig said:

Is that even possible?

Remember you shouldn't return the tokens to the cup/bag until all tokens get drawn.

Possible, yes... [edit] This is really annoying. The forum isn't showing this spoiler correctly. The last sentence in the spoiler is supposed to be outside it. FFS FFG. [/edit]

 

For Azathoth (at least) a second Gate Burst token gets added to the bag once things start going wrong; maybe the other scenarios have something similar.

Then, if the last two tokens drawn from the bag are both Gate Bursts, then the bag gets re-filled and the next token drawn is a Gate Burst too, that makes three in a row. You could even have four!

...but you'd have a right to feel pretty hard-done-by if it happened, as the odds on that must be pretty long.

Edited by Bitterman

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37 minutes ago, Bitterman said:

Possible, yes... [edit] This is really annoying. The forum isn't showing this spoiler correctly. The last sentence in the spoiler is supposed to be outside it. FFS FFG. [/edit]

  Reveal hidden contents

For Azathoth (at least) a second Gate Burst token gets added to the bag once things start going wrong; maybe the other scenarios have something similar.

Then, if the last two tokens drawn from the bag are both Gate Bursts, then the bag gets re-filled and the next token drawn is a Gate Burst too, that makes three in a row. You could even have four!

...but you'd have a right to feel pretty hard-done-by if it happened, as the odds on that must be pretty long.

Also, there is at least 1 Headline which can sit in your codex and will cause a Gate Burst if no one pays a clue to get rid of it before the third Reckoning is drawn.

I've drawn 2 in a single mythos without any unusual trickery.  Not pleasant.

It is fun to note that you will have rounds where your plans before, during, and after the Mythos phase are completely different.

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3 hours ago, Bitterman said:

Possible, yes... [edit] This is really annoying. The forum isn't showing this spoiler correctly. The last sentence in the spoiler is supposed to be outside it. FFS FFG. [/edit]

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...but you'd have a right to feel pretty hard-done-by if it happened, as the odds on that must be pretty long.

That is pretty much exactly how it happened.  We still had a lot of fun with the game overall though.  Seeing everyone's face when the third gate burst token came out is something I don't think I will forget anytime soon.  It wouldn't be a true Arkham Files game if it didn't occasionally go off the rails bad for your team every once in a while.

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