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Convince me to put it on the table again!

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We love the Lovecraftian theme here and that's why I was interested in Arkham Horror but unfortunately the few time the game saw play we really didn't get a decent game experience due to the extreme fiddliness and the draw-mechanics. I just have vague perception of why we didn't like it. It took me awhile to understand the game's rule but the game play, as far as I remember, was not fluid.

 

Now after we've played Mansions of Madness and our gaming experience was GREAT, simply the best game experience we've ever had. I was thinking maybe I should give AH another chance. The thing is we only have the core game, no expansions. I was thinking if the game play would improve if we purchase a key expansion which adds a lot to the game and then give it another try.

 

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 If your concern was the fiddliness of the game, and the many rules, I wouldn't add an expansion until you feel like you have a grasp on the base game. The vanilla game is fun, but there is a high threshold to entry. I've found that the best way to go about this, is to have one person who is intimately familiar with the rules. Read the rulebook. Set it aside. Read it again the next day. Here comes the hard part: Play a game solo with 3-4 investigators. Get a feel for the fact that the most fun is to assign roles to each investigator. That way, people aren't overwhelmed with choices. 

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Adding an expansion at this point would be a bad idea for you.  Seconded.  Learn the game solo so you can play fluidly.  Seconded.  Also, once you understand the base game, it will get really boring really fast.  We'll tell you how to fix that though.

Also, this may be helpful for you.  Imenthe just posted this in the wrong section ;') but that does not make it any less good.

zeroic.com/arkham_rulesheet.pdf

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I can completely understand why some people loathe this game. If you broke the game down into just the mechanics it would be an average game, with all the inconsistant wording, the rule clarifications and just generally messy game play.

You are right, the game is not fluid. Sometimes a turn can take a couple of minutes and at other times it can be 15 (that is my experience from using 4 characters, more would be even longer).

Don't get me wrong, I personally love the game but I can completely empathise with anyone who does not.

The answer might simply by that... this game is not for you (I'll probably be banished from the forums for saying that!).

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Krawhitham said:

The answer might simply by that... this game is not for you (I'll probably be banished from the forums for saying that!).

::Laughter:: someone call a moderator!

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Glad to hear you liked MoM.  I love that game and the way it works.  That however is the biggest difference between MoM and AH.  A really good keeper in MoM can keep the game flowing at a good pace like a rpg game master.  AH with its co-op style play is trickier to manage.  I have played a few single players with 3 - 4 investigators and feel that I could now manage a good game with several others.  Trying to arrange a good 7 person game right now and most will be first timers.  should be interesting.

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Tyrant242 said:

 Trying to arrange a good 7 person game right now and most will be first timers.  should be interesting.

I would suggest hand picking investigators and give the newbies the 'better' characters in terms of special abilities that will help them (such as Darrell or Gloria), and give yourself and other experienced players characters that can help the group (like Mandy).

I would also suggest fixing the random posessions to a certain degree for the  newbies.... such as letting them re-draw if they get a useless item (eg re-roll a spell check skill)

That way you can let them explore and try things rather than be told where to go and what to do. Give them an experience.

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Krawhitham said:

Tyrant242 said:

 

 Trying to arrange a good 7 person game right now and most will be first timers.  should be interesting.

 

 

I would suggest hand picking investigators and give the newbies the 'better' characters in terms of special abilities that will help them (such as Darrell or Gloria), and give yourself and other experienced players characters that can help the group (like Mandy).

I would also suggest fixing the random posessions to a certain degree for the  newbies.... such as letting them re-draw if they get a useless item (eg re-roll a spell check skill)

That way you can let them explore and try things rather than be told where to go and what to do. Give them an experience.

Personally, I don't like giving beginners Darrell or Gloria because it's like giving one of the players an extra turn and it may not seem fair to the others.  Also, I try to never give new players three speed investigators.  Four speed, minimum.

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TheMadjai said:

 If your concern was the fiddliness of the game, and the many rules, I wouldn't add an expansion until you feel like you have a grasp on the base game. The vanilla game is fun, but there is a high threshold to entry. I've found that the best way to go about this, is to have one person who is intimately familiar with the rules. Read the rulebook. Set it aside. Read it again the next day. Here comes the hard part: Play a game solo with 3-4 investigators. Get a feel for the fact that the most fun is to assign roles to each investigator. That way, people aren't overwhelmed with choices. 

That is exactly how I learned the game.

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Thanks guys for the help.

 

I guess I will give AH another solo try to see how things would work now. I was thinking maybe there's a key expansion which fixes the problems I had with AH but apparently having an expansion now as you suggested is not a wise plan. (I honestly don't feel "overwhelmed" by the rules.. am just overwhelmed by the mechanical nature of the game and how it feels disconnected to what I think the experience should be... investigating and such). But to be honest, it's been awhile since I last try it, I'll give it another solo shot and we'll see what happens.

 

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yewsef said:

(I honestly don't feel "overwhelmed" by the rules.. am just overwhelmed by the mechanical nature of the game and how it feels disconnected to what I think the experience should be... investigating and such).

Eep.  Uh oh.  You sounds like a roleplayer.  I'm not a 100% sure Arkham Horror will ever satisfy you in that case :'/ unless you're willing to use a lot of imagination (perhaps playing in character) and not mind losing a lot.  I mean...  It's not really a story based game.

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Well, that's arguable.  Perhaps I don't have enough experience with games in general, but I've never played any board game with as much focus on story as Arkham except, well, Mansions of Madness.  I suppose you could say that the game is not exactly driven by story.

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Walk said:

Well, that's arguable.  Perhaps I don't have enough experience with games in general, but I've never played any board game with as much focus on story as Arkham except, well, Mansions of Madness.  I suppose you could say that the game is not exactly driven by story.

If you use your imagination Arkham Horror makes for wonderful short stories, and if you really try, long stories too, but to make a game into a story takes quite a bit of effort since it's not really designed to have thematic unity.  You can prune the game quite a bit to try and make it have that, but it really doesn't naturally tell unified tales.  You have to force it to.

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Hmm, I suppose you're right, it largely gives bits and pieces of story, as it were.  But I still prefer it, story-wise, to anything other Mansions.

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Walk said:

Hmm, I suppose you're right, it largely gives bits and pieces of story, as it were.  But I still prefer it, story-wise, to anything other Mansions.

Yeah, don't get me wrong, I love it for telling short stories that I can elaborate on in my head, and sometimes after a game I'll construct an elaborate rationalized narrative around it, but...  :')  Well, you get it.

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yewsef said:

 

Thanks guys for the help.

 

I was thinking maybe there's a key expansion which fixes the problems I had with AH but apparently having an expansion now as you suggested is not a wise plan. 

 



Expansions will add a ton of story elements. Personal story/quests for each character. Injury and Madness cards. Relationship cards. And the small expansions force a theme into the game. 

As for THAT expansion. Get Miskatonic to fix the game for you. It introduces gate burst so that you are ready for them when you want to move on to more challenges and adds the institutions to make first gamers feel like the game isn't TOTALLY against them. 

The other components will prove more useful as you purchase the other expansions. It comes with balances and closes exploits other expansions will introduce. Consider it a pre-patch to the expansions you will eventually want to purchase. Miskatonic will give you a better glimpse at what I mean.
 

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If you like the keeper mechanics from MoM, here is a variant to play with a keeper in AH. For our gaming group, it definitely improved the fun. As a drawback, you cannot play solo this variant... but if your table have more than a single guest... please try it.

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Curator said:

yewsef said:

 

 

Thanks guys for the help.

 

I was thinking maybe there's a key expansion which fixes the problems I had with AH but apparently having an expansion now as you suggested is not a wise plan. 

 



Expansions will add a ton of story elements. Personal story/quests for each character. Injury and Madness cards. Relationship cards. And the small expansions force a theme into the game. 
 

 

Eh...  Right...  But they're all short stories that are disconnected from eachother.  And while expansions may add to a feeling of some sort of overarching theme, the game stays disjointed, as far as an overarching story goes.  If that's what he's looking for, he's not going to find it in Arkham without a lot of work on his part.

Arkham is a great game if you like short stories (I do), but not so much if you only like long stories.

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Avi_dreader said:

 

Curator said:

 

yewsef said:

 

 

Thanks guys for the help.

 

I was thinking maybe there's a key expansion which fixes the problems I had with AH but apparently having an expansion now as you suggested is not a wise plan. 

 



Expansions will add a ton of story elements. Personal story/quests for each character. Injury and Madness cards. Relationship cards. And the small expansions force a theme into the game. 
 

 

 

 

Eh...  Right...  But they're all short stories that are disconnected from eachother.  And while expansions may add to a feeling of some sort of overarching theme, the game stays disjointed, as far as an overarching story goes.  If that's what he's looking for, he's not going to find it in Arkham without a lot of work on his part.

Arkham is a great game if you like short stories (I do), but not so much if you only like long stories.

 

 

Right, and for me that's key. To me, Arkham Horror isn't about a party of investigators helping each other as one big team, that's the player's role. The investigators are (largely) just average, random people who have been sweapt up in the madness and chaos in one way or another. The big appeal of this game to me is that circumventing the downfall of humanity is just a handful of everyday-joe-citizens who, by fate, destiny or other unseen forces, have been led to working towards a common goal. Arkham I can imagine to be a big city after all, so the plights of a few unextroadinary individuals (regardless of the extraordinary events surrounding them) would be difficult to pick out from the rest of the city inhabitants.

An example: a player may say, "lets meet in the curiosity shoppe and I'll give you the money for a purchase" but for the investigators it may play out differently..

Was Michael by an unseen hand to anonymously aid a woman, soon to arrive at the shop, thanks to the recurring visions he has been plagued with? Did he stumble into some broad when caught obsessing over an idol on display, dropping the money in a panicked rush for the door? Did he simply just buy the item for her as a gentleman, having a weakness for dames? etc In those encounters Michael may not have even known the female investigator  was Diane- or did he?

 The story is what you make of it, trying to weave these threads together and it's entirely possible to do so, just not in the typical "roleplay party" sense.
 

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Treguard said:

 The story is what you make of it, trying to weave these threads together and it's entirely possible to do so, just not in the typical "roleplay party" sense.
 

Agreed.  It makes for great after the fact stories if you're willing to put the effort into constructing them.  But.  For roleplaying...  Well...  I suspect you can convert it to roleplaying quite effectively if you have a A) gamemaster reading all the location cards, and making stuff up on the fly when necessary B) investigators playing in character (not to actually win the game) and C)a willingness to die horrible horrible deaths.

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