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vendredi

Tips for speeding up the game?

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For some reason Arkham Horror remains a stubborn boardgame to get the time down.  Any tips for speeding up your game? Off the top of my head I can think of:

-Allowing simultaneous turn-taking. This strikes me as potentially bad for balance though, since the order things occur can be very important.

-Move on to the next player while someone resolves combat. Again, same issue as above though.

-Resolving town encounters/Other World encounters simultaneously (split the other world deck up between all the players who are in one if necessary).

-Standardizing monster moves? One tedium is having to sift through all the monsters and figure out what moves monsters make.

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I am afraid you may be fighting a losing battle there.  Arkham is inherently very, very long, and all of the various steps necessarily take a while.  That said, you can speed up things if you know for certain that the slowness is being caused by players.  I can't give exact advice without knowing the details of one player's group, but here are some general ideas anyway.

The first one's utility depends on your definition of "the game"; that is, whether you count the set-up.  If you're the selfless type (and the owner of the game), you can do all the shuffling and component arrangement beforehand.  Again, this only matters if you value others' time over your own (you saintly person).  Second, and most obviously, make sure everyone knows the pertinent rules.  By that I mean, make sure you have at least one person who knows absolutely everything inside out (or as close as that as is possible with this monster) and thus can answer any questions or uncertainties that come up (well, some of them at least).  Everyone else should have a strong grasp of important investigator-related mechanics and at least a general idea of all the crazy Mythos phase rules.  The third one may not work for every group, and certain types of individuals may resent it: make sure everyone stays involved all the time.  If someone isn't giving advice to someone else, they should be pondering what to do when the order swings around to them again.

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vendredi said:

For some reason Arkham Horror remains a stubborn boardgame to get the time down.  Any tips for speeding up your game? Off the top of my head I can think of:

-Allowing simultaneous turn-taking. This strikes me as potentially bad for balance though, since the order things occur can be very important.

-Move on to the next player while someone resolves combat. Again, same issue as above though.

-Resolving town encounters/Other World encounters simultaneously (split the other world deck up between all the players who are in one if necessary).

-Standardizing monster moves? One tedium is having to sift through all the monsters and figure out what moves monsters make.

Early on we decided to conflate the player's turns.  Each player does their Upkeep, Move, Arkham Encounter, then Other World Encounter before the next player does.  We found that saved us quite a bit of time early on.  Early one we estimated that saved us about 15 minutes per player.

I don't like the simultaneous actions because it takes away much of the most entertaining parts for me, but I'm sure it would speed up the game for experienced players but to me it would be like playing 4 solo games.

We tried moving monsters by rolling a die.  There's a 1/3rd chance of each sign moving on a normal Mythos.  So we tried roll a die for each monster and moving it on black on a 1 and white on a 2.  That didn't last very long.  I'm not sure it even saved time. 

We often take our breaks when there's multi-monster combats to resolve.

One thing we do that I am sure slows the game down is reading each others encounter cards.  

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vendredi said:

 

For some reason Arkham Horror remains a stubborn boardgame to get the time down.  Any tips for speeding up your game? Off the top of my head I can think of:

-Allowing simultaneous turn-taking. This strikes me as potentially bad for balance though, since the order things occur can be very important.

-Move on to the next player while someone resolves combat. Again, same issue as above though.

-Resolving town encounters/Other World encounters simultaneously (split the other world deck up between all the players who are in one if necessary).

 

 

Simultaneous turn taking could speed up the game *a lot* but yes, it will make things easier.  So perhaps counterbalance that by giving all checks -1, raising the price of all items by $1, increasing all monster toughnesses (but only in combat, not for trading) by one, and if that's still not enough, raising the number of clues required to seal gates by one.

Simultaneous encounter resolution also wouldn't alter game difficulty much.  But, if you add some of the difficulty boosts I suggested that sort of thing should balance out (more or less).

Another solution to making combat less of an issue with this rule is instead of boosting monster toughness, forbid investigators from using a newly traded item the turn they get it (unless they started their movement on the same space as the other investigator they traded with).  Otherwise you can have some massive combat exploits.

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A small improvement may be to have a single Encounter phase, combining Arkham and Other Worlds, in the regular clockwise order (Or am I overlooking an important reason not to do this?)

I like the earlier suggestion of having a player resolve his or her Upkeep, Movement and Encounter phases, before moving onto the next player, and resolving Mythos after everyone's done.

The biggest challenge for me is I tend to play with new players every time, so I'll be the only one who really knows the rules well. It's both slow and less enjoyable.

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I've found the best way is to teach others through small (4 player) games. My introduction to Arkham was an 8 player game where one person knew the rules. That was a SLOW game and actually made some players dread the game.

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Zephyr7 said:

I like the earlier suggestion of having a player resolve his or her Upkeep, Movement and Encounter phases, before moving onto the next player, and resolving Mythos after everyone's done.

It could seem a good solution, but it alters *a lot* everything in the game. Just imagine you need to enter a gate. During the "normal" Upkeep phase, you select an investigator to clean the streets, another one to do other things and the last one to dive into the gate. You set the skill sliders for all investigators accordingly. Then, the first investigator tries to clean the road, but fails and it's knocked unconscious. Now you don't have any other investigator ready to slay the monster so that your last investigator can enter the gate safe. Now imagine if everyone plays the whole turn: investigator A is smashed. Oh, too bad, let's try with investigator 2. And so on ::faceplam::

Plus, it could screw also your plans: investigator A returns to Arkham, but has not enough clues to seal. So he skips his Encounter Phase. Investigator B passes by, and tosses him an Elder Sign. In the next turn, investigator A seals with the ES (with the risk of losing the game if the doom track is almost full, or anyway with the risk of a monster surge and so on). If played according to the rules:

- movement: investigator A returns to Arkham, investigator B passes by and tosses him the ES
- encounters in Arkham: investigator A seals the gate with the ES

I could add several more examples, but I guess the point is clear: Phases were studied in order to allow a greater interaction among the investigators (the game is coop, so these dynamics are vital to enjoy the Arkham experience at its best) and to allow a greater general strategy.

The game could seem very long, but once you get accustomed to the rules, you should be able to play a game in 90 minutes or so. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less, but still, unless you don't go for the score, it's very rare that a game lasts for more than two hours

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Wolfgar said:

The longest part in my limited experience is basically just player dither. You might go with a small hourglass to keep things quick.

I agree with this completely. Have people think about their turns while the player before them goes. By the time it gets to my movement phase, I shouldn't be thinking about where I want to go. I should telling my group where I'm going. In my experience encounter phases don't take as long because there are fewer choices to be made, but you could pass out the encoutner card for a location to the next player while the previous player is reading his card. You could let the next player start his encounter if the current player has to choose which item he's buying or which ally he's gaining, etc.

I wouldn't play with each player taking their complete turn. It changes the balance of the game too much, and even if each round is completed slightly faster, each player is idle for significantly longer before their next interaction which makes for, in my opnion, a more boring/tedious experience.

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Hello,

 

Its a long game. Sit back, and enjoy the ride. We plan 6 hours per game. This also gives us lots of time to talk nonsense, as well as enjoy the game. Why rush it. True pleasure is rare…….. enjoy the ride/game………

 

Yours thankfully

 

GM

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We usually play with four players and a game takes us four hours, including setup and tear down. Here are a few things we do to speed things along:

Simultaneous upkeep.

Simultaneous movement, except where turn order matters (e.g. an investigator wanting to hand off something to another, in this case those two investigators would resolve their movement in order with each other at the same time all other investigators are resolving their movement). Regarding Julia's example of attempting to clear the road, in that case again order may be important so the investigators involved would resolve movement in order while the rest could do their movement simultaneously.

Simultaneous Arkham and Otherworld encounters.

That's about it, really.

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And here's the reason I keep checking in to here and BGG: I smack my forehead at something we were supposed to be doing the entire time.  We've been doing simultaneous upkeep, and it never dawned on me that it's turn based as well.  Sure enough, it's right there in the rulebook.  But having done it this way, the other way just seems crazy and time consuming.  We don't do much else to speed the game up, but I think we'll hang on to this. 

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We've been doing simultaneous Upkeep in my group, although everything else is played out by turn order as normal. I don't think order really matters for Upkeep most of the time and we can probably catch any edge cases where it does without too much effort.

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Julia said:

 

Plus, it could screw also your plans: investigator A returns to Arkham, but has not enough clues to seal. So he skips his Encounter Phase. Investigator B passes by, and tosses him an Elder Sign. In the next turn, investigator A seals with the ES (with the risk of losing the game if the doom track is almost full, or anyway with the risk of a monster surge and so on).

 

I believe I misunderstood this the first time I read it. So, just to check that I understood you correctly the second time: The increased risk of losing is because investigator A spends three turns in order to seal a gate, instead of just one, right? Not because using an Elder Sign increases the risk of losing? If the Elder Sign increases the risk of losing, then there's certainly something I've missed. *puzzled*

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eiterorm said:

I believe I misunderstood this the first time I read it. So, just to check that I understood you correctly the second time: The increased risk of losing is because investigator A spends three turns in order to seal a gate, instead of just one, right?

Yes, correct!

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