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countermeasures

Advice for playing with AH Designer, Richard Launius' House Rules

14 posts in this topic

Two of Richard Launius' house rules that I love:
"Rule 3 - Gate Locations Unknown:All gates are placed face down on the board rather than face up. With this rule, the gate is only revealed when an Investigator goes to the location and travels through it. At the point an Investigator enters the location and announces they are traveling through the gate, flip the Gate over and the Investigator immediately moves through it. (This rule works best with Rule 4, below.)
Reason for House Rule: Creates mystery and makes the game even more interesting. No longer can any players rush their Investigator to a Gate because they know it is the Dreamlands and they feel more comfortable about traveling to that location than the Abyss. This rule does make the game a little more difficult, but the trade-off is it creates a lot of dialog and role-playing with a creative crowd.
Rule 4 – Choose to Travel through Gate: Locations with gates do not automatically suck the Investigator through. Moving through a Gate is a choice for the player, unless a Gate opens at a location where an Investigator just happens to be visiting – then they are sucked through as noted in the Rules.
Reason for the House Rule: Enables players more choices and opportunities to have Arkham Location Encounters. My logic for the rule is that the gate is not huge, probably only 12 feet by 12 feet and may even be in the basement of the building. The areas at each location are large - buildings with multiple floors and rooms, or acres of thick woods so there is an opportunity to still have normal encounters in a location even though nasty creatures may be slithering through a gate in the basement below…"

But I need advice!

I also play with the Lurker At The Threshold Expansion, and some of those gates move like monsters. But if they are face down on the board then I can't tell if they need to move during the Mythos Phase. The only thing I can think of that might work, I could put the appropriate dimensional symbols on the backside of the gate markers, so if they're on the board I'll know which ones move... but once I make the association of which symbols coincides with which OW, that still ruins the mystery that this house rule creates (which I love).

Anyone else run into this dilemma that has a good alternative?

[Side note: I play that if any investigator uses a spell or unique item that allows them to choose which gate or Other World they want to visit, all Gate Markers on the board are turned over (conceivably the magic of the spell or item would let them discern which gate leads where). This also makes it so you don't choose to visit an OW that doesn't have a gate to/from it, meaning you'd be lost in time and space when you tried to return. BUT, any gates that open after that spell or item is used go face down like before]

 

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Well, my suggestion is: do not play with any of these rules. Choosing in which world entering is really a big part of Arkham's strategy: encounters in the OW are color-coded, but the colors have special implications (red encounters tend to attack your Stamina, yellow your Sanity, blue your possession and green tend to be good), so that you won't probably send a low San character in an OW having a "yellow" colour. Putting symbols on the back of the gates won't help either, simply because you'll immediately spot out by looking at the symbol which OW is represented by a certain token (+ is R'lyeh, Hex the Abyss or the Underworld, and so on), so basically it's like you were playing with the gates face up. Not to mention that you should also write which of these are moving gates, hence the Dreamlands and the Another Dimension moving gate are immediately recognizable.

 

As for the second houserule, I'd say don't play with that either: it's something that really gives investigators a huge advantage (imagine having a gate at the Science Building with this rule in play: you can use the building's special ability without having to fear anything).

 

Finally, you're quite new to the game, which is awesome because you have an entire world to discover at your feet. I'd suggest you to play according to the rules until you master the game, and then consider what aspects you'd prefer to improve and only then considering some house rules :)

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I'd say I'm relatively new, but I have quite a few games under my belt already. I realize that choosing gates is part of the strategy, but this game is supposed to beat you down and be a constant uphill battle. That's why I love the challenge of not knowing where you're going, until you've "stepped through the gate." And it just makes sense to me! If I'm near the woods, and I see a crazy portal hanging out, I doubt I'd be able to glance at it and say, hmm that's definitely The Abyss, I think I'll not go there.

But knowing that every gate presents a serious risk creates a lot more tension and challenge. You would probably be more inclined to stop by the Asylum or Hospital, or meet up with a fellow investigator for a quick trade before stepping through a gate, since you have no idea where it'll lead.

And as far as the second rule, aside from just liking to have more Arkham Encounters, I think Launius' reason for the rule makes excellent sense. Though I didn't clarify the way I play: if you are visiting a location with a gate, you CANNOT travel through the gate WITHOUT first having an Arkham Encounter at that location. It has happened to me more than once where I was set and ready to travel through a gate, come out the other side and had the necessary clue tokens to seal it, but then... the Arkham Encounter would send me somewhere else, or use up some of my resources, or delay me.

And, considering Launius' thematic reasoning for rule number 4 (size/location of gates within Arkham locations), it makes sense to me that you'd have to interact with that particular location during your exploration to even find the gate (hence the Arkham Encounters before moving through a gate).

 

I understand the appeal of mastering the game with normal rules before playing with house rules, but if it's not cheapening it, and is actually making it a more tense and immersive experience, I feel more than okay with doing it.

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I agree, Counter. I use these same rules myself and you're right--they add theme and a challenge. As for figuring out how to use Lurker, I would recommend this: leave them facedown until you pass through.You know it's a Lurker token given what it is, so, thematically, you could say that, perhaps, the Gate is still not stable enough to move until it's flipped up--or maybe the Lurker decides to be a jerk and move it around BECAUSE an Investigator is in there but won't have it move until someone is actually inside it.

countermeasures likes this

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I agree, Counter. I use these same rules myself and you're right--they add theme and a challenge. As for figuring out how to use Lurker, I would recommend this: leave them facedown until you pass through.You know it's a Lurker token given what it is, so, thematically, you could say that, perhaps, the Gate is still not stable enough to move until it's flipped up--or maybe the Lurker decides to be a jerk and move it around BECAUSE an Investigator is in there but won't have it move until someone is actually inside it.

I think that's the best/simplest option too. And given the nature of the Lurker, I think it makes sense. Thanks for the input!

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We've always played with Rule 3 (inherited it from the older version of AH) but not with Rule 4.  We haven't played with moving gates, but I agree the easiest way to handle them is to not have them begin moving until they've been turned up.

countermeasures likes this

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We play by the house rule of "the gate is smaller than the location" and you can choose to go into it.  We still lose quite a bit, so it's not like it became a game breaker with us.  We've adopted a few of those other published house rules as well as some of our own, but if we start winning regularly, they're going to mysteriously go away...

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It's not the moving gate that's the problem when you use the hidden gate variant: it's the devouring gate. If you try to play it the same as for the moving gate then it always devours the first Investigator to find it. Thematic maybe, but not much fun.

 

As to having encounters on locations with gates: I don't use this variant, but I don't see the issue with the effect on difficulty - there are so many ways in which the game can be made harder. It's a playable option that makes the game more fun, which surely is the object. Using the "don't do it, it makes it easy" argument could after all be applied to Injury/Madness from Dunwich and how many of us would choose to exclude that mechanism from our games?

 

So my advice is: it's your game, play with it how you prefer in the way that gives you the most pleasure. Don't get hung up on being "hardcore" until your win rate gets so high that it detracts from your fun. Sure there are some pretty much insurmountable practical issues with the Lurker Gates, but the having an encounters in gate locations is no problem at all.

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It's not the moving gate that's the problem when you use the hidden gate variant: it's the devouring gate. If you try to play it the same as for the moving gate then it always devours the first Investigator to find it. Thematic maybe, but not much fun.

 

Not so sure I get your point here, Sam. Two cases come to mind:

 

a) the Devouring Gate opens on an investigator as result of "a gate and a monster appear" encounter or during the Mythos Phase. Here, it doesn't matter if you play with face-up or face-down gates: since the investigator has to enter the gate, the Devouring Gate is revealed and the investigator devoured, period.

 

b) the Devouring Gate opens under no investigator. It's hence placed face down on the board. In the next turns an investigator reaches that location, he turns face-up the marker and enters the OW. He's not devoured, since the condition triggering devouring is the gate opens on a space occupied by an investigator, but this gate already opened some turns ago (and revealing a hidden gate is in no way like "opening the gate", otherwise several other rules should be revised, starting from adding doom tokens and spawning monsters and ending up with investigators entering hidden gates to be constantly delayed as soon as they enter the OW)

The Professor likes this

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Who's Sam? Sure ain't me (am I sharing an Avatar with somebody you're used to responding to?)

 

You are, of course, correct. I overlooked the fact that the Devouring is only triggered when the Gate opens on the Investigator (Mythos or Encounter) and so of course the Gate is deployed face up in that scenario so you know what type of Gate it is. This would be true of any of the Gates in a "surprise" Gate appearance.

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Who's Sam? Sure ain't me (am I sharing an Avatar with somebody you're used to responding to?)

 

Sorry, I misread your name on the Geek. It's "say "em-cee-crispy"", not "sam", my bad.

 

(but yes, you share the same avatar as at least two other people here, Aenima and Amikezor)

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