Sunday, March 25, 2007

Last Minute Horror

The stars aligned for me Saturday, and I suddenly found myself with several hours of free time. After a few phone calls, turned out Ben had some free time, too, and Steve thought he might be able to stop by later.

I went to Ben's place, and the two of us played Arkham Horror. It's a complex game, probably the most complex non-wargame I've played, and somewhat fiddly. But all that complex buys you a lot of theme and experience. I like it.

The game says you can play with up to 7 folks, but I'm skeptical. With the 2 of us, things moved along, but we frequently checked the rules, the quick reference sheets, and the flow-chart. I wouldn't try more than 3 people unless everyone knew the rules cold. If the whole group were familiar w/ the game, then a big group might be fun, but otherwise there would be too much chaos and confusion.

Ben and I were fighting the good fight, but the forces of evil were arriving everywhere. I had gotten a powerful magic lamp and sealed a gate while Ben had collected enough clues to seal another gate. Unfortunately, that gate soon burst open on us once again. Despite my magical weapon, I had low health points and was blockaded in a building by the monsters in the streets.

The outcome was far from clear when Steve arrived, and we swapped to a different game. We settled on Epic Duels, a first for me. It's a neat game. I was Mace Windu, Ben took Obi-Wan, and Steve was one of the Fett's. It was back and forth as we focused each other's side-kicks. I hoarded cards to use Mace's special powers while Obi-Wan wore me down 1 or 2 pts at a time. Just as I was getting ready for some hard-hitting turns, Ben played the anti-Mace card that says everyone throws out their hand and draws to 3. Argh!! All those turns for nothing!

I spent the rest of the game trying to stay alive. I started working harder to wear down Obi-Wan and Fett w/o rather than trying to build up a big hand. At one point Steve was probably going to kill me, but I pointed out Ben had more health than either of us, and he was better of w/ me alive since I was another target for Ben to shoot at. A few turns later, Steve killed off Ben, and then I managed to take down Steve. I had 1 health pt left. It doesn't get any closer than that!

I love it when a game, like this one, has sides that feel different from each other. It makes balance hard, but it's really cool. The three of us were all quite different from each other, but we were close the whole game. Another great feature is the terrain. There are four maps. We played one that is completely open , but the others have various obstacles which could be very interesting for tactics.

Good times, guys.



At 6:28 AM, March 26, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

Fantastic report, Ted!

A few points:

1. I've re-read both the base and both expansion rules today, and I now feel much better prepared to run this game. I'm going to do at least solo run with all the bells and whistles this week so we can give it a try. The expansions both actually add only minor additional complexity and do clean up a few problems in true FFG game-patch fashion.

2. I played two pick-up games of Epic Duels on Vassal on Sunday. Wow, its easy, fun, though not as fun as face-to-face, captures the board game play exactly. The on-line version actually plays much faster as you're clicking rather than rolling. A key aspect to getting good at this game is learning all the decks. I have to say Obi-Wan is my current favorite. The on-line players are quite good though...

3. I'm glad Ted took the initiative to give me and Steve a call and set this up. Most of us didn't know each other at all before SABG, and I know it can take a while to get over shyness and uncertainty regarding new people. I'm glad we've progessed past that point and can now reap the rewards of having good gaming buddies!

At 2:32 PM, March 26, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

A few additional points:

1. Ted: We were too hard on ourselves. The gate shouldn't have burst. The "red" locations are indicated in red on the mythos cards, not all the red diamond spots on the board itself. The gate should have stayed sealed.

2. There is a misprint on your character's sheet (which has been fixed in the errata and 2nd edition of the game). You should have started with a few extra dollars, would have helped us weapon-up faster.

3. For those of you I didn't send the link directly to, there is now a nice looking full fan-produced expansion to Epic Duels that adds ground vehicles to the fight. An outer space version is also in alpha stage development. Essentially, the fan designers added a vehicle deck to be played along with every character deck in the original game (fourteen total new decks, I believe). So now you have your main character, body guard(s), a tank, and some smaller tank bodyguards for each player (example: Darth Maul now adds his Sith Infiltrator ship plus a couple Sith probe droids to the fight). Obviously bigger maps are included as well. I'm skeptical about how all this will work, but the cards and boards themselves look very nicely done. A Vassal module has been produced and a beta-test tournament is about to start.

At 11:06 PM, March 26, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

Nice report Ted.

I really want to try Arkham again with 3 more. You were there in one of my attempts with 6 (?) players. Oh the pain....

At 1:04 PM, March 28, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

In theory a six player game would be great... but it always seems to turn into a cat herding exercise unless you're playing a card game or party game.

Five player TI:3 recently worked quite well and there seem to be a lot of games in the 3-5 player sweet spot zone.

Five player Arkham is really a killer, since according to the rules with 5+ players two monters pop out per gate openning.

In theory the easiest way to play would be with four players. However, the new Dunwich Horror expansion adds some very interesting anti-cooperative mechanics where you can decide to turn traitor and go for a solo victory (i.e., turn to the dark side and help the Ancient One).


Post a Comment

<< Home