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Arkham Horror» Forums » General

Subject: New to game, question about expansions rss

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P.J. H.
United States
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Hey everyone. I'm learning Arkham Horror right now, reading the rules in my spare time. Thanks to Universal Head's rules summary and some youtube summaries, I think I've groked it well enough to play my first solo game tonight (probably with two investigators).

However, I have a question about how everyone deals with the expansions. I'm the kind of person that will likely dive into most or all of the expansions of a game I really like.

How do you handle all the items, investigators, and Great Old Ones from expansions when you aren't playing their specific expansion? Do you just mix them into the base game or keep them separate? Do you use the injury & insanity cards from DH when not playing DH? I'm sure that the expansion specific mechanic cards wouldn't transfer to the base game, but I was curious about the other game pieces.
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Christopher Lloyd
Norway
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Hi P.J. Welcome to Arkham.

There's no easy way to say this, but playing with an expansion before you've played at least of half a dozen vanilla games is a mistake. Arkham Horror does suffer from a steep learning curve, and if you are sure you can handle the insanity, go for it! But don't be disappointed if it's tough going.

The big box expansions in particular add a lot of new mechanics to the game, and if you've read the Headless Hollow notes, I'm sure you'll understand that this makes the games even more complex. Given that a 3-4 player game is likely going to take no less than 3 hours (4 is more likely), adding expansions is quite an undertaking.

Most players from what I've seen keep the card item decks (that being common, unique and spells) from the expansions separate, but there's no reason not to bundle them together. Likewise, you could play with all the monsters, skill and ally decks, but this tends to "water down" the theme of the game you're playing. For example, if you're using Innsmouth Horror, the additional monsters are generally of an aquatic variety in fitting with the overall theme of Innsmouth. Adding these in to a normal game can take away some of this pseudo-roleplaying element.

There are a few decks from the big boxes that do not work very well when simply added to the vanilla game unless the expansion board map is also present. This generally means the encounter decks, but some of the investigator cards don't make sense either. Other do, though. The injury and insanity cards work fine. I also almost always play with the investigator personal stories, as well. Corruption cards work, but again they water down the theme of the game.

The mythos of Arkham is intended to be explored, so I advise you to do just that. Try five games or so with the basic set and then add an expansion. Then once you (and just as importantly, the rest of your game group, if you play with one) are comfortable with that, try playing with a different expansion, and eventually combine them. Along the way, you'll learn which new decks and mechanics work on their own or not.

Good luck!

L.
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P.J. H.
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Thanks for the advice,Christopher!

I do plan to play with the base game as much as possible before going crazy, game play wise, but I guess my biggest weakness is for the added investigators and great old ones. If they are expansion specific, I'll just make a point of keeping everything apart as I slowly descend into the madness that is Arkham Horror.
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Christopher Lloyd
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The good news is that about 90% of the additional investigators from the expansions are usable with the base set with no tweaking required. One or two (Silas Marsh from the Innsmouth expansion is an example) have key abilities that interact with the new mechanics from the sets, and are slightly invalid without them, but most are fine.

Almost all of the Ancient Ones from the expansions can be used without the expansion boards, but require some shuffling of the monster tokens to make them work correctly.

Tip: If you buy an expansion, consider marking each monster token that comes with it with a small coloured dot or similar to enable easy sorting when removing them from the monster bag after each game. Unlike the all the other stuff that comes in the expansions, monster tokens aren't marked in any special way.

L.
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