Exploring the Design Space

In this blog I'll share some ideas about how a board game can be expanded. My main interest at this moment is Eldritch Horror, but this may change in the future.

Archive for Arkham Horror 3.0

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Other Worlds

Krzysiek Domański
Poland
Wrocław
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Microbadge: Interested in Language(s)Microbadge: I sleeve everythingMicrobadge: I never allow others to eat while playing my boardgamesMicrobadge: Rules readerMicrobadge: Game Explainer
Boardgames inevitably carry some level of abstraction, but Other Worlds in EH are bit too abstract for me.
"If you pass, [someone] helps you to return home; close this gate."
And if I fail?
Many times the flavor text suggests that something really bad happens (e.g. you die in an alien body or you stay trapped), but it's not reflected by game effects.
This flavor and mechanics separation is very obtrusive here, much more than in other encounters.
The complex encounters of EH are a clever idea, but for Other Worlds I prefer Arkham Horror's implementation. You are physically exploring the extraplanar locations. And if a card says that something happens, it actually happens.

Unfortunately, AH Gates had one major problem, and that is dilution.
In EH, a location where you should spawn a gate is written on the gate itself. Thanks to this, the spawning sites are equally distributed all over the board. Or, rather, all over the boards. Balanced gate distribution is still preserved, no matter how many boards you're playing with.
But in AH, Gate must carry the information where it leads to. Because of that, the information about spawning location is located on the Mythos Card. The same Mythos Card always spawns a gate in the same space (and a Clue in another, always the same, space).
The base game Mythos only opened gates in Arkham.
The 1st expansion added some more gate openings in Arkham.
The 2nd expansion added openings in Arkham and Dunwich.
The 3rd expansion added yet some more openings in Arkham.
This pattern remains the same for a few more expansions.
If you'd like to play with several expansions, then you'll see that most gates open in Arkham, gates in other locations are very rare.

This sucks.

Luckily, there's a simple solution.
We can prepare a pool of drawing tokens/cards/somethings each with a name of unstable locations on it.
When a mythos card is drawn, only check the number of gates it should open, ignore the locations.
Draw an equal number of tokens, and spawn gates on the locations indicated. Return these tokens to the cup.
Done, gate dilution solved.
I would also use these tokens to check where clues should spawn.

You have propably noticed that this solution is inspired by EH. The main exception is, in EH when you draw a Clue token to choose a random location, the token doesn't return to the cup.
Here we must return it so we can draw the same gate again, and possibly trigger a monster surge.

Speaking about the monster surges. I always liked this mechanic.
I have a small variant idea for you, called the Surge Deck.
Whenever a gate would open in a location that already has a gate, draw a card from the Surge Deck and resolve it.
Here are some examples:

Monster Surge
Same as original, except now it's only one of the possibilities.

Unstable Gate
Close this Gate, then spawn another Gate.
Notes: This may lead to a doom added or another surge elsewhere. And to investigators Lost in Time and Space.

Swallowing Gate
Discard all Clues in this gate's neighborhood. All investigators (except those with explored token) in this neighborhood are drawn through the gate.
Notes: The investigators are also delayed, as usual when you're drawn by surprise.

Disgorging Gate
Investigators that are in the Other World this gate leads to, return to Arkham but don't get the explored token.

Rift
Close this gate, then spawn a Rift in this location.
Notes: Rift is then governed by the Kingsport Horror rules, or their variation.

Deep Gate
The Other World this gate leads to, now has a third area.
Use this card as that area, putting it beside the normal two areas.
All three areas must be explored for an investigator to return to Arkham.
When all the gates leading to that Other World are closed, discard this card.

Firm Gate
Put this card under this gate.
When this gate would be closed, instead discard this card (along with the explored token if applicable).
Notes: Essentially, you need to close this gate twice.

Mirror Universe
Spawn the Doppelganger Epic Monster on this space.
Notes: Or any other epic monster that is suitable thematically. Arkham already kind of has Epic Monsters, it shouldn't be hard to include a full-fledged version of them.

Monster Flood
Just like the "Monster Surge", except monsters are distributed evenly among locations in this neighborhood, not among the open gate locations.

Monster Overrun
Just like the "Monster Surge", except all monsters spawn on this space.
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Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:07 am
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