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Subject: Gambler's variant rss

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Fredrik Bexborn
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Kalmar
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This is a game variant that I dreamed up after a couple of disappointingly anti-climactic games with the original rules. Stormknight's variant was used as inspiration, but this variant has quite a few changes. I have used it in a couple of plays with great results (these games have included the Dunwich Horror Expansion). Its benefits include altered game dynamics (no anticlimax in the last hour(s)) and a bit more strategy.

Setup

Fill the AO's doom track with tokens, Elder Sign face up. Each time the doom track advances, flip one token. The AO awakens when all tokens are Doom-side up.

Gates

The following events occur when a gate location is drawn, depending on the status of the location:

- No gate: Place gate + monster. Doom track +1.
This is as in the original rules.

- Gate: Place 1 monster. Doom track +1.
As in Stormknight variant. Eliminates the monster surges that fill Arkham with monsters early on and mire down the game. Also means that carelessly leaving gates open can result in irreparable Doom track damage.

- Seal: Monster surge. If no gates are open, then Doom track +1.
Also Stormknight variant. Eliminates tedium of nothing happening toward the end of the game.

Closing and sealing gates

- Every time a gate is closed, the doom track decreases by one (flip a token to Elder Sign up). Thematically, the AO's stirring is temporarily stilled.

- Every time a gate is sealed, take the last token from the Doom track (should be Elder Sign face up) and place it on the board. Thematically, the AO is weakened as the links to this world are cut off. However, it also means less track until the AO awakens. In effect, the players are forcing the AO's hand by this.

- Sealing a gate with an Elder Sign functions in the same way as above, save that the Doom track is decreased by one as when a gate is closed. This is to maintain some of the Elder Sign's status.

- If a Gate Burst occurs, return the seal to the box and increase the Doom track by one. (The AO is still weakened by the seal and the effort of breaking it.)

Winning and losing

- The AO awakens if all tokens currently on the AO card are flipped over (original rules regarding too many gates, too many monsters, etc also still apply). The fight then commences as usual. The players might fight Yig, for example, with only 8/10 Doom tokens.

- If half of the AO's doom tokens (round down) are removed from the AO card, the AO is too weakened to break into this world and is returned to its slumber. (This replaces the rather arbitrary 6 seals to win).

- Closing the last gate with gate trophies equaling the number of players is also still a way to win.

Comments

Besides better game pacing, this variant requires a bit more strategic thinking. Sealing gates keeps the Doom track from advancing at that location, but also shortens it, making the awakening more imminent. Can the players make enough seals in time, or will they rely on their skills against a slightly weakened AO? Sometimes the players can be forced to only close gates just to keep the Doom track down.

Well, it worked for us, anyway. The group that I play with were a lot more positive to this variant than the original rules.

Comments welcome.
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Italy
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Good point of wiew! I've found this Variant very interesting and useful to fix some bugs in the basic rules!!!

I will try it soon! goo

 
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John Paul Sodusta
United States
Santa Barbara
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This is interesting and I think I like the sound of it. I also tried Stormknight's variant, but I felt like it was too slow in the beginning. I think your variant picks it up a bit.
 
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Jan Erb
Germany
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This sounds quite interesting, has anybody tried this variant a few times and is willing to give a report on how it works?
We have played some games with the Dunwich Expansion lately, and Stormknights Variant does not seem to work very well with that. We usually have 3 to 4 players.
From what I read it sounds quite hard, as when you win the game by sealed gates (and as we play with few players, this seems to be the only option), the doomtrack is at half length; so for the ancient one not to awaken prior to the needed seals his doom track would need to be at about one half, that is 5 to max. 8 doom tokens (roundings included).
So, as you can effectively not remove doom tokens for dual gates (except in very few special circumstances), it seems that after 5 to 8 dual gates you have no choice but to face the ancient one in final combat, something we learned is more or less equal to losing with many of the thougher ones, and as we never even came close to bringing them down to even a half of their track I don't think that would change a lot with the missing "hit points" from seals.
 
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Jack t
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We tried this variant yesterday on a two player game. We decided that we're going to fudge the variant a bit to make it easier, as with only two players it was going to be hard keeping the doom track under control. We made the following changes (+opinion):

1. Sealing a gate (whichever way) removes one token from the end and flips over 2 eyes. This was done for several reasons, but chiefly because thematically sealing a gate should also delay the coming of the AO, while currently it's being hastened (or at best, stays the same distance). Had we not made this change, the AO would have awoken for certain. This change worked out pretty good, and for most of the game we were fighting by the skin of our teeth to keep the doom track from filling. Probably with more players this would be unnecessary...

2. Monster Surges gave the lower value of the number of gates/players (which meant, most of the time, just two monsters). Again, for reasons of manageability, we decided to lower the resistance level. We still managed to kill a dozen or so monsters, and get the terror track up to 3. Looking back, we could have handled a handful more of monsters and the terror track had a lot of room to develop. Will probably try to use the upper limit next time, or use some sort of average or random mechanism.

3. Gate opens on another gate only gets doom track +1. Same reasons as the last one, will add monsters on the next run, though it feels like there's a potential for a different effect here, something more thematic. I was thinking that a 'gate surge' can cause all players in the connected street area and locations are sucked in to the dimension, have one encounter, and are then returned. This can be done for just that particular gate (for a localized effect), or for ALL gates (for a hoopla).


Had a blast of a time, with great tension throughout the game. The variant really helps to keep things going and gets desired effect of a speedy start off and a great ending. Two thumbs up! thumbsupthumbsup
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Matt McCourty
United Kingdom
Altrincham
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Hi

I just played this variant (solo, with 3 investigators) and I think it's good.

Closed 8 gates
Sealed 5 gates (2 elder sign, 3 using clues)
Won because Ithaqua was reduced to having a doom track of half his original (6 of 11), which is one of this variant's 'win criteria'

If I hadn't sealed the final gate, Ithaqua would have awoken at the end of that turn... so on a positive note, it was a very tense final dice roll to get the gate shut.

I was definitely trying harder to constantly shut gates throughout the whole game, whereas with the original rules there's not really that much need - the doom track stays still and the terror track goes up instead because of all the surges. The terror track really isn't that scary though, is it?



I can't help but think that if the AO wakes you should still fill his track back up. Having to fight him at a strength of 7 would be weird.

In fact let me go do it... goo

Yes, beat him but with only 1 investigator left after some lucky rolls. If it hadn't been Ithaqua who wiped out all my stuff, it would have been a lot easier though.


Hard to say if it's better or not, but it felt like there was more of an accelerated threat.
 
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