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Subject: Outskirts expansion board, version #3 rss

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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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With a big nod to ivory_tower and makken123, I've taken both of their ideas for an Outskirts board and sort of combined them, while adding a few other things. I also wanted to try out the board editor in Strange Eons, so this was a nice opportunity to learn how to use that.

I really liked the idea of ivory_tower's original Outskirts board (see it here), which included some monster movement and some nice location abilities, but that would require a lot of encounter card creation, which nobody seems to have done. makken123 condensed that idea and made a board (see it here) that just included a few locations without any need for encounter cards. I liked both of those approaches, so I made a board that includes several locations but also encounters that are fixed. I think the basic idea is simple enough but also allows for some playing around... I tried to include some different elements within the Outskirts, so you could possibly gain Clues, items, money and health while you're there (some means of gaining an Ally would probably be good, too).

I didn't really like the idea of hitting the Outskirts monster limit and suddenly all of the monsters there disappearing, so I think the vortex exit raising the Terror Track might work... although the rate at which that gets hit could fluctuate greatly; you might get a few monsters moving into there at the same time and boom, there goes the terror track.

The Outskirts Cleanup thing on the side was added on at the end (I can't resist filling empty space!), so there's probably a more thematic way that could function than the "3 in a row" thing, but I think something like that would be good to give another incentive for cleaning out the monsters there (along with the incentives of being able to remove a Doom token with 15 toughness of trophies and to prevent monsters from moving into the vortex).

Anyway, I hope to be able to test this with a solo game tonight or tomorrow, but in the meantime, please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Below is the board, which includes any additional rules...
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Dave Brown
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Why do you get a combat penalty against monsters that are covered up in the "Cleanup" section?
 
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Calvin Le Huray
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What are the rules using the outskirts board?
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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AdmiralDave wrote:
Why do you get a combat penalty against monsters that are covered up in the "Cleanup" section?


Well I guess the idea is just to make it different at that point. I figured thematically the Horror check should be easier, as if you've already seen and killed monsters from that dimension... they don't scare you as much, anymore... so maybe the Combat gets harder because you're a little cocky, or the monsters are fighting harder to avenge their fallen dimensional brother? I don't know... Like I said, that whole thing was more of an afterthought to the rest of it. I'm open to suggestions for improvement or to get rid of that entirely, though I do generally like the idea of there being some other kind of thing like that involved.
 
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eatshootsandleafs wrote:
What are the rules using the outskirts board?


They're all indicated on the board itself, and listed below... very much subject to change once I actually try it.

* All monsters added to the Outskirts are added to the Outskirts space of the Outskirts board.

* There is no Outskirts monster limit.

* Any time there is a Monster Surge, add a Monster to the vortex on the Outskirts board (in addition to any other monsters added normally).

* Any monsters that move into a vortex on an expansion board (Dunwich, Innsmouth) are moved to the vortex space on the Outskirts board. Their movement would continue, if relevant (fast monsters that moved once into the expansion board vortex).

* If a monster from the Outskirts board moves into the vortex, return them to the Cup and raise the Terror Level by 1.

* Investigators may only make one additional move at the most upon moving into any location with yellow stability.

* Movement by Investigators to or from the Outskirts board is through three locations; Dunwich Track/depot, Redman's Swamp/aquatic locations, Copse/The Woods.

* Investigators may not move into the vortex for any reason.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Is the arrow from the vortex to the Old Country Road backwards?

-shnar
 
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shnar wrote:
Is the arrow from the vortex to the Old Country Road backwards?

-shnar


No -- he set it up so some of the monsters can start in the vortex.

Good work by the way -- cool idea.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Oh, n/m, I see that monsters are coming *out* of this vortex as well as going into it...

-shnar
 
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Dave Brown
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Grudunza wrote:
AdmiralDave wrote:
Why do you get a combat penalty against monsters that are covered up in the "Cleanup" section?


Well I guess the idea is just to make it different at that point. I figured thematically the Horror check should be easier, as if you've already seen and killed monsters from that dimension... they don't scare you as much, anymore... so maybe the Combat gets harder because you're a little cocky, or the monsters are fighting harder to avenge their fallen dimensional brother? I don't know... Like I said, that whole thing was more of an afterthought to the rest of it. I'm open to suggestions for improvement or to get rid of that entirely, though I do generally like the idea of there being some other kind of thing like that involved.


The horror bonus made sense to me thematically but not the penalty. I like the idea of going there and kicking monster butt conferring some kind of bonus. How 'bout this:

Leave the money and the cover up thing the same, but having a symbol covered works as follows. The next time that symbol comes up on a Mythos card, you ignore it for the purposes of monster movement and remove the marker on the outskirts board. So you get a monster delay out of it (which could be good or bad, depending on the circumstances). Makes it a little harder to get the money, but the pot might be quite a bit bigger by the time you get it. Thematically it represents the investigators' increased knowledge of the creature, ability to predict their movements and so forth.
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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Heh Dave, the funny thing is that originally my thought was to have that side thing function to prevent or restrict monster movement, almost exactly as you suggest. That does seem to be a more obvious thing to do out there with the danger of the monsters going into the vortex.

I guess my hesitation with that was because I'm not sure that restricting any movement of monsters would be wise for the premise of that board... Without trying it out yet, I'm not sure if enough monsters would hit that vortex as it is to make the threat of the Terror Track rising strong enough. If anything, I might need to find a way to increase monster movement (e.g. all monsters are "fast" in the Outskirts). I just don't know... Actually, using that symbol track to slow or halt monsters from moving, combined with a rule that all monsters in the Outskirts are "fast" might be a nice combination. Hmmm...
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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How do flying monsters work here?

Some games we play, a lot of flying monsters end up in the outskirts. If this is like a normal expansion board, then they'd end up back in Arkham. Maybe the Outskirts should have it's own Sky? Or just ground all flying creatures?

-shnar
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shnar wrote:
How do flying monsters work here?

Some games we play, a lot of flying monsters end up in the outskirts. If this is like a normal expansion board, then they'd end up back in Arkham. Maybe the Outskirts should have it's own Sky? Or just ground all flying creatures?

-shnar


This is all speculation until I can try it out and subject to change thereafter, but I think for now I like the idea of flying monsters being able to fly to the Outskirts streets... if any monsters should be able to make it there, it's them. And the danger of them flying back to Arkham is probably a good thing, I think. Of course, if the monster limit is maxed out in Arkham then they wouldn't go there, anyway... And although there's no danger of them moving into a vortex in the Outskirts, they'd cause trouble and get in the way, at least, and be a target for monster trophies for anyone there.
 
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Dave Brown
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Grudunza wrote:
Heh Dave, the funny thing is that originally my thought was to have that side thing function to prevent or restrict monster movement, almost exactly as you suggest. That does seem to be a more obvious thing to do out there with the danger of the monsters going into the vortex.

I guess my hesitation with that was because I'm not sure that restricting any movement of monsters would be wise for the premise of that board... Without trying it out yet, I'm not sure if enough monsters would hit that vortex as it is to make the threat of the Terror Track rising strong enough. If anything, I might need to find a way to increase monster movement (e.g. all monsters are "fast" in the Outskirts). I just don't know... Actually, using that symbol track to slow or halt monsters from moving, combined with a rule that all monsters in the Outskirts are "fast" might be a nice combination. Hmmm...


Liking that. It's the outskirts of town, easier to move around without tasty humans getting wise. Would yellow and green monsters use normal movement rules? Maybe yellow and green are considered normal and everything else is considered fast?
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AdmiralDave wrote:
How 'bout this:

Leave the money and the cover up thing the same, but having a symbol covered works as follows. The next time that symbol comes up on a Mythos card, you ignore it for the purposes of monster movement and remove the marker on the outskirts board. So you get a monster delay out of it (which could be good or bad, depending on the circumstances). Makes it a little harder to get the money, but the pot might be quite a bit bigger by the time you get it. Thematically it represents the investigators' increased knowledge of the creature, ability to predict their movements and so forth.


Even better, make that corner of the board a "card space", and have several cards with different rules.

These could either be randomized at the start of the game or connected to specific great old ones. Either way, it would provide additional variation to the game, without terribly upsetting game balance.

Examples could be:

* The original "money pot" idea.
* The "stop next movement" idea proposed here.
* On a full row, remove other monsters in outskirts with same symbol.
* On a full row, monsters in outskirts move in the opposite direction of the black arrows (which usually, but not always, is away from the vortex).
* As with the money pot, but with clues.
* As with the money pot, but with sanity.
* On a full row, get a unique item.
* On a full row, get an item.
* On a full row, get blessed.
* Add a random Ally from the box to the Ally deck, in other words making more allies available for "adoption".
* The next gate to open with this symbol fails to open, as if blocked by a seal. The stars were not right.
* Call for help. You may move one other investigator to your location.
* Discard Madness card.

Another way to make it more interesting is to have a good effect for a full row, and a bad effect for a full column. That would mean that you will have to plan your monster slaying, or face the consequences. Examples:

* On a full column, get cursed.
* On a full column, get LiTaS.
* On a full column, monsters in outskirts move black.
* As per the sanity pot, but on a full column, you lose as much sanity as there is in the pot.
* On a full column, the next gate to open with that symbol is also a monster surge.
* On a full column, the next gate to open with that symbol is also a gate burst.
* Remove random ally from ally deck.
* As per the sanity pot, but you lose stamina instead.
* Draw three monsters. If any of them has the same symbol, place them in the outskirts start space.
* The player is delayed.
* Lose item.
* Get Madness card.
* Get Injury card.

Modifyer cards. If these are drawn, another card is drawn and the modifyer cards has effect in addition to the new card:

* Place another rule card on top. Play the effects of the other card. On a full row, get a new rule card for this (always keep this base card at the bottom).
* Don't clear the grid when a row or column is full, only clear it when all nine positions are full. When this happens, remove one doom token.
* Don't clear the grid when a row or column is full, only clear it when all nine positions are full. When this happens, close and seal one gate (players choice).

It wouldn't add much complexity to the game, as the rules would all be on the card, clearly visible to all, and only come in effect in very specific circumstances.

Combine these effects in different combinations, and you'll have another deck of cards to shuffle!

I think these would also make some kind of thematic sense.

Quote:
Maybe yellow and green are considered normal and everything else is considered fast?


I would probably say that fast monsters should be fast, and everything else would be treated as normal (including stationary, flying and special). There will be enough monsters stacked up here anyway.
 
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Anders Troberg
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Another thought: This extra board may not balance very well. The idea with the outskirts is to keep monsters off the board with few players, thus giving them time to do other stuff, like closing gates. Thus, the outskirts will get more monsters the fewer players you have. In the standard game, this makes sense, as the monsters in outskirts are basically "out of play", except for the "outskirts full" effect.

However, with this expansion, we get a reverse balance on it. The fewer players, the larger the need to manage the outskirts, thus taking focus from other efforts. That's not good.

My suggested fix: Max number of monsters in outskirts is # of players.If more monsters are put there, they are simply discarded instead. That means that there is a limited number of monsters marching towards the vortex, with a maximum equal to number of players. Now, it will be less outskirt management with less players, but with many players, it will be a more demanding task.
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Troberg wrote:
Another thought: This extra board may not balance very well. The idea with the outskirts is to keep monsters off the board with few players, thus giving them time to do other stuff, like closing gates. Thus, the outskirts will get more monsters the fewer players you have. In the standard game, this makes sense, as the monsters in outskirts are basically "out of play", except for the "outskirts full" effect.

However, with this expansion, we get a reverse balance on it. The fewer players, the larger the need to manage the outskirts, thus taking focus from other efforts. That's not good.

My suggested fix: Max number of monsters in outskirts is # of players.If more monsters are put there, they are simply discarded instead. That means that there is a limited number of monsters marching towards the vortex, with a maximum equal to number of players. Now, it will be less outskirt management with less players, but with many players, it will be a more demanding task.


Yup, that is a great point. I just played a game using this board yesterday, but it was 4p and at most there were, I think, 5-6 monsters there. I think that's a good idea, to have the Outskirts monster limit equal the number of players, but I would say +1, so with 2 players there could be 3 monsters there, etc. I don't think there should be a penalty for additional monsters, though... raising the terror track from them moving should probably be the only thing. So additional monsters beyond the Outskirts limit are ignored.

For now I'm scrapping the whole symbol thing on the side... I didn't even kill any monsters while in the Outskirts in my game (Darell Simmons kept going insane), so it wouldn't have been a factor, but my feeling regardless is that it's just something tacked on that doesn't need to be there. Or at least, the other main stuff needs to be worked out right first, and then maybe something like that can be added.

I also made a rule change on the fly, whereby all Monsters in the Outskirts move as regular monsters... I had three stationary monsters out there and realized that it would be pretty lame if they just sat there the whole time. Same thing with flying monsters, where being in the Outskirts created some goofy situations where they'd fly back to Arkham but couldn't fit there so they'd fly right back. It's simpler to just say that all Outskirts monsters move as regular monsters. (And that also includes "fast" monsters and green monsters, so you'd get a little reprieve in those cases.)

Another change I feel is necessary is to have it so that if you are insane or unconscious while in the Outskirts, you move to the Tree Village where they fix you up. And instead of the "pay 1 gate or 5 toughness to remove an injury or madness card", to pay monster trophies and heal the corresponding amount of sanity and/or sanity equal to the toughness spent. There needs to be some better means of healing yourself while out there.

Anyway, it's an interesting diversion and could be a very cool addition, but it definitely needs some more work and testing.
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Anders Troberg
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I kind of liked the symbol on the side. I have players who likes to play according to the principle "whoever has the coolest character when we lose wins", and allowing them some benefit from killing monsters there would at least make them somewhat useful.

Also, with my card based sidetrack, it would provide some additional variation, further ensuring that game play will not get stuck in a rut.

I think this expansion has the potential to be good enough to be an official expansion (although with proper encounter cards for each location). This is not something I often see in fan made expansions, so feel dree to bask in the glory. Perhaps you should consider contacting Fantasy Flight games when it's properly tested?

Edit: The symbols on the side also gives a thematic feeling of "the stars being right". Sometimes, it will be good to kill a certain monster, sometimes it will be bad.
 
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Troberg wrote:
I kind of liked the symbol on the side. I have players who likes to play according to the principle "whoever has the coolest character when we lose wins", and allowing them some benefit from killing monsters there would at least make them somewhat useful.

Also, with my card based sidetrack, it would provide some additional variation, further ensuring that game play will not get stuck in a rut.

I think this expansion has the potential to be good enough to be an official expansion (although with proper encounter cards for each location). This is not something I often see in fan made expansions, so feel dree to bask in the glory. Perhaps you should consider contacting Fantasy Flight games when it's properly tested?

Edit: The symbols on the side also gives a thematic feeling of "the stars being right". Sometimes, it will be good to kill a certain monster, sometimes it will be bad.


Anders, I appreciated your ideas for cards for the side symbol thing... I should have mentioned that before. And I like the general idea of that thing, to offer more incentive and variation, as you say. But I just think that for now, the basic premise of the Outskirts board needs to be worked out, if it's going to be viable at all, before something like that is added onto it.
 
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Yes, you are probably right. Add one new variable at the time makes it easier to balance.
 
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I've done some more thinking about game balance. I think this expansion will make it harder. My reasoning:

* In a normal game, if the monsters go unchecked, terror level will rise each time the outskirts are full, which will also clear the outskirts.
* With the expansion, if the outskirts go unchecked, terror level will eventually rise for each monster which goes to the outskirts.

In other words, cleaning up the outskirts becomes a more or less necessary task. The monsters which would raise the terror level two or three steps with standard rules would be able to top it out at 10 if they are not killed. This means that someone needs to be there and kill monsters, which leaves less investigators doing other stuff. Also, whoever goes to clean up the outskirts is likely to come back in need of healing, which means further time is wasted.

How could this be solved? Some suggestions:

* Same as the big box expansions, count number of players as one less.
* Some way of clearing the outskirts is probably needed. Perhaps the symbol grid discussed earlier could provide this, perhaps some other method can be used.
* Another monster exit, where the monsters simply get bored and go home, removing them from the outskirts. This way, every single monster will not be an inevitable terror bomb if left unchecked.

Still, the basic idea of the expansion is still sound, so keep going!
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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Those are good suggestions. One thing I was going for with this is trying to actually make the Terror Track a little bit more dangerous (in many games, it's just not much of a factor). And with the monsters having to move to get out of the vortex, that at least delays the raising of the terror track in a way that could be more consistent with how it might go up in a normal game... But of course, if you keep the monsters managed in Arkham, the Outskirts won't fill up at all to raise the terror track, whereas with this, once a few monsters are out there they will continue to move and threaten the terror track, regardless of how many monsters there are in Arkham. I think it's okay and even cool for that to be the case, but it can't make things ridiculously difficult, either.

One other thought for sort of balancing that is to create a longer path for the monsters to exit. I think just another length is enough. I'll play around with that a bit and see how it looks, and I'll also try your suggestions. My first thought about this was to do the expansion thing, counting players as one less, so that one's probably a given.

Thanks, Anders!
 
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My thoughts / ideas :
_Copse & Tree Village may have the same restriction Kingsport Head have(Ancient church has a powerful capacity)
_Too much text in each location.
_Outskirts Board should have the same size an official expansion board has.
_In this case, you could add a "travel to" location that allow to go directly in some specific other world that used to be on earth in mythos (like R'lyeh, Leng, City of the Great race & Carcosa). I tried to make a similar board and made a travel encounter deck but still not finished ^^
_When a monster is beat on the outskirts board, it goes to the original outskirt and is not taken as a trophy (too easy to use ancient church if not). It makes terror track double used.
_Monsters that are spent as trophies may go there too (or in a sort of cemetary).

I like :
_Outskirts cleanup as it is.
_Vortex in & out mechanics!
_Some locations capacities.

Questions :
_What happens when u go insane / unconscious ? (LITAS or Arkham or maybe another new possibilities (as your are out of Arkham ?)

It's good work! Can't wait for a final version to translate
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Sorry for my english


EDIT : What are yellow diamonds for on some locations ?
 
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Dietch wrote:
My thoughts / ideas :
_Copse & Tree Village may have the same restriction as Kingsport Head (Ancient church has a powerful capacity)


Well, that was the intent of the yellow stability locations, that you can only move one space at the most out of those locations, to restrict movement somewhat (and that answers your question about the yellow diamonds). I didn't want to make it as restrictive as the Kingsport Head, though, where it would take two or three full turns just to get there, and then two or three turns to get back out of there, just to remove one doom token. But I am considering adding a location which would allow the possibility of sealing any gate on the board, once per game. In that case, that location should definitely be more difficult to get to (and I'm adapting the idea from the "Lost Tower" variant, so it would make sense that a "lost" tower should be hard to find).

Quote:
_Too much text in each location.


As it is now, the intention of this board is to be used without any encounter cards for the locations. Encounter cards would be really nice, but also a major PITA to create and print out and all that. So I'm giving each location one specific encounter, which kind of necessitates more text, especially for the travel locations. At some point, if the basic locations and structure and intent of the board works, then perhaps encounter cards can be added and then the text would be reduced or removed.

Quote:
_Outskirts Board should have the same size as an official expansion board.


Ah, good point. I've been trying to cram in all of this stuff in less than 2/3 of the space of a normal expansion board.

Quote:
_In this case, you could add a "travel to" location that allow to go directly in some specific other world that used to be on earth in mythos (like R'lyeh, Leng, City of the Great race & Carcosa). I tried to make a similar board and made a travel encounter deck but still not finished ^^


I'm not sure if I understand... Do you mean that there should be a location on the Outskirts board where you can go into any Other World, without going into a gate (sort of like a reverse "Gate Box")? I do like that idea and I had thought of that before as well, but ran out of space on the board, so I scrapped it. But now, using a bigger size board, that should be possible. It would be a good thing for this board, because I'd like the ability to do most of the same things on the Outskirts board that can be done on the main board (or expansion boards), and being able to get into an Other World to seal a gate is a pretty important thing. However, as I said before, I may be adding a location that allows the possibility of sealing any open gate, so that, plus the ability to move to Other Worlds, might be too much.

Quote:
_When a monster is beat on the outskirts board, it goes to the original outskirt and is not taken as a trophy (too easy to use ancient church if not). It makes terror track double used.


I don't know... I think 15 toughness of monsters is a lot, and it's not necessarily easy to kill enough of them in the Outskirts as it is, depending on what type you're up against. The one time I played I didn't kill any monsters in three attempts... I kept rolling terribly on horror checks and went insane each time. And I think part of what makes the ability of the Ancient Church a temptation is the idea that you might be able to kill off a decent number of monsters in the Outskirts to be able to do that. And that may or may not be viable, but I think you should be able to benefit from the monsters you kill out there.

One issue that might come up is that you could conceivably start ignoring monsters in Arkham in purpose, with the intention that they spill over into the Outskirts so you can kill them. But on the one hand, if you're maxing out the monsters in Arkham, then they're probably getting in the way of doing other things, and you never know which monsters in particular you'll draw to go into the Outskirts, so you might end up with some nasty ones. And regardless, it's sort of a tactical choice where you might say, well, we've got Joe Diamond working the monsters out in the Outskirts... let's send him some more.

Anyway, I think the challenge of making this work is finding the balance between the board functioning as a meaningful depiction of the Outskirts in action, with the terror track equally or slightly more of a factor than it would be normally, and the locations being interesting enough to travel to once in a while, regardless of whether any monsters are there. As it is, it ain't there, but there's potential, I think.

Quote:
Questions :
_What happens when u go insane / unconscious ? (LITAS or Arkham or maybe another new possibilities (as your are out of Arkham ?)


I had mentioned in a previous reply that one change that I realized was necessary with this expansion is to have any investigator who goes insane or is knocked unconscious go to the Tree Village, where they are fixed up by the shaman there. There is already some difficulty in traveling to get there and move around there and I don't think I want to make it too difficult to recover and get back to working the Outskirts once you've been driven insane or unconscious.

Quote:
I like :
_Outskirts cleanup as it is.


I guess you guys like the Monster Cleanup thing, then... so I'll put it back in. I don't think it's the kind of thing that will come into play that often, but would be nice when it does.
 
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Anders Troberg
Sweden
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Can't stop thinking about this one.

I retract my earlier suggestion of an outskirt monster limit, above which monsters are discarded. Why? Because it will remove the incentive to clean up the outskirts once the limit is reached, as there is very little reason to take any risks when monsters added will just disappear.

So, in order to not get a massive monster horde here, some other mechanism is needed. Suggestions:

* The alternate exit suggested earlier, which does not raise terror level. Depending on how you set up the paths, you could redirect a different number of monsters there, I would suggest 25-50% as a reasonable starting assumption.

* Clearing through some of the methods discussed on the "symbol grid".

* Raising a posse. Some location could offer a total cleanup of the outskirts by paying with clues or trophies. Basically, you show proof that evil lurks in the forest, and people gather to kill it.
 
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Anders Troberg
Sweden
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More thoughts:

* Should it really be a Focus (-1) in the Tree Village? I don't think I've ever seen a roll against Focus.

* I'm inspired and feeling creative, is it OK if I make my own version, losely based on your work? It will, of course, be freely available here at BGG.
 
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