Take the 2-minute tour ×
Board & Card Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who like playing board games, designing board games or modifying the rules of existing board games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

First, I should note I've only played Arkham Horror once in a 2 player game and loved it. I am curious if the game is even survivable, and if so, what factors contribute to that success?

I am delighted at the thought that all players eventually get devoured by the Eldar Gods, and "winning" consists of having fun and the game going a long time. Seems much like life itself, to me.

If at least one player can survive, I am guessing that several factors would help, such as:

  • Lots of luck
  • Lots of cooperation among players
  • Lots of players

If at least one player can survive, what other factors have you found contribute to that?

share|improve this question
    
Retitled your question to better reflect your question. Obviously the answer to your original is "Yes". About 2/3rds of the time for folks with some experience if memory serves. –  Pat Ludwig May 18 '12 at 16:28
    
@PatLudwig - Excellent, thank you for the comment, too. –  David Pointer May 18 '12 at 16:31
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

People survive, and quite frequently as well. Here's a Google Doc of recorded games that a guy on the FFG forums has been keeping. It's got some pretty interesting statistics on it.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AliZyklaTCWzdEszdXpoRVJQNGltTU5wMi1qWEJnQkE#gid=2

As far a good strategies go, it's pretty simple. As you can see from the speadsheet, games with more investigators generally have a higher rate of success than games with less investigators. I've found that four investigators is generally a good number to play with. Any more and people can get bored with down time, any less and there's a good chance there's too much going on to take care of. It's also a nice middle ground for the number of gates that are allowed to be open, the number of monsters in Arkaham, the number of monsters in the outskirts, and you still only have one monster appearing per gate opening.

It's important to keep the gate count under control. Even if you can't seal a gate, make sure you have people going through gates so they have enough time to travel through and close without hitting the limit. Assuming one new gate per turn is a bit high, but it's a good rate to keep in mind for higher player games. I've had games end on the second turn in an 8-player game just due to unlucky Arkham encounters that opened gates. It can sneak up on you!

Which gates you seal/close is also important. It's slightly less predictable with expansion boards added in, but in the base set you have the 'Big 4': Independence Square, The Witch House, Unvisted Isle, and the Woods. These locations have gates that open significantly more frequently than other locations. If you close a gate here without sealing, odds are there's going to be another gate there soon enough, which adds a doom token to the track. Those are also the locations where Monster surges are more likely to happen. Conversely, locations such as the Historical Society, the Lodge, Hibb's Roadhouse, and the Science building, are targeted by Mythos Cards much less frequenty; it's less dicey to close those gates without sealing.

You may think it's important to have a dedicated monster killer (or at least someone good at it), and it definitely helps, but you can get by without it. Don't be afraid to spend a clue token or two to sneak past a monster guarding a gate so you don't have to deal with it. Also, don't forget that closing a gate removes all monsters with the matching symbol from the board.

Don't get sucked into spending all your clues to pass a check! I've seen so many instances where a player just decides, "Well, I've already spent two, might as well spend more..." only to burn their entire clue pile and have nothing to show for it at the end. Don't be afraid to fail a check!

Have a decent amount of health before wandering into an Other World. Don't go into R'yleh with one Sanity and one Stamina. And please don't go into Unknown Kadath with one Sanity and one Stamina. If you're going for a seal, having more than five clues going in helps, obviously. The extra buffer isn't necessary, but it's comforting.

Some people will swear by getting retainers from the newspaper or bank loans to get cash to buy weapons, but more often than not my group can get by just fine with our starting equipment and the odds and ends we pick up while playing. Encounters spent trying to get money and good items could be spent getting clues, either off of the board or from random encounters. It's up to you to decide what would be more useful.

Most importantly, have fun!

share|improve this answer
    
Wow. Thank you most kindly for your detailed answer! –  David Pointer May 18 '12 at 17:06
add comment

Yes, you can totally win. I win most of my games, playing with the same friend. (Most as in definitely more than half.)

Lots of cooperation? Yes, of course. It's a cooperative game, and if you're not coordinating so as to take full advantage of every investigator, you're going to have a rough time.

More players are helpful too, up to a point. Generally, I think that four investigators is the easiest number, followed by three. Note that you can still just have two players, each of them playing as two investigators. (This is what my friend and I do.) The difficulty jumps up at five investigators (more monsters appear). Additionally cooperation tends to go downhill with sufficiently many players; discussions start taking longer, people get tired, people get distracted, people don't pay attention to the entire game...

Luck is certainly a factor, but you can often play in such a way that you have at least a fighting chance as long as you don't get really unlucky.

There's also a very common house rule of taking two investigators and choosing one; this can help avoid awkward cases where the investigators are too similar. For example, if everyone has high sanity and low stamina, and you might be unable to take out a monster that's blocking off important locations.

My biggest piece of advice, though, is just to keep playing. Having a general sense of the game is also extremely important. You'll do much better if your decisions are informed by some overall strategy, not just a general goal of staying alive. It's hard to give blanket advice about all the little decisions you're going to make, but you'll develop instincts about them as you play!

One of the first things you need to be able to do is decide which victory condition you're aiming for. With some Ancient Ones, your best shot is frequently to defeat them in battle, so it's important to make sure you've stocked up on the appropriate type of weapons, and whatever is necessary to survive their attacks. Going for six seals, if it's possible, is generally a bit friendlier than trying to close all the gates, since closing all the gates often relies on two players closing two gates on the same turn, so you can get screwed over if one of them gets delayed.

It's also good to develop a sense of which locations most commonly have gates appear, so you know which ones to seal and perhaps which clue tokens to grab first, and which locations tend to have friendly or painful encounters. (This includes the other worlds!) And don't forget, the board has symbols next to the locations reminding you what kinds of rewards they might provide.

I could go on, but the flavor of the advice will be the same: keep on playing, keep cooperating, and you'll start finding it easier. (And then you'll still have games every now and then where you're completely destroyed by turn 6. Oh well.)

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.