I am teaching the game to a ton of new people Thursday. I was going to be playing with only 3 others and planned to join in myself, but now that we're up to 8 players including me, I figured the game would be more fun if I keep things moving.

As a result I've decided to play the role of ARKHAM MASTER! Stay out of the game as a player and act as rules guardian, referee for things 1st player normally resolves, reader of cards, and general knowledge base.

My post is two fold: How can I keep the game running smoothly? With only one experienced investigator (has played a single game a month ago) still in the group. We have either 4.5 hours or if we're lucky, 6 hours to play the game in, and I think we all know that even with an experienced group 6 hours can be too short.

I'm playing Vanilla, and they're up against Yig, so as a light sleeper, that should make it easier. I'm incorporating Epic Battle and I'm also playing a house rule where the Ancient one awakens at Current Doom - Seals in Play even on a Seal or a Gate Close Victory to assure an Epic Ending.

Another thing I wanted to ask was on teaching. Arkham has a lot of rules, is there a new player cheat sheet or anything? If not what rules would you say a player MUST know if an Arkham Manager is in the game? My first thoughts are skills, skill checks, phases, derived checks such as combat and horror, movement points, clues, closing, sealing, and otherworlds. Also the win/lose conditions.

The other half of my post would be this: For those that have played games like Descent: Journeys in the Dark. I thought it might be fun (NOT FOR THURSDAY) to play the role of the Herald, actively orchestrating the forces of the Mythos to pave the way for the Ancient One's awakening. Obviously you'd have to be very careful about what rules you alter as the "Herald" to not totally break the game in favor of the Mythos. Has anyone tried this before?

  • Hi, welcome to the site. Interesting post, but I think a bit too murky for a single question, and unlikely to get a satisfying answer. There are really three different questions here. I'd suggest you split them accordingly: 1) What should I do to 'gamesmaster' a game of Arkham?, 2) What's the best way to teach a new player to play Arkham?, 3) Are there any house rules to play as the Herald? – ire_and_curses Mar 6 '13 at 22:04
  • Thank you ire, will repost, vote to close? – Daniel Green Mar 6 '13 at 22:58

You can find a good bit of info addressing your questions through ones already on the site:

Keep the game running smoothly: How can we play a shorter but satisfying game of Arkham Horror?

"Quick" reference sheet: What do you recommend putting in an Arkham Horror quick reference sheet?

On playing a 'Herald': What can I do to ensure that my friends' first game of Arkham Horror with me is as awesome as possible?

But roughly, keeping people on task helps the game speed greatly. Having people know a general idea of where they'll want to move before their turn starts makes movement phase go much faster. It also isn't necessary all the time to make everyone wait for combat. If the outcome of the fight can't affect them, let them take their turn. Taking control of reading encounter cards for people helps trim down on the back-and-forth that can happen when the players don't know where each other are on the board.

Before playing, the players should know:

A rough detail of the four phases

  • Upkeep: Wiggle sliders & refresh cards
  • Movement: Move up to your speed. Stop at monsters & fight if necessary
  • Encounter: If you're in a spot with a picture, get a card
  • Mythos: A new gate & monsters show up. Too many gates and you lose

Skill checks: Number on the relevant stat + possible helpful items you have - number in the (). Get one success

Combat: Will check at the blue # penalty. Get one success. Then fight checks at the red # penalty. Weapons help. Need blood drops # of successes for combat

Gate closing: Go to a gate token, have a couple encounters where the token takes you, come back & make a fight/lore check. Repeat to win

Clues: Can spend 1 clue to roll 1 more die. Repeat as desired. Also you need 5 to make sure a gate never comes back

If find they don't need to know specifically how many monsters can be on the board, how many can go in the outskirts, & how many gates before losing. 8 players are going to need to be closing gates from the very beginning regardless.

For 'Herald' play I haven't done much more than drawing a few mythos cards and picking which one takes effect, drawing more monsters than necessary and choosing where they get placed, and not reading players the results of choices/success/failures from encounter cards before the result is decided.

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