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I'm just playing my first ever (solo) game of Arkham Horror, so I'm still quite new to the nuances of the game, though the overall mechanics are already starting to click.

The rules state that you can spend one clue token to get one extra die roll after attempting any skill check in the game. Does this also count for checks when attempting to seal a gate, or is this an exception?

For instance, I have 8 clue tokens, and really would like to seal the explored gate I am on as quickly as possible, rather than waiting turns inbetween attempts. Can I then spend clue tokens one at a time to re-roll for any successes needed, and when successful spend 5 tokens to seal the gate?

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You can spend clue tokens to roll extra dice for any skill check, including closing gates. You can spend them one at a time, and stop after you have a success.

After you've successfully closed the gate you can then spend five clue tokens to seal it (assuming you still have that many).

Rerolls are different, generally given by skills and items. With a reroll you reroll all dice in the pool, including any added by clue tokens that you have spent.

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