Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NP: Psychedelic Furs - Midnight to Midnight

I played another round of Arkham Horror tonight, and while the game is supposed to take 2-4 hours (according to the box top), I have found I can lose much more quickly than that.

While playing, I took some notes - yes, seriously - just to illustrate how ridiculous the game is. That's assuming I am literate and understood the rules correctly, which isn't really a safe assumption.

10:10 pm - I choose Amanda Sharpe, the student, at random to be my investigator and Nyarlathotep to be the villain I'm not so secretly rooting for.

Amanda, like all the investigator choices, gets a certain amount of items drawn at random at the beginning of the game, but I won't bother to recount them here since I never once used any of them.

Now the point of this game is basically to not let things get too fucked up and let Nyarlathotep wake up. Gates to other worlds are opening and spawning monsters almost every turn and, as a solo investigator, I can't allow 1) the number of open gates to reach 8, 2) the town to get too freaked out and overrun with monsters (measured by "the terror track" which goes to 10), 3) myself to take too long (measured by Nyarlathotep's "doom counter"). There's a few other official ways to wake up Nyarlathotep, but they are of no concern to me right now because I will have already lost before they're even remotely a possibility.

If Nyarlathotep wakes up, and he will, I can still fight him, but as you will see, that method doesn't work out too well.

10:15 - The game opens with a gate leading to the City of the Great Race opening up in the graveyard and it spits out a Star Spawn monster. Because a gate opened up, the doom counter moves to 1 (Nyarlothotep's doom counter goes to 11).

10:18 - Because of some movement limitations, I can't make it over to the graveyard so I bum around my side of the board and try to collect tokens I'll technically need but never have a chance to use. While I'm doing this, not only does another gate to the Plateau of Leng open up, but something bites me and I lose some stamina and sanity. Sigh. Doom Counter is now at 2.

10:24 - I manage to make it through the dimensional gate and into the Plateau. The Plateau turns out to be a quiet place to rest for now, and I gain back one of my stamina points. This is the only good thing that has ever happened to me during this game.

While I'm exploring the plateau, another gate opens up back in Arkham. Doom count = 3.

10:27 - I'm still exploring the Plateau (you must spend 2 turns exploring in order to have a chance of closing the gate afterwards). While I'm exploring, the humidity gets to me and I lose that stamina point that I got back the last turn. Sigh.

Back in Arkham, another gate opens up to Celeano while I'm dying of heat in the plateau. Doom Count - 4.

10:30 - This is a good turn...I get through the gate and back into Arkham and manage to close the gate. And another gate doesn't open up, although there's a sudden surge of monsters in town.

10:33 - Again, I can't manage to reach anymore gates so I have to bum around and pretend like I'm not wasting valuable time. I find out something horrible about my family tree and lose some more sanity.

A gate to R'lyeh opens up. Doom Count - 5.

And this is where the kiss of death comes: Miskatonic University starts doing experiments on monsters, and if I don't kill the monsters off, they will multiply and break out into the streets.

10:36 - I try to make my way to Miskatonic U, but can't quite make it.

No gate opens up this time, but a monster surge fills up the outskirts and the terror track makes its first advance from 0 to 1.

10:42 - I try to kill off one of the easier monsters in Miskatonic University and fail.

No gate opens up again, but that just means there's another monster surge.

10:45 - I fail to kill the Miskatonic University monster again, and all hell breaks loose. The streets fill up with monsters, the terror track instantly goes to 10, its highest setting, and because there is so much shit going on, Nyarlathotep wakes up.

Now I've been avoiding going into stat mechanics, but it's kind of important here. My maximum fight stat is 4, which usually means I can roll 4 dice and hope one of them hits 5 or 6 for a successful attack. But I have to temper this against Nyarlothotep's combat rating, which happens to be -4, which happens to mean I have 0 dice to roll to get the 5 or 6 that I need. See the issue here?

Of course, I got a magic spell in the beginning of the game that would let make 9 additional dice rolls (at the cost of my sanity, however), but wouldn't you know, Nyarlathotep is resistant to magic.

He takes about 3 turns to devour me.

10:55 - I've now managed to efficiently and thoroughly lose a 2-4 hour game in just under 45 minutes. And I actually did relatively well this game. I never once lost a turn or got booted to the "lost in space and time" square, which is where I spent the majority of my time the last few games.


  1. I miss playing board games. I have entire bins full of Cheap Ass games, tokens, and dice that I haven't done much more than look at in years and years.

  2. The secret to Arkham Horror is don't screw about with closing the damn gates: SEAL THEM. Yes, that takes a majillion clue tokens, but so worth it.

    You're also more likely to live if you have multiple players. solo is superhard.

  3. Ha, as soon as I can make some friends, I'll try it multiplayer.

    But for now, I kind of like losing horrifically.