Tips & Strategies (119)

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Tips & Strategies (119)

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
50 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Keep an Eye Out for Dimensional Symbols”

Your plan to save the world from impending doom is running like a well oiled machine, everybody knows what must be done and the GOO doesn’t stand a chance. Then suddenly a gate opens and the nastiest creature jumps out of the Otherworlds and decides to park itself in a street that just can’t be avoided. Killing it is too hard and working around it takes too much time. What can you do?

Pay attention to the dimensional symbol on the monster. If you can close a gate that matches it, the baddie will go away without a fight. Some monsters are best left alone and this provides a alternate (usually safer) method of removal.

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9
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
117 of 122 gamers found this helpful
“Suggested Rule Adjustments if Attempting to Learn the Game Yourself”

Despite numberous warnings on this site, I insisted on learning how to play Arkham Horror myself (it was really that or nothing – I don’t know anybody who plays the game). Learning yourself is an absolutely brutal process. I easily invested 50 hours in my first 5 games and finished none of them. The first 20 hours of “play” were with rulebook firmly entrenched in hand for constant citing. If you have ANY alternative, I suggesting learning from a current player of the game. If you decide to brave the journey alone like I did, here are a few modifications I implemented around hour 30 that really assisted my efforts and kept me from washing my hands of the game completely:

Add one die to all skill checks. Purists are going to hate this, but it’s the best way to remove the excessive punishment the game doles out without hindering the great variability the game provides. Some monsters are still impossible to beat; others, like witches and early-game maniacs, are easy to begin with so it doesn’t affect them any. Even using this I find the odds of winning are worse than even… it just saves you from continuously losing half of your equipment or sitting on an explored gate for 3 turns trying to close it.

Buy plastic stands for the gates and monsters. After about 1 hour of playing the board is a big blurry mess to me. I can’t quickly identify monsters or gates, as they start meshing with the board itself. If you screw up a few gate surges and realize that you were short by a handful monsters, the temptation is too great to say “well, this game is invalid anyway” and pack it up. Having the gates and monsters stand out really helps.

Only one of each monster on the board at a time. This prevents having four gates permanently blocked by nearly impossible to beat stationary monsters. If you draw a monster that is already on the board, simply return it to the bag and draw again. With a wide variety of monsters on the board, there will always be a few you can kill and a few you must avoid.

When you cash in monster tokens put them aside (do not return them to the bag). This should help the game scale in difficulty – the monsters you are able to beat early in the game should be the easier monsters, so keeping them out of the bag increases the likelihood that harder-to-beat monsters come out later in the game. This makes thematic sense to me, and I’m really not certain why Arkham Horror and Elder Sign instruct you to return them to the bag.

If you can swing it, get the monster miniatures from Fantasy Flight. This game feels like it should be a miniatures game to me anyway. The drawback is that this is expensive… If you purchase the 29 (I believe) monsters from the base game individually the cost is $170 – an awful lot to invest in a game if you’re not sure about it, but better than buying FFG’s four “sets” of monsters, which runs about $400 for all four (necessary to complete the base game’s monsters). I took the chance and it really helped me. The game feels more immersive now. I never worry about monsters “blending in” with the board and getting forgotten. And it helps enforce the “one of each monster” rule I proposed above since you would have only one of each figure. Note that I purchased both designs of the cultist and allow two cultists on the board at the same time since there are more of them in the bag than other monsters.

I’m glad I’ve stuck it out with this game, as I’m starting to really enjoy it. The only one of these rules I’ve fazed out as I’ve gained experience is the extra die rule… all of the others add to my experience, and I’m likely to continue playing with them. But I absolutely had to get creative with the rules while trying to learn the game or I would have given it up long ago. I hope some of these suggestions can help anybody else trying to self-teach. The journey is worth it, as long as you don’t go insane along the way.

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4
Rated 25 Games
Amateur Reviewer
62 of 65 gamers found this helpful
“Darrell Simmons - explorer extraordinaire!”

Who knew a photographer could be so useful combating the Ancient Ones!?! I send Darrell around to all of the safe locations to collect as much loot as possible. With his ability to draw two encounter cards and choose the one he wants, he’s the team’s best bet for gathering items. He’s even useful in unstable locations, as long as he does draw TWO gate encounters!

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10
Canada
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Platinum Supporter
53 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“On The Ichor Slick Precipice of Arkham”

There are plenty of fan based character sets out there on BGG and what not – from Barney Fife to a Scrooby Gang with a little Buffy and Ghostbusters thrown in the mix. They are mostly for funsies, but there aren’t many moments for laughs when playing a game that can smack you about the face with a wet tentacle in less time then it takes to set up.

I do like the Penny Arcade Trio on the Fantasy Flight Support Page

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite_sec.asp?eidm=6&esem=4

They may not come out to play much – but they live in the box. They are actually nicely balanced and there’s just something about Team Precipice that screams Eldritchy and Arkham.

Maybe it’s just that I’m one of five people who danced on the Rain Slick Precipice back in the day and enjoyed myself.

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7
Draco Magi fan
I'm a Player!
Book Lover
I Am What I Am
52 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Re-posing Arkham Horror miniatures”

This is for anyone using Fantasy Flight Games’s Arkham Horror/Mountains of Madness miniatures (but it works on any soft-plastic mini). I saw this tip on @thatterigirl’s Geek & Sundry vlog, It was actually for re-posing D&D Attack Wing minis, but it works on FFG minis too.

All you do is run hot water over the mini you want to repose, let the plastic soften a bit, remove it from the water, and hold it in the position you want the mini to be in. This worked great for me after I’d left some minis in our sunroom and returned to find the smaller ones a bit “droopy” from the heat. All the ghouls, nightgaunts, and witches are now revived and ready to terrorize Arkham!

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6
Strategist
Amateur Advisor
Tinkerer
50 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“Play to the Theme”

Arkham Horror is a game about uncertainty, insanity and impending doom; embracing this (through a few mild gameplay changes) can really enhance the experience. Here are a few things my friends and I do:

1. Play our characters: Even though we’ve played the game any number of times, we still read our characters’ bios before each game, to remind everybody who it is they’re playing with. We encourage each other to embellish upon our characters, especially regarding how they react to their fortunes in the game.
My first game was all the more memorable, because Sister Mary ended up being a “battle nun,” with a cross and a .45 Automatic, limping by the end from the wounds of successive monster encounters and driven nearly insane as she cleared the streets for my fellow investigators. Now that we have Dunwich, We almost relish getting injury or madness cards for the added color to our characters.

2. Don’t just read the cards, play out the scene: We never give information about the potential rewards or consequences of a choice as another player lays out the scenario. Keeping with the spirit of the game, an investigator wouldn’t really be privy to this information; it adds tension to the decisions the players make and drama to the game.

3. Pass around reading responsibility: Each person’s encounter is read by the person to their left, giving each player a chance to ham it up and embellish scenarios as they see fit (sometimes playing off the character traits/history of the character caught in this encounter).
The person whose turn it is gets to read the mythos phase. The competition to read gets really heated in our games, which makes it easy to keep track of who starts each round as each person is possessive of their right to read their mythos card.

(Looking through the tips, I see there have been a number of like-minded individuals, so while some of this may be redundant, I hope I’m adding a little something in the way we try to embrace the spirit of the game.)

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9
I play blue
Football Fan
USA
Advanced Reviewer
61 of 65 gamers found this helpful
“All Your Base Are Belong to Us”

When FFG switched from the soft plastic “clip” style bases to the hard “toothy” bases that rip up tokens, I hunted down more of the soft plastic bases. As part of this, I found that the bases come in 10 different colors, not included the translucent white of the original game.

Tip 1) Use colored bases for your investigators. Most people are more comfortable using their favorite color and with so many components in this game, it is much easier to focus on a blue base, for example, than a specific character. This is particularly useful for large groups that may be crowded and unable to see what is on the far end of the board.

Tip 2) Use the translucent bases for monsters. This helps make their presence more visible, especially on crowded boards. Going a step further, you can also count out the number of bases you need based on players (so a maximum of 11 bases). Set these next to the monster cup and when you run out, you will know that you have reached your monster limit. It is one way to help reduce the administrative tasks in the game.

One source that I have found is in the United Kingdom but sometimes has a US presence. These are 17 mm x 19 mm rectangular card stands: Plastics for Games Ltd.

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9
Mask of Agamemnon
Paladin
The Gold Heart
Cooperative Game Explorer
35 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Responsible for Dunwich”

An interesting strategy early in the game is: see who is the player who has an average fairly good money and weaponry or initial.

Why? The recommendation I give is choose or nominate after the player is to go and stay Dunwich.

The player who is in Dunwich and has a relatively good amount of money (a $ 5 cash) and a relatively good weapon (handguns or rifles for example) may well end up with occasional monsters that appear in Dunwich (thus preventing the Horror Dunwich awake), get clue tokens (there’s a fair amount in the town of Dunwich) may seal a portal with a bit of luck and possibly while helping players in Arkham.

Appoint a “Responsible for Dunwich” early in the game is a great idea, and whenever such person is named, the group never had trouble with the possible awakening of the Dunwich Horror.

And believe me, to spare time for “Responsible forDunwich” helping colleagues in Arkham. Nothing a little money for the train tickets can not solve.

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8
Senior
Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
45 of 48 gamers found this helpful
“Buying skills”

While skills and allies can make a tremendous difference to an investigator, buying them at the Administration or Ma’s is generally not worth the time and cost unless things are really quiet. Being out of the action for one turn can be devastating especially near the end of the game.

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9
I play blue
Football Fan
USA
Advanced Reviewer
57 of 61 gamers found this helpful
“The Tome of Answers: The Long Awaited FAQ Arrives”

This document has literally been in the works for years. I started working on it with FFG during GenCon 2009. It contains 43 pages of questions and answers covering the base game and all expansions through Miskatonic Horror.

Full Arkham Horror FAQ PDF

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9
I play blue
Football Fan
USA
Advanced Reviewer
32 of 34 gamers found this helpful
“Phase 1 - More than just upkeep”

Many people see Phase 1 as just a quick upkeep phase: adjust your sliders, rest your items, get to Movement as quickly as possible.

Phase 1 should be the longest phase for your group. This is the phase where everyone needs to interact and plan out as much of the turn as possible. Realize who will be first player and how that impacts timing during movement and gate closings. Verify who will be clearing monsters out of the street for others to travel unimpeded. Note which investigators need to trade items or money and see if they can cross paths this turn. Make sure you aren’t all going for the same set of clues or into the same gate. Realize the game state and if you are getting close to losing.

Phase 1 is the most important phase to keep the game interactive and on task. Spending more time here will keep the downtime to a minimum later as people who don’t plan, realize things don’t work out and need to “do over” for the turn.

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8
Senior
Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
54 of 58 gamers found this helpful
“Arkham's Razor”

I didn’t make this term up (and don’t know who did), but I love it!

There are many situations that come up during gameplay that just don’t seem to be covered by the rules — this is a result of the complexity created by all the items, encounters and options available (i.e., all the stuff that makes AH so much fun).

The rule is: When an ambiguity comes up that could go either way, always choose whatever makes it harder on the investigators.

The most satisfying wins at AH are the ones where the investigators survive seemingly insurmountable odds. So don’t wimp out and make it easy on them.

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5
Strategist
Sophomore
Rated 25 Games
12 of 12 gamers found this helpful
“Mythos phase”

While I believe that this is a common house rule for a lot of us Arkhamites, I thought it would be good to post for newer players to read.

SKIP THE FIRST MYTHOS!
instead of starting the game with a mythos card, gate, and monster let each player have one round to move, encounter, purchase, or trade. this way if you start with a randomly drawn character (which you should) or poorly drawn items (my last run through I started with two common items-food and whiskey-and one unique-a task-and two clue tokens. Needless to say I wouldn’t be much help. So by skipping the mythos I was able to get a bank loan and go shopping with only one gate and monster on the board.

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5
Gamer - Level 5
Zealot
Critic - Level 3
Novice Advisor
40 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Clue Tokens! ”

What do you do turn 1? Unless you have a lot of money and no weapons, I’d say the first couple turns should always be spent hording clue tokens. Grab them before gates make them disappear.

However, keep in mind that in order to seal a gate, a single player needs to have 5+ tokens, so don’t spread the clue tokens out too evenly. Let some players gather them up. The faster you can seal gates, the better.

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8
Senior
Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
47 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Cooperate!”

It’s difficult to win if you don’t share. First thing is pool your money and get physical and magical weapons, then assign your street sweepers and gate crashers and give each the equipment they need to to do their jobs. It’s always a good idea to have one or two investigators hold a retainer (best to try at Newspaper) so money is available for whoever needs it.

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7
Knight-errant
Cooperative Game Explorer
Amateur Advisor
Gamer - Level 6
28 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“"I like to keep this handy... *cocks shotgun* ...for close encounters."”

The shotgun is one of the best normal items in the game. The shotgun may not have as many bonus dice as other weapons, but the special skill it grants totally makes up for it. When wielding as a weapon, all sixes count as double successes. In Arkham Horror, most monsters don’t have more than three stamina points, and most are around the 1 or 2 stamina range. But if you have to face off against the Ancient One, you’re going to want a shotgun if it’s not immune to normal weapons.

Since you can trade weapons freely in the final battle amongst players, giving the shotgun to the character with the highest fight attribute is one of the best things you can do. However, giving the shotgun to a character who has the Bravery skill is even better; if they don’t roll well once, they can exhaust it to roll once more.

In short, if you get the shotgun, never give it up to an event that makes you lose items. Not unless you know that it will do you no good during the finale.

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6
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Mixing multiple expansions; use a "Keeper" and organizer.”

We benefit from having a player with a nicely organized case that holds and organizes all the expansions. So we’re able to play right out of the case.
When we play, we usually have a good 5-8 players ready to go and with that many players, things can get out of control.

So one player acts as the keeper, moderating the game flow, keeping everyone focused and or on track (because of the amount of times people are getting up and leaving the table for multiple reasons).
The keeper is responsible for drawing the right cards at the right time from the right expansions (agreed upon for the game), typically is the tone for the game by reading out the cards and putting a pinch of roleplay into. This helps create a homogenous tone from the “game” as opposed to multiple players reading (or not reading) the flavor text in nonchalant or indifferent manner.
This also helps to keep the game flowing at a good pace for players to really get involved in what they are doing adding in their own imagery, instead of getting distracted or frustrated because someone is holding up the show or messing up piles of cards.

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9
Mask of Agamemnon
Paladin
The Gold Heart
Cooperative Game Explorer
26 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Stop advancing the Deep Ones Rising”

When you’re playing with The Innsmouth Board a primary error of some players is to forget the fearsome city of Innsmouth unless you have a monster portal or somewhere inside her.

But inevitably in the game some players busy eliminate monsters in Arkham or close portals forget that each team is Prevented from the gate opening , such as by an elder sign token or an investigator ability , add one uprising token to the Deep Ones Rising track.

Usually when players remember it is already in force Martial Law Innsmouth.

One strategy to be adopted in the first innings of the game is to send 1 or 2 players ( usually a character can start with 1-2 clue tokens ) and the town of Innsmouth go to the Esoteric Order of Dagon and Marsh Refinery, (both sites have have 1 token each clue as initial setup of the game ) and there spend 2 Clue tokens to place on Them spaces on the Feds Raid Innsmouth track , purposely leaving the green area Innsmouth without advancing the Feds Raid Innsmouth track.

After this, I suggest to close the portals of the game, kill monsters, etc. When the Deep Ones Rising track is a worrying level send preferably a character with a good level of Sneak a Innsmouth, spending 2 Clue tokens in the green area and resetting the Deep Ones Rising track.

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3
Noble
50 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Recommended first Great Old One to face”

I recommend Azathoth for your first play through. With a high doom token count before He (It?) awakens and no need to worry about battling him, new(er) players can instead concentrate on the rules and dynamics of what accounts for the vast majority of Arkham Horror — running around town, meeting interesting monsters, and killing them.

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7
I play black
Paladin
Knight-errant
BoardGaming.com Gold Supporter
41 of 45 gamers found this helpful
“Who should get the clue tokens?”

The obvious choice is the character with the best chance to close the gate should be the one to get the most clue tokens. Remember, gates can be closed/sealed with either a Lore or a Fight check.

Have your Fight heroes focus on preparing to kill monsters, while your most magical/scientific heroes gather the clues to seal gates. This will help prevent you from getting overrun by either gates or monsters.

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