Saturday, 29 December 2007

ia! ia!

so, tonight we pulled out the shiny new Arkham Horror boardgame for the first time and tried to give it a go.

First, don't do this if you don't have at least four hours to kill. It's not like any of us were going anywhere, but I wasn't expecting a game to run as long as it did... I don't even KNOW how long we were playing, except that by the end of it I walked away from the table to get some food and some aspirin (headache) and refused to come back.

The game is MASSIVELY complicated. There are fifty zillion different pieces, some of which are completely unnecessary, all of which make it take ages just to set the game up. If you've never played a hardcore boardgame you seriously have no concept of how many pieces we're talking. This isn't Monopoly. I think there are over twenty different types of card deck to draw from, and hundreds of different tokens and doodads... The rules are tangled up enough that we were constantly discovering new things we were supposed to have done in the past and having to carefully walk through what order events occur in, over and over again. And most importantly, we had no idea how to actually win the game. That is, we had some vague concept of a few victory conditions but didn't have any idea how to achieve them. We spent HOURS at this game heading for our inexorable demise and made absolutely no progress towards winning. We were doing something that seemed reasonable, but actually wasn't.

Dying horribly until we all learned the strategies for success would be reasonable if the game didn't take so long. Also, the magic system doesn't really work for me... I would have been happier with more items that would definitely work but only work once, so that there would have been reasonable strategy in "Use it or save it?" instead of needing a degree in statistics:

If I roll 2d6 and at least one of them is 5 or 6 then I will be able to roll 5d6 and if at least two of them are 5 or 6 then I will survive. If I roll 2d6 and neither of them is 5 or 6 then I will have to roll 3d6 and if at least two of them are 5 or 6 then I will survive. What are my chances of surviving? I'm sure SOMEONE reading this journal can do that in their head easily. I look at it and just say "I'm doomed, aren't I?" Which, while it may be right, doesn't help when trying to weigh up multiple options and all of them equate in my mind to "... this is never going to work."

Anyway, now that we've read reviews and have some idea of what a successful strategy is, we'll try it again and maybe it will work better.

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