Claims Journal Update: Initial Impressions on the Rules

After having a chance to review the rules documents (the Learn to Play guide is found here and and the Rules Reference Guide (“RRG”) is here), the following are a few initial—albeit belated—impressions as investigators begin their campaigns against the tides of darkness:

Agenda and Act Decks

  • Note that when a deck advances, all tokens are removed from the card to be advanced. Thus, you remove all doom from every card in play when the Agenda deck advances.
  • But, doom remains when the Act deck advances.  And as a corollary, any unused clues on the players remain.

Deckbuilding Rules

  • Unless the investigator card says otherwise, you cannot include more than 1 copy of an investigator’s signature strength (asset, event, or in the future skill).  The signature card is a neutral card without a level.  The Core Set investigator’s deck building rules only allow you to include leveled neutral cards.  As a consequence, the signature cards can only be included as a 1-of because of the investigator’s own deckbuilding text.
  • The deck must contain exactly the number of cards listed—it is a minimum and maximum.
  • Additional cards may become part of your deck due to game text during a scenario.
  • You can only include 2 copies of a card by card title.
  • When upgrading a card from one version to a higher level version (i.e. the same card title), you pay the difference in level.  Should you swap out one card to another card with a different name, you pay the full cost of the new card.  You do not count the removed cards experience level when swapping cards.  We leave it to the investigators to decide the worth of the following examples:

    Upgrading Leo De Luca (level 0) for Leo De Luca (level 1) costs 1 experience point.
    Upgrading Blinding Light (level 0) for Blinding Light (level 2) costs 2 experience points.
    Swapping Book of Shadows (level 3) for Grotesque Statute (level 4) costs 4 experience points.
    Swapping Hot Streak (level 4) for Cat Burglar (level 1) costs 1 experience point.

  • The same weakness an investigator starts with or later acquires stays with the investigator for the entire campaign.
  • When choosing a basic weakness before a campaign (or scenario), the investigator selects one from the “general weakness pool,” which comprises a single set from 1 core set plus all later expansions.
  • If the players share a collection with a single core set, then they share the same “general weakness pool,” such that after each investigator draws a weakness, the subsequent investigators will have a smaller pool to draw from for the initial weaknesses.  Players sharing a collection that with an number of core sets equal to the players, each player will have their own “general weakness pool.”
  • The rules have entries indicating that the investigators may need to take cards from their collection(s), which is outside of play, and introduce it into the scenario.  The rules also handle what happens when the investigators share a collection.
  • If an investigator is eliminated, the “per investigator” value established at the beginning of the game does not change.  Thus, for example, imagine if there are 3 investigators, and the Act deck requires 3 clues per investigator (or 9 total) to advance.  Then one investigator is eliminated, the Act deck would still require 9 total clues to advance.
  • Should a player attempt to choose a new investigator when starting a new scenario in campaign mode after an investigator was eliminated and there are no investigators remaining, the campaign ends with all players losing.

Exhausted Decks

  • A discard pile’s order cannot be changed unless a card ability allows the investigator to do so.  RRG, at p. 9.
  • When an investigator’s deck is empty and he or she needs to draw, the investigator shuffles their discard pile and makes it their new draw deck.  Then, you take 1 horror after doing so.  But, if there is no discard pile, you do not complete the action and do not take any amount of horror.  RRG, at p. 9.
  • At any time when the encounter deck becomes empty, you reshuffle the discard pile and replace the encounter deck.  The investigators do not wait for a particular phase like the Mythos or enemy phases.  RRG, at p. 10.

Enemy and Attacks of Oppurtnity

  • Enemies engaged with an investigator follow the investigator when he or she moves. RRG, at p. 10.
  • If an enemy with the Spawn keyword is drawn when there is no legal location (i.e. the specific location it can spawn at is not in play or no location satisfies the Spawn instruction), the enemy simply does not spawn.  It is discarded and the investigator does not draw a new encounter card.
  • Additionally, if an enemy’s spawn instruction has multiple valid locations, the investigator spawning that enemy decides among those locations.
  • Note that despite the language in the Learn to Play Guide, investigators can engage an enemy with the Aloof keyword according to the RRG, at p. 4 (“An investigator may use the engage action or a card ability to engage an aloof enemy”).
  • Enemies with the Massive keyword are only considered to be engaged with all players when ready.  RRG, at p. 15.  As a corollary, failed attacks against a Massive enemy do not cause damage to all other investigators. RRG, at p. 15.  Of course, enemies with Massive do not follow investigators when they move.  And further note that, “[t]he lead investigator chooses the order in which these attacks resolve. The Massive enemy does not exhaust until its final attack of the phase resolves.”  RRG, at p. 15.
  • Investigators can attack enemies engaged with other investigators.  If the attack fails, the investigator with whom the enemy is engaged takes 1 damage.
  • Read any assets used for an attack against an enemy engaged with another investigator carefully.  Note that extra damage from cards like .45 Automatic may also affect the damage done to the other investigator based on their card text (i.e. “This attack does +1 damage”).  On the other hand, an attack with a .41 Derringer or a Switchblade will not increase damage done to other investigators upon failure because they deal additional damage upon successful skill tests.  Watch those shotgun blasts!
  • Enemies with the Retaliate keyword do not exhaust when they perform their retaliation attack, and the attack occurs against the attacking investigator—not the engaged investigator.  RRG, at p. 18.

Standalone Scenarios

  • For standalone scenarios, the investigators can include leveled up cards in their decks.  An investigator gains an additional weakness for every 10 experience points used. No additional weaknesses are added when less than 10 experience points are used.  RRG, at p. 19.
  • When starting a standalone scenario, the investigators select resolutions from earlier in the campaign and prepare accordingly.  When all else fails, simply select Resolution 1.  Do not apply trauma as if an investigator failed, but do include trauma created by a resolution choice.  Scenario weaknesses or assets are not included if the investigators do not own the specific scenario.  RRG, at p. 19.

Intriguing Rules Involving Specific Cards

  • Elusive & the word, “move.”  Generally, the rules provide that “[u]nless otherwise specified by the move effect or ability, the moving entity must move to a connecting location. . .” RRG, p. 15.  Elusive provides that, “Fast. Play only during your turn. Disengage with each enemy engaged with you and move to a revealed location with no enemies.” (emphasis added).  The important text follows the word “move,” in the card Elusive.  It provides other specification for where to move, and therefore, an investigator playing Elusive can move to an unconnected, revealed location.

We will continue to update this as time progresses.  Additionally this is a great link addressing the more complex card and rule interactions.  Mplain has done great work on that front.

Claims Journal Update: Rules Now Available.

All, we here at Lockewood & Associates would be remiss if we did not further spread the gratifying news that the rules for this game were now widely available. Thus, it would seem well worth your while to peruse the Learn to Play Guide along with the Rules Reference Guide at before this weekend and the impending festivities here in Arkham.

Lockewood & Associates plan on updating this missive with a few brief highlights for any weary travelers.  So check back when you have the time.

On the Foul Rumors Afoot

As you may well know, the festival known as Arkham Nights 2016 quickly approaches.  We hope you already acquired your admission tickets since they now appear to be sold out.  Quite an accomplishment for early Fall.  We here at Lockewood & Associates mislayed our calendars—ahem—and failed to hedge against such an event.  It, unfortunately, does not appear that we will be in attendance.  

Still, we did want to provide those visitors attending the auspicious occasion with some initial tools to aid in any investigations that may occur. For example, one never knows exactly what fates may affect your endeavours.  However, understanding the odds will help you calculate the risks of a negative occurrence.

Let us presume, by chance, that you have gathered yourself and/or co-investigators in your study. Let us further stipulate that—as may happen from time to time in the greater Arkham environs—that foul beasts begin to crawl up through your floor board in a lackadaisical manner.  And let us also ponder for a few moments what should happen if, instead of running through the streets raving as a loon, you decided to strike said beast or alternatively side step its attacks. What are the potential risks that your course of action will bear fruit?

As an initial matter, we hope that you wisely purchased an insurance binder covering you against bodily injury and mental trauma—Lockewood & Associates offers numerous options through various reputable underwriters.  (Of course, if the monetary rates for such coverage cause one concern, there are even a few…less than savory avenues we could pursue on your behalf).  

Nevertheless, the standard expectations of success or failure could be stated in this Euclidean manner:

Standard 16 Outcomes
Result Number in Chaos Bag Chance to Draw
“+1” 1 6.25%
“0” 2 12.50%
“-1” 3 18.75%
“-2” 2 12.50%
“-3” 1 6.25%
“-4” 1 6.25%
“-5” 0 0.00%
“-6” 0 0.00%
“-8” 0 0.00%
“Skull” 2 12.50%
“Cultist” 1 6.25%
“Broken Tablet” 1 6.25%
“Mythos” 1 6.25%
“Elder Sign” 1 6.25%

Of course, in such a standard “The Gathering” scenario, some of the more arcane outcomes will indirectly affect the probability of your success.  Pulling a “Cultist” token would reduce your chances by 1 while pulling a “Broken Tablet” would reduce it by 2.  On the other hand, pulling a “Skull” token has an indeterminate effect—getting worse as the bodies of the reanimated dead did too.

Given the probabilities of the various potential outcomes, no one particular risk would necessarily overwhelm you.  However, to make the best assessment, in the aggregate, we must also consider one’s own innate strengths and weaknesses.  We could look to some standard risk profiles, such as these ladies and gentlemen:

Investigator Willpower Intellect Combat Agility Elder Sign
Roland 3 3 4 2 +X
Skids 2 3 3 4 +2
Wendy 4 3 1 4 +0/Auto
Daisy 3 5 2 2 +0
Agnes 5 2 2 3 +X

Then, considering the potential risk calculations when one at least 2 ghouls are in the same room, the chances of success based upon the amount of effort already put in would look as follows:

Before Pull Chance of Success (Agnes 2 Horror / Skids / Roland 2 Clues ) Chance of Success (Agnes 4 Horror / Roland 4 Clues) Chance of Success (Agnes No Horror / Daisy / Roland No Clues / Wendy No Amulet)
Under by 4 0% 6.25% 0
Under by 3 0% 6.25% 0
Under by 2 6.25% 6.25% 0
Under by 1 12.50% 12.50% 6.25%
Equal 25.00% 25.00% 25.00%
Over by 1 50.00% 50.00% 50.00%
Over by 2 81.25% 81.25% 81.25%
Over by 3 87.50% 87.50% 87.50%
Over by 4 93.75% 93.75% 93.75%

Visually, an investigator’s opportunities for success would look as follows:image

Such a gently sloping curve demonstrates that for the most pressing foes, you should doubly commit yourself in order to have any modicum of comfort.  Thus, you should aim to be at least 2 over the skill test—the 2-point threshold.  Doing so will give you a 4 in 5 chance of success. Note too that being 3 or 4 over the skill test does not significantly increase the chances of success.  However, your chances only increase by 6.25% for each skill point over the 2-point threshold.  One can never element all chances of failure given that we live in a harsh and uncaring universe.

On the other hand, at the 1-point threshold, one’s chances drop significantly to only 1 in 2 chances of success.  Further still, when you are only equal to the test, the chances are actually dramatically worse—a 1 in 4 chance of success.  Things grow ever more dire if you cannot meet the test before “rolling the bones.” As you can see, only a committed G-Man facing significant unresolved clues enjoys even a non-zero chance of success.  

Given the expected risks in such a standard scenario, we here at Lockewood & Associates always recommend planning ahead and being Hyperaware of your surroundings, striving to hone your Physical Training, and be ready to Dig Deep.  It also never hurts to have some Guts, Manual Dexterity, or a dose of Unexpected Courage.

So as you begin your investigations, your humble insurance agents at Lockewood & Associates hope that this brief discussion provides a boon such that you survive your jaunt through Arkham starting later this weekend.