It was a relatively quiet night at Quarterstaff this week. While Brennan demoed the new Agricola expansion Farmers of the Moor, I found myself — completely unexpectedly, I assure you, as Elliott was the one who asked — pulling out the store copy of no frills, basic set Arkham Horror. It’d been a while since I played plain jane Arkham, using the same copy, in fact, at Northeast Wars last April.
All told, it was not a very challenging game. We were up against Hastur, the force behind the King in Yellow. That Ancient One makes it much tougher to seal gates, but we were tempted into the six seal strategy by starting off with two Elder Signs in the possession of players, and my investigator, the affluent Jenny Barnes, finding the third of four in her first trip to the Curiositie Shoppe.
Even with that many Elder Signs in hand, we should have been arming for bear from the beginning, partly to keep the monster population down and, by extension, preventing Hastur’s combat modifier from becoming any worse. At eight tokens per seal, the odds of scrounging enough clue tokens to close even two gates if we rustled up the fourth Elder Sign were vanishingly small. It took Nonnie, running Carolyn the psychologist, something like two and a half hours of play to pull together eight for a single seal. Given that we barely kept ahead of the gate limit, it didn’t seem wise to continue pursuing that strategy.
In the end, it was the fortune of having good gear that saved, as we only had another few turns after reaching the decision to try other tactics before Hastur erupted on the scene. We lost two or three investigators in the final battle, as you do, but never really seemed in danger of losing. It was my own character, Jenny, who dealt the death blow dual-wielding twin enchanted blades. The win itself was satisfying — trying out the Innsmouth board, I’d been on a very long Arkham Horror losing streak until recently — but as I said, the play itself was run of the mill, though it remained entertaining to watch everyone else engaging with the game.
After that, I pulled out the stash of Cheapass Games titles I’d brought, thinking they would be how we led off the evening. We got off a small game of Kill Doctor Lucky, which is usually how it goes with a pile of Cheapass titles. Someday I hope to have taught the game to enough people that I may actually get to try the one of the Ambivalence Pack boards — kill him on an ocean liner! save him from a burning hotel! — or even just everyday Save Doctor Lucky.
Next week, I hope more people start trickling back from holiday travels and parties, as I’d like the opportunity to have more people playing and moving around from table to table.