Good testing ground scenario for experienced players?
By - space_ninja_86
This is totally ignoring your request not to recommend the core set, but there's a reason so many people recommend midnight masks. It's a quantifiable victory condition (by number of cultists) with a good variety of different tests for all your different stats. It's not complicated in its mechanics at all, has a boss enemy you can always add in for a fast and reliable combat test, lots of locations to test your clue gathering... Realistically I'd find it hard to beat, although I'll admit I don't have all of the sets yet.
Maybe extracurricular activities is straight forward enough to work...
If it's just to test different builds, it's always going to get repetitive eventually, so why not just use the best tools for the job?
Yeah, I recommended a few other "standard-feeling" scenarios, but Midnight Masks is still definitely my go-to when I'm testing out a deck. The versatility in ways you have to make progress in that scenario and the simplicity of its mechanics still makes it the best at that role.
Thanks for the suggestions! I don't hate midnight masks as much as the gathering (the gathering has hosted many failed attempts to get our friends interested...) and I think the return to variations helped out alot. The most annoying part of it to me is having to randomize locations. I was almost hoping I had forgotten some great scenario from Forgotten Age with an exploration deck that you just throw together from all the locations and start.
If you don't like randomising locations then it might be worth not doing so for testing. A consistent setup would mean the comparisons are more consistent too. It's not quite the same as the full randomness the game can throw at you but it seem like it would still give you enough of a basis for comparison.
Out of curiosity, what is that your friends dislike about The Gathering?
It's not the gathering in particular, arkham horror in general just seemed a bit too complicated for them. One time, a friend playing Roland really could not understand the difference between his fighting stat and his damage, so he kept claiming he was hitting people for 5 damage and got frustrated when we explained that's not how it works. >.<
> difference between his fighting stat and his damage
Huh, Arkham does have a lot of rules, but I would have thought this is a fairly thematic rule and thus easy to get... how dangerous a weapon is is quite different from how well your character can handle weapons. Or how hard it is to hit vs what happens when you hit.
I think it's a difference in interpretation: he sees Roland, a fully grown man with training and thinks "surely a machete in this man's hands deals significantly more devastating blows than it would in the hands of that small orphan girl, Wendy".
> with an exploration deck that you just throw together from all the locations and start
The Pallid Mask?
There's a handful of scenarios that have quantifiable success that I like to use.
Threads of Fate
Depths of Yoth
Search for Kadath
You know your decks are capable if you can perfect one or more of these.
Wages of Sin
Undimensioned and Unseen
Also fit in this category, but I don't like them as much as scenarios.
Oh! Search for Kadath would be a great one--- that always felt like a mini campaign all on its own.
I'd be wary about the last 3.
Boundary beyond suffers greatly from exploration variance, especially considering how costly it is to explore.
Wages of Sin can also be hit and miss depending on heretics banishing conditions.
U&U is much easier with high willpower characters, and a low willpower investigator deck faring poorly in this mission can still perform very well in a campaign. I've run Dunwich with low WP characters and accepted the fact that I probably wouldn't do too well in U&U.
Noted. U&U especially seemed odd to me too if it's the one I think it is.
The last 3 aren't anywhere near as fun as the first 4 and are very variable. I included them as they technically meet the same definition, but I never benchmark against them because I think the scenarios are too specific and swingy.
Totally agreed. I included them for completeness not as a recommendation.
I'm going to read all these scenario guides again! Thanks for the suggestions!
If you own the side scenarios I think that Murder at the Excelsior is great for this. It's got a lot more variability and replayability than any individual scenario in any campaign. I think it's fairly "normal" and is a good test of investigators. It's what I use due to Midnight Masks becoming a bit too stale for me.
I've heard other people give this recommendation and I'm curious whether you think this scenario has a lower than average amount of fighting. I ask this with the caveat that I've played less than half the available AH content at this point, so what I have played may not be a representative sample (there's certainly more fighting in Zealot & Dunwich than in the half of TFA I've played so far, for instance.)
But I took Mark & Daisy through my Excelsior blind run and Mark "I Just Like to Kill Things" Harrigan didn't really have anything to do and Daisy dragged him around like a dead weight. I had a better experience later with a pair of generalists, so I'm interested to know how people using this as a deck tester feel it works for specialized fighters.
Yeah, I think you're right in that it probably has less fighting than average, but I don't think it's outside the parameters of a "normal" arkham scenario. I also think you could make some decisions along the way that might encourage more combat. I also think as arkham gets released they have focused less on combat, but I haven't finished Dream Eaters yet.
Mark is a bit of an edge case IMO, as you pointed out.
What I do like about Excelsior is that I feel like it tests pretty much all facets and skills without really focusing on one. Although reading that back as I type it, it does make it more appropriate for generalists. But if you are testing investigators and parties, isn't that what you're looking for?
Thanks, that makes sense. You probably could go for a more combat-focused strategy; it just wasn't the one that made sense to me, so in all three of my run-throughs I've avoided it. But it certainly would have given Mark more to do!
I was thinking about the same video about AH:LCG testing scenarios. The group has some good content for the game!
I literally stumbled on these guys's tempo video yesterday! Hadn't seen any of their other stuff. I'll give it a watch!
I'd go with Curtain Call, or maybe the Return To version if you've got that. It's a great scenario through and through that's got a bit of investigating, a bit of monster slaying, and a bunch of other weirdness that lets all deck archetypes shine. Not too much setup either, which is always nice.
I now have two suggestions to revisit curtain call! We haven't run a return to Carcossa yet (that's one of the things we're testing for >.<) but now you guys got me excited!
Depths of Yoth! Depths of Yoth!
Curse of the Rougarou is a good test bed I think. Shoot for r2 and it's almost ideal. Varied tests, plenty of combat and a good length scenario.
I don't really do specific test scenarios so I'm not best placed to comment, but I'd assume that any difficult scenario with that has a decent number of enemies and requires a lot of clue-gathering would work fine. I'd imagine that Unspeakable Oath would be good. If your deck is good enough to handle that one then you're probably on the right track.
Return to Where Doom Awaits (to remove the int requirement)
Threads of Fate (and the Return to version)
I kinda like these ideas, thanks for the suggestions! Threads of Fate was the one in the town, yeah? It sounds like a similar idea to the people above suggesting midnight masks XD
My preferred testing grounds are The Boundary Beyond, and Eternal Slumber from Guardians of the Abyss. Both scenarios test your longevity and speed, and throw hard quirks to traditional actions.
That said, they are also much longer than you want.
Instead, I would run with the Depths of Yoth, or Curtain Call. Both are fast setups (very few locations in play), with quick variety in set-up, but push decks from the word go.