Saturday, August 27, 2011

Arkham Horror: Lies, the King in Yellow, and Statistics

I tried the board game Arkham Horror in May and loved it.  I recently was given the game and the expansion The King in Yellow as birthday presents.

(That expansion sounded like the best to own if I only intend to own one.)

Tangent: The expansion includes three distinct parts.  Foremost are more cards to aid replay value.  Second is a new way to remove sealed gates or gain Doom Track time (special Mythos Cards about the evil theater production can be included in that deck, the more they are placed towards the top the more they add difficulty).  Third is a new set of dire consequences for the Terror Track increasing.  Currently I have only tried using the extra cards.  The game is hard enough without two more ways to increase difficulty.

The only fundamental strategy for the game is to notice that not all unstable locations have an equal probability of turning into a sinister gate to another world.  The team of players should prioritize protecting the high-probability locations by "sealing" them.  (This involves closing a gate while using knowledge gained from clues about the evil forces invading Arkham.)

A consequence is to also notice where clues appear.  When no player has the ability to seal a location, closing a gate may still be worthwhile in a location where many clues are likely to appear before another gate would open there.

So, how does including the cards from that expansion alter the strategy?

The short story is that the "big four" unstable locations are Independence Square, Unvisited Isle, The Witch House, and Woods.  These four locations represent 60% of all potential gate occurrences.

Furthermore, the Science Building, the Historical Society, and Hibb's Roadhouse and are (in that order) the most appropriate places to close but not seal a gate.  These locations often get new clues, but seldom get a new gate.

Here are the new statistics.


13 Occurrences (15%): Independence Square, Unvisited Isle, The Witch House, Woods
8 Occurrences (10%): Black Cave, Graveyard, The Unnameable
2 Occurrences (2%): Hibb's Roadhouse, Historical Society, Science Building, Silver Twilight Lodge


13 Occurrences (17%): Black Cave
12 Occurrences (15%): The Unnameable
11 Occurrences (14%): Science Building
8 Occurrences (10%): Historical Society, Woods
7 Occurrences (9%): Hibb's Roadhouse, Independence Square, Unvisited Isle
2 Occurrences (3%): Graveyard, Silver Twilight Lodge
1 Occurrences (1%): The Witch House

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