Saturday, October 19, 2019

An Arkham Halloween

I hosted a Halloween-themed game at the club this week, using the Gotham adaptation of Tribal and a bunch of horror-themed 28mm figures I've collected over the years. Chen, Richard, Terry and long-time lost club member Mike played along with me.

Each faction had a set of objectives:

  • Penguin needed to rescue some villains incarcerated in Arkham in order to bolster his chances at winning the mayoralty election.
  • Batman needed to stop Penguin.
  • Dr. Charles Brown, Warden, needed to prevent escapees and collect some additional subjects... errr... patients.
  • The Ghostbusters were looking to set up a franchise in Gotham and needed to bust some ghosts, monsters and villains.

There were also three groups of cultists summoning various monsters and ghouls that attacked whomever was handy.

The Arkham crowd moved out of its fenced yard and immediately ran into random monster trouble with a Gentleman and, soon thereafter, a giant worm.

Penguin made a bee-line for Arkham to spring some villains but had to tangle with a toothy horror.

Batman also moved towards Arkham, leaving Black lightening and some cops to farm ghosts.

Dr. Brown retreated to within Arkham while the Ghostbusters lurked around the edges, sniping.

Having driven back the pink monster, Penguin moved to quickly dispose of his cultists (a good move as it cleared the path to Arkham for his troops).

Bats and Katana ventured into Arkham and then set upon the warden. This weakened both of these teams and gave Penguin an opening to breakout some friends. Bats took it on the chin from a lowly gang during the resulting melee.

The Ghostbusters moved up, carefully sniping at anyone with range. This was tactically challenging to play and the Ghostbusters were vulnerable to melee attacks. Playing a move-and-shoot pattern allowed me to concentrate good activation cards on the shooters.

The game culminated in a three-way fight inside the grounds of Arkham. Penguin moved to break out some villains but got jumped by Bats. Batman's cards were ridiculously good and Penguin was driven off. But the Dr. Brown decided Batman would make great patient for his asylum and moved in to defeat Batman. Which kind of sets up a rescue scenario as a next game.

Overall, everyone had fun, perhaps despite the scenario! The game was close on points (9,10, 11 and 11) with the Arkham crowd being declare the winner for achieving closest to his actual victory conditions (Penguin was right behind and needed one more turn to snatch victory).

A couple of lessons:

  • Four-players is doable in Tribal in two hours if one ruthlessly moves the game along. There is enough interaction and activation that no one sits very long. Having only four units per player helped.
  • A 4x4' board is better than a 4x6' board (even with 4 players).
  • Clearer scenario instructions are necessary if a narrative is desired.
  • Too many randomly generated monsters distracts from player interaction and slows movement towards the centre.
  • All-shooter teams are possible (the Ghostbusters were all sidekicks with shooting powers) and force hard choices about when to commit to melee.

1 comment:

Terry Silverthorn said...

Thanks again Bob for running it. Another option perhaps is having the loonies/monsters escaping the Asylum, with each of the players gaining points for either preventing the escape (Batman) or gaining them (Penguin) for future use as thugs. This would have the effect of the players converging on the centre. It may still affect player interaction however.