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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Radio Active #34: Arkham Horror, Contrary Brin, Mutants & Masterminds Character Generator

by Ken Newquist / July 18, 2006

Arkham Horror Board GameRadio Active gets its first guest as Lance Miller of Ditlog: Day in the Life of a Gamer joins me to review Arkham Horror, the Lovecraftian-inspired board game from Fantasy Flight Games. The "Sites of Note" segment returns with thoughts on science fiction writer David Brin's post " The Illusion of Public 'Panic'... and the Power of People" from Contrary Brin , news about a character generation tool for Mutants and Masterminds and a tip on how to fix those pesky ID3 tags.

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Show Notes

  • Intro
  • Nuketown News
    • Site Updates: 19 active users on the Web site now, and some conversations about Radio Active #33 and geek fitness (or the lack there of, which will be the subject of an upcoming Radio Active).
      • YaZug recommended the Escape Pod and Voices of Tomorrow fiction podcasts, and I'll definitely be checkign out VoT (as I already subscribe to EP).
      • Count Zero, YaZug and Erilar kindly posted to the "Geek Fitness" open topic about if and when they exercise. Join the conversation -- I want to know if, when and how you exercise (and if you don't ... why?, and if you do ... why?)
    • First-ever Guest : For the first time, I've got a guest for Radio Active -- my long-time gaming buddy Lance Miller joins me to review Arkham Horror by Fantasy Flight Games. Lance is an avid board gamer, played in my RPG campaign for years (and still joins us from time to time) and is an avid PC gamer (including World of Warcraft). And he's a geek dad with a blog of his own: Ditlog: Day in the Life of a Gamer
  • Promo: Vintage Gamer
  • Sites of Note
  • Promo: Goblin Broadcast Network
  • Game Review: Arkham Horror
    • Details:
    • Overview:
      • Something terrible has come to Arkham: actually, many terrible somethings have come to the small Massachussets town, and only an intrepid (and perhaps a little crazy) band of investigators can confront these horrors and prevent the summoning of the Great Old One which is sure to destroy the town, if not the world.
      • As the game begins, several portals to the great beyond have opened, and monsters have begun to spill out onto the streets of Arkham. These monsters are tied to a horrific, mind-destroying Great Old One, one of the cosmic bad guys of H.P. Lovercraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The exact Great Old One changes from game to game, with each Old One exerting its own influence on the world and having its own strengths and weaknesss.
      • Players spend their time investigating the town, moving through the streets, shops, homes and public buildings in an effort to defeat the monsters, find the portals their coming through, and magically seal them. If all the portals can be sealed in time, the Great Old One won't come; if they fail, then the monster comes and they must battle it as well.
      • Game plays like the Call of Cthulhu RPG translated into a board game, with each investigator having stats, abilities and weapons (and a few even have mystic abilities). Players have the opportunity to buy new equipment, weapons and spells as the game unfolds, and they'll need them to fight the horrors lurking in the darkened streets.
    • Ken's Thoughts
      • Packed with good stuff -- 16 possible adventurers, various elder gods, dozens of monsters, numerous locations. It's a hefty box, crammed with high-quality materials.
      • Complexity means that the first game will probably take two hours longer than normal as everyone learns the rules and figures out what the pieces do.
      • Excellent replay value thanks to the different Great Old Ones, environmental cards that weaken and strengthen different monsters. The different characters, plus the diversity of equipment, offers even more variety.
      • Works best with 4-5 players, which gives you enough people to split up and follow different objectives.
      • Excellent cooperative game, which is perhaps what I like most about it. Most of the games our group plays are either cutthroat, backstabbing games like Illuminati, Munchkin and Risk 2210 or just traditionally competitive, like Settlers of Catan and Carcassone: Hunters and Gatherers. Very few are coop, and its great to be working with your friends to prevent the extraplanar invasion.
      • The game is no less challenging for being cooperative -- at this point we're 1-3 vs. the Mythos, and every game has been nicely difficult -- hard without being impossible.
    • Lance's Thoughts
      • Cooperative model - very refreshing, a new type of challenge
      • Great long-game facet to the strategy. Players must prepare for the particular Ancient One, or it's all over...
      • Deep/complex, but very playable. Perhaps a one-two game learning curve.
      • Emulates the feel of the paper-and-pen RPG very well
      • Very effectively invokes the sense of escalating and impending doom of the fiction. There are even physical manifestations of this escalation - the Doom and Terror Tracks, the Outskirts, the monsters piling up in town. It creates an emotional "pressure/fear" response with the players.
      • Skill Sliders - such a great mechanic!
      • The Ancient Ones emerge - kiss your butt goodbye!
      • Re. replay value - also a large variety of possible random events at each Arkham or Otherworldly encounter site
  • Promo: Lovecraftiana
  • Outro
    • Comments: nuketown@gmail.com, "nuketown" on Skype or post to the article on the Web site.
AttachmentSize
NuRA-2006-07-17.mp325.83 MB

Comments

I'm interested in hearing what folks thought of the Arkham Horror segment that Lance and I did. It's a different sound setup from what I normally use (switching out a headset for a free standing mic) and looking at the recording after the fact, it seemed like we were hitting a lot of peaks. I tried to work through those in Audacity, but I'm not sure about the final result.

I thought it sounded fine; maybe not up to your usual standard but I did not find the sound quality to be distracting at all.

Thanks -- I'm glad it worked. We had a lot of fun doing it, and I'm definitely going to have more guests in the future.