I’ve been getting a lot of hits on my Roguelike Tabletop posts, which is encouraging. Tabletop Shop Talk linked to my post from the earlier this month, and I think there’s definitely something to the idea of “thinking for two people.”

I wasn’t familiar with Dungeon World, which they described in the post — I’m glancing over it while I write this post — but the post got me thinking back on Arkham Horror, which is a game you could almost play by yourself, that has roleplaying potential.

Back at the end of 2011, I revised and condensed the Arkham Horror location encounters because I was tired of hauling around and shuffling cards.

Arkham Horror Revised Location Encounters (Dec 30, 2011)

I’ve been meaning to update my location encounters almost since the day I finished them. That should come as no surprise, I think. Whenever you work hard on something you make mistakes and learn new things along the way — hardly any project seems to be done the way you want it by the time you finish it.

Now, I did finally find a better avenue for revising the encounters, but I needed something else. I needed to really know what the characters were trying to do.

…Ugh, and here I searched my blog to reference an older post only to eventually discover I never published it. I can’t begin to describe how frustrating it is for me to search my post drafts for something I barely remembered well enough to search of the site for, so here’s the short version which is drawn from another gaming website.

(Edit: Then I found it.)
Movement and Exploration (Mar 27, 2013)

I’m posting it anyway because it’s helpful to have multiple copies.

“You have a scene, in which you have a goal. You roll a six-sided die to determine whether you achieve your goal:”

1) Yes And
2) Just Yes
3) Yes But
4) No But
5) Just No
6) No And

This is a system for determining whether the player characters get what they want from a given scene of roleplaying. It could be a fight, a negotiation, or whatever.

Now, I think this system is just fantastic. Super-fantastic even. What it mostly lacks is what those “ands” and “buts” are supposed to be. Hypothetically speaking you could determine them on a scene-by-scene basis, but you know, that’s always been part of the game master’s job — and you’ve only got yourself, right?

So here’s the thing, in Arkham Horror the player characters are investigators, and they’re trying to unravel a mystery and prevent the awakening of the Ancient One. Was that too fast? Because I couldn’t figure it out for the longest time.

Clues. I don’t know why that was so hard. I had to really think about it — and only recently did it occur to me what it meant and what to do about it. Arkham Horror gives you some Clue tokens in the beginning of the game, largely as incentives to explore.

But not enough to win the game. Those you have to come up with on your own.

So that’s it — that’s the goal of some ninety-plus percent of the encounters (that number’s off the top of my head) but the locations determine the Yes-No success of those encounters on a place-by-place basis. Some locations have so little bearing on the game however, there’s no way they have clues — like the General Store.

There are several next steps to take, which I will try to elaborate on uh, next.