I’ve gone and revised about two-thirds of the Arkham location encounters at this point. Part of my process involved sorting the neighborhoods into thirds so I could determine new skills to check for my re-balance work. Downtown (white), Easttown (black), and Northside (orange) got shuffled into “Sneaky/Speedy.”

I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but I had this idea in case I decided to attempt a re-balance (hint: I did!) that I would organize neighborhoods so certain different characters could excel in different ways. For instance, Luck/Lore characters, Speed/Sneak characters, and Fight/Will characters. Or any combination thereof.

I probably did mention it — but I don’t want to look for it now. Anyway, I’ve finished the first two groups of neighborhoods. The northern end of town (described above), plus the sort-of middle. Originally, I grouped the Merchant District (green), Uptown (red), and Southside (brown) into a sort of Fight-y/Smarty group. But I changed my mind…

…When I realized the neighborhoods with the Cult of One Thousand encounters were Green, Red, and Violet. I’m building the encounter tables mostly with the core game in mind, but I want to leave things kind of open for, and taking into account, some stuff from the later expansions. For me, that’s mostly the smaller expansions.

I do like the Big Box expansions like Dunwich, Kingsport, and Innsmouth, but they create so many more problems, I want to tackle them one at a time. Innsmouth, for example, adds the Personal Story variant, which is one of my favorites. Then again, if you read my recent review of the Personal Stories — they need a lot of work.

I’d like to eliminate a lot of the extraneous miscellany from Arkham Horror. That would include most of the cards and tokens. When all is said and done, I’ll probably be left with Clue tokens, Gate Markers, and Monsters. I might keep a few other pieces for fun, but I’m aiming for a game that travels better than its current incarnation.

Putting Personal Stories directly on the investigator sheets, for instance, would be nice. I just might have to bring over my write-on-the-plastic-sheet-protector thing so play can carry on without money tokens or those ridiculous little skill sliders.

Anyway, with all that in mind, I came up with a couple cool little ideas in conjunction with my work on the middle-neighborhoods. First of all, I want to move forward with the “only twenty-four monsters” idea, and more or less scrap monster movement. A list of the monsters I’m using is mentioned in “Arkham Horror for Adventurers.”

Then, I had this idea to have encounters call for specific monsters, say cultists. In fact, those three Cult of One Thousand locations — the Black Cave, Unvisited Isle, and Woods — specifically call for a cultist. If there isn’t a cultist available, the Terror Track increases instead. Make sure you don’t hang on to those trophies for too long!

Another special location is the Graveyard. If you have an encounter that spawns a monster, you take the first Undead creature you draw from the monster cup. It might not seem like a lot, but I think this will go a long way to making these locations actually feel menacing, and feel more unique, at the same time.

Finally, dropping the restrictions for ally recruitment at Unstable locations should do a lot to make actually exploring the city more appealing. You aren’t guaranteed to be screwed at every turn anymore, so why not hang out somewhere new and just see what happens? And once I’ve finished with encounters … I’ll fix the Mythos cards.