I’ve had a problem with Spells and spellcasting in Arkham Horror since I first started playing. It requires a lot of dice rolling and you usually don’t get a whole lot out of a Spell. First of all, you can only use most spells once per round, because they have the “cast and exhaust” rules text. Guns and swords, on the other hand, don’t run out of bullets. No matter how silly that sounds for the former.

To cast a Spell, you usually have to pay one or more points of Sanity, exhaust the spell, and then roll some dice to see if anything happens. If you fail the Spell check, you’ve just exhausted the card and paid some Sanity for absolutely no effect. It’s a tremendous waste of time and resources. Inexcusable, in my opinion.

So, I offer this simple house rule to make spellcasting more attractive to players of all colors and stripes: allow the player to choose between making a Spell check or paying the Sanity cost. If they fail the check, allow them to pay the Sanity cost anyway. In the case of Spells like Wither, which have no Sanity cost, this isn’t game-breaking. Why?

Because you have to exhaust the card.

Spells like Wither therefore function as a really weak Flamethrower or a reusable (and still functionally weaker) Holy Water. If you’re worried about Daisy Walker’s ability to reduce the Sanity cost of Spells, or Agnes Baker’s ability to spend Stamina instead of Sanity to pay for Spells, don’t be. These won’t break your game. They’re just cool.

I’m pretty sure there aren’t any Spells that would be game-breaking even if the player could use them once per turn without any kind of dice roll or Sanity cost. I haven’t made an exhaustive search of the Spells, but I’m pretty sure none of them can be used more than once per round. I still don’t think they’d be very powerful if there were.

If you know of a particular Spell that would be made game-breaking if the player could cast it without exhausting it, paying Sanity, and rolling dice, you’re probably reading it wrong. (I’ll check it out, though.) And if there really is a Spell that would be made game-breaking with this house-rule, take it out of the deck. It was already broken.