Cookiemonger and I ran a test of the new encounters last night, and everything went about as well as could be expected. I have only the Downtown neighborhood encounters left to write, but we avoided them for most part. Of the encounters we saw, only one at the Newspaper really took me by surprise. It’s easily enough fixed, though. Some of them will still require some tweaking, of course.

I think one of thing I mentioned before, which I think was really reinforced in this playtest, is how unimportant location encounters really are. You visit a location for its “special” encounter (Arkham Asylum, St. Mary’s Hospital, Science Building, etc), you go to pick up Clue tokens, or you go there to close a gate. That’s pretty much it.

With only two players, it might seem like there’s plenty enough to keep us busy, and location encounters still aren’t that big a deal. That was true of last night’s game, but I think it’s balanced by encounters written to have a “bigger impact.” If there isn’t enough work to go around, the investigators won’t just twiddle their thumbs.

Every Unstable location threatens to open a new gate. Nearly every Stable location threatens to increase the terror level. Searching for Clue tokens when there are none on the board is a risky business. The only “safe” way to avoid encounters is to park yourself in the streets and avoid monsters and encounters alike. It’s your choice.

Yig was our Ancient One, and he awoke in just about ten rounds. There were several monster surges (a couple from “Strange Sightings!”), but bagging a Cultist sped things up, as did our draw of “Murder in the Museum,” which added two doom tokens. The terror level increased twice (out of three; once from Outskirts, twice from encounters).

I played as Zoey Samaras, and CM played as Carolyn Fern. Our first Mythos card was “Escape from Arkham Asylum!”which turned out to be quite fortuitous, as it gave me three of the monster trophies I needed for Zoey’s Personal Story in my first turn. I drew the Scales of Thoth (original printing). I’ve never gotten them before. So. Broken.

Hilarity ensued. My Skill added one to my Fight, and Zoey’s Personal Story adds to her Fight. With the Scales of Thoth newly in my possession, I confronted a ghost. My investigator power treats Physical immunity as resistance, and so I used my knife and cross. Ten Combat minus a three modifier, equals seven dice. I stabbed a ghost.

Needless to say, Yig didn’t put up much of a fight. CM and I both completed our Personal Stories in relatively short order, we didn’t take too many hits and even though I was Cursed the first two rounds of our fight, we beat him with a good three to four rounds left in the Final Battle. It was pretty much a Curb-stomp Battle.

It’s going to take several more playtests before we know if these encounters are really balanced toward what a player should reasonably expect, but I have a good feeling about them so far. The real test will be bringing five or more players to the table and seeing how quickly things spiral out of control. *cue evil laughter*