Another thing that occurred to me as a result of last night’s playtest was the curious realization that your standard Settlers of Catan setup (not including Seafarers or any expansion that increases the size of the board itself) has twelve hexes around the outside. I had already figured gates appeared around the outside of the board, so we rolled a twelve-sided die to determine the location.

I put two and two together in this morning. There are thirteen cards per suit in a standard deck of playing cards. Let’s say we use the values eleven, twelve, and thirteen for the Jack, Queen, and King, we can draw cards from a regular deck to determine where new gates appear on the board.

Let’s say, then, that we happen to draw a card that would open a new gate on top of an open gate? (There are four of each, after all.) Monster surge mechanics make a triumphant return! As I continued to think about the possibilities, it occurred to me I could easily combine Harvesting mechanics with Gate mechanics.

Harvesting without dice in Settlers of Catan means, instead of rolling for a number between two and twelve, you draw a card that produces a number between one and thirteen. You handle the nonexistent numbers the same as usual, treating one and thirteen like rolling a “natural seven.” (Bandit moves, players discard excess cards.)

First of all, you’re guaranteed to get Resources from your spaces eventually because you’ll go through the entire deck at some point, and every number is in there. Second, the bandit/discard “natural seven” event occurs more often (though less randomly) which helps to ensure that players don’t hoard Resource Cards.

Now, Gate mechanics in Arkham Horror exist mostly to cause mischief and advance the Doom Track. I suppose if I were to have new gates advance the Doom Track (as they do in Arkham Horror, albeit at a painfully slow pace), then the invasion could occur either at the Gate Limit, or when the Doom Track strikes twelve.

Some stuff will coincide regularly if the effects are combined. A faction settled around a six on the board will harvest resources when gates or monster surges occur at the “bottom” of the map (or whichever hex corresponds to the “number six” gate location), but that should probably be written off as a “coincidence” in game terms.

Probably the coolest thing about tying these different mechanics to a regular deck of cards is that most players won’t have to buy anything to get additional functionality from these games. They grab a deck of cards, pull pieces from the “core” games (one of the reasons I’m sticking to the “core”), and the rest is play.

The less you buy, the more you get.