I’ve been bouncing around, avoiding certain topics while I try to get a bead on what exactly I should be doing next. In my head, I’m thinking “To Catch A Goat,” but that isn’t what’s happening. To do that, I really need some quiet time to sit down and write. In the chaos of what’s going on around me, I need a different project I can work on sporadically. So, I’m going back to do some work on The Catan Horror.

Last night, and this morning, I was thinking about how the doom track worked in contrast with the terror level. Mythos cards can do a variety of things, and are used mainly to advance the state of the game. When they’re operating normally, they open a gate, spawn a monster, and add a Clue token to the board.

When there’s already a gate on the board in the location the Mythos cards indicates, a monster surge occurs instead. No doom token. You still get a Clue token, assuming the location where the Clue token should appear hasn’t flushed sideways, but the doom track doesn’t advance. An advance in the terror level is threatened.

But when you take all of the expansions into account, you can’t really say that monsters are a wholly necessary part of the game. Look at the Kingsport Horror expansion for example. Monsters don’t appear in Kingsport except when attacking from The Sky, so monsters may not be necessary for play at all.

I had a thought along these lines: based on the concepts of the monster limit and the outskirts limit, we could reasonably assume that monsters serve a strictly narrative purpose. There are more monsters allowed in Arkham as there are more players participating in the game, and fewer monsters allowed in the Outskirts.

Let’s say that instead of placing any monsters in Arkham, monsters go directly to the Outskirts, where they pose a threat to the physical (and mental) well-being of all. The monster limit, then, is a special rule intended specifically for the city of Arkham, which supports the game mechanic of the terror level.

Dunwich and Innsmouth have vortexes to keep their respective monster populations in check, and Arkham has the monster limit for the same reason. So, with that in mind, I think we can assume that (one quick check on the wiki later) monsters only come from gates and unstable locations. They appear in the wild, but nowhere stable, or “safe.”

Next, we talk a little bit more about monster surges.