I agree that it it feels like a first draft as is. I haven’t been able to play it massively multiplayer with the more climactic ending, but the feuding factions is such a great idea and pretty well implemented.
What holds it back for me is the symmetry of the locations. They’re in the same order with predictable variations. It makes the scenario feel a little flat.
Sornars and I are almost done with Innsmouth. I think he's a bit meh on it and I think it has been a little limp too in this back end. We were talking though, and it's weird because I think the vast majority of the scenarios are individually quite clever it just doesn't flow overly well as a campaign maybe.
Could also be because we surmounted our experience curve and are overly in control.
I’ve complained about this before, but the backend may feel limp because it feels like you’ve played it before. You’re still playing with the same key mechanic and same cavern encounter set you saw in the very first scenario. It’s still get the thing and go to the other thing. People gripe about explore in Forgotten Age, but that was a mechanic that felt different in every scenario.
I think the lighthouse is my favorite of the cavern scenarios. You can get royally boned by flipping locations in the wrong order and waste a pile of turns backtracking, but the limited location connections make it less onerous than similar scenarios. I also like scenarios that make you feel clever like the flooding here.
One thing that's really negatively impacting my appreciation of Innsmouth is the framing of the story. I guess it's evocative in that I can't really remember what the characters have or haven't accomplished at certain points in time but I really despise this attempt at non-linear story telling. As a concept I'm not opposed to it but the execution here is wanting.
I actually don't mind us tromping through the late scenarios as monster killing occult experts because it feels kind of earned. We really struggled in the early half of the campaign so there's a fun buildup to where we are now. Specifically for the last scenario, I managed to play a single copy of Ward of Protection 4 times (3 Painted Worlds, 1 for real) which can trivialise a fair number of scenarios.
The greatest weakness of Innsmouth’s fractured storytelling is that it doesn’t matter. If you rearranged the scenarios to play them in chronological order, nothing would change in your understanding of the plot or characters. From the moment you enter Innsmouth, you know something’s really wrong, so the appearance of Deep Ones isn’t a surprise. Your allies are basically whom you expect them to be. The split storytelling doesn’t reveal any twists or surprises unique to the structure. The only fun thing about is the back-to-back visits to Innsmouth proper and seeing how bad it’s been.
In fact, the flashbacks are mostly utilized to push you to the next scenario. Instead of “Maybe we should spend a night in a haunted house,” it’s “Let’s go to this place I remember.” It’s not that interesting.
I’m griping, but it doesn’t really bother me that much. I don’t expect that much in the way of storytelling in Arkham. It’s hard to craft a compelling narrative that makes sense for Tony or Wendy and has to account for an unknown amount of success and failure. I’m content with a story that provides a motive to enter the next scenario and that sets the right mood.
FYI: Gamezenter now has the parallel investigators and their print and plays "professionally" done with FFG approval. The parallel investigators are really cool, but right now they don't have Wendy parallel yet so I'm deciding whether to get them or not until they get Wendy out there too. They also have the two scenario packs that were print and play and haven't been reprinted.
Considering I don't think it's against the license to have the PnP stuff printed by a professional printer, the MakePlayingCards links seem like a much better deal. The POD stuff is still different enough from the regular cards that you can identify them without sleeves if you're trying to. It will be nice to have the official POD stuff (Carnevale, Rougerou, etc.) available more regularly though.
We wrapped on our Forgotten Age campaign. We had a first try 3 weeks ago which went real bad (as AH:LCG just does sometimes) and my spouse was just done with it. She had one of those situations where you advanced the act and it drops an enemy on top of you and one in an adjacent location (
Alejandro Vela and Ichtaca
) and they just beat you to death.
We picked it up and retried it again today and had a really good time, with a skin of our teeth victory where I pulled some very lucky token pulls after a ROUGH sure thing red tentacle evade
to stab Alejandro to death and give us some breathing room while she flitted about the other worlds/times.
I have no idea if it will see the table again with the two of us, but at least she got a taste of a pretty fun version of the game. I basically told her to let me know if she ever wanted to play it again but that I wouldn't be suggesting it, ball is in her court to see how she felt.