Scenario difficulty rankings #2: You don’t scare me

Intro

Following last week’s kickoff article that had the eight easiest scenarios in Arkham (conditions apply, please refer to last weeks post for an extensive disclaimer…), we are continuing today with the next seven scenarios. These are still what i consider to be fairly easy, but they are certainly a step up from the Gates of Sleep or Gathering!

On difficulty

Something that putting together this list has shown to me is that there is really only a handful of scenarios that i would call “too easy”. Arkham is generally a rather tense game where even the sort of scenario we are talking about today can blindside you and just leave you defeated.
The most dangerous thing by far can be a string of encounter cards that hit you in the same spot over and over again. Like drawing a bunch of horror treacheries back to back to back which can easily have you defeated. A solid amount of new players tackling The Gathering with Roland and just being nuked by triple Rotten Remains (or Daisy with Grasping Hands) know what i am talking about. Similarly, debilitating treacheries like Frozen in Fear are bad enough on their own… stack multiples that do something similar and you find yourself running out of options fast. This applies to enemies as well, of course. A single enemy is usually easy enough to handle, even if it might take you a full turn due to a failed attack here and there. But if you draw enemy after enemy after enemy in consecutive mythos phases (you are getting “bodied”), you might suddenly find yourself out of ammo, spell charges, fight events or similar resources.
This sort of peaks can’t really be the base on how I evaluate these scenarios, but it’s good to keep in mind that even scenarios down at the bottom of the list are not complete handouts just thanks to how the game works at its core.

That being said, when i go into the batch of scenarios we are looking at today, I am not scared and it would surprise me to get defeated in any of them. It definitely happened before, though!

#67: Dogs of War

I am lumping all versions of the scenario together here. The defense version is certainly a bit easier than the offensive one, but just in general, this scenario is a rather run-of-the-mill affair. What makes me put it so early in the list compared to other scenarios of its ilk is that one version of it can be almost completely defused just by having an investigator that can evade the Beast around. And the other version just has a bunch of health to chew through which can put some strain on ammo or charges, but it doesn’t put a whole lot of pressure on the investigators. That does make it a fine scenario to run early in Scarlet Keys, but it doesn’t make for a particularly memorable or interesting experience.

#66: Weaver of the Cosmos

Look, i like Weaver. It’s super fun, one of the best gimmicks the game has pulled over its lifespan. But I’ve not once had it be even close. With some awful luck, Atlach-Nachas final form can drop a lot of doom on the board, but in my experience that just barely ever happens. And the doom clock is quite generous from the start because it needs to accomodate bursts of doom or the possibility of having doom on locations early on. When that doesn’t happen, there’s not much too it though and you can take your time. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the random element behind Atlach-Nacha’s movement also means that i often had her just not move for several turns after another which also makes it easy to go after her legs.
So yeah. It’s a fun scenario, but variance is on the player’s side this time around.

#65: Blood on the Altar

This scenario is of course mostly known for its Kidnapped! card. Kidnapped! is the reason that the doom clock in this one feels much more urgent than it actually is. You have quite a lot of time to find the key to Silas’ Chamber and deal with him afterwards. At its core, the scenario is just good basic Arkham: Here’s some locations, enemies are afoot, grab the clues, go! Sadly those enemies can’t really stand up to the players much, as it’s just a hodgepodge of human enemies. And some whippoorwills. The treacheries also don’t really apply consistent pressure to one thing, they are kind of all over the place, making it easy to just take them on the chin for the most part.
I was considering to rank this one as even easier, possibly even include it in the first article, but Kidnapped! does apply at least some pressure to go about it efficiently and the threat of losing a card from your deck permanently is not completely without teeth.

#64: For the Greater Good

For the Greater Good is pretty much just cultist handling, similar to Echoes of the Past… but with an actual doom clock and treacheries that do things. If you are playing on the Lodge’s side, this one can be very tricky if you aren’t able to parley with the Silver Twilight cultists, but for these rankings i do assume that you are generally aware of what’s coming and don’t get blindsided like that. If you didn’t align with the lodge, the scenario becomes easier because you can just murder your way through the cultists.
The encounter deck has two very nasty treacheries in it, Call to Order and Expulsion, that can put a lot of pressure out of nowhere on the table. But they are hiding in a rather large deck and aside from those the encounter deck is somewhat tame. I never had any problems with this one, but i can certainly see cases where the scenario acts up on the players through random key placements and bad strings of encounter pulls.

#63: Heart of the Elders #1

Part two of HotE was already covered last week, now here’s the first one. And you know what, i respect this one. It does one thing and it does it very well. It puts you into a small set of locations and throws a bunch of big Hunters in there to harass you. Meanwhile the encounter deck uses treacheries to make some locations less than ideal to stay in or walk through because there’s Poisonous Spores, Apex Strangleweeds or even just Pit Vipers around. This makes the scenario very focused and coherent, injecting it with a decent amount of danger. It would rank a lot higher on this list, if it weren’t for the fact that you can just resign at any point and go again. That mechanic is not just one of the most annoying ones in the game, it also robs the scenario of its bite. A shame, really.

#62: Miskatonic Museum

And with that, we are already getting to the scenarios where i feel like defeat becomes a real possibility. The Hunting Horror from Museum can grow to epic proportions and become quite the terror. Having a respawning creature that can easily grow to 5+ fight/evade and 6+ health is something to be afraid of. Even Tony respects that. This is only the third scenario of the campaign as well. Now there are ways to cheese the scenario by keeping the Horror evaded (which will limit its opportunities to grow) and that ultimately pushes Museum down on the list towards the lower third. But yeah, i respect this one, especially in its Return To version i do actually go into it somewhat sceptical of my chances.

#61: At Death’s Doorstep

Haunted: The Scenario. There is one tight bit in the scenario that can be a bit worrying sometimes. During the first agenda, any monster cards drawn are set aside and a doom is put on the agenda. Once it flips, all the set aside enemies enter play at the same time which can create a hectic moment, especially when that flip happens from the regular doom during Mythos because it is then immediately also followed by a round of encounter cards for everyone. This can lead to a lot of problems that require solving at the same time. Aside from that, i find the scenario to not be terribly difficult though. Haunted is annoying, but the enemies are mostly small fry and not terribly hard to deal with. I have little respect for the Watcher, either.

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